Optimism From A Shark

Image of Robert Herjavec and Barbara Corcoran on stage speaking to audience at Power Forward Speker Series.

I was fortunate to attend the Florida Commerce Credit Union’s Power Forward Speaker Series, which featured two entrepreneurial powerhouses: Barbara Corcoran and Robert Herjavec from ABC’s Shark Tank.

Barbara Corcoran, a real estate mogul, was born in New Jersey and was the second of 10 children. While she was waitressing, trying to make ends meet, her boyfriend Ramone’ Simone’ convinced her to work for a real estate company, and they founded Corcoran-Simone with $1,000 in 1973. The relationship fizzled out after seven years, and she left to form her real estate brokerage, The Corcoran Group, which sold for $66 million in 2001. Corcoran struck a deal with The Comfy on ABC’s “Shark Tank” with an investment of $50,000 that turned into $468 million. She works with Forefront Venture Partners, which invests in high-growth, revenue-generating, early-stage companies.

Robert Herjavec, a globally recognized cybersecurity entrepreneur turned investor, came from a humble upbringing. At the event, Robert shared that he grew up in Yugoslavia in a home with a dirt floor and moved to Canada with his family, carrying a suitcase and $20 in their pocket. In 2003, he founded The Herjavec Group, now one of the world’s most prominent cybersecurity and tech companies. With an estimated fortune of $300 million, Herjavec has invested more than $16 million across 57 deals pitched on ABC’s “Shark Tank”.

At the event, Robert shared a nugget of wisdom: optimism is the one trait people need to focus more on. Think about it: we are bombarded with negative messaging on multiple platforms that are available 24/7 and constantly showing in our feeds. It can easily trigger doomscrolling that further spirals into unwanted feelings of helplessness. A mentor once said, “Don’t tell me what you can’t do; tell me what you are gonna do,” which has resonated with me and ties into Robert’s viewpoint on optimism.

Unlike communications strategies focusing on pressing issues, solutions-oriented communications capitalize on optimism as its driving force. Starting with the idea that something is solvable can help take complex problems and match them with approachable solutions. Think about influencer marketing. Have you ever been influenced to buy a product or service from someone online? Chances are yes. Influencers are providing you with optimism that your problem will be solved with this one product or service. You’re hopeful it will enhance your quality of life.

If you’re stuck in your business and want to take controlled risks, consider hiring us to audit your communication strategy and determine where optimism plays a role in gaining your desired outcomes.

Author’s Note: TaMaryn Waters, with the Tallahassee Democrat, wrote a great article that captured some of The Shark’s commentary before the event that is worth reading.