The Secret Ingredient
Updated: Sep 11
When I was starting out as an entrepreneur, I used to think of new gimmicks and shortcuts to produce results. I overanalyzed a lot of factors like timing, positioning, market saturation, my current skill sets, my pool of networks, and even my present circumstances. I was insecure and had very low self-esteem. I had this poor mentality that business was reserved for talented individuals, for those who have a huge network, or for influential people such as an achiever or those with fancy titles such as MS, Ph.D., etc.
As I expanded my network of business partners, I had the chance of meeting a lot of people from different backgrounds. Some of them had doctorate degrees, while some have attained high positions in their corporate careers. Some were deans of prestigious universities, and others had wide networks ten times as large as mine. Some had traditional businesses and a lot of experience in negotiating and leading people. They saw the potential of the business, and so they got in and became a part of our team.
What happened next surprised me. They were all motivated at first but the fire didn’t last long. As they experienced inconvenience, rejections, disappointments, they began to find excuses why this business will not work for them. Their enthusiasm slowly faded as each week passed. A majority of them quit. Very few persisted and succeeded.
Thus, I learned that these attributes don’t guarantee success. What’s more important is how you can use these attributes to your advantage. And holding on to your vision no matter how hard the challenges are — having the courage to start over after experiencing failures and setback.
Every person is unique. We are gifted in certain areas while others are not. These talents and strengths that you possess are called “givens”. Remember solving an algebra equation? You do not question the givens but you use them to acquire the solution. You have what it takes to become successful, you just have to identify your givens, use them to your advantage, and focus on developing them.
In the movie Kung Fu Panda, Po was chosen to be the great dragon warrior. He was given the privilege to read the dragon scroll, which was touted to grant him limitless power. But when he opened the scroll, he found nothing, only a reflection of himself. He was confused at first but then, later on, he realized that there’s no such thing as a secret ingredient or formula, but the real power lies in ourselves.
In entrepreneurship, the secret ingredient is —YOU. You are the only control variable. Not your background, not your circumstances. You are in control of how you will use your skills, background, and circumstances to achieve success. You decide whether to use your God-given talents to make a difference.