5 Lessons I've Learned from Chester Bennington as an Entrepreneur
I remember it like it was yesterday, the first time I saw the video for Crawling was on TRL back in 2001. I was about 12 years old and I remember thinking Chester looked like Eminem only he didn't rap. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, it almost confused me. A mix of rock and rap, with scratching from a DJ. It was unlike anything I've heard before, and I remember wanting to hear more. Their lyrics were unlike anything on the radio at the time, and their conviction as a band was unlike anything I have ever seen. It was only a few years later, I've learned more about Chester, who he is as a person, and the influence he had on other fans where I started to get my inspiration from.
1. Follow Your Heart!
There's an interview from many years ago (I want to say it was from KROQ) where a fan asked Chester "What made you want to leave everything you know in Phoenix, AZ (where he's originally from) and go to LA, to audition for a band (that wasn't anywhere near stage ready at the time)?" His answer? "I don't know how to answer that other than to say that I just followed my heart. I knew in my gut that this band was going to be something big". That was one thing that stuck with me, he sacrificed everything that was going on at his home, not seeing his family, leaving his job, and going to LA with little money in his pocket and couch surfing.
I remember when I graduated college, a family friend asked me when I was going to start my own business and I said "Ha! Never! I have no plans for that right now, I wanna get some experience first!". Four years later, I am at a Christmas party and someone asked what I did. I told them and that led to a conversation where they asked me if I had my own business. A lightbulb went off then, and I was like "what am I doing working for other people?" While I still worked a 9-5 for other brands and agencies, I always had the idea of working for myself. I finally did it in 2017. I remembered what Chester said during that time.
2. Stay True to Yourself, Don't BS!
I think Chester said the actual cuss word LOL. I've followed LP for a LONG time and they have always stuck true to who they were no matter how often they changed their style. There's a reaction video out there with kids reacting to Linkin Park!
This video is hilarious, but one thing that stuck with me is when one of the kids said "It seems like this band changed their style to get a bigger audience" Mike Shinoda says that "Hey, now we never really changed our style. We did everything that WE wanted to do." This is something I liked and respected about them. Yes, they did change their sound up, and no I wasn't writing mean comments on their YouTube channel about it. I might've been the few old-schoolers that embraced the change. They inspired me to change but change your style in a SMART way, not in a way where no one would recognize your brand voice and who you are.
I cannot tell you how many times I've changed up my look on my IG, or if you go back to my first blog posts, you will see that I changed up my front-facing pictures A LOT. The content, however, was always IN MY VOICE. This was so important for me and I've learned it from Chester and Linkin Park.
3. Fight for What You Believe In.
I remember an interview with Chester where he said that when they first signed, the record execs were having secret meetings with him without the other band members in the room. They were telling him that he should be the frontman of the band and Mike should just play the keyboard. Chester said "F you. This isn't even my band, this is Mike's band. He put it together and I would never push him to the back." Mike would confirm this in his Fort Minor song called Get Me Gone. This inspired me to push forward in what I believe in what I could do and MAKE people believe in what I do. Believe in the services I offer, believe in the pricing and believe in what I could potentially do in the future.
4. Have Integrity.
What I liked about Linkin Park and Chester in general, is that they always had integrity in everything they touched on. They always had an honest feel in their music, in their performances and their charity work. Their charity is called Music for Relief and they helped in rebuild communities after a natural disaster. It was founded after the 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean that affected Sri Lanka and India. After the earthquake in Haiti, they released an album called Download to Donate for relief efforts there and they had a song called Not Alone. Linkin Park also had a hand in a bunch of other charity efforts over the years and had complete integrity in all of those efforts.
This taught me a lot about having integrity in business and in everything you choose to do in your life. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams out there with digital marketing. I've heard people pay $10,000 for SEO only to have nothing done on their website. Getting ripped off is not fun and it has happened to me before. I was promised 100 leads for $15 and I only got 85. I yelled at the guy about it, and he was like "oh well, not my problem." and disappeared. $15 is not the same as $15,000 which is a huge investment. It's hard for people to trust you in what you do. One thing I pride myself in is TRANSPARENCY and INTEGRITY. I will tell my clients, I can't do anything for you if I really can't do anything for them. I will tell them about my struggles, my issues, and what I see happening for them IF IT HELPS. I will level with them and tell them what I see happening for a social media platform and getting followers right now isn't the best option. I am honest to a fault sometimes, but honestly, I feel like that's what made Chester so damn likable.
5. Tell it from Your Heart, Not Your Head!
One thing I appreciated about Chester was that he sang from the heart. I mean the guy was a performer most of his life and he loved it. He felt at home on the stage, and he sang songs that he believed in. He felt like he could heal people with his music and he definitely did that. I learned that I should not think about stuff so much, and go with my gut. This might get a little too woo for people, but I truly believe that Chester was an empath, just like his idol and fellow Piscean, Kurt Cobain. He understood pain cause he went through the worst of it himself. It taught me to go with my gut and understand what people are feeling. This is also a really good trait to have in coaching which frequently involves the coach dealing with the emotions of the client.
I launched my website two days before he passed and I cried my eyeballs out when I heard the news. I wasn't right for two weeks and I am surprised that anything got done. I just watched a lot of his concerts and the old videos that I took from concerts I went to in the past. It was heartbreaking, and it still is. Knowing that his genius will only be shared in his past work, and not anything current, just makes me ill. The amount of love I had for Linkin Park was insurmountable. The inspiration they gave me is unparalleled and what Chester said has resonated with me in everything I do. However, I'd rather not dwell on his death, but rather do what he said: "Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed. Don't resent me, and when you're empty, keep me in your memory and Leave out all the rest".