Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank built her real estate empire from the ground up. Often sharing words of wisdom with aspiring entrepreneurs, Corcoran never hides the fact that she wasn’t a good student. Reflecting on her academic years, the Shark Tank star noted what could have been a great help to her as she struggled in school.
Barbara Corcoran shared her school experience with Ellen DeGeneres
In a recent appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Corcoran talked about being diagnosed with dyslexia later in life. During her childhood, Corcoran didn’t understand why she had such difficulty with reading and writing, and endured ridicule from students and even teachers.
“You know, what happens that does the damage is you make fun of yourself,” Corcoran told DeGeneres. “In a school system, they judge children by reading and writing, and I couldn’t read til I was in seventh grade. So I was declared the dumb kid.”
Looking back, the Shark Tank star realized how her self-esteem would have been greatly raised if she had known there were plenty of others who dealt with dyslexia and went on to great success.
“It would have been helpful for me to see that there were a lot of people successful in life that couldn’t read, couldn’t write… and yet, many of them were billionaires,” Corcoran said, according to Inc. “I had to discover that little by little as I built my own world successfully. It would have been useful to see that you don’t define someone’s intelligence as we do in a school system. It’s a cruel thing that sadly makes so many kids feel like they’ll never be successful.”
‘Shark Tank’ star says to replace negative self-talk
Growing up convinced that she lacked intelligence, Corcoran developed the habit of consistently berating herself. The real estate guru advises others to avoid this destructive practice.
“Try not to listen to the negative self-talk inside your head,” Corcoran remarked. “You’re going to get that from the outside, your competitors are going to beat you up and spit you out. That’s the real poison I battled with it early. My negative self-talk was saying things like, ‘you shouldn’t have done that,’ or ‘they’re making fun of you,’ or ‘you don’t belong here.'”
The Shark Tank investor became skilled at replacing the negativity with positive, empowering messages.
“I’ve learned to replace it with a new thing,” she explained. “My little tape goes like, ‘Screw you, I’m going to be rich, I have just as much right to be here as the old boys sitting here. I could be your competitor and beat you too.’ I start when I feel myself being like Alice in Wonderland, sliding down that little rabbit hole with the self-talk.”
Barbara Corcoran values perseverance through tough times
Corcoran has had her shares of ups in downs throughout her rise to success, yet committed to keep going when times got tough. She considers dedication and a tough skin as vital to reaching your career goals.
“I learned that if you hang around after your worst failures, there’s always a prize for you,” Corcoran said. “A lot of people — and I’ve invested in a lot of entrepreneurs — make the mistake of thinking, ‘this is just terrible.’ But something good always comes if you’re just there to catch it.”
While some are petrified of failure in front of business associates and peers, Corcoran revealed that most in the workforce are too consumed with their own careers to notice.
“When you think you’re failing, you feel like people are watching you,” the Shark Tank panelist commented. “I learned to be very free of that concern early on because I found that nobody is watching, nobody gives a damn, and all they care about is themselves. That’s the truth in business. Once you’re free of that, it’s a great opportunity to let that go and keep doing what you’re doing.”
Shark Tank airs on ABC on Friday nights.