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Alpha CEO Niloufar Banisaied swipes right on underdogs when it comes to business.
“I love being underestimated. I think it’s a total superpower,” she said. “I’ve trained myself to be motivated by people who say ‘no,’ and you ‘can’t’ I create energy from that.”
“I just retrained my brain from Day 1: Every time I got a hurtful email or an Instagram message or some investor telling me [the idea for Alpha and the moods] was stupid, I just got excited about it,” Banisaied said. “People generally don’t know how to see things that don’t exist yet, so you just have to believe in yourself and stick to your gut feeling.”
Being underestimated also gave Banisaied the element of surprise, she said. When other companies identify you as a competitor, they watch your every move. If they don’t see you as a threat, they won’t see you coming around the corner to overtake them “like Princess Peach in Mario Kart,” Banisaied said.
“If everybody thought it was going to work, it would have already been done,” Banisaied said. “That’s really how you create a gap in the market for yourself and become different than your competitors.”
So what is her advice on achieving success?
“Don’t be scared of the ‘what ifs,’ because the truth is, the only failure is not trying,” says Banisaied. “That’s the only way you can fail. Trying and having it not work out isn’t a failure.”
According to Banisaied, how a person handles fear can determine whether they are successful or not.
“I think fear and fear of the unknown and perceived failure is what holds people back,” she says. “I am more scared of complacency than having something not work out. I’d rather take a leap of faith and fall than stand on the edge forever.”
“I am scared of a lot of things, but I try to challenge myself every day to do something that scares me because 90% of the time, it isn’t as bad as you thought it was. I learned that recently from my Pilates Instructor, who is such a boss lady, Nikkita Weerasinghe. She challenges me five times a week to get out of my comfort zone, and it gets me pumped for my day and my week,” she said.
To Banisaied, achieving success starts with the most straightforward steps, like “writing your idea down on a sticky note and putting it on your bathroom mirror and staring at it for two weeks,” she said. “That’s the first move.”
“You have to start somewhere,” she said. “Historically, many women have been discouraged from going for it. We’ve been riddled with fear, the ‘what ifs,’ and the ‘don’t be too out there,’ ‘be demure, be quiet.’ But start somewhere and go for it. Who cares if you fail? Get up and try again until you get it right. Don’t ever have a pity party for yourself; you’re capable of doing amazing things, and if you try hard enough and manifest it, you will reach anything you want on this planet; if you can dream it, you can do it. Don’t get me wrong, I have mental breakdowns, and I think it’s normal to have them, but remember you have a goal and vision, and to get there, you have to work hard for it.”