To Thine Own Spark! Be True

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I’ll never be the best artist. I won’t ever be a famous surfer. I probably won’t have my own Pepsi commerical and, despite my amazing shower-singing, I know that I won’t ever be on Broadway. Yet, while I won’t become any of these things, there is something that I am becoming. No one can see it, and it’s taking a lot of work to make it appear, but at the end of the day it’s still there. It’s something that I can feel and others notice.

I feel myself becoming genuine.

So you may be asking yourself, “Self, am I a genuine person? Is that an accurate description of me?” Well, one easy way to figure this out is to face adversity, a roadblock, a wave, whatever you want to call it. Picture a sailboat. Want to know if it is genuine and sea-worthy? You must first test it’s limits. Not in calm and glassy waters, but in a violent tempest. If it floats, it’s genuine. The same applies to you and me, except we aren’t boats. We have to be tested to prove our guineness.

Spark! Incubator is a daily test. It’s hard. It’s stressful. It’s nerve-wracking having to pitch and network. Often times, I come home after school, throw my backpack down and am tempted to dropout, hitchhike to Colorado, and live my life as a nomad. However, as tempting as it may sound, to be genuine is to be real and fully present at all times. To be genuine is to show grit when things get hard. Running my own clothing company is no easy task. It gets exponentially harder when suppliers relocate, budgets fall short, and product development hits a wall.

But when I am genuine to myself, even in difficulty, is when I personally grow and my company emerges from the storm better than before.

I know that business is my passion. I am gifted at marketing and I love to dream. To be genuine for me is to realize that I am so dedicated to bringing my plans to fruition, that I won’t be deterred by hardships. I would be denying myself if I were to just give up, so I persevere.

Since joining Spark!, my company has spread to 13 states, grossed over $4500 revenue, and in 2 weeks is launching our largest round of product to date, all because of genuine effort and because I was true to myself (and because of Spark!).

Being genuine is really just carpe diem with a cause, meaning that one seizes chances and adversity and makes the most of each because there is an end goal and set of desires which drives that person forward.

Being genuine is a learning process. It takes time, demands effort and patience, and above all, genuineness requires that one plays on strengths given to them and follows their goals through the storm. I’m still learning what it means to be fully genuine, but what I’ve learned so far has taught me that I have to pilot my ship into the storm in a real and genuine way.

Thanks for reading,

Wesley Abeln, Parkway Spark! Incubator

Founder, KIWI Outfitters

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