There’s Gotta Be Another Way

Let me ask a question…

How many people do you know who have a job, worked that job for however long and actually became a millionaire, multi-millionaire or extremely wealthy, even being able to leave a legacy from working that job?

None, right? No worries, me either. In fact, I bet the majority of those reading this have been lulled to sleep like me with a false understanding of how wealth works. I was taught that the only way to achieve success and wealth in life – “The American Dream” – is to go to school, get good grades, get a good job to work for 30-40 years and retire with a well-funded 401K to take care of us for the rest of our lives. Sound familiar? This may have worked for my parents and their generation, but now I can’t help but think this view of how life is supposed to work is a pipe dream that so people like me are waking up from.

I’m finding that a lot of millennials are stepping out of that box and jumping into working for themselves and starting businesses; becoming photographers, writers or the things they are really passionate about. This isn’t a new phenomenon though. Think of Marcus Garvey, Reginald F. Lewis, Oprah Winfrey, Henry Ford, the Dodge brothers, the Wright brothers just to name a few entrepreneurs with amazing stories. These entrepreneurs are the ones who pushed the envelope, pushed the American culture forward for us to have so much of what we do today. The progress they created came from passion toward impacting the lives of everyday people, self-reliance, strong belief in self, a belief in something that didn’t exist yet and most importantly clear vision.

Entrepreneurs persevere when no one else believes when people try and deter them. Our ability to press on is where the progress in America comes from. I’ll admit, some who live by the motto “by any means necessary” may take it a little too far. However, without that drive and perseverance that help entrepreneurs carve out our spaces in industry, we do not have space and opportunity for progress. The best ones never took the easy way out either. Living life that way can be hard, but we live for it. We love the process a lot of the time more than the results. It can be lonely sometimes, mainly because those who are the closest to us are the ones who believe in the vision the least. Thank god for the fact that for every naysayer there is a believer, an early adopter, and evangelist. The important question we should ask ourselves, especially those of us who come from lineages of employees, which one are we? Are we the hater/naysayer or are we the encourager/believer? I don’t know about you, but I can’t be the type of person who stifles the growth, hopes, and visions of the entrepreneur(s) in my life. We need those people to continue doing what they do, especially now more than ever.

There is a significant shift that is happening in our country. There are those who want things to go back to the way they were, back to times when there was next to no opportunities for wide swaths of our society, in particular, people of color. This was a time when the “American Dream” I outlined earlier was possible, but mainly for our white counterparts.

In my opinion, change consistently goes forward not backward. If you believe the way things are working now are not working for people like you and you want to be a part of the change moving forward, you have to be innovative and have ideas to do something different. Here’s how I started. Maybe it can help…

     1. Learn New Skills

There is a select few that are born with the innate skills to venture out into the business world on their own. If you are someone like me, born and bread with an employee’s mindset, you can find solace in knowing that the ability to learn those skills are more available now than ever. Yes, you can read books, the classic and the new ones. Don’t read much? All good, because of the advancements in technology and the internet, information is at your fingertips. Youtube has hours of training videos for just about anything. You can listen to the same book in audio form so you can get the information on the go. Platforms like Skillshare are providing professionals and operators the chance to easily share their expertise with the average person, providing skills needed to take ideas and visions to the next level.

  1. Connect with Like-Minded People

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat give you a chance to be directly connected to people who may be in the field that you want to enter. These folks can maybe become a peer or even better, a mentor. Follow them and be bold enough to connect with them. If you not feeling that bold yet (lol), just regularly consuming their content can make them a mentor in your head. Plus, if their content is good, it will show the space they’ve carved out for themselves and you’ll be able to see what sets them apart. If you are paying attention, you’ll be able to also determine what’s absent from the field, how you with your strengths can fit and be the missing piece that everyone needs.

  1. Document Your Story

At the end of the day, we all have our individual stories and we are our own authors. The greatness of these stories is based on what we decide to write. That means every step we take, every decision we make are all a part of the story. Don’t believe the people who say there is only one way to live this life and achieve success and wealth. As the saying goes, there are many ways to pick a lock. There may be underlying similarities but no two walks of life are the same. How you document your story can be a help to others who may be walking down the same path as you. If you want to make a million dollars, you have to impact a million people. Just sharing your story is a great way to do that.

I want to live it as full as possible. I know I need to level up in order to make that happen. I’m not there yet, but I am on my way. Working for a living, trading my time for money is only going to partially get me there. That works for some, but not for me. So I decided, if I wanted to level up and live a legendary life, I had to get to work. If this resonates with you, then maybe you should get to work too.