Superbowl Sunday in the United States! I am struck by the parallels between growing up as a Black man in the US and launching a business. Both require what may be considered by others to be an unhealthy amount of belief in yourself and what you are doing. Consider that a truly unique individual, just like a truly unique idea, will not be understood by MOST people. Often, you will have only those closest to you as support. Sometimes, even they don’t know what to say or do to support your vision. In these moments, it’s not magic or mantra or even faith that motivates you. What motivates you, if you are honest, is the conviction that failure is not an option. It is the fact that your winning is not just about your success. Your winning is for all those who thought they could not. It is for all those who see the mountain before them, yet they commit to climb anyway. To think that someone had that “unhealthy amount” of belief before you. To think that your “unhealthy amount” will provide sustenance for someone after you. That is what many don’t understand. Because of the doubters, detractors, and those who don’t understand my exuberance, I must continue to exude confidence. What many fail to understand is that this was never about me alone. I stand on the shoulders of those who dared to over-promise and deliver. I am guided by those who took the time to show me how. I am overflowing with confidence for those who will come after me to achieve greater heights than I have achieved.
You know my tweeps agree. Supported by their tweets, I composed some questions for those who call my belief conceit. Maybe this will help them understand.
1. Would you rather I NOT believe in Me?
Read the tweet! No battles have ever been won by second-guessing and half-committing. I recognize the information. I learn and develop. I correct mistakes. AND, when it’s game time, I push aside the doubt that motivated my study, my discovery, and my try again. I live in that moment as the sum total of my preparation and the hopes and dreams of everyone like me. There is no space for what you consider humility. I live the true humility–to do my honest part, making my best contribution to the world. The world would improve if you would find and do the same.
Pessimism never won any battle. – Dwight D. Eisenhower#Quote
— Pamela Sutherland (@Ltd_To_Two) February 7, 2016
2. What does your brand say to others?
You do have a brand. I’m not going to speculate on what it says about you. But, as the tweet suggests, it doesn’t matter whether you recognize it or not. As for me, I don’t want a brand that says “Sit down, and be quiet.” I don’t want my brand to diminish the enthusiasm or quell the excitement. I want my brand to communicate energy, and to inform energy. I want my brand to invite others to share their voices, their love, their products toward making their lives and those around them more authentic. Consider what your brand says about you. At the very least, consider that your brand needs addressing if it’s sole purpose is to limit the expression of other brands.
— Deborah Turner (@YouImageConsult) February 7, 2016
3. Do you think stopping is an option?
I can always tell when someone has not taken a risky, fear-leaping chance at something great. They have the same comment in some form or another, “How?” It is a question, but they communicate it as a comment. They don’t always consciously intend the doubt and hesitance that they communicate, but they are not consonant with their true articulation even though it is present in the question they ask. When you engage someone who is doing what they love and risking the norm, they have overcome a great deal in order to move consistently in the direction of progress. That is the HOW. It was that first step. And, it is improving on the will to make that first step over and over again, making progress. Stopping is not an option. Once that first step was taken giving up became the opposite and more fearful that the first step ever was. Know that however it appears to others as you maintain, the strength is in maintaining the progress.
— Crystal Clark (@Crystalious) February 7, 2016
4. What are you living for?
Make a living or make a life, they say. It is an exercise that you must complete. Start with a list of the most important things in your life. Things you can touch, hold on to, count, and see. Put those things in order of priority. Now, consider what those things need in order to thrive in your life. Consider the choices you make, and the options before you that provide opportunity for those things. Then, consider what those things require of you. Are they similar to your choices? Are both yours and those requirements being satisfied?
Often, persons are most important to us. It could be a spouse, a child, a parent, or even an animal. What you may not realize is that they want YOU expressed in time. The effort you may be putting in to get all the rest could be less valuable than the time you submit. Start there, and count the costs. Make the choices that reclaim time in order to place your time where it matters most.
— Reshma Mehta (@mehta_reshma) February 7, 2016
5. What amount do you think it takes to succeed?
I will tell you like this tweet does. It takes all your might. And, that means from this moment forward until you are done. But, most people make the mistake to think that this insistent, continual, 24/7 grind is referring to WORK. No. What you must do with all your might is LOVE. Do it now. Do it with all your might. When you find yourself wandering in obligation, endurance, or any other situation that causes you to want to skip moments of life, refocus and reframe. Find purpose, and find increased options. Love feeds itself, and does not require rest. Work invites you to take a break. Consider a fundamental shift. The activities you perform for a break must become the “work” that you do with love. “How will you pay for that?”, you ask. That’s where your might needs to be applied…all of it toward answering this question. Answer it seven times for best results! #7RevenueStreams
— Jessica A. Johnson (@JJClassicBeauty) February 7, 2016