One of my few advisors recently told me, “Tony, you guys function as if you have a Chip on your Shoulder.”
I couldn’t quite figure out if this was good or bad, it almost felt as if it was a gentle way of telling us something negative. Either way, it’s weighed on me for several weeks, kept nagging at me, just couldn’t shake it.
I couldn’t help but laugh, while also finding real wisdom in the statement. Why is it that comedy, for as much as it makes us laugh, always manages to tug the real truth in issues?
The Power of a Chip
What I have learned however is that this chip is what makes us unique, it’s what makes us stand out.
I’ve learned that there are more forces moving against you, helping you fail, than there are helping you succeed.
In business, those forces may include basic challenges around sustainable growth, ruthlessness of competition, and amplification of external, and internal, perception. To the normal person, the weight and pressure of these is enough to weigh them down and tap them into submission. It’s why the 99% of companies fail, whether within their first year, or before they hit $1 mm in ARR.
Your challenges as a business owner exponentially grow. Your chip, to me, is your center, your compass pointing you North. It keeps you focuses, and helps you push harder when deep in the grind.
One of the people I have always admired, The Rock, always says:
When the struggle is all you know, Fighting becomes natural and quitting becomes impossible…
This is perhaps the basis of that chip, and the impalpable appetite for a good fight against the odds. How appropriate that I should idolize after an actor/wrestler?
Explains a lot, uh… ?
Your Chip Is Your Fire
I don’t see the chip really as a negative though. To me, it’s the fire, the passion in your belly that gets you through the toughest times. It’s that flame that pushes you when you need it most, when it’s late at night and you’re tired, when the odds are stacked up against you, when it feels the walls are caving in on you.
Everyone should have a chip. If you don’t, then why do what we do? Granted it’s not for everyone, some folks are simply looking to maintain a decent life, spending it surfing, hiking, rolling around on mats, etc.. others, those few of us that really want to change our destiny’s. Those are the ones that I know, know what I mean.
How can you not think of billionaire Mark Cuban when you think of chips? Just look at how he’s described:
The loudmouth owner of NBA team Dallas Mavericks has found an even bigger voice these days as star of Shark Tank, where he bids for startups against rival investors like FUBU founder Daymond John.
Mark once provided a list of 12 rules for Startups, in it, his number one states:
1. Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love.
I read a story on Forbes of billionaire Kevin Plank, founder of Under Armour. How fascinating a background. As I dug deeper, I found an article that described his humble beginnings, and it shared how in the early days, he would send a letter Christmas cards to Nike’s Founder, Phill Knight, in which he would say:
You will hear about us one day.
Even today, valued at over 2 billion, Kevin still perceives himself to be the underdog in the apparel fight. Which I suppose is true, being hat Nike is valued at over 20 billion. But when we’re talking these kind of numbers, can we truly even put that into perspective?
Start your business with a Big Hairy Audacious Goal then go after it with every might in your body, pour every ounce of sweat into it, bleed as you tear through every obstacle placed in front of you. Embrace that chip, make it part of who you are, find your passion. Nobody will believe in you more than you will, remember this. No one will make it easy, or give you hand outs, if you want it, be prepared to fight for it – every inch must be earned.
If they call it a chip, so be it.