Posts Tagged With: journey to success

#17. Dealing with failure

One of the inevitable hurdles that we all have to overcome on the road to success is failure. Failure is something rarely talked about and yet it is a part of the journey to success. A friend once said ‘everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die’. I’ve been musing over this one for a while now and I thought I would put a different spin on it: everyone wants to be a success, but no one wants to fail in the process. We all want that straight perfect trajectory, yet the reality is a bunch of ups and downs, a jagged edged zigzag of a journey. Alot of what differentiates  success stories is not the lack of failure, but success in spite of failure. To put it another way

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall – Nelson Mandela

So how do we deal with failure?

1. Acknowledge your role in the failure – no blame game

The easiest thing to do when we fail is to blame others. And while someone else probably had some role to play in the process, ultimately our way of overcoming is to acknowledge our own personal role in it. You could blame the system, racism, sexism and any other -ism on the planet but in reality, you dis-empower yourself by doing that. If you keep holding on to the fact that the ‘system’ did it or your boss did it, or your parents or whomever, then you’ll never learn the invaluable lesson that that failure was there to teach you. A lot of the times we are just too proud to admit that we messed up. But remember pride comes before a fall. This is the yuckiest part but once you’re do so it gets better.

2. The 5 minute maximum pity party – 5MMPP Continue reading

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#16. Inspiring success stories – Sara Blakely of Spanx

The name is Sara Blakely, her company, Spanx. For those who don’t know her, Sara Blakely brought to women footless pantihose and many other amazing hosiery inventions. Her turning point: endorsement from Oprah which sent her company off the charts. What I didn’t know was her success story.

Deep down inside of all of us there is an entrepreneur, our challenge is often to figure out what product or service we are to sell. I do have a great deal of admiration for people who are able to get me to buy things that I don’t want by convincing me that I actually NEED them and even more than that, those who are able to make me a repeated buyer. Sara’s story is touching because she started out like ‘us’.

A few days ago I stumbled upon a website – and began to watch and read various inspirational stories of entrepreneurs. Sara’s story caught my attention because I had actually watched the moment on the Oprah show back in 2002 when the got the golden endorsement – way to know you are a vintage fan.

One of the many spanx products

Sara was 27 working for a company selling fax machines door-to-door, and then one day she had her ‘a-ha’ moment. She was going to a party and needed footless pantyhose to go with her outfit, so she cut the ‘feet’ off her pantyhose and bam: problem solved. Somewhere in there, she’d been praying to ‘the universe’ to give her an idea that will help her make millions and touch people’s lives. She’d abandoned the idea, but when she was watching the Oprah show and heard our dear O say that she too cut off the feet of her pantyhose, the spark was rekindled, almost as a confirmation that she should go ahead with her idea. At 29, Sara built her business from her 2 bedroom apartment by investing her entire savings of $5,000 into the company. She convinced Nordstrom to put her products in 7 of their stores. Knowing nothing about the hoisery industry, she embarked on a journey that eventually revolutionized the male-dominated industry. She currently owns 100% of the company, has never advertised and has never accepted outside investment.

Net worth: drum rollll…..ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

Sara Blakely - courtesy

Here are her current stats from

  • Age: 41
  • Source of Wealth: Spanx, self-made
  • Residence: Atlanta, GA
  • Country of Citizenship: United States
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts / Science, Florida State University
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Children: 1
She is the youngest to get on the Forbes list.  Once I began to watch her speak on how to did it on, I couldn’t stop. There are about 4 videos and I watched them all.
Is there a hidden entrepreneur in you that has been dying to come out? You could be the next Sara Blakely? What’s holding you back? Time to jump in and get that dream fulfilled!
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#15. The joys of PhD

After hitting the “publish” button for my last post on the long and winding road to PhD, I went back to re-read it…and then got depressed. And as if exactly on cue, a friend on Facebook echoed what was going on in my mind – “kind of depressing”…uh oh. Did I just turn my soap box into a source of depressing information…argh – so. not. my. intention. If there is one thing that is so annoying, its parents who whine and complain about how much they hate parenting and then bookend their rant and rave with “but I really adore my kids, I wouldn’t trade them in for anything”….I am usually thinking, by the sounds of it, you would. I feel like I have become one of those whiny parents vis a vis PhD. holding. face. in. shame.

While I can’t redeem myself from that post, I can balance out some of our experiences. Here’s my top 10 list of the joys of PhD…YES believe me the list is endless, but why share all the love today? I’ll save some for later…

#10. I spend most of my day in my pyjamas

Dr. D will probably not approve of this ‘joy’, he is of the old school of thought that requires that you shower the minute you get out of bed. And while I probably try to take said shower before noon, I often resort right back to comfy clothes – read, pyjamas. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that pyjamas = laziness, I’ll have you know that some of the most creative thought processes emerge from a pyjama-state-of-wardrobe. Unless I have to go out into the real world and interact with other human beings, comfort rules… Continue reading

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#14. When should I start my PhD?

It’s all about timing.

And the thing about timing is that it varies for everyone. In fact if you found someone who told you that you should do your PhD by age X or Y, run…fast. One of the key things I’m learning to do is to pace myself with myself and not with others. It is so hard to see your peers moving on to the next thing, whether it is professionally into that new job or that new position, or on to their masters, or PhD or on to having kids, first one or second, or nth…and not see the same manifest for yourself. It must be human instinct, because it causes  us to look at them and then look at ourselves and think I’m falling behind, I haven’t even gotten married and my peers are on to third and fourth child…when will I catch up. Or my peers have bought a second house and I haven’t even finished up my first degree.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven (NKJV).

I know that we often ‘get’ that, but we act like the season is global – its for everybody. So if it is marriage season then everybody must be getting married and if you’re not, then you’re off season. The truth is that there is a season for each and every one of us, and rather than trying to be in synch with other peoples’ seasons, we need to get in synch with our season.

So how do you know when you should start your PhD? What is the best time? Continue reading

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#8. Life is a gift

I had no part in my birth. I didn’t supervise, I didn’t direct, I didn’t call “Action!”

In fact, my earliest memory was when I was about 3 years old. I have flashbacks of moving house, or are they stories that I have heard my parents retell over the years that have now become memories, even though I wasn’t really conscious in the moment? I am not sure. All I know is that my earliest memory dates back to when I was around 3 or 4 years old. Before that, I was unaware. Most of us are like that though about life. We go about it unaware. Unconscious of the fact that each day is a gift. Each moment is a gift. It often takes a jarring moment, a near-death-experience, the loss of a loved one to come to grips with the fact that life is a gift, not to be taken for granted, not to be assumed.

We often forget that life is a gift. Continue reading

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