I just finished watching an interview that an old friend did with his Alma Mater, Full Sail University, talking about his road to success at AWOLNATION and felt moved to write a post about the formula of success.
It was 2008 in Orlando Florida where I first met Kenny. I stepped foot into a house full of what I soon learned were pro and semi-pro wake boarders, artists, and college students.
Kenny Carkeet now rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals for AWOLNATION was jamming with a couple other guys in a cozy office/sound room when I met him. His fingers quickly pulled away from the down stroke of his electric guitar as he reached out to introduce himself. He engaged in welcoming conversation and followed it with an introduction to the rest of the band members of then, “Evolution Heart.” (I still have the little rectangular band sticker placard on my old dresser)
Fast forward a month or two and you’d have seen Kenny and I stroking an agreement, on the coffee table in his living room, to sponsor his band with t-shirts and swag that I produced under the label Stigmata, formerly Statik Apparel.
You see, the reason I moved to Orlando was to seek out opportunities within the wakeboard industry and promote my clothing line. I spent a couple years in the corporate world after college then decided I was ready to move back home for a change of pace. During this time I spun off a clothing company called Stigmata from a company that I founded in ’06 called Statik. The line obviously didn’t take off but I learned a lot about working with people, networking, sponsorships, managing expectations, design, surf shops, and grassroots marketing along the way. (side note, it’s ok to fail because not every venture is going to be a hit)
Paving the Road to Success
During the interview Kenny talks about success in a linear progression from embracing his passions for audio and music to narrowing down and mastering his craft, through taking risks, humility in the workplace, networking, his first gig (the practical), and ultimately his tipping point. Check out the video below.
Take note because the fact of the matter is that there are many stories like Kenny’s and there’s a similar path to success in each of them.
Malcom Gladwell covers several tantalizing examples of people who succeed in his book, Outliers. He takes us through the linear progression of successful groups and people like the Beatles and tech moguls like Bill Joy and Bill Gates arguing that the biggest factor in their success is not innate talent or blind luck, but rather dedication to their chosen craft.
The common threads to marked success are: being an expert, networking, and delivering on your promises.
Kenny mentioned in his interview with Full Sail, “You have to put in your time and You’ll meet the right people”. Learn from those words and I’ll leave you with this, “Be confident, believe in yourself”.
Disclaimer: I don’t sponsor Kenny anymore and he doesn’t have any affiliation with my company.