I am about to leave for a 10 day meditation retreat where I am not allowed to talk, be online, read or write for 10 days and for some reason all I want to do before I go is listen to Jay-Z and Kid Cudi because who better to learn from about career development?
I have never seen Jay Z as just an artist. I have always seen him as a master entrepreneur; because to go from the ghetto to being CEO of a conglomerate takes skill and I believe we can all learn a few things. I have taken the liberty to compile 5 lessons I have learned from listening to the Blueprint 3 album:
1) Master what you love to do
One of the songs on the album is “so ambitious” and it has one simple line that struck me as interesting, “maybe I aint good enough for these offices, back to the drawing board ducking officers.”
This line made me pause for a minute because it made me realize that at some point we all have to go the drawing board to perfect our art and our skill. So often we are told to do what we love and the money will follow but I beg to differ; I think we should become great at what we love to do and the money will follow. If we could all master our art and our skill, we would have something unique to offer and we will find a way to market it and make a living off it.
2) Jay Z: “I’m far from being god, but I work god damn hard.”
Okay this quote is not from the album but I thought it was excellent because it goes with the point above and resonates with what most of us have been taught since birth. Talent is not enough, it has to be crafted and honed and that means learning to set goals and working to achieve them. To build our dream careers and achieve our goals will take hard work; not traditional work but creative thinking, out of the box kind of work.
3) Persistence is everything
Jay Z: “I’m different, I can’t base what I’m gonna be off a what everybody isn’t”
Most people call it will power but whatever you call it, it is essential to success. To get where we want to go we have to be persistent. Whether we choose to go the unconventional career route or choose to make changes within the company we work for we will meet some nay sayers and people that tell us we cannot do what we want to do. All hip hop stars talk about the people that told them they could not do it.
Along my journey of entrepreneurship I have been lucky enough to have conversations with some successful entrepreneurs and they have all told me the same thing: failure is part of the journey but it depends what you do with that failure. I have been told horror stories about refinancing homes just to keep a business going and then almost losing everything and just when you think it is all over, something happens and your biggest failure turns into your biggest success.
4) Reinvent yourself – allow yourself to change and grow
It is okay to change and to reinvent yourself on your journey to becoming the ultimate you. In “we off that” Jay Z talks about going from wearing baggy jeans to dressing in suits, from being in the streets to being in offices. Growth is optional and it is painful because you will leave many people and things behind but if you allow it to happen beautiful opportunities you never thought of come your way.
This is a journey, you will find it changing you for better or worse and you should not be scared to take new opportunities. Take advantage of opportunities that come your way; if it’s time to change careers or quit your job, make the change, if you need to go to grad school to get the promotion or the title, go back to school and if you need to change the rules of the game or start your own thing, make that jump.
5) See yourself as already there, convince yourself you have arrived
Jay Z: “I am a work of art, a Warhol already”
I am a big believer in visualization and one thing I have learned from listening to tons of Jay Z and Kid Cudi this past week is that if you have a goal you almost have to forget your present and see yourself as already there, wherever there is. So whatever you do, take action but also understand that your actions have consequences and we live in an age where future employers, strategic partners and co-workers can google us and track us on Facebook. Everything we say online can and will be used against us as we build our careers. Fact! Whether or not we like it we are all officially brands, so it is important that our actions and words match our beliefs because this is how we will be judged when we finally arrive at the many points along the journey.
Image by Flickr user hiddedevries
Vangile is a Realtor and the founder of Speak 2B Free, a company that provides resources for poets and storytellers in the spoken word and poetry slam trades. Follow Van at: www.twitter.com/speak2bfree