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3 Sweaty Lessons for the Entrepreneur

When the remake of the movie, Sparkle, arrived to theaters, I had to watch the 1976 version just one more time. This has been a favorite since I first watched it as a teen almost 20 years after it was released. Every time I watch the movie something different stands out. This time that I watched it, I noticed how sweaty Stix, the character played by Philip Michael Thomas, was when he hugged the girls mom. It was at the point that I experienced an epiphany as to why this movie impacted me so much. Here are three sweaty business lessons that I learned from the movie:


1. Sweating is Natural 

In Sparkle, when Stix came to Sparkle's debut and hugged her mom he was sweaty. She didn't turn him away. In fact, she gave him a full embrace while in her finest threads. He had made a mistake and she knew it, but he had survived it and she was encouraged.  As a entrepreneur, I have to put in my sweat equity to get my business off the ground. There aren't always casual or ladylike ways to go about this. I just have to allow myself to get dirty, make mistakes, fall down, get up...It's okay. As I take risks, I see my clients taking risks. They inspire me. That determination and perseverance becomes contagious.


2. Sweating is Good for you

Yes; I am a writer. Yes; I am a poet. But, THIS time I am not speaking figuratively. In the movie, when Stix got upset, he would put his feet to the pavement and take a walk. Similarly, no amount of reading, savvy, and mental exercises can replace a good workout. Physical exercise is good for your health AND the health of your business. Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code is quoted as saying:

In addition to starting early, I keep an antique hourglass on my desk and every hour break briefly to do push-ups, sit-ups and quick stretches. This helps keep the blood, and ideas, flowing.

As an entrepreneur, you are not only the worker bee - you are the thinker bee. The one with the vision. When I allow myself to become exhausted, it compromises the amount of energy I have to put towards my projects. Time at the gym or walking has produced some of my most creative ideas.


3. Use your Sweat to Sparkle



There are fifteen key minutes of the movie that completely elevate the story line from being about a poor family living in Harlem to a much more universally-themed story line about choices...specifically choices that have to be made in the face of adversity. The following words were said by Sparkle (portrayed by Irene Cara) after the funeral for her sister and Stix returning to town after leaving to pursue his career. She is hurting or, in the words of the old Dry Idea commercials, letting him see her sweat. But, it is pivotal to her growth and independence. This stronger, confident person emerges than we have seen up to this point in the movie. This person becomes the Sparkle whom we see command the stage at Carnegie Hall.

Give you a chance? Wanna know something funny? When you first left, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to live without you. Yeah, I used to sit in this room and wondered if I would ever get through another second. Can you imagine a person so unhappy? To not know if they'd live through another second? I got through the second, Stix. Minutes, days, months, weeks. I'm doing fine without you. Just fine.  

As an entrepreneur, I am faced with many challenges. Unlike the years I spent in higher education, I don't have a meeting to call, protocol to follow or standard practices guide. Many choices are complex and there is no right or wrong. I have mentors and resources in place which help. But, some decisions and challenges are unique to my own business. Going through the process, the sweat, learning from own lessons, and recovering from my own decisions all are helping this solopreneur to evolve.

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