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Career Advice From the Youngest Woman Billionaire

Sara Blakely, who was born in 1971 in Clearwater, Florida is known for being the creator and entrepreneur behind Spanx, a brand that makes body-slimming undergarments for women.

The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía Pizano

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In 2012, Sara Blakely was included in the annual list named Time 100 from the Times Magazine that mentions the 100 individuals who are shaping the future of their fields.

Blakely is also recognized for being the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire. It is worth mentioning that Sara graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor's degree in communications. She then had several jobs at Disney World and became a national sales trainer at the Danka. But it all started when she wanted an undergarment that she could wear under her clothes to make her appear slimmer and that could be worn with open-toed shoes. Since she couldn’t find it, she made it by cutting the feet off a pair of pantyhose. She then realized that her invention would be very useful for other women too! This is how the company Spanx was born.

In its first year, the Company made $4 million in sales and $10 million in its second year. In the year 2012, Forbes named Blakely as the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. But what advice can Blakely give us when speaking of success? When interviewed the young billionaire doesn’t speak at all about success. Instead, she mentions that her best advice came from the behavior of her father. She talks about, how her father would sit with her in the dining room and ask her the same question: "What did you fail at this week?"

Also read: 5 LESSONS EVERY EARLY ENTREPRENEUR NEEDS TO KNOW

Sara’s father was not interested in knowing what her daughter and succeeded at during the week or how well she had done at her tests. He just wanted to know what she had failed at. Surprisingly, his reaction was not what anyone would expect. He always high-fived her. Later in life, Blakely realized that her father’s reaction carried a powerful message. She was not only loved after failing but celebrated for it. Her dad told her that failure is the road to the next great thing

In a recent interview, the young billionaire mentioned that when she was a child she didn’t realize how much her father’s advice would determine her future and would shape her definition of failure. Blakely also remarks that as an entrepreneur she realized that many people don’t pursue their dreams due to the fear of failure. Blakely is not ashamed of telling people how she failed the LSAT twice before founding Spanx, and this episode of her life was important in shaping her path. We fear taking risks because we studied in a system that only rewards success and that leads people to become perfectionists. Sara also emphasizes the importance of taking risks when it comes to being an entrepreneur. 

However, it is worth mentioning that Blakely says it is not just failing that leads you to success, but having the courage to try in the first place. Her career advice can also make us question if we are teaching our children how important it is to fail and to try again, and to start over as many times as it is necessary. Sometimes it is necessary to make mistakes and to take risks to achieve success. So what are you waiting for to start that company you always dreamed of?

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