If you keep your nose to the grindstone, you don't have any nose.— Les Wexner
The most joyful Les Wexner quotes you will be delighted to read
Growing up, I knew you were supposed to have a profession - and something better than being a shopkeeper, which is what my parents were.
Society can't wait. It's sad there are so many entrepreneurs, business successes and venture capitalists who give no thought to society.
If you start painting yourself into a corner, life starts shutting down.
There is always hopefully a next.
Ask yourself: What forms the decisions you make? What is it that gnaws at you? What are your crucible moments?
In the '70s and '80s, the mentality of America was that everything was disposable. The notion of quality wasn't important.
The foundation of leadership is your own moral compass.
I think the best quality leaders really know where their moral compass is. They get it out when they are making decisions. It's their guide. But not only do you have to have a moral compass and take it out of your pocket, it has to have a true north.
My mom was terrific. I described my mom once. If fear was a color, she was color blind. Nothing frightened her. If I told her that I was going to take over General Motors, she'd say, "You can do it." Just the most preposterous things, ambitious things, she said, "You can do it."
I was very lucky to find a career which let me travel, sourcing stores in other countries, just the opportunities of the career in design and finance and all the things that make retailing - my career - interesting to me. That's why I started looking at community responsibility. I felt I should give of myself.
I am really proud of the development of the people on my team as they grow in purpose; they like what they see in the mirror.
You have to keep being curious. The notion that the present is different than the past, and the future will be different than the present, and the present is past, as we say it. I think I, by nature, am an optimist. Maybe I was driven to escape from my childhood and to be something, create my own world or career the way I wanted it to be. And I keep doing that in very interesting ways.
If your life lease, your existence was canceled tomorrow, what would you wish you had done? What are the things you would like to impact? Start on those and you can change the world. Maybe you can only make your neighborhood a little bit better, or make someone's life a little bit better. Isn't that the kind of purpose?
There is always hopefully a next.
I think a lot of people would assume that my job is more about supermodels and naked ladies and all that, and no, it's just really about fashion, merchandise and customers. So the obviously sexy parts - you get to go to the fashion show and all that stuff. It's really just business. That's my story. I'm sticking to it.
What makes you tick? Why do you care about the things you care about?
As an entrepreneur, you work out solutions.
Nobody remembers who was the richest toga salesman in Rome.
My faith is very important me. I think the notion that there's this greater force outside of ourselves that's created the universe, created challenges, creates opportunity, the notion of man's responsibility to man.
You’re not going to be a 1.000 hitter all the time. You’re going to be more wrong than right. You just have to correct your errors as quickly, as economically, as possible.
My view is that everything begins with the customer.
If you know the customer, then you can match the merchandise and then you can market it. The marketing is kind of the icing. The foundation is the cake. That's the merchandise. Then the question is, "Do the customers want cake, or do they want cupcakes or donuts. What is it?"
I think finding the way in life is the hardest part.
At every stage of life, every trial, every success, you know, you're going into some kind of fog. There isn't a plan that suddenly reveals itself, and you go, "Ta-da! Now I understand."
I was single for most of my life. The best thing that happened to me is my wife. I've got four kids. All of them go to Harvard. Much better than their dad. They're really bright kids.
Entrepreneurs, guys that start businesses, grow with them. It's more painful than it would appear.
I think I have terminal curiosity. So I always think that the future will be better and different than the past. As I look back and take inventory of myself, I'm very open-minded and flexible. People say the older you get, you get set in your ways. I don't think so.
At that time when I was struggling with being successful in a financial way, people would say, "You should be very happy. Look how well you're doing financially," and I was struggling to find purpose, if you would. There's quote from Einstein that said, "Happiness and well-being are the ambitions of a pig." And I thought, "Boy, that's exactly how I feel."
I don't think most analysts understand that whether I work a 70-hour week or an 80-hour week, I take my head with me when I go home.
I think it's good to have your own selfish interests, whether it's liking chocolate ice cream or wanting a new car. It's just human nature is that. We have our own selfish interests. I think we have interests that go beyond our self to friends, to family first, maybe to friends, maybe to community. I think that's important to think about those spheres of influence that radiate from you.
Everything has a lifecycle. You have to believe it’s going to change.
Sometimes I wish I lived more in the day, but I'm happier thinking about tomorrow or the day after. The way I see it, there's always a new or next thing.
A woman at the Limited once asked me, 'Why do you work?' She said, 'You made a lot of money as a young man, so why are you still working?' I had never thought about it before. Forced to consider it, I told her, 'You know why? Because I think that if you stop to smell the roses, you'll get hit by a truck.