This is the first story about Jay-Z finding his truth and following it. 50 million+ records, 7 Grammy’s and at a net worth of 150 million+ dollars is not what impresses Oprah, it is that he was able to transcend his environment and became someone who truly believes in himself and now inspires others to do the same.
Born in one of the toughest parts of Brooklyn, raised without a dad and selling crack at the age of 13, all the odds would say that Jay-Z shouldn’t be the man he is today.
But Jay-Z was different…he is a self-made man, not a victim of circumstance.
Jay-Z believes that every mistake has a lesson, if you are willing to listen. He thinks it is very tiring and feels sorry for someone who has to walk out the door as someone else. If you are fearless, it is a great time to be an entrepreneur.
Here is what he says about his past:
- It built my character. It built my resolve. It built my strength.
- It developed a certain paranoia, taught you values, integrity, honesty.
- It taught you toughness as well because you needed that to survive.
- It was a brilliant upbringing.
- Wherever you grow up, it is your root, it is everything you are. It made me exactly who I am. Everyone has to find himself.
His mom taught him the most important lesson in life:
“The work that you put into something is what you get out of it.”
Here is the twist in the story, Jay-Z really took it to heart and it almost cost him his rap career because he didn’t view hours at table as working hard. It was something he loved to do, so he didn’t think anything would come out of it. Now, he understands what she meant!
Below are statements from Jay-Z on the show that exemplify branding success.
How the Jay-Z brand starts taking form:
- Gift: Creating this poetry, it came easy to me. I didn’t recognize it as a gift early on, so I just toyed with it. Just sat and banged on the table, writing rhymes all day long. I wrote about “our” experiences.
- Feedback: My friends would say: “Oh my goodness that is just what I was feeling!”
- Name: In his neighborhood, Carter was known as “Jazzy”, a nickname that eventually developed into his stage name, “Jay-Z”.
- Inspiration: Any relationship (good or bad) inspires creativity.
- Experience: Everything that you learn in life builds character.
- Truth: Key is letting go and following truth. Find the truth and don’t be afraid of it.
How Jay-Z brand starts gaining momentum:
- Intention: Jay-Z started with an intention, had a dream, discovered his talent and then found his audience.
How Jay-Z brand stays excellent vs. hot:
[Excellent – consistently perform at high level for a long period of time]
[Hot – in demand for a short span of time]
- Be original: Jay-Z is not defined by anyone, other than himself. He sets the trend, he doesn’t follow it.
- Stay true: Tap into staying true to yourself. Sounds simple, but it isn’t easy to do with all the pressures we have.
- Stay on top of your game: The playing field changes. You have to reinvent yourself and the models have to be redefined. I don’t know if you are ever done.
“Knowing who you are, I mean that is the foundation of everything great. I believe in Karma. What you put out in the world, you get back. The energy you put in the world, you get back and how you treat people is how you’ll be treated at some point.” ~Jay-Z