Dare180 | Barbara Corcoran


Recently I’ve been giving my library card quite the workout. I’ve been checking out books across many subjects but lately I’ve been reading a lot more on business, negotiating, and marketing. I really feel I could use some help when it comes to self promotion and there is one person that I’ve known of for a long time that gets it right. Her name is Barbara Corcoran and I’m sure you’ve heard of her. She made it big in residential real estate in New York and along the way transformed herself into not just a name but a brand. I found her story incredibly inspiring when I first learned about her after I came across her profile in my Entrepreneur Magazine six years ago. Something about her drew me in: a woman, making her own money, her own way, and doing well not pressed about the rest. I knew I could learn some things from her and I picked a copy up and have kept it in my personal library ever since. I’m sad to say that didn’t know about her part memoir/part business guide Use What You’ve Got  until I reread the magazine a few weeks ago. I mean they list it right there in the article, but it went very much over my head the first time around. I quickly searched to see if my library had a copy, I was amazed to see that they did, and checked the book out two weeks ago finishing it in just two days.

It’s a great read that plays out more like a novel than a how to get ahead in business guide and I love that aspect of it. She introduces you to her business philosophy by sharing stories of how she learned her acumen from her mother who ran a thirteen person household and through her own mistakes and failures as she came up through the world of New York Real estate.

Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it’s there.
— Barbara Corcoran

What I love most about her story is that she is unapologetic about the tough decisions she’s made over the years as she shaped her career plus her optimism is never ending. She acknowledges when luck played a role and but doesn’t discredit herself when she found a way to create a golden opportunity. She shares her failures because it is through those that the hardest and most valuable lessons were learned. You really get a sense of the despair and fear and shame she felt as she was going through the darker days. To me she paints a very realistic picture of what happens when you chase a dream with all your heart. Falling down is a part of it and sometimes - many times - plans don’t work out the way you hoped they would. Sometimes for the better but also sometimes for the worse. Reading about her mistakes and failures made me feel better about my own. 

Preparation is the birthplace of confidence. All good performances are a result of great preparation.
— Barbara Corcoran

Though her background is in real estate the lessons she shares here are applicable to anyone facing a challenge whether in business or in their personal lives. The ethos of the book is to make the most of what you’ve got in any given situation and to stay ready for the opportunities that are waiting for you. Her personal accounts really drive the point home  that the lessons are universal and after I turned the last page I felt reassured in my own ideas and goal to become self-sufficient making my own money on my own terms. There was no path set for Barbara Corcoran when she set out to become the best real estate agent in New York and there is no path set for me to become all of the many things I’d like to be. A friend once told me that the going is hardest for people who reject the status quo since they have to create their own path; they become the trailblazers and light the way for the rest of us. I like to think Barbara Corcoran is one of these people and that I am one too. I may never earn the kind of money she has or ever have the kind of reach and influence that she does, but what I do know and what she knows is that it isn’t about the money, or status, or popularity; it’s about the heart. Did you do your best? Were you kind to others? Were you fair? Did you apologize when you were wrong? Did you try again? Did you have fun? If you put heart into it and if you keep learning and keep growing you will go very far. I believe that so very truly.

The version of the book I read has been republished under a different title: If You Don't Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails And Other Lessons I Learned from My Mom. There is another she has written that I’ve not read titled Shark Tales How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business. I don’t know how different the second is from the first as I haven’t read it yet but it’s definitely going on my list. You should probably put them on yours too.

A Note

I'm not on that level yet where I have affiliate links so any links to product pages don't benefit me in any way. I just want you to know where to find the stuff I talk about if your local library isn't as fantastic as mine.