How Barbara Corcoran landed her spot on 'Shark Tank' with 'the best email' of her life

Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Robert Herjavec and Lori Greiner.
Photo by Patrick Ecclesine

Before she was a Shark, Barbara Corcoran was dealing with what many people — whether they're job hunting or climbing up the corporate ladder — have faced: rejection.

The real estate mogul didn't immediately snag a coveted spot as an investor on ABC's "Shark Tank." In fact, she was passed over. Although the show's producer Mark Burnett initially recruited Corcoran for the role, he later decided on another candidate, Corcoran said an interview with AARP.

But then she changed his mind.

The "best email" of her life

The action she took in wake of her rejection helped set Cocoran up for the decade of success that followed.

"I sat down and wrote the best email of my life immediately," Corcoran told AARP. In the email, Corcoran really proved that she was Shark material.

"I told him that I considered his decision to be a lucky charm because 'I've had all my big successes on the heels of rejection.' I said he should consider inviting both of us to L.A. for a tryout. 'I've booked my flight and hope to be on that plane,'" Corcoran said.

"I didn't hear anything that day, but the next morning his assistant called and said, 'When I walked your email over to Mr. Burnett and watched him read it, he said, 'This girl is a real shark.'"

Here's how you turn 'out of the blue' emails -- into meetings
Here's how you turn 'out of the blue' emails -- into meetings

Corcoran also recounts the experience in an interview on Business Insider's podcast, "Success! How I Did It." During the conversation, Corcoran preaches the importance of having the courage to go after what you want and not being afraid to fail.

"The importance of standing up for yourself: I had learned that over and over again because even if it doesn't work you feel self-pride," Corcoran tells Business Insider.

"You'd think if you really tried something and you didn't get it that you would feel embarrassed but I never found that to be the case. I felt self-pride that I tried and then of course so many tries you wind up getting a few yeses along the way and this happened to be one of those yeses."

Dealing with rejection

Often, success coexists with failure. Many successful leaders have learned how to find strength in and amid setbacks.

Like Corcoran, television anchor Hoda Kotb didn't immediately score success on the small-screen. She worked for it.

Kotb, who made history earlier this month when she was named the co-anchor of NBC's "TODAY" show, faced 27 rejections before landing the gig that would kick-off her career, according to The Washington Post. She recalled driving around for 10 days, facing rejection after rejection. But eventually that persistence paid off.

"Sometimes you think you need every single person to think you're good, and you don't," Kotb told SiriusXM. "You need one."

Figuring out how to persevere isn't a skill reserved for the stars. In July, recent college graduate Jasmine Pak crafted an honest post about dealing with rejection. After it went viral on LinkedIn, she got the BuzzFeed job she was originally gunning for.

"The biggest takeaway is that it's not always going to work out when you want it," Pak told CNBC Make It. "You just have to pick yourself back up, do it again and keep doing it again until you make it happen."

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

Don't miss: From real estate CEO to 'Shark Tank' star: How Barbara Corcoran reinvented herself in her 50s

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