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By Sadell Bradley, Strategic Director
Aug. 22, 2019

Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun. If you’re a person of a particular age, that fabulous McDonalds Big Mac jingle from the ’70s just rolls off your tongue. It’s definitely unforgettable…but 45 years later, I wonder if the general public knows what’s contained in the ‘Special Sauce.’  They said it was a variant of Thousand Island dressing. In 2012, McDonald’s admitted to some of the ingredients: “store-bought mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and yellow mustard whisked together with vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.” Now you know what’s in it, but you still can’t make that ‘Special Sauce.’

One of the cool things about MORTAR is that we know we have a ‘Special Sauce.’ There are tangible and intangible things that separate us from other incubator/accelerators. One of them is that we fill a particular niche in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Another is our origin story of three African-American male founders who saw a problem with inequities in entrepreneurship in Cincinnati and decided to do something about it. A third is the life force that is our Alumni Network and our incomparable Staff. A fourth is our newly developed curriculum. I could go on and on. We know we have a ‘Special Sauce,’ and our values and philosophy include continuous growth and learning, and an abundance mentality that shares our collective wisdom. We know that giving out the ingredients doesn’t make others able to do what we do the way we do it.

There’s a musical artist I love named Jonathon McReynolds. He wrote a powerful song called ‘Comparison Kills.’ I hope the lyrics will resonate with you as they have with me:

I can only speak for my world, where almost everyone has what they need. Other nations live with sickness, but over here, we die from jealousy. ‘Cause it makes you chase what’s not meant to be chased, ‘cause you possessed it all along. It comes to steal and hide what is real. Comparison kills.

The grass was fine, ‘til it looked greener on the other side. Now you’re believing that you fell behind. Why try to match what should be one of a kind? You’re one of a kind.

We all wanna be successful, and get mad when God’s not in a rush. Why waste your time just making copies? You’ll see that you did not accomplish much. Pressure gets hot and with heat come mirages. So you think it’s cool over there. Your thirst is real, but water can’t fill what comparison kills.

We all have a uniqueness about us, a contribution to this world that only we can make. We were designed as originals, no two fingerprints have been nor ever will be alike. I encourage you to take time to reflect upon and embrace your ‘Special Sauce,’ what makes you beautifully, distinctively and extraordinarily you. Others might try to duplicate it…but they never will.

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