Posts Tagged ‘legacy’

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter encourages us to never give up

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Don’t ever give up on yourself. Whether it is your homework, class work or yard work; if you give up, you’re not giving up on the work; you’re giving up on yourself and a piece of that never leaves you. You carry that piece into the next thing that you do and you will continue to give up until giving up becomes a part of you.

Today, I went to see a speech given by Rubin “Hurricane” Carter at the college and I’m so inspired! In the above paragraph, I’m paraphrasing the main “nugget’ that I got from his speech. Here is a brief summary of his bio that was released by the college:

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was a formidable boxer who had won the European Light Welterweight Championship for two years in a row when his promising career was cut short. In 1966, he was falsely arrested for the murder of three white people in a bar. Sentenced to a triple life-sentence, Carter always maintained his innocence. Subjected to a nineteen-year travesty of justice, he was finally set free in 1985 by a federal court. His story was immortalized in a Bob Dylan song and made into a Hollywood movie starring Denzel Washington. Carter has chronicled his own life in two books, The Sixteenth Round, and 2011’s Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness to Freedom. The recipient of two honorary Doctor of Laws degrees, Carter now devotes much of his time to speaking out on behalf of the wrongly convicted.

Mr. Carter gives new meaning to the words “if life gives you lemons, make some lemonade”. He has taken the “lemons” that he was given and has used them to make lemonade in the form of liberation for people who have been wrongly convicted and incarcerated. Mr. Carter is now a Civil Rights Activist who has committed his life to not only liberating himself from wrongful incarceration, but then also helping others get the same liberation. Mr. Carter has inspired me not to just think about how I can be successful, but to take it a step further and think about how I can also help others be successful.

I encourage you to take Mr. Carter’s advice and never give up. Celebrate your victories as they come -because they will come if you never give up-but please, take it a step further and look around for people who are still pushing and haven’t seen their victory yet. Reach out to them and at the very least, inspire them not to give up, or better yet, help them see their way to victory.

President Barack Obama’s Biggest Error and Michelle Obama’s Greatest Victory

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Recently while giving a lecture on Leadership, I used The President as an example of one critical error that many leaders make. This error is usually made as a result of ‘chronic people pleasing’ and while it may seem noble, it is still a very critical error.

The error is quite simply leading without a clear Definite Purpose.

Some years ago, I read the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and my main take away was the understanding of the importance of Definiteness of Purpose. This is what I am suggesting is lacking in the current presidency.

Since President Obama assumed office, he has tackled many, many issues including “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Race Relations (remember the Black Harvard Professor, Dr. Henry Gates and the Caucasian Boston police officer?), The War in Iraq (Or is it Afghanistan?), Unemployment and a devastating Economic crisis. The list goes on and on and on!

Before I go any further, let me be clear; I have a lot of respect, admiration and even Love for President Obama and my intention is not to start a campaign on why he should not be President or how lousy of a job he is doing as President. As a college instructor and a life strategist, I teach leadership and personal development courses and programs so I am able to recognize basic leadership errors and my intention is to point out one very common and critical error that many leaders (even President Obama) make.

Lacking Definiteness of Purpose is the reason why many leaders fail. Having a definite purpose is the anchor of every accomplishment by a person, company, institution or even an administration. Former President George W Bush was on Oprah sometime last year and while I do not agree with most of the policies that he enacted while he was in office, I can honestly say about him that he was clear about his purpose; War on Terror! He tackled many issues, as of course any President would, but he remained clear about his purpose; Get the Terrorists! His policies, agree with them or not, were aligned with the purpose that he was clear about from the beginning; Get the Terrorists!

So, what is President Obama’s purpose, as a President? No one really knows… Yes, he has made history by becoming the first Black President and even then, some argue that he is not “black enough’. That being said, I believe that President Obama does not have a definite purpose. After he leaves office, what will his legacy be, other than that he was Black? What is the one thing that we will remember him for?

Success is quite simply accomplishing what you set out to do. Former President George Bush had a definite purpose and he accomplished it. Again, agree or disagree with him, but he was successful. (Remember Saddam Hussein?)

Another great example of a success story is Michelle Obama. As First Lady, she has had one main goal and that is to start a process that will eliminate childhood obesity. This is her DEFINATE PURPOSE and we all know about it. When I watch children’s television shows with my babies, I often see her on the kids’ channels encouraging the children to be more active. Again, this is part of her “Let’s Move” campaign which she is using to start the process to eliminate childhood obesity. She encourages us to prepare and eat healthier meals and she has led the way by planting fresh vegetables in the White House garden. There are many other actions that she has taken and I won’t go on with the list but the point is that her purpose is clear and her actions are in alignment with her purpose as First Lady and this is her victory!

So, what’s the lesson? The lesson is simple, if you want to be successful, approach your goal with definiteness of purpose. Be deliberate about thinking thoughts, speaking words and taking actions that align with whatever that purpose is. If you do this, you will be successful; you will accomplish your goal! As for President Obama, let’s continue to pray for him as he leads the country and hopefully, before his term is over, he will leave a Legacy that we (and he) can be proud of.

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Whitney Houston’s daughter in the news over alleged drug use

Monday, March 14th, 2011

In the last week, there have been photos circulating the internet that allegedly show Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, either sniffing cocaine or smoking what some are speculating is marijuana. This is, of course, a very sad story regardless of whether or not it is actually true.

What I am pondering though is that if it turns out to be true, how many of us are actually surprised? Whitney Houston has herself admitted to drug use and addiction. It is not that much of a stretch to believe that her teenage daughter may now also have entered the drug use and addiction world. Children learn most of their behavior by watching their parents.

My children are still very young but as they get older, I am increasingly more cognizant of my behavior because I recognize that what I’m modeling is going to affect their behavior, both in the near and distant future. I encourage every parent to raise the bar of personal conduct, not only because we should all be aspiring to do and be better as individuals but, more importantly, because our children are watching.

From the time that you become a parent, every behavior that you display should be filtered through one very important question: Is the way that I am behaving right now the way that I would want my son or daughter to behave in the future?

Whitney Houston’s example is an extreme case, but there are other instances that I believe that parents can take the opportunity to raise the bar of their conduct. Consider this simple example: My husband annoys me and I lose my temper and raise my voice while I share my feelings , with him, about how annoyed I am! Not such a big deal-right? WRONG! What I have just modeled to my daughter, among other things, is that it is okay for her to disrespect her (future) husband and I’ve also just suggested to my son that it is okay to be disrespected by his (future) wife.

I’m not saying that disagreements are not going to happen in households, nor am I suggesting that parents can be perfect all the time. What I’m saying is that when we become parents, we have a new level of responsibility that goes beyond just providing food and shelter for our children. In my example where I was annoyed, I had several options. The first one would be to simply brush off whatever was annoying me and not say anything. The second option would be to let my husband know about my displeasure but choose the right time and place as well as do it in a respectful manner. If I lacked the self respect and control to exercise the first two options, I could at the very least, confine my unbecoming behavior (yelling) to a closed bedroom door! (Note: Option three, in my opinion, is still setting the bar very low).

So parents, the next time that your conduct is anything less than excellent, just remember…someone is watching you.