Leverage Failure

I went to the Glamour Magazine Love Your Life Conference  yesterday. The conference was in honor of the 20th anniversary of Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards. Over the years Glamour has celebrated women who have lived, learned and broken the boundaries of what is possible in work and life. While the conference and the awards honor women who have achieved extraordinary things, the goal is to inspire women everywhere to achieve their own success and support each other by learning from our experiences. Love it! Exactly what I am trying to achieve with this blog. Like it or not women often doubt themselves and fear failure. But we can all learn from our failures and help each generation of women have fewer fears.

I attended the panel for work life balance. It included a variety of women who have achieved success in their own way, reinforcing that there is not one set path for women today. All have successful business empires and each has a different equation for balance. Panelists included Bobbi Brown, Arianna Huffington, Padma Lakshmi, Dylan Lauren, Anna Sui. This week I’ll feature one woman each day and what she has learned that would benefit 20-somethings.

Anna Sui: fashion designer, CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner,

Fired from her first job when she launched her own line at a trade show in 1980, she went on to run the business out of her loft for 10 years before getting her big break when she produced a show in 1991. Today her line is in over 300 stores in 30 countries. She talked about how getting fired was not the best way to start a business but it seems failure was in fact her stepping off point to success. She built a career out of what others may have considered failure and given up. A few of her words of wisdom:

Design is a process. It doesn’t have to happen all at once”

“As a fashion designer, you have to prove yourself every season. This creates a constant sense of insecurity about the future but keeps me from becoming complacent.”

I think life is each woman’s design process — so as in design, consider it a process. You don’t have to achieve everything in your 20s. Similarly, Anna leverages her fear of failure by turning it into her inspiration. We don’t want fear to get in the way of our success, but maybe having a little fear is good. Maybe we all can learn from approaching each season as a time to gain new inspiration and take stock of our life design.

Anna also talked about valuing family and life learning as part of her equation for balance, from getting involved in her 9 nieces and nephews lives to looking to her parents for support and inspiration.

“I learn from the way others handled experiences and then reflect on my own experiences.”

Take in others experiences but apply to your own process. Go forth and fail!

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