Wednesday, May 14, 2014

3 Lessons We Can Learn from Kanye West By Kamilah Paden

Everyone looks at Kanye West like that wayward, black sheep brother or uncle that you tolerate.  You know the one. Your mom is always shaking her head about him, but he’s family so he keeps getting invited to Thanksgiving dinner. Sometimes you’re eager to see him because you want to know what he’ll do next.
Now, some of the things Kanye says and does give me pause. But, if you look at Kanye closely, there are a few things that you can learn from his antics to leverage for your business.

Very few people are as confident as Kanye West.  Whether you agree with him (ever) or not, you have to agree that he knows elemental truths about himself.  He believes certain things about himself so deep in his soul that no one’s contradictory opinion would ever matter.  You can’t tell him that he’s not a talented rapper. You can try. He’s not going to believe it.

However, he doesn’t just blindly believe that.  He is a student of his craft. He can tell you about the talented individuals whom he respects.  He can talk to you about producers.  He talks about history of rap. So his confidence is based on his belief on where he stands in an industry that he knows.

Over the years in business, you have had a ton of feedback so that you should know some elemental truths about yourself. There will always be people that will try to pick away at that confidence no matter what your level of expertise or experience. Don’t let them. Be like Kanye.  Know your strengths. Know your value.

If anyone believes a moment in time is just a moment in time, it’s Kanye West. He has said some very public statements that have made us all wince. He apologized and kept moving forward.  He didn’t wallow in that moment.  He persevered to the next.  He knew that his next success would help people forget those public faux pas. 

A moment in time doesn’t define the person.  Why do we hold on to moments that we weren’t who we thought we could be?  Or why do we hold on to things that didn’t go the way we planned?  One episode does not define a whole television series. One episode does not define your whole life. Learn from Kanye. Keep moving forward.

Kanye West will never say he is only a producer or he is only a rapper.  He has a variety of interests. Some of his interests open the doors to other opportunities. You will never be able to put Kanye West in a box.

What you do today may not be what you will do tomorrow? Sometimes you determine your time for change and other times it is determined for you.
Your talents don’t have to box you in.  You may be good at one thing, but long to do something else entirely. What’s stopping you? Take the class. Talk to people in that industry. Develop a plan. Keep everything you’ve learned over the years that made you a success at one industry and leverage them to make you successful at another. You have the power to change your future as many times as you need to be successful and happy.

So while you may not always agree with everything Kanye says or does, there may be something you can leverage to help you succeed.  As with anyone/anything in your life, take the elements you need and leave the rest.  The same can be said for that black sheep Uncle.

Connect with Kamilah Paden on LinkedIn at or visit her Web site at

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