The Marathon Must Continue
“I taught all my ni**as how to fish. Some caught more than others Some said they rather be fed. Some past me up in the process.
But at the end of it all I know I ain’t hide the game from my people and im Real for that.” Nipsey Hussle
I am going to start by saying rest in peace to Nipsey Hussle. His impact can’t be quantified yet, it will take another generation. However, because of Nipsey, I decided to share my story, trials, and tribulations. My hope is that my story helps someone on their path like Nipsey’s story helped me on mine.
I am not someone that followed Nipsey’s career from A-Z. I discovered his music in Q4 of 2017 and his vision pulled me in. When Victory Lap dropped, it took me several listens to truly understand the gravity of this album. Not only was it the soundtrack for the past 5–6 years of my life, but it was the blueprint for anyone looking to walk the path as a self-made man. He was insightful, passionate, generous, and wise beyond his years. Our society tends to glorify the outcome more than the process. Any and everything can seem like an overnight success. Not this album. He shared how he got from point A to point B and chronicled the steps along the way in a manner that anyone can follow.
I was inspired, so I went back and listened to all of his music, learned about his story, and witnessed how he manifested his vision into reality. I was running my own marathon, so Victory Lap was a celebration of someone who was unafraid to step outside their comfort zone and do it real big. The vision for my startup has pushed me beyond what I was capable of, but I needed guidance and it came from an unlikely place. In the past year, Nipsey Hussle was my advisor, motivator, an example to follow. I am going to attempt to follow the leader by chronicling my story, and getting into details that very few people know with the hope that it can help someone on their path.
January 4th, 2019, I was laid off from my job. Don’t feel sorry for me though, I took calculated risks and put in the work for five years to put myself in this position. Through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I used to think life was trying to knock me off my path, but I am here to testify that God/The Universe was testing my will. Let me take you back in time, share the lessons I learned, and tell you how and why I manifested this layoff into a reality.
Nipsey: “You cannot jump at every opportunity that comes your way, especially if you have not rightfully earned the opportunity through building skill sets. Great connections, and being in the right place at the right time will eventually afford you various opportunities. It’s important to remain clear on what’s for you, and what you’re capable of.”
January 2013. I had just come off my best year professionally in my career while dealing with one of the toughest challenges personally. My daughter became extremely ill. She got repeated fever’s over 103 degrees, multiple trips to the doctor, then, she was admitted and hospitalized for over a week.
I spent every second with her at three different hospitals and two ambulance rides. This happened shortly after my son’s birth which meant I had to keep my emotions in check when I was around Natasha my wife (now ex-wife as of 2021). She was struggling because my son was a newborn and demanded her constant attention, which meant, she couldn’t be at the hospital often. It was definitely for the best. Elianna was in constant pain and would cry for hours until she fell asleep. I wish this upon no one.
At first, they thought it was something called Kawasaki disease, but in the end, she was diagnosed with Systemic Juvenile idiopathic arthritis. They can only diagnose this issue through the process of elimination, which means she was poked, prodded, and worn out to just get to a diagnosis. They had to take fucking bone marrow. A majority of kids diagnosed with this are stuck living with it their entire lives. Thankfully, she has been in remission since 2014 and is an amazing kid.
Now back to January 2013. As I said, I had just come off my best career professionally and thought I had a chance to grow even further by managing the office I worked in. I had helped to hire and train the new team that was brought in, performed in my role, and had the office morale at an all-time told. When I asked for the job, I was told that I needed to do more to earn it, and they gave the management position to someone who didn’t have the knowledge, track record, or skills I did. So my daughter’s illness and this issue at work caused me to start investigating the idea of owning my own business and controlling my destiny.
Nipsey: “We don’t want to wait on someone to hire us and give us a check, we want to create our own opportunities.”
What could I do? I was working in the engineering and manufacturing industry, but I entered this industry by chance. I enjoyed the process of watching products come to life, but was that really what I wanted to do long-term? I started thinking about my desires and interests growing up, but there was really only one.
As a kid, all I could think about career-wise was playing basketball professionally. I had a desire to travel the world, so I thought I could play overseas for a few years and transition into an international scout. However, after my senior year, I thought about giving up the game I loved and getting into the fire academy to follow my Pops footsteps and have a stable career. This leads me to introduce one of the first entrepreneurs I ever met, Curtis Garrett.
Curtis was my Pops best friend, an uncle to me, and owned a local auto shop called Loneals Auto Parts. When Curtis wasn’t talking to my Pops about their glory days in the Locke Saints marching band, his proclivity for sharing his knowledge with me would take over. This was just a part of his DNA. Curtis was someone who was always willing to give back to the community that raised him and help others on their path. He did everything from mentoring the youth to hosting a picnic every Memorial day weekend that brought family, friends, and the community together.
A few weeks after my high school graduation, I went on a road trip with my Pops, Curtis, and a few other members of the crew to New Orleans for the Essence Festival. I can still hear Curtis shouting “for the team little BP!” After the festival was over, my Pops decided to stay and spend time with our family that lived in New Orleans. I had to get back home, so I rode with Curtis and one of my Pops other good friends Harold. During the trip, we had conversations about what I was going to do now that I graduated high school. Both of them knew how much I loved playing ball, so they asked why I was giving it up but didn’t push too hard. Curtis told me, “alright when we get home, get yourself settled, and come see me at the college, and I will make some introductions.” Curtis was transitioning into teaching and was affiliated or knew someone at Compton community college, which had a fire academy.
When I moved in with my Pops the first thing I did was call Curtis. There was another school called Rio Hondo that was closer to my house, but I wanted to go out and see Curtis because it’s all about who you know right? When I got on campus, he took me to meet the head basketball coach first, which was odd, but I went with it. After I spoke with the coach, Curtis and I started walking towards fire academy, but we stopped halfway and told me “use what you have to get what you want little BP. Use basketball to get yourself a free education, and use that education to create the life that you want.” I ended up playing basketball for two years at Rio Hondo College before transferring on a scholarship thanks to Curtis who unfortunately passed away a few years back.
Curtis: “Use what you have to get what you want little BP.”
I thought about the knowledge I had acquired from selling software in the engineering and manufacturing industry and I recognized that I knew the steps in order to take an idea from concept to doorstep. I started to ask myself if it would be valuable if other people knew this? How many people have an amazing idea but lack the knowledge, know-how, and resources to make it happen? If you’re from an underrepresented community, you may never get any exposure to this industry and since both my parents grew up in the inner cities of Los Angeles, this was something that I had a passion for. Personally, I had stumbled in this industry after playing ball in college, but what if I didn’t? This was it for me. I found my path. This was a problem I was interested in solving and democratizing innovation was the vision for the future because as Curtis said: “for the team little BP.”
Nipsey: “How do we empower ourselves, sustainably, for the long term?” Hussle asks. “I had to bump my head to figure that out. Good thing the Internet came along and we got YouTube and other avenues to tap into this information, because that was a big part of me getting an understanding, too. So I feel like I damn near owe it to the game to be vocal and not horde the info.”
I am a firm believer that we all have an inner yearning to do good that can be classified as a “moral law within.” Unfortunately, more often than not we feel paralyzed by the vastness of the world’s problems. So we begin to make excuses like “ I am only one person, the world’s problems are too big for me to address.” The concept for my business was a place that lets each of us tap into that “moral law within” and extract solutions to address challenges with like-minded individuals. I didn’t have the slightest clue on how to bring this thing to life, but I filed an LLC and vowed to figure it out.
I manually started connecting engineers with the knowledge and know-how to startups looking for help. Throughout the process, I learned the game and started thinking about what it would take to help people at scale.
We fell victim to numerous financial circumstances that caused Natasha and I to analyze our situation:
-Expensive cost of living
-A business I wanted to launch
-My wife wants to continue to stay home with the kids
-A job with no growth opportunities
We started looking for opportunities to get ahead.
We did some research and decided to move to Austin, TX in Q3 2013 because it gave us financial relief, a dynamic startup ecosystem, and the ability for Natasha to continue to be a stay at home mom. While there, I had another job and started thinking about creating a platform to solve the problem I discovered. I had no knowledge of how and where to get started, so I joined a paid incubator program to help with the ideation process. Once, I graduated from the program I hired my first programmer to begin building the platform. I was on my way and it felt amazing.
It’s now the summer of 2014. We had just come off a couple of vacations. Nashville for Fourth of July and New Orleans shortly thereafter and we were set to come home to California on vacation and go to my father’s retirement party. It felt like we had made it. American dream type of summer, businesses looking up, and looking to buy a house.
Two days before we left Natasha started sharing some struggles she had with her mental health. We land in August 2014 and all hell breaks loose. Natasha was having suicidal thoughts, thinking she was a terrible person/mother/wife, and was crying out for help. In one of the boldest, strongest, most powerful moves I have ever seen, she asked me to take her to the hospital and check her in, so she can get help.
She was listed as 5150. Let me share the description that comes up when you Google “5150”
“5150 refers to the California law code for the temporary, involuntary psychiatric commitment of individuals who present a danger to themselves or others due to signs of mental illness. It has been more generally applied to people who are considered threateningly unstable.”
Natasha had the courage to check herself in knowing that she will be labeled as 5150, despite checking herself in. She was in the hospital for an extended period of time including being in a psychiatric hospital. I had to keep my calm, I had to be the rock, I had to suppress my emotions once again and focus on what needed to be done. Thankfully, we were home so I had the support of family but trying to balance being there for my wife and taking care of the kids was challenging. Natasha’s example helped me. She checked herself in on a 5150, how could I not have the strength to handle what was to come next?
This all happened while on vacation. I knew I would eventually have to go back to work and make the decision to leave everything we were building in Austin to move home. To me, that was the easiest part of all of this. We would be moving back to make sure she gets help and has the support she needs. So I pushed aside the thoughts about our next move and focused on what was in front of me.
I remember feeling alone literally and mentally at my father’s retirement party. That day was when everything started to sink in. I was at home with the kids in the morning, spent the afternoon with Natasha at the hospital, went back to my in-laws to check on the kids, and then, I made my way to my Pops retirement party in tears. When I arrived everyone kept asking where my wife was, and I kept saying she was sick. I couldn’t take it for too long, so I left the party early and went back to the hospital. (I am crying my eyes out right now as I write this). A few days after this, I went to visit Natasha and I had a vision (literally saw it in my mind’s eye) for her future. I saw her on stage sharing her story and working to destigmatize mental health.
Nipsey: “Say it’s all uncomfortable when you transition / But it’s all beautiful when you get rich in it.”
Natasha was diagnosed with a mental disorder and sent home. Where was home? My in-laws. To ensure Natasha got all of the help she needed we decided to move back to California and stay with my in-laws who lived close to the outpatient program my wife would begin attending. Now that things began to stabilize, I came back to the decision to move home and what that meant for work. I was a provider, so this put me at a crossroads. Start looking for another job, or go all in on my business? We would be staying with my in-laws for the duration of my wife’s outpatient program and until we could get back on our feet, so this could be an opportunity to push for my own business.
Whether it was right or wrong, I decided to place a bet on myself. I knew that more than ever, I needed to control my own destiny and build a business that gave me more flexibility and the opportunity to be there for my family in any situation. Case and point, I initially tried to transfer with my job back to California, but they didn’t have a position available for me in California (despite corporate office is in Orange County). So after a couple of interviews with other companies, I decided to go off the deep end.
I was working on the business, taking care of kids, Natasha, while living under my in-laws' roof. I am grateful to my in-laws for letting us stay there during this transition, but there was definitely pressure and the thought of “what are you doing, get a job” from numerous people. My Pops helped me financially for a few months. Which was hard, because I don’t like asking anyone for anything, but I was/am grateful for his help. I was trying to juggle all that life was throwing at me, but I was struggling mentally. One day, I ended up at my best friends parents house and had a conversation that I will never forget with his mother. Mrs. Parker, aka Momma P is known for her one-liners. What I mean by this is she will tell you something that you need to hear on a deeper level than you could ever imagine. All in one, maybe two lines. When I shared what was going on she asked me three questions:
“Can you get another job if it doesn’t work?” Yes.
“Do you have a roof over your head?” Yes.
“Do you have food?” Yes.
Then what else do you have to lose?
With that, I put my hustle into overdrive. I was on my second freelance web developer because the first one just didn’t work out, so this was an unforeseen delay/setback. The money my Pops had lent me dried up, so I had to make some money until the business launches. My wife was doing significantly better, so I started driving Uber and Lyft on nights and weekends to bring in some income while I continue to build the platform.
As the months went by, our living situation got more awkward. To my in-laws' credit, they never said anything, but I could sense it. I was getting close to a breaking point. I remember on the 4th of July my daughter telling me she didn’t want me to leave because we needed to watch the fireworks together. I cried in between rides while driving Lyft on Spring street in downtown LA.
Nipsey: “BEING SELF-MADE MEANS NEVER MAKING AN EXCUSE AS TO WHY YOU CAN’T TAKE STEPS TOWARD WHATEVER YOUR GOAL IS.”
I started working to raise money for Assist 2 Develop. There were a few statistics that were hanging over my head. Less than 2% of Venture Capital goes to minorities, most startups fail, etc. All I knew was that I wasn’t about to let this all be for nothing, so I kept pushing despite the odds against me. At the time, Natasha and I were evaluating the pros and cons of moving back to Austin. Because of this, I applied to an accelerator program in Austin called Capital Factory. Less than 1% of applicants are accepted each quarter, so again I was fighting crazy odds. Instead of stressing the odds I focused on the fact that if accepted, I could also get up to $250K from the program. At the same time, I was pitching to a local angel investment network seeking capital. Let me tell you, I was getting my ass kicked! Investors would rip the pitch apart and this left me with doubts, fears, etc. At the same time, I felt like I was on an island. It felt like people who loved me wanted me to quit, hoped I would get another job, and quit chasing this dream. Despite this, I kept pushing. I had battled tough odds before. Do you know how many people said I would never get a college basketball scholarship? This was just another test, and another opportunity to prove to myself and everyone else that I could do anything I set my mind to.
On a Friday I had conducted my pitch in Irvine and again, it was picked apart with no mercy. Instead of beating myself up and making excuses, I spent all weekend tearing apart my pitch to fit my style/personality. That following Monday, I had a pitch with another angel group. I fucking killed it! I left on a high but still had to wake up the next morning and continue driving Lyft. While driving, I kept my iPad with me so I could get some work done when I wasn’t dropping someone off. In the middle of a ride, we stopped at a red light and I glanced at my phone and saw an email from Capital Factory (accelerator in Austin). OH SHIT! I couldn’t wait to open it, but I was also terrified because I didn’t know if I could handle any more bad news/rejection. I finally dropped off these two ladies in front of Macy’s at Victoria Gardens and opened the email.
“Congratulations, you’ve been accepted to Capital Factory.” Tears flowing down my face before I could even start crying. I went home to celebrate! On my way home I called a mentor from the angel network I was working with to tell him the good news and he shared that several members of the local angel network wanted to invest. I FUCKING DID IT!!!!!!!!!!
Despite the odds, despite the challenges, I did it! However, I couldn’t celebrate yet. I soon learned that angel investors typically want you to meet a mandatory minimum before the funds are released. I was raising $350K but I had a mandatory minimum of $175K if memory serves me correctly. I thought to myself, “easy I can get $250K from Capital Factory.” However, to get the money from Capital Factory I had to get two mentors on their board of directors to invest $25K each and then it automatically released the rest of the funding. I already had one mentor in the bag, so I just needed to get to Austin and work to recruit the second. This was the next phase of my plan. I was going to move to Austin by myself for a few months, recruit the last mentor, secure the cash, then move my family back. Let’s get to it!
Do you know what happened next? It all came crashing down. As I was making preparations to move back to Austin, we found out my son was mildly autistic and needed services if he was going to make a recovery/catch up. I couldn’t leave my wife to take him to and from treatments while I was in Austin on my own. I tried to figure out what my options were. The investors from the local angel group weren’t writing checks big enough to help me reach my mandatory minimum, and I couldn’t go to Austin, what could I do?
I sent an email to everyone saying that I had to put this on pause. I folded. I was broken. Mentally, spiritually, and physically. This was one of the darkest periods of my life. To grind, endure all that I did over the past couple of years, reach the goal and have it ripped away was gut-wrenching. I couldn’t sleep, drank almost every night, and Natasha and I were fighting. If you would have put some hard drugs in front of me, I would have taken them just to numb the pain. Clinically, I was depressed, no doubt about it. I constantly asked myself “when am I going to get a fucking break?” I questioned God, shit I questioned everything. And yes, still at my in-laws (over a year at this point) which didn’t make this any easier.
Nipsey: “Get that dirt up off your shoulder, step yo game up.”
Unfortunately, this was 2015 which means Victory Lap wasn’t out yet. However, during this period I discovered a book called the Hero’s Journey. This book single handily pulled me out of darkness. The author Joseph Campbell studied every religion, myth, and story. He concluded that a central premise or journey is followed and he called it the Hero’s Journey. Movies like Star Wars, The Matrix, and the Lion King are based on the Hero’s Journey. Below are the twelve steps of the journey:
1. THE ORDINARY WORLD. The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress.
2. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE. Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change.
3. REFUSAL OF THE CALL. The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead.
4. MEETING WITH THE MENTOR. The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom.
5. CROSSING THE THRESHOLD. At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values.
6. TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES. The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World.
7. APPROACH. The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world.
8. THE ORDEAL. Near the middle of the story, the hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear. Out of the moment of death comes a new life.
9. THE REWARD. The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death. There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again.
10. THE ROAD BACK. About three-fourths of the way through the story, the hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home. Often a chase scene signals the urgency and danger of the mission.
11. THE RESURRECTION. At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level. By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved.
12. RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR. The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed.
When you listen to Nipsey it’s easy to see why he has inspired so many.
Natasha decided to go back to work, which meant I was going to be a stay at home dad while getting my son the help he needed. I figured this was a good opportunity to pick myself up and get back to chasing my vision for the business because I would be staying home with the kids. It didn’t take long to discover how wrong I was. You literally don’t have much time for yourself, let alone trying to build a business. I have the utmost respect for all of the stay at home moms after being a stay at home father for 4–6 months. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have done to this day. I learned how to be more patient, compassionate, and deliberate. I am thankful for the time I spent at home with them. Looking back now, I understand that the bond I was able to establish with my kids was derived from this experience.
I decided it was time to look for another job. After some serious soul searching and reflecting on everything I had read in Joseph Campbell’s work, I decided I still had to press forward with the business. It would be easy to quit and get a cushy corporate job with all of the experience I had gained. But I wasn’t put on this planet for that shit. When I die, I want to say that I made an impact.
Nipsey: “Spoke some things into the universe and they appeared, say it’s worth it, I won’t say it’s fair, find your purpose or you wasting air, f**k it though you ni**as scared.”
I looked for a job that would allow me to continue to pursue my vision in my free time. We decided to try and find something back in San Diego because it provided the best quality of life for our family. I was able to find a job and finally get us out of my in-laws. I can never fully repay them for the 16 months they supported us, but it will never be forgotten.
At my new job, I started as a sales rep because I knew it would be a pretty easy transition selling their software compared to what I had done in the past. This was important because my mental bandwidth could be leverage in my own business. I performed well and was asked to step into another role, then a leadership role. “There goes that bandwidth.” A big part of me wanted to provide an amazing life for my kids and make up for all that time at my in-laws, and that’s why I took on these added responsibilities, in spite of my business.
During that time, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a procedure. She was going to be forced into early retirement, and while the real estate market was at its peak, we asked her to sell her house and move in with us until she can figure out her next move. It was great to have my mom with us. She got very close with our kids, got to know Natasha on a deeper level, and spend time with us as a family. Unfortunately, she had to fight another battle with her health.
During this battle, she was watching the kids. As a father, I had to be comfortable with her watching them while Natasha and I were at work. That peace of mind couldn’t be obtained. My mom ultimately found a place on her own faster than we expected. She had moved in with us to take time to figure out her next move, so mission accomplished. However, she was picking the kids up from school in the afternoon, so I had to switch my schedule and now work 5 am — 2 pm in order to pick them up from school since we were left without after-school care.
Nipsey: “You’re going to make big sacrifices and need an understanding of what it’s going to take, or else you’re going to think it’s too much. But if someone tells you ahead of time, ‘Bro it’s gonna feel like it’s gonna kill you,’ that’s the sacrifice it takes to set the next generation up. So when you go through the motions, you’ll know you’re paying your toll and I don’t think it’ll be as confusing.”
If this sounds like a lot, it was. I won’t sugar coat it. I haven’t even mentioned the adversity that my marriage endured through this journey. Every obstacle, all of the pain, pushed me, challenged me, and forced me to trust the process with no guarantee of success. This is why it’s so important to chase something you believe in. My vision is bigger than ever and I am willing to do any and everything to bring it to life.
I learned a lot about the process, the journey, and the sacrifices you have to make when you want something. So when I listened to the Victory Lap album in February of 2018 it resonated with me on a subconscious level. This man was giving the blueprint, chronicling the struggle, and giving me hope that one day I could run my Victory Lap. His album helped me appreciate the beauty of my struggle and keep me pushing/running my marathon. He put in the work, made sacrifices, and took calculated risks that were all culminated by this album. I wanted that, so I started putting the right energy into the universe. I wrote up a planning document in Q2 of 2018 that stated I would be out of my full-time job by Q1 2019. I started with the goal and began to work backward. I invested my money in the platform, I woke up every day at 4 am to work on the business before going to the office or going into my 9–5 early and working on business in the afternoon. I started reading more, I stopped complaining about my circumstances and all of the setbacks I endured. I killed that negative energy and I started manifesting my dreams into a reality.
In one of the videos above, Nipsey talks about stretching to achieve the vision and being uncomfortable. I felt this, and continue to live through it first hand EVERY DAY. Do you think I knew what I was doing when I launched my business? Hell no. Yes, I went through an incubator program, but that can’t prepare you for the imposter syndrome. That can’t prepare you for the moments where you don’t know what to do next and want to quit. That doesn’t help you learn all of the intricate details of running a business. I was wearing every single hat for Assist 2 Develop for years. I outsourced development to a programmer. That meant I had to learn how to be a project manager. I did all my own marketing, planning, set up strategic partnerships, etc. You name it, I did it.
In October of 2018, I sensed a shift at my 9–5. They were going to take the focus off of the commercial side of the business (why I was there), which meant I was a high-cost expense they may not need. I had already worn three different hats at this company. I had an entrepreneurial mindset and wasn’t afraid to take on tough challenges, so they let me experiment and discover new opportunities for their business. However, I knew there wouldn’t be a fourth position because their vision/goal had changed. This again left me at a crossroads. Do I start looking for another job, or do I kick the business into overdrive and prepare myself for an exit? If you could go back and look at my Spotify history at this time, I guarantee I was playing Victory Lap from start to finish at least three times a week. You know which fork in the road I took. All money in right?
Then, an opportunity presented itself. I had the chance to potentially have the company I work for, become a reseller of my platform. The leadership team knew that for almost three years I worked on my own business during my free time, but positioning my business as a platform they could sell was not something I am sure they would appreciate. This was a risky proposition. If they agreed, I could have three sales reps at my 9–5 selling my product, if it didn’t, I would more than likely be asked to leave. I spoke with my wife, we weighed the pro’s and con’s and decided to take this calculated risk. The VP of sales liked the idea, but the leadership team shot it down. With that, I started preparing myself for what was to come. Around the holidays, I asked myself, “if I don’t get let go, how will I feel?” The answer was clear, I would be disappointed. I started putting that into the universe and waited for the response.
Nipsey: “Used to be stay safe, now stay dangerous, cuz ain’t no point in playing defense ni**a, that’s why I dove off the deep end ni**a, without a life jacket.”
So when January 4th came around, I already had my desk packed, I was focused on the mission at hand, and left with peace of mind. I wanted more time to focus on the business, I had it. I prepared for this opportunity, now it was time to execute.
Nipsey helped me last year. When I felt low, I turned on Victory Lap. When I had a big win, I turned on Victory Lap. When I didn’t know what to do next, I turned on Victory Lap. The album starts with Nipsey saying “I'm prolific, so gifted, I'm the type that’s gonna go get, no kidding.” Throughout my journey, I realized how important self-talk is. Starting the album with that line is a power move.
One of my biggest takeaways from Nipsey was this: through all of the ups and downs of your journey, it’s about staying true to yourself and your team. Victory Lap was a celebration, a testimony to the process, and a reminder to trust that your grind will pay off. When you’re doing what you were put on this planet to do, the universe will work on your behalf to make it happen. As Joseph Campbell would say, “follow your bliss” so I am still running my marathon. We’re currently raising money for Assist 2 Develop so we can democratize innovation and revitalize local economies and communities.
Nipsey: “See it’s a couple ni**as every generation/That wasn’t supposed to make it out but decode the Matrix/And when they get to speak, it’s like a coded language/Reminds ni**as of they strength and all the stolen greatness.”
Nipsey was my modern-day Joseph Campbell in my opinion and Victory Lap was the treasure he shared with the world after he completed his Hero’s Journey. It is truly a tragedy that his life was taken, because he has loved ones who need him, and had so much more to offer the world. However, return to step 12 in The Hero’s Journey and you will understand that he accomplished what he set out to do in his limited time on this earth.
“The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed.”
Thank you Nipsey. You brought back the treasure and now it’s up to us to transform the world. Rest in POWER.