But, It's The Principle

Growing up in West Baltimore taught me a lot at a young age. Sex, drugs, alcohol, violence…you name it, it was happening. I very rarely speak openly about my hood certification because it’s no longer who I am. I choose to unapologetically focus on how I have transformed and evolved into the woman I am today. But, after experiencing what I like to call “The Week of Great Shade” the hood in me slipped out and now I’m writing. I cannot and will not deny that at the very core of who I am lies the lessons learned on Park Heights and Hayward in the late 90s/early 2000s. I am convinced that more people need to grow up in ghettos and rough neighborhoods because you really learn some of the most valuable and basic lessons. In today’s business world, so many things are happening that totally undermine basic business principles. Furthermore, basic human principles are being undermined. See, there is a lot of hating, backstabbing, idea-borrowing (stealing) and straight up disrespect on the business scene. You may be asking “why even address it?” The answer: It’s all about principle. In my older and wiser years, I choose to rise above and never feed into negativity or comment on the screenshots that drop into my inbox about who is sleeping with who, which Instagram celebrity is the messiest, reality tv gossip or who stole whose idea. Honestly, this rarely happens because nothing about me says “oh, she’s into gossip” or “this is something I can talk to her about”. I’m often clueless because I choose not to engage. I am one of those naïve people who believed I had no haters and that I gave no one a reason to dislike me…that bubble was recently burst (LOL). After observing and putting careful thought into the past week or so, I began to write and these are the hood principles that I believe every person should apply to life and business!

·         Keep Your Head Down – This is just another way of saying stay humble. When a drug dealer first steps onto the corner, he/she better NOT think that they know it all or have it all together. No matter if you are in the finance industry or dessert industry, you MUST earn your stripes and do so humbly. Take the time to learn from those who came before you, keep your head down and just grind. People see the glory of another person and have no idea how much blood, sweat and tears went into the one moment of shine. One day, sooner than you realize, it will be your turn to step into the spotlight and shine. And when it is your time, capitalize on it!

·         Keep Your Eyes Open – Lawddd! You have to watch out for the fakes and the snakes! You may think how can I keep my head down and eyes open at the same time? It’s something that can’t be taught…there is no formula for it. But growing up in the hood, you master it! You have to take the time to really get to know people and make them qualify to be in your inner circle before you let them in all willy nilly. Pay attention to those who do and don’t clap when you win. Some of your day 1’s been jealous since day one. Stay woke!

·         Make Friends – I will tell anyone…to this day, I have friends in high and low places. I have friends who willingly look out for me because I’ve always been a faithful and consistent friend. I always show up when I say I am going to and I get things done on their behalf. You need to know some executives on the top floor, the janitor who works in the basement and the person who has never stepped foot in any office building. Diversify your circle.

·         Don’t Show Fear – Your haters, dream killers and naysayers can smell your fear from miles away and just like vultures, they will begin to circle. You cannot be afraid to shine when it is your time, don’t back down from challenges and claim what belongs to you. The moment your enemy gets a whiff of fear or catches you slipping, they will attack. Be unapologetically bold and courageous.

·         Stay in the Lab – Everyone knows that there is much more behind the scenes work that goes into what we actually see. I tell people to stay in the lab because this is where your creativity flows, you come up with new ideas (and don’t have to steal the ideas of others…word for word!), and you are the most focused. There are no outside distractions, you may not sleep for days or eat for days but when you come out, you will have an idea that is pure gold. Additionally, when you reach a certain level, you naturally need to bring on a team. You still need to stay in the lab. Your hand needs to be on the pulse of everything and watching over your team. Don’t get caught slipping and see your idea magically appear under someone else’s name. You should know everything that is going on in your business at all times!

·         Don’t Beef with Your Neighbor – It is really time to work smarter not harder. I learned this principle not just from living in the hood but from being in a sorority. I will never be able to wrap my mind around why people prefer duplication over partnership. The reality is that it happens. People beef with the people on their teams errday! Everyone wants to be a chief and you know what? That’s fine…be a chief! But, don’t step on toes unnecessarily or bring drama to your own doorstep because you decided to steal the wheel instead of putting new tread on it.

·         Stay Loyal – People are truly opportunists anddd that’s okay. You have to allow people to be who they are going to be. Learn to meet people where they are. If someone crosses you or stabs you in the back there’s no need to call your hitta (not all the time anyway) because people really reap what they sow! You focus on staying loyal to and appreciating those who are loyal to you. The rest will figure itself out…it always does.

All I can really say is that when you have a good character, maintain integrity and stay true to your hood values, everything else will speak for itself. There have been times when I have wanted to respond to someone and I can’t because God won’t let me. It’s more important to rise above and remember that what is for you, is for you. You don’t have to spend time figuring out what move the next person is making when you are truly focused on your own projects! So, stay shadeless my friend and don’t get caught slipping!


Flip (for those who really know me)

*This messages is approved by the Hood Certification Committee of the United States.*

“Calling people on their bs since 1965”

Tiffany GillespieComment