For Barbara Corcoran, real estate expert and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank”, success is no longer about money.
But the very first time Corcoran felt successful was the day she first turned a profit.
“I made $77,000 running my brokerage firm. I never made a profit. And I was like, ‘What am I going to do with that money?'” she says. “I was so surprised that I had money.
Instead of buying something for herself, Corcoran says she immediately spent the money on the two people most important to her: her parents.
“I went out and bought my mom and dad a new car. They never had a new car,” she says. “I had my uncle Richie and his best friend drive the car down to Florida, put a big bow on it and park it in the driveway.
“I’m still happy with the decision to go so fast,” he adds.
Used Corcoran loan of $1000 to launch its real estate business, the Corcoran Group, in 1973. This took off and eventually the company sold for $66 million in 2001. But despite her continued success on and off “Shark Tank” — and her ability to continue buying gifts for others throughout her career — Corcoran says the day remains unmatched.
“Nothing has ever equaled the day my mum and dad went out and my uncle Richie videotaped them and they just couldn’t believe they each had a new car. I still can’t get over it,” he says.
This experience has stuck with Corcoran throughout her career. It underlines one of its most important values: giving back.
“The satisfaction of giving anything is a great satisfaction in life,” he says. “It doesn’t have to involve money. Doing something nice for someone gives you a little cloud of happiness that builds up over time and keeps you a nice and happy person.”
“If you’re always grabbing and wanting, you’ll never be fulfilled,” she adds.
Stick around 20 jobs under the age of 23Corcoran understands what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. But now, as a seasoned entrepreneur and investor, she focuses on quality of life rather than quantity.
He encourages others to focus less on money and more on the values that matter. Money, he says you can’t buy happiness.
“Success for me at this point in my life means great health and great health for my kids and my husband, right? That sums it up,” she says.
Shopping offers only a semi-permanent sense of happiness, he adds. “Six months later, you take it for granted.
Disclosure: CNBC owns exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”
DON’T MISS: Want to be smarter and more successful with your money, work and life? Subscribe to our new newsletter!
Get CNBC for free Warren Buffett’s Guide to Investingwhich distills the billionaire’s #1 best advice for regular investors, dos and don’ts, and three key principles of investing into a clear and simple guide.