Find Your Extraordinary: Dream Bigger, Live Happier, and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms

Find Your Extraordinary: Dream Bigger, Live Happier, and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms

by Jessica DiLullo Herrin


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In this Wall Street Journal bestseller, Jessica Herrin, serial entrepreneur and founder and CEO of the Stella & Dot Family Brands, shows how the classic traits of successful entrepreneurs are ones each one of us can develop—and use not only to create a company, but also to create an extraordinary life.

What if you could, with a little effort, live an extraordinary life? A life in which you felt deep passion for everything you did, and always had time for what matters most? A life in which you had the power, the daring, and the will to make your boldest dreams come true, all while you happily left feelings of inadequacy or guilt behind?
It is possible to take your life from ordinary to extraordinary. The secret? Cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit inside you—the spirit that allows you to embrace your individuality, to look not just at what is but at what could be, to believe in yourself beyond reason and to step up to creating your own definition of happiness and successa version of success in which work and family life happily co-exist—instead of chasing a cookie-cutter version.
Whether we work a corporate job, run a family, or run our own business, Herrin offers realistic, attainable steps each one of us can take to achieve extraordinary success on our own terms. Through candid and inspiring lessons from her life as a successful CEO and working mother of two, as well as stories of many amazing individuals she’s met along the way, Herrin inspires and empowers us to dial up the sound of our own voices and make our authentic dreams a reality.
This book isn’t about having it all; it’s about having what matters most to you. It is about how to find your extraordinary—your extraordinary career, your extraordinary happiness, your extraordinary life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101905944
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/03/2016
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

JESSICA HERRIN is CEO/founder of Stella & Dot Family Brands. She has been featured on Oprah, in Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, the Today Show and Undercover Boss, and was included on Inc.'s list of Top Ten Female CEOs in 2012.

STELLA & DOT Family Brands (Stella & Dot, KEEP Collective and EVER Skincare) include over 50,000 business owners in 6 countries that have earned over $300 million from running their own flexible businesses, sharing over $1 billion in product since 2007. Their celebrity coveted and award-winning products have been featured in InStyle, Vogue, Allure, Elle, and Real Simple.

Read an Excerpt


say good-bye, ordinary

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.

--Cecil Beaton

What if I told you that, with a little effort, you could live an extraordinary life? A life in which you felt deep passion for what you did and you always had time for what mattered to you? A life in which you made your most important dreams come true, all while happily leaving behind feelings of inadequacy or guilt, discarding them as if they were corsets from the 19th century? 

These days there’s a lot of discussion about whether women can have it all. This book isn’t about having it all; it’s about having what matters most--to you. This is a book about achieving your boldest dreams and ambitions, but doing it on your terms. I wrote this book to help you find your own version of extraordinary--to help you dial up the sound of your own voice so you can tune in to your authentic dreams and develop the will to make them reality.

Now, let’s just get this out there . . . it’s a tad presumptuous of me to tell other people how to be successful, isn’t it? Doesn’t it mean I think I’m successful enough to be an expert in the matter? Well, I do consider myself successful, but not for the reasons you might think at first glance.

I’ve done a lot that I am proud of. I graduated from Stanford, and I’ve been on the cover of the New York Times, called out for being a serial entrepreneur and founder of two successful companies: Della & James, which became, and the company I currently run, the Stella & Dot Family of Brands. And I’ve had some amazing life experiences--I have been on Oprah, I’ve gone to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen of England, I’ve been in the Wall Street Journal, and I’ve had my face broadcast eight stories high in Times Square after ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ for the Stella & Dot Foundation. (That was fun!)

Did sheer luck have something to do with my success? Yes. I was born in the United States, where education is widely available to both genders. I graduated from college in 1994, right around the time women in the United States began earning college degrees in equal numbers with men. Oh--and lest I forget--I went to college in the heart of Silicon Valley right before the commercialization of the Internet and right after the economy recovered from a recession.

Since I sought my first job when the economy was strong, it was easier to take risks, knowing I could always go back and get a safe job. The way society looked at work was changing too. There was a decided shift away from looking at a twenty-five-year tenure at one company and a gold watch at retirement as the pinnacle of success to seeing dropouts and innovators as business heroes.

I was also born into a time when women could play more than menial roles in the workforce. Though our ancestors were around for about six million years, modern humans evolved only about 200,000 years ago. Civilization as we know it is only about 6,000 years old, and industrialization started in earnest only in the 1800s. The 20th century saw the Great Depression, two world wars, and the Vietnam and Korea wars; with all that hardship, women finally began to enter the workforce. (Remember Rosie the Riveter?) But only with the feminist movement of the 1960s did women begin to enter the professional world in great numbers--and we’ve been gunning to break the glass ceilings ever since.

So, of the 200,000 years in which I could have happened, I was born in 1972 in the United States of America--in the midst of this cultural revolution. I won the lottery of time and place when it comes to women and work.

But it wasn’t just luck that got me where I am today. In fact, I find it to be true that the harder you work, the luckier you get. And it wasn’t just what I was born with, though it’s also true that some of my personality traits lend themselves to taking the road less traveled. I would not be where I am if it were not for other skills and characteristics that I’ve developed along the way. Independence and confidence, passion and drive, decisiveness and tenacity--are all traits of the iconic entrepreneur. In the end, these traits that have made me successful are the ones that you can develop too. They are the habits of mind that allow you to think for yourself and believe in yourself beyond reason; to work hard and find the love in that; to take risks and not be afraid to fail; and to surround yourself with positive people who lift you up. That’s the spirit of the entrepreneur in a nutshell. This book will show you how you can find this spirit within yourself.

But my goal is far more ambitious and rewarding than just showing you how to create a successful company. My goal is to help you create a fulfilling, happy, and successful life--on your terms. That’s what extraordinary is all about. 

I went through times in my life when it looked as if I was successful, but I wasn’t really fulfilled or completely happy. Trying to chase other people’s definition of success instead of your own, I discovered, only looks good on TV. It meant nothing in my own heart and soul. 

I see myself as successful today, not because Oprah or the New York Times says so, but because I’ve learned that only I decide what success looks like for me. I’ve learned to believe in myself beyond reason and to forgive myself my many flaws and mistakes. I’ve boldly jumped into new adventures that I knew nothing about and figured it out as I went. I’ve learned to stay the course, even when obstacles were in my path and people thought I was crazy. I’ve given up the guilt about being a working mom, knowing that I am both a great mother and a very busy, very ambitious CEO.

I have learned to push forward into rooms and roles most often held by men without changing the woman that I am. I’ve learned to work hard on the right things without sacrificing my sanity and my health. Today only I define my success. And only you can define yours.

An ordinary definition of success is making money, moving up the ladder, and being well regarded by others. Extraordinary success, however, includes doing well at something you love and being well regarded by those who matter most to you, especially yourself. It’s about learning what you want, developing the confidence to admit it, and having the grit to go out there and get it.

If you are living your life in accordance with your own values and pursuing your own version of happiness, you’re being authentic--and that’s what leads to success. Success is not about a corporate ladder where the next rung could feel more like a booby prize. One size does not fit all. Happiness doesn’t come from success; it is success, because if you’re happy, then you’ve succeeded--in the most extraordinary way.

embracing the entrepreneurial spirit

Embracing your entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t necessarily mean becoming an entrepreneur. This book is not a how-to on starting a company in Silicon Valley (though you might pick up some tips along the way). In fact, I firmly believe that following that path would not make most people happy. That’s a good path for calculated risk-loving mavericks who are ultra-intense and somewhat strange--but it isn’t the path for everybody. As my sister, Julie, once said to me, in a way only a sibling can, “Don’t expect other people to want to do what you do. You’re the one that’s weird.”

When I talk about the spirit of an entrepreneur, I’m describing not just me but anyone who wants to take charge of his or her own life.

Where am I coming from with all of this? Let me first explain a bit more about what I do, and why the vantage point I’ve gained has given me the insight to write this book. I started a business out of my living room that grew into the Stella & Dot Family of Brands--Stella & Dot, KEEP Collective, and Ever Skincare--which operate in six countries and have empowered over 50,000 independent business owners to embrace their entrepreneurial ambitions on their own terms. 

Through Stella & Dot, I’ve focused on changing the lack of flexibility in the workplace that sidelines too many women as they seek to find a balance between a day job and one of the best jobs--motherhood. Both our Stella & Dot mission and model are designed so that women--and a few good men--can start a business, with very little investment, and choose to run it either part-time to earn extra money or full-time to earn more.

One word lies at the heart of the Stella & Dot mission: choice. Everyone has the same start, but everyone chooses their own goals and their own pace. They don’t have set hours or sales quotas, and they don’t carry inventory or do deliveries. In fact, it’s so flexible that 80 percent of our “side-preneurs” operate their business alongside other jobs outside the home. 

Being a part of Stella & Dot has allowed me the opportunity to see thousands of wildly different people approach the same opportunity in wildly different ways, producing wildly different results. What I’ve observed has only strengthened my opinion that it’s the individual’s will that determines his or her own success, not innate abilities or their past or present circumstances.

When I first started Luxe Jewels (the original name of Stella & Dot), I wanted to do everything I could to help others be successful. So we iterated our product line, our training model, and our sales tools until we thought they were the best they could be. I realized that nothing can ever be perfect, but I wanted to get as close as possible. Several years in, I felt we had done it--created a powerful business platform that worked when you did. In the decade since, our independent business owners have earned more than $300 million in commissions from selling over $1 billion in products.

Yet, I always ask myself: Is there more that we can do? Yes. And that is my motivation for writing this book. I want to help more people cultivate their will, so they are able to create their own way, regardless of their goal. I want to show others how to dig in and figure out their own extraordinary path and discover that to connect “I want” to “I have,” you have to be willing to insert “I will” in the middle. 

However, though I share many insights from this journey of building the company, this is not a book about Stella & Dot.

And let me be clear from the get-go. Even though I am one of the too few female CEOs in Silicon Valley, this is not a discourse about gender equality either. There are other very good books about that! Nor is this a memoir about how I fought the man to get where I am. That was tempting, because these topics sure make for interesting stories. However, talking about gender inequality is not how I focus on changing the lot in life of womankind. I have never thought I can do anything a man can do--I have just always thought I can do anything.

So this is a book focused on you and on the fact that you can do anything--regardless of the inequalities of the world and your gender.

But to be extraordinary you have to believe that success is not predetermined for the exclusive few. Success is not just for someone else. It is for you.

Creating what you want in your life can happen when you cultivate your entrepreneurial spirit. When you develop the will to do things your way, without fear of failure or how your choices look to anybody except yourself.

So how will we begin? By tackling the toughest critics we all face--the internal ones. The voice in your head that asks things like “Am I good enough?” and “Do I deserve this?” and “Am I wasting my talents?” and “Are other people judging me?” We’ll focus on amping up your self-confidence and positive mind-set so you can have the perseverance to create the extraordinary life you deserve. Call it moxie. Call it grit. Call it right now. You’re going to need it. 

In the pages ahead, we’ll tackle the forces that keep most people from achieving their goals. First, you must have a clear sense of what you want and why you want it. It’s human nature to lose sight of your goals, to stumble and fall. Do not, however, confuse these setbacks with “I can’t do it--it’s okay to give up.” Once you get clarity on what matters most, you will put that on your “do not quit” list. Then you will go out and make it reality. 

Even if you’ve tried and failed before, have faith! Here’s the paradox: as much as getting off track is human nature, so is getting creative and surviving. Ingenuity in the face of adversity is in our blood. Starting from scratch, inventing a tool, using our brains to move forward--that’s all encoded in our human DNA. Think about what mankind did to get here. Certainly you can do what it takes to get where you want in your life.

Will you have to work hard to get what you want, and will you have to do it despite the odds or obstacles stacked against you? Yes. This book is about how you can succeed even with the inevitable roadblocks that exist along every road to success, even if that requires you to deviate from the ordinary path. 

My path to find my extraordinary has been unconventional. I was a mediocre high school student; I worked my way through community college and found my way to Stanford. I quit my job at the company I cofounded in Silicon Valley to travel the world and follow my husband’s career to Texas, so I could start a family. I bootstrapped my second start-up so that I could control the company mission, my destiny, and my schedule around raising my young kids. My journey up to this point hasn’t been ordinary--or easy--that’s for sure. 

Wherever you live, whatever your age or background and whatever your hopes and dreams--whether it’s climbing the corporate ladder, starting your own successful business, or being the best damn parent and partner there is--you can use the advice I share in this book to create the life you want.


Excerpted from "Find Your Extraordinary"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Jessica DiLullo Herrin.
Excerpted by permission of The Crown Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Happiness = Success

Chapter 1 Say Good-bye, Ordinary 3

Embracing the Entrepreneurial Spirit 8

The Path to Extraordinary 11

You've Got What ft Takes 14

The Six P's of the Entrepreneurial Spirit 15

Chapter 2 Believe in Yourself Beyond Reason 20

Turning it Around and Cracking Down 24

A Mother Lode of Confidence 28

Be the Fool Who Tries 30

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway 36

Look Ahead, Not Back-You're Not Going That Way Anyway 39

Develop Your Lone Eagle Confidence 41

Part 2 The Six P's of the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Chapter 3 Passion 47

Put Your Ear Down to Your Heart and Listen Hard 47

Passion Has to Be Personal 52

Passion Grows from Passion 59

Passion Has Its Own ETA 60

Ask Your Future Self 65

Pay Your Dues 68

What Are You Crossing Off Your List? 69

The Unicorn Farm Is Not Hiring 71

Chapter 4 Your Path of Least Regret 72

Dreams Can Change When You Do: A Turning Point 75

You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Start, You Have to Start to Perfect 80

You Are a Beginner at the Beginning 82

It's Never Too Late 84

Lone Eagles Can Be Confused with Loony Birds 85

What's Your Why? 86

Are We There Yet? 88

When Life Has Other Plans 91

Patience, Grasshopper 93

Do More, Think Less 96

Pace Yourself 99

Make Plan B Part of Your Plan A 100

Reward Yourself 102

How to Pivot: Don't Stay Wrong for Long 105

Chapter 5 The Power of a Positive Mind 109

Your Thoughts Are Not You, and They Are Not All True 113

Say Thanks but No Thanks to Your Mind 115

Give Your Brain a Break 118

Mini Mental Vacays-Three Times a Day 121

Focus on the Opportunity, Not the Obstacles 125

Laugh It Off 126

Don't Look at What Is, Look at What Could Be 127

Ask What Good Can Come from Something Bad 129

"Comparison Is the Thief of Joy" 130

Assume the World is Awaiting Your Success 132

Chapter 6 People 135

The People Who Make Us Grow 137

Dominoes and Linchpins 143

Don't Let the Naysayers Sit in Your Front Row 147

Become the Leader You Want to Follow 151

Be You 153

Lift People Up 157

Learning How to Listen 161

Haters Gonna Hate, but Makers Gonna Make 163

Chapter 7 Perseverance 166

You Are Stronger Than You Know 170

To Persevere, You Need Perspective 173

From Natural Disaster to Diamonds 177

You Climb a Mountain One Step at a Time 181

Make It Fun, Get There Faster 183

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It 185

Help Others Persevere 187

With Perseverance, You Can Run the World 188

Chapter 8 Productivity: Dropping the Rubber Balls 191

Mastering Your Time 193

Time Truths 196

A Talk with Yourself About Your Time 201

Five Steps to Time Mastery 205

Part 3 The Best Version of You

Chapter 9 Gratitude 219

What I Learned from Going Undercover 222

Every Day Is a Gift 227

My Own Gratitude 230

Chapter 10 One Tribe 232

How I Gave Up Guilt 236

It's Time to Get Happy on the Rise 238

Don't Be a Mother Judger 241

It Takes More Than a Village-It Takes a Tribe 248

Conclusion: Hello Extraordinary 251

Step Up 253

No Time Like the Present 255

Acknowledgments 257

Index 259

Customer Reviews