When I was 22, I was an Event Promoter. I produced parties and small concerts. This was something that I had been doing since shortly after I graduated from high school. I believed that this was the first step in my journey towards becoming an Entertainment Industry “Mogul”.
In order to have the flexibility that I needed to work on my business by day, I also became a Bartender. Ultimately, I would work at a nightclub named “Charles Disco”, which was famously depicted in the Outkast song “Spottieottiedopaliscious”. I would spend my days organizing my next event. I spent an equal amount of my time trying to find a way to eventually promote my first big concert. This seemed to be a perfect plan.
During my 22nd year on this planet I experienced some significant successes. I also experienced a major failure. I promoted my most successful event early in that year. Later in the year, I promoted my first big concert. I was now a “big-time” Concert Promoter.
The responsibility of promoting this event came complete with booking major New York City Rappers, purchasing professionally produced Radio Commercials and acquiring high-profile “Corporate” sponsors - the “Whole Nine”. Attendance-wise it was a success. Yet due to some outrageous financial chicanery on behalf of the box office personnel and my business “partners”, it was a financial disaster.
Following this turn of outrageous fortune, I decided that it was finally time to get a real job. I was forced to transform into a quitter from a go-getter – at least in my mind. I saw getting a job as absolute failure. My Mom was sure proud of me though. I now had an ample, steady income and was working for a prestigious company – with benefits. As time went by, the sun rose to reveal other possibilities and the window of opportunity for pursuing the old dream of music industry “Moguldom” eventually closed.
Did I make the right decision to “give up” and join the “Rat Race”. Well to be perfectly honest with you, too much time has passed and there were way too many other variables involved to answer that question simply. However, there are many things that I didn’t know then that I know now that might have given me a better chance of achieving success and holding on tight to my dream. If I were 22, these are 10 things that I wish I knew. I now share them with you.
1) Maintain your emotional balance as you travel the distance between the voyage and the victory. There will be up and downs. Don’t over-celebrate your victories. Don’t overly grieve your losses.
2) Greatness is the ability to pursue your personal vision over a significant period of time. You will have to consistently bring creativity and innovation to your field of endeavor. Also, you must maintain your integrity without ever sacrificing your commitment to excellence.
3) Success doesn't always depend on coming up with the best idea. Sometimes it’s just a matter of putting your greatest effort into the idea that you come up with. Don’t waste too much time searching for the best idea of all time. Yet, you shouldn’t waste too much time on a bad idea either. Yeah, it’s tricky.
4) Challenges are Opportunities.....Disguised as Limitations. What may seem like an insurmountable problem may just be an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson, not a reason to quit.
5) Reciprocity is the recipe for prosperity. If you help other people, they will help you to achieve more success than you could by yourself.
6) Your greatest source of future wealth will be determined by the purchasing decisions that you make today. Credit card payments, student loans, car payments and debt in general can rule your life and steal your ability to pursue your dreams.
7) The image that you present and the information you transfer to the public are signs of your dedication to quality and the soundness of your ideas. If you don’t look the part or sound like you know what you are talking about, sometimes it won’t matter how much passion or even ability you possess inside.
8) You must assemble a winning team. You alone will never possess all of the skills and abilities required for perfection. Nor will you ever be able to earn every certification or degree needed to answer all questions. You must find out how to attract, learn from and utilize the right people.
9) Compromise is the mature acceptance of the fact that no single person needs to succeed at the expense of another to win. It’s not a “Dog eat dog world”. Successful people eventually realize that it is a people helping people world. Not a single ruthless Gangster ever makes it to the end of the movie.
10) It matters not who is in power, where you went to school, or whatever obstacles appear to be in your way....when you have a plan, everything becomes your resource.
The path to success is not easy. I am still on it. It is a long winding highway. Yet with a plan and some rules of the road to follow, hopefully you won’t spend your entire life looking for the next exit.