Ninety-nine percent of the time, in my experience, the hard part about creativity isn’t coming up with something no one has ever thought of before. The hard part is actually executing the thing you’ve thought of. The devil doesn’t need an advocate. The brave need supporters, not critics.
Story from LinkedIn:
I dropped out of UCLA.
I moved onto my best friends couch.
I couldn’t afford eating out, so I stuck with potatoes.
I was physically and mentally strained but pushed onward.
Through the stress, I learned a secret that changed my life forever.
No matter what the circumstances or how low you find yourself, you can dig yourself out.
You may be bloodied and scarred. You may be at the lowest point in your entire life, but you can still find success.
When I found myself in this position, I put my head down and got to work.
Instead of going out on Friday and Saturday nights, I worked.
I read books on entrepreneurship and success.
I forgot what others said about my decisions.
I challenged myself to be better.
I let my work speak for me.
Suddenly, people started to order Tenzo Tea.
We closed our first wholesale account a shortly after.
Business owners began to respect and value our product.
I was finally able to afford my own mattress and left the couch forever.
We closed another shop. And then another. And then a 3 location business. And then a 10 location business.
Now, we have over 70 locations across southern California.
If you find yourself at a low point,
Get focused, be disciplined, and you too can pull yourself from the ashes.
And honestly I need to talk about this sort of shit that’s pops up EVERYWHERE in business.
This guy is white, and male, and cisgender, and straight, able-bodied, neurotypical, and most likely Christian. (Those are generalizations and assumptions but these are fairly safe assumptions in business) Yes. He had to work to get to where he is, but he does not understand his fundamental privilege that made him able to be so successful. It’s not always so simple as “get up and grind” and that makes me SO FRUSTRATED with the business world. So many of the success stories we see are the same types of people - the most systematically privileged types of people - making it big by working hard. I’m not diminishing his hard work, it is VERY hard work to open a business. But so many people don’t understand the privileges they have when they are doing it.
My internship this summer was running a small business. One of the reasons I didn’t do as well is because of my anxiety. This doesn’t even touch on the fact that the contract with the company didn’t protect sexual orientation. Or the fact that I was the only Jewish person in the room of 60 people. Or the fact that there were only about six people of color in that group. Or the fact that at the end of the summer there are only four women left (that’s not even counting the fact that I don’t even identify as a woman, I just can’t be open and out here).
You know what they told me? Don’t make it an excuse.
It is systematically harder to do this kind of work if you are a minority. If you have mental illness. If you have a disability. And people in the business school and entrepreneurs everywhere don’t seem to understand that. The things they tell us are “work hard and it will pay off”. And maybe it is just that. But the people in the minority have to work twice as hard - sometimes more- to get the same results. I wish that was something the entrepreneurship world understood. I think it’s one of the biggest ways to get more minorities into business. But I don’t know how to go about changing it.
Despite almost four centuries of black independent self-help enterprises, the agency of African Americans in attempting to forge their own economic liberation through business activities and entrepreneurship has remained noticeably absent from the historical record. Juliet Walker’s award-winning History of Black Business in America is the only source that provides a detailed study of the continuity, diversity, and multiplicity of independent self-help economic activities among African Americans.
This new, updated edition divides the original work into two volumes. The first volume covers African American business history through the end of the Civil War and features a new introduction, as well as the first comprehensive account of black business during the Civil War. By emphasizing the African origins of black business practices and highlighting the contributions of black women, enslaved and free, Walker casts aside the long-held assumption that a “lack of a business tradition” is responsible for the failure of African Americans to establish successful, large-scale enterprises. [book link