It was the late 90s and Sarah Robb O’Hagan’s career was on a roll.
The New Zealander was in her mid-20s, working as a marketing manager for Virgin.
“Things were going great,” the now 42-year-old tells Business Insider — until she made a mistake that cost her her job.
At the time, she was working for Virgin Megastores, a retail music chain that no longer exists. “I came into this very distressed business and I didn’t have the humility to understand the circumstances that were happening around me,” she recalls.
She says there was a lot of negative energy in her work place — and she wasn’t just the one being disgruntled, she was the person leading the discussion on being disgruntled.
“In the end, I wasn’t driving the team or helping the team dig out of the problem. I was a problem. And quite honestly, I deserved to get fired.”
After losing her job at Virgin, Robb O’Hagan went on to work as a VP at Atari Interactive — a company from which she
got laid off two years later.
“I look back and think: this all happened for a reason,” she says.
But rather than let those back-t0-back negative experiences drag her down, she learned how to be more self-aware and resilient from each situation.
She eventually became a Marketing Director/General Manager at Nike in 2002; the president of Gatorade in 2008; and the president of Equinox in 2012. And she recently left that role to launch her own startup, ExtremeYOU, a platform that features inspirational and educational services to help people discover and live to their own potential.
“It was all of the many things that I didn’t anticipate that became far more important in my career journey,” she concludes.
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