Success and failure are both determined by the will of the individual that is chasing their dream. How bad do you want to succeed? This is the question that I pose to my audience today. The reality is that you can have your hearts desire if you are willing to go after it with everything within you. The amount of effort that you are willing to put towards your goals will determine whether you achieve them or not. I would like to focus on three qualities that are required to become the winner that you aspire to be. Those three qualities are motivation, dedication, and resilience. So let’s look at these three qualities through the lives of three people that personify each quality.
While on vacation in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of meeting an Uber driver by the name of Nolan. Nolan helped me with much more than a ride to my hotel. Nolan shared that he was from Brazil and had been in California for two months. He said that his daughter moved to America twenty-two years ago and had been begging him to come as well. After more that two decades of asking, Nolan decided to make the move. Nolan speaks very little English which makes it difficult to gain stable employment. Nolan could have very easily made this a reason to not put forth an effort, but instead, he decided to become an Uber driver to provide for himself. Nolan shared with me that he must make at least three hundred dollars each before he will stop. He has made his quota in as little as two hours but it normally takes between eight and thirteen hours. Nolan personifies the spirit of a motivated individual. I was reminded of the number of people that I know that will just ask someone to borrow the money instead of going out and doing whatever it takes to get the money themselves. I commended Nolan for his spirit and motivation to go after the life that he wants to live.
When it comes to dedication, I must toot my own horn. This week, I finally achieved a goal that I set for myself over twenty-four years ago. In August of 1995, I entered Troy University as a college freshman and attended for one year. While on summer break, my life took a detour that took me off my path of graduating from Troy. The following fall semester I did not return to college and my life was transformed. During the twenty-four year gap, I got married, got divorced, had two kids, purchased a few homes, and had a few jobs. After my kids were born, I had to provide for them and suddenly college was no longer my top priority. Fast-forward to 2019 and several life lessons later, I found myself sitting alongside five hundred fellow graduates to receive my college degree. At age forty-two, my kids are grown and it would have been easy for me to not pursue my degree, however, I felt inspired to finish what I started so that my sons would know the importance of dedication and commitment to your goals. When my name was called to come forward and receive my diploma, the moment felt surreal. All of my life moments flashed before me and all I could do was thank God for the journey. I realized that I took the scenic route to get to my destination but that was God’s plan. There is more than one route to achieving your goals, but the only option is to finish strong no matter what obstacles come your way!
The last quality of resilience is personified by a man that I watched for years from my childhood and still today. His name is Montel Williams. Montel’s career consisted of serving his country in the US Navy. He later gained worldwide notariety as a result of his successful talk show that was self-titled “The Montel Williams Show”. I looked up to Montel because he was one of few black men on tv that represented a positive example for people that looked like me. He was always well dressed and groomed. He spoke exceptionally well and was also well received by a diverse demographic. Montel was a “man’s man” and whether he knows it or not, young black men, namely myself, looked at him for years as an example of the standard that we should aspire to live up to. Today, I watched Montel as a guest on Dr. Oz and he discussed his recent health issues that required him to learn how to walk again along with redeveloping other motor skills. Montel states that he had a stroke and during the stroke, he remembered watching an episode of Dr. Oz that focused on strokes. Montel states that he remembered Oz instructing victims that are suffering a stroke to resist the urge to lie down. A stroke victim feels like lying down in order to rest and recover. Dr. Oz said that it is important to stay up and ask for medical help. Remembering this episode and the instructions was a huge key for Montel in surviving the stroke. After suffering a life event of this magnitude, Montel could have given up on life and adopted a victim mentality, but his will to overcome would not allow him to do so. He is an living legend to me and is an example of what we should all aspire to be as it relates to being an overcomer. Thank you for the many years of service to our country in the world’s greatest Navy and for your contributions to society. You were demonstrating Black Excellence long before it became a slogan on BET.
In closing, motivation, determination, and resilience can be seen in everyday Uber drivers, college grads, and celebrity role models. Regardless of the vessel that is used to relay the message, get some of these key ingredients in your life and continue to run towards your goals and dreams.