My Entrepreneur Obsession: SARA BLAKELY
Every week or so, I obsess over someone doing something. They’re often famous, but not necessarily. Now, I’m not into stalking and although I harbor male-size ambition, I’m not interested in “keeping-up-with-the-Jones” competition. I’m too ego-centric for that. This is about me learning to do whatever I’m doing… better.
This week’s obsession? Sara Blakely
Why I’m obsessed?
I’ve got a thing for strong, female entrepreneurs. In particular, I’m drawn to the ones who appear grounded, who give humble accounts of the struggle & climb and who are actively encouraging us newbies to follow in their footsteps. (And, there’s the fact that her business is about girdles and pantyhose. It leads me to believe that no idea is a bad idea if you believe in it…)
What my obsessed is doing:
Sara Blakely’s success is evident (who doesn’t own a pair of Spanx?) and recently, she was named to Forbes Billionaire list & invited to Time’s Top 100 Influential People Party. But what I find most compelling is her use of the microphone to talk about her early years of boot-strapping and relentless rejection. She’s motivating the kids. Sure, she’s the first one to credit the luck of the Oprah’s magic but as far as I can read, she’s the one who’s been working non-stop since then to turn that opportunity into success.
What am I learning from my obsession:
Keep showing up to work every day. The slow slog forward ultimately turns into a very good story about your success. Embrace failure and rejection. You’ve got to sell, sell, sell. Ignore anyone who says your idea is dumb. Hear their “No, No, No” — then keep on pushing forward. Be nice to other women. And wear your girdle to the meeting.
Here’s to a motivated Monday!
Fueling the Fire:
Here’s her 28-minute speech at the Edge Connection (September, 2011) via YouTube.
And an article in The NewYorker (March, 2011)
And an interview for Entrepreneur (March, 2011)
And an article in Vogue (March, 2012)