Bill—Creative, Success Freak
"I have been fortunate for a career owning and running highly creative enterprises. This has allowed me to use my brain for exciting commercial enterprises, big and small.
Every journey though must have a beginning. Mine could not have started worse. Or ended better. Though I wanted to be a writer at age 17, a college counselor convinced me that I was better suited for accounting. I was young, he was an adult. Clearly, he knew more than me. So, an accountant I was to become.
Life lesson number one… find a dream of your own and pursue it. Otherwise it is easy to be steered onto the wrong course.
By age 24 I was quite a successful accountant making a ton of money, and considering suicide! (That, or change careers.) Ultimately, I decided that I would pursue a creative career.
Rather than go back to school I got the idea of working for the Disney headquarters in Burbank. Someone at Disney surely could teach me how to think creatively, I figured. Two weeks later I was on Disney’s doorstep at 500 Buena Vista Street in Burbank. Unfortunately, the company had instituted a company-wide hiring freeze just before I arrived and I was told to go away. No professional jobs were available.
Being an industrious sort, I ignored the hiring freeze and kept showing up at the Studio every day. After nothing but rejection, I convinced the head of HR to refer me for an hourly job at Disneyland. I hoped that I could get around the hiring freeze in this way. Mostly out of frustration that I wouldn’t give up I was referred to the park and became a ride operator on the Fantasyland Skyway attraction. ($2.40 per hour for 10 to 20 hours per week.)
Life lesson number two… the best path up in an organization is often by doing the job you have extremely well, even if you aspire to much bigger things.
I figured that my job was to help “guests” have a wonderful time at Disneyland. Especially children. For the two months I worked at Disneyland during the summer of 1976 I focused on families and provided tips to parents on the most magical things they could do to ensure their children were enchanted.
For example, the Storybook Land ride is one of the most magical rides for kids, just after dark. Something about that ride is perfect for young children and the lights and color after dark are just perfect from a kid’s perspective.
What I didn’t know is that scores of parents after their day at Disneyland went to town hall and raved about Bill in Fantasyland and how I made their day the best ever.
In a normal year, dozens of “casual” workers are offered permanent positions at the park. Due to the hiring freeze that year only one person out of 6,000 casual workers was offered a full-time job.
The funny part is that I received a job offer at Disney headquarters the same day Disneyland offered me a full-time job. All summer I had kept up my campaign at the Studio to find a creative job.
Ultimately, I become Director of Creative Services at the Studio and worked on the launches of Disney’s biggest initiatives of the decade. Helping to launch Disney Home Video and The Disney Channel gave me creative credentials that fueled the rest of my career. This lead eventually to my starting my own creative firm, selling it to a global ad agency. Then doing it again and again.
Life lesson number three… never stop moving and dreaming."
About the book "Success Freak"
There is so much more to success than meets the eye. Success is acquired, not inherited. It’s something that can’t be defined by your bank account, or your job title, or the car you drive. From the moment we first scream our lungs out until our final breath, we look for ways to pursue our wildest dreams. Who doesn’t want to get more out of life? Yet, many of the old, traditional ideas about success no longer apply to today’s environment. Combining helpful exercises and easy-to-follow action plans, Success Freak will show you how to unleash the amazing potential that, yes, already lies within you., This interactive guide shares the seven skills that can transform your life in only one week, empowering you to become your own success story. You are about to become an unstoppable force of resolve and determination: nothing short of the Success Freak you were always meant to be.