Shark Tank's Corcoran shares lessons for success using power of perception

Jacqueline Zaccor | Wikimedia Commons

Jacqueline Zaccor | Wikimedia Commons

On May 7 at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury, Barbara Corcoran spoke to an audience of about 1,000 people on how to reach success. 

Corcoran is especially known for her role as a “shark” investor on the hit investment show Shark Tank, but she earned that title from her many years of achieving success in the real estate business and as the founder of Corcoran Group Inc. 

Corcoran moved to New York in her early 20s back in the
disco era, where she landed her first job as a secretary at a real estate office. 

After becoming a professional at her job, a colleague gave her $1,000 to start her own real estate firm, something she was able to grow astronomically. In her many years as a businessperson, Corcoran has learned a few vital lessons that she shared with the Westbury audience that evening.

Perception creates reality.

In order to become successful, you have to believe in yourself. This tip goes back to the saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” When you dress professionally, you feel professional and others will view you that same way.

 It is the same with your attitude and actions. Corcoran suggests that creating the perception that you are successful will help you succeed and make others believe it too. She suggests that people should act how they want to be in the future. Acting as a leader will create the reality that you are a leader. 

Always keep your goals in mind and remind yourself to act that way until you reach them.

Two kinds of people: Expanders and Containers.

Being able to understand people quickly was a talent Corcoran acquired from working with and meeting so many people. As the owner of her business, it was important that she hired the right people and placed them in the best possible roles. 

During the hiring process, she categorized these perspective employees as either expanders or containers. Both, she said, were fundamental for her company’s success. These two terms speak for themselves. 

Expanders are the creative and extroverted types whereas the containers are the types that pay attention to detail and accuracy. 

Being able to categorize individuals within these two groups helped Corcoran decide what role these individuals should play in her company.

Fun is good for business.

Many business owners and leaders often overlook one simple term: fun. Corcoran pointed out the importance that fun played in the success of her business. She believes that fun at work leads to essential long-term success. 

The Corcoran Group decided to throw themed parties for its employees, something that the employees loved to attend. 

At the parties, Corcoran said, people’s creativity would spark and she would be there to pay attention and take notes. 

When employees feel like they are having fun at their jobs, they are more likely to grow stronger bonds with one another and are more willing and comfortable to spend longer hours at work. The more fun employees experience, the happier they are at the workplace and therefore are much more productive.

Be great at failure.

At some point, everyone fails at something. Corcoran believes that failure is actually essential for success. How well people recover from failure proves how successful they will be. 

With every failure, there is a lesson to be learned. Learning from failures makes people that much more likely to do things better the next time. 

Corcoran recognized that the “superstars” who took a hit in real estate sales spent much less time worrying about it than others. Those who felt sorry for themselves were less likely to bounce back from the hit and usually were not successful. 

Those who handle failure well are very likely to succeed in the future.

 There are two more meaningful lessons that the audience learned from Corcoran that evening. 

First, there is power in an insult. Corcoran explained that during her journey toward success, she ran into many people who did not believe in her or said that she would not succeed without them. These insults were significant as they only motivated her to prove them wrong. Let the insults motivate you to do better. 

Second, when you find passion in yourself and believe in yourself, the universe will respond to that. When you find the passion that you have within yourself and act on it, opportunities will find you.