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How Sara Blakely lost her way to a billion dollars

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Sara Blakely

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.”

FAILING BIG

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.

Inspiration

Creative Advice from 11 World Famous Architects

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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.

 

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Inspiration

Is your daily routine mindful or mindless?

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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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Inspiration

5 Quotes for Successful Entrepreneurship

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Quotes for Successful Entrepreneurship

Being a successful entrepreneur is a dreamcometrue for a lot of people out there. Being your own boss, benefiting from your own ingenuity and hard work, as well as creating a legacy are all reasons enough why so many people try to start businesses of their own. However, the majority of these entrepreneurial attempts end in failure. In order to avoid meeting the same fate, you need to examine these five quotes that reveal the entrepreneurship essentials.

1.    The secret of getting ahead is getting started. – Mark Twain

It’s incredibly easy to come up with a million excuses for why something is not worth doing. After all, the business world is a scary place. Gathering the right team is hard, raising funds can be even harder and with the current state of the economy (this is probably the most common excuse), what are your realistic chances of success? The truth is that you just cannot know and you never will. All you’re doing by procrastinating is wasting your own precious time. Instead of wasting energy and creativity to come up with a myriad of excuses, you need to try looking for solutions.

2.    Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it’s the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill

There’s probably no better person in the world to stand behind this statement, seeing as how there aren’t a lot of people in history who had more drastic ups and downs. Winston Churchill’s involvement in WWI resulted in a disaster and, had he given up, the horrendous Gallipoli Operation would have been what history would remember him by. Instead, nowadays he is known as one of the most defiant and victorious characters in human history. Other than this, there have been so many wildly successful entrepreneurs who went bankrupt at one point in their career. Henry Ford and Walt Disney belong on this list.

3.    The problem is not a loss of money or credit, it’s a loss of trust. – David Perry

One of the things that a lot of entrepreneurs seem not to understand is the fact that their reputation and their word seem to be their most valuable assets in the business world. If you underpay your staff or fail to deliver on what you’ve promised, the word will get out. Make one faulty promise to a client and your reputation will quickly be ruined for good. You also have your share of responsibilities when it comes to various financial organizations and if you fail to meet them, you’ll find yourself in a world of trouble. This will primarily reflect on your credit score. The next time you need some funds, it will be a lot harder to obtain them.

4.    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. – Henry Ford

Doing market research is a pivotal tip to making it in the business world. In fact, about 42 percent of startups fail because there’s no market need for what they’re selling or intend to sell. The biggest problem with this, however, lies in the fact that someone has to be first. At one point in history, Blockbuster refused to buy Netflix for $50 million, due to the fact that they failed to realize the potential behind this business model within the entertainment industry. We all know how this story ended. When it comes to innovation, you sometimes have to listen to your own instincts.

5.    Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. –Jayce Meyer

Succeeding in the business world takes time, however, time alone changes nothing. Developing the right strategy and then ensuring that it’s adhered to is something completely different. You see, in order to make time have any value, you need to set things in motion and then wait for them to unfold. Keep in mind that, in the business world, time is money. This means that making it, in the long run, is a question of financial endurance, as much as it’s a matter of your mental stamina.

Conclusion

To wrap things up with yet another celebrity quote, Mike Tyson once said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. What this means is that regardless of how organized or motivated you are, at one point, you’ll have to start altering your plans and adapting to the situation at hand. How quickly you and your business can evolve is something that will determine the success rate that you’re bound to face in the business world. This alone is definitely something worth bearing in mind.

 

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