Gal Gadot, Jay-Z and Oprah’s failures have led to paths of extreme success
If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.
Gal Gadot might seem like she has it all, but until she landed the standout superhero role in Wonder Woman, she faced repeated bouts of rejection and even contemplated pulling the plug on her acting career.
In an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Gadot revealed the rollercoaster ride she’s endured in the industry thus far. “This profession, the rejection—dude, it’s a tough business. I had so many almosts, and another camera test and another role and I was telling my husband I’m not sure how long I can take it, dragging my family to Los Angeles and doing this. On the same trip, we were in Los Angeles, and I got a call from Zack Snyder who wanted to audition me for this secret role and I was like sure, I’ll do that,” Gadot shared. She would later find out that the character she was reading for was that of DC Comics heroine Wonder Woman.
Gadot then went on to discuss how she traveled back to Israel to shoot an Israeli movie and wasn’t convinced she wanted to continue acting afterward. After a 15-hour flight from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles, she recalls turning on her cell phone and discovering she had landed the role of a lifetime.
Plenty of other celebrities have experienced their fair share of failures. In his early days as a rapper, Jay-Z had trouble selling his first record and had to resort to selling it out of the trunk of his car—the platinum artist is now worth $550 million dollars. Fashion designer Vera Wang’s billion dollar business didn’t take off until she was 40, after she had been passed over for a promotion at Vogue magazine. And Oprah Winfrey lost her job as a television anchor in Baltimore, Maryland for being too emotionally invested in the stories she was reporting. We all know how things turned out for her—she sits atop a $3 billion dollar empire.
Like many successful people, it took Gadot, a 32 year-old, 5’10” stunner to withstand bouts of failure in her decade-long line of work before she bagged the kind of breakthrough that will propel her career for years to come.
Six hours south of Stockholm, Sweden, the Museum of Failure showcases 70 of the world’s most innovative devices-gone-wrong, from the Apple Newton and the Nokia N-Gage to the Kodak DC-40 and Google Glass. The goal of the museum’s director, Samuel West, is to expose failure as part of the path to success.
NYC and Fairfield County, CT-based Psychopharmacologist Dr. Wendy Wolfson, D.O., says, “I don’t look at career failures and see them as mistakes. I look at them as opportunities to gather data so a more favorable outcome can be secured the next time.”
For Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint, a flavored water company and former vice president of shopping and e-commerce partnerships at AOL, where she helped lead growth of its startup shopping business to a $1 billion enterprise, the things she has viewed as failures have turned out to be quite the opposite. “Don’t ever let failures register. A few years ago we were asked to be in Starbucks with our brand Hint. We surpassed their sales expectations but Howard Schultz, a fan, decided to put a high margin product in the case—sandwiches selling for $11 instead of $2. Did it hurt when they removed us? It hurt by millions of dollars, but at the same time, it exposed us to consumers across the country for two years and our sales went up the next year!,” Goldin tells Moneyish.
Performance coach and speaker Graham Young of Graham Young Strategies tells Moneyish, “When failure presents itself, first and foremost remind yourself that this is part of the process. Secondly, find a way to remove yourself from the situation and that stress. Most ideas and creative moments come when we are in a calm, relaxed state, such as having a shower or out for a run; not when we are at our desk buried in work. By allowing your mind to calm, you are creating the mental space and clarity to actually see a new perspective.”
“When someone comes to me after experiencing a failure, I encourage them to try and understand why they see the event this way. What decisions and beliefs led them down this path versus another and what their expectations were—and then if it’s appropriate, we examine the evidence that supports this,” says Wolfson.
Goldin’s positive outlook on a seemingly scary scenario has paved the way for her company’s success. “At the time, being removed from Starbucks felt like a failure—but it was our path to expose more consumers to our product. It just took us a while to see it that way,” says Goldin.
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