As I reflect on the journey thus far I really haven’t accomplished much of anything to call my own. At least from my vantage point...But I love telling the story during the process. When I look back on the last 12 months I can only feel blessed and even more motivated to attack each day with the vigor of someone with a chip on their shoulder. Hearing “no” is part of the process of growth and development. But what is not part of the process is your reaction to rejection. It is easy to get discouraged. It is easy to give up. It is easy to go to a place of comfort when you feel rejection in the slightest. Well played society, but I will not be broken. I decided I wanted more!
We all have a ‘Life Equation’, where we look at our personal lives added to our work lives or what is that we do to make money which equals our ‘Life Sum’. A couple years ago, during graduate school is when I started really assessing my ‘Life Sum’. Boy, let me tell you, I didn't like the sum of my number. From that point on, I have gained a healthy obsession with the Kaizen mentality. Kaizen is continuous improvement based on the following guiding principles:
Good processes bring good results
Go see for yourself to grasp the current situation
Speak with data, manage by facts
Take action to contain and correct root causes of problems
Work as a team
"CHANGE FOR THE BETTER"
Kaizen = Continuous Improvement
...by Everybody! Everyday! Everywhere!
Let me tell you about the story of Carly Moore or “Princess Carly” (you can find out more about her story on Facebook). I received a bit of this little girl's fight with AMC, which is a joint disorder she was born with. Carly is 10 now. Her mother proceeded to tell how Carly was still a fun, energetic girl where conversations about cute boys was still the topic of conversations. Being confined to a wheelchair did not change her spirit. Our conversation began on a flight to Orlando as she was going to see an older daughter and I was headed to see family. While head down writing in my notepad, Linda (Carly’s Mom), leaned over and tapped my shoulder. I took my headphones off and she asked what I was working on. I gave her a little insight to what I wanted to do, showed some enthusiasm, and sprinkled in some passion.We chatted the rest of the flight. She told me, “Jamaal, you will do great things, just keep fighting. Keep Fighting like Carly has fought.” I said thank you, we hugged in the terminal and went our separate ways. I remember thinking I wish I could get potential employers and entrepreneurs in Silicon Prairie to feel the same way about me.
Yet, I have been told no or received the dreaded, “thanks, but no thanks email” from numerous start-ups in the Prairie. At one point I kept a folder with every single one. From Hudl, BuluBox, BuilderTrend, Red Nova Labs, Hayneedle, Archrival, Flywheel, Opendorse, Sojern, Agilx and the list goes on. So a year removed from grad school, I left Lincoln, NE. Landed in Austin, TX. There, I had to turn down offers and got interviews all over the city. Ultimately, I got hired at a social media marketing company, Main Street Hub. After a stint there, I was offered the opportunity to join a boutique technical recruitment agency called, Austin Fraser. Fitting name, Right?! Part of the deal was to spend the summer in the UK until we were ready to launch the first US office in the ATX. It was perfect because I got to pay attention to the whole tech/start-up community. Went to more events and handed out more biz cards then I really want to recount. I lived, traveled, and learned so much on that journey. But, I wasn't happy, in my heart I knew I had something to prove and knew I wanted to make an impact on an area that gave so much to me.
Now, in Omaha since March, excited and motivated to build while adding to the culture. I understand this area must become more progressive when it comes to the future with the goal to attract and retain talent. I see what is about to happen to this area and I want in! We are halfway between NYC and LA, and we don't plan on coasting either. There are a lot of talented individuals in this area and I am excited to continue the fight to make some noise in flyover country.
When people ask me “What do you do?” I tell them I am a creative. So I look for ways to create. Whether that is creating content, creating art, creating opportunities, creating events, creating experiences, creating relationships, and ultimately creating the environment I can call my own.
Thank you for your time.
This is what I am been working on:
This is me at 31.
#WKNDLDRS #LeadThyWKND #WeDontCoast