BDO: What would you say to those who feel as though it’s too late for them?
Steve: It’s never too late. There are actors who’ve been acting their entire life and didn’t get their break until they were about 50 or 55. Acting is their passion, so it wasn’t too late at that time. Some people might feel like, I wish I would have been able to be in that limelight and get in that shine of stardom but everything in due time. Jay-Z didn’t become Jay-Z until he was in his 30s. It took him 15 years to become Jay-Z. Before that, he was just Shawn Carter on the block, but it took him 15 years of working hard to get to where he is now and sustain. It’s not just getting there but sustaining it.
Understand what your purpose is and keep working towards that. Have you tried hard enough. A lot people will try one door, and feel like they failed but there might be 100 other doors to open before you get there. Behind one of those 100 doors is that person to give you an idea or that service that will put you on that platform. Or puts you in a position to become a director or CMO of a company. You need to be real with yourself, it’s a journey. You need to check off boxes before you call it quits. Did you really try hard enough? And if you did, keep going. Or try the next door. If its truly your passion and purpose. Ask yourself, is this something I would do if I weren’t getting paid for it. And if it is, you need to keep working hard toward it. We all have the tools. But it takes work to make it happen. You can’t just rely on your God-given gift and expect to be successful tomorrow. It takes works. It takes a lot of work. And it takes luck to be in a place to overcome and achieve and reach your goals.
BDO: Can you speak to the importance of taking the first step?
Steve: I’m glad you bought that up because taking the first step is the hardest step of your journey. Actually taking the first step is the hardest thing because there are millions of people with the same idea. There are a million people with the same vision and passion of wanting to accomplish. But the majority of people don’t take the first step. There’s a saying that trying never wins because you’re never on the field. You have to be on the field to be able to play and potentially win. If you’re sitting on the sidelines thinking about I could have done this or if that person did this it leads you nowhere. It’s just a thought.
You have to get in the game and take that initial first step, which is going to be the hardest step because that takes a lot of research and a lot of study to be able to put yourself in a position to not make foolish errors. And I say foolish because sometimes we fool ourselves feeling as if we have all the answers and we wanna go into it feeling as if, “I know it’s going to work.” Sometimes you’re supposed to go with your gut, but sometimes you need an educated advance as well. You need to do your research and understand especially of it’s an apparel business. Instead of having 50 different SKUs and different versions of shirts maybe you should just try with just 1 or 2 to see how it works and see the response and the people will let you know. It’s a proof of concept. You need proof of concept to understand, “Do I need to invest another $5000?” You never want to put yourself in a position where you go all in and you have no chips just in case it fails to potentially be in the game. So taking that first step is very important, but you also need to do your research. You need to be a master of that industry. You need to be able to talk to anybody about that industry.
BDO: What are some of the challenges that you had to overcome?
Steve: When I had my first business, this million dollar business, it failed eventually because I didn’t have purpose behind it. I was just working off my talent. I was making clients happy, I was doing all these events and I was activating and I was just going, but there was no end game and I felt as if the river would never run dry. I felt like I could catch fish forever. Well, the river ran dry. There was no more fish and I had to shut down because I didn’t have the proper people around me to advise me and tell me maybe you should look into this or you should put dollars towards this to make sure the business stays afloat. I was just dependent on the work I was doing and making it sustainable and scalable.
I was able to eventually overcome it because I learned from my lesson. I learned that it wasn’t about just what in your face. It was about being able to scale that business and being able to reach more people and put yourself in a position for your business to overcome hurdles and hunks in the road. So I went from the position of not really understanding the business, but having pure talent to get business and work and make it a profitable business at that time. I was living like 70 percent of Americans now, just check to check. I was getting those checks and it was a lot of checks, but [I was still living] check to check. As it came in, it was going out and I learned from that on a personal and business level.
BDO: What’s the main point you want people to take away from this book?
Steve: You need to instill good habits and methodologies in your life. The reason why I touched a lot of different industries within this book from fashion to real estate to sports to music to entrepreneurship and technology is because I wanted people to understand the common thread that lies among all the people I highlighted in the book, including myself. There’s a common thread there and they all have those habits and methodologies and power moves in place to help them overcome and achieve their goals.
I purposely titled each chapter so people could identity with them–The importance of training your mind and having a mind of a winner, determination—you need to be determined that when things don’t do well, you can overcome it. Communication—to be able to sell your vision, you need to be able to communicate. The winning mentality, faith, dedication, these are all things I labeled [my chapters] on purpose because they come to life in those chapters.
I want you to understand that I need to have these habits in place and I need to tear down my old habits, the habits that aren’t helping get to where I need to be. We gain habits at a very early age and those things stick with us and those things you might have learned when you were 10, could be those things that are stopping you from progressing right now. The Mind of A Winner is about putting you in a position to be successful regardless of what it is you’re trying to do. It’s a mindset.