Sarah Robb O'Hagan | Extreme You (Episode 609)

Sarah Robb O’Hagan | Extreme You (Episode 609)

Sarah Robb O’Hagan | Extreme You (Episode 609)

Sarah Robb O’Hagan (@ExtremeSRO) is an executive, activist, entrepreneur, and author of Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat.

“Almost anyone who’s enormously successful will be able to point to epic fails in their life that became the cornerstone of their future success.” -Sarah Robb O’Hagan

The Cheat Sheet for Extreme You:

  • Thrill to tales of epic failures, embarrassing screw-ups, and glorious rebounds.
  • Find out why it doesn’t matter if you know what you’re good at or what goals to pursue.
  • Discover how to turn failures into fuel and how to get out of a rut when you’ve been laid off, fired, or feel like you’re going nowhere.
  • Learn how to stand out in your field and at work — in the right way.
  • Understand why and how successful people are constantly rebuilding themselves — and how we can do the same.
  • And so much more…


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(Download Transcript Here)

Success surrounds itself with an impression of perfection — just take a look at the random account of anyone self-identifying as “Instagram famous.” A casual observer might be swindled into believing the good life being presented there equates with some level of success — a success devoid of the missteps and mistakes the rest of us experience daily.

But Sarah Robb O’Hagan knows otherwise. She’s the CEO of Flywheel Sports, was the global president of Gatorade and Equinox, has held leadership roles at Nike and Virgin, and is the author of Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat. As someone who considers herself average, it’s not an error-free existence that’s gotten her to where she is today, but the failures along the way that fueled her. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

More About This Show

“There’s so much misleading and even harmful advice about success,” says Sarah Robb O’Hagan, the author of Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat. “We hand our young people trophies for showing up and tell them ‘everyone’s a winner,’ and we tell employees that if they just do what they’re told and work hard to please the boss, they’ll get safely promoted. Meantime we live in a social media bubble littered with humble brags and perfectly coiffed Instagram pictures implying that everyone, everywhere is crushing it in their careers and their lives.

“But it’s just not true. That’s not the way success works, and it’s not the way the world works. I want to share with your audience my stories and those of the high profile band of ‘Extremers’ that I interviewed for my book — of epic fails, embarrassing screw-ups, and glorious rebounds — along with my research and my practical advice to help them truly become successful by developing the most of their own potential.”

Growing up, Sarah was always interested in sports — and in fact she’s been named among Forbes’ “Most Powerful Women in Sports” — but her ability didn’t always match her passion. Luckily, she didn’t let this deter her from competing, just as she didn’t let her lack of an Olympic medal deter her from achieving a leadership position at Nike — apparently not an uncommon feat on resumes there.

As time went on and Sarah made a name for herself — particularly as the global president of Gatorade who turned the five billion dollar brand around — she began to notice an interesting pattern in how her story was being reported by the media. Her biography was heavy on accolades and very light on the most interesting bits: the failures.

“In my case, I got fired twice, I was very average as a child, and I suddenly realized that the whole culture of success out there, it’s all about people chest-beating, ‘Here’s how great I am,'” says Sarah. “But if you speak to anyone who’s truly made it, there’s always going to be some self-doubt, some failure, some vulnerability, all sorts of stuff behind it.

“And I just thought it was high time someone told that story, and I knew if I was going to do it, I’d have to really be honest. And so it’s definitely warts and all!”

Don’t Find Your Passion — Make Your Passion

Popular advice isn’t always useful advice. You probably know this all too well if you’ve ever tried to “follow your passion” in hopes that the perfect job would magically appear for you, fully realized, from the ether. In reality, it’s taking the risks that expose us to a greater number of things (and, yes, carry the possibility of failure) that make passion find us. By trying to hunt down a passion we’re already imagining, we may very well miss out discovering — or making — the passion we didn’t even know existed.

“You actually have to have some struggle if you’re going to really enjoy the good times,” says Sarah. “They kind of go hand in hand, and it’s a little bit weird to send out a message that ‘Just find your passion and everything’s going to be great.’ Part of the fulfillment of achievement is about working through the struggle and getting there on your own steam. I think somewhere along the way we’ve missed that.”

Listen to this episode of The Art of Charm in its entirety to learn more about how to tell the difference between a worthwhile passion not easily pursued and a dead end (and why neither should be considered a waste of time), how to identify and maximize unexpected opportunities, how a side hustle can still serve a main objective, what Sarah did early in her career to get fired and deported (and how it empowered her), practical exercises that will get you out of your comfort zone and retune your opportunity peripheral vision, how to turn failure into fuel, how to break out of a rut, the importance of a support system that tells you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear, and lots more.


If you enjoyed this session with Sarah Robb O’Hagan, let her know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout out at Twitter:

Click here to thank Sarah Robb O’Hagan at Twitter!

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