As CEO of Tupperware Brands, Rick Goings is a highly successful man. Now 71, he manages a company with more than $2 billion in annual sales and over 10,000 employees, and he is the organizer-in-chief of the iconic Tupperware parties.
But it wasn't always that way. At 17, just as he finished high school, Goings' life looked as though it wasn't going anywhere great, he told me for my recently published book "Before I Was CEO."
Due to a "troublesome situation at home," he was living in a rooming house in Wheaton, Illinois, and sleeping in a chair that could be turned into a bed. College wasn't on the radar: He simply couldn't afford it.
Instead, Goings was going door to door in Wheaton and other Chicago suburbs selling Grolier Society encyclopedias. At least that would earn him a living — or so he thought. The sad reality was that he "went around with the books for 90 days, and never sold a single set."
Looking back on this, Goings mused: "I became CEO of the most respected direct-to-consumer selling company, but I couldn't do direct-selling when I did it myself."