When we think about people who started at the bottom and have persevered to greatness, Jay-Z would undoubtedly make that list. Born Shawn Carter, in the Brooklyn projects, the man we now know as Jay-Z was raised by a single mother along with his three older siblings. He grew up in an environment surrounded by violence, substance abuse, and economic poverty. His rise to superstardom was not easy and did not happen overnight. The story of Jay-Z is not just one of success, but also a story about beating the odds, believing in yourself, and empathizing with others in order to reach your huge goals.
As a young boy in the projects, Jay-Z learned all about hustle. It didn’t always mean he made good decisions but he began developing a very strong work ethic. Jay-Z was relentless in learning his craft. He would read the dictionary cover to cover in order to improve his lyrics. He recorded his first mix tape and would sell them out of his car. He was rejected by all the major record labels, and his choices were to either give up or create his own company, so he started Roc-A-Fella Records. Today, Jay-Z is considered one of the best storytellers in hip hop.
Jay-Z’s success really comes from following his instincts. It made him not only a hip hop superstar but an entrepreneur. Some of the million dollar companies he has created include Rocawear, Roc Nation, and Tidal to name a few. His net worth is estimated at a billion dollars. However, despite the success, he has always given back in a big way. He donated a million dollars for hurricane relief funds in New Orleans, created the Shawn Carter Foundation to provide scholarship opportunities for disadvantaged youth and communities, and the list goes on.
Jay-Z’s story is a reminder that when we lose faith in ourselves and feel like the cards are stacked against us, we can use that feeling as a powerful motivation to make change. In order to succeed, you need to know that you will run into obstacles, and need to hustle to overcome them. By focusing on your work ethic, you will see things for how they should be in order to achieve the extraordinary and attain what other people might think is impossible.
Remember there are no short cuts. In this week’s #MakeItHappen Monday, focus on your goals and do the work. Let us know how your hustling towards your goals and email firstname.lastname@example.org or share your story and tag us on social.
Go make it happen,
Luly & the YTeach Team
“I believe everyone in the world is born with genius-level talent. Apply yourself to whatever you’re genius at, and you can do anything in the world.”