“ Look around, baby, you're the miracle! That's right, you! One hundred percent, bonafide, grade A miracle."
Do you remember the day that you realized you were alive? This is a question that Eckhart Tolle asked Oprah, and she was stumped. "No, I don't remember." She stuttered and then laughed. Whenever I run across this video, it makes me smile because I know something Oprah doesn't!
I realized I was alive one morning while driving to my job at a Big Four Accounting firm. Instead of excitement coursing through my veins, this feeling of dread washed over me. I had only been on the job a few months before this sense of panic began to race through my body: is this what my life is supposed to be like for the next 30 years? My car swerved as the reality settled in. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this wasn’t how my life was supposed to go. But up until that point, I never "thought" about my life. I got good grades in school because it was expected of me. I went to college and graduated because not going wasn't an option. Throughout my life, I listened to my parents and did the “right” things. Not once did I question if the “right things” were right for me.
For a long time, I felt ashamed that it took twenty-three years for me to take control of my life. But then I read Becoming by Michelle Obama. In the book, Michelle spoke about how she went to an Ivy League school and had an amazing high-paying job but still felt empty inside. I felt seen when she admitted that she took the ultimate “road to success” but felt like a fraud. See, for most blacks, we don’t have the luxury of “finding’ ourselves or chasing our passion. This is, of course, due to the residue of slavery and Jim Crowe. All of those years being forced to do what we didn’t want to do got baked into our DNA.
For decades we have been conditioned to settle, be safe, and not make any waves. Our parent's natural instinct is survival and primal. It's about protecting at all costs, even if it means dimming your child’s light. Reading Michelle’s journey from Chicago to the White House made me feel as though my hopes and dreams were possible. After that moment in the car- after the panic- I thought about what I really would love to do and what would make me happy. Once I decided in my mind that no matter what I had to do, I would see it through. God gave me the outline for my book, and I've been on the journey ever since. But it only came because I was willing to take action. No matter how crazy it looked to others. You have to remember: God doesn’t operate in “common” sense.
That moment of panic when you think, "this can't be life,"- that is truly a spark from your soul. So often, we think of "leaps of faith" as these big dramatic moves: quitting your job or moving across the country. But true faith happens in the daily, mundane baby steps. See, after that day in the car, while it was terrifying, it was also the first time that I was curious about life. It was the kick in the ass I needed to get serious about living. We live in an age where people are being paid millions of dollars to play with toys. (TOYS!) And yet there are people in their 30s saying things like: I’m too old to follow my dreams, or I don’t have a degree for that.
When I was younger, I loved school. I loved learning and, of course, the social setting. But school was never hard for me. I could half pay attention in class and still aced a test. So I never had a chance to truly applied myself. At thirty-two years old, I am just now starting to see my own potential. I have been amazed at the skill set I've developed and the work I’ve created over the years. As well as the businesses that I am creating for future generations. At the beginning of this year, I asked myself one question: what would happen to my life if I really applied myself?
What if I put 100% effort into myself, my hopes, and my dreams? Who would I become? The answer is simple- I would become would I was meant to be. One day, I listened to Unbothered with Jurnee Smollett, and she spoke about her trip to Africa. She got to sit at Nelson Mandela's feet and look at his freckles. She said it hit her that he was human, a living and breathing being. Not this supreme being. But flesh and blood like you and me. Jurnee then said something that stuck with me: “It's so easy to put people like him, Martin, and Malcolm on a pedestal. Because we don't want to accept that we have that same potential inside of us."
In my Law of Attraction deck, there is a card that says: I Can Earn Money Doing What I Love To Do: There is no better way to earn money than to do the things you love to do. Money can flow into your experience through endless avenues. It is not the choice of the craft that limits that money that flows- but only your attitude toward money. We praise the Kanye’s- the Issa Rae’s- the Shonda Rhimes after the fact. But the truth is they had to go down that path first to show us that it’s possible. And don’t even get started on The Combat Jack Show and The Read. We have a whole new industry and wave thanks to them making it look so easy.
But it first took for Reggie Osse to see how podcasting could help our culture. Now we are all reaping the benefits of his courage and vision. It’s hard to push yourself to become something you haven’t seen. To not have family, friends, or anyone rooting for you- and telling you it will be ok. People talk about "haters," but you know what is worst: having no one giving a fuck at all! Only having you to fuel you. But it is possible. The only thing that keeps me going some days is this force that is greater than me pushing, guiding, and comforting me in my time of need. Telling me that it will be ok and to just give it a little more time.
I often look at the lack of growth and doubt my path. Then I will write an article or watch a video and feel something shift in me. A sense of knowing washing over me, letting me know that this is what I'm supposed to do. Now I look at Baby Am, “twenty-three-year-old” me, and I am proud. Because we survived when everything and everyone tried to get us to stop. We fought to do it our way. Many people don't start a dream or go back to school because they think about the "time" it will take. But the truth of the matter is that time is going to pass anyway. So you may as well spend it working towards the things you want.
When we were younger and in school, we didn't complain about the progression of our education. Yet when it comes to our dreams and goals, we are unwilling to do what it takes. But that can no longer be me. I have held myself back for my family and love. But now, no more shrinking, second-guessing, or doubting. See, this world would have us to believe that becoming a billionaire is evil. If you have a lot, then someone else will automatically have a little, but the truth is that the universe is abundant.
God is endless. My soul knew what was best for me. Baby Am kept the dreams when Teenage Am couldn't see. As I'm writing this, I am tearing up because no matter how dark my life got, Baby Am still had hope that the impossible could be made possible. So what about you: Have you tapped into your full potential? Would Baby You be proud of you?
No matter the answer, know that you’re not your childhood self anymore. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go back to save and nurture her. You have the power to take control of life. You just have to remember who you really are- a spiritual being who chose to come to this earth to fuck it up respectfully.
You have to know that your ancestors, angels, and God are all on your side- leading, protecting, and guiding your way. You are more than safe this time around!
Do you feel like you're doing what you came here to do?
What did you spend your time doing as a child?
Are you still doing it? Why or Why?