The inevitable ups and downs of a life in business may bring dejection or even depression, but they can also lead to enlightenment and success.
That’s the contention of C. Lloyd Brown, a Hobbs, N.M., native who has just published a book titled, “Refined by Failure: Breaking Rules and Getting Burned.”
Brown wrote the book after being asked last year to relinquish his position of chief executive officer of the company he had co-founded in 2008, Smart Chemical Services in Amarillo.
“There is no doubt that failure hurts,” he said in a phone interview. “But it is also an invitation to clarify our values, actions and relationships. In both business and our personal lives, failure is an invitation to wisdom, but only if we choose to listen. Learning from failure brings us closer to success. And if we use it to drive us forward, then failure itself is only temporary.”
Noting that he remains board vice chairman at Smart Chemical, the 30-year veteran of the oil and gas industry said he was asked to step down, “which is a nice way of saying I was fired,” because he had broken his own rule and failed to establish good relationships with the company’s newer partners.
Brown’s book cites 10 rules that he says will help one recover from failures in leadership, personal life and faith, including giving trust to earn trust, enjoying the profit motive, helping others get what they want as a means to achieving your own goals, spending more time at work to ensure that you give your best effort, celebrating business and personal victories and repeating the behavior that led to success while avoiding the things that caused failure.
Brown, 56, also serves on the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. board, owns the classic car storage, repair and detailing company Route 66 Auto Haus and provides mentoring services to the West Texas A&M University Enterprise Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum land management in 1987 at Texas Tech. He and his wife Lora have a daughter.
Published by the Copper Quill Co. of Abilene, Brown’s 112-page book is $9.99 on Kindle and $16.99 in paperback from Amazon.com and other retailers.
He said the book is a product not just of his recent experiences but is derived from a lifetime of learning how to bounce back from discouragements, including a divorce in the early 1990s that prompted suicidal thoughts.
“The author Brene Brown talks a lot about the power of shame,” he said. “In our culture, instead of recognizing our failures as opportunities to grow, we often shut down and get defined by that failure. I’ve ended up finding my faith and building my relationship with God.”
Brown said the author Andy Andrews has been another source of his philosophy, holding that a career in business requires one to be adaptable “because you are always going into or coming out of a crisis.
“Business is ever-evolving and ever-changing,” he said. “You grow a business just like a child from the time it’s born through adolescence, middle age and then the last season of its life. The only way to control that is through entrepreneurship.”