Knowledge Is Power, Except When It Isn’t
As entrepreneurs and business owners, we’ve all heard the adage, “Knowledge is Power”, and there is definitely truth to that. But I also challenge that statement as I have found incredible power in what I don’t know as well.
Growing up, I was blessed with a grandfather who instilled in me that being different is my greatest asset and strength. It’s what would set me apart in a world full of conformity, as society has an innate desire to ‘fit in’. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I’ve come to know that my grandfather was imparting profound wisdom that I saw come to fruition in his own life. His recent passing has even further ingrained this philosophy and made it all the more meaningful. I would never have reached the heights of success I have without his love and unconditional support, and I’m striving to share his philosophies so that others may do the same.
Recently, I was selected as a Rent the Runway’s Foundation Project Entrepreneur. I was 1 of 100 companies invited to attend, and the keynote speaker was none other than Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx. I have admired her for quite some time and her quote has resonated with me as it perfectly relates to my grandfather’s teachings:
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”
This is a powerful statement that many entrepreneurs dismiss far too easily, choosing instead to focus on what they do know. This is a tragedy, as our differences are what makes us so individually beautiful. Being afraid to approach things differently or go against the grain of what is considered ‘industry standard’ robs us of the opportunity to discover a new, and often, better way of doing things. It is these breakthroughs that lead to the most fulfilling forms of success, and the feeling of triumph when we create a business on our own terms.
Now that isn’t to say I haven’t been afraid, and you will be too, but conquering this fear and blazing a new trail is worth the temporary inconveniences of self-doubt. Be prepared for those around you to be critical of your approach, and warn you of the pitfalls of forging a new path where there is already one that seemingly works. Ignore them—you will be glad you did. Just think of the wildly successful disruptions to the marketplace that Airbnb and Uber have brought—all because their founders refused to rely solely on what they knew, and moved forward despite having zero hotel or taxi experience.
I challenge you to embrace your differences, trust your intuition, and never be afraid to take the path less traveled.