What did you fail at today?”
The question sounds like something you probably do not want to hear from your parents but Sara Blakely, the billionaire founder of SPANX would think differently. Her father asked his children this question every day around the dinner table and once they’ve replied, he would congratulate them with words of encouragement and high-fives. “When I was growing up, he encouraged us to fail. We’d come home from school and at dinner he’d say: ‘What did you fail at today?’ And if there was nothing, he’d be disappointed. It was a really interesting kind of reverse psychology. I would come home and say that I tried out for something and I was just horrible and he high-fived me (BusinessWeek.com).” This positive response made Blakely view failure differently causing the youngest self-made woman to redefine the word. “My attitude to failure is not attached to outcome, but in not trying. It is liberating. Most people attach failure to something not working out or how people perceive you. This way, it is about answering to yourself” (BusinessWeek.com). This key childhood lesson was one of many major influences behind her perseverance towards her highly successful business, SPANX.
To view more about her inspiring story, including her father’s question and response on failure , click HERE and to read more details about her journey, check out her cover story in Forbes magazine HERE.