Running your own business can be one of the hardest things on you mentally. It’s a very masculine dominated world, and there’s often times not enough love.
I often notice I’m being hard on myself, especially when things go wrong.
All of this got me thinking about the important words I received in the past from Sara Blakely.
If you don’t know Sarah, she is the CEO of Spanx. She is the YOUNGEST female self made billionaire in America. She didn’t do that by going to war with her competitors; she did it through love and encouragement.
Along her route she also suffered from severe grief, having lost 11 people that were close to her in a very short period of time.
Listen to how you can be kind to yourself, and be successful in business, on Episode 612.
Lewis Howes: This is 5-Minute Friday!!
Welcome everyone, to a special edition of The School of Greatness Podcast, we are so pumped to have Sara Blakely in the house. Now, for those that don’t know who she is, she is the founder and CEO of the intimate apparel company, Spanx, and in 2012 she was named in Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People In The World List. And, as of 2014, she is listed as the 93rd most powerful woman in the world, by Forbes. She was also named the youngest self-made female billionaire in America.
Sara Blakely: One thing that I feel like has helped me the most is to be kind to myself. So, I realised that when I became a mom, I spent a lot of mental energy beating myself up, feeling so guilty and when I was working I was beating myself up that I wasn’t with the kids, and mentally, and when I was with the kids, I was beating myself up about that. So I think a lot of mothers, we’re our own worst enemy, and when I really stopped and said, “I don’t know how to juggle all this. Some days I feel like I’m doing it right and some days I feel like I just want to cry.” At least I made that change, and it was a huge change for me. I just catch myself when I start doing that to myself and I change it to kindness and forgiveness.
Lewis Howes: As opposed to beating yourself up.
Sara Blakely: Yeah. I’m just, like, “Okay, it’s all right.” I am most proud of the fact that I was able to achieve this in a really kind way, that I can look at myself in the mirror and I am where I am, and I feel really good about it, really good about myself. Didn’t feel like I had to compromise.
You know, when I first started Spanx, I was at a cocktail party and three guys came up to me and said, “Sara, we heard you just started a business, and invented something,” and I said, “Yes,” and they go, “You know, business is war.” And I just looked at them and then one guy patted me on the back, and he said, “Yeah, I hope you’re up for it. I hope you’re ready for war.”
And I went home that night, in my apartment and I sat down on the floor and I literally started crying, and I was thinking, “I don’t want to go to war. Why does it have to be war? I want to go about this in a completely different way.”
And so, the whole journey of Spanx I really took a feminine approach to it. I mean, I didn’t know business, I’d never taken a business class, I didn’t have a business plan, I didn’t go out and raise VC. So, I trusted my gut, I stuck with intuition, I just did things that felt very… I think traditional business has been very male energy and so I wanted to see what would happen if I took a very feminine energy approach.
So, I’ve been dropped to my knees many times in life by grief. I mean, just, it’s unbearably painful. By the time I was thirty-one, I had lost eleven different people close to me from separate tragedies. But I will say that going through that, I always think there’s a hidden blessing in everything that we go through in life, and one of the blessings was that facing my own mortality at a very young age had all these hidden gifts.
I use mortality and sort of the insignificance of all of this in a positive way, just how temporary this all is, to fuel me and to say, why would I ever not do this? What? Because I’m afraid that person… that person’s not going to remember me five minutes after I make a fool of myself anyway. Let’s do this! We’re all here for just a short period of time, so it freed me up in a way that I think most people in the natural course of life maybe start to think about in their forties, when they might lose a parent or a grandparent or something.
Lewis Howes: So, how do you get through a challenging loss like that? What’s your process?
Sara Blakely: Oh my gosh, one day at a time. I mean, it is just one day at a time. The more you experience in life, the more you’ll have to offer others, so experience everything. Anything and everything. Don’t hold yourself back. Smile and be kind and don’t take it all too seriously, remember to laugh along the way.
Lewis Howes: Hey, guys! If you enjoyed this inspirational clip from a past episode of the show, then you’ll love the free book I’m giving away right now. It’s called The Millionaire Morning. It includes some of my best tips for starting off your day with a millionaire mindset. Get your free copy at themillionairemorning.com and just pay shipping.
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