TRUST IN FRIENDS, LEARN
HOW TO USE ENEMIES
Be wary of friends – they will betray you more quickly for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.
Being the entrepreneurial minded person that I consider myself to be, I constantly look for niches or ideas that I can bring to light. As good fortune would have it I came upon such an idea one September night in 1997. At the time I was in the video booth with my man C. Mac (sidebar: check out his blog or previous work in the links section) at our former church, Abundant Life Fellowship. This particular fall evening we were working in the capacity as youth leaders for a back to school concert featuring Gospel Rap Artist’s, A1-Swift.
A1-Swift was a husband wife duo that really could put it down. They had a mainstream sound, but all their lyrics were about living big for Christ. The house was packed. They had the crowd rocking. I remember during one of their sets seeing all these kids rocking their hip hop gear and it occurred to me that although these kids professed a passionate love for Christ, they looked like every other kid immersed in hip hop culture with their Nautica, Tommy, and Fubu on from head to toe. I wanted to change that. I wanted to create a fly Christian clothing line that could rival all of the aforementioned lines.
With money tight I set out to create the line with limited resources. I’m pretty creative, having discovered my ability to draw at age eight, so I began creating logos for caps and baseball jerseys. Caps have always been popular and everybody was wearing sportswear with the ascent of FuBu. So, I was on my way.
Once I had some samples, I began sharing them with some close friends and a few people who were mostly associates (some I didn't really trust, but they were friends of a friend). The response I received was mixed. The friends loved them, while the associates were like, “Meh, they’re okay.”
Long story short after a lot of time and money, the line never really took off. A few years ago I saw an opportunity to pull it off the back burner and it was at that moment that I had the wool pulled from over my eyes. Someone very close to me who previously applauded my efforts, confessed that they didn’t really like the previous designs, that if I was going to go after it again that I should look to do something more cutting edge. I said, “Now you tell me! I could have saved a lot of time and effort had you just been honest." They didn't want to hurt my feelings was their response. Give me a break, was mine. I also realized that I should have listened to the guys who I thought were just practicing hate. Winning over my "enemies" would have proven profitable. But you live and you learn.
This is a mild example of the principle, but I’m sure you can come up with some spicier scenarios where someone close to you caught you from the blind side. If so, and you care to share, by all means do so.
About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.