Sara was born in Clearwater, Florida Feb 27 1971
Self-made billionaire Sara Blakely was born in in the Gulf Coast town of Clearwater Florida on February 21st, 1971. Sara’s father was a practicing attorney and her mother was an artist. As a teen growing up Sara would often go with her father to court and listen as he would deliver closing arguments. This naturally led Sara to joining the debate team both in high school and college, and likely influenced her to study legal communications later in life at Florida State University.
There were indications early in Sara Blakely’s life that she may enter the world of entrepreneurship as an adult. At the age of 7 Sara began sewing charms onto white frilly girl’s socks and selling the socks to her friends at school. She even enticed her mother to help out by driving her to the store to re-stock on charms and socks when supply ran low.
Later as a teen, Sara Blakely would earn extra cash by providing childcare on the beaches of Clearwater so that parents could sunbathe without the worry of keeping a constant eye on the little ones. This might also have been the first time Sara Blakely faced rejection in the business world, when her attempts to expand her service to nearby hotels were met with a swift no from management.
How Sara Blakely Learned to Fail Without Failing
While Sara Blakely may have faced rejection in expanding her beach side childcare service, there was something else going on that helped her place that rejection in its proper place.
Early in his own career Sara’s father learned that failure is part of success. That in order to be successful at anything in life, you were going to experience some failures along the way. Sara’s father went to great lengths to instill this simple success principle in the lives and minds of his children.
Once or twice a week at the dinner table the elder Blakely would ask his children what they failed at that week. He would stress that if they had not failed at something it meant that had not tried or attempted something new. This instilled a deep belief in Sara’s mind that failure is not the outcome; the real failure was in not trying.
Being able to see failure as just another stepping stone to success would play a big part in Sara Blakely’s struggles later in life as she began to build her company, SPANX.
How Sara Blakely Developed a Success Mindset at an Early Age
In studying Sara Blakely’s early childhood it is apparent that her father greatly influenced the way she thought about success and failure, both in business and in life.
One way he did this was by giving Sara a set of motivational tapes when she was about 16 years old. But it was the circumstances in Sara Blakely’s life at the time that attached significant meaning to this particular set of motivational tapes for both her father and her.
Over a relatively short period of time a series of events occurred in young Sara Blakely’s life that would set most young people back in a dramatic way. Sara had witnessed the death of one of her best friends when the friend was hit and killed by a car. During the same year she was hit with the reality that her parents were divorcing. As if that was not enough, two additional high school friends died within the same time period.
Recognizing that his daughter was going through very tough times, the elder Mr. Blakely gave his daughter a set of tapes by Dr. Wayne Dyer titled How to Be a No-Limit Person.
Faced with the reality that life was a very fragile thing, Sara Blakely turned the thought of her own mortality into a motivating force. Sara once told a reporter, "I think that when you witness death at age 16, there's a sense of urgency about life."
Sara listened to the Dr. Wayne Dyer tapes so much that she ended up memorizing all 10 tapes. Sara would even force her high school friends to listen to the tapes if they were to ride in her car. It became somewhat of a joke among her peers that if they rode in Sara’s car they were going to have to listen to Dr. Dyer.
Today, Sara Blakely gives almost all of the credit for her success in life to the success principles she learned as a teenager from that one set of motivational tapes by Dr. Wayne Dyer.
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