When Darryl DMC McDaniels aka member of Run DMC visited our headquarters to talk and rap (! ) about the topic ‘destiny ‘n’ purpose’, I really walked away inspired. Not only because I am a die-hard fan, but also because he shared many insights on what got him to where he is today.
Let’s face it: adidas is the only company I know of that has its own hip hop anthem created by one of the most iconic rap crews to have ever set foot on our planet. I was still in elementary school in 1986 when Run DMC came out with ‘MY ADIDAS’, but the track has long since been recognized as one of the greatest hip hop hits of all time.
When DMC was taking to the stage for about an hour at one of our employee speaker series events, it soon became clear to me that his road to success was totally different to that of today’s marketing-optimized bands who are chasing success with a meticulous plan.
If you really want to be good at what you do, it doesn’t always have to be the objective that is front and center but how you get there and with whom.
Here are my key takeaways as to why the journey can be the reward:
1. Have fun creating – it will make you successful
“I never in a million years would have thought I would have videos on TV or an endorsement with adidas. The reason why that did work was that everything I created from the start was good and was fun.” Darryl DMC McDaniels aka member of Run DMC
Creating is not about following a strict daily routine – it’s about having fun. As soon as you start creating something in your job, it will also give you the opportunity to express who you are. In every piece that you work on, it will always show your true self; that might be a consistent storyline, great ideas, a new process or a way of working. Having fun with what you do will not only bring the best results, it will also give others something they can relate to.
2. Get inspired and strut your stuff
“Where do you think we got our style from? It was from all those hip hop crews we enjoyed watching. We got the inspiration from them. The way they looked was so beautiful to my eyes – I saw, heard and felt the beauty of hip hop.” DMC
When Run DMC recorded ‘MY ADIDAS’, they took inspiration from all the rappers they enjoyed listening to, sure, but they took what they created to a whole new level by performing on TV and radio. The fact that Run DMC chose to wear adidas tracksuits and Superstars soon led to these products becoming just as iconic as the guys who wore them… but funnily enough, they weren’t the ones inventing the look. They took their inspiration from b-boys, graffiti artists and break dancers and all Run DMC did was to spread the word to others.
Inspiration can be taken from many aspects of our daily lives – whether you’re an accountant or a designer, there is always something you can relate to and modify by putting your own footprint on it. Expressing your personality in such a way will inspire others to do the same. Just be vocal about what you do.
3. Creating is an ‘all together’ thing
“When we were young, we played music in the park. There were DJs playing the music. The people that were standing around didn’t know anything about the music, but they all came together to create something. The boys and girls in the park liked poetry so they rhymed. Others were dancing. All of these people coming together created one culture there. Poetry and music – that is how hip hop started.” DMC
Creating always comes from inside, but it is not always a one-man show. If you really want to make a change – or even create a culture – it takes a team that is open to collaborate and stimulate new ideas. Only then will the products we create be meaningful.
“Hip hop was our way of looking inside of us. We all have something, a gift that must be utilized and presented to the world.” DMC
We all have the ability to create and inspire others, but sometimes we need to be reminded of that. Even without realizing it, the inspiration we take from others helps build upon our own creativity to bring better results and put the fun into our daily work…