On Taking Small Risks

One of my mom’s friends whom she met in college is a Real Estate Broker.

Being in real estate in itself is a business where you take risks.

We all know this.

It’s sales, eat what you kill, all of the above.

She started her real estate business over 20 years ago.

And at this point, she is one of the top brokers in Huntsville Alabama.

But I’ve seen my Auntie take a risk I’ve never seen anyone else do before.

She is a food storage connoisseur.

She will pour her leftovers into a Tupperware.

To the untrained eye, this Tupperware seems too small, but when she pours it into the leftover bin she fills it to the brim and very rarely has any left over.

It’s an amazing thing to watch time after time.

How does someone have a perfect size Tupperware for leftovers… every time.

I asked her this question and her answer?

I had to fail a few times but I just kept taking the risks until I got it right and now I know exactly how it works.

The stakes for these risks are very low.

If you fail, you have to get another container.

The lesson to be learned is that no matter how big or small the risk may seem (within reason).

It’s not going to be the end of the world.

Go try something new or something you thought was risky and see how it works out.

I’m sure you’ll be surprised by the results.

Happy Risk Taking!

The Playground Keeps Score

No matter what happens, the playground will keep score.

I said this phrase to my wife on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the nearby park.

Our son hoisted himself on the monkey bars, to test his strength as he moved from one rung to another.

We’ve all been on monkey bars at some point in our lives. Some more dangerous than others.

The monkey bars are a popular obstacle at this playground, and while practicing his best Tarzan impression, our son accidentally ran into another kid.

This kid wasn’t hurt, but he was visibly upset and immediately pushed Gyasi off the monkey bars.

Gyasi wasn’t hurt either but his feelings were hurt.

I went over to him to tell him that even though what that kid did to him wasn’t right he has to be more careful.

You can’t control how people react to your actions, but you can always control how you react to theirs.

The playground keeps the score son.

Good and Bad things may happen, but if you do your part the wins will outweigh the losses.

Be Prepared

A picture is worth 1,000 words. That’s the saying that has been made famous in the 1920s by Fred R. Bernard, who is often credited with its popularity.

These are my pictures and here are my words.

The day was May 7th, 2002.

This was the day of the greatest press conference in Philadelphia sports history and maybe even NBA history.

“We talking about practice?”

Allen Iverson would go on to say the word practice 21 more times in his now-famous rant.

He got up in the mic and talked about how pouring his heart out on the court is more important than practice.

He’s right but practicing still plays a very important part of being successful.

In this picture is Cam also known as Cam Boogie.

She is a rising sophomore at Norfolk State, but at this time just a freshman getting ready for her first spartan madness.

It is a school-wide pep rally to open up the basketball season here in Norfolk.

The DJ has the music playing and everyone is dancing, vibing, and having fun while the teams have their 3 point contest, dunk contest, and even a scrimmage.

Cam is seen in this picture warming up putting up a few shots.

Dancing to the music.

Just playing it cool.

It is not even the season yet but she’s just staying ready.

She does not even know at this time the moments that will come.

I remember exactly what was happening during this picture.

Spartan madness starts with the lights out and if you know anything about taking pictures you would know that without light there is no picture.

But once the introductions were made and the lights were turned back on it was our time to shine.

A few other creatives were capturing content from the baseline, but I saw Cam spot up on the corner three as she waited patiently for her turn to shoot.

I rushed behind her and kneeled on the floor.

It was a match made in heaven.

The picture I was most proud of at the time.

Now looking back, it was a testament to me in a few ways.

It showed me that I had been practicing and putting the work in to be in the right position to get a little lucky and end up with success.

I am sure I’m not the first to tell you this but putting the work in eventually pays off.

We all know we need to practice and putting in the practice hours is what it takes to be truly great.

But let’s pause and take a moment.

If we go to second level thinking we understand that practice boils down to building habits.

Habits can make or break a person when it comes to being on the path to win.

Look at Kobe Bryant.

May he rest in peace.

He started training and practicing so early in the morning just so he could get an extra workout in every day.

This compounds out over his 20-year career to 10s of thousands more shots and reps which gave him, in my opinion, the stats to have two hall of fame worthy careers.

Building these habits builds more confidence in our abilities.

How could we doubt in our hearts and minds our success if we know we have been putting the work in?

We have done all we needed to put ourselves in the position for success.

Most will acknowledge what you’ve accomplished takes hard work, dedication, discipline, and grit.

They won’t physically see you putting in the work or building the habits, but they know where your fruits are coming from.

Some will even say, “You’re lucky” or “You were naturally built this way.”
These are the people that may make excuses because they don’t have the same success as you do.

Don’t let the naysayers get in your way.

The doubters don’t know what it means to put work in.

Dennis Kimbro says it best, You must eagerly long for something — not mere wishing or wanting, but a fierce, eager consuming hunger that knows no defeat and demands satisfaction.

What will you do?

How will you prepare?

How will you react when your number is called?

Part of building habits is also positive self-talk.

Instead of saying I want to shoot more 3 pointers or I want to increase my handle, it’s important to claim the statements as true.

I am an elite shooter.

I do have a strong handle.

And yes, it may not be that way immediately, but we put the work in while we train with those mindsets.

Improving every day so that eventually what we believe in our mind becomes true in our ability.

You must long for it.

For Cam, It all lead up to this moment.

Being Down by 5 points with 58 seconds left.

The pressure is on.

But it’s time to have a short memory.

Cam had a short memory.

She missed a 3 pointer with 3.41 left in the game.

But that’s in the past.

We must be in the present and be mentally tough for the future.

Encouraging ourselves, going through the motions in our head knowing exactly what to do.

Cam got subbed in with 14 seconds left.

Norfolk State was down by 3 points with 6 seconds left on the clock.

The play didn’t originally come to her, but she stayed ready for when the defense collapsed on the driving woman.

Cam put both hands up demanding the ball.

Because she was ready.

Because she prepared for this moment.

And wouldn’t you know it?

She iced the 3 pointer to tie the game to eventually win in OT.

That’s how you score 14 points in 16 minutes as a freshman.

Yes, there are always lucky people.

Someone has to win the lottery right?

But in sports, business, and leadership you may get a lucky bounce or two but the real luck comes from being 90% being prepared and 10% lucky.



Why it’s so important,

At least for me.

we go.

And go,

and go.

Rarely taking time to relax.

I try to practice otherwise.

I walk everyday.

At least one time around my neighborhood.

I do this during my Lunch.


What’s that?

A common question from my coworkers past and present.

My coworkers are caught off guard when I explain that I take a lunch.


“Even if you have back to back meetings?”


“What about meetings at 11, 12 and 1?”

Of course.

On those days lunch will start at 1.

The break is important.

It brings me peace.

These walks bring me peace.

A perfect time to reflect.

To decompress.

Every morning before work.

My son and I listen to podcasts on the way to daycare.

The Daily Dad by Ryan Holiday.

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.

Each 3 to 5 minutes in length.

Finally I listen to Joyce Myer.

Today Joyce was preaching about self love.

What it means to like yourself in addition to loving yourself.

She challenged me that morning.

To be at peace with who I am.

We must be at peace with who we are.

We spend forever with ourselves, our thoughts.

Nobody else is in our space.


No matter how annoying.

There is always an escape from others.

We can love the people in our lives

And still need a break.

But with ourselves we have to love.

And we have to like ourselves.

This is the part of peace we must talk about.

We talk about peace in one dimension.

“You’re stressing me out”.

“I need to relax”

“I need to take it easy”

What about the peace that accepts?

The peace that forgives and let’s go of a grudge.

The peace that looks in the mirror.

The peace that says, “this is me”

When I graduated from college.

I struggled living on my own.

Most are excited to live on their own.

But few talk about what it feels like on Tuesday.

At 7.30 pm.

The Tuesday when you realize you don’t like you.

And all you have are your thoughts.

Your deepest thoughts.

They sit next to you on the couch.

Who am I?

What am I good at?

What about all the mistakes I’ve made in my life?

In those moments.

Sit in your thoughts.

Accept them.

Choose peace over your thoughts.

Choosing peace is the first step to wisdom.

Knowing who are.

Knowing what you’re good at.

Know what you like.

And most importantly, why.

Just accept.

That’s peace.

Enjoy Your Walk.

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