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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How to be the Next Oprah and Unlock Your Dreams in 7 Simple Steps

Everyone wants to be like Oprah, rich, important and living their dreams but not everyone knows how to achieve it. Well it is not rocket science and below I show you the 7 simple steps you can use to be the Next Oprah, the person of importance that makes their dreams come true. At one point in her life Oprah was just like you, someone with the potential to make a difference and live the life of their dreams. You can do the same and here is how.

1.    Be Genuine 

This goes without saying or does it. At some point in time even Oprah like the rest of us hid behind a make believe veil of perfection. Oprah repeatedly talks about how she tried to be like Barbara Walters but that did not work for her. Instead she had to discover how to be Oprah Winfrey and trust that would be good enough and boy has it been. Be genuine in everything you do.

2.    Be Unique

You are already unique. Yes you. God has given us all a promise; which is the unique gifts and talents we are born with. Oprah used her ability to speak and connect as the platform from which she realized her dreams and you can do the same. What gifts and talents do you have to offer?

3.    Practice Connection over Controversy

Before Oprah most talk show hosts used controversial topics to captivate and hook the audience. Even Oprah admitted using controversy at first as she competed against the long time favorite Phil Donahue. Oprah realized connecting with the audience was more powerful and rewarding than using controversial topics. In a way Oprah being herself and sharing her own life experiences and pitfalls to connect with the audience was controversial. For instance Remember the weight loss chronicles and Oprah towing the huge bag of fat. As crazy as it seemed we all could connect with her weight loss odyssey. She experienced and expressed how many of us felt while giving us the right to feel okay about not being perfect.

4.    Be Honest and Open

Oprah has shared many parts of her life with us, from her weight odyssey to her court battles, love life and accomplishments. She has shed tears with us and let us in on how it feels to be a person dealing with the challenges of everyday life. I think as people we are always interested in what other people in our situation might think or feel. Oprah let us in on the secret that is her life and we thanked her for it.

5.   Relate to People

Seek to understand where people are coming from, what they go through, how they think and feel. It gives you greater insight into the human emotion allowing you to form a bond that can last a lifetime.

6.     Start Believing

Belief is an active practice it means taking action with the knowing that somehow things will work in your favor. Oprah started her OWN station believing that she could make it work. Much of Oprah’s life and success is based on belief.

7.    Change/Challenge/Growth

Change is a natural and necessary part of life. Change is about becoming through overcoming. Change usually comes through the Challenges we encounter that present us with opportunities to grow and become the person capable of achieving what we desire. Oprah has embraced and even mastered this process and it is crucial that you do as well. If you want to be the next Oprah and unlock your dreams take this simple step first.

Below I have chapter 6 of my book The Promised Land that will show you how to embrace change so you can utilize the challenges and grow into the person who will achieve your desired dreams.

Are you the next Oprah Winfrey?

By Dominic Copeland

By Dominic Copeland

True Power, What it is and How You Can Get Some

My wife a while back visited a family member and had an interesting story to tell me when she returned. This family member lived in Philadelphia just a few blocks away from Temple University. Her neighbor was sick and unable to fully care of himself. The entire neighborhood got together and decided they would each take turns making the neighbor meals. They would not only make meals for the neighbor they would take them over, spend some time with him and make sure he was well-kept after and in good spirits. So they came up with a schedule and one by one three days times per day and seven days per week they took turns looking after their neighbor.

How remarkable is this, an entire neighborhood of twenty or more people banding together for the best interests of one. They all seemed to understand that one day it could very well be them in need of a good neighbor or two. For them their neighbor did not represent just one person; in essence he represented all of them. Through their giving and caring they set a character for their neighborhood-one where its members were a self-reliant coalition-truly a neighborhood and a community. They did not turn to the government or any public assistance; they turned to each other. You see power is within the people, it is within you and me. These united neighbors used the power of kindness and care to make a difference.

True power is not in what we take but in what we give, in what build, in the difference that we make in ourselves, others and the world around us. Imagine the cost in paying twenty people to care for you, to cook for you and actually come to spend their hard earned free time with you. These people are not receiving a paycheck, the currency being exchanged here is kindness and they willingly give it. They understand that the kindness they give would come back to them many times over but most importantly they did it because morally for them it simply was the right thing to do. You cannot pay someone to actually care, to extend warmth, kindness, patience and joy to you. Simply put you cannot buy this type of care the costs are astronomical monetarily speaking, but easily affordable through a few acts of kindness

In our world today we mistakenly believe that true power is in money and how much you have. True power is within us through the difference we make within ourselves, others and the world around us. This difference is based on the currencies that we use. Money is a means of exchange and what others call a grand amplifier. It allows us to exchange for some of the things we desire and it amplifies in part who we are through what we do with it. But currencies are what we must use to pay our way through life. Money has no soul, no character and no heart we cannot use it in place of currencies like kindness and care.

Currencies like kindness, care, dedication, passion, persistence, work ethic, volunteering, appreciation, time can and will pay your way through life. They may be what you use to acquire money and money will allow you to amplify your efforts when it comes to these currencies. With money you can show more care because you can give more time to what matters most to you. However if you skip using these currencies and use money in their place that is when we see the world as it is today, lacking humanity.

I will end with this. Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player of all time gave quite a memorable Hall of Fame inductee speak a few years back. He said to the owner of the bulls, Jerry it wasn’t the organization that was out there with the flu half dead helping the team to win it was me making that sacrifice. Michael Jordan felt the owner of the Bulls always believed the organization meant more than the efforts of one person. He did not realize that Michael Jordan was not in it just for the money, it did not push him to be the best to overcome at times immeasurable obstacles when he scarified his personal life and health to be a champion. After all those years beyond all the millions of dollars spent, Jordan just wanted the owner to appreciate the sacrifices he personally took it upon himself to make in order to lead the team to victory.

Can you see how powerful it would be just to show someone that you appreciate them?

Why the Hell is Life So Tough

I can remember late at night staring up at the ceiling. I was wondering to myself how did my life get to where it is and why the hell is life so tough. I was working for a company that was in the process of going under after just leaving another company that was in the process of going under. The former company attempted to sue me and after paying costly lawyer fees to protect myself here I was. I felt lost but found all at the same time because I knew I was right where I am supposed to be. You see my situation was not only something that I created but something that was created for me.

Often the trials and tribulations the “hell” that we go through in life is to prepare us for something greater a “heaven on earth” or Promised Land. I believe my current situation was happening because I was settling and God could not allow me to settle for anything less than my true purpose in life. Through the hell that I was going through I was being given the opportunity to grow and become the person necessary to achieve what was meant for me.  God was pushing me to be more.  I know and I believe that my purpose here on earth is to lead humanity into the Promised Land, where we live in purpose and meaning through making a difference in ourselves others and the world around us.

We have all been there you have I have. Staring at some ceiling wondering how our lives became such a mess and why the hell is life so tough. You are a good person, you give, you work hard, why does this keep happening to you? Have you ever wondered what is beyond the mess and what would happen if you did something different, if instead of running from the situation you ran to it?  What would happen if in your life you pursued purpose and meaning allowing the “hell” to be your stepping stones to growth and success. God has more in store for you, your life has a meaning, you serve a greater purpose and there is a Promised Land set aside for you. You just have to realize it first. And we realize the Promised Land through 7 basic but essential principles:

  1. Moral Integrity, the foundation of humanity
  2. Character, who we are and what we are about
  3. Belief, the starting point of achievement
  4. Self-Empowerment, truly educating yourself
  5. Change/Challenge/Growth, critical keys for changing our life.
  6. Purpose and Meaning, what we do and why we do it
  7. Vision, the fundamental aspect to creating a fulfilling life.

These principles will allow you to not only change your life but to realize true purpose and meaning.  They will allow you to truly be significant in the world. Our world is changing, the economy is faltering, business is in a tailspin, education is losing its’ prior benefits and morally we are losing the most humane aspects of ourselves. What worked for us before is not working for us now and life is getting a whole hell of a lot harder. It’s time for a change, it’s time for meaning, it’s time for purpose it’s time for us to achieve God’s promise. It’s time for us to climb that long awaited mountaintop and achieve the Promised Land.

Purpose and Meaning…How to Enjoy it in Your Life

I believe there is a Land that has been Promised to us from God and we have yet to reach that land.

We all remember the scene. Charleston Heston dressed as Moses, his staff pointed to the heavens, the Red Sea parted before him as he was leading his people to the Promised Land. Here is where it gets interesting. Before the Promised Land they arrive at the desert where Moses goes alone to the mountaintop where he receives God’s next directive. Now God could have given Moses direct coordinates or GPS like directions to exactly where the Promised Land was but instead he gives him these Commandments.

Commandments, spiritual laws of how we as humanity should morally govern ourselves. Out of all of the things God could have given Moses ends up with directions on how to grow humanity. Maybe those Commandments were God’s way of revealing to us the true nature of the Promised Land. It is not a physical location or destination but a moral and spiritual one. You see the land that God has promised is waiting within us. The only way for us to realize our true potential is through our own moral and spiritual growth and development. Through this inner growth we are able to realize Purpose and meaning in our lives. I believe there is a Land that has been Promised to us from God and we have yet to reach that land.

Through The Promised Land, through the spiritual and moral development of ourselves we will realize purpose and meaning. I feel today more than ever we have the opportunity to realize God’s Promise. Look at the rise of the Self Development movement and personal growth initiatives. These movements derive their message from a belief in the development of humanity. They carry the message that through growing ourselves and using our gifts we can fulfill a purpose that uplifts us.  Humanity itself, the very fabric of our morality is on the brink of either a great crisis or an even greater victory.

I believe the violence, the lack of morality, the loss of significance that many of us face is our greatest opportunity to realize God’s Promise for us. Out of the darkness of despair can come the wakening of a spirit and the enlightenment of humanity. Together in the spirit of purpose and meaning we will light the way for the evolution of man. Tomorrow begins today it starts now.

I challenge all of you to think not about getting rich but how you can use your gifts and talents to fulfill a purpose that uplifts humanity. When you can achieve this you have the beginnings of true wealth. When you can use your gifts for the upliftment of society you are the manifestation of God’s dream and you have realized The Land of Promise.