How failing — like Jay Z, Vera Wang and Oprah have — can pave the way for major career moments
Gwyneth Paltrow lets failure act in her favor.
The Oscar-winning actress and founder of lifestyle site Goop, which is now worth $250 million, tells Marie Claire UK that she wouldn’t be where she is now without hardship and failure.
“When you achieve the kind of fame that I did by the time I was 25 or 26, the world starts removing all your obstacles because you’re now a ‘special person’,’ she says. ‘You don’t have to wait in line at a restaurant, and if a car doesn’t show up, someone else gives you theirs,’ she says. ‘There is nothing worse for the growth of a human being than not having obstacles and disappointments, and things go wrong. All of my greatest achievements have come out of failure.’
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.
Often, making failure work for you is all in how you look at the failure: “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,” says NYC and Fairfield County, Conn.-based psychopharmacologist Dr. Wendy Wolfson.
Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of the Hint flavored water company, is also the 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. She says that the things she once 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.”
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