All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles
have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a
kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. —Walt
I must admit that the last two years of my life have been mostly
miserable. Without a loving and faithful wife, great friends, and a firm
belief in God, I don’t know where I would be right now. During these
times, I often look upon my troubles as educational experiences that I
can possibly share with others. Perhaps that is the reason I am writing
On the other hand, I may be writing it simply to encourage myself as I
struggle through employment issues. Two years ago, some friends and I
formed a business relationship and put together an exciting business
plan that would involve the travel industry and, in particular, Walt
Disney World. My wife and I lived close to the parks at one time and
used our annual passes to visit at least once per month. It was erhaps
the most fun I had ever had, and the things I learned about traveling to
Disney World became a valuable asset when my friends from the Chicago
area or other parts of the country would visit. Like many other Disney
fanatics, I wanted to help people enjoy the parks and I wanted to think
of great ways to help them avoid wasting time.
Our business plan caught the attention of some venture capital investors
and it seemed we were on our way! I could hardly contain my excitement
as we began to make plans for hiring employees and purchasing equipment.
This would be the Disney career we anticipated. Not only would we be our
own bosses, we would be working with Disney theme parks! The funds were
to arrive any day.
And here I am, two years later, oft-revised business plan in hand,
waiting for the funds to arrive. The investors are still there. The
attorneys are still there. The hopes are still there (though greatly
diminished at this point). Little did we know how long this entire
process would take! I often ask myself whether it is worth the wait
because, in the meantime, I have been unemployed and struggling to get
by each day. My wife and I have seen the loss of most of our
possessions, and we have seen financial chaos like neither of us could
ever have imagined.
So I had a choice.
I could sit and grumble each day or I could choose to make the best of
my time and learn as much as I could about my future profession (while
taking advantage of every income opportunity that came along). I chose
the latter, and, since that time, I’ve read just about every book I
could get my hands on relating to Walt Disney, Disney Productions, and
the Disney theme parks. It nearly became an obsession for me, and I
found myself reading several of the Disney biographies for the third and
fourth times. I would plan Disney vacations for friends, relatives, and
friends of friends. My business was moving despite all of the financial
delays. I was becoming a true Disney-aholic!
During this phase, I began to realize that there were many famous Disney
legends who were once in a position similar to mine. Many of the famous
names I studied began their Disney careers doing things one just would
not imagine a famous Disney legend doing, like sweeping the sidewalks
and selling tickets. How did they get to where they are now?
The stories of these people were so utterly fascinating and so
encouraging that I just had to share them. I began to use them as
illustrations whenever I spoke at meetings or events. I encouraged
others by writing notes and telling a story or two. It became clear to
me that I was not alone in my financial struggle and my desire to follow
my dreams. Everyone I met had a similar story. They wanted to do this or
do that, and their reason for failure was always, “It is just a dream.
It will never happen.” They would say those words with a chuckle and
move on like it was supposed to happen that way to everyone in life.
Then I started noticing how contagious the bad attitude was. People
would look at my situation and stop just short of calling me a fool for
believing in my dream for so long. In so many words, many of them would
say, “Why don’t you just get a real job like everyone else?” To
them it was not logical to believe in something for so long without
finally just moving on when it didn’t happen.
It was during this time that the connection between the stories of
Disney legends and my own experiences was crucial. My encouraging wife
and my knowledge of Walt Disney’s life were the catalysts that kept
moving me forward. I knew that nearly every stage of Walt’s career
started with someone saying, “You can’t do that.” It got to the
point in Walt’s life that he would anticipate and even cherish the
statements of naysayers because they were his confirmation that he was
doing it right. If he began to do something that looked normal or
logical to his friends or competitors, he knew that he was on the wrong
As I write these words, I continue to wait for the moment when our
business can finally get an official start. I am as confident now as I
was two years ago that it will happen, and I have begun to realize that
time is not my enemy but my friend. During these years, I have learned
more than I could ever have imagined. Had our business started right
away, I would have missed out on the most wonderful literary and
practical education ever.
With the stories in this book, I want to encourage everyone who is
struggling to find a job or struggling to handle the job they have.
There is no such thing as a dead-end career or a dead-end life. You’re
only limited by your dreams.
What Is Destiny?
A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his
energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve
it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the
end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive. —Walt
There are few phrases that have transcended the theater screen and
become so famous as that simple remark from a father to his son:
“Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your
destiny. Join me and together we can rule the galaxy as father and
son.” While certainly a legitimate word for centuries, the term
“destiny” moved up several rungs on the ladder of our English
lexicon as a result of Star Wars.
But what is destiny, exactly? It is not a line on a resumé. It is not
an answer on a job application. It is certainly not something you can
place in a safe deposit box. Too often the word is used as some sort of
magical elixir to provide hope for one who feels doomed to failure. It
allows for a temporary reprieve from the doldrums of the present while
one’s thoughts look toward what could be in the future.
Someone may think, “Despite my current condition, just maybe I am
destined to be someone great!” Destiny tends to be looked upon as the
unalterable outcome of life that occurs as the result of some
combination of cosmic events. It is seen as the end of fate, the
inevitability of life, or a predetermined set of circumstances that will
run their course whether you want them to or not. On the contrary, our
destiny is shaped every day by the decisions we make and the endeavors
Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a
thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved. —William
Despite sometimes insurmountable odds, the Disney heroes in this book
were able to realize their destinies, not because they were destined to
do so, but because they chose their path and then set themselves upon
it. Like Walt Disney himself, they were able to visualize a dream and
stop at nothing until it was achieved. There were often detours, or even
great conflicts that changed their course, but in the end, becoming a
legend was the result of a lifetime of patient, passionate, determined
To be destined, therefore, is to be determined. To be determined is to
have a passion. To have a passion requires patience. These are the
qualities within a person that enable them to create a destiny of their
own liking. It is true, of course, that everyone has a destiny—good or
bad—and every epitaph on a tombstone strives to portray that destiny
in the best light. The difference between the good and the bad comes
from us becoming involved with our destinies instead of just waiting for
them to happen.
What, therefore, is a “Disney Destiny”?
The people profiled in this book had a knack for creating tremendous
Disney legacies through artistic or intellectual or economic endeavors.
Besides the character qualities mentioned above, they had within them a
certain Disney flair—an ability to catch Walt’s dream and make it
their own. In many cases, their Disney Destiny would not have been
discovered were it not for Walt’s uncanny ability to recognize hidden
talent in a person before they had any idea it was there.
Walt’s innate abilities and his tremendous struggles as a child gave
him the right qualities to become a prodigy—an entertainment genius
who strove for perfection in absolutely everything he did. But his
genius did not stop at the creation of entertainment as a product.
Unbeknownst to most of the world, Walt was also creating an army of
brilliant champions of the trade who would carry his dreams to points
well beyond his own reach. He is often quoted as saying, “You can
dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world,
but it takes people to make the dream a reality.” This was a heartfelt
belief for Walt and, whether he realized it or not, he was helping to
shape Disney Destinies even more than he was producing entertainment.
Within this book you’ll find short stories about the people who would
become the key innovators, patent holders, inventors, pioneers, and
architects of the most varied conglomerate of products and systems ever
imagined. Many of them would arrive at a company whose boss was Walt
Disney—someone they had never met—and, as if they were coming under
the spell of a hypnotist, they would give birth to ideas that would
change not just the entertainment world, but other areas of our culture
Was it the work environment? Was it the team with whom they worked? Was
there some sort of potion in the Disney water? To be sure, there was a
combination of many factors that went into the making of these Disney
legends. But their presence at Disney was not the ace in the hole that
guaranteed a successful career. It was, instead, their own character;
their own desire to create and innovate that resulted in some of the
greatest success stories ever told.
Destiny was their choice.
Excerpted from "Disney Destinies: How Passion, Patience, and Determination Can Take Anyone Anywhere" by Karl Beaudry. Copyright © 2014 by Karl Beaudry. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.