“Don’t let anyone tell you that entrepreneurs are a special breed of human being—that they, unlike normal people, feel no fear,” Hint founder and CEO Kara Goldin writes in her new book Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts + Doubters. “That is not true and it’s not what being undaunted is about.”
While Undaunted does indeed tell the story of an entrepreneur—a fascinating, exciting and inspiring story at that—it’s not just a book for founders and business leaders. It’s a must-read for anyone who’s ever had a dream that they didn’t know how to achieve.
Part-memoir, part-self-help book might be the easiest way to describe Goldin’s latest feat, but, in reality, she’s elevated the traditional motivational business book to a whole new genre with gripping prose, raw vulnerability and a poetic ability to weave fundamental life lessons into an enthralling tale.
“Being undaunted is understanding what your fears are, deciding when it’s important to face up to them, preparing yourself to confront them, and then working through them,” she writes in a chapter about the time she decided to hike the Grand Canyon. That particular experience of hers resonated deeply with Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Goldin explained, because when you hit a seemingly life-ending challenge (no major spoilers, but a rattlesnake does make an unwelcome appearance on her hike), you start to think this is not where it’s going to end, your mind wanders back to harder things you’ve overcome during your life.
“You always have doubts, whether it’s in the personal side of your life or the professional side of your life, but the harder things you go through actually just make you stronger and more capable,” Goldin told Worth during a recent phone interview. “The most successful entrepreneurs don’t have roadmaps. They just go and create their own way. And I think that’s what’s so critical for people to hear—whether they want to become an entrepreneur or just be able to get out of bed.”
Creating your own way isn’t necessarily easy, something that she attests to throughout her book, but if anyone has the rough sketches of a roadmap, it’s Goldin. A true disrupter in every sense of the word, she founded Hint in 2005 with no previous beverage industry experience.
“The first couple of years, I felt like I was truly getting my MBA in beverages, because I had no idea what I didn’t know,” Goldin explained. “Every day, there was something new and often, frankly, something really frustrating.” But she persisted. After ditching diet soda for water and seeing the incredible health benefits of the switch, she was determined to help people drink water instead of sugary drinks.
“I’ve figured out a lot of stuff in my life. I can figure this out. And if it turns out I can’t, at least I put this idea out there, that you can enjoy things that don’t taste sweet. Someone has to do that,” Goldin explained to her husband (and now Hint COO) Theo, when she decided to start the business.
Today, Hint is a $150-million company, and Hint Water is the number one flavored water in the U.S. with distribution in all 50 states. By keeping the company’s mission at the forefront, focusing on the consumers and tackling obstacles head on, Hint has not only expanded into sunscreen, deodorant and hand sanitizer—it has also become an iconic brand beloved by millions of customers who are looking to make healthy choices.
“It’s really important to bring your personal story into the brand identity,” Goldin writes in her book. “People associate the brand with a human being and that person’s story. It adds tremendous meaning and value to them.”
And Goldin’s personal story—not to mention her reputation as a fierce and scrappy leader—has been instrumental to the growth of Hint. Despite the current economic landscape, Hint has been able to grow and expand its team, with direct-to-consumer sales tripling amidst the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit in mid-March, Goldin was on the front lines, running routes and stocking shelves to keep her product in stores while the world was shutting down.
“As a leader, never be afraid to actually go back to your roots. I think, so often, leaders will sit there, and they don’t know how to do the beginning. And I’ve been at the beginning,” Goldin told Worth. “I just don’t sit there and think, ‘oh, we can’t do that.’ Instead, I just try it. I actually figure out how to do it.”
“Figure it out,” “just get started,” “build the airplane while you’re flying it,” “persevere,” “face your fears.” Those are five of the 21 chapter names in Goldin’s new book that really solidify what Undaunted is truly about.
“I wrote this book, not because I want to hold myself up as the ideal model, but because everybody needs a little encouragement and advice to help them push away the doubts and doubters and achieve everything they believe they can,” Goldin writes in the book’s prologue. “If my story proves anything, it’s that if I can do it, you can, too.”
If you ever find yourself in need of motivation to follow your dreams, Undaunted is the book for you.