Published on Forbes 2/12/2014
We predict that the next generation of unforgettable entrepreneurs will rise up not from the executive boardroom but from one of the most unlikely groups that many consider to be long shots.
We refer to them at our company Fishbowl as Outlier Entrepreneurs. They are those rare individuals who possess the high courage to create something extraordinary against all odds. Fishbowl is on a mission to make new friends with fellow Outlier Entrepreneurs who are also interested in “plowing new fields” that help businesses and people to soar.
Two examples of legendary Outlier Entrepreneurs (past and present) that our team admires: Ralph Waldo Emerson and NFL great Gerome Sapp, who is an inspiring champion and an insightful thought leader who is blazing his own trail for success and helping others along the way.
Notre Dame Team Captain and NFL Great Gerome Sapp – An elite athlete and so much more.
Outlier Entrepreneurs instinctively adopt many of the traits Ralph Waldo Emerson is best known for:
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Our greatest glory is not in ever failing, but in rising up every time we fail. Life is a journey, not a destination. The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
If you never give up, always serve and support something beyond yourself, embrace challenges as learning opportunities, and do not participate in the blame or judgment game you might also be an Outlier Entrepreneur. Gerome Sapp certainly is. Emerson’s timeless quotes mirror the basic philosophies we see in Gerome.
We actively seek out fellow adventurers who carve their own path and look forward to sharing their insights into being successful. “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me,” said Emerson. This reminds us that the new way of doing business is really the old way: make a new friend.
Notre Dame legend and NFL great Gerome Sapp shined at the launch of a new incubation enterprise called Outlier Labs. The theme was “The Genesis of a New Idea,” and it is a reminder that remarkable businesses are built on new ideas and innovative ways of creating value for the long-term success of small businesses.
Gerome inspired us not because he is a fantastic athlete. When we first met Gerome we learned that he had achieved success by overcoming significant obstacles in his life. His mother instilled a great love of education within him that inspired him to achieve his personal goal of obtaining an Executive MBA from Harvard. The more we learned about Gerome, the more we admired and respected him. Gerome was given very little admiration or respect from others while growing up, and there were times when he did his homework by candlelight.
He is thoughtful and intelligent with a great idea that could most likely change the whole game on social media for product branding. He is someone who definitely has it together when he comes to next-generation product building and Internet marketing. His words on the topic are intelligent yet accessible, as well as articulate, inspiring and spot-on. When Gerome speaks, people listen and it has nothing to do with his football wins and college diploma. He genuinely cares about helping others to become successful and it shows in everything he does.
He is ushering in an innovative and game-changing way to market brands and products where people can decide which products they REALLY like and promote them and gain points to get free stuff they want. The simple ideas are usually the best.
When Gerome speaks about his products and services, it’s so simple that most marketers don’t get it, but the college kids do and other consumers who want discounted cool stuff say, “Where do we sign up?”
We can all choose the path that has not been cleared and create our destiny in our unique way, following our prime directive, which is to help small businesses and individuals thrive and prosper.
So what’s your next move?
Are you ready to get off the couch and get into the game?
Yes, you’ll probably have to take a few hits if you do. People are going to judge you, talk about you behind your back, and oftentimes tell you that you are doing everything wrong or that you are not good enough to make it in the big business leagues. Gerome heard many times in the business world that athletes aren’t supposed to be intelligent and gifted in the business arena. In business, we sometimes forget that human beings are so much more than a mere title or label. We can all learn from Gerome and “rise above it.”
Gerome is the next generation of the successful entrepreneur who understands you have to excel at all aspects of the game. With every takedown whether it is in life or on the field, Gerome learns and becomes stronger, and that is the heart of the Outlier Entrepreneur. He knows who he is, and his vision to empower people to choose which brands matter to them is noble and revolutionary.
Outlier Entrepreneurs intuitively know how to “take inventory” of themselves intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. They keep it simple and efficient. There is no room on the inner shelves for doubt, energy drainers, or junk. “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year,” Emerson said. We can learn a great deal from the outliers who came before us and the ones who are leading the way today. We made a great friend and now you have, too.