Thursday, April 8, 2021

Why Every Successful Person Needs A Great Number 2

In every successful person’s story is their person who keeps all the secrets and as they say, ‘Knows Where The Bodies Are Buried.’ If you study any successful enterprise or dynasty,  there’s that figure—sometimes in the background—but always there looking and knowing. Steve E. Blast was my person. It would be a miscarriage in storytelling if I shared my career stories and didn’t include Steve’s role in Mad Rhythms, my marketing company, College Entertainment, or simply coaching me as I went along in my career. His presence in my life underscores why every successful person needs a great number 2. This is Part 6 of the In My Lane series.

We Started Kicking It For Real

I met Blast when I was in high school. No, that’s not a typo. We met at a mutual friend’s house. Blast was smitten with a cousin of a friend of mine. My first impression? He seemed like a nice enough guy. He went to one high school in Delaware and I went to another. Though we knew of each other, we didn’t really engage each other in high school. Fast forward, about 10 years after we first met, and I’m being told that he’s a go-getter and he’d be an asset to my business. I asked my friend to give him my number and we started kicking it for real. 

On Most Days It Was Just The Two Of Us

When he showed up in Virginia to work with me at Mad Rhythms, I didn’t have a lot of money to pay him, but he was my first salaried employee. He didn’t know anything really about magazine publishing or college promotions, but his passion for making sh*t happen was off the charts. We’d sit in our office off of Chesapeake Boulevard and we’d discuss the goals for the day. We’d have pie in the sky ideas and come up with strategies of moving toward them. In those days, he had his own office within our office and I had mine.  People were shocked at how efficiently we ran the business because reached more than 50 campuses every time we published an issue, but on most days it was just the two of us. 

He Knew Whose Hands To Shake And What To Say

Steve and Essence Atkins. (Steve got me into the Issa Rae party!!!) Photo courtesy of Steve’s IG.

When the How To Get Into The Entertainment tour began to take off, it was Steve who booked all the dates and routed the schedule. We had maps on our walls like wallpaper and we knew the most direct way to get to point B, from point A. I’d hear him on the phone haggling with college advisors about which date they could have because we would or would not be in their area. If you had met Steve during this time, you would have never known he was new to college promotions or touring. He was like a duck to water. He knew whose hands to shake and what to say. And he was always super protective of me. 

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Having Him In My Corner Gave Me Confidence

When we drove to the college tour dates, he’d tell me things that he thought we were doing right or wrong. We were always open and honest with each other. Having him in my corner gave me confidence and pushed me forward. 

He Was Always Part Bodyguard

New to speechwriting, I tried more creative ways to deliver a message because I knew Steve would be in the wings, ready with a fist bump. I reached out to more sponsors because I knew my other team member wanted the win for the company. And as a woman in the male dominated industry, Blast made me feel safe. He wouldn’t allow anyone to get too close to me when we were touring. And though there was a closeness for me with my audience, he was always part bodyguard whenever we went somewhere. Something, I’m sure, even my husband appreciated it.

Mad Rhythms

I Would Have Never Had The Success Had It Not Been For Steve 

When I made the decision to close Mad Rhythms, I know it hurt him a lot. He’d put in the work. I didn’t want to disappoint him, so it hurt me too. However, it was time to take my creativity in another direction. As I embarked on becoming an author and created author tours, his absence was always felt. And even now, I realize the importance of a number 2 who is really your number 1. Blast was the number 1 person who encouraged me to push, believe and keep chasing my ideas. In the early years, I’m not sure if the college tours would have ever happened without him. And for sure, Luster, Reebok and all the fashion companies who entrusted us with their apparel would have never had the success had it not been for Steve. 

Dedication To Steve

Steve and this famous DJ who will remain unnamed… Photo courtesy Steve’s Instagram.

So, I would like to dedicate this article to Steve for what has felt like a lifetime of support. I couldn’t have done anything without him. And to recap, here is Why Every Successful Person Needs A Great Number 2.

1. They encourage you to reach your goals. 

2. They are a sounding board for your ideas and dreams. 

3. They remind you that you’re not alone. 

4. They motivate you to keep going. 

5. They remind you of how far you’ve come. 

In My Lane is now a 6-part series that keeps growing. Feel free to read and or listen. Our featured photo is of Steve E. Blast is courtesy of his Instagram.

Yasmin Shirazhttp://www.yasminshiraz.net
Yasmin Shiraz is a Screenwriter and TV producer who has worked for Lifetime, A&E, Bravo and PBS. She's a best selling author of more than 11 titles and the founder of Black TV Film Crew. She is the CEO of Still Eye Rise Media.

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