“I had a great talent and lost it, ” says former NBA All-Star Vin Baker. He played in four NBA All-Star Games and spent 13 years in the NBA. Baker grew up in Old Saybrook, Conn.; he went on to the University of Hartford to become one of New England’s all-time great collegiate basketball players – he even earned an Olympic gold medal in 2000.

Today, Vin Baker is a barista at the local Starbucks in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

How did it happen? How did Baker go through $100 million in such a short span?

Baker battled alcoholism toward the end of his career. That addiction, plus a series of financial missteps ranging from a failed restaurant to simply too many hands dipping into his gold-plated cookie jar, combined to wipe out nearly $100 million in earnings, reports the Providence Journal.

Baker is training to manage a Starbucks franchise. “In this company there are opportunities for everyone. I have an excellent situation here at Starbucks and the people are wonderful,” Baker says.

“When you learn lessons in life, no matter what level you’re at financially, the important part to realize is it could happen,” he said. “I was an alcoholic, I lost a fortune. I had a great talent and lost it. For the people on the outside looking in, they’re like ‘Wow.’ For me, I’m 43 and I have four kids. I have to pick up the pieces. I’m a father. I’m a minister in my father’s church. I have to take the story and show that you can bounce back. If I use my notoriety in the right way, most people will appreciate that this guy is just trying to bounce back in his life.”

The Next Leap Forward

Mistakes are inevitable, whether you’re a NBA player and a Gold-medal Olympian, an insurance salesman, or a construction manager.

Mistakes come in all shapes and sizes.

Failure is the key to success! I call it FAIL FORWARD – you must learn from each failure.

The success factor equates to ones happiness and fulfillment. It is quite possible and very probable that Vin Baker was suppose to fall as hard as he fell. Each of these failures and disappointments are leading him on a new path.

It may be a new path to Starbucks management. Perhaps he will use his background to speak, train and help others along their paths.

This may be his ultimate success – not the $100 million mark when he thought he was on top of the world.

You can have $100 million and be absolutely miserable – is that success?

Remember my 90/10 rule.

Use the front window 90% of the time.

Use the rear view mirror 10% of the time. Do not live in the past.

The 10% of the time you spend in the rear view mirror should be to embrace your failures.