How Sara Blakely lost her way to a billion dollars:
Few years ago Sara lost in the finale of Richard Branson’s reality TV show “Rebel Billionaire”. The loss was one of many that turned Sara into the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire…
Sara’s entire life has been about failure. She says “My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn’t have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.”
In the 1990s Sara became an expert in failure by selling fax machines (remember those?) and was often so terrified of meeting prospects she would burst into tears and drive around the block to calm down before her sales calls.
Overheating from the stress of it, she decided to cut the feet off her pantyhose to cool down. That was her ‘aha’ moment. As she says “When I cut the feet out of my pantyhose that one time, I saw it as my sign.” She decided to start a business to sell the footless pantyhose in 1998 with just $5,000 – all of her savings – and called the company “Spanx”.
Did the failure stop then? No – “When I invented Spanx I heard ‘no’ for two years. It didn’t faze me. I didn’t have a special ability, it was sheer drive and telling myself to keep going.”
Working from her kitchen, she made a push for publicity, which simply means your failure becomes more public. For example, her experience with the English: “On the BBC, I was asked what Spanx could do for women in the U.K. I had no idea what was going on, so I kept rambling on until he stopped me.
Her publicity led her to Oprah and Richard Branson’s “Rebel Billionaire” in 2005. She ended up losing that too, but the show gave her a chance to realise what she really wanted to do with her future success – Start a charity for women. Branson gave her $750,000 to start her charity, the Sarah Blakely Foundation, to support women leaders.
What happens when your failure rate goes up? Your luck rate goes up too.
To face her failures, Sara had luck on her back – literally!
“I found my lucky red backpack from college in my mom’s attic and became determined that it was going to change my path for Spanx because I kept hearing no, no, no. It went with me every step of the way, to the point of being made fun of because I went to Neiman Marcus headquarters with this old backpack as my presentation bag. Now, with the Sarah Blakely Foundation, every woman we send to college or help start a business receives a lucky red backpack. They’re usually more excited about that than the money, which I totally get. The backpack is a symbol of their potential.”
THE BIGGEST RISK
It’s not long since Sara Blakely became the youngest female Billionaire in the world, with Spanx generating over $250 million in annual revenue. Sara puts this down to her sheer determination:
“The biggest risk in life is not risking. Every risk you take in life is in direct proportion to the reward. If I’m afraid of something, it’s the next thing I have to go do. That’s just the way I’ve been.”
What are your big dreams? Where are your greatest risks?
Get your own lucky charm on your back, cut off the feet of whatever is holding you back, turn on the music and take the path that Sara Blakely took.
Today, 41 year-old Sara Blakely makes many speeches to inspire other entrepreneurs, and even the song she uses to get in her zone is the anthem to failure. As she says – “Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ is my go-to song to pump myself up if I’m having a tough time or if I get really nervous right before a speech.”
Now that she’s a billionare, her mission is supporting women through her foundation, which has donated $17.5 million to charities supporting girls and women in South Africa.
Her failure has meant her wealth has come with humility, which is a different kind of wealth: “I feel like money makes you more of who you already are. If you’re an idiot, you become a bigger idiot. If you’re nice, you become nicer. Money is fun to make, fun to spend and fun to give away.”
Use Sara’s story to inspire your day: Lose yourself and win the game.
20 Motivational Books & Essays Startup Leaders Should Read in 2020
If you read about start-ups and their success rate, you’ll find that the failure rate is higher than 90%. Some research suggests how these rates are even higher than 95%.
For this very reason, it’s really important to have strong willpower to endure even the biggest obstacles in your journey.
Below we list out the best motivational books and essays available for you online.
1. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
While this book might even be considered outdated in our fast-paced online world, the principles shared in it will never go away.
The most important thing you’re going to learn is how to manage your schedule and how to delegate your tasks.
2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Even though this book was published back in 1937, its core values and principles will never go away. This book is focused on the power of your mind and explores how you can better use your desires, ideas, and plans.
When you steer all these factors into a focused direction and add a massive amount of action to it, your success will be inevitable.
3. Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
This is another modern age book that shares a similar type of content and ideas as The 4-Hour Workweek.
The new-age work culture is not only focused on money, but on life quality and time management.
4. Be Obsessed Or Be Average by Grant Cardone
You might question the authenticity or even the legitimacy of many things and claims shared by Grant Cardone. One thing is for sure – he will get you fired up, especially if you’re reading his content for the first time.
5. Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence – and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary is another author and businessman who is highly focused on taking massive action in order to reach success.
He’s also highly active on social media, and if you’re in the same boat, you might learn a lot. On top of that, he’ll give you a huge boost of energy and motivation.
6. The Dip by Seth Godin
When you start your start-up journey, there will be so many moments where you just want to quit.
Well, this book is highly focused on quitting. To be precise, it will teach you when to quit and when to stick!
7. 10 Success-Boosting Motivation Tips From Millionaire Entrepreneurs by John Rampton
In this great essay, the author analyses great ideas and business guidelines shared by the richest people in the world.
It’s great content to expand your views and gain more of the business-oriented wisdom.
8. How to Stay Motivated to Start a Business by Simone Johnson
This essay is focused on explaining why motivation is so important when starting your business. You’ll find out more about different types of motivation and how to sustain it in the long run.
9. Famous Entrepreneurs Who Started Late and Founded Multi-Million Dollar Empires
As an entrepreneur, you might ask yourself: Am I too old for this? Well, in this essay, you’ll learn about 8 famous people who started their start-up journey when they were older.
You have to remember to never quit and that it’s never too late to start!
10. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
This is another great book by Tim in which he analyses the habits and beliefs of 101 highly successful people. It’s a great way to expand your views and gain wisdom.
11. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
If you want to learn more about two different systems running inside of your head, you’ll find great value in this book. This is another great book for NPL enthusiasts.
12. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Jean Greaves and Travis Bradberry
The overall success of your start-up will not depend on your skills or the amount of capital you pour into it. One extremely important factor is teamwork. This book will teach you how to recognize and better react to your own emotions and the emotions of others.
13. The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill
In this all-time classic work, you’ll learn extremely valuable lessons that are being taught across sixteen lessons.
14. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Every entrepreneur has a list of people influencing their startup, starting with employees all the way to investors. This book will improve your skills when it comes to influencing the behavior of others.
15. Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins
What would be a motivational list without Tony Robbins? All jokes aside, if you need motivation and energy, you’ll find them in his books and videos.
He’s creating this type of content for decades, and he knows every bit of detail when it comes to motivation.
16. Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins
If you want to dive deeper into the journey of finding your purpose in life and to learn how to get rid of fear, this book is a must-read!
You’ll find great tips on not only how to set your goals but how to achieve them as well.
17. Business Adventures by John Brooks
This book is recommended both by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. These two know what they’re talking about when it comes to business.
Bill Gates has not only recommended this book, but he also regards it as his favorite book of all time.
In this book, you’ll find 12 different stories based on which you can learn 12 different key ideas about the business.
18. The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success by William N. Thorndike
In this book, the author is analyzing eight different CEO’s and their approach to management. Each one of them had a quite unique approach, which is extremely useful for a reader to learn more about thinking out of the box.
In the worst case, you’re going to expand your own box.
19. 15 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Write by MasterClass
Being a writer myself, I had to share this extremely useful content with all of my fellow colleagues around the world. Writing is frightening but never give up! Here are some other resources you can use to master the skill of writing, which is essential in any startup: ordering research papers online (when you need a case study or a business report), Grammarly (for checking the grammatical accuracy of your texts), Canva (to add a visual flair to your writing).
20. See You At The Top By Zig Ziglar
We had to add another sales author to our list. Somehow, sales authors have extremely valuable insight when it comes to motivation. This book will teach you not only that but how to live a more balanced and fulfilling life as well.
On the one hand, it’s harder to succeed as a start-up now that there is so much competition. On the other, these and millions of other resources enable you to learn faster and better than ever before! Be it for team leadership, soft skills, or business-running, you can learn anything from these great books and essays.
Creative Advice from 11 World Famous Architects
As a creative entrepreneur, you’re probably no stranger to the ups and downs of inspiration. Motivation can come in waves, and when it’s gone, productivity can take a pretty major hit.
It’s impossible to stay constantly inspired all of the time. However, when we notice our creative spark fade, it’s important to engage in activities that rekindle the fire. Often, this means unplugging, pursuing a hobby, or talking with a friend or mentor.
Another great way to boost motivation is to look to other successful creatives. Architects, in particular, make great creative role models because of their ability to juggle multiple tasks and oversee projects like a pro. Check out the visual below for creative inspiration from 11 world-famous architects.
Is your daily routine mindful or mindless?
Is your daily routine mindful or mindless?
Do you serve a customer to make money? Or do you serve a customer to serve a customer? Do you wash dishes to get them clean? Or do you wash the dishes to wash the dishes?
Here’s a story from Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, about ‘washing the dishes to wash the dishes’ and the difference between mindful and mindless:
“In the United States, I have a close friend named Jim Forest… Last winter, Jim came to visit. I usually wash the dishes after we’ve finished the evening meal, before sitting down and drinking tea with everyone else.
One night, Jim asked if he might do the dishes. I said, “Go ahead, but
if you wash the dishes you must know the way to wash them.” Jim replied, “Come on, you think I don’t know how to wash the dishes?” I answered, “There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes
in order to wash the dishes.”
Jim was delighted and said, “I choose the second way-to wash the dishes to wash the dishes.” From then on, Jim knew how to wash the dishes. I transferred the “responsibility” to him for an entire week.
If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.”
What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes.
In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink.
If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future
– and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Are you focusing more at being successful, or being mindful? It is a conscious choice that shows up in your daily routine – Being present in every moment shows up in the quality of your products, your service, your communication.
Being aware leads to care. It’s the contrast of being careful and being careless. This care becomes quality, and that’s why greater mindfulness leads to greater success.
Your daily routine isn’t a means to an end. It’s an opportunity to experience the miracle of life every day.
“Be here now.”
~ Ram Dass
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