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You may know her as a multimillionaire investor in ABC's Shark Tank, but New York real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran didn't become one of the highest-paid female investors in the world overnight. Like many other entrepreneurs, she climbed to the top from nowhere.
Barbara Corcoran grew up poor. However, despite her external circumstances, she retained a strong imagination and showed keen business acumen from a young age (she was known to open “rock stores” in her backyard).
At 23, Corcoran made ends meet with a waitress when she met future husband Ramone Simone. And although he gave her a $ 1,000 loan to start a joint real estate business, Simone left her to marry his secretary, claiming that Corcoran would "never succeed without him."
Related: $ 13 Million Companies That Turned Down Shark Tank Deals
While painful, the experience lit a fire beneath her. Corcoran spent the next 23 years building her empire: New York real estate agent for the Corcoran Group. This group grew to become the largest residential real estate company in New York before Corcoran sold it to NRT for $ 66 million in 2001.
Barbara Corcoran's life is a true story from rags to riches. And now, at the age of 71, Corcoran's legacy (and not to mention a net worth of $ 80 million) is proof that no obstacle is too great to overcome.
Your past doesn't define you
Barbara Corcoran grew up in Edgewater, New Jersey and shared a two-bedroom apartment with her mother and nine siblings. While it would be easy to lower your goals in such circumstances, Corcoran has repeatedly expressed her belief that growing up in arms is a "key ingredient to success." "Poor children," she claims, "have nothing to lose and can only go up."
Despite all odds (or perhaps because of them), Corcoran refused to let disadvantage hinder their success. Even when her husband left her for a colleague, she refused to let disappointment get in the way of her goals.
See also: (Podcast) Barbara Corcoran shows how not to be afraid of risks
If we look at their life experiences, we can see that challenges and disappointments are not inherently bad: they can serve as powerful motivators for success. Ultimately, Barbara Corcoran shows that regardless of your circumstances, you have the option to make changes.
Grades are important – but also motivation
Corcoran says she was a heterosexual D student in high school and college. She even dropped out several courses in her freshman year before moving on to a second high school.
She also struggled with dyslexia, so she didn't learn to read as early in life as her peers. It wasn't until her son Tom was diagnosed with dyslexia in second grade that Corcoran realized she'd been dealing with it all her life, too.
Corcoran made great personal strides without even realizing the size of the odds stacked against them. Your success alone is evidence that you don't have to "look good" on paper – get along, be at the top of your class, or even progress at the same pace as your colleagues – to be in (or in) business ventures. to be successful in life).
You deserve to be heard
The New York real estate industry, like many other areas, is dominated by men. Corcoran recalls that while women made a large portion of sales in their early days in business, they still worked for companies that were wholly owned or managed by men.
Although progress has been made, gender barriers still exist in the world of work. Corcoran says the key is not trying to "become one of the boys" but "using your feminine qualities to your advantage". In saying this, she is referring to her belief that women tend to excel in their abilities: “We're better bridge builders, we work better together, we're not into ceremony or ego, we're willing to share credits and we & # 39; They are more intuitive and trust our guts more. We can just do business better than men. "
You've heard it from her: stand up for yourself in business, use your unique qualities and perspectives, and don't step back in the face of uncertainty or injustice.
Related: "Shark Tank" Barbara Corcoran Says She Built Her Business "Almost Like A Man"
Do you need motivation? If Barbara Corcoran had stepped down on her first offer for her real estate company, she would have sold it for only $ 22 million – a third of its later value.
Every mistake is fuel for the fire
You probably wouldn't expect Corcoran, with her tremendous success and formidable fortune, to refer to herself as the queen of failure. Many who know her story would say she's just the opposite: she worked 22 jobs by the age of 23 before starting her real estate empire with just $ 1,000. But it is the truth. Corcoran even said, "Failure is what I do best."
In fact, she almost didn't accept this $ 1,000 loan from Simone because she was afraid of losing her job as a waitress. And when her husband left her and married his secretary, Corcoran said he was considering giving up. Fortunately, she refused to reconsider her instincts: she took the loan, built her business, and when Simone left her, she took half of her business with her.
More recently, in 2008, Corcoran tried ABC's "Shark Tank". However, days before she was due to fly to LA for the job, the show announced to Corcoran that they had gone with someone else.
She wasn't one to back off in the face of rejection, but instead emailed the producer directly with details of other times in her life when she had been fired or rejected. She ended the message with, "I think your refusal is a lucky charm," letting her know that she had booked a flight to LA and had another chance.
She got the job.
You won't know what you are made of until you face a fight
It's how you behave in the face of trouble – not when everything is going your way – that matters. Corcoran might never have gotten to where she is today without the difficulties she faced. Ultimately, you will endure it, even if at that point it may not feel like it, because you are capable and strong – even if you don't see it.
"Endure" is exactly what Corcoran did when they took over their rightful half of their first real estate business. Instead of mourning the loss of her ex-husband, she sought vengeance at its best: great success. It was her lingering spirit that prompted her to start the real estate company that grossed her the $ 66 million she spent on developing a shark – the platform to which she attributes much of her current success.
The greatest lesson from Barbara Corcoran's rich life experiences is this: No matter how bleak things look or how many times you think you've failed, you have to keep getting up. No matter how hard it is, the only way to succeed is to face the repeated failures that life inevitably throws your way.