049: 3 Success Lessons From Walt Disney Before Mickey [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

Walt Disney and Mickey
Walt Disney and Mickey

Walt Disney is one of the greatest success stories of all time.  After failing four times at business, he finally got on track.  What principles can you learn from his early years?


There is a person in history with whom I’ve always been fascinated… that’s Walt Disney.  

Despite what many stories about Walt Disney would have you think, the world-famous animator wasn’t an overnight success. He tried and failed and tried again to build a career for himself in the only field he ever wanted to work: animated films.

The first part of his story is now being told in Walt Before Mickey. Based on the book by Timothy S. Susanin with a foreword by Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller, the motion picture is the story of Walt’s early years from 1919-1928, the period of time before he created Mickey Mouse (originally Mortimar Mouse) and released Steamboat Willie (1928). (From Wikipedia)

Mickey wasn’t the first cartoon character that Disney created by any means. Another famous one is Oswald Rabbit, but Walt didn’t own the copyright to that and he had to let Oswald go. Owning your work was one of the many lessons he learned on the bumpy road to success. By the time Walt created Mickey, he was on his fourth animation company and it is the one that stuck: Walt Disney Studios.

So many great themes from the movie and Walt Disney’s life.  One of them is – “If you can’t act, don’t be an actor.”

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”  – Roy Disney

  1. If at first you don’t succeed, what “Try try again”. You were taught that as a kid and so was I.  
  2. Identify what you’re best at and let go of the rest.
  3. You create an environment wherever you go.  

Environment:  the emotional, physical and relational condition in which one lives.

For Walt his drive, his dream was to create happiness.  Took form in animation, then movies and eventually clean unique theme parks. 

But the environment was always the same.  He wanted people to feel happiness and joy.  To experience fun and joy and relational connection with his characters so that that feeling of happiness would translate to their relationships. 

If you build a house and have the opportunity to design it or when you move into a new place, you want the kitchen to be a certain way, the living room to be set up a certain way… you want to create an environment or atmosphere to accomplish something…

Not only what you build or do with your hands create environments, but who you are does the same.and everybody creates a relational environment around them. 

You know what it’s like to be around a person who is always negative, complaining and can find the cloud behind ever silver lining…  

You also know what it’s like to be around a person who challenges you,  who is confident, who is authentically kind.

So how do you create a success environment around you that attracts others?

By what you do, by what you say, by what you don’t do, by what you don’t say…  Jesus gives some guidance in this as well.  

We follow his teachings to love patiently, love kindly, not to boast, not to be proud, not to envy, but to rejoice in the truth, and to think about things that are lovely, excellent and good.  

That’s that thy of person I want to be around and the type of person I want to be.   


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