Mike McCoy wanted to enter the natural gas business; what he needed was a partner. He found one and they decided to drill for natural gas in an asparagus field that they had purchased in Northern California.
Unfortunately, a valued employee whom McCoy had previously hired made a mistake. He accidentally poured cement into the well and ruined it. That mistake cost a half-million dollars and McCoy and his partner had practically no money left. Now McCoy had to call his new partner and tell him that one of McCoy’s best friends and most trusted employees had lost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
McCoy was amazed to discover that his partner reacted in a magnanimous way. He reacted with great equanimity and graciously told McCoy to let his worker keep his job. The partners borrowed another $500,000 and moved the drill bit 100 feet from the spot they had wanted to drill.
It was good that McCoy’s partner treated the mistaken employee in such a kind way. The next day the partners hit a reservoir of natural gas. The well was valued at $40 million. That huge and costly mistake actually led to the partner's greatest drilling triumph.
Sometimes our worst defeats can in fact be laying the groundwork for our greatest victories. Lost gas wells, lost interviews, lost employees, lost bosses, and lost jobs can actually work to steer us in the direction that we need to go. That's why it's important to never allow ourselves to grow discouraged.
Having said that, some of you may grow discouraged knowing that the windfall of that natural gas well was the critical financial victory that would allow McCoy’s partner to pursue his dream–owning a professional football franchise. Yes, an employee’s costly mistake paved the way for Jerry Jones to buy the Dallas Cowboys.
And now you know the rest of the story!