“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”  Abraham Lincoln

 Yes, that’s right, there are many benefits associated with failure.  Most of us have never stopped to realize and appreciate the amazing and marvelous things that we have in our lives every day, thanks to those unflappable men and women who were not concerned about failure.  Look around you.  Are you aware that most of the gadgets, appliances, tools, medicines and luxuries that we use were created by individuals who chose not to give up?  They accepted failure as part of the learning process to achieve their objectives. 

 One of the greatest inventors of our time Thomas Edison, was laughed at by his colleagues and ridiculed by the press during his attempt to bring us the electric light bulb.  Edison’s famous quote was, “I did not fail five thousand times to create the filament, I successfully identified five thousand ways not to.” Can you imagine the Wright Brothers giving up after one trial run?  Where would aviation be today if they had not persisted? How about Jonas Salk, Madame Curie and countless other famous doctors that gave us miracle drugs and cures?

 Do you know the value of never giving up? Are you aware that the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan, was cut from his high school team?  Did you know that Albert Einstein didn’t pass his college entrance exam the first time? The list goes on and on.  So many of the people that we have come to recognize and admire had a similar view and belief. They did not fear failure!

 On the contrary, they recognized that in order to accomplish anything new or to achieve something they had not been able to do, they had to be willing to take chances.  They had to be willing to accept failure and rise above it. 

 Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You can gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

What is holding you back?  What is keeping you from achieving the life that you deserve?  Are you willing to face your failures, learn from them, and try one more time?I encourage you and challenge you to be bold!

Recently I've had a lot of friends contact me about financial advice. For the most part each situation was different but there was usually one theme that always came up. "Man...I need to find a way to make some more money." When people decide they need to make some more money they usually think of two solutions.  Either working more hours or (if they're salary) picking up a part-time job. However they always miss THE EASIEST WAY TO MAKE EXTRA MONEY. The easiest way to make extra money is to...wait for it... wait for it... SPEND LESS MONEY.  If you were looking for  a secret quick way to make money then apologize for wasting your time, but since you've already started reading you might as well hear me out.  Obviously everyone has a different financial situation but there are usually a few common areas that we all share and that we can all slash spending on. 

One of the major areas is food. Think about how much you spend on food and is there a way that you can cut that bill down? Recently I've been going to websites such as coupons.com and printing out coupons every week. Yeah it's not much, save a dollar here and a buy on get one there, but over time along with my shoppers card (I shop at Giant so I have a Giant card, but all grocery stores should have them) I have been able to maximize my savings.  It is also important to look for the deals.  Look for 2 for 1's and look for discounts when buying in bulk especially if you know  that you consume that product on a regular basis. It may cost you a little bit more now, but you won't have to pick it up on the next 2 maybe 3 shopping trips.  Also, for certain items, don't be afraid to purchase the generic brand. I do my shopping biweekly so in a year I go 26 times.  If my original budget was to spend $100 a trip then that means I'm spending $2,600 a year on groceries. Think about this, even if you can chop $20 off of your shopping bill each time then that saves you $520 a year. Yeah I know that doesn't sound like a lot but to some that can equal anything from an extra student loan payment to a mortgage payment at the end of the year.  40 extra dollar a month, that's also a chance to order out every week, or go on a date, gas money, whatever you want it to be.  The key is that once you free up that extra sum of money per month you can either save it or use it for something else. Either way a positive snowball effect begins. Just some food for thought (no pun intended).

Lastly I'm not going to preach on money management because that would take entirely too long. But if you want to be disciplined with your money I recommend calculating exactly how much you need each month and taking that amount out in cash.  For example, every 2 weeks I know that I will need money for groceries, a haircut, gas laundry and various other things. So at the beginning of each 2 week cycle I go to the bank and take the amount need out in cash. I then divide it among the various categories.  Not only does this allow me to control my spending, but it controls the use of my credit cards as well.  And what's best is, since you only have  a set amount to spend in each category it makes you think much more carefully about how much you can spend. If you go to much over then you'll have nothing left. But if your able to spend less then you have extra money available to either roll over for next time, put back in the bank, or (as I do) rewards yourself for following your budget and treat yourself to something nice. After all this was money that you already calculated as being spent , So why not treat yourself.

If you would like any financial advice please leave a comment under this post. and I would have no problem loaning you my opinion on your situation.  

This weekend I went down to the homeless shelter with a few students to do community service. Our main job was working in the kitchen serving all the members who came to eat. This was not my first time doing this however the impact this time around was different. As I was serving some of the people I would find myself looking at them in their eyes for a second longer and in that second they told me a story, not a story about that person but a story about me!

The story I realized about myself was how much I have to be thankful for. I have the luxury to go to my refrigerator and select what food I want to eat and if that’s not good enough I can go out and buy food from a restaurant. I find it to be surprising who you see come into a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen for food, there is no way to see the struggles of a human being just by looking. As I observed peoples behaviors I noticed some of the people there were very talented, one woman and man were drawling a portrait of a young man and others enjoying their meal with friends sharing laughs and stories. The members of the shelter were so thankful for the meals and the service we provided them with.

My experience at the homeless shelter made me once again self reflect on the present and to be thankful for all that I “do” have. “One who focuses on the positives in life shall never be impacted by the negative”. 

Thanks for listening to my story
When finally retiring from my computer around 10:30 last  night, I laid in my bed watching an episode of 30 rock while texting my girlfriend And that's when it hit me...I realized that I am happy (despite my dire financial situation).  You would think that I would have noticed  this earlier but it was something about the series of last night's events that really allowed me tohave this epiphany and truly  embracethis feeling. I was happy.

                 At 5:00pm I drove through the icy streets on my way to the weight-room to meet my athletes for a lifting session. Coaching Track & Field at a local University had been my job for the past 3 years,but recently my contract expired and I was unable to be retained. I am now a volunteer who puts in very similar hours, but of course without a paycheck. Like anybody I would prefer to be paid but I love what I do and am committed to the team and the University through thick and thin. Although yesterday's practice was short I was able to assist a few athletes with some recent problems they were having and followed that up with a good conversation involving the head and assistant coaches.  Usually by this time at night I'm ready to collapse since my work day starts early in the Am, but last night I felt full of energy. And that's when it hit me... this job has everything that I'm looking for. I am involved in sports, I get to affect a young athletes life both on and off the field of competition, and I have colleagues that I enjoy talking to and socializing with. I was happy. 

                When I reached home and checked the mail I was pleased to see that I had a new Netflix DVD arrive. Like a kid on Christmas I opened it up and to my delight it was the movie "The Town" which I had been waiting for.  It was about 7:00pm so at that point I told myself,  "I'm going to cook a good meal, get my half hour of reading in, then watch this movie and fall asleep."  All was going according to plan, until I opened up my book. (The book I was reading was related to my business, so it wasn't a pleasure read for-say but I take pleasure in reading it).  After simultaneously reading the book and relating its content to my investment charts at home, I realized that about an hour had passed. I kept telling myself to shut everything down and pop the movie in, but I couldn't stop.  I felt that I had learned so much in the few pages that I read and I had to related to some real-time data. Long story short I ended up looking through charts foranother hour and a half. And that's when it hit me... I knew that my recent venture in to small business ownership was going to work. It was going to work because I love what I do and with a passion like that I knew that no matter how hard times may be I would never give up and that I would always strive for excellence. Usually with a job, you do three things (tell me if I'm wrong). Clock in...Clock out... Then complain when you get home.  But with this venture I find myself trying to learn and improve with every free moment I have.  (As I told my bro yesterday instead of I AM Business, I should be called I AM NERD). Luckily I have a very strong CORE from a network of friends . And most of all my girlfriend supports my numerous hours as I hunt for perfection. She may have no idea at what I'm doing but she supports and she can see that I was happy.

                After finishing up with my charts I decided to check on the website and see how all of the updates were going.  I was very delighted to see that my brother Gee was able to get the music set up and I was really feeling the vibe and how everything was looking. I also started going  through  the many compliments and comments that we've been getting since the website was developed And that's when it hit me... I said to myself "wow, people are really feeling what we're doing.  People are really embracing this movement and we're really changing lives."  

I guess you can say last night I had an epiphany. Needless to say I got a really good sleep.  I was happy. 

In this piece I will us the human anatomy as my analogy to get me point across to why the CORE is vital to success.

As some may know from a piece I wrote previously titled "Don't Take It For Granite" I hurt my back really bad and needed to seek medical attention.  As I was going through the physical therapy treatment I realized if I had a strong CORE I would not be in this situation.

The CORE is the balanced development of the deep and superficial muscles that stabilize, align, and move the trunk of the body, especially the abdominals and muscles of the back. CORE strength goes beyond the surface muscles and asks us to utilize our deep internal muscles to maintain stability in motion.  The CORE is the most important group of muscles in the body and if neglected can cause injury which in turn is a setback.

With that being said it was the fact I had weak CORE surrounding the larger muscles that lead to my injury.  I hope you follow me on this…

In life you have one world in which you live in.  Since I can only speak from my personal experiences my world has been planted with a great supporting cast of people from family, friends, coworkers, teachers, mentors, coaches and more.  The groups I just referred to are my CORE.  I have strong supporting people in my world which allows for me to venture out and try new things without fear of failure because I have the supporting cast around me.  Failure is a part of success without failure success does not exist.

The CORE is beyond the human eye, one will never be able to see the CORE because is internal so all you see is the product on the outside.  Sometimes what we see on the outside can be misleading, take me for example to the human eye one may see a young African American male but people do not know what has contributed to make me who I am nor do they know who I am.  Little do people recognize until learning about me I am an educated, intellectual, well spoken and mannered self motivated individual who mentors youth working in higher education…it’s the CORE who assist in my creation. 

 Team Royalty is just that “The CORE” we are a group of individuals who are out to promote positivity, inspiration and motivation.  We are the supporting cast here to help all who want to be inspired, up lifted and/or motivated.  I owe my all my successes and accomplishments to the CORE because without this group of individuals I would not be where I am today!                                

Thanks for listening to my story
Anyone who knows me will tell you I am an emotional human being and I am very invested in creating relationships with others. I find it very difficult to not make friends with people; I owe this to my parent’s thanks mom and dad! This idea came from some self reflecting I just got done doing so here we go…

Passion- A strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire about anything, any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling. Like I stated earlier I am an emotional human being which makes me very passionate at times. I work directly with college students and I have come to realize they (the students) are why I continue to strive for excellent and achieve all I can achieve. I wake up every day looking forward to going into work to engage in conversations and experiences with the students. I put my heart on the line on a regular basis which is why I believe I am able to connect with multiple people from all types of diverse backgrounds on levels above and beyond. Along with having this “Passion” for what I do in my career I have developed many “Pleasures”.

Pleasure- Enjoyment or satisfaction derived from what is to one's liking; gratification; delight. I LOVE my job! I have experienced so many joys and pleasures in impacting some one’s life in a positive way either with inspiration, motivation, or giving one an opportunity he/she may have never had. One who invests their heart into something will always apply a great amount of energy into whatever it is. With “Pleasure” there comes “Pain” and no matter the pain it never gets easier to face.

Pain- Mental or emotional suffering or torment. As you know usually when one puts their heart on the line at some point he/she will get hurt and feel pain. Being as though I find myself to be an emotional person pain is something I am all too familiar with however pain has never stopped me from continuing to put my heart on the line. I believe emotional pain only exists when one cares…with that being said it is obvious I care about my job and the students I work with. Some of the pains I endure come from uncontrollable situations, example a student is not performing well in class and has poor grades or student is unable to return back to college due to personal/financial issues. Most people in my position may not care but because I am emotionally invested in my relationships with the students/staff/faculty it matters to me.

The reason for my story was to share how emotionally connected to my career I am in hopes to bring awareness to people about working in a career you have a passion for, it will bring you many joys and is self-fulfilling. Do not settle for the “next best thing” or something you are “comfortable” with, do what makes you happy and I am sure the rewards will outweigh everything else.

Thanks for listening to my story.