Isn’t it amazing how people tend to say that they’re rooting for you, but the whole while they’re secretly hoping that you fail, or at least don’t get as far along in life as you desire to? I don’t think I’ve ever understood how friends and family can say that they hope you do well, but as soon as you say I want to go to Harvard Medical School and be a neurologist, then they want you to lower your expectations, stay close to home, and hopefully be a school nurse at the local elementary around the corner. You have to be careful about taking on other people’s fears and anxieties. It’ll cost you your dreams.
Growing up in the 70s was a much different time for me as some can imagine.
What people are calling “race wars” now is like two little kids slapping at each with their heads turned compared to back then. The social atmosphere coupled with the financial disparity of the times made for a bleak future for so many young people. How do you escape the calling of the streets, and easy money? How do you resist the urge to want to settle like everyone else? Where do you find the organizations or people who are willing to guide you along the right path to gain entrance to or access to financial assistance that will help you obtain your educational goals? And at every roadblock there’s someone there to remind you how you shouldn’t even try.
You make no mistake. The mental challenge is the hardest test. I wasn’t quite sure where I was going to end up, but it couldn’t be in those streets.
I said to myself I’m going to be something one day. I told myself that there was “better” out there for me. I told myself I’m not going to end up like so many of my friends cause I don’t just want to get things out of life. I want to contribute. But what was standing between myself then and the current me might as well had been a billion dollars.
See, I was accepted into a good college, but I didn’t have anyway to pay for it. And as time drew near to start my situation wasn’t looking any better. But do you believe in miracles? I do.
See, I believe that if you want something bad enough, and you become determined enough that something will happen for you on your behalf. I don’t know how to explain it. I can’t tell you I know why it works out like that some times. Cause there is a real truth to the fact that it doesn’t always work out like that, but in my case, it did. And because it did that’s why I work so hard to give back.
I do what I do because I’m made up in my mind that I wasn’t going to waste the gift that was given to me. Opportunities come and they go, but when they come the only question I can ask is what are you going to do with them?
When I had my chance to do exactly what I knew I could do, I went to school, graduated, and eventually started my own business. More importantly, I changed my own family tree. My legacy isn’t what was left to me, but what I’m leaving for those after me. But three things have made the difference in how I operate in life.
First, you have to have a vision of where you're going. You have to see that there is something out there for you to achieve. This can't just be a hope. It must be that thing that burns within you that you'll do when times are both good and bad. It's what you see for yourself that no one else does.
Secondly, you must be willing to work and put the time in. Most people can have a great idea about a new invention, or improving some product or service, but aren't willing to put the time in to bring it to pass. You may have to study for years, then become an intern, then work nights and weekends and hold a part-time job. But you must "be willing to do" whatever it takes to see the vision come to pass.
Lastly, you must execute. This is different than "being willing to". This is actually taking the tests and filling out the applications. It's going to the classes day or night. This is making the phone calls and getting in front of people. It's sitting down to write the book. It's painting on an empty canvas until the picture that's in your mind is live and in color.
So, when they say “that may be a little too much for you”, or “it’s ok if you don’t succeed in that”. You look at them and say “Ok”, and then do more than even yourself would have expected.