If the founder of the Spanx, Sara Blakely, chose to give up after failing a few times, she wouldn’t have gone on to become the youngest female self-made billionaire in the United States. Her attempt at becoming a stand-up comedian flopped, she failed the LSAT twice, crushing her goal of becoming a lawyer, and when she auditioned for the character of Goofy in Disney World, she was instead cast as a chipmunk. Luckily for the women’s shapeware industry, Blakey persisted and not only created one of the most successful brands in history, but also revolutionized the professional environment for women.

The Spanx brand is now the leader in women’s shapeware, but the idea was born out of a spur of the moment solution to a problem. Sara Blakely needed an undergarment to wear that created a smooth foundation for her outfit, so she cut the feet off of a pair of stockings. At the time she was working as a fax machine sales person, so she worked on the prototype for Spanx at home at night. Her day job exposed her to learning from rejection. On a daily basis, she heard the word “no” from prospects. “It was great life training,” Blakely said. After completing her prototype, she pitched her idea for Spanx to a number of factories in North Carolina, where she was rejected before she finally got a yes. She claims that yes was out of pity, but the result is that her persistence paid off and her company is now an internationally recognized brand.

How can we learn from Sara Blakely’s story? By getting inspired by her secret to her success! “It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.” she said.

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