Wisdom from Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX

Originally posted on 07.29.12.  Worth revisiting.

Sara Blakely is the founder of Spanx.  She started with $5,000 and is now a hero to millions of women.  She has single handedly revolutionized the women’s undergarments industry.  Boy, it was a long time coming!

From all I’ve read, Sara is an amazing young woman and will continue to succeed at whatever she puts her mind to.  She has the core attributes that are necessary for success in any field.  I’ve taken her top ten lessons and adapted them to the job search process.

1) Fail Big – Stretch yourself.  Go out on that limb.  Apply for the job that is just outside your reach.  Convince yourself, and that hiring authority of why you are the perfect fit for this position.  What have you got to lose?  And you just might succeed and win the job!

2) Visualize it – See yourself in the position that you want.  Dress like it.  Act like it.  Talk like it.  Your mind doesn’t know the difference between real and imaginary.  Before you know it, your visualization will be reality.

3) Don’t share your fragile idea with the world too soon.  So maybe not everyone needs to know that your dream job is to be the CEO of Apple.  All things in time.

4) Don’t take no for an answer. Be persistent and talk to anyone and everyone about the position that you want.  You never know when the hiring authority will be standing right behind you in line at Starbucks as you extol the virtues of the position that you are interviewing for.  Name drop.  To everyone.  Remember the six degrees of separation is shrinking fast.

5) Hire people you like and trust (even if they don’t know a great deal about what you need them to do). Well this is a bit of a challenge to adapt, but what I’d say is always surround yourself with people you like and trust.  Especially when you are job hunting.  You need all the support you can get.  Sometimes when people know nothing about your niche, they are free to be the most creative and helpful in their advice.

6) You don’t have to go in order.  Don’t feel like you always have to have all your ducks in a row before you apply for that dream job.  Yes, you should know all about the company and have done your homework, but sometimes opportunity presents itself when least expected.  Don’t past it up just because it’s not coming in the manner you anticipated.

7) You CAN figure it out – you have the ability. Trust yourself.  You will know how to respond when called upon.  You’ve been working toward this moment for a long time.  You have the mental and physical memory to succeed.

8) You can build a billion dollar business starting with $5,000. You can grow a career by starting in the mail room.  What you need is a chance.  Your talent will rise to the surface and others will sit up and take notice if you just get yourself in the door.  Take the chance.

9) Don’t worry about the outer “stuff” until the time is right. The logistics, i.e. hours, salary, benefits, title, etc. of the position will work themselves out if the position is the right one for you and the employer.  Don’t get ahead of yourself in the process.

10) Breaking the mold is a good thing. In this uber competitive job market, make sure that you are doing something, anything that brands you as the unique individual that you are.  There is one thing and one thing only that differentiates you from the rest of the competition for that job.  Only you are you!

Sara’s most important tip, also with adaptation:  “Believe in yourself, trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to fail. I must have heard the word “no” a thousand times.”

And belief in yourself, trust in your instincts and not being afraid to fail will be a key part in your success at finding your dream job!