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Only thing that keeps a leader from achieving is their own fears. Pursuit of inhibitions drives a leader, Listen to Kara and her definition of being Undaunted and above Doubts in her leadership journey. Here is an edited transcript of the conversation that followed.
Gaurav: Why water? When you knew that you’re going to compete with the giants of the Pepsi and the Coca Cola, what was the reason to come up with the idea called Hint, and that says zero calorie sweeteners?
Kara: So I was starting my family and taking a break, taking some time off from Tech. And when I started looking at how I was feeling overall, and there were clues, like I had developed terrible acne on my skin, I was overweight, I had sort of accepted that that was just the way it was going to be. I’d never really dieted. But I was starting to think about dieting and looking at these different diet plans that were out there. And that’s when I looked at my drink one day, and it was my diet soda, Diet Coke in particular, that I happened to be looking at the ingredients on the label. And I didn’t understand what I was putting into my body.
I thought this is so curious that I would actually accept the fact that I’m putting something into my body that I think is safe. But I don’t know if it’s safe. I was doing a very, fairly Google search on trying to understand what these things are. There were many things that I couldn’t actually understand. So I thought maybe I should put this to the side, I would do the same with food, if I was if this was a food item, but I had never really focused on my drink. And at that point, the calories weren’t zero calories. This isn’t 2004 it was at 10 calories. So they hadn’t quite perfected the zero calorie diet movement at that point.
But I thought I’m gonna put this to the side and see what happens. So two and a half weeks later, I swapped out my diet soda for plain water. And two and a half weeks later, my skin cleared up, my energy levels were back and I had lost over 20 pounds and a half weeks. I thought this was crazy. I felt so significantly better. And I thought, Why are there so many people who believe that they are doing better by drinking and eating a diet or are low fat. And here I am a smart person, a successful person, educated person, all of those things. And yet I was tricked. I was fooled by this. And when I would talk to friends of mine, who would notice that I had gone through a pretty big transformation in a short amount of time. I thought there are a lot of people who are just like me, who are just assuming that someone else is doing the checks for that. And I thought if it’s actually there, there’s two parts to it. There’s that. And then there’s also the other aspect, which is truly health.
Are there people out there who are trying to fight type two diabetes, cholesterol, cancer, things that are really critical, right? It’s not just about how you’re, you know, looking or feeling it’s about, you know, the, the clock is ticking, right? If you don’t actually figure out what you’re putting into your body and how your body is responding, respond to it. I thought, why is it when people talk about these diets? Why isn’t there more conversation around the new neatness and how somebody is processing sweets? I saw it so clearly. But as you and I discussed it, it was it. I was one of the only once I would talk to friends of mine in the medical profession about what I was seeing. They’d say, oh, that’s really interesting. I think that you’re onto something but it was not proven. I felt like I was given this journey to go on to go and seek and I think more than anything that’s something that I always say to people that instead of trying to figure out, you know why you’re why you’re thinking this way or being frustrated by something. Taking that time to go on this journey is a very, very powerful thing. And yet most people don’t want to deal with the headache. They don’t want to learn right? They don’t want to deal with it. their frustrations and they have too many other things to do. And, frankly, they shouldn’t become entrepreneurs. Because I think that the journey of an entrepreneur is a seeker is a disrupter is somebody who is against the grain, I guess it is the best way I can think of to describe it.
Gaurav: Why did you call this book Being Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters? Why did you choose this theme to write about?
Kara: Yeah, well, I, first of all, this, this was a book that stemmed out of many years, really the last six years of journaling and thinking about some different questions that entrepreneurs or want to be entrepreneurs were asking me about. And I felt like there was this kind of mystery that was out there amongst people that maybe had made it and in some people’s minds, or had you had gone and, and done it the right way that that kind of was getting in the way of other people moving forward. And I thought, if people would actually live undaunted, maybe they would go out and try more things, because it really stems back to, things can’t happen. companies can’t be made products, new products, new services can’t actually be developed.
CNN can’t be developed. Apple computers can’t be developed. All of the AOL all of these different things unless somebody actually takes a chance and tries to go out and do something. Now, are those fearless risk takers? Maybe? Or were they curious? They just decided to start to build on something and then people, consumers liked it. They wanted to purchase it, they wanted to borrow it, they wanted to have some sort of affiliation with it. So I thought, over time, I started to see the connection. It didn’t matter what industry I had been in, I had been in these people that I, I knew or or had read about. They, they were, they were not fearless risk takers. They were just people who were just trying to try and they weren’t afraid of failure. They had lived undaunted, they had moved forward in a way that probably a lot of other people wouldn’t, because they feared failing. Those people feared failure. They didn’t view themselves as a risk taker. They wanted the rules to be written for them. They wanted the map. And, and what I believed is that if I could actually share my own story through my own journey, how I didn’t have all the answers. There’s different chapter headings, for example, fly the airplane as you’re building it. Maybe not literally. Hopefully not, but there’s a thing I learned along the way that you, you try to get your product into the market, you’re going to have mistakes along the way, things aren’t going to be perfect, but you’re going to learn from those things. And I think that those are things that seem so obvious to me, maybe seem so obvious to other entrepreneurs.
Yet, for people who haven’t started work for people who are in it right now, and are trying to come out with the perfect product before they launch it, I, you know, my, my message to those people is, you have to just get it out of the gate, because you’re going to learn a lot of things about it, it really isn’t perfect, even when you think it’s perfect. And so again, through my own journey, through my own stories, I felt like I could really share a lot.
Kara Goldin is the Founder and CEO of Hint, Inc., best known for its award-winning Hint® water, the leading unsweetened flavored water. She has been named one of InStyle’s Badass 50, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, Fortune’s Most Innovative Women in Food & Drink and EY Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern California. The Huffington Post listed her as one of six disruptors in business, alongside Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Kara has successfully navigated the world of large companies and startups in many industries including media, tech and consumer products. In addition, she understands retail and direct to consumers well. She is an active speaker & writer and hosts the podcast The Kara Goldin Show where she interviews founders, entrepreneurs and other disruptors across various industries. Kara’s first book, Undaunted, published by Harper Leadership, was released in October 2020. She lives in the Bay Area.
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