I’ve long been a big fan of ‘90s and ‘00s hip-hop music and I often make friends suffer through my quoting of lyrics. So small biz community, why not make you think about this hip-hop wisdom with me?
I Need a Doctor
In February of 2011, musician and business mogul Dr. Dre teamed up with another rap legend and protege Eminem and singer Skylar Grey to release the song “I Need a Doctor.” Now, I’m sure you played this a lot when it came out, but here’s a refresher.
The idea behind the song is that Eminem is pleading with Dr. Dre to come back to music and release the very, very, very long overdue next album he’d been promising fans for years. Here’s a little snip of lyrics I want you to read:
But you’re either getting lazy or you don't believe in you no more
Seems like your own opinions, not one you can form
Can't make a decision you keep questioning yourself
Second-guessing and it’s almost like you’re begging for my help
Like I'm your leader
You’re supposed to f---- be my mentor
I can endure no more
I demand you remember who you are
That last line: I demand you remember who you are. That’s the heart of the nugget.
Eminem is saying that when you get lost and start second-guessing yourself, go back to your roots and reset. Get your feet under you.
It’s important and useful advice. Unless it’s not.
Maybe We Didn’t Need a Doctor
At the time of this song’s release, Dre was working on other projects. Five years after “I Need a Doctor” came out (where Dre promises he’s back), he launches Beats by Dre and releases premium headphones to the world. They’re an overnight hit. He sells the company to Apple for over a billion dollars.
He thrives in a whole new direction, a “pivot” as the kids call it.
Dre released only one more album in 2015 when the movie “Straight Outta Compton” came out. It debuted at No. 2 and sold enough units. But it wasn’t exactly like the old days.
It didn’t matter. We didn’t need a doctor. Or at least, let’s say it this way: Dre knew where he was going even though no one around him was ready to accept that’s where he’s headed.
That’s the other big yellow highlighter I need you to take from this:
People won’t always see where you’re going, and they might inadvertently try to hold you back.
Your notes, then, should read like this:
- I demand you remember who you are - go back to basics any time you feel indecisive.
- People won’t always see where you’re going - your vision comes to you long before others see you at the center of it.
As a small business owner, sometimes you get thrown far off the deep end of ideas. You chase what customers need and that can muck up your business. Sometimes we add and add and add and lose sight of what our business needs to be (I demand you remember who you are).
Other times, we should accept people won’t see the next big turn in the road and that we’ll have to earn our way into people’s minds once we start executing a new vision (they won’t see where you’re headed).
This isn’t some list of five ways to get people to answer an email. It’s more than that. The risk is that you’ll just read this and take no action. But if you had even five minutes, I challenge you:
Are you back in your roots? And are you working on your vision?
About Chris Brogan
Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. The age of factory-sized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.
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