Sara Blakely and seeing hidden gifts in failure

In 2012, Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, became the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. Here she describes how emphasis was placed on effort rather than success or failure throughout her childhood.

“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. I started realising that in everything there was some amazing nugget that I wouldn’t have wanted to pass up. […] So many people don’t take risks for fear of failure.

“One of the parenting things I think is so important is not praising the child, but praising the effort. And if he does things he’s not good at, I talk to him about what he gets out of it.”

Sara’s dad’s teaching taught her to see failure not as trying and something not working out, but as not trying at all. I love the idea of there being hidden gifts in every experience. One of our favourite Sara Blakely quotes is this:

“Failures are life’s way of nudging you and letting you know you are off course. Trying new things and not being afraid to fail along the way are more important than what you learn in school.”

How does your household frame failure? What would be the effect of seeing the hidden gifts it holds?

If you’re interested in learning more about Sara Blakely’s fascinating journey, check out The Spanx Story: What’s Underneath the Incredible Success of Sara Blakely’s Billion Dollar Empire.

For kids, there’s even this book about Sara Blakely’s success, including her practice of redefining failure.

[testimonials_carousel number=”5″ author_image=”yes” show_navigation=”no” auto_rotate_slides=”7″]