2018 Is Here. In 364 Days What Do You Want To Say You’ve Achieved?

No resolutions. Lists. Goals. Plans. 

No regrets.

No more self-doubt.

Put pen to paper and word to action.

Spend a minute thinking about what you want. As in what you REALLY want.

Write it down. 1-5 things.


Put it in an envelope.

Write a Love Letter to yourself this week. Put it on your bathroom mirror or your fridge or in the glove compartment or on your computer.  Carry it in your purse or pocket.

Remind yourself that you are loved. YOU love you. You don’t have to feel it. Or believe it. Some people refer to it as imposter syndrome. Others as self-esteem. Others as religion.  Even if you already love yourself, there’s still a little room for MORE.

Whatever IT is, you’re going to fake it until you make it.

December 31, 2018 you’re going to open that envelope and be wowed!

Regarding Tyson: Confessions On National TV Is Not A Substitute For Therapy

I thought the Mike Tyson interview on Oprah earlier this week was a HAM. It’s great for her and the ratings but ultimately how does this actually benefit any of us? I wasn’t sure there’d be any benefit to watching it as I didn’t need that episode to tell me Tyson has serious problems. Since she had him back on yesterday for Fridays Live I thought a discussion was warranted.
Here are some of my thoughts in no particular order:
  • He may be more self-aware but he’s still a menace.
  • His limited education (and perhaps capacity for learning) is a huge impediment.
  • We can see yet again the result of letting a fatherless male child grow up in society without guidance.
  • Of course someone should have been concerned about Oprah’s safety – he’s made a career out of brutalizing men and is a convicted criminal (but she as a security detail).
  • Forgiveness and redemption are not to be doled out like candy. They must be earned and appreciated.
  • He’s apologized to Evander Holyfield – again – but is he actually remorseful. Seriously?
  • What amends has he attempted to make to Desiree Washington for raping her and Robin Givens for beating her?
I would not be alone in a room with that man under any circumstance. He seems rather volatile and ready to go off at any second. I still sense his rage and his insecurities just beneath the surface. Who are these women that line up to have sex with this man and have children with him? You cannot convince me money is not a huge incentive. His current wife’s denial was even called out by Oprah during the first interview.
Despite his sorrow, his increasing self-awareness and his public display what has he actually learned and how has he changed? Crying relieves stress and looks really good on television. It doesn’t guarantee a fundamental shift in one’s core. Despite his numerous points of dysfunction he mentions he learned how to treat women from watching pimps. Pimps are criminals who exploit women. At what point did he ever ask himself why he chose to model his actions based on the dregs and predators of society? Do I even need to mention that he was obviously influenced by the rather typical rejection of certain black women by mostly African-American males for one who falls in the lighter-skinned long hair category? There’s a rather distinct pattern here.
Finally, I conclude this entire interview is one that belonged on a therapist’s couch not a television talk show host’s. Ditto for the dad in the audience that said he could relate to the loss of his child from watching Tyson. Some may feel as if they’ve seen a whole new side that “explains” him better. I have to ask why it would take such an interview that scratches the surface and should be a beginning point for personal transformation for someone to figure out the man has had emotional problems? Many of us have things we must work through but don’t substitute the confessional aspects of sharing your dysfunction with the entire world for the real work of intensive therapy.
Nor do we choose to take it out on others we perceive as being weaker or less likely to be protected. Did you get the part where he said he doesn’t want the details of what happened to his 4 year-old daughter because he’ll “blame” someone?! There was a definite implied threat behind that statement. Someone who’s actually changed doesn’t constantly revert back to destructive and violent patterns. So as far as I’m concerned he hasn’t changed at all. Not where it really counts. Don’t spread the message that African-Americans are such a damaged people. Which also brings me to another question for these men (like the dad featured) who have children out of wedlock: if you care so much why aren’t you providing an intact family structure for them by marrying the mother of your children?

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How One Man’s Journey Led Him to the Esteemed Rock Band

Enjoy a little Sunday inspiration.

I find the story of Arnel Pineda compelling and inspiring! He’s so humble. I also observed the gratitude of the remaining band members at being able to continue touring. It doesn’t hurt that he sounds a lot like Steve Perry. He isn’t “lucky” either: he had to have a minimal skill set coupled with determination (i.e. posting his performances on Youtube) and delayed gratification (working his craft until it paid off) for things to come together. I’m certainly taking notes at how he prepared himself for the inevitable “success” to follow.

Journey is very active at giving funds to music programs especially in the Bay area. Have you noticed lately how their songs seem to be everywhere – like on the tv show Glee for example? I’d love to take a peek at their latest music publishing contracts. They’re wielding the power that comes from being a highly regarded established band while not being afraid to embrace new ways. Very clever! If you have dreams..or goals what steps are you taking to fulfill them?

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Believe It and Live It: Khadijah Williams


Have you read the story of Khadijah Williams? Ms. Williams is now completing her first year at Harvard University in Boston. Her story of determination and mental discipline is not only inspiring but a model for all of us to follow. She grew up living in numerous homeless shelters and obviously around some less than stellar people and circumstances. She talks about spending hours at the public library feeding her mind with things that challenged and uplifted her. I can relate. I used to have stacks of them under my bed that I’d checked out – sometimes forgetting how many I had but I almost always had a book in hand.

She also seems very positive and humble. She didn’t let this opportunity slip by either worrying about rescuing other people for had she “drowned” how could she have been of any benefit to anyone else? How many of us have made excuses about the things we could not do? How many of us have had moments we just didn’t believe we could do things based out of fear? I know I have! I think she had an angel on her shoulder protecting her growing up…but don’t we all in some way? I think we all have obstacles that present themselves in our lives. There’s a point where we have the opportunity to reassess and can move on. Don’t let it pass you by. As human beings we’re far more resiliant than we recognize sometimes. If we seek help and are willing to put the work into things I don’t see why we can’t achieve things beyond our wildest dreams – especially those of us who live in the so-called developed countries. For the most part our basic needs are being met. We don’t have to travel miles for clean water for example.

Let this be an moment of encouragement for all of us as we continue the journey of our lives! There’s a very famous expression one of my teachers used to have hanging on the wall in her classroom: TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Believe It and Live It!!
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Housing Options In A Tough Market

As with various cooking shows I love the design shows. I think it fulfills some sort of nesting desire. I also like the idea of being inspired to aspire to elevate oneself be it in preparing a meal to having a life that may be better than one can imagine. It’s all about working through our fears – and the art of negotiation. Here’s a segment from a design show where a family employed serious cost-cutting measures when building their home to accommodate two disabled members. Their reuse of products was very clever and this is one of the nicest pre-fabricated houses I’ve seen.

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Defining Reciprocity: Black Women Are Still Being Told To Put Everyone Else First!

Yet the buck stops here.

Some women think of themselves by their ethnicity or race first. Some women think of themselves by their relationships (i.e daughter of or wife of someone). Some women think of themselves by their station in life or job. Still others are considered by gender in relation to a political agenda…but still have their race or class status hand in hand.

One of the most freeing aspects from reading the essays of empowerment as discussed by certain bloggers is that we are FREE. Their words are a much-needed inoculation against the insanity messages being spouted as facts today.

  • We are free to date whomever we fancy. Character trumps skin shade.
  • We are free to explore our orientation or identity and establish it as we see fit.
  • We are free to explore our individual tastes. Go see the world!
  • We are free to live our lives as we see fit. Our standards are what matter most.
  • We are free from being conjoined with random black men and tying our existence to them.
  • We are free – or we should be – from the myth of the “black community” and upholding its “tenets” of enslavement.
  • We are even free from needing the understanding or approval of other black women for our individual choices. Even the ones that claim to be in support of empowerment.

Why is that so many are invested in telling us what we “should” be doing? I had a conversation with someone who asked me when I was going to do “community service” and help the children. This was the tail-end of a conversation about a black male student who was beaten to death. I think the “people” that need to “step up” are black men and the Civil Rights organizations. Since we know it is NOT black women causing the majority of the violence, the misogyny and the denigration why would anyone assume we have the power to “fix” other people (esp. black boys and men)?

We know them by the fruit of their labor.

Now, I’m not mocking the benefits of offering assistance but the idea that I should feel in any way obligated to encourage, uplift or elevate other people (and their otherwise abandoned, mistreated, or cast-aside kids) is rather presumptuous. I’m certain this will be considered heresy to some but far too many black women have sacrificed themselves at the altar of “saving all of our people” for naught. Things have steadily deteriorated and the depravity will only multiply.

Black women need to stop riding the rescue wave for others and take care of themselves first!

I am a black woman, an African-American but that is but ONE aspect to who I am. I’m also an artist, a writer, a singer and a budding gourmet chef. I’m also a Gen-Xer, born in the USA, grew up on the East Coast and the first-born child. I enjoy a variety of music, love to travel and enjoy plushness. I cry at poignant commercials. I am many things yet sometimes I am no one in particular. Who says I have to be ANYTHING other than WHO I WANT TO BE?

Yesterday, I had to be very firm in setting boundaries with an individual who was willing to take advantage of me. Lack of communication and setting a bad precedent in behavior will only set a path in motion that’s nearly impossible to reverse. After hearing about their various issues with this and that and feeling empathy but recognizing I was about to be steamrolled I had to put my foot down. I was very reluctant to do so but at the end of the day who’s looking out for me if I won’t take care of myself first!!

When we try to be “nice” and overlook obvious flaws to “get along” with others we are not doing ourselves any favors. There will always be some issue that takes precedence. Once people see they can be “abusive” or take advantage it only escalates. It may be a joke at one’s expense, a harsh word or demanding considerations that overextend others. It may be borrowing money with no intention of repaying, asking someone to look the other way or withholding affection.

I wanted to know whether this person would respect my wishes and set aside their self-interest for the greater good. Their response was to become rather combative because I wouldn’t “understand” their difficulties. Actions speak louder than words. It’s why women are referred to as bit*hes when they don’t respond to street harassers or make unpopular decisions. People are very quick to turn to anger when they don’t get their way and lines are drawn in the sand. “Do it my way or else there’ll be hell to pay!” That is the ultimate in manipulative behavior.

When there is mutual respect, concern and affection…you know a true FRIENDSHIP or KINSHIP…people will look at the big picture. It’s one thing to ask for help. It’s another thing to insist the need for alleviating one’s challenges/difficulties at someone’s expense. Sometimes misunderstandings do occur and things should absolutely be resolved. Sometimes people know exactly what they’re doing in crossing a line. Setting boundaries is not the problem. It’s about respect for self – and others by insisting on them to begin with. There’s no need for emotionalism or lingering anger when they are established and adhered to. No one is going to convince me otherwise.

Sometimes we must ensure our dignity remains intact even if our needs cannot be met at that time or in the preferred manner. Getting along with another person, an organization or even a community should NEVER include being used as a doormat or being self-sacrificing to one’s detriment.

When Stumbling Out of the DBR Matrix These Are Great First Steps

Or you might consider this part of your escape route when deciding which pill to take when you decide to get out of **DBR-Ville!!

This scene is from the television show The Game. I have mixed feelings about this show overall but this was an excellent example of what a woman should be doing with her life. In case you can’t watch it from work the female lead is treating a patient who overhears a c conversation. She offers counsel to her by referencing women who style their hair a certain way as a metaphor for not taking chances in life and weeding out those who would hold her back.

I loved the fact this older woman gave such common sense, no-nonsense advice to the younger (still confused) woman. Her advice is to NOT let OTHER people dictate the standards by which you live! Skip ahead to the portion starting at 1:45 and end at 6:00. A quick backstory: this series is about the relationship between a med student and her NFL player boyfriend. It is based on the real-life story of Staci Robinson who wrote a book titled “Interceptions”.

For the series to work the guy is supposed to be decent underneath blah blah blah but honestly he seems to be a lesser value man and the female lead isn’t setting high enough standards – which is why their problems constantly obstruct the relationship. They often break up and during one of their off periods he impregnated another woman. The ensuing conflicts from the conflict is why they’re not together during this period and the female lead makes another poor decision by sexing her supervisor. This show is a paint-it-by-numbers of WHAT NOT TO DO!

In TV-land things will be wrapped up but the reality is far more tenuous and can have negative generational ramifications. Of course because the male leads on this series are supposed to be a high-profile individuals the implied message here seems to be that any woman who chooses to be with them is going to have to tolerate a lot. Next!

Last time I checked a pig wearing lipstick is still…just…a…pig.

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American Writers & Artists Series with Tom Kavala

Thanks to Muslim Bushido for introducing me to this great website. The focus of AWAI is to help people develop skills to acquire financial security, independence and freedom. Like many things floating around in the universe we should take what’s useful to us and has appeal to our particular needs and discard the rest. I hope this offers encouragement and inspiration.


I’m going to tell you something my Uncle Mike once told me. If you want to know who’s responsible for most of your problems, take a good long look in the mirror. If you could kick the person most responsible for your problems, you probably wouldn’t be able to sit down for a month.

Painful, in my case, but true – and a lesson I have to relearn from time to time.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is get out of our own way. We need to stop looking only at where we are and start looking at where we can be.

Here’s a perfect example …

The little guy was having a tough time. My two-year-old nephew and I were in the living room, playing baseball. I was pitching a Wiffle Ball to him as he continued to fan the air with his little plastic bat.

My wife told us to take it outside before we broke something, so I continued to pitch to him in the backyard. I’d pitch the ball to him and he’d swing – and miss. Pitch…swing…miss. Pitch… swing… miss. Thirty to forty pitch… thirty to forty misses. I could see he was starting to get discouraged.

Every time he missed I’d tell him, “You can do it. C’mon, swing for the seats. You’re the best hitter there is.” And still he missed every single one.

Now I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but after thirty to forty swings, I noticed that every time he swung the bat, he swung in the same place. It didn’t matter whether my pitch was high or low, he always swung in the same place. So I aimed at his bat.

Whack! He hit it! He got so excited, he dropped the bat! He’d never hit a ball before! He didn’t know what to do! So he just ran in place squealing with delight, with his eyes wide, and his little arms flapping like wings.

I laughed and yelled, “Run to first base.” He ran the wrong way.

I said, “This way.” Around the bases he ran … all the way home … right into my arms. We fell backwards, laughing and giggling, into the soft spring grass. It was the best day of my life. How ridiculous it would have been if I had just given up on him after one or two swings. He wasn’t a good hitter when he started, but he stepped up to the plate every time…and kept swinging.

Stay With It

Nothing can defeat you unless you first defeat yourself. When asked what was the greatest attribute of a soldier, Napoleon Bonaparte answered, “Endurance.” It wasn’t loyalty…or courage…or skill at arms. It was endurance – the ability to keep going no matter what.

Whatever you want to accomplish in life will take persistence. Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Work – continuous, hard work – is the only way to accomplish anything that lasts.

In life you will pay one of two prices. You will either pay the price of persistence or you will pay the price of regret. The price of persistence weighs ounces. The price of regret weighs tons. So never give up on what you really know you should do.

One of the greatest examples of persistence is Dr. Theodore S. Geisel. He wrote a book. He went from publishing house to publishing house. All he heard was “No”. He kept knocking on publishers’ doors and after hearing “No” a staggering twenty-three times; he finally heard “Yes”.

If you have kids – or if you ever were a kid – you know him by his pen name: Dr. Seuss. His books have sold over 220 million copies.

Then there’s the lady who went to seventeen publishers and got seventeen rejections. Number eighteen knew a winner when he saw it and published her work. The book was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – the first of the fantastically successful Harry Potter series. Today, with over 400 million copies sold, and published in 65 languages, J.K. Rowling, is one of history’s most successful authors. Suppose she had stopped at rejection number ten. The world would be a poorer place indeed.

Home run legend Babe Ruth also held the record for striking out.

Basketball great Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

Harlan Sanders, of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, is today a household name. But there was a time when, believe it or not, nobody would endorse his chicken recipe. He got rejected a mind numbing 1,009 times, but he persisted.

Talent, brains and athletic prowess are all wonderful things to be blessed with, but you can’t always rely on them. Talent comes and goes with different success stories, but persistence is a constant. Persistence is the hammer that drives the nail of success.

Keep Looking for Opportunities

So what do you do? Anything. Something. So long as you don’t just sit there. If you screw it up, start over. Try something else. If you wait until everything is perfect, you may find that it’s too late – opportunity will have passed you by.

One of the most powerful success principles is: Never give up! The choice of giving up or going on is a defining moment in your life. You may not be able to turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again.

When I was launching my resume business, I noticed that business tended to drop off periodically. At the time, my business consisted mostly of writing resumes for graduating college students. The problem with student resumes is that they’re seasonal. I’d see a spike in business for two months or so before graduation, then it would peter out.

So I went in another direction.

I joined my local Chamber of Commerce and networked until I found a couple of executive recruiters who absolutely hate to write resumes. They are too busy trying to find and match job candidates to openings their client companies have. They have neither the time nor the patience to help some candidate write a killer resume.

That’s where I come in.

Now whenever they get a good client with a weak resume, they hire me to spruce it up. I get a ton of business from them, and here’s the best part – it’s steady work, because these recruiters are busy. And since their candidates are all executive level job seekers, I make a lot more money per resume.

Opportunities are everywhere; you just need to look for them. You can look at a setback as a blessing or a curse. Just having an opportunity to consider things that were previously out of your realm of interest can produce incentive to move in a new direction.

Your choice is simple. You can either stand up and be counted, or you can stay down and be counted out. Defeat never comes to people until they admit it.

So keep chipping away as quickly as you can, but even if you need to slow down for a time … or move in a different direction … still keep chipping away as much as you can.

Do today what others will not, and you’ll live tomorrow as others cannot.

Because success is a choice, not a chance. And, you have a choice to make now – whether to be at Bootcamp or not. Choose to be successful. Decide on the kind of life you want, or life will decide for you.

It’s not your circumstances that are important, but how you respond to your circumstances. Wherever you find your vision, you will also find opposition. Winners are not afraid to struggle in order to win.

Yes, it’s hard. Money is tight and you have a lot of other commitments. I know it’s hard; that’s why you have to go at it hard. That’s why you need to be at Bootcamp. I’ll be part of a panel discussion on Friday with four other entrepreneurs about additional ways to create revenue streams. All things you can easily do yourself. Remember, only those willing to try the impossible can ever achieve the spectacular.

This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) Spare-Time Biz Success, a free newsletter that gives you information on the hottest work-at-home opportunities that allow you to make extra money in your spare time and enjoy the financial benefits of a full-time career. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/spare-time-business/.

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About Our Children Segment On Depression & Violence

So I have some good news and some bad news for you. I was watching the 2-hour panel discussion “About Our Children” with political analyst Michelle Bernard featuring Dr. Bill Cosby. Yes there were various “experts” bandied about to discuss the disadvantaged. Yes there were solutions proposed that seemed a bit preposterous because they had to be publicly stated. Some things cover certain basic behaviors that should be present to begin with – but obviously are NOT there – hence the blighted circumstances. There were certain moments that had to be encapsulated they were so on point.

During this segment three parents were featured who’d overcome substance abuse, domestic violence and depression. I will include that in a separate blog post to discuss. This is the panel follow-up which merited its own discussion. Please watch before reading my response.

What did you think? I’ve read Terrie Williams’ book Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting and it’s excellent. I especially appreciated her comment about how certain black folks (of the “Christian” religious persuasion) tend to equate praying or speaking to a religious figure at their church as an adequate response to resolving emotional problems. I don’t think it can be overstated that far too many black women (as the majority who attend these churches as well as give their time and money) use religious totems unsuccessfully as a panacea to resolving conflicts that would best be served by speaking to a qualified professional. Of course I don’t expect these male church “leaders” to steer people in the right direction either because it benefits these institutions to keep people confused but subservient. I have no love lost for the religious fakery.

The other moment in this conversation that stood out was Alvin Poussaint’s interruption of Terrie Williams. One I thought it was rude (but typical) for him to exert his male privilege by talking over her when she was on a roll. I really would have liked to have heard her finish her thoughts but whatever she was going to say got lost in the aftermath. Then he proceeds to tell a small portion of the “story” by mentioning how depressed so many black men are. Yes he was correct with his stats but he didn’t tell the complete truth. It was another example of excuse-making in my opinion. Whether someone is depressed, suicidal or a sociopath is of no difference to me when they a) have not acknowledged it and sought immediate help b) these boys (they’re not even making it as far as 18) wreck havoc on the lives of scores of black women (and other black men) as they lash out.

We can go read any number of posts at What About Our Daughters as the victims of these “depressed and angry” men are given perhaps their only voice in any media format. As many as half of the ten perps who committed to heinous kidnap, rape and attempted murder of a mother and son at the Dunbar Village housing complex were under 18 at the time. We can go down a list and find many cases of the depraved acts and even more depraved minds of these (would-be criminals). So while I empathize with the clinical analysis if Poussaint is that alarmed he and Cosby should be hosting their own Town Hall meetings urging immediate action and offering a means to provide a service for these “poor young black men”.

Let’s face it: many black men are on a collision course with death and destruction. If it’s reached epidemic proportions as he suggests why aren’t they doing anything significant about it? That is the role of men: to protect and provide. Let these black men step up and take over and police the behavior of these wayward males. Let the sperm donors who sired them take responsibility and stop leaving their care solely in the hands of women who’ve been abandoned and are lacking vital resources. Let them hold others accountable and get the help they need.

My sympathy is with those who are also under stress, who are also depressed but do not engage in domestic terrorism against those they consider even weaker than themselves: black women and children.

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