Sara Blakely on The Secret to Success is Failure

No one including Sara enjoys the feelings of failure. It runs deep and can significantly reduce your confidence. But Sara learned some important ideas about failure from her dad. Sara says that her dad encouraged her to share her “failures” as well and her accomplishments as they sat around the dinner table. Then after going over both dad would celebrate the efforts whether they paid off or not. Sara learned to redefine her definition  of failure from this tradition. Failure was reframed into not trying instead of being outcome driven. She said “My dad would encourage me any time something didn’t go the way I expected it to, or maybe I got embarrassed by a situation, to write down where the hidden gifts were and what I got out of it,” she said. “I started realizing that in everything there was some amazing nugget that I wouldn’t have wanted to pass up.” So there are Useful and powerful lessons that can be learned from failure. This is a very different way of looking at failure.

A pivotal moment in Sara’s life came and changed how she viewed failure. The story Sara tells is when she ran home from school excited to share the news with her father that she had bombed an audition for the school musical. Her father applauded her for the willingness to try something outside her comfort zone. By celebrating this kind of experience she redefined her idea of failure. What would this be like for you? If you believed that the only failure was not to try? What could you then accomplish? Would this be a pivotal change in your life?

Spanx created a program called “Leg-UP” that features other female entrepreneurs’ products for free in their catalog. And that is just the start of it. They have built homes, sent women to college, and donated to Oprah’s Leadership academy for girls in South Africa. Sarah is committed to improving the world and making a difference.

Just continue to move forward one step at a time, right. If we look at Sara that is what she did. It was not easy. She started Spanx with an idea, while she was working fax machines door to door for seven years. She didn’t know anyone in the business, didn’t have any contacts. No money, no business degree. Just the attitude that it didn’t matter what happened to her. Whether she got the desired outcome or not that she would keep trying.

Failure can be like grief; it can come with features like anger and denial. Recognize that this is part of the process. But the key is not to live here, accept it and move on. So it is about pure drive, and not stopping no matter what. Just putting the foot out there for the next step even if you don’t think you can. It can be hard, You will want to quit. You might even shed some tears. That is fine. Just as long as you keep going. There is a reason you are here and you have a special ability that no one else does. The world needs you. Keep going, keep sharing your story with the world. You have to outlast the failure.

Failure is a part of life. It will continue to happen. It cannot be avoided. There are some things that you can avoid.

Do not judge it or label it good or bad. It just is what happened.

Accept and learn what it was there to teach you.

Continue on, Keep going you never know after what step they will call halt and find out you are done. But if you give up you will never know where that point is.

As we fail our knowledge increases and we grow into a smarter better person.

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