Stepping Out from the Shadows of a Giant


It’s hard to imagine what we would do after having built an enormous fortune from our project of passion. The shadow it would cast would put a hamper on each new project because we would always have a lingering feeling that it will never live up to expectations.

What happens when a billionaire steps from the shadows of the giant they built?

Just ask Chip Wilson and his previous ownership of the incredibly famous and profitable Lululemon (maker of yoga pants and running gear). After some PR trouble, he found himself taking on a new role in the company while also exploring new business and philanthropic opportunities.

Though many would take this as a point to move on and ride out the remaining years on the wealth that had been built, Chip has decided to reimagine his role in business to one which is aimed at creating a substantial impact through charity.

The charity imagine1day was launched by Chip Wilson and wife, Shannon, in 2007. It remains now as one of his main items of focus. The imagine1day charity is dedicated to improving the education conditions in Ethiopia and has set a goal to create an educational environment free from foreign aid by 2030.

Along with of Whil (a short meditation technique to help people focus), a school of design, and frequent charity runs for children, Chip has three main goals:

  • Imagine1day is documented as the primary driver of education in Ethiopia by December 31, 2016
  • Two members of my family are part of our office by December 31, 2016
  • Lululemon has 3 world class CEO successors in the pipeline by December 31, 2016

It goes without saying that an individual such as Chip can provide all of us with inspiration. We all have built something to success and had it swept from our feet. It can feel like one will never be able to recover from the folly.

Leading a New Path

Let’s take this latter half of the article to examine some of the ways we can recover from our hiccups, step out of the shadows, and build something bigger and better than before.

The first action we must take is to understand what mistakes we had made in our startup. There are many different mistakes that can be made but chances are it was likely not fully understanding the marketplace and how we would fit into the industry.

Once we understand where we went wrong with the business and market selection it’s equally important that we take care of our emotional state caused by the business failure. A failed project can sink us into a dark place and it’s easy to become consumed by guilt. If you seek guidance from experts and take the time to learn and refine your skills then it will help you break from the emotional chains holding you back from starting again.

Following suite we should reach out to our network and list of business connections to find inspiration and ideas for our new startup. Sometimes the next big idea is one you may have entertained at a previous time but could not see its execution.

The time will come, after you’ve done your research and development, when you are ready to launch; this time around you will be primed with past experiences that will allow you to avoid mistakes and pitfalls you experienced on your previous venture. It’s full-speed ahead from here on out.


People like Chip Wilson gives us entrepreneur’s inspiration. It shows that even when you pour everything into a project of passion and it’s pulled from you that there are always new opportunities (often better ones) that are ready to take its place.

Featured Image Credit: man walking to opened loft door/ShutterStock

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