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No Permission - Mindset

Nine years ago, I had realized that I wanted to own my own business. But it was not just for me. I needed to build a platform to have the chance to provide both for myself and my growing family at the time. You see, I was expecting a baby girl in the coming months before starting my first business. I always knew I was a hard worker and knew that I did not work well in settings where I didn't have control. When I say control, what I mean is that I always had a person who I called my boss, supervisor, or manager, and with that, I always had to ask for permission. 

The day that I decided to register my business, I knew it would be hard, and I knew I would have to work harder than I had in my professional life. Looking back on it now, all the things I learned from that experience and the experiences in starting another business provided me with a few fundamental pillars that have helped me achieve success.

Entrepreneurial Pillars

  1. Hustle: Hard work with consistency and determination to earn the life you deserve.

  2. Grind: Push through the mundane tasks necessary to achieve your goals.

  3. Execute: Put in the work and let the results do the talking.

  4. Talent: Raw, untrained ability honed, and mastered.  

  5. Grit: The drive, stamina, and fortitude to push through any challenge or obstacle until success is achieved.

I'm now three years into my current venture, T.WILL Sports. I'm continuing to build on its success and continuing to learn as I go. The entire process has been so beneficial to my growth as a businessman. This has been a hell of a ride, and this time, I do not have a "real job" to fall back on -- this is my job, and it's never felt better and more real. 

Thinking about the day I got started and feeling a different kind of motivation -- a different type of drive knowing that I was building for my family and loving the work I was doing. This was my professional "level up," and I can say this was the right move for me because I could see and feel the difference in my work ethic, drive and how this does not feel like my job because it is my life's work, built after 30 years in sports. 

Part of the success of my current venture came from the mentorships. From the relationships I fostered, a wise man once said that if you want to be a millionaire, you need to move amongst millionaires and learn their ways. My mentors have all brought tremendous value to me and my business; the one missing component is that very few of my mentors look like me. As a black man who is an entrepreneur, I believe that it is my responsibility to contribute to Black ownership; I need to support and create new, professional freedom opportunities. I am building a cohort of new black entrepreneurs who will collectively grow into a network of like-minded individuals who will also increase their communities' black economy. 

No permission is required; you don't have to ask to be successful, and once you realize that fact, you will start to look at your professional landscape very different. There may be no words more real than to explain entrepreneurism this way, "either build your dream, or someone will hire you to build their team." I will not glorify this professional path because it is not for everyone. There are many setbacks and a significant learning curve. There is the end game, and there is the journey. Both are gratifying and will contribute to who you will become on your road to success. Here are a few of the realities that I have learned through my experience of becoming an entrepreneur.

"The credit belongs to those people who are actually in the arena…who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions to a worthy cause; who at best, know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

~ Theodore Roosevelt

  1. It's lonely at the starting line. It will be hard as you get started, and you will not have any coworkers.

  2. Keep your circle tight. Everyone will have an opinion on what you have going on or on the rate of your progress. The best way to deal with this is to keep your head down and work because the work is what matters. The constructive feedback will come from your inner circle of trusted individuals who you identify. 

  3. Understand that you are going against the grain. By opting to be an owner/founder rather than a worker, you are doing something different. By enlarge society trains us to be employees. If you think about this one example, you can get a student loan of $90,000.00 over four years for college to get a degree, and that degree may not improve your chances of being hired! If you want to skip college and act on the idea you have had for a couple of years but need startup capital, getting $40,000.00 in a business loan will be extremely challenging. Let that sink in.  

  4. Your mindset holds the same value as your skillset. When gaining an understanding of your success potential, you will need a skillset, but without a strong and determined mindset, failure is imminent.

  5. Don't make permanent decisions over temporary frustrations. It is going to be a full journey. Although this is and will be your work, you at certain levels, you can't afford to make emotional decisions.

Professional freedom comes at a cost. You will sacrifice and give a lot before you see the return. You will have to trust yourself and trust your offering through the process. You will experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, all while possessing the power to pull up and stay steady. It will take more work than you think, and you will learn more than you can ever imagine. Relationships, relationships, relationships are so important. The preservation of current relationships and the ability to build new relationships is vital to your success, no matter what field your business is in.  

Your plans will not always go as planned. You have to understand that sometimes things have to fall apart to come together. Your dream works when you and your goals are like a pair of scissors cutting everything that gets it the way. This applies to distractions, people, and sometimes you have to be willing to sacrifice who you are in some less critical ways to allow yourself to become who you are meant to be in this journey.

Be the flow; never go with the flow. You have to set the tone and pace for your journey. No matter how slow or fast you grow, there is no wrong answer. If you have a full-time job and still have the time to prepare your business for launch, do that! If you have the urge to wake up and walk away from your job to pursue your professional dreams fully…. Do that! Here is the thing, dig deep, and find an understanding of what will bring you professional happiness.

When your 'why' is clear, 'how' becomes easier. A 'no permission' mindset changes the way you view your professional life. You will either walk like a King/Queen or walk like you don't care who the King/Queen is. Claim your spot in the success circle and do it on your terms; create your platform. Success may look like never having to go to that awkward meeting with your boss/manager/supervisor to convince them to allow you to earn more. Take the cap off your earning potential and own your future. 


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