A good friend of mine recently called to ask if I was having trouble developing young people at TH3RD BRAIN.
I asked in what way, and he said, “In the way they view their job as a trade.” Are most young people entering the business today seeking a job or looking at their position as their life’s work?
As he asked me the question, I didn’t think about myself or somebody else in the music industry. I thought of my sister, Sami aka WholeSam, and the way she approached her dream.
A few years ago, after graduating with minimal clue of what she wanted to do with her career and having spent six months not doing much of anything at all, Sami decided she wanted to be a chef. So what did she do next?
She got a job at a restaurant supporting in the kitchen. It paid minimum wage and was really difficult. I remember her coming home with a burn one time, and despite the pain, you could tell underneath it all, she was loving the experience. While she worked that job, she also got her health coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
LESSON #1: Get the experience and educate yourself.
She learned the recipes of the school and mixed them with recipes from her favorite restaurants’ cookbooks to experiment designing her own meals. Most of all, she watched others cook.
LESSON #2: Learn from others and create your own style.
She catered anything anyone asked her to… And did it with confidence. Anything she didn’t know, she looked up on YouTube or texted her new chef friends. She would even talk to her friends who were not pursuing a career in the kitchen she never know who may have a special family sauce to offer.
LESSON #3: Do. Do. And do some more. Dig deep for answers.
She stayed curious and observant. Whenever she ate at a restaurant, she was doing market research. She asked her servers what was in the food or spoke to the chefs directly to ask how they prepared her delicious meal.
LESSON #4: Stay curious – you can learn from anyone anywhere and everywhere.
She got the best ingredients for her own meals by befriending every vendor and farmer at the farmers market. It was important to her and her clients could taste the difference.
LESSON #5: Deliver the best.
So who was her first client? Me. Sami cooked for me for a couple months while she worked the restaurant job and finished nutrition school. At one of the events she catered, the food was so great, one of Ludacris’ former personal assistants asked to be introduced to the chef. After meeting Sami, he informed her Chris was looking for a chef.
LESSON #6: You can start anywhere. You can lead from any position.
Shortly thereafter, she became Ludacris’ personal chef. Then, she decided to raise money via kickstarter and opened her own food truck! Her goal was $10,000 and she raised $16,716.
LESSON #7: Keep growing and pursuing new opportunities.
Running a food truck is insane!!! Sami has to pick up the truck from the commissary, prepare all the food, put it all away on the truck (she can’t leave it out or it will fall over as she drives), make sure there is enough water, gas, propane, and ice, cook in the heat all day, clean up, return the truck, and drive home.
As far as manual labor goes, operating a food truck must be one of the most difficult jobs. On top of that, there are restrictive laws regarding where Sami can park the truck. Amidst operating the truck, Sami had to form relationships with bars, festivals, and organizations to hire her truck for their events. She also had to hire and fire employees, separate from a business partner, and more.
LESSON #8: Do the work. All of it.
Sami shared her difficult journey via social media. She was honest and vulnerable and it was inspiring.
During this time, 72 and Sunny happened to come across Wholesam and asked her and her business to be the focus of a nationwide commercial for a Coors Light campaign.
LESSON #9: Share your experiences and others will contribute to your dream.
Despite all the hard work, and the fact she delivers an amazing product, Sami was actually losing money and had to take a hard look at the viability of a food truck business.
In order to support her dream, she had to pivot, but she didn’t want to give up the truck. Instead, she committed to growing her private chef and catering businesses, where now in addition to working for Ludacris three meals a day, she also cooks privately for Demarcus Cousins and 2 Chainz.
LESSON #10: You can always pivot. (Just look at Justin Timberlake from NSYNC to who he is today!)
I tell Sami’s story because her desire to continue to grow is fueled by her willingness to make things happen. Growing up our parents prided us on getting a good education, but more importantly than EQ and IQ, they preached GIDQ – “Get it done!” intelligence.
Whether you’re starting your career or been crushing it for decades, there is not a skill more valuable than the ability to make things happen.
While Sami is an entrepreneur, you don’t have to start your own business to give your all to your life’s work, be passionate about being your best, and create the growth and learning required to accomplish your wildest dreams.
But you have to be willing to do the work.
LESSON #11: Do whatever it takes to get “it” done with integrity and heart.