Believe in Your Fucking Self

Some companies create a mission statement. Some have detailed employee handbooks and hang inspirational posters in conference rooms. At Belly, each new employee receives a handout entitled, “Belly Employee Guidelines”, which opens with the statement: “Believe in your fucking self.”

We avoid restricting our culture to a definition. As Reid Hastings, Founder/CEO at Netflix, wisely wrote: “Actual company values are the behaviors and skills that are valued in fellow employees.”

“Culture” is not defined by what is written, but rather by the characteristics inherent in those hired. Culture is measured in metrics and goals, in actions rewarded, and the behaviors that each member of the team displays every single day. As such, culture is honest – not to be invented, massaged, or calculated. It’s who you are. It’s how you act. It’s truth.

So, back to, “Believe in your fucking self…”

Politically correct? Crazy? Well, fuck it. It’s who we are. We are aggressively pursuing our vision of creating enhanced digital relationships between businesses and their customers. We are passionate about leveling the playing field for local businesses by giving them access to technology they’ve never had access to. We are working to build more than a feature, but a world-class product and company. And we are hustling – with an acute awareness that many others have tried and failed before us, but without ignoring the reality that our logo is neatly centered on more than a few dartboards.

Life building a company isn’t easy. It takes a group of extraordinarily talented people, working harder than they could ever imagine, toward a unified goal. It requires a team grounded with an understanding of what is truly expected of them – that they are the game changing elite. Each day begins with a goal, and doesn’t end until they’ve given their best to accomplish it.

Our culture (and the guidelines we adhere to) aren’t for everyone. Shit, we may be flat out wrong. And for a time, the possibility that the way in which we work and hire could be wrong has caused me more than enough sleepless nights. We’ve lost candidates and had to part ways with some talented people simply because our “culture” wasn’t a fit. When faced with challenges, it’s easy to search for a compromise. You justify your reasons for moving toward the middle, down a path more traveled, more commonplace… Stop.

Believe in your fucking self.

Again, your company culture is truth. Even if your truth is counter to the norm, constantly under scrutiny or occasionally causing you to criticize your own confidence, you have as good of a chance sustaining a new culture as you do escaping your shadow.

Find your passion, own it, over communicate it, and over communicate it again. Ensure that it’s reflected in your voice, vision, job postings, interviews, and daily activities. Defining who you fucking are will help filter out candidates who aren’t a fit and attract those who are. Truth in culture will sustain and it will scale. Recognize it, and get back to work.

And through it all, don’t forget to fucking laugh.

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