There are people out there who are binary, in the sense that your encounter with them, as a new business owner, will either be ‘yes’ or ‘no’. They have that kind of power. A word on their social networks could change your life. An at-cost loan from them could give you the necessities you need to run your business smoothly and professionally. The advice they have to offer could help you avoid making the kinds of mistakes that eventually kill start-ups like yours.
Sometimes they are aware of this power. Sometimes, it is so normalized in their lives that they don’t even recognize it. So many people fawn over them or try to get that angle with them – blow smoke up their ass, so to speak – that they have developed a routine rejection. Much like the, “Sorry, I’m on plastic!” I use at circle K stations when homeless people ask for money.
That’s their perspective.
From a starting business’ perspective, I have to be on point and ready. Somehow, I have to differentiate myself from the rabble. Maybe shake up their expectations. I mean, I could play that game and that’s the game that’s being played but.. I have a better idea. How about I put my head to the grind-stone, I do my work and I keep grinding away, I treat everyone equally and treat everyone like a human being, and I leave it up to fate. I mean, that sounds great and even bragadocious, but that’s not always what I do. Most of the time I get caught up in the aforementioned BS and find myself wringing my hands hoping I said the right word in the right phrase in exactly the right tone at precisely the right time.. Oh my! Oh my! Oh my!
But for all my waffling and on-again-off-again self-confidence, there have been folks who, despite my short-comings – and beleive me, they saw some of my weaknesses, I’m sure – they still supported me. They still lifted me up and helped me for no other reason than they wanted to.
There’s a level of trust there. When someone puts you on blast specifically to help your fledgeling business, they just put themselves on the line for you. It’s not that they’re willing to look bad if you do a bad job – they go way further than that becuase they’re willing to fail with you. Talk about motivation to succeed! They hang in there with you while you stumble around blindly, trying to learn the ropes, not seeing the finer points when you’re so interested in being understood and not understanding. Damn! They protect you when you don’t even know you need protecting – saving you possible hurt, damage and even the destruction of your business. They even make sure you have some of the basic necessities in your life.
I’m here to tell you that as I go forward, failing, I will never fail because I will learn and try again. And when I succeed from level to level, and as I grow, I will always remember those who said ‘Yes’ when it meant the most – and I will honor them, by saying ‘Yes’, too.
Thank you all so much. Destination U is only possible for the deep support and generosity that so many have shown me – you truly inspire me to believe, with all my heart, that anything is possible with friends like mine.