Tag: Leadership

Lesson 2: Be Relentless

Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you are buried – but actually, you’ve been planted

How are you all doing rockstars? Its been a while, hasn’t it? I went off the grid because I was working on this –

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Ta da…coming out on Amazon shortly.

It began with Continue reading “Lesson 2: Be Relentless”

No…You’ve Got to Be Kidding!!!

That’s it.

I can’t figure HIM out. He is somethin’ else. Our heavenly dad’s ways can be frustrating at times, won’t you agree Making us wait when “It don’t make no sense.” I mean who does that? Doesn’t it bother you how sometimes He seems to be talking with you about something trivial like He didn’t see the elephant in the room?

Like “Duh” Jesus, hello…challenges here. What’s up with that?

But, He will be who He will be. The meaning of I AM THAT I AM (Not hating Jesus, just saying). Anywho!

So, something happened last week. Continue reading “No…You’ve Got to Be Kidding!!!”

Diplomatic Inspiration 2.0

Do I have a cool story for you!

But first,

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Mt 5:9)

Yesterday, I was at a Diplomatic Peace Summit.

The speakers consisted of Sikhs, Monks, Hindu Priests, Bishops, the Former President of Ecuador, Heads of various Parishes from The Americas, and one of my friends, Angel Roman, who was representing a fledgling Peace Initiative.

In attendance were thousands of young people, the general public, and honored guests. Thundered applause electrified the room from start to finish as each speaker gave their 3-5 mins speech in native lingo. Angel’s mother shed tears of joy seeing her 20-year-old boy made his entrance on the International Stage. Quite moving.

Then, came the SHOCK wave that pulsated the room and left me breathless!

This is how it happened. Continue reading “Diplomatic Inspiration 2.0”

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. Continue reading “Is it 10 or 11?”

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.” Continue reading “Motown Sister: Musical Analysis of her Leadership Style”

Thank You Mrs. Mom

I am currently working on my Master’s defense. But, I just had to squeeze out time to brag about the person who has made it physically, financially, mentally, and emotionally possible for me to be able to do it.

I’m talking about an African Queen, Mrs. Mom.

She is one tough cookie. She is sharp too! In fact, she is so sharp you could get cut standing right next to her.

If I told you about her, you’d feel like you just got served a slice of heaven. She is dubbed the Iron Lady, has one “hell” of a right jab, and knows how to groove to the beat people. If Michael Jackson was alive, she’d beat him hands down on his moonwalk.

Her presence is a triple threat. Continue reading “Thank You Mrs. Mom”

The Best Compliment EVER!

Let me keep it real with you all.

Following Jesus is hard. Saying yes to an adventure he calls you to: saying yes to leadership can be painful. Leadership is hard! It involves a commitment of your emotions, feelings, as well as your mental prowess..

On Monday, I wrote about a crisis I am going through, titled – God is good, my confessions. It was nerve raking. Matter of fact, I am still trembling. I think it is the after effect of being so vulnerable with strangers. After I shared the post, I removed it. Then, I posted it again and then hours later, I removed it. I did this about 5 times.

I was conflicted. Below was and perhaps still is the battle in my soul –

I kept asking myself – Have I shared too much? This is too personal to be sharing with people I don’t know. What the “hell” am I doing?

But then I thought – Ish, you need to preserve yourself and the dignities of those included or connected to these struggles. But, is this a cop out? But it will help someone. But who reads this anyway…? Does it matter…?

Too many thoughts.

I am still shaken because I know its too late. It is said that, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” It is true for the internet. What happens on the internet stays on the internet. Difference is not everyone goes to Vegas but everyone is on the internet. And since what I shared stays on the internet stays, even if I delete it., people will find it anyway.

Saying yes to a call from heaven is hard. Leadership is hard.

When you lead or are called to lead, you deal with so many secret pressures and pains. Your hands and body often tremble under stress, fear, and anxiety, while you struggle to keep your composure and think clearly. You don’t have answers or know which way to go. You hold onto faith, but wonder just how much you can take and how much more you can give. There is lonely decision making.

Even though people are all round you, you could be suffering, dying, sweating and silently as well as secretly crying for help and those around you wouldn’t even hear it. Sometimes, you wander what to say. What do you tell people, your people? How do you say it? How do you even explain it when it is so spiritual? Where do you begin? Will “they” understand it?

It is hard to be a leader. Harder still, is fighting the good fight of faith on this ultimate adventure with the Almighty. You’ll do things for its own sake and people will never know. You pray and hope for others even when you yourself are barely holding on and people will never know. You’ll fully engage in celebrating the victories of others and wander – but, what about me? Did I do something wrong? Or is it something right? You pay such a hefty price and then wonder, is this all that I get or is this just life?

While driving this morning, my body was vibrating under all the trials. I was struggling to focus on the words of his promise. But, it was hard. I wondered if I could keep going. I thought to myself – this is hard and when I finish this part of my adventure with the Almighty, I am tempted to say to him – I don’t know if going on with this is still worth the price…! (Its – the pain speaking).

The problem with life is not that it is rationale or irrational. It is that it is almost rationale – J.K Chesterton

Meaning, just when everything seems to fall into place and you seem to be getting a hang of things, and moving along in life, suddenly something happens that throws everything off balance, setting you like a chess piece in a box called – paradox and contradiction.

Suffering brings courage ~ President SirLeaf of Liberia

That said –

It is during our lives lowest and most challenging periods that a patient and listening ear as well as mere words spoken out of love and understanding echo divine messages and become our greatest gifts. Such a message came from my mother.

She is a true African Queen. She is wild at heart and her passion keeps her youthful. She is my biggest supporter, sides with God on everything concerning Ish even when she knows it will be long and painful, and never allows me to say the word depressed. She can feel it when I am losing strength and courage. She just knows. She knows things man.

Anyone have a mom, friend, or a person in their life like that?

Recently, Ms. Mom was talking with a friend. Knowing my trials, her friend expressed concern because she was worried about her own children and couldn’t imagine her children standing under a similar cross if they carried it. Without skipping a beat, Ms. Mom said of me,

I know my boy. I am not worried about him. If any of my other children were in his shoes, I would be worried, crying, and shrieking. But, its him – I’m not worried about him.”

Then, she added this gem –

If you take him and throw him into a sea, he will come out dry. He will come out with a smile. No matter how long it takes. He’ll be fine.”

This gave me much courage. The fact that she believed in me gave me courage. Not many people may understand your life and your life’s call from heaven. You may be lonely on your journey to meet God on page 898 in your book of destiny from page 123. But, the words of that one person – family, friend or stranger – may be all you need to keep going.

Ms. Mom’s words empowered me to keep looking at the Master amidst these divinely engineered storms. Thanks Mom! This is by far the best compliment I have ever received.

Enough with my musing.

What about you? How are you doing and how are you holding up, friends?

What is the best compliment you have ever received in your life?

Why did it matter to you so much?

 

I would love to read your thoughts too. Don’t be shy. I don’t bite.

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One love, One Spirit.


 

 

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


Sharp Leadership: Influence vs. Movement

Leadership is not just about influence: it is a movement.

If you move and influence people, alone, then that’s it – you influence them. If you want to create real impact, carry your people with you. If you carry your people with you,

1) you won’t be alone, 2) you will get support, and 3) the sound of all y’all’s feet will cause an earthquake of positive influence…

…which will impact people behind you, beside you, in front of you, and generations down the line. Bonus – you will be happier.

In my class, our professor, a former U.S Ambassador, brought in a speaker – Carl Sharperson, a former Marine Corp Pilot and a top Leadership Innovation Strategist, to speak to us. He authored Sharp Leadership. His book is transforming the way I lead my life and interactions.

– Below is my Sharp Leadership project (how did I do?)

You can use Carl’s Five key principles below to – carry yourself & your people with excellence. These principles are –

1) Tell the truth: how important is this? E.g. – If as an engineer, you tell your marine pilot his plane is half-full when its not, because you are scared, you may have just cost the pilot his life if he goes flying far thinking his fuel tank is full. Let your responses be – no, yes, or I will find out.

2) Be accountable: Be a man/woman of your word. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Do what you say when you say you will do it and how you say you will do it.

3) Take care of your people: If you take care of your people, your people will take care of you.

4) Give and receive feedback: Use a sandwich model – compliment, offer criticism, then compliment. Or use the Bringles Model – Ask for feedback first and then give feedback after.

5) Be fair: From speaker LeRoy Crooks, an industrial genius – “Don’t do something for one person if you can’t do it for everyone.”

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Keep it 100

One love, One Spirit


 

Clues to Your Calling & Destiny

How does one find out what their calling, their vocation, or their destiny is?

This is a question I battled with and sometimes still battle with.

It is quite a journey and for me it has been hard and it has taken me over 8 years to put – some of it – together. In the beginning, it was blurry. I just knew what page God was on in my book of life and destiny and where in the future he was calling from.

But, like Father Abraham, I had no idea what to do, where to go, or how to go about it. It was a cold call – cold turkey.

My journey has been about learning the nuances of “God’s call to us” and sharing the process. It has involved stepping out of myself to see the work and the hand of the divine working on myself while doing life myself.

It now involves sharing what I have experienced to be the MOST IMPORTANT pieces to keep in mind or work with in order to help friends, family, and others make that practical shift and take action not on their own, but as a community.

That’s why I started this blog.

Recently, while listening to Rabbi Sacks discussing a weekly bible portion on Leviticus, he shared some thoughts and clues to identifying your vocation which I thought was awesome. I saw myself in the process. In his article, he quoted the late Michael Novak in, Business as a Calling: work and the examined life, shared these four characteristics to identifying your calling: Continue reading “Clues to Your Calling & Destiny”