A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of seeing Daymond John speak live. If you’ve never heard of him (do you live under a rock?!), Daymond John is the founder of the apparel line, FUBU, and an investor on the hit reality show, Shark Tank. He was a great speaker and extremely captivating. He spoke about his life up to this point and gave some insightful thoughts incorporating 5 main points into the story (naturally these points spelled out S-H-A-R-K).
S – Set a Goal
Daymond worked as a waiter at Red Lobster in his 20’s. He talked about how he learned how a business worked from this job and a bit about the art of selling. I also thought he had an interesting viewpoint about when he decided to actually pursue his own apparel line. He said he was 100% sure he could go back to being a waiter if he failed, so what did he have to lose? I thought this to be a profound statement. Do you have a great idea or the urge to run your own business? What is holding you back from making the leap? For me, the answer to that question is focus, but setting a goal is a good start.
H – Homework
If you are old enough, you might recognize the picture at the top. That is LL Cool J rapping for a 1999 Gap commercial. What you may or may not know is that LL Cool J just happens to be from the same Queens neighborhood as a Mr. Daymond Garfield John. What you also may or may not know is that LL Cool J is wearing a FUBU hat and snuck in a slick, “For Us By Us” (FUBU) lyric into this Gap commercial. The Gap marketing folks didn’t do their homework on the up & coming urban apparel market. And FUBU was handed one of the biggest, accidental marketing campaigns of all time (FO FREE!).
A – Amor
Amor is spanish for “Love”. Everything is a balance in life and this is the one that I definitely felt for Daymond because it was clear that though I’m sure he loves his family, he became extremely busy building a FUBU empire in the early 1990’s and 2000’s and probably did not devote enough time for his family. This struck me because I am always trying to think about prioritizing the problems & things going on currently in my life. It’s a personal decision, but for me, everything I ultimately do in life is for my family’s well being and security. For Daymond, it could have been too, I don’t know. Whatever your priorities, it’s important to remember them & nuture them.
R – Remember, You are the Brand
If you’ve ever seen Shark Tank, you might agree that the sharks have bought into some pretty terrible sounding ideas and they have also passed on some pretty great businesses. But as Daymond pointed out, that show is almost always about investing in people, not products. If they see something in a contestant (not sure of the correct term here – HA!), their current idea might fail, but they will continue fighting and keep coming up with great business ideas until one is successful. I think I remember Mark Cuban saying something about all it takes is “one good idea”, so it’s definitely a mindset. Which leads to tonight’s final thought…
K – Keep Swimming
You don’t even realize things sometimes until you just stop and look around you. The week after I saw Daymond John speak live and heard him say, “Keep Swimming”, I realized I walk by this window art every week when I work out after my evening class. But it resonates with me deeply. No matter who they are or what they do, it’s what successful people do, “Just Keep Swimming”.