Tuesday, February 19, 2019

What You R.E.A.L.L.Y. Want

Mind Rehab


Are you doing what you REALLY want to do?

It's a simple question, but the answer doesn't always come right out.  Whether it be a job, business, or career, many of us aren't doing what we would ideally love to do on a daily basis.

So many things outside of ourselves determine what we spend most of our time on.  From financial obligations and responsibilities to fears and doubts about our ability to do "more".

 In my personal development course, Mind Rehab,  I developed an assessment that includes an acronym for helping determine if you are doing what you really want to do, and how to identify what "it" is.

Are you doing what you R.E.A.L.L.Y. want?
Right- Is your goal, career, or business right for you?  Do you have the gifts, talents, and abilities to do "it" well?
 
Enjoy- Do you enjoy what you are doing?  Are you constantly watching the clock waiting for the day to be over, or do you wake up in the morning in eager expectation of the day ahead?

Always-  We are what we think about all day long.  A good indicator of what you really want is what you always are thinking about or think about the most.

Love- It's hard to do something day in and day out well and with excellence without love.  You have to have a passion and a drive to endure the pain, sacrifice, and perseverance that comes along with what you really want.

Leave- This is simply asking yourself, is it worth it?  Is it worth the sacrifices you have made and the things you may have to leave behind or stop doing?

You- What's the motivation for what you are doing?  Is it the "responsible" thing to do or what the opinions of others have persuaded you to do?  What you R.E.A.L.L.Y. want to do should come from YOU.  

Here's a Mind Rehab tip:  You can't do what you REALLY want to do without first being who you REALLY are!


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Dreamgirl

Valentine's Day

"When I first saw you, I said oh my, that's a dream, that's my dream.  I needed a dream, when it all seemed to go bad. Then I found you. And I have had the most beautiful dreams, any man's ever had".

"When I first saw you.  I said oh my, oh my. That's my dream. That's my dream.  I needed a dream, to make me strong.  You were the only reason I had to go on. "

These are the lyrics from the song, "When I First Saw You", from the Dreamgirls movie soundtrack.  These words captured exactly how I felt when I first saw and met my wife.   I couldn't have asked for a better wife than her.  She is truly the woman of my dreams.

Today, millions of people celebrate valentine's day.  Also, about the same amount of people wish they had a "dream person" to spend today with.  Relationships can be tough sometimes.  So can being single.  It is my suggestion that we should enjoy every season of life that we are currently in.

So this Valentine's day,  I will enjoy my life and marriage with my wife, Nicci Willis.  She is living proof that dreams do come true!

If you are married or in a relationship, be inspired to take some time and tell that special person how you care about them.  And if you are single and desiring the person of your dreams, be encouraged that although no one is perfect, but "dreams" still do come true.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Calculated Risk Formula

Calculated Risks

What was the biggest risk you have ever taken?  Was it something thrilling and exciting like skydiving or mountain climbing?  Or was it taking a chance on a relationship or business without prior knowledge?

A risk is the possibility of losing something of value.  It is to take a chance without being in full control of the outcome.  Generally, we make decisions by determining how likely something is to happen, and judge the value that the outcome has for us.

Sometimes we can focus too much in the pleasure of the reward of taking the risk.  And at other times, we can fear the possible pain or loss and not take a risk.  Emotions can either help or hurt making a decision based on the source of the emotion.

One of the first big risks I took was when I bought my first property at 22.   I bought a two family building with a condemned bar attached.  As soon as I closed on the property I became a home owner, landlord, and rehabber all at the same time.

My plan was to rent out the two units and rehab the bar into another one bedroom apartment, for me to live in.  The project was projected to take four months to complete.  I had my plans drawn up, budget in place, and my contractor lined up.  As the project got going, I started running into additional things that needed to be done, that costed more money and took additional time to get done.  From underground pipes that needed to be replaced, to waiting for building permits and special orders to come in.

Long story short, my project that was supposed to take four months to get done, ended up taking ten months to get done!  I had miss calculated the knowledge, time, and money it would take to successfully get this project completed.  But was the risk worth it? Absolutely!  I learned the renovation process, how to be a landlord, and was able to sell this property for a profit and buy another one.

Is their a "sweet spot" in taking risks and making decisions? What's the formula to making a "calculated risk"?

Here are three things that I learned from my experience in taking this risk:

1. Having the proper knowledge is key.  Before you make a move, whether it be starting a business, new career, or relationship, make sure that you have enough information and experience to successfully meet the goal.  I think that the famous investor Warren Buffett said it best, "Never invest in a business you don't understand".

2. Be realistic about the time it will take to see results.  This is by far, the biggest thing to consider.  You can learn and gain experience as you go, but time is a limited commodity that you can never get back.

3.  Determine the financial sacrifices that may have to be made and how long you can go before you see financial gains or improvements.

It is my suggestion that the riskiest thing you can do is to take no risks.  But we must take calculated risks that include much research and preparation.

Be inspired by the reward of making a dream a reality by taking calculated risks!







Friday, January 11, 2019

My Beautiful OG

Matriarch
An OG is a term that is defined as a person that has been in "the game" for long time and has earned respect within an organization or group of peers.  It's a mentor figure that has stood the test of time.

A Matriarch is a woman who is powerful within a family or organization.  Her power usually comes from her age, wisdom, and dependability.

Recently, I was at a dinner to celebrate the birthday of my Aunt Charlette, who is the reigning queen matriarch of my family.  She is one of the most reliable and dependable women I know.

She was, along with my Uncle, my inspiration for getting into the real estate business and being an entrepreneur.  She provided me an opportunity when I was just a 19 year old kid, fresh out of real estate school.

When I was 25, my mother passed away and she stepped up and filled the role as a surrogate for my sister and me.

It was also through her faith in the Lord and her being a "light" in the world, that helped me make a decision to get serious about my relationship with Christ.

I thank her for the many nights I slept on her couch, in the basement, and made palettes on the floor.  The "commission advances" in between closings.  All the trips to McDonald's, LaRosa's, and KFC.

She's been the rock in my family, since we have lost my grandmother, my mother, and my aunt.  My matriarch is the definition of perseverance and never giving up. She's my mentor by example and
 my "Beautiful OG".

So many times we don't give our roses to the people that deserve them while they are still alive.
(I actually got that from my aunt too). The strong women in our families need to be adored and celebrated for the many roles, sacrifices, and work they put in.

Who are the matriarch's in your families?  I encourage you to recognize their significance in your life.  Send a card.   Make the calls.  Plan the dinners.  RESPECT your "Beautiful OG".  

Monday, January 7, 2019

"Angry Black Man"

Stereotypes

Anger.  It's a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility towards a person or thing.  Anger is an emotion that could be tagged as universal, because it's felt and understood from every human being and even animals.

I was reading an article about the term of former president Barak Obama.  It talked about how many felt that his effectiveness was limited because he had to be perceived as perfect and couldn't show too much emotion, in fear of being deemed "the angry black man".

This stereotype is one of the many painful realities of living as a black man in America.  An emotion that is universally understood and what's a normal part of human behavior for others, somehow gets turned into a sign of aggression and sparks fear when a black man shows this emotion.

As black men, we are dealing with the pressures of being providers and protectors of our homes.  Many are fathers of children of blended families. We face discrimination, limited opportunities, and often are building our legacies from "scratch".  I think that one of the most challenging things that black men face is not having enough mentors or examples to follow.  Need an example?  Think about Barak Obama being the President of the United States and not having another black man that had done that before or served in that office.

It's almost like having to socially walk on egg shells.  Because the unfortunate reality is, too many times than not, when a black man gets too angry, he gets arrested, shot, or even killed.  When a black man shows too much emotion he is discriminated against, or deemed as a threat or a source of fear.

Nobody wants the burden of proving a stereotype wrong.  Black men want to be viewed and evaluated for the individuals they are, not the generalizations of society and what's seemed to become social norms.

As black men, we want to have the ability to express our emotions, whether it be joy, pain, or anger without the thought in the back of our heads that their will be a negative consequence.  Is it too much to ask for to publicly show a natural human emotion without being cast into a stereotype?

It is my desire that in our culture a black man can be, an angry black man but not "the angry black man".


Saturday, December 15, 2018

"Peak Season"

Love Language
Christmas time.  It's a period of time where people spend time with family, friends, and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Also, it's the time of year where most companies go into the black in profits.

The holidays are the peak season for shopping and gift giving.

 Some people love The Christmas season.  From the songs, to the decorations, and everything in between.  But for others, Christmas time can be a sad and depressing time.  People have lost loved ones and are reminded of their absence around the holidays.  And for others, Christmas can be stressful because of the lack of money to give and get presents that we have become so accustomed to getting around this time of year.

I think this is one of the main reasons Christmas bothers me so much.  So many people are giving out of obligation, tradition, and simply because of the popularity of Christmas in our culture.

Christmas time can be challenging for people who's love language is giving and receiving gifts.  For these people, such as myself, giving is all about the intent, presentation, and timing of the gift.  It's not always about the size or cost of the gift, it's the "thought behind the gift".

This "peak season" also plays an effect on spiritual or personal gifts too.  Because my love language is receiving and giving gifts, it is of greater importance that I give my spiritual gifts to the world.

To not serve the world with my gifts and receive the benefit of other's gifts, feels like I am not loving or being loved.

This is "peak season" to make this world a better place.  Let us take time out during this holiday season to make sure that we are serving the world with our gifts, talents, and abilities.  Your gift is the answer to someone's prayer.  Your talents are a solution to an organization's problem.  Doing what you simply are able to do can make the world a better place.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

"Sub-Zero Fear"




Fear.  It can be a paralyzing force strong enough to freeze you in your tracks.  Some have given it the acronyms "false evidence appearing real" or "forget everything and run".  It feels like being frozen by Sub Zero in a Mortal Kombat video game.

You want to move. You want to win.  But this fear has you stuck in a place of stress, doubt, and uncertainty.  What you fear may have come from the memory of what you have gone through in the past, the anxiety of what you have never done, but seldom is it the present.  It's actually hard to fear what's real, because what is real is an experience of the now, not an anticipation of the future or reflection of the past.

What is fear stopping you from doing?  Having a meaningful relationship with a loved one?  Pursuing your dreams and passions?  Or maybe it's healing from a past hurt or painful situation.  Sometimes our fears are simply preventing us from being happy and having daily peace.

I have had my fair share of dealing with having "sub-zero" fear in my personal relationships and in fulfilling my purpose.  The effects of this type of fear are exhausting.  I'm tired of the unnecessary and additional stress in my life.

I sought out how to get unstuck from being frozen by fear in my life.  I researched physical paralysis and how it's treated and managed.  They use heat, massage, and exercise as physical therapy.

What if we used the same therapy for mental paralysis?  Instead of physical therapy, we need mental therapy to overcome our fears.

The first thing in "un-thawing" from being frozen by fear is to expose it.  Think about when you take a piece of meat out of the freezer.  You expose it to a warmer and a different place.  Nothing feels colder than the isolation fear causes.  Admit that you are afraid and what you are afraid of.  This can be done by admitting this to yourself and telling someone else, as an accountability partner or trusted friend.

Also, becoming sort of a minimalist helps too.  Dispose of and get rid of situations and things that causes fear and the effects of fear.  This is different than running from fear.  This has to do with determining what's most important, and only thinking and dealing with those things. 

The bible says that perfect love drives out fear.  Are we doing things out of love or fear?  Doing things out of love warms the heart and gets you going in the right direction. Start doing things and making choices motivated by love instead of fear.

If it's big enough to fear, it's big enough to overcome and do!  The world needs the "unfrozen" You.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

"The Worst Time Ever"

worst time ever


Imagine that it's the fourth quarter of the biggest game ever.  Your team is down by six and is on the one yard line of the opposing team's side of the field.

It's desperation time. You need a big play.  You are in charge of calling the plays and the captain of the team.  You can play it safe and run the ball, but that won't get the job done.  Sure, it may give you some more room to work with and get you out of such a dangerous area.  But you are on limited time,  and a safe 1st down won't win the game.

To make matters worst, your throwing arm is hurt because you have been sacked a few times during this game and you have been throwing the ball all day long.

A big play is a big risk.  A big pass is an even bigger risk.  You determine that a pass over the middle is the best option.  The defense is expecting a run or a pass outside to stop the clock.  A pass over the middle is risky because it's a high risk of being intercepted.  And if it's intercepted, the other team can easily get a touchdown to win the game.  To run this play seems like The Worst Time Ever! 

Have you ever felt like it was the worst time ever to start something new in your life?  The worst time to take a chance and do what you love and pursue your passion?

This is what's called the genius of desperation.  When your back is against the wall with little options.  It's when your up to your ears in debt and your burning desire is to pursue your passion for writing.  The worst time ever to start a business is when you are paralyzed with fear.  It's no less of a perfect time to do something for You, when you have so many people depending on you. Your confidence is low because you have made mistakes and failed at doing the even the more safer, reasonable things.

The genius of desperation is that you have nothing or less to lose.  This pressure can be used to take chances or try things that you normally wouldn't have under any other circumstances.  When you are going through "the worst time ever" it causes you to focus on the things that really matter.


Sometimes the best decisions can be made during the worst time ever.  Let us be encouraged to use this pressure to our advantage.



Saturday, March 12, 2016

"If Trump Wins"



If Trump wins:
 
 I will be convinced that the election system is currupt.
 
People are talking about moving to Canada. But isn't that what "they" want you to do? Give up.
 
America will not be great again. It will be more divided than it has ever been.
 
The average American's vote won't and has never mattered.
 
We will see the greatest gap between the rich and the poor.
 
We have to get wealthy and influence others to get wealthy.
 
There has to be a shift in the culture to go from being entertained, to being educated.
 
How will it effect his businesses and companies?


Friday, February 5, 2016

"Walmart Versus The World'



Last month, the big box retail chain Walmart announced that it would be closing 269 stores worldwide.  These closings include 154 stores in the United States.

A statement from Walmart said that reasons for the closings included the lack of success of it's small Walmart Express stores, stores in close proximity to other Walmart stores, and an increased demand in online shopping.

For Walmart, this move was taken to improve shares of the company, which has fallen nearly 30 percent in the past 12 months.  Also, the company said it will instead focus on "strengthening Supercenters, optimizing Neighborhood Markets, growing the e-commerce business and expanding pickup services for customers."
Walmart will continue to "invest in ITS future," the company said, with plans to open 50 to 60 supercenters and 85 to 95 neighborhood markets in the U.S. 

Even with all these store closings, it only represents less than 1 percent of Walmart's global square footage and revenue. 

What these store closings mean for the people and communities they were in, is a different story.  These store closings mean a loss of over 10,000 jobs and many people without a place to buy groceries within a 10 mile radius from their homes.  Major real estate and developed land is now vacant, and not producing taxable revenues for the communities they are in.

Also, when these Walmart stores originally opened up, many small businesses and mom-and-pop stores went out of business.  These smaller shops just couldn't compete with Walmart prices and the "Walmart brand".  It is in my opinion, that this is the biggest negative effect out of the whole situation.

Now I must admit, that I am not, nor have I ever been a fan of Walmart.  Before they opened the supercenters with produce, meats, bread, etc; I remember them having stale and expired off-brand Cheetos and potato chips.  Even now, they have broken carts with "stuck" or squeaky wheels, 57 checkout lanes with only 3 open, and non existent customer service, in my opinion, rightly so (because of the low wages of employees).

But, let's leave that aside for now.  It is my suggestion, that the closing of these stores provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and the people of the communities that they were in.  The closing of a Walmart opens the door for groceries stores, clothing shops, electronics stores, and many other small retail shops.  Also, this also provides the opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to beat Walmart to the online demand.  The increase of e-commerce businesses would provide competition and spread market share away from Walmart's e-commerce and pick up service.

It was small businesses that made the country and communities we live in great and I believe it's going to take the growth and increase of small businesses to make the places we live in great again!

Friday, January 8, 2016

"How To Save Money In 2016"



Ahh, yes.  It's that time of the year again.  A new year with new goals. Another set of New Year resolutions.  

Many of us set a goal of making or saving more money in the upcoming year.  But as with all New Year Resolutions, we don't always make a plan of how we are going to attain those goals.

Over the past few years, I have looked at the previous year and asked myself how can I do better? How can I save more money?  I make a list of areas that I feel that would make a noticeable difference in saving money, or simply not wasting money, in order to improve the over all "bottom line".

So here it is: The annual list of How To Save Money in 2016!  May this list help you make your dreams a reality, by taking measurable steps of action.

  1. Pay bills on time-  Sounds like a no brainer huh?  You may be thinking, so much for the expert advice.  But many times when we set goals, we only think of the benefits of accomplishing that goal.  But in most cases, the consequence of NOT reaching the goal is far more important.  The major thing with not paying bills on time are LATE FEES.  From cell phone bills, to cable bills, to credit card bills; over the course 12 months, those fees can really add up.  The average late fee for a cable bill is $7.50.  The average late fee for a credit card bill is $25.00.  Banks make so much money on fees that it accounts for almost 32 billion dollars in annual revenue.
  2. DIY-  Although all of us are working with limited time,  most people have more time than they have money.  By doing things yourself, instead of paying someone else can allow you do save a lot of money.  From home repairs to personal care such as hair and nails; a little DIY can go a long way. If you pay attention to the paperwork on service calls and repairs, it's the labor that's expensive.  YouTube has tons of videos that help with projects.
  3.  Order Carry Out- In most states, if you dine in, you are charged "eat in tax" on the food you buy that you are not charged when you order carry out.  Also, the extra items ordered like beverages are an additional expense when dining in.  The last but not least additional expense with eating out are tips.  We are talking about saving money, but a worker is worth their wages.  So if you are dining in, at least an additional 20 percent should be factored in.
  4. Go Digital-  The days of "extreme couponing" are nearly over.   Nobody wants to go shopping with a shoe box full of cutout coupons and have to make a shrine out of 1,700 rolls of toilet paper.  Many stores now have apps with digital coupons that you can use with your phone right at the store.  Also, popular sites such as RetailMeNot has sale, discounts, and coupons from multiple stores right on the app.
  5. Don't Give Up-  One of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard was to "never accept a no from a person who doesn't have the ability to say yes.  Basically, it means to go to a "higher up" person when you are trying to negotiate something, or get something done.  Too many times we are told no one time, by a "gatekeeper" or entry level person and give up there.  In the past, I have gotten fees reduced, free upgrades, and favorable settlements by using this principle.
By using these tips combined with focus, determination, and consistency; you will be well on your way to a more financially productive year!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"Different Toilet, Same Crap"



The Toilet. The Potty. The John. The Oval Office.  We have so many names for this ever so important bathroom fixture.  In fact, there are over 100 nicknames for the toilet.

There are over 1,647 models of toilets with different features, but they all have the same purpose; to get rid of waste.  With so many options, it would be a tough task to pick one, if presented with all the choices at the same time.

I was thinking about the famous definition of insanity from Albert Einstein, "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".  Many times, in our lives we do this very thing.  The thing that we don't realize is that we mask this by changing everything but "us".

We get fed up with bosses and companies. Have you ever said or heard this before, "I'm tired of their crap"!  You quit the job or find a new company to work for, but go with the same "you".  Many employees leave one job for another and take the same marginal work ethic, the same skill set, and the same "workplace mentality".  But as time progresses, the same "crap" comes up again.

The same thing applies to relationships.  The honeymoon phase of any relationship eventually goes away.  You start to notice their annoying habits and what we deem as character flaws.  When we get fed up in relationships, "crap" often is replaced with a stronger, more suitable synonym!  The "dear john letter" is already sent or today texted, before finding the "crappy" flaws in ourselves.

You can even apply this to churches and places of worship.  The church where "things are happening" seems great when you first join.  The music and worship is good.  The pastor or minister is on point with the messages.  The people are nice and conversations are great at times of fellowship.

But as years past, you notice that you aren't growing, and you are in the same "place" you were when you joined.  You see the religious menality of the people and the church that you joined, and determine that it's time to make a change.  In this situation, the religious mentality in yourself and in every "Christian" organization organization can be missed.

Sometimes, there is no question that we need to make changes in our lives; whether it's a career change, a relationship, or an organization.  It is my suggestion, that when we make a change to anything outside of ourselves, we need to access the changes we may need to make in oursevles.  If we don't, then it's just going to a different toilet with the same crap!




Saturday, October 17, 2015

"The 7.4 Billion Piece Puzzle"

puzzle piece

It is estimated that their are 7.3 billion people on Earth today. Out of that 7.3 billion, their are 112 million pregnant women also.

The world is growing at a rapid pace.  What was once cutting edge technology is now obsolete.  Culture, laws, and traditions are changing daily.

Lately, I have become increasingly aware of the state of our society as a whole.  Problems have continued with no solutions.  It seems as if crime, lack, and the separation of races and groups are at an all time high.

If you were able to paint a picture of what our society looks like right now, what would it look like?  But that's the easy part, right?  To observe what is going on and form a conclusion.  No "think tank" is needed to point fingers and complain about how bad the world is right now.

So how does does the world look to you?  I view the world as a 7.4 billion piece puzzle with billions of pieces out of place. Each piece is a person with unique gifts, passions, and purposes that can't be replaced.

Some are spending time trying to fit into spaces that they don't belong in. This hurts them and the people/pieces around them also.

Others are sitting on the sideline trying to find their space and where they fit in.

It is my suggestion that every time someone  discovers their passion and pursues it, then the world looks a little better. This also inspires and helps others fit into their space too.

It's amazing that we can change the world by simply doing what we love. The best thing you can do is be yourself and fill that space that God has designed you to fill.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

"Refrigerator Called Religion"

Religion




When rehabbing a house, there is a specific process that you go by.  In order to install or put in new things, you have to remove the old things that are damaged, broken, or simply just don't work anymore.

Sounds like common sense right?  Imagine having a plan to remodel your kitchen. You have picked out the cabinets you want.  The wall is lined up with paint swatches of colors that you have been trying to decide on since making the decision to redo your kitchen.

You start the work. You tear out the old cabinets and remove the counter tops.  The pictures and wall decorations come down to prepare for painting.  You plan to put down new tile floors, but first you have to bust up the old yellow and tan floors that have been there since you moved in.

Before you remove the floors you have to move out the appliances. The stove is pretty easy to move, especially if you have a dolly.  But then you glance at the refrigerator.  That old greenish-yellow refrigerator!  It's big and bulky and isn't like the new ones that come with wheels for easy moving.

That refrigerator has been there for years. There's no telling what has fallen behind it over the years.  Imagine the dirt and grime that has built up over time.  

This hunk of metal has been decorated over the years with coupons, pictures, report cards, and much more.  But now, it barely keeps food cold.  And once a month, you have to defrost the freezer because it builds a cocoon of frost and ice around whatever is in there.

This refrigerator must go!  It just isn't cutting it anymore.  

There is no way you can put in this new stainless steel refrigerator without first removing this old mess!  It's a no brainer when you think of it in the terms or rehabbing house. Out with the old, in with the new.

But that is exactly what we try to do when it comes to the process of rehabbing our minds.  We discover a new mindset, a new pattern of thinking, we discover the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom is God's way of thinking and his way of doing things.

Religion is man's thinking, and his way of doing things.  In the scale of things, religion is just not cutting it anymore.  It possibly never cut it, but at a time seemed like the right thing, and was "better than nothing".  A religious mindset is a limited mindset.  It has boundaries and much baggage that is not needed.

A Kingdom mindset is universal and unlimited.  You have so much more with a real relationship with God.  In fact, you have access to everything.

But many of us try to "install" a Kingdom mindset without first getting rid of that old "Refrigerator called Religion".  That way of thinking and acting that simply isn't working anymore.  That box of boundaries that's preventing you from being the real You.

Just as you can't install a new refrigerator without first removing the old one, you can't install a Kingdom mindset without first removing the Religious mindset.

Think about what relationships, careers, and dreams has "fallen" behind this Refrigerator called Religion.  Think about all that you can have and "house" with this new mindset that you couldn't with the old one. 

Mind Rehab is the process of removing negative, self-defeating thought, actions, and emotions, and replacing them with thoughts, actions, and emotions that are positive and true.  It's time to rehab our minds!

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Remembering Dr. Myles Munroe"

Becoming a Leader

It was 1998.  My Senior Year at Scarlet Oaks CDC.  I was preparing for graduation and my career plans that would soon follow.

At the time, I was an avid reader of True Crime books.  Books about the mafia, big time drug lords, and "smart" gangsters like Meyer Lansky.  I read all kinds of books, but this particular genre was my favorite.  I was amazed by the accomplishments, leadership, and structured discipline of organized crime.

On one of my frequent visits to my aunt and uncle's house, who I believe was working for at the time as a co-op before graduation, I was given this book from my aunt called, "Becoming A Leader", by a guy named Myles Munroe.  She spoke very highly of the author, and said he was a great speaker also.

The title peaked my interest, I mean, who doesn't want to to be a leader right?  I ended up reading the entire book in like 3 hours.  I loved the book.  It made a lot of sense and was easy for my, "high school mind" to understand.

I liked the book so much that I had two of my closest friends read it, and gave it to another person to read.  I would never forget this book as years passed on.

Fast forward like 6 years. I had become heavily involved in my church teaching bible studies, leading youth ministries, and serving on the church board.  As I began to study the bible, Christianity, and how it relates to "everyday life", I began to ask the question, "is this it"?  And as I began to research and study things for myself, I discovered a lot of contradictions and inconsistencies between the knowledge I was receiving from the bible, and "church" and Christianity presented as a religion.

I had discovered something. I had discovered The Kingdom.  This began a personal quest.  A quest to "unlearn" the lies, ignorance, and religious mindset that I had been taught for years was "right".

I started seeking out preachers and teachers who knew and taught about The Kingdom of God also.  Then I came across Dr. Myles Munroe, the author of the book I had read years ago, on TBN.  I was captivated.  It was like he confirmed everything that I had discovered in my time of research and studying!

He became my mentor from a far.  I read just about every book of his I could get my hands on.  I watched YouTube videos of his messages for hours, while taking notes intently.

You see, to me, Dr. Myles Munroe was like the Michael Jordan or the Tupac of Spirituality to me.  I learned "God's Big Idea" from him.

Yesterday, when I heard that my mentor, my role model, one of my heroes, had died in a tragic accident, the best way I can describe it is,  I was, and still am, stunned.

But I remember what he taught me: He said, in one of his messages that I was fortunate to hear in person, very bluntly, "people die everyday, go on". Many people have died so that we can live.

So as I am remembering Dr. Munroe and the many things I have learned from him,  I vow to remember him by dying empty and standing on the shoulders of this mighty man of God.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

"A Chance To Be A Woman"


Life, when does the fun start?  It's a question that many of us ask ourselves, God, or life itself.

With a mind full of urgent things that you "have" to do, comes a heart full of important things that you "want" to do.  How many of us have a mental cart, bucket, or wish list of things that we want to do but just can't seem to get a chance?

Consider this situation: A young woman graduates from high school and starts college soon after.  She grew up in a single parent home, being raised by her mother.

Freshman year is exciting!  The icebreakers, the parties, the freedom, and the boys!  Ah yes, the boys. She starts seeing a fellow male college student and ends up getting pregnant. Because of the situation, she decides that it is best that she drop to part time classes so she can work and take care of her child.  The boyfriend bails and she is forced to raise a baby on her own.

In less than 1 year, she goes from being a young woman with her whole life ahead of her, to being a single mother, father, and head of her household.  Fast forward a couple of years, and the roles mentioned earlier start to take a toll.  She feels that with all the roles and responsibilities that she has missed her chance.  The critical time period before being a mother, stand-in father, provider, protector and head of household.  The time of discovery where you have the chance to just be a woman.

Now this is not to condone the mothers who leave their kids with whoever so they can go to the club every weekend.  

But everyone needs a break.  Whether it's a day or an hour where you can put your roles and your armor down and just be and do "you".

I encourage women to make smart life decisions and no matter what season of life you are in, take a chance, a chance to be a woman.



Friday, August 16, 2013

"Immature Genius"

Immature Genius
Have you ever said or done the right thing at the wrong time?  The effects of an ill-timed statement or premature move, can have damaging effects that can take a long time to recover from.

I am reminded of the bible story of Joseph, the son of Israel.  Joseph had a dream that he would be a ruler, and placed in a leadership position in his family, and in his generation.  Now this dream was a good thing, because it revealed to him his future, gave him a sense of purpose, and gave him confidence.

But not everyone is ready, or wants to hear your dreams.  Out of immaturity, Joseph told his brothers and his parents what he should have kept to himself.  This is what I call an "Immature Genius".

Joseph grew up to be a genius at business and leadership.   But his immaturity, got him sold to slavery, thrown in jail, and accused of rape.

Another example of Immature Genius is Kanye West.  The whole Taylor Swift incident, along with a few other situations, have had a negative effect on Kanye's career.  Now this doesn't take anything away from the fact that he is a musical and creative genius.  It was in my opinion, that with the Taylor Swift incident, he was absolutely correct with what he said.  But it was a case of saying the right thing at the wrong time.

I believe that everyone is a genius.  Everyone has a gift, talent, or ability.  Some are visible, some are undeveloped, and some are still undiscovered.

When the moment of discovery arrives, we must be careful not to make immature moves.  Doing the right thing, at the right time is priceless.

Do you have an idea, a business, or dream?  It is my suggestion that you seek wisdom in sharing or taking action on the "genius" you have been given.  Let us learn from the mistakes of Joseph and Kanye so we don't be an "Immature Genius"!

Visions are meant to be shown not told. When you are ready to show your vision, others are ready to receive it.  Jameen Willis

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Balls And Blocks"


Have you ever wondered why it is so much easier to move something heavy when it is shaped like a ball?  I was thinking about moving a refrigerator, and how heavy it is if it doesn't have wheels.  But if it has wheels, you can move it with ease, whether it be to clean behind it, or to move it to another location.

Things like appliances, tools, and other products are made to be movable or permanent based on how they are made.  If something is supposed to stay in place, wheels or a ball wouldn't be the best design for it.  But something that is made to be portable, has to be moved, or can operate in different places, wheels or a ball shape is perfect.

The Bible describes God as the author and creator of all things.  I believe that God places "balls" and "blocks" in our lives based on what He has called us to do.  Some people are able to get things going with ease, as if it were placed on "the wheels of life".  Another person will try to do the same thing and will experience difficulty that perfectly describes the term, "a stumbling block".

One of the things that I am currently focusing on, is seeking God's direction on what the "balls" are in my life right now, and also what the "blocks" are.

It is my suggestion that many of us have made things "blocks" in our heads that are really "balls".  True enough, some things are hard and heavy, but if we just "get the ball rolling", it is amazing what we are able to do.  The other side of it is---the "blocks" that we have made to be "balls" in our minds.  Some things haven't moved for a reason!  It may not be the right time or just not in God's will for some of the "balls" we are attempting in our lives. 

Today, let us seek to have the "balls" and "blocks" in are minds, be in perfect harmony with God's will for our lives.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Fat Doctors"

following your own advise


Have you ever seen a fat doctor?  You wonder, how come they don't follow their own advice?  Many doctors are specialists in a particular area and their main problem is the very thing that they specialize in.

It makes you wonder how did they ever get good in the area that they specialize in.  But doctors all over the world are solving problems, helping people get healed, and advising people to make changes that will have a lasting impression on their lives.

I was thinking of the recent stories in the news, of a few pastors that have gotten into trouble over bad decisions and unacceptable actions.  We have a lot of "Fat Doctors" in ministry and leadership.

People who are good at teaching others what to do, but not following the teaching themselves.  What has happened that as leaders we have become comfortable with "selling" what we have not "bought" yet ourselves?

In leadership, we become so consumed with helping others and seeing results, that we forget to stop and take the "pills of principles" that we prescribe out daily to others.

How much more effective would we be if all our words were confirmed with actions, that show the instructions we give to people really work?

I challenge those who are in leadership, ministry, and positions of influence not to be "Fat Doctors".

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Big Fifth Grader"

Big Fifth Grader


Repeating a grade.  Nobody likes it, but sometimes it is necessary.  The learning, growth, and development that was supposed to take place during this time period just simply didn't happen.  And if the child did advance to the next grade, they would not have the skills required to succeed at this level.

As a parent, this can be a tough decision to make.  On one hand, you want your child to be in their "right" grade, not get teased for "sticking", and stay with friends they have went to school with since kinder garden.  On the other hand, you want what's best for your child in the long run.  And you don't want your child to constantly struggle through the years ahead.

If the decision to repeat a grade is made, many times the child is upset.  This is understandable.  A lot of times, they will have the same teachers, same classes, and same tests.  Their friends and peers go on and leave them to the next level of education.

I was thinking about this idea of "sticking" when it comes to our spiritual lives.  A lot of us are frustrated with being on the same level spiritually that we have been on for years.

God desires to have a closer relationship with us and take us to higher levels of faith, knowledge, and  revelation of Him and His kingdom.   We have bigger "kingdom assignments" to accomplish in our lifetime, but many of us are stuck taking the same tests of years ago.

As a result, we have become a population with a lot of "big fifth graders", in a spiritual sense.   A lot of us have been saved, going to church, and have had a relationship with Christ for 10, 20, 30 years, but still spiritually immature.

Some of us even have the nerve to be angry at the people who have advanced to new levels, dimensions, and realms of faith.   This anger, jealously, and also guilt are the very stumbling blocks that prevent spiritual growth.

We have to realize that in order to advance in the Kingdom of God, their must be times of testing, trials, and hardships.  These are the training grounds for advancement in the Kingdom.  Out of ignorance, frustration, and the lack of perseverance that we quit, fail, or drop out of the very things that were sent to help us.

This scripture sums this up the best:  All this is evidence that God's judgement is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
2 Thessalonians 1:5   

 We are kingdom citizens, and the kingdom of God rises under pressure.  Let us be mindful of this as we go through the tests, trials, and hardships in life.  Nobody likes to be the "big fifth grader"!