Category: Uncategorized

Is it 10 or 11?

Once, at the end of a conference, we were told –

Fill out these one-page surveys and bring them to us when you are done. Be honest. We will like to know how we are doing and how you enjoyed the conference.”

To be honest, the conference was a blast. I had so much fun. I learned so much. I made friends. And I had a breakthrough sharing the most vulnerable part of my life with a complete stranger who also took time to reciprocate.

I thoroughly enjoyed this leadership conference. The people, the dancing, and two-stepping to folk music was a refreshing experience. So, how could I accurately convey how I really felt? On this survey, words were not permitted. Only checks in boxes. And as usual, the survey read –

“From 1-10, 10 being the best and 1 being the worst, rate your experience. How did you enjoy this conference and was it helpful?”

How then could I convey everything I was feeling? Selecting 10 would reflect the outcome but, not what the conference and the people did for me. I need to check this box in a way that filled the page with the level of joy and gratitude I wished to express.

But, wait….! I had an idea.

Write down 11 and 12, drew boxes beside both of them and checked box 12 as if to say you score 12 out of 10. You have two extra points. You went the extra mile.

Then it hit him.

Sometimes, we have only a few choices. Sometimes, we have to choose between a bad and a worse choice. But other times, if we are keen, we can invent space for possibilities. All it takes is negotiation the space between us.

Creativity simply means asking

“Why not? and Why can’t I do this?”

Creativity is simply adding one or two more boxes in the context of what you need to do. Why does creativity start with the question why? Because

Unlike how and where, why gives the new box a reason to be, a reason to exist.

But why pose a question?

Questions lift your soul out of its body box, allowing it to leave its current desert experience to encounter what is possible so that when it returns it can be a source of inspiration and empowerment to the body box, helping it expand with time and with pace.

That’s how we begin inventing space for possibility. That’s why –

Never stop looking for what’s not there. Opportunity is also what’s not there. It is creativity that is not apparently there but is. And questions like “why not” help us get there.

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One Love, One Spirit


 

Motown Sister: Musical Analysis of her Leadership Style

Sometimes, you meet people who just light you up. Following mother’s day, I thought I’d share about a woman whom I met and listened to last week. She reminded me so much of my mom.

Speaking of Mrs. Mom, I called and read Thank You Mrs. Mom as a gift for Mother’s Day since she is so far away. Well – she sobbed. Scary stuff. But, it made her happy. Oh…and the defense? I think I did alright. Presentation was good. But, I could have done better on one or two questions.

Back to our Motown Sister.

I shared a leadership framework which I use to analyze different leadership styles called Sharp Leadership which you can use to carry a vision, your people, and their conversation. Speaking of the Sharp Leadership rubric, it includes five core principles which are:

(i)- Tell the truth, (ii) Be accountable, (iii) take care of your people, (iv) give/receive feedback, and (v) be fair

Based on that rubric I want now to talk about a Soul Sister.

Say hello to an achievement model and a conflict resolution legend. This role model embraces her roots and culture and colorfully champions BET’s “Black is Gold” and “Black Girls Rock” theme in her person like a hashtag representing ethnic pride on different social media frequencies. Quite simply, she is – A Rockstar – whose passion keeps her forever young.

Ms. Avis Ridley-Thomas is that Rockstar. In my observations from dealing with people, I find that the type of music one listens to says a lot about them and about what moves them. Like a Celt, I was curiously searching for the reason for Ms. Avis glow throughout her lecture in order to musically explain her inclined leadership style.

Though she listens to all kinds of music which explains her love for diversity, I may have been sidetracked in my attempt by her preferred love for Motown which compelled me to express a hint of pleasure during her lecture class. I wonder if my reaction was childish. But, I can explain my engagement as delightfully professional.

So, why does she listen to all types of music?

In the words of the Rockstar herself, she said, “It is because I can hear all the talents that people have.” This was music to my ears. Though her statement may sound like “Old Skool” slang, as a fellow Motown lover, also nicknamed Motown for the love the genre, I am certified to translate her wisdom as –

she can understand what drives people, their talents, their strengths, their weakness, and use it to understand the wavelengths of people’s emotions andRaison de Vivre.”

For instance, Motown beats and rhythms resonate with the soul and the feet, emoting a certain degree of pleasure for life and work. Ms. Avis embodied these. Her disposition was unusually calm, engaging, charismatic, pleasurable, colorful, conversational, and often centered on health, wholeness, and focused on beauty.

Add her second preferred music genre, classical, and one can accurately assume this to be the backbone of another trait she effortlessly displayed which was – a sense of royalty and class. To appreciate the power of her charisma and presence, one only needed to hear the reason for her inspiration.

While working for the police, she worked with victims of crime and noticed after reading police reports that the pattern in assault in minority communities was the result of people in difficult neighborhoods escalating conflicts in order to be heard. She tamed this inspiration into a mission and crafted an organizational vehicle to establish a few successful non-for profits to drive this mission. These organizations include:

·        The future of Policing

·        Days of Dialogue, and

·        Institute of Non-Violence for Los Angeles

Becoming obsessed with serving the needs of people is the distinct mark of one who harbors a spirit of enterprise. This makes our visiting Rockstar a Social Entrepreneur. She is a true servant leader with a mission to fulfill and a legacy to leave behind. One could tell because she kept speaking, thinking, and focusing conversations around ideas and generations, which is the mark of a legend.

To effectively qualify her leadership style, I use Sharperson’s leadership principles to explain her style as follows.

Be accountable: Ms. Avis shared the following foundational principle – “Mediator, know thyself.” She spoke of The Mood Meter App which tracks and analyzes a person’s emotions. Using this App, she checks herself to assess and help her understand how she is doing emotionally.

Knowing how she feels helps her keep her wits about herself and her emotions under surveillance. It helps her remain aware and conscious of how to mediate as well as communicate with her team. What’s even more interesting is how she uses this App and the knowledge she acquires from it to lead her people.

Tell the truth/Give and receive feedback: Because she is often aware of what is going on in her and around her, she is able to tell the truth and use that to anticipate possible actions and reactions. Once, when she was dealing with a dying family member, her emotions were heavily swayed.

Knowing that it would negatively impact her team if not addressed, she told them the truth, discussing in detail what she felt they would see and what to expect in her delivery of feedback, and invited them to proactively request help and feedback while she was still in better shape. Otherwise, she often has a pleasant disposition and is open to receiving feedback from anyone.

Take care of your people: Because she told the truth and explained what was happening and what could happen because of her pained emotions, her team thanked her for being honest. In many ways, they felt invested in her process and proactively prepared and protected from any unusual displays of emotions. She noted that she works with a diverse team of wellness experts.

And she ensures that she verbally appreciates their work, connects with them, shares the full experience of their work on her, and follows up on any pending requests that might inspire and empower them. She told us of a therapist she returned to days after an appointment to meet up and answer two questions on a survey she had forgotten to complete. That put a smile on the therapist’s expression.

Be fair: In her presentation, she talked about the Kolbe Index which categorizes people’s approach to conflict in Modes and Zones. Based on that I deduced that what each person considered fair could be different, posing a problem. But, she confidently explained that giving everyone in mediation an equal access to a process ensured that they perceived the outcomes of any negotiation or mediation as fair. ITUNA is the acronym she shared for her process which was short for

(i)                 introduction

(ii)                talking about the issues

(iii)              understanding the issues,

(iv)              negotiating the issues, and

(v)                agreement. She did admit that when it comes to family, throw process out the door because family is a completely different animal.

When asked to describe her leadership style, she concluded by saying –

“Uniquely mine.”

What a Soul Sister.

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I wish you all a week full of good health and prosperity.


 

Pack it! On Your Mission

Yeah! Just add some specific set of skills to it and viola!!!
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So, obviously, I am talking about the conversation I had with Jesse about tracing your calling. In discovering the vehicle for your calling (which you can follow the link to re-read the conversation) a major, job, title, invention is just a tool, a vehicle, with which to carry your calling.

Once you discover your calling and turn it into a mission, you can easily decide what vehicle you wish to use. You can decide what vehicle is capable supporting, empowering, inspiring, and wholly transporting your calling. In my conversation with Jesse, after sharing this thought about a vehicle, these followed.

Me to Jesse

Now that you know and are living your mission, a good question to ask is –

What specific set of skills would you like to add to that mission to help you build on, develop, and accomplish your mission? What type of courses and perhaps college major can help you build on that mission? Can you take a few courses here and there or go into the industry and learn hands on as an apprentice? 

Lastly, ask yourself –

Who are you hoping to help? What type/category of people – college students? Diplomats? families? Communities? Artists? Citizens? What type of people?

If you could start now, what age group would you like to give your first talk, speech, seminar, or meet up with first? With this, can you determine what sought of training and skills you need to add for developing your mission?

Tracing our calling, turning it into a mission, deciding what skills to pack for the journey to destiny, and deciding what people/age group to begin serving with this, is not as hard as we may think. Introspective questions really help.

On the other hand, those with big dreams often have wild imaginations and often dream of doing many things. And it is good. So, here is the tip, if you are confused because you have many things you want to do and don’t know how and where to start, that’s okay.

Pick one and start with it. Your other dreams will fall into place as you grow, make connections, and establish the first one you picked.

Yes!

Dream big, but have a FOCUSED dream


Discovering the Vehicle for your Calling

Let’s go back to – Catalina Islands…for a sec

One of the most fascinating creatures on God’s green earth that I met was Jesse.

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Meet Jesse – (So cool)

 

Jesse is an epiphany. She redefines coolness. She had that cool, colorful, Malibu groove going on. She is graceful, calm, charming, lovely, wise, intuitive, respectful and one fine sister who really loves Jesus. Don’t judge. Just bragging about Jesse is all.

While facing the beach we engaged in a conversation to inquire why we were each glowing. And no…it wasn’t love at first sight or last sight (though if Jesus made it possible…okay…I should stop now). Just kidding.

We swapped stories and compliments. Then, Jesse shared her dilemma. She didn’t know what her calling was. She wanted to know what it is God was inspiring her to do and how to do it. She was a sophomore in college but wasn’t sure what to chose for a major. I listened and we just talked and swapped experiences. Then, our talk went something like this  – Continue reading “Discovering the Vehicle for your Calling”

You Don’t Have to Be on the Same Page

Often, we think that to get along, especially in relationships, we have to be on the same page. Well, I disagree.

We are all different. We are each unique expressions of the image of God with different hopes, dreams, and ideas. We each have our own experiences and differentiating nuances in world views. Yes, even when we believe the same thing.

Imagining romantic relationships here – what if her level of spirituality is different from yours? What do you do then? Is it a good match or not? Obviously, one of you has much to learn, yes?

So, being on the same page is not really plausible. What do you do then?

When you are in a relationship or intend to begin a deep one –

You don’t have to be on the same page.

You just have to be reading from the same book.

Here’s why – Continue reading “You Don’t Have to Be on the Same Page”

Power Introductions

God’s greatest gifts are people and He sends his gifts to you when you are about to enter a new level of your mission here on earth. People connect and complete the circle of your destiny.

Whatever it is you are asking God for, it is in other people, in the hands of other people, in the hearts and minds of other people who may very well be right next to you.

But here’s the thing.

God can touch hearts, inspire people to think and favor you. What He won’t do is do the loving and talking for you. God will send you his gifts, his people, his friends. But –

If you don’t pick up the scent of God’s favor through the people he sends who may very well be unconventional; if you don’t love and respect them, they will leave you: they will walk away. And yes, your blessings will too

God said he’d help you. But don’t get it twisted.

If you act like a jerk…you’ll lose them.

Power introductions have an influence on your destiny and here’s why and some examples you can use and build on – Continue reading “Power Introductions”

The Four Way Test

Listen! You are light and you are life. You cannot be hidden. Bloom! Shine!

Jesus said that “You are the light of the world” and “A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

If the light of the world lives in you, that makes you light too. If the one called wonderful dwells in you, that makes you wonderful too. But –

So what? How does it help your people and the community that you are life, light, and wonderful?

Continue reading “The Four Way Test”

Done is Better

Done is better than perfect – Greg McKeown

Don’t let your desire to be perfect in execution make you forget what’s most important – your voice being heard – even if you don’t have all the ideas to share yet

It is your voice. Your destiny is in your voice. All you can do is use it to begin touching lives so those lives can touch cities.

You would be right – in an ideal situation, getting everything together, all the ideas, the learning before sharing is better. But when there is a fire 🔥 raging, everyone who can lift a bucket must help put it out. Continue reading “Done is Better”

BIG DECISIONS

Making decisions is a humbling process, especially if they’re are BIG. Great leaders (Churchill, MLK, Gandhi, Mandela) all had to do it. For it’s in the moment of decision that our destiny is shaped!

You are a great leader. But you have to make big decisions to become great ~ Ish’mael (Destiny Class)

1.) Interestingly, BIG decisions come with equal part sense of EXCITEMENT and TERROR. Like making a big investment, proposing to a loved one, moving to a new city or starting a new venture.

It’s hard to be INDIFFERENT when making these big decisions. If you are truly indifferent, then the decision is probably not big enough. Continue reading “BIG DECISIONS”

Start Before You Are Ready

When I had the vision and started building #Threelly (www.threelly.com), I had no idea what I was doing or if it will even succeed.

But I STARTED nonetheless

Fast forward a few moons ahead, the site is up running, a vibrant community has been built curating and slicing some of the best videos on the web to expose hidden ideas. Had I waited to be ready, this will never have happened.

1.) Most people wait for the perfect timing before they do anything. Perfect timing to start a business, finish school, get married, be happy, e.t.c. Perfect timing doesn’t exist and any person looking for one is simply just making excuses to avoid taking action.

2.) A Chinese proverb reminds us

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” .

3.) So, stop making excuses! Stop waiting for the PERFECT time! Stop waiting to be ready! Start taking action! Start now! Start small and grow!

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Stay Humble! Stay Strong!

By Fru Louis

#frulouis (instagram)