Extreme Focus

You cannot hate on me

‘Cause my mind is free

Feel my destiny

So shall it be

by Jill Scott, lyrics from the song Hate on Me

Everybody say Looooooove! For those that believe, it is amazing how the Holy Spirit works. I thought that I was going to be writing another post today. I had it all written in my head, what it was going to be, how people were going to react to it, and the impact that it would have on peoples’ thoughts and mindset. But not today…It is not the day for that message. You will get it but it was not meant for you to see at this time.

Today, we take a moment to celebrate the honorable Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This great man was born to make a significant change in this world. He did it with such passion and love for people. He literally laid down his life to ensure that the world would be a better place. Because of his servant leadership, we are able to experience many of the civil liberties that he fought against. He paved the way for justice for humankind through fearless leadership and devotion so that you and I will have a better way of living. He endured the hatred and vitriol that any man or woman in this day would lose their marbles. However hard it was, he did it with grace and dignity. The racial slurs, the stabbing, the assault, the disrespect that he faced…it would test anyone’s patience. However hard it was, he did it with humility. He was jailed at least 29 times, his freedom taken away for a cause he strongly believed in. Experiencing the death threats to him and his family, the constant berating from not only his opposition but also from his own entrusted body, and even the self-doubt slipping in to his mind would have mad any one succumb and not push forward. He had a vision…an extreme focus…a mission…a purpose. This was his driving force. Regardless of whatever anyone else thought, even himself, it was his goal to complete this mission.

We often hear the cliche make your haters your motivators. I want to add to this. It doesn’t rhyme and it is not flashy…make your haters, including yourself, your motivation to complete your mission in life. First define why God put you here on this earth, determine your mission, execute it to the fullest, and complete this mission. Do not let anyone or anything, including yourself, stop you. You do not need any one to affirm you. Stop thinking about what other people think. If you operate in truth and integrity, you will operate authentically and that is operating in your best self.

Early in my career, I was overlooked for positions that I felt that I would have added value. I was told that I did not have the experience to train and develop other professionals. I was told that I needed to get this credential, get that credential, gain this experience, and then they would entertain me being apart of a training program to be a trainer. I was devastated because I knew what I love to do and that was to develop people. I developed the defeatists attitude and then became complacent. I started looking to others to validate me before I could move forward. I decided at that time that I needed to have patience and just wait my turn but was not doing anything to progress my passion. I suppressed my gift. By doing so, it did not just affect me. It not only affected my health and well-being but that I my family and those that cared about me. It also affected those who I could have potentially positively impacted. I was not operating in who I was. I became so complacent that I was just going through the motions of everyday life…being average. That was not me. I had to get myself out of the funk and do so quickly.

Through much prayer and self-motivation, I started to explore those things that I wanted to do….those things that made me the happiest. I refocused on doing a lot of work in the community, in the arts, with youth and with people who wanted to better themselves. My circle of influence started to change. I become more focused on achieving personal and professional goals. It was refreshing and invigorating all at the same time. Even during this time, complacency reared its head but I always had to fight against myself to snap out of it. I became what others thought that I could not be. It did not come easy and I worked really hard at it.

I am operating in my purpose more than ever now and I feel that this is still just the tip of the iceberg. I am realizing that even though you have an ultimate vision and end goal, there are steps that you must take to get there. For me, these steps are order by God and He is the one that has created the blueprint.

Realize that on this journey there are going to be roadblocks and obstacles. Do not let distractions deter you from your destiny. Weeds grow quickly and do not contribute to the aesthetics of a beautiful rose garden. A rose takes its time to develop and blossom through a fertile, enriching and nurturing process. The blossom is bright and vibrant and is protected by the thorns of the stem. It is up to us to remain diligent, humble and stay the course. Stay extremely focused on your goals and crush them one at a time.

Are You Afraid of Success

“My Umi says shine your light on the world, shine your light so the world can see”

Yasin Bey formerly Mos Def. Lyrics from the song Umi Says
The Blink of An Eye by Pascal Kollie http://www.pascalkollie.com

Everybody say Looooooove! Some time ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a team building activity at Georgia Tech. One of the exercises that we participated in was a ropes obstacle course. This was my first time that I had participated in an obstacle course to this magnitude. Just taking a look at the course immediately sparked fear and angst. My self-proclaimed fear of heights kicked into overdrive. I had to mentally press forward. Once I overcame the mental block and made the decision that I was going to do it, my body physically reacted. As I approached the initial 75 foot rope ladder, my hands became clammy, sweat immediately moistened my forehead, I had goosebumps on my arms and my knees buckled. I had to mentally press forward. As I climbed the rope ladder, my breathing was heavy and I was still shaking. As I climbed about halfway through my arms began to burn and I thought to myself, use your legs, that is where the majority of your strength lies. I had to mentally press forward. I eventually climbed to the top to the initial platform. I felt a sense of triumph of completing the first goal of the obstacle – a small victory. This time, I felt a euphoric tingling throughout my body.

The next part of the ropes obstacle course was even more daunting. I was now 75 feet in the air and now had to step on a tight rope that was about half an inch wide. Even with the safeguards, my fear of stepping down on an unsteady rope was a horrific feeling. I can’t do this. I quit. Please let me back down. Then my teammate ever so slightly says to me, “just take the first step.” After sitting there, thinking and contemplating for ten minutes, I finally took several deep breaths and then took the first step. I had to mentally press forward. I slowly inched my way across the tightrope and I was feeling somewhat better, that is until I looked down. My stomach felt like it was going to implode. I heard faint voices in the background, I felt my self breathing and I heard my heart beating faster and faster. I shut my eyes, gathered myself, prayed and then became relaxed. I had to mentally press forward. I started thinking positive thoughts. I thought thinking about the end goal, to finish and complete the course. I eventually made it across the first tight rope.

For the rest of the course, I maintained a laser focus on completing the course. I was able to cross the other tightropes with dexterity and confidence. It became easier…until I ran into actual blocks that we had to cross. I found that I had not connected my harness properly and had to reposition it. This required me to be “free” without a “safety net” for about ten seconds. My mind was going crazy and a panic started to come over me. At this time, I did not care about being successful. I wanted to get down again. I wanted to get down and get down now. I felt stuck. I felt trapped. Then all of a sudden another calming voice told me that you have come too far to quit now. I had to mentally press forward. With the help of the not-so-helpful guide, I disconnected one hook and then connected it to another. I then disconnected the second hook and connected it to the same hook as the first. I gained my confidence back and go to the last part which was the zip line. I quickly hoisted myself onto the zip line, took a step off the platform and smoothly coasted to the ground. The exhilarating feeling I had once I hit the ground is indescribable.

Going through this ropes obstacle course reinforced many life lessons. It is not that we are neccesarily afraid of success. More describably, we are afraid of the elements that prevent our success. These elements cause our mental blocks. The mental blocks cause us to get in our own way. Understand that the mental blocks can be overcome by our mental toughness. We have to understand that in order to be successful, we must get out of our own way using our positive voice. We need to have a trusted and reliable team in our corner to provide encouragement and support. We also must utilize the tools that we are given to help us through any challenge or situation.

Sometimes we sabatoge our success. This oftentimes is due to the fact that we know what comes with the pursuit of success. This is where we have to get over ourselves and know that to whom much is given, much is required. Mental toughness will get you through. The best way is to celebrate the smaller goals and successes. Focus on one success at a time until you reach your ultimate goal. After reaching the ultimate goal, move on to the next goal but do it with humility. This will help you to stay sharp and away from complacency.

Each of us have a gift. Operating in your gift will give you the most success and fulfillment in your life. Find your gift and execute in it within your fullest potential. Let your light shine on the world for the world to see. Love, peace, and blessings to you.

How You Be?

“The present is a gift and I just wanna BE!”

by Common, lyric from the song Be

Everybody say Loooooove! Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to host one of our signature events, Scribes & Vibes. While we typically have an interactive experience with our audience at each event, this particular event was special as it was more of an inspirational workshop than an event. In this intimate setting in the community room at the Locust Grove Public Library, we had great diverse minds from all backgrounds and ages sharing their life experiences and gifts that they serve to the world. Our featured artist, Peabody Award Winning Poet, Abyss, summed up the night so poignantly and profoundly…We are human beings, not human doings.

I am channeling my mother, who used to always ask me, “How you be?” If you knew my mother, you knew how much of an educator and wordsmith she was…every sentence you spoke or that you wrote had to be in proper english. However, in her loving, playful inquiry to me was a question that I now see allowed me to ponder who I am. For all my English scholars, the word “be” is one of the most powerful verbs that conjugates into several verbs. Let’s take a look:

The verb be
Infinitive formbe
Present simple:I am, I’m
You are, You’re
He/She/It is, He/She/It’s
We are, we’re
You are, you’re
They are, they’re
?Am I?
Are you?
Is he/she it?
Are we?
Are you?
Are they?
I am not, I’m not
You are not, You aren’t, You’re not
He/She/It is not, He/She/It isn’t, He’s not
We are not, We aren’t, We’re not
You are not, You aren’t, You’re not
They are not, They aren’t, They’re not

Past simpleI was
You were
He/She/It was
We were
You were
They were
?Was I?
Were you?
Was he/she/it?
Were we?
Were you?
Were they?
I was not, I wasn’t
You were not, You weren’t
He/She/It was not, He/She/It wasn’t
We were not, We weren’t
You were not, You weren’t
They were not, They weren’t
Past participlebeen
Present perfecthas/have been
Past perfecthad been
Present participlebeing
Present continuousam/is/are being
Past continuouswas/were being

So I ask you the same question…How you be? Are you living to the potential that God intended for you to be? Are you operating in your gift that you were granted? Are you using your gift to serve or to inspire others? Are you using your gift to positively impact the world? As Abyss asked, are you a human being or human doing? As we reflect on these rhetorical questions, be the person that you are supposed to be. Be the person that you were created to be. Be the person that you were destined to be. Be the person that you were gifted to be.