A night with Stacey Abrams 10/12

Stacey Abrams is the GOAT. 

My sister Fatima and I went to ‘Conversations with Stacey’ at the Mesa Arts Center earlier this week. It was dope.

These last few weeks I have started to become more intentional about my life. About my goals, my future self, and what actions and behaviors I need to take to become the person I want to become. Listening to a powerhouse like Ms. Abrams was transformational.

Biggest takeaways from that evening (long but worth it):

-Meet people where they are 
-Don’t get excited about the vote, become a voter. It’s not just about one action, it’s the mindset and consistency that comes with it
-The best organizations check on you before they need you. They continue to nurture that relationship before, during and after 
-Sometimes, containment only is the answer, not the cure
-Read voraciously and watch tv voraciously. Stories connect you with others
-Why feel guilty about watching TV? Don’t feel guilty about things you get pleasure from! Whether it’s a romance novel or the great British bake-off 
-Organizations need to be intentional about diversity. Bring others in that aren’t represented 
-Find alignment with others. You don’t have to have all of the same views on everything 
-Focus on progress, NOT perfection
-Evil doesn’t take a vacation, it recruits mean and comes back with a vengeance. Stay vigilant.
-Build strong teams. Be intentional and bring others up with you, remember.. there’s safety in numbers in success and when going through hardships
-Compromise your actions but don’t compromise your values
-Check out the Whistlestop podcast with John Dickerson
-Push back against disinformation. It’s a disease that wreaks havoc
-It’s not the vote it’s what it means that your voice matters 
-You should not have a higher level of democracy because of your race or status 
-Don’t enter conversations trying to change someone’s mind 
-Ideas are malleable ideologies are not 
-Remember the John Lewis quote “Get in good trouble”
-Be responsible for others. Always be learning, education is a passport. Volunteer your time no matter how little you have someone has it worse
-How to get your kids involved in civic duty? Take your child to vote with you every time
-And last but not least, have political discourse without being mean ❤️

Moving forward

She opens the book, her book

Gently she touches the page, uncurls the corner piece. Autobiography. Distance. Closeness.

She finishes the page, pauses. Reflects, words mirror. 

Who’s book? Her book. She rereads. Rereads. Rereads the same page, the same words, the same hate.

The same love, the brave, an escape. Movement and pause.

And vogue. And stroke. The bold words, the font, bleeds, it bleeds, it bleeds.

She stops. Rereads, hands shaking to turn the page. A knot in her throat. A not in her perspective. Transfixed. 

Stuck feeling, breathe.

Exhale and turn.

Forward to the next chapter. A sigh.

Relief. 

Day 2

“All progress starts by telling the truth.”

Dan Sullivan

Today, I took honest stock of my life. I wrote it all down.

It was sobering. 

Neither negative or positive, but sobering. Where I’ve been, where I am. Apparent.

 Laid it all out. Neutral words, visible, peering back. 

The computer screen, bright white, straining my eyes. 

Or are the words straining my eyes? 

How do I feel right now?

Entrenched in the present. 

Empty? Full?

Hopeful?

Hopeful. 

“I’m sorry”

After reading Extreme Ownership by Jocko several years ago, I decided to stop apologizing.

Unnecessarily over-apologizing, I mean.

A lot of women are raised to be less obtrusive, less offensive, and we’re quick to apologize for trivial things like someone else bumping into us, or for apologizing to the bartender for making the wrong drink.

Instead, develop a mindset shift and take extreme ownership. Become a leader and get to the root of the problem in a productive way. Utilize the phrase “I’m sorry” for when it really matters, not for everyday situations or it loses sincerity.

Some things to never apologize for include:

  • Asking questions
  • Voicing your point of view in a respectful way
  • Standing up for people and causes you care about
  • Being yourself

What are some things you should never apologize for?

mission statement

These last couple of weeks I’ve been working on developing a mission statement. It’s been a really involved, difficult project but I’ve learned a lot about myself. In all honesty, these last 9 months have been tremendous for me in terms of growth and development. It’s really interesting to see the progression of my thinking and mindset these last few years. What’s interesting is that some of the epiphanies I’ve been having are not from new things that I’ve learned. It’s lessons that I’ve been beating myself in the head with for several years, surrounding myself with and reading constantly, but maybe I wasn’t ready for them at that time? Or is it because I primed myself with this information and then caused explosive growth? I don’t know, but I feel like a different person. It’s strange because although I feel like a new person, I feel more authentic. I’m comfortable with my nuances. I’m comfortable in my skin. I’m comfortable with my voice, my thoughts, with me.

stupid relief tree

who are you,

you to me. I feel dispensable, a soap container

a plague, or mono. maybe. Never been kissed.

a tumultuous stirring, a soap box, anti-abortion signs in the middle of a college campus. I stop frat-

ernizing.

Internalizing every tidbit, every

upheaval, every breath

inhalation

inhale, every breath restrains. thought leaves rustle. thoughts leave.

an anecdote, a pun, a pen, empty on its last limb

limp.

I feel as alone as a speck of sand in a toddlers shoe as she hurdles a tantrum. zen

I breath. Subdued. one. two. three.

every follicle, pore, every poor overworked thought tightening around my throat like a nuis-

-ance

I let go. one. two. three.

and I grow.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Golden Circle is comprised of the following: Why, How, What

WHATS: what products, what services, the job function, external factor.

HOW: how the WHATS are delivered. How something is different or better.

WHY: purpose, cause, or belief AKA internal factors. The why of a company is not to make money, making money . Companies that know their why differentiate themselves from companies that don’t know their why.

Companies with a strong WHY include Apple, Southwest Airlines, Disney. Those who have a strong why but diverge against it create an imbalance, and people notice. Example used is when Volkswagen created an incredibly high end car with all the bells and whistles, but this car didn’t align with their WHY – Volkswagen literally means “people’s car,” and is associated with the everyday person, the hipster, and should embody inclusion. Even though the high end car they put out had the best specs and was rated high, it was a failure and an volition of the Celery Test.

The limbic system is a portion of our brain that is responsible for feelings such as trust and loyalty. “Gut feeling” is actually derived from the limbic system, though it isn’t related to our logical, analytical or rational side, which is why sometimes it’s hard to put into words why we make the decisions we make.

Putting your WHY into words allows you to give a rational basis when you make decisions. As a leader, putting your WHY into words leads to accessibility and scalability even as your business expands. Those who follow you will be able to read and explain WHY which is important because the leader won’t always be there.

Visceral limbic feelings leads to loyalty. WHATs such as product, services, features are not WHYs and don’t lead to loyalty. WHATs are a proof of WHY.

Hire people who believe what you believe. The Celery Test is the power to filter decisions through your why. You can go to conferences, read books, get guidance and advice, but if it doesn’t align with your why, you’re wasting energy, time, and money.

TIVO failed because they were about WHATS – what their product did, what services they provided, etc. They used WHAT marketing rather than WHY marketing in order to rationalize the appeal of their product, leading to low sales. Sirius is another company that used the same tactics.

Partnerships are composed of WHY and HOW people. This type of relationship works because they WHY people have the vision, and the HOW people create a track to execute that vision.

Example of a WHY and HOW partnership that was incredibly successful is the Disney brothers relationships. Roy is the older, more practical brother who understood economics, business and finances, whereas Walt is the visionary who was always imaginative, optimistic and had his head in the clouds.


It’s important to have a WHY because WHATs never stay stagnant, especially in this technological era. Services, product features, price, etc. are constantly updated, but the vision, meaning and philosophy are inherent and don’t budge.

Anyone can be loud and have energy, but not everyone can be clear. Being loud to me is analogous to social media use in our current generation. On the exterior you can have fancy cars, perfect unblemished skin, a thicc booty and a 6 pack but clarity and why comes from the inside – it’s deep, never changing, and not fleeting.

Sinek describes the following leaders as being clear and having charisma, not just being loud: Dr. King, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs. Being loud rallies people, but clarity and charisma inspires.

This book is important. It’s made me realize why I have’t attained ‘success’ yet. Essentially, I haven’t developed and expressed a clear Why. Am I a how person or a why person? I think I’m a why person who has been trying to be a how person. I’m trying to learn too many different skills in order to execute a blurry vision. I have to stop, focus, and develop a solid vision. In Tom’s interview with Tai Lopez seen here: https://impacttheory.com/episode/tai-lopez/ he talks about having a tombstone goal. Create a tombstone goal and reverse engineering that – if I want the end of my life at age 90 to look like this, this and this, then I have to do these following things by age 80, and so on and so forth. Not only did this book highlight the importance of having a clear vision, it also helped me understand the difference between being loud versus being clear. Charisma and confidence is exuded by people that are steadfast in what they believe in. They derive power and strength by having a crystal clear vision, not by being the loudest around. Loud people eventually run out of steam, whereas people with charisma and clarity are more consistent because the message they deliver and their philosophy does not alter.