4 Important Lessons About Failure From ‘Shark Tank’s’ Barbara Corcoran

Corcoran’s numerous successes over the past several decades are linked to several key insights and philosophies. She recently compiled an online class entitled, “The Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship: Pitching Your Business and Yourself.” The goal of the course is to force people off the fence: to push them either to go into entrepreneurship or to keep their day jobs.

Here are the core philosophies highlighted in the course that all successful entrepreneurs should have:

Embrace Fear


Corcoran firmly believes that success and failure are irrevocably linked; all successful entrepreneurs know how to fail well and deal with rejection.

Every failure has an equally great upside, if you’re willing to stay in the game. The first time Corcoran gave a presentation to a large audience, she lost her voice. While many people would have avoided public speaking at all costs after this, Corcoran volunteered to teach a real estate night course at New York University. She decided that she had two choices in this situation: stay in hiding and be embarrassed and ashamed, or learn how to do it right.

“The first time I was a guest on a TV show, I had to meditate and prepare for over an hour before I was able to go on set. Even though I felt embarrassed for causing a delay, I was more determined to abide by my conviction to share my knowledge with the world. A few years later, after plenty of practice and self-acceptance, I was able to do over 40 TV and radio show appearances in just two months, with very little anxiety.

If I had succumbed to fear, I would have never been able to calmly give a TEDx talk with only a few weeks notice. Embracing and learning from fear has paved the path for me to accept opportunities and continuously pursue my dreams.”

Develop Immense Optimism


In business, optimism is more important than intelligence. Sometimes, being too rational can lead to countless missed opportunities. In my experience, meditation helps start every day with a clear and concise mind.

You have to become hopeful beyond all logic if you are going to be a successful entrepreneur. Based on Corcoran’s philosophy, you will need to see everything as half full, even when everyone else sees nothing in your glass.

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Dr. Roshawnna Novellus is the co-founder of Bootstrap Capital, Host of Startup Funding, and serves on the Commission on Women for Atlanta.

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.