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Linda McMahon on Building the WWE Step-By-Step

Former WWE CEO opens up at the Real Simple/TIME Women & Success Panel in New York City

Former CEO of WWE Linda McMahon spoke with television host Tamron Hall, Frozen songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and Real Simple editor Kristen van Ogtrop about her path to success and the advice she’d give to young women. Here’s what she said:

On the first moment she felt successful:

I was a tomboy. And one of my first recollections of great success was playing baseball with the boys. I was playing first base, [and a boy had the ball and was going to throw to me, but he hesitated]. The pitcher said, ‘Throw it! She can catch it!’

On how she built the WWE with her husband:

I’ve been often asked, did you never dream you would be where you are today? And I say no, because you were too busy building, doing, step by step… As the company grew, and all of those different departments began to mesh, we kept looking at great success in the things we were doing, I would step back and say ‘where are you now compared to where you were before you did this thing?

On how she measures success:

My measure of success is how many jobs and lives we have affected internally, within the company… and having an opportunity to mentor some of the young people who have come along.

The first success was about building the company. And then once you’ve built the company, how do you continue to do that? So to have success today is to look around and see that we’re continuing to put smiles on people’s faces.

On fearing failure:

You cant be afraid to take a risk. You can’t be afraid to take a risk because you think you might fail.

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