“And I made myself so easy to love …”
— Jay Z
Many people equate success with money, expensive trips, luxury goods, and lavish spending. When this type of “success” is visible it also comes with inevitable envy; and you’re soon despised for living your truth.
The latter part (i.e. living your truth) is often ignored. Instead, it’s reserved for late night pillow talk or internalized as depression. But one thing every successful person who strives to be different from the masses knows is this: your ascension will be laced with both hatred and devotion.
Some people will be inspired by you while others will project their issues onto you. Regardless of the whispering questions of your intent, shade thrown, or chattering behind your back, none of these things should overshadow your resilience.
The dichotomy of being loathed and loved
After recently watching a Steve Jobs movie (from my Apple TV) I came to a critical conclusion about the Apple co-founder, followed by a GroupMe message (from my iPhone) to my girls about how much of a prick he seemingly was to his family, partners, and employees. The irony.
What’s even more ironic is this: Admittedly, that was the third Steve Jobs movie I had seen; not to mention the countless number of books and articles I’ve read about Steve Jobs, “the innovator”!
I may have loathed Steve Jobs as a person, but his genius was undeniable and it was his genius that I definitely loved.
Later that day I got to thinking about my own plight as an entrepreneur. I’ve been called many things by people I felt just didn’t get it! When you’re a bold (true one-of-a-kind) person you’re bound to be misunderstood.
All of those things can toughen your skin, harden your heart, and erect walls that even the Great Wall of China would envy.
Entrepreneurs who have never experienced the struggles of starting a business (e.g., missing payroll, a storefront eviction, managing 10+ employees that need more hand-holding than initially expected) aren’t in a position to understand why you do the things you do.
So did Steve Jobs have a right to be an “unbelievable jerk“? Those that knew him understood the duality, a genius with a “mammoth personality [that] could inspire those around him just as easily as it could tear them down.”
When all that’s left is a ‘Kanye Shrug’
The more years of entrepreneurship experience I have under my belt, the more I understand Steve Jobs’ plight. I often feel like Kanye (sans the Amber Rose accusations and rants about kids).
I’ll ignore anyone that feels the need to give me their unqualified opinion on business (especially when they’ve never run one). #HowSway
We’ve all been there. I’ve been in a meeting where someone argued me down about why I should incur a $3,000 “nice to have” expense when the budget didn’t allow for it. I also remember a time when I brought up my thoughts on overhead expenses and sales projections and was met with an, “I don’t know anything about that, but I want this” response.
In all honesty, all I wanted to scream was “Shut the f*** up talking to me before I embarrass you” in full Kanye West fashion. Instead I hit them with the *Kanye Shrug* and left the room without further explanation.
Was it rude? Yes.
Was I bothered about the outcome after they wasted 30 minutes of my life that I can never get back? No.
Soon after that experience I hosted an event and sat with 20 other women in business who had shared similar experiences. Some of these women, with experiences just like the one I mentioned above, had even earned a bad rap.
That evening as we sipped on Pinot and shared our “war stories” camaraderie was built. We found a safe place to lay our head and to blow off steam. Most importantly we found love, acceptance, and the opportunity to be accepted for who we really are (and not who people made us out to be).
The world will make you feel bad for being a Kelly Cutrone, Kanye West, or a Steve Jobs. But truthfully, we have never had the opportunity to work with them or be in their shoes. As someone who knows what it feels like to be loathed and loved, I’ve learned to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t give you full reign to be mean or act insane with people that “don’t get it.” This uphill battle is slow and humbling. Just ensure that you’re mentally strong to handle both sides of the coin, because the sweet is sure to come with a hefty side of bitter.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Yolanda Keels-Walker is an author and successful serial entrepreneur with a portfolio ranging from motivational speaker to salon owner to real estate developer. Yolanda is most known as the brains behind Business Babes, an online resource and business coaching organization of over 30,000 that helps budding female entrepreneurs manage their businesses and grow their circle of influence. Connect with @_businessbabes on Twitter. A version of this article appeared here.
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