One of the biggest mistakes I made in entrepreneurship was trying to be something I wasn’t just because I thought I could make money at it.
At one time I had the idea to open a coffee shop. Our town needed a good local coffee shop. The idea was good….but the problem was I don’t drink coffee. I knew nothing about coffee. I dare say I can’t stand coffee yet I thought I could start a coffee shop. It was destined for failure before it moved past the idea stage.
I’ve also done this as I read book or listen to great business leaders. I would get done reading the book or leave the meeting trying to be just like the person I had just finished learning from. I would try and transform myself into something I wasn’t. It worked for about a week then I was miserable.
I had an old country businessman one time take me to lunch. While at lunch I was telling him some of my frustration with trying to be something that I wasn’t. He just smiled. He then went to this long story about his momma cooking fried chicken. He told me how good it was. He told me how he would eat every bite. I was wondering if he would ever got the point of the story…. He finally told me that when it was all said and done the only thing left on his plate was the chicken bones. He then told me no matter how good the chicken was you can’t eat the bones.
He encouraged me to learn from others in the way he ate chicken. Eat the meat and throw away the bones.
He was right and he changed my life. Instead of reading something and trying become that person, I learned to read, apply it to how it fit my life, and still be me. It was a game changer. The world doesn’t need another Pat Flynn, Gary Vaynerchuck or any other person you want to learn from, it needed the first me.
In the last three years I have had more success than ever before because I am starting things that fit who I am. I do small towns. I do the south. I do motorcycles. I do large events. I push the envelope. I do these things and I’m proud of what I do.
I am who I am and it seems to be working.
As you get ready to launch your start-up, be yourself! The world is waiting for you! People are waiting for you to use your gifts, personality, and uniquness to do something great so do it!
In small towns they are going to try to change you but stay true to yourself. The new ideas. The fresh ideas. The new perspective. The new personalities. That is what is needed in small towns across the south. That is what you bring to the table if you stay true to yourself.