Before DJ Khaled was giving you the “major keys to success” on Snapchat, Mathew Knowles had already designed the blueprint and her name is Beyoncé.
The former Xerox Medical Systems executive quit his job to invest in the careers of his daughter, and her girl group Destiny’s Child. The work ethic that he instilled within Beyoncé helped to make Queen Bey the incomparable icon that she is today.
In his new book, The DNA of Achievers, Mathew breaks down the ten traits that the most elite artists, athletes, entrepreneurs and executives have mastered. These traits are: passion, vision, work ethic, team building, planning, talk-to-do, risk-taking, learning from failure, the ability to give back and thinking outside of the box.
While most 64-year-olds are probably looking forward to retirement, Mathew is working harder than ever. He recently signed a new group called Blushhh Music which he describes as “Salt-N-Pepa meets TLC meets Destiny’s Child”.
In an exclusive interview with the Sentinel, Mathew shares the importance of taking strategic risks and why failure is necessary to differentiate mediocrity from those who are willing to work tirelessly for their dreams.
LAS: What’s your advice for people who say they want to quit their jobs and follow their dreams but the reality of having bills and responsibilities stops them from taking risks?
Mathew Knowles: Bills and responsibilities are part of life and I certainly understand that. For me, I had to take a risk. I had to go out on blind faith and quit my job. I could no longer ask my artists to give 100% if I wasn’t doing the same. Fortunately, I had planned for it; I had saved some money and prepared for the day when my income would change. So I would advise others to simply be strategic about the risks they take.
LAS: What if someone feels overwhelmed or defeated by the fact that they don’t possess all of the qualities that you’ve deemed necessary success? What are the most important tools to hone in on?
MK: Two things: If you can’t define your passion, that thing that excites you, the thing that you think about before you go to bed at night and when you wake up in the morning, if you at least don’t know what that thing is, then this book isn’t for you. Hopefully once you’ve answered the questions at the end of each chapter, you would have identified something in your life that you feel is important enough to pursue.
Also, you have to learn from failure. Failure is an opportunity to grow, not a reason to quit. We’re all going to fail a lot, but did you learn from it? Did you grow from it? You can’t find an athlete that’s playing ball that isn’t passionate about their sport. Or an artist that’s at the top of their game that isn’t passionate about music. The DNA of Achievers are traits of highly successful people, not average people.
LAS: When you have a group dynamic, how do you get members to understand that even if they’re not the star, their contribution still matters?
MK: In a group, you have-to-have a leader. Groups without leaders have chaos. Every member of the group must accept their role. Key words, “must accept”. You have to identify leaders and clearly give everyone a role. Whether you’re referring to corporate America or a girl group, you can’t force someone to accept their position. You have to make sure that they have a clear understanding of the role they’re playing.
LAS: I’m sure you’ve encountered a number of aspiring artists who feel as if they can’t catch a break. What’s your advice for someone who feels like they keep failing at their dream?
MK: Things keep failing over and over if it’s not really your passion. Many people have a false since of what failing really means. Most people fail because they aren’t putting the work in. I see so many artists and they just aren’t good. They don’t put in the number of hours Beyonce still spends on vocals, choreography and refining her image. When I host talent showcases I’ll ask the performers, ‘how long did you practice that song?’ The responses I often get range from a few days or even a couple of hours.
You have to realize that everyone isn’t destined for greatness because they’re not willing to commit to the work required to be great. There are millions of kids around the world that want to play basketball or be artists but they never find the time to practice and hone their craft.
LAS: From concept to completion what was your writing process to create The DNA of Achievers?
MK: The idea came from flying in first class amongst a lot of business people. Sometimes you sit next someone that’s quiet, other times you find someone that you wish was quiet, because they’re talking too much. Other times you find people who are engaging and they’re proud to tell you what they do. I started listening and realizing that the people I interacted with reminded me of myself or my friends when they discussed what they were passionate about. I’m extremely grateful and humbled by the fact that I asked 30 people to be in my book and not one person said ‘no’. This was written over the course of two years because I would start and stop. I would advise anyone trying to write a book, don’t stop, don’t take a break, when you have the idea just push through. It was a long process to find a publisher so I decided to self-publish.
To purchase an autographed copy of Matthew Knowles’ new book, visit DNAofAchievers.com