THE STORY BEHIND IT ALL
It’s the month of May, and if you are like me, you’re feeling the weight of COVID-19 in some way. For some, it’s the balancing act of being a full-time parent, at home substitute teacher, and employee. For others, it’s the unfortunate event of losing their job. For the masses, it’s constantly hearing misleading news, and dealing with the itch to be outdoors. The way that we think, act and move around may very well look different in our forthcoming new normal.
For this reason, many people have given up on 2020.
“It’s a lost year.”
“Let’s fast forward to 2021. ”
“2020 can’t get any worse”
These are some of the whispers of pessimism in an already devastating year. A few weeks ago, I reminded myself on Twitter that this year is not over and that there is still much to be gained if we choose to sow in this season of uncertainty.
After tweeting this, I reflected about all of the things that I have gone through in a relatively short amount of time. These things range from losing my Dad to cancer at 12 years old, to undergoing three surgeries during my time playing football at the University of California, Berkeley, to losing my 27 year old brother in 2015, my little cousin’s death in a fiery car crash in 2016, and even starting this firm against the odds. If I was led out of all of those bleak circumstances, why should I not be confident in God's covering, the healing power of time and the fruits awaiting me in the future. I’m confident that you, too, can march onward.
From these experiences, I’ve developed a saying that reminds me of where I’ve been, what I’ve learned, and where I’m headed despite how impossible it looks.
Onward to Greatness is my war chant that keeps me going when circumstances look rough. It’s a reminder that you are a fighter. It’s getting yourself out of bed when your world feels heavy, and being vulnerable enough to share your hurt. It’s doing the hard things when no one asks or is looking.
Additionally, it’s a call to other warriors that are committed to being servant-leaders on whatever battlefield that they find themselves fighting on. Greatness is found in the acts of courage along the journey and not solely in the destination itself.
In the midst of this pandemic, I find myself counting my blessings more than ever. Some of these are the lessons that I’ve learned on the battlefield. Below I share a few with you:
- Growth Hurts: In order to attain such thing, you must be such person. The process of becoming “such person” is the uncomfortable metamorphosis of growth. You must shed old habits, ways of thinking, and in many cases even people. It does not feel good. But, there is no way to avoid this. You mustn’t delay growth, because it delays your pursuit onward to greatness. You can’t go around it, under or over it. You must endure the hard things that lead to your mental, spiritual, emotional and physical transformation. Here is where the champion in you is birthed.
- Pack Light for the Journey: The journey is long and arduous. Because of this, you have to cast off every weight that prevents you from running your race. Unfortunately, everybody can’t go. What is for you will not pass you, but it’s up to you to reserve room for those blessings.
- Delayed Does Not Mean Denied: We usually want things to happen on our time. As the saying goes, “man plans, God laughs.” If your desired outcome does not happen on your timeline, do not fret. Delayed does not mean denied. There is a lesson to be learned in every step of the journey.
- Don’t Be Too Prideful to Ask: There is no such thing as self-made. Someone, somewhere along the journey gave you just enough to keep going. This could be something as simple as a word of encouragement, or something as significant as a financial gift. As you become more in-tune with your calling, you’ll also become more in-touch with your needs. Do not be afraid to ask. The worse that someone can say is no.
- Success Leaves Fingerprints: Greatness won’t leave you guessing. If you are patient enough to let the seeds that you sow sprout, you’ll see that success always will leave clues that you are traveling in the right direction. Be aware of these. They will often be subtle, and can be noticed only by you. These fingerprints will give you the motivation to continue.
- Think Big, Operate Small: Do not limit yourself by thinking too small. Do not let any trivial thing stop you from delighting in what could be. This requires you to dream big. When you set your sights on a path worth pursuing, you must now operate small. By doing the smallest acts of progress every day, you efficiently build a sturdy foundation for your legacy to rest on. Consistency with small tasks is the secret.
- Less Is More: When you’re walking down an unchartered path, you may second guess the journey in it’s entirety. You may think that you can’t compete unless you have more tools. Newsflash: you don’t need more stuff. Less is more, when less does more. Assess what you have, and figure out how to use it on your mission. I’ll bet that you are more than enough.
- You Belong In Every Room, Act Like It. There are no coincidences, only divine appointments. On your journey, do not credit luck for your exaltation. You worked hard, and you have value to share. Act like it. Humbly accept the fruits of your labor, and commit to sharing this value in every room that you are in.
- Push & Pull: As you forge ahead, you are tasked with a responsibility. I summarize this in a phrase called, “push-pull.” This means that you have to push those in front of you on their journey toward greatness, and pull those who are behind you. There is room for everyone to win. Alone you can go fast, but together you can go far.
- There Is Power In Believing: The common characteristic to every person who achieved something great is that they believed that they could. There is power in believing. When you do so, you stretch the corridors of “reality” and turn all that is “impossible” into achievable. Believing not only makes you great, but it gives someone else the confidence that they can be, too.
With this, let us continue to press Onward to Greatness.