Our Day of Independence

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The 4th of July for me is always a time for reflection. It allows me perspective on life and what it means to me. Life is something precious, meaningful and at times beautiful. The 4thof July is often referred to as Independence Day, the birth of our nation where we fought Continue reading

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The True Meaning of the American Flag and 5 Reasons Why the NFL Failed

We have all watched the quiet protest, before NFL games, of kneeling during the anthem in response to injustice and seeking to give a voice to the voiceless. As the story grew the perspective and conversation on the topic changed drastically as the current President got involved and to my disappointment created unnecessary imagery that generated a huge backlash. Neither the President or the NFL acted in regards to the true meaning of the American flag. In his words the President failed us as did the NFL and here’s 5 ways why. Continue reading

Top Ten Reasons Why Most People Fail

Imagine if everything you did or tried always culminated into the success that you wanted. At that point wouldn’t life be, well, just plain boring. Let’s face it failure is a strong and unavoidable part of life. Failure is also an important part of purpose that if harnessed correctly will make your life more than worth living. In order for us to grow and develop we need to fail. Although failure is necessary how you do it and what you get it of it will determine your eventual success or non-success in life. Below are the Top Ten Reason Why Most People Fail and never recover.

1. They Give Up

There’s a great story called, “Three Feet From Gold.” In the story a prospector finds a vein of gold that runs dry. They continue to dig but after coming up with nothing decide to give up. They sell the rights to prospect and sell the equipment which still leaves them financially indebted to friends and family. The new prospector decides to bring in experts who predict that if they continue to dig just three feet from where the former prospectors left off they would again find that vein of gold. The rest of the story you can guess. Instead of giving up you need to quickly adjust your plans so you can pivot when and where necessary.

2. Don’t Give Enough Time to Succeed

The music channel Vh1 used to have a great series called Behind The Music which profiled famous music artists and their climb to success. In almost every story I noticed a pattern, often they had a break before the break. The artist often had that big opportunity and initial success that looked like they were well on their way after all the struggles and turmoil of trying to make it. Usually that success would be fleeting and heartbreaking, they had to move back to their hometown seemingly as failures and back home with their parents, starting all over again. Fortunately they did not quit or give up they learned, readjusted and went back at it more prepared to skyrocket their careers. They gave themselves the time to succeed. Music was not something that they were trying out to see what happens it was something they were dedicated to regardless of the time it took to make it happen.

3. Underestimate What it Takes to be Successful

As a general rule of thumb you should always factor in that it will take at least twice as long and three times more than you thought it would to achieve your endeavor. Often we underestimate not just the time but the resources and growth of ourselves and those around us in order to achieve our desired goal. A large part of the process of success is your own personal growth. You have to grow into being the person capable of achieving what you desire. Most people will grossly underestimate the importance or fail to understand the necessity for personal growth and cost themselves an opportunity at success. As we all know growth is often painful but short term, failing to grow is painful and ongoing.

4. Hobby Instead of Passion

On the road to fulfilling your dreams you will have to do things you do not want to do, face situations and consequences you have no desire to face and grow often through the painful process of failure. In order to withstand these steps to success you have to have a passion and a love for what you do. In the beginning you are not going to get paid for what you do, most likely you will have to be paying, go into debt, beg borrow and steal to get there. This will not happen with something you are just interested in. You must have a deep passion and desire. As it states in Napoleon Hill’s great book Think and Grow Rich, “Desire is the starting point of all success.” If you do not have that deep desire most likely you will not withstand the process of success and fail.

5. Take Learning as Failure

Often the setbacks we face are learning experiences packaged as failure. Setbacks are stepping stones to our success but they look like we failed so most people accept the failure. If they would take the time to examine the setback and see what they can gain from it they would find great learning experiences wrapped inside. Setbacks are part of the process of success find the jewels of learning so you can turn that into experience and wisdom.

6. Mistake Opportunities for Challenges

Just as learning experiences often come wrapped as failures, opportunities often come wrapped as challenges. The greater the opportunity the greater the challenge. Take a second to think about this, has there ever been something you desired or wanted to achieve? What happened when you started working toward the achievement of that goal-did you come across a bunch of challenges that seemed overwhelming. For example in sports if you want to win a championship you will have to go through the process and that often includes challenges such has having your weaknesses exposed, being embarrassed and losing until you master those situations. These challenges are opportunities for you to grow and master the necessary aspects to achieve what you desire.

7. Misunderstand the Nature of Success

Success is not about a destination it is about the process of growth and development-the journey. The destination or goal helps to determine the direction or focus of the journey. Many people mistake the destination as success so they try to get to the end instead of going through the necessary process of success. Sometimes you will see people who try to skip the process and go right to the trappings of success, the cars, the jewelry, the lifestyle without the growth and development. Success is about who you are and what you accomplish which in turn will help to determine what you have.

8. One Person Team

We all love the classic hero like Sylvester Stallone in Rambo and Daniel Craig as James Bond, a one man army rising against all the odds. In reality one man armies fail, falter and fizzle out miserably. On the road to success no one knows enough to do it themselves and even if somehow you did it would be impossible for you to do it all. Think of your business and personal success like a sport and the game is life. You need your team in place to help you achieve and grow. From teammates in the trenches to advisors who can help you see through the fog along with mentors, coaches and trainers. Even people like Tim Ferriss with his 4 Hour Work Week still need a team to help them accomplish that lifestyle and in fact could not do it without their team.

9. Lack of Resourcefulness

One of the necessities for life in general that most people miss is the need to be resourceful. You will never have everything you need or the ability to acquire it through financial means so you will need to be resourceful and figure out other ways to accomplish and acquire what you desire and need. For example most people will encounter challenges such as lack of finances to purchase what they need and give up  instead of finding other ways to get the financing or acquiring what they need through bartering, asking or other means. Resourcefulness is useful creativity, solutions and the ability to build relationships, see opportunities in challenges and realize solutions in obstacles.

10. Lack of Vision

In the Bible it states that where there is no vision the people will perish. Most of us are perishing because we lack vision for our own life so we get pulled into the vision of other people’s lives. Vision is beyond a goal it is beyond a destination it is a way for how things will be at some point, it’s the forging of possibility into reality. From there you set into place plans for how to achieve that Vision. Vision itself then becomes that North Start keeping you on course through the storms and challenges of life. Vision gives you purpose.

Please leave your comments below and your thoughts on these reasons for failure. Pass  this on to a friend and be sure to sign up to recieve great insights and updates.

A Letter To Michael Sam

“Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off. But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.”

– Amelia Earhart

Michael SamDear Michael Sam

I don’t know you personally but I hope this letter reaches you because I believe it’s the message you are meant to hear.

Sometimes in life we fail to see the great opportunities inherent in our struggles. I know football is what you love but have you ever considered that the struggle you face is not about the game of football but an overall greater purpose awaiting you in the game of life.

Michael here are the 5 steps to realizing your purpose and making a true difference.

  1. Turn your anger and frustration into a passion to make a difference

Michael you are a trailblazer and like others before you the path is laden with struggle and unforeseen circumstances outside of your control. How you handle those situations will determine if others choose to follow in your footsteps or stay regulated to the darkness of their fears. I know you are frustrated that your NFL dreams did not come to fruition the way you planned. Turn that emotion into a passion for paving the way for those to come. Jackie Robinson had to make tremendous sacrifices understanding that in his hands laid the fate of all those who would or “would not” come after him.

  1. Apologize for passively outing other pro athletes

I understand you may have felt abandoned by athletes who chose to stay quiet instead of showing outright support. These other athletes placed not only their trust but their livelihood in your hands and as frustrated as it was feeling that they were not there to stand when you needed them to- you as a leader were given the gift of their trust. You needed to appreciate that trust, to be the leader they could depend on and believe in. They needed to know that you truly had their best interest at heart even at a high cost to yourself.

If you had done this they would have given you a respect and trust that money simply cannot buy and in due time you would have been able to bring people together to do things they otherwise would not have. They may not have openly come out but they may have openly expressed support that could change the fate for those to come, and that my friend is a big win. Apologize profusely behind the scenes to them personally and issue a blanket apology publicly. Let everyone know you have seen the wrong of your ways and allowed your frustration to get the best of you. Promise those athletes individually and the young players you impacted that you will do everything your power to be worthy of the trust and respect that was given to you.

  1. Be the leader you needed

Remember a time when as a young man coming to grips with not only being gay but having to confront that reality as an athelete. Think about who you needed and who you became in order to help you through that. Many kids don’t have that person, that leader, that motivation to continue forward in the face of all the struggles they will face. Be the leader they need and you had or wish you had. Michael that person will change the world for the better.

  1. Publicly set the vision for the future

Publicly set the vision for the future as you would like to see it for gay athletes in sports. We all need a vision without it the scriptures say that the people will perish, not only the people but their hopes and dreams as well. Set a vision that will inspire and move others, gay and otherwise. In the end what you’re looking to achieve goes beyond sexual preference and gender, it is about a kid that has a dream and believes they matter and that they can be something in this life…who are we to take that away from them.

  1. Touch the People

Get to where people need you. Be a great voice and testament to the power of standing up for what you believe in. Your life serves a greater purpose Michael than just the game of football. Get out to the schools, the colleges, speak and be a liaison if not in the NFL then in College to help players and students on both sides of the issue. Help those athletes and students across college campuses who are gay and straight in how to deal with whatever issues you had to deal with. Michael what you can bring to the table for countless people is invaluable and you have a visible platform to do it from. You literally have the power to save lives.

Finish what you started, this is the biggest game you will ever play in and the purpose you choose to pursue will determine how you played the game. At the end of the day you can be a Hall of Famer on the greatest playing field ever…life.

 

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Angie Miller and Your Town

I must confess that this year was my first time ever voting for contestants on the American Idol television show. In fact I was voting for one contestant in particular, her name Angie Miller, a resident of my town Beverly Massachusetts. In thinking about Angie Miller and in-between writing my book, I cannot help but to think about the year  the town of Beverly has had over all. A year that includes a historic season and Super Bowl win for the football team the second in the last 3 years. It is a year that includes other strong performing academic and sports programs along with an American Idol contestant. I can’t help but think like Buffalo Springfield, “There’s something happening here.”

When I look around to this small town called Beverly Massachusetts I have to ask myself could this be America’s Town?  You can look on the bottom of any license plate and see Massachusetts touted as the Spirit of America. I think we can all agree that over the past few years or longer as a nation we have had to question that spirit. With the seeming disappearance of the American Dream we have a small town right here saying loudly and quite clear that we still believe. Our actions show not only do we believe but we are willing to put in the hard-work, dedication and perseverance necessary to reach for those dreams, so much so that a young lady can reach for the stars and take her shot on American Idol.

Yes, unexpectedly Angie Miller’s time was ended on American Idol and it was heartbreaking watching her tears streaming down, voice trembling trying to make it through her farewell song. Heartbreaking because like many of you I have recently experienced the same situation, where you do your best and fight so hard with every ounce of your heart and soul and but for some reason things seem not to fall in your favor. I felt her pain because it was my pain. But like Tom Hanks said in Castaway, tomorrow will come, the sun will rise and you never know what the tide will bring in. Angie has a dream, as do I, as do you. She continues forward as will I, as will you. The next day, Angie was on The Tonight Show and then Kelly and Michael, and off she goes, a star takes flight. Her spirit symbolizes Boston Strong, the spirit of a nation and the heartbeat of a small town.

Don’t get me wrong, Beverly is not perfect, we do not always win and we have a lot of internal issues to deal with. Despite these issues I can honestly say that we work as a community to support each other, do our best and win, lose or draw do so with dignity and respect. Yes there are other great towns, in fact I believe you may be living in one of them.

Angie Miller released her heart touching single she wrote, You Set Me Free almost the same time I released chapter 6 of my book, The Promised Land, we all have to start somewhere. I believe that the Spirit of America is alive and well here in Massachusetts and perhaps the small towns like Beverly across the country who represent the heartbeat of a spirit that manages time and time again to rise to the challenge. I may not know you but I am sure you like Angie Miller are a hero because through all the challenges you mange to get back up and come back that much stronger.

Keep dreaming, keep believing, together we have it in us to inspire a nation!

Buy The Promised Land Chapter 6 Now

The Promised Land

To Those Who Attacked Us (On the Boston Marathon)

Et lux in tenebris lucet… and the light shineth in the darkness

Congratulations. In the supposed words of Isoroku Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with terrible resolve.” Maybe you believe that we the people of Massachusetts especially the town of Boston, the birthplace of the spirit of America would allow your attacks to weaken our resolve. Perhaps you believe that America truly has softened and to strike at its core, its very spirit would render irreparable damage as we the people helplessly surrender to fear.

For all we know you may plan for this to be the beginning of more attacks that will weaken and whittle the resources of our nation. If so you have to the highest degree misunderstood who we are and what we as proud citizens of this nation continue to stand for. Boston Massachusetts is the original ”shinning city upon a hill,” the birthplace of a nation and the enduring spirit of freedom. As Ronald Reagan said, “Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind.”  That placing of destinies started right here on the very soil we traverse everyday in the city of Boston Massachusetts.

You struck first but we will strike last and more enduring not with hate, not with violence but with determination, with love and with purpose to secure the very soul of humanity. We will not be like you, we will be better than you, more than your misguided anger, hatred and cowardice. We the people of Massachusetts and this nation will stand as heroes united. You have not broken us, you have not angered us you have awoken us from our slumber and we are not afraid. We are here to set right what has been for far too long now wrong. A new spirit is rising.

America’s resolve is our greatest resource and you have replenished it on Patriots Day with the blood of true patriots. We will honor those who have fallen. Their marathon will not be forgotten. This shining light, this beacon atop a hill will usher in a new direction for humanity where we are guided by purpose. We stand here today upon a new Promised Land.

God Bless and together we will stand. Through the light within us we will transform the world.