Toot Your MFin’ Horn!
Why you must celebrate yourself, even when no one else will.
Without promotion something tragic happens… nothing.
I don’t know about you, but humbly speaking, I used to get frustrated when people weren’t noticing the innovative, ground-breaking, world-changing stuff I was doing (I’m laughing as I write this FYI). I would think to myself, “is it even worth me putting effort in this anymore,” or I would be visibly, and definitely audibly, less passionate about the projects I was working on.
Then, I realized — if others aren’t going to toot my horn, I’ll toot it on my own. If you don’t exude confidence about what you are doing, others won’t have confidence in you.
That is exactly why this article came into fruition, I need you to dust off that trumpet and toot TF out your MFin’ horn!
Be your own conductor.
“People always tell you, ‘Be humble. Be humble.” When was the last time people told you to be amazing? Be Great! Be Awesome!” — Kanye West
You’re the captain of your ship so why are you so dependent on others approval or feedback before you take sail? Yes, it is important to consider key elements before executing, but there are so many individuals that never set sail simply because they don’t have the approval from others.
It may simply be my restlessness, but I can’t think too long without executing, or else it doesn’t get done. In order to effectively toot your horn, you must:
- Be accountable for planning your future.
- Be accountable for executing your plans.
- If no one celebrates you, celebrate yourself!
If you’re the shit, make sure you exude that you’re the shit — just don’t be obnoxious about it.
Write your own music.
“I planned my success. I knew it was going to happen.” — Erykah Badu
Man, y’all don’t write anything down; hell, I forget to right stuff down. Seldom do rappers include freestyles as singles on their albums. No, the write music, the review their music, they perfect that music.
You can’t just freestyle your life and expect to progress at the rate you desire.
You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis. Here is why you should document your dopeness:
- the process of writing goals will challenge you to think critically about what it is you truly want.
- you’ll determine your “aha goals,” which will help you identify what you’re passionate about and help prioritize your goals.
- tracking your goals will help you celebrate the stages of your growth (you’ll understand in the next section.
Since so many struggle to document their dopeness through a holistic approach (that is, including fitness, mental health, finance, influence, travel, etc.), my homie, Rwenshaun Miller, and I put together our Guide to Greatness, This free e-book challenges you, you’ll find resources that may help you, and you’ll come across quotes and stories of other impactful influencers that may inspire you.
*ends shameless plug*
Now that you’re the conductor, it’s your obligation to write your own music.
Dance to the beat of your own drum (or horn, for consistency).
“It’s like if you plant something in the concrete and if it grow and the rose petal got all kinds of scratches and marks, you ain’t gonna say, ‘Damn, look at all the scratches and marks on the rose that grew from the concrete.’ You’re gonna be like, ‘Damn, a rose grew from the concrete?’” — Tupac Shakur
Your leaves may have scratches... but you are a rose.. that grew in a rock, celebrate that!
In a previous post, Running 13.1 Miles in My Shoes, I mentioned that when the end isn’t in sight or if the outcome isn’t what we expected, we can lose momentum or get sidetracked. If we don’t learn to celebrate the small steps, we become depleted and defeated. We have to learn how to see the significance of small or unexpected victories and build from there.
Elevation Church’s “Staging your Celebration Sermon” outlined the importance of celebrating your successes:
- Build up — You should always be building in your life, it is important to celebrate your journey and not just correct your mistakes.
- Break it down — If we never learn to celebrate our starts, we’ll never be able to sustain our momentum.
- Pick a point — Celebrate the small victories you experience each and every day, the little pictures add up to the big picture.
- Turn it out — Sometimes when we feel like we need to be encouraged, joy can actually be found by encouraging others turn to others and celebrate them.
I often hear, “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” Though that statement holds truth, I glance back all the time to celebrate how far I’ve come.
As a conductor that has written their own music, you have to celebrate your progress, just think — the song you wrote was once just a sheet of blank paper.
Build a dope band.
“We all have times when we lose ourselves, and it’s important to have friends around who are honest with us and help keep us down to earth to be our real selves.” — Beyonce
Would Beyonce’s Superbowl performance have had the same political impact if she wasn’t surrounded by dancers in black berets?
Think about what her performances (read: experiences) would be like if she had no background dancers, no band, no choreographers, no Tina Knowles. I mean, I’m sure it would still be amazing, because… it’s Beyonce, but it’s obvious that Beyonce has built a talented team and group of friends that match her own genius.
Part of tooting your own horn is also having a band to play along with. What mentors are you surrounding yourself with? Who are your co-founders? Who do you work with on a daily basis? Who is making you better?
You may be embracing your dopeness, but what good is a fire verse without a producer, band, or beat? Winners love to see other winners win, be like Diddy and build your band.
Go on tour.
“Wherever I go, I bring the culture with me, so that they can understand that it’s attainable. I didn’t do it any other way than through hip-hop.” -Jay-Z
How can you make a change if you remain the same? Additionally, how can you make a change if you remain in the same environment? When you have a talent it is imperative that you take that talent to environments in which that talent can thrive and be celebrated (by others).
Remember LeBron James’ polarizing Decision, and more importantly the iconic phrase?:
“I’m going to take my talents to South Beach…”
I’m not here to debate the 2010 decision, but I will say King James is one of the most notoriously-loud horn-tooters, and for great reason. LeBron knows his talent and he knows the best environment to put himself to win, more.
Going on tour with your talent can be looked at in a variety of ways:
- coupling your solution with others’ problems = money or intrinsic value
- coupling your skills with a cultivating environment = #winning
- coupling your talent with your supporters = audience and acclaim
Chance the Rapper, collaborated, wrote music, marches to the beat of his own drum, and surrounds himself with other talented individuals — and he goes on tour. Why are you staying in the same place?
Don’t be afraid to sample others.
“Just doing as well as you did last time is not good enough.” — Michael Jackson
Did you know Doug E. Fresh’s La Di Da Di was sampled by Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, Snoop Dog, Mos Def, Ludacris, and hundreds of others? What was once (and still is) a recognizable song is utilized and innovated on by others to make new hits.
I often say, “good artists copy, great artists steal,” but, “good winners copy, great winners innovate,” may be a more accurate statement. Not only innovating on others’ ideas and actions, but your own as well.
Think about it:
- Parties aren’t new, but Grits and Biscuits is the new hotness
- Bars aren’t new, but Ice Bars & Ice Hotels are the newest tourist attractions
- Karaoke isn’t new, but Trap Karaoke is a hit
- Swimsuits aren’t new, but the Burkini are genius
- Happy hours aren’t new, but the Too Fly Happy Hour is DOPE!
It’s tough to leave a legacy if you work isn’t copied, stolen, or sampled. Innovate on others’ works and expect for your works to be as well. It’s diversity and collabetition (collaboration + competition, get it?) that breeds greatness.
Now that you’re tooting your horn, folks will get tired of hearing the same tune. So get funky with it, switch it up, know what you’re good at — and make it great!
Stop waiting for someone to play your intro music for you, and start tooting your own horn. Toot your horn in the comments and let me know what you’re working on, what you’re good at, and a goal for 2017!