If you’ve seen super-successful entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran on ABC’s “The Shark Tank” or as the real estate guru on NBC’s “Today,” it’s obvious she doesn’t swim with the minnows. In a video interview in Fast Company, she lets us all off the hook, admitting that for her, there is no work-life balance. So take a deep breath, because if someone this accomplished can’t achieve it, we should take it easier on ourselves.
I admire this powerhouse, and was fascinated to learn more about her. (Barbara: Do you mentor?)
“I gave up years ago on the concept that you could actually have balance in your life, I think it’s a phantom chase,” she says.
Earlier this year, the business icon told Newsweek’s Daily Beast that her favorite mistake was thinking she was stupid. In that revealing post, she shared this:
“My insecurity also made me a meticulous preparer. I worked twice as hard as everyone else because I was constantly trying to prove that I wasn’t stupid. Even to this day, I can succeed at something, but I’ll be in another new situation and panicked that I’ll have a public failure. But, boy, does that make me work hard to make sure I don’t.”
No honor roll
Estimated to be in her early 60s, the forceful author, speaker, investor and builder of small businesses admits she wasn’t always this way—so successful, I mean. Go to her website and you’ll find this admission:
“Barbara Corcoran’s credentials include straight D’s in high school and college and twenty jobs by the time she turned twenty-three. It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country when she took a $1000 loan to start The Corcoran Group. She parlayed that loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business which she sold in 2001 for $66 million.”
An “A” for Success
She’s organized, she says, making lists to prioritize. Each task receives a grade so she knows what gets done first: the As. That’s a great idea, until your “to-do” list comes undone at the first sign of an emergency task—that’s called “reacting,” and Corcoran says she does have to rearrange the list each day.
Also in the Fast Company video, Corcoran says she’s created a pattern that involves morning TV work and afternoon devotion to all things entrepreneurial. Her greatest power tool is her assistant. “She makes me look like I’m in slow motion,” she says.
The business mogul leaves her office and shuts the phone off at 6:30 p.m., goes to sleep at 11 p.m. and wakes up again at 6 a.m. to work out and start the day all over again. Motivated? No question. Stupid? No way. According to the company that represents her as a speaker, her secret for success is this: “Never settle for less.”
And neither should we.