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.

One Comment

March 1, 2018 3:53 am

Great story; reminds me of how I started in the entertainment industry. After being told that the live music production field was saturated, I disregarded it and decided to start from the bottom up anyway by volunteering to hand out fliers for clubs/venues throughout Dallas (deep ellum) for free until I was offered a job
doing security. I then hooked up with the production crew unloading trucks and pushing cases until I learned everything about lighting and eagerly chose to climb and focus every time and was always rewarded with the best seat in the house, being a truss spot. For over a decade I was the best at what I did from city to city, leading crews all the while. My first gig I rode my motorcycle in the rain during rush hour to get on the stand-by list and was chosen for the sight crew to do the Eagles dressing rooms but soon saw the steel crew building towers and shortly thereafter, I was up in the midst of it all, 150 feet in the air, high on life. One time I even traveled 4 hours to get on a standby list to do a show that I loved and ended up running spot as well.


It was a dream come true for my daughter to see Grace in Dallas, and she is still in shock from meeting her, especially after a four hour road trip to be the first fans there, and wait eight hours in line to be up front, then to be last ones to leave with an autograph on her ukulele, was without a doubt, the best night of her life with the most amazing memories that she could ever have imagined. This was the first time I really showed her that we can make our dreams come true.

Now MY dream is to run a truss spot for Grace in at least one, if not all the shows on this next tour. I’m an excellent lighting tech that loves to climb, focus, and will run a truss spotlight, but will also be willing to unload trucks, coordinate local crews, set up the lighting rig, show call, then tear down and load out; I can even provide security as well. have my own motorhome, practically new, and will be willing to follow the tour.
My name is Jerry De La Cruz,
my number is (325)939-6927
and my email is delacruzjerrylee@gmail.com
Please call me if you could use someone with the utmost integrity who is willing to dedicate all their heart towards their passion. I will follow up closer to the tour. Thank you for and from Dallas; hopefully you remember me/us.

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