When I told him I wanted to work for myself, he laughed and told me I didn’t have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Joke’s on him.
We started out as coworkers.
He was one of the chefs at the sushi restaurant I worked at part-time in university, and had a “scorned artist” kind of vibe to him.
He was curt and sarcastic, and was a little rough around the edges, but we got along fine enough as coworkers. We could joke around, amuse one another during shifts, and even have some pretty deep conversation
Then he bought the restaurant from the original owner, and our entire working dynamic changed.
That’s when his true colours really began to shine, and I learned just how incompetent he believed me to be.
Falsely believed, might I add.
He was disturbingly changed by his new position of authority.
I knew there would be a change — I just didn’t expect that change to be his entire and total loss of courtesy and respect for the staff at the restaurant.
The food industry is a tough one, I know. Tougher than a lot of other industries out there. I've worked in several of them. Between dealing with the public who are sometimes rude, to the stressful hours, to the poor financial compensation, we often need to lean on our co-workers for emotional support and commiseration.
But my new employer / former co-worker became horribly belittling and insulting to the servers, in particular. He was a poor communicator and expected everyone to just be able read his mind. Because that's a completely reasonable expectation to have of a university student who is paid minimum wage.
I begged him time and time again to take the time to actually communicate what he wanted or needed, rather than criticizing his staff after the fact because they’d done something differently than he would have.
But I guess he had better things to do with his time than communicate clearly with his staff.
And one of those better things was to take every opportunity to insult and tear down the people who worked for him.
He thought very highly of himself, and I still believe to this day that this will remain his greatest downfall, and keep him from achieving the highest amount of success he could reach
From what I hear, he’s been sabotaging himself and his relationships ever since. I can't say I'm at all surprised.
He thought so little of me that he expressed his doubt that I’d make something of myself.
He went from a pleasant enough coworker to an absolute hard a** whom I vented about to my family after every single shift.
Each little dig and insult and tear down was slowly driving me mad.
Now, I get that running a business is no joke. I run one myself. There’s a lot of stress there.
But that’s no excuse to treat others like sh*t.
One evening, while finishing my last year studying public relations, I told him I was thinking of starting my own social media marketing company as a side-hustle. “Why not give it a try? Now is the best time for me to do it, just to see if it’s a possibility.”
He scoffed, shaking his head.
“No way, you don’t have the guts it takes to run a real business. Choose a different career path, you’re not equipped to ever be an entrepreneur.”
I never forgot those words.
I would take that doubt of his and run with it — because I knew that he was incredibly wrong about me.
Fast-forward to today — my company is 5 years old, and it’s thriving.
"I love it when people doubt me. It makes me work harder to prove them wrong." - Derek Jeter
He never thought I’d have what it takes to make it.
And yet, here I am with a comfortable income. I’ve been turning away potential clients for close to a year, as I don’t have the capacity available to take them on.
I always had the grit and perseverance in me to make this thing happen for myself, whether he saw it or not.
Not only did I make this thing survive, but I also built it from the ground up.
I don’t resent him for his words — part of me thanks him for them.
Because it was his words, and similar ones from other naysayers, that added fuel to my fire.
I wasn’t going to make my company a reality for them, I was going to do it for myself.
Because I had no interest, especially before my career had even begun, to limit myself with a presumed inadequacy projected onto me from other people.
"In every position that I've been in, there have been naysayers who don't believe I'm qualified or who don't believe I can do the work. And I feel a special responsibility to prove them wrong." - Sonia Sotomayor
There will always be people out there who are frightened by your dreams, and will project their own fear onto you.
At the end of the day, remember that their fear is not your burden to carry.
Whether you make something happen for yourself or not, regardless of how long it takes, is entirely up to you.
You may not have all the connections in the world to build a business quickly, but there is one thing you can do to build exactly what you deserve:
You can work harder than everyone else to make your dream a reality, for YOURSELF.
And no one can take that away from you.
"I don't listen to people who say my dreams are impossible; I just work to prove them wrong." - Liya Kebede