I often reflect on the strength of our entrepreneurial ancestors who paved the way for us. Back in the day, they had fewer options, often being in business for ourselves was the only way we could get goods and services in the neighborhoods where we lived.
For me, I fondly remember growing up in Detroit, Michigan and seeing Black entrepreneurs all around me, serving the needs of our community, right in our neighborhood. Across the street from our church was Grady’s Pharmacy; there was no Walgreen’s. Mr. Grady filled all of our needs, and it was such fun to go there and look at all the different bottles and potions he mixed. Mr. Morgan and Mr. Jefferson owned Superior Beauty Supply…had all of our Black hair care needs in a beautiful Black-owned store. We also lived in walking distance to Motown on West Grand Boulevard. It was nothing to see the Temptations, the Miracles, Marvelettes, the Supremes hanging out in front of the company owned by Mr. Berry Gordy who turned our music into sounds that the world grooved to.
Here in Chicago, we have many entrepreneurial giants to be celebrated: Mr. John H. Johnson, Mr. George Johnson, Mr. Ed Gardner and Ms. Oprah Winfrey who built her empire here. But so did my great aunts in their own way. Aunt Blanche and Auntie Noble were caterers on the South Side of Chicago during the 1940′s…way ahead of their time. They used all of their God-given talents to provide for their families and make a way in the world, despite racism, segregation, lack of resources, no technology, just discipline mixed with desire.
Dr. Charles Stanley has said, “Discipline, not desire determines the outcome of our decisions”. As entrepreneurs, though, I believe we need to mix the two. In order to be ALL IN and persevere given the obstacles inherent in being in business, you must have discipline to keep your priorities straight and maintain your focus. But the desire to succeed is the energy that fuels our discipline. That’s what I gain from reading about our entrepreneurial trailblazers. They did what needed to be done, but their desire to do it against all odds made their discipline that much more non-negotiable. They were ALL IN.
My pastor, Charles Jenkins, recently shared three points about being All IN that hopefully will be of help to us all as we go forward making things happen:
- Be fully immersed
-In building your dream; demonstrate CONVICTION
- Be fully engaged
-In understanding the needs of your market and customers; bring them COMFORT
- Be fully committed
-In helping others along the way; play it forward, point the way and serve as a COMPASS
This is what our entrepreneurial trailblazers did. They were ALL IN. Are you?