Why Wait? The holidays are right around the corner and with that comes late nights, celebrations, amazing food and beverages and all of a sudden every spare minute you have has just gone out… More
“Don’t join an easy crowd; you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.” –
Provide massive help. Even the biggest and most powerful people in the world have something they’d like help with. Too many people never reach out to those above them due to the fear that they wouldn’t be able to offer anything in return. But you have more to offer than you realize: write an article or blog post about them, share their project with your community, offer to spread their message through a video interview with them. Give real thought to who you could connect them with to benefit their goals. If it turns out you can’t be that helpful, the gesture alone will stand out.
Just be a man, man up, men are supposed to, let a man do it, find a good man. We all have heard these phrases used to challenge, encourage, or in some cases to antagonize a Man. Just be a man? I would even argue that it has become stereotypical to say “be a man”. I recall the day my 3 brothers and I were ridiculed by our dad. It was summer (school was out) the 3 tiered wooden steps that were connected to the front door of the house were loose, as were the railings. I believe at the time my youngest brother was 8 and my oldest brother 15. My father came home and was mad that we hadn’t fixed the steps. Our thought was, fix it with what, but neither of us said anything. He cursed and ranted while searching for a hammer and nails and lobbed the following; “you are a bunch of girls, not one man in the bunch”. Wow! Back in the day, I guess that was considered, being a man. I believe that behaviors are learned. That was a hell of a lesson.
As young men mature they pick up on a wide range of behaviors typically from the men they spend most of their time with or with those they have chosen to emulate. Some young men pick grandpa, a favorite uncle, cousin, perhaps their brother, a teacher, their buddy’s dad, the pastor, etc. Others are just who they are because of heredity. So you know what you get? Nothing different,someone that essentially has taken on another man’s traits. Men are not complicated we are incarnations of a previous man. The only thing that separates one from another are their fingerprints. Once a boy develops into a man, whether it was a learned or inherited behavior, he now takes on another aspect of life called, a relationship with the opposite sex. This is quite possibly the area of much angst for men and women.
Women are often overheard saying, “I just want to find a good man.” Someone like their dad, someone like their grandpa, hell someone like their sister’s husband (LOL), their friend’s husband, just a good man. Some men lack in romance, but are great with kids. (Good man?) Some men will romance the hell out of a lady, but don’t want to listen to anything she has to say.(Bad man?) Some men will work hard and bring home all the bacon and sit on the couch until it is time to head out and do it again. (Good man?) How about the guy that starts a relationship, tells a woman he loves her and then realizes that he has some things about himself that he needs to work on? (Bad man?) How about the man that marries a woman and stops doing all the things that he did for her to fall in love with him? (Bad man?) How about the guy that takes you on dates and hangs out with you but doesn’t want a commitment? (Bad guy?) There are truly some bad men in the world; the abusers, the pedophiles, the dead beat dads, and the users (take what you have but give nothing). It goes without saying, those are the guys to stay away from. However, the other guys aren’t bad, they are simply being a man.
Just be a man, is a stereotypical phrase that means absolutely nothing, because everyone’s definition of being a man is different. Even men have differing opinions of what it means to be a man. My dad at the time felt being a man was fixing something when it is broken. My definition at the time was being able to teach your boys how to fix something when it is broken.
It is not hard to be a man, it is hard being the man that one may think you should be.
Just be a man!
Human trafficking fuels the growth of organized crime, undermining health, safety, security, and the basic needs of humanity. It is the fastest growing crime in the world.
A21 EXISTS TO ABOLISH INJUSTICE IN THE 21ST CENTURY.
We are a non-profit organization who believes that we can end human trafficking together.
Would you like to get involved?
Grab your stationery and pull out a pen! The simple act of writing to a survivor in one of our homes is an incredible encouragement to survivors along their journey. But don’t be surprised if it has a great impact on you too.
We would love for you to write a letter or card to the girls in our shelter. Address your letter along the lines of “Dear Beautiful” or “Lovely,” and write an encouraging note that places value and worth upon the girls.
In the contents of your letter, be sure to refrain from stating your own beliefs or talking too much about your job or lifestyle, as these girls have all come from differing backgrounds and deserve to be respected and not made to feel bad about their situations. Obviously, they have been through a lot, and we ask that in your letters you do not claim to understand their situations or try to relate to what they have been through.
Please end your letter by signing with your first name only, and do not include any personal details. These letters are for the purpose of encouragement and support.
These letters can be mailed to:
California (Head Office)
The A21 Campaign
427 E. 17th Street #F223
Costa Mesa, CA 92627 USA
“However long the night, the dawn will break.” ~African Proverb
Were there times in your life where it felt anything that could go wrong went wrong? That was me five years ago.
In a span of nine months, my marriage to a partner of eight years broke down, I lost four family members to unexpected deaths, and I suddenly found myself hurtled from living the dream life to being jobless, penniless, and homeless.
To say life knocked the wind out of me would be an understatement.
Each time I picked myself up, another blow would send me sprawling toward a sense of utter defeat. It was as if a tornado swept through my entire being and left me empty and devoid of hope, strength, and any ounce of self-belief.
Shell-shocked, I spent that whole year crying. I would wake up crying in the mornings, run to cry in public toilets during the day, and end my days crying myself to sleep. It was a dark period of my life where everything was one blurry haze of tears.
As those days of hopelessness stretched on, the only thing I could focus on was taking baby steps every day to build a new life and a new future.
It was an arduous journey where I was often taking one step forward and two steps backward. Many times I felt like I would never see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I struggled to find the strength to inch forward.
Five years on, I finally came out the other side. My new life and the new me are still under construction, but I now have in me a spring of strength to propel me forward, regardless of setbacks or how grim the situation seems.
This newfound capacity did not develop overnight. It grew gradually as I practiced and incorporated into my life the valuable insights below.
If you’re going through difficult times now, the following four reminders may help you be more resilient.
Remember that life always changes, things can get better
When troubles strike, it can feel like things will only get worse, but that is the pessimist in us talking. If we keep the faith and respond to the situation with positive and constructive actions, we can break out of the cycle and things can get better.
Sometimes all we need to do is to simply let time pass and to resist the temptation to overreact and aggravate the problem. During times like these, I would distract myself by actively engaging in other areas of my life.
Recall how you overcame similar struggles in the past
When plodding through a challenging time, it’s natural to be gripped by fear, self-doubt, and pessimistic thoughts that we won’t be able to surmount the obstacles. We forget that it always feels impossible until it’s done, and that we have overcome similar struggles in the past.
A simple but extremely effective thing I did was to list down the occasions in my life where I busted through hurdles and rose above the seemingly insurmountable difficulties. As I penned out the victories, I found renewed faith in myself and in the unknown future, which may well bring the good instead of the bad like I feared.
Remember that things aren’t as bad as they seem
Zoom out on the issue and focus on the grand scheme of things. More often than not, the raging fires in our lives hijack our attention and we fail to see the big picture. It’s rarely the case that every aspect of our lives went awry at the same time, and it’s critical to keep the right perspective when the going gets tough.
We need to remember that our problems are merely a subset of everything that’s going on in our lives and not let the worries, fear, and anxiety overtake our minds. Even if every area of our lives—namely health, relationship, work, money, and passion—went haywire, the fact that we’re alive means there’s hope for things to turn around.
Remember that there are still things to appreciate
Do not let the darkness blind you from seeing the stars. It’s human nature to get caught up with the things that are not working out in our lives and forget the good bits. I’m a big believer of a grateful heart being a magnet for abundance and miracles.
No matter how terrible life may seem at any single point, there are always good things if we keep our eyes peeled for them.
Thanks to the challenges, I came to see who my true friends were and I also learned to appreciate many of the blessings I had taken for granted. I might have lost a life partner, loved ones, money, and employment, but these setbacks are transient.
I would always have my degree, knowledge, skills, professional experience and network, and people who care deeply for me to fall back on and to get me back on my feet.
As I grew stronger in handling life’s curveballs, I was grateful that I had developed this invaluable life skill at a young age so I can have the rest of my life to benefit from it. While maintaining a thankful heart, I realized that even in dark times there are stars we can gaze upon if we view our plight through the right lens.
Which areas of your life are you struggling with right now? How do you cope and stay resilient?
Simple question/Complex answer: “What Does It Mean To Be Equally Yoked?” Equally yoked is a biblical phrase referred to in the Christian community that is oftentimes used to justify a decision made about a relationship or marriage. I have heard people say that they were not equally yoked with someone because of a different upbringing, decision making process, beliefs, finances, education, location and even appearance. That stuff has nothing to do with being equally yoked! What’s funny is that the phrase “unequally yoked” does not specifically refer to marriage. Actually, the phrase “equally yoked” is not even in the bible. II Corinthians 6:14 (KJV) says, “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers. . .” It doesn’t say relationships, it doesn’t say marriage but its implication is that of any relationship with another person. A relationship with another person could be a marriage. I want to answer the question at hand in a manner which provides couples with the information necessary to determine their “Yoke Status.” To get to that answer, the first thing we have to do is discuss what has absolutely nothing to do with being equally yoked.
If two people go to church together that does not mean that they are equally yoked. If two people don’t go to church together that does not mean that they are unequally yoked. If one person goes to one church and the other person goes to another church, can they still be equally yoked? Well, maybe. If one person goes to church and the other person does not go to church can they still be equally yoked? Well, maybe. Both people have to be Christians. Being equally yoked does not apply to unbelievers. Unbelievers don’t have a yoke. Reading the bible together does not make you equally yoked but we are getting warmer! Being in love does not mean that you are equally yoked. Being married does not mean that you are equally yoked. Having a great friendship does not mean that you are equally yoked. Having things in common does not mean that you are equally yoked. If you are not equally yoked can you still get married? Yes . . . if you take II Corinthians 6:14 out of the bible. If you determine while married that you are not equally yoked can you get a divorce? No. I will explain why later. If you are equally yoked with someone, do you always stay “in yoke” with them? Maybe, maybe not. Can you not be in love with someone and still be equally yoked to them? Yes. Can you be equally yoked to two people at the same time? Yes. I will explain later. . . on second thought I better explain that one right now.
Being equally yoked initially doesn’t have anything to do with your love for another person or your relationship or marriage to another person. The first thing you have to do is be a believer in God’s word. Two people who are believers that are in a relationship or marriage ARE equally yoked. Don’t celebrate just yet! Being equally yoked does not guarantee any sort of successfulness for your relationship or marriage. Confirming that two people are equally yoked is what we should do at the beginning of a relationship. Confusion sets in when we are trying to figure out what it means to be equally yoked. In my humble opinion, being equally yoked is about two believers sharing a spiritual connection with God. For example one person can go to church and another person may not be attending church and they could still be equally yoked if they are believers who share a spiritual connection with God. (The person that does not go to church needs to be in fellowship with other Christians at some capacity on a regular basis.) I am a relationship expert but I can’t tell you if you are equally yoked to another person because I don’t know how you know God. I don’t know how your partner knows God. I definitely can’t tell you anything about the spiritual connection to God that you share with your partner either. Two couples could have two different levels of spiritual connection with God. Couple A could be on “Spiritual Connection Level 8” together and be equally yoked. Couple B could be on “Spiritual Connection Level 4” together and be equally yoked. Let’s say that we have an individual on “Spiritual Connection Level 7” who wants to marry an individual on “Spiritual Connection Level 5.” Should they get married? It depends. They will need to agree on what level they both can share a spiritual connection for God. Maybe they can meet on level 6. I know what you are wondering! “Is this spiritual connection stuff in the bible?” The answer is NO but the problem is that if I said yes, too many people would believe me. That is actually kind of funny. I cannot define for you what “Spiritual Connection Level” you are on because . . . well, I made it up. If you didn’t know that I made it up you need to get that anointed oil in your life.
Here is an example of two people meeting on the same spiritual connection level. One of my friends goes to church all the time. I mean, she is in church all the time!!! She recognizes that the man that she may marry may not want to be in church all the time. She said that as long as he attends church regularly and that he is a praying man then that’s enough for her. She is figuring out what the lowest level of spiritual connection a man must have with God in order for her to be in a relationship with that man.
I have traveled the country talking to Christians and unbelievers about relationships and marriage. I have disappointing news about my travels. Marriage is just as difficult for Christians as it is for unbelievers – How is this possible? I get the same relationship questions from people who hear me being interviewed on HOT 97 in New York as I get from the people who hear me on gospel radio in Chicago. I get the same relationship questions from people I talk to at one of my book signings at a night club in Atlanta as I do at singles ministry at a church in Dallas. Again, I ask, how is it possible for marriage to be just as difficult for Christians as it is for unbelievers? Christians have simple instructions and/or examples to follow that will afford them a foundation from which to build upon to have a successful marriage. God says that marriage is a mystery but the bible does give us the direction necessary to build the foundation needed to place our marriage on. Let’s a review a few of these directions:
He took Adam’s rib and made woman.
– A wife is a gift from God. Man, she was created from you for you.
Wives submit to your husbands.
–He submits to God, you submit to him. God left Adam in charge, woman!!!
Man leaves his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife.
– I will never understand why more men do not take the title of “Husband” more personally. There is no greater title for a man to have. Not president, not rapper, not actor, not football player, not doctor, not attorney, etc.
Wives respect your husbands.
– Every day I talk to more and more women who intentionally disrespect their husbands. I hereby cancel the “Women’s Independence Movement.” Women, instead of saying, “I am an Independent Woman,” start saying that, “I want a Dependable Man.” (I know, I know, that’s a whole nutha article that I already wrote. Look it up.)
He who finds a wife, finds a good thing. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
– Too many men don’t understand the value of a good woman. President Obama is Presidential with or without Michelle but I promise you that he would not be the President without her. Shoot I need my wife too! Hey Boo!
The serpent said to the woman, “Go ahead on and eat the fruit.”
– The serpent has many forms. Could be Momma, could be Sister, the serpent could be your best friend that wants your husband.
I could go on, but then I would have to take up a collection.
Christians are either not following these directions or they are following the directions of the unbelievers. Unbelievers have no guide, instruction or direction to follow in terms of how to be successful at marriage. Two Christians that are married should never get a divorce because we should be constantly and consistently trying to grow closer to God. If the husband and wife are both trying to grow closer to God, then the only place that they can meet at is at God. LOOK AT GOD! Christians should know love because we know God’s love. Unbelievers only have the capacity to love themselves, that’s why their marriages are failing. Christians know of compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice and compromise. These characteristics/traits are necessary to be successful at marriage. Unbelievers don’t know nuttin bout dat stuff. Christians got direction from God and the bible and they have all of these cool characteristics and traits that help build the amazing foundation of which the institution of marriage will reside upon. So why is marriage just as difficult for Christians as it is for unbelievers? I submit to you that the answer to that question is that our leadership has not taken a harder stance against divorce. Yes, divorce is in the bible but God hates divorce. We got Pastors, Deacons, Ministers and Bishops getting divorces every day. I am not saying that people should stay together and be unhappy. I am saying that people hate their jobs and they figure out how to get up and go to work every day. Quitting a job because you are disenchanted with it is not an option for most people and God don’t even care about your job. I believe two things about marriage that I need you to tell a friend to tell a friend about.
1. Marriage Is For Everyone – You are to be Married, Celibate or Fireproof.
2. Divorce Cannot Be An Option – The institution of marriage is perfect. God created it. Man-up or Woman-up and figure out what is wrong with YOU! Get prayed up and fix your marriage! Again, I am not saying to stay and be unhappy in marriage. I am saying to focus all your energy on figuring out how to have a happy, successful marriage.
At the age of 25 I got a divorce. You know what I learned about that divorce? I learned that I was not man enough to stay in the marriage. I learned that some of the problems that I have had in my current marriage are some of the same problems that I had in my first marriage. I learned that a lot of marriages have the exact same problems. Luckily I am not the same man that I was 10 years ago. The grass is greener in my current marriage, but it is not magically greener. In this marriage I plant seeds, water the lawn and keep that edge up RIGHT!
(Oooooh Weeeee this is going to be a good speech! I can’t wait!)
Steven James Dixon
“if people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made; if they don’t relaize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to GO.
Interviewing Techniques and Tips
Putting Your Best Self Forward and Getting the Job
Interviewing for a job can be nerve-wracking. You may feel uncomfortable “selling” yourself or fielding unexpected questions. Or the prospect of having to meet and impress new people may be enough to trigger anxiety. However, interviewing is a skill you can learn. With the right tips and techniques, you can become a master at sharing your value with potential employers, presenting yourself effectively at interviews, and getting the job you want.
- Tip 1: Interview for as much as you can
- Tip 2: Develop a compelling story
- Tip 3: Tailor your story to the job
- Tip 4: Manage stress
- Tip 5: Be prepared
- Tip 6: Anticipate likely questions
- Tip 7: Ask questions during the interview
- Tip 8: Boost your EQ (Emotional Intelligence)
One way to apply emotional awareness in an interview situation is to find common human connections with the interviewer. If you set out with the intention to discover how you and the person interviewing you are connected and what you share, you will discover commonalities much faster. And the interviewing process will be much less intimidating because of it.
Tips for discovering commonalities with your interviewer
- Do your research. Google every person you know you are going to meet or think you might meet in the interview, especially senior executives. Learn what might be common areas of interest in advance.
- Listen and pay attention. If you listen during the interview and look for commonalities, they will seem omnipresent. When your interviewer mentions his or her alma mater, weekend plans, kids, or favorite restaurant, you have the chance to ask questions and find common ground. You can also take a look around the office. Do you see a book you’ve read, a product you want or just bought, or a photo you like? If so, you have a means to discuss commonalities.
- Lead with your interests and passions. How you introduce yourself and talk about yourself in the interview matters. If you integrate facts and interests into your spiel about yourself, then you create opportunities to connect. After the “What do you do?” or “Tell me about yourself” query, tell your story.
- Find common ground in the context. Where you are meeting, your surroundings, and the purpose of your connection are all reference points. There is a reason why both of you find yourself at this unique place and time. Why are you both in this business? Do you know the any of the same people?
While searching for commonalities, avoid pummeling your interviewer with a series of set questions. Let the interview happen naturally, but keep an eye out for hints of commonalities. Once you do, the world will feel like a smaller, friendlier place and your anxiety over interviewing will shrink.
Questions to ask potential employers in job interviews
- The people who do well at your company: what skills and attributes do they usually have?
- What do you like best about working at _____?
- What results are expected?
- What specific problems are you hoping to solve during the first six months?
- Who are the key internal customers? Any special issues with them?
- What happened to the person who had this job before?
- What communication style do you prefer?
- What is your philosophy regarding on-the-job growth and development?
- What are your goals for the department?
Source: Circle of Experts
Authors: John E. Kobara and Melinda Smith, M.A. Last updated: May 2016.
Every Sunday morning, I drive by a park. It’s on the left-hand side of the street with a basketball court, play structure, and large soccer field clearly visible.
During the week, in afternoons and evenings, the park is full of excitement. Parents sit and talk, children play, teenagers ride skateboards, grown men show up to play basketball.
But early on a Sunday morning, the park tells a different story. It is quiet and completely empty—except for one person who, without fail, works out in the field every weekend.
For as long as I can remember, every Sunday when I drive by that park, I see a young man (high school age) exercising in that park, running sprints and working on his football skills with a private coach. Some weeks, I find him running 40-yard sprints while his trainer tracks his time with a stop watch. Other weeks, I find him high-stepping through tires, weaving through cones, or back-peddling quickly to improve his foot speed.
By the time I drive by, he is clearly exhausted. Often times I have seen him complete a drill and walk slowly back to the starting line. He will put his hands on his knees and take a deep breath—the physical pain obvious even from my vantage point. And then, with a heavy sigh, he will put his fingers on the ground, arch his back, wait for the whistle, and push himself again.
I know nothing of this young man. I don’t know his name, his exact age, or where he lives. I only know that he inspires me.
He reminds me that a goal without action is not really a goal at all.
He reminds there is a big difference between saying you want something, and actually working to make it happen.
My son is in 7th grade and loves playing sports. Many of his friends do as well. In fact, they love sports so much that when I ask them what they want to be when they grow up, most will say, “I want to be a professional athlete.” Their response doesn’t surprise me. When I was younger, I said the same thing.
It is a common dream that is tough to outgrow. No doubt, even in high schools all over this country, the dream of becoming a professional athlete remains.
In my mind, I imagine this young man from the park plays on a football team at one of our local high schools. His team is full of other high school students. Many of which would tell you they have a goal: to one day become a professional football player.
There are countless boys who claim they want to play in the NFL… but there is only one I see up early on Sunday morning running sprints until his legs hurt. There is only one working his tail off to make it a reality. And I am inspired because that is the dedication required to become a professional football player. I won’t be surprised if he makes one day.
The whole scene reminds me of a conversation I witnessed shortly after graduating college. A mentor of mine was interacting with a gentleman older than me when the man made this statement, “I want to buy a Corvette.”
My mentor responded to his desire quite frankly, “No you don’t.”
“What do you mean? Of course I do. I’d like to own a Corvette.”
My mentor responded with words I have never forgotten, “No, you don’t really want to buy a Corvette. You see, if you really wanted to buy a Corvette, you could buy a Corvette. You could sell your home and maybe also your business. Then, you would have enough money to buy a Corvette. You say you want to own a Corvette… but if you really wanted to buy a Corvette, you’d be changing your life to do exactly that.”
I learned a valuable lesson that day from my mentor, “Saying you want something is one thing, but actually doing something about it is very different.” We prove what we desire most by our actions, not by our words.
We see this and experience it all the time.
We want to get out of debt, but continue to spend money on unneeded things. We want to get in shape, but never make the changes in our diet or exercise habits to accomplish that. We want to start saving for retirement, but never pursue the answers we need to get started. We desire to start a business or change jobs, but continue to spend our evenings and weekends watching television.
Or how about this one? We desire to live in a clutter-free home, but continue finding reasons why we need to keep all the stuff around us.
In each case, what we say we want is different from what we actually pursue.
Again, saying you want something is one thing, doing something about it is very different. We prove what we desire most by our actions, not by our words.
So let me ask you: What is it you want most? What life change do you desire?
Then, ask yourself this follow-up question: Are you taking the steps necessary to accomplish that goal? Or, are you settling for something else instead?
After all, a goal without a plan is just wishful thinking.
Work, work, work, work, work, work; this is the hook to Rhianna’s hot new summer track entitled Work. An uplifting song that invokes the twerk in some and the running man in others. For me it’s the latter, no twerking for this dude. I often find myself humming this tune as I am driving into work. It kind of reminds me of the Seven Dwarfs marching off to work, singing HI HO HI HO off to work we go….(insert your whistling now), a much livelier step with a Rhianna remix. That happiness has me bouncing in to work, however somedays I think I am the only one happy. Because soon after entering the hallowed walls of work the day begins. There are some cheerful good mornings on the way to the elevators and then there are some head down don’t speak to me walkers, and then there are those straight up “I’m not a morning person’” greeters. So here we go work, work, work, work, work, work!! One more door and you enter cubicle land. This is the land of no privacy and open conversations. Laughter is often heard, but that gets drowned out by the phone call on the other side of you (a wife ripping a husband to shreds for not taking out the trash), usually followed with a “hey honey, I’m at work”. Work, work, work, work, work, work!! You may even hear a couple of dudes discussing how far they chased, followed, trapped, grabbed (hell I don’t know) a Pokemon last night. And then someone yells the company stock skyrocketed. I’m wondering why they are at work, cause chasing that thing sounded like fun. Put your phones down and answer that multi-buttoned, digital screened contraption on your desk and get to work! That’s what we came here to do. Off to work we go just a whistling. NO complaints here though, it is that work that pays the mortgage, the rent , the car note, the cable bill, etc.,etc. All I can say is the Seven Dwarfs and Rhianna make work sound like fun, so I will continue jam on in to work…whistling as I go Hi HO Hi HO, off to work, work, work, work, work, work we go!
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; no plans.
Perer F. Drucker
Persistence wins most battles. If you can’t get a direct referral, simply click send on that email or leave a message after the beep. But do not stop there, as most the world tends to. The first attempt is just the very beginning. Realize that the first try may get you nowhere, but the fifth or the tenth tries are the ones that start to yield results. An unreturned email or voicemail doesn’t mean they don’t want to connect with you. It’s your job to be persistent! I sometimes get hundreds of requests in a day from readers who want to connect, but only about 2 percent ever follow up. Don’t be in a hurry, but don’t be invisible either.