Three Things I Learned From Spending The Day With Sara Blakely At Spanx

In Evolved Enterprise, Mindset by Shelby B Larson1 Comment

Thanks to Yanik Silver, Sophia Umanski and the Maverick 1000 organization, in February I had the pleasure of spending the day at Spanx Headquarters in Atlanta  mentoring ten female entrepreneurs from the Sara Blakely Foundation and CCI. I think that I could write an entire mini book on the amazing time that I had there (as well the girl crush I now have on Sara Blakely). However, Instead I decided to share three of my top take-aways from that day.

This first take-away is especially for you ladies out there:

There is Great Strength in Being Feminine

It can be difficult to figure out your path as a female entrepreneur and to get comfortable in your own skin. Especially if your business happens to be in a male-dominated industry like mine is. Over the last 10 years, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to be my playful, flirty, fun (and admittedly “awkward” is part of my charm) self while also being taken seriously as a digital marketing expert.

When I was first starting out, it was not uncommon for me to attend a digital marketing conference and find myself the only woman in the room. While the digital marketing world has come a long way, it is still not uncommon for me to be the only female speaker at any given event. Now, don’t get me wrong! I’m not complaining! I find that this brings with it as many benefits as it does negatives. However, it can make it very difficult to figure out how to play in what can easily be considered a “man’s world”.

     

Spending the day with Sara Blakely spoke volumes to me on this topic. Here she is, one of the few billionaire women in the world and she was playful and fun and quirky. She didn’t hesitate to do a goofy dance for the camera or to throw her head back and laugh at a good joke. And let me tell you – No one underestimated her brilliance. I am in complete admiration of how she has learned to walk in her feminine power and yet be taken as serious as any man that I’ve met in business.

Mindset: A Tactical Perspective

We’ve all heard most successful people talk about how the difference between success and failure often lies in your mindset. Sara Blakely was no exception. However, the thing I loved about her is that she didn’t talk about it in a woo woo sense. She took it very seriously. From a very young age she had business motivation cassette tapes. (For you Millennials reading this, those are what we had before the CD was invented!)

She commented on how her friends would make fun of her because whenever they rode in her car she had those cassette tapes playing. She listened to them on her headphones, driving, and as often as she could. In fact, she said she still has those tapes! I loved that, like most successful people that I know, she didn’t just say that mindset matters. She didn’t just believe that mindset matters. She acted on it. She immersed her mind in the principles that spurred her onto the greatest work of her life. (As a side note, her friends now say, “Dang..maybe we should have listened to those tapes!)

 

Evolved Enterprise

I can imagine that once you are a billionaire, that perhaps acquiring money doesn’t have the same level of satisfaction, fulfillment and thrill that it once did. The reason that Sara had us to her Spanx headquarters for the day is because she had merged some work that she does with female entrepreneurs through the Sara Blakely Foundation with that of CCI, who works with Social Entrepreneurs. We had reasons to connect with her previously, but it wasn’t until she read Evolved Enterprise by Yanik Silver and realized the great advantages the women that she worked with could have by being exposed to the entrepreneurs that are part of the Maverick 1000 organization that she decided to spend the day with us.

Moral of the story? Regardless of whether you’re a billionaire or not, the pursuit of financial gain will only bring you so much satisfaction. People commonly think that they are unhappy because they don’t have as much money or success as they would like. But then when they achieve the level of success and revenue that they have dreamed of, they find they’re still not happy. This got me thinking – Why would anyone wait until they hit their revenue goals before working towards a deeper meaning in their lives through their businesses?

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you can just follow your heart in whatever way you want and you’ll reach your revenue goals. But I am saying that you can really look within yourself and from early on in your entrepreneur journey you can attach your business goals to deeper, perhaps even altruistic goals as well.

I recently had the privilege of interviewing my dear friend and mentor, Yanik Silver on my Business Intentional Podcast where we discussed these topics and more. You can check it out here when it’s live on March 22, 2017.

Listen To My Interview With Yanik Silver HERE!