The African American community both struggles and succeeds in American society. Here are compelling thoughts from those who have attained success.
There is a surge of African American culture in our media today. It can cause many in business (and politics) to think that the playing field is equal. But it doesn’t take much digging to see that the black leaders in business continue to battle great odds and obstacles to achieve success.
I choose to honor these pioneering captains of industry and revere the contributions they make to our lives. Below are 21 quotations from entrepreneurs and executives on how to find success in business and life.
1. “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey
2. “I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” – Madam C.J. Walker
3. “Belief in oneself and knowing who you are, I mean, that’s the foundation for everything great.” – Jay-Z
4. “Many people don’t focus enough on execution. If you make a commitment to get something done, you need to follow through on that commitment.” – Kenneth Chenault
5. “If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.” – Beyonce Knowles
6. “If you wake up deciding what you want to give versus what you’re going to get, you become a more successful person. In other words, if you want to make money, you have to help someone else make money.” – Russell Simmons
7. “People from all walks of life and all over the world look at me and know my humble beginnings and know that everything I’ve done has been through hard work. People respect me as a marketer and brand builder.” – Sean Combs
8. “I want to stop transforming and just start being.” – Ursula Burns
9. “I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small anddream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.” – Aliko Dangote
10. “History has always been a series of pendulum swings, but the individual doesn’t have to get caught in that.” – Robert L. Johnson
11. “One of the challenges associated with a company becoming large is that companies become hierarchical. They become bureaucratic. They become slow. They become risk averse.” – Kenneth C. Frazier
12. “You can and should set your own limits and clearly articulate them. This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect.” – Rosalind Brewer
13. “Keep going. No matter what.” – Reginald Lewis
14. “Hold on to your dreams of a better life and stay committed to striving to realize it.” – Earl G. Graves, Sr.
15. “You are where you are today because you stand on somebody’s shoulders. And wherever you are heading, you cannot get there by yourself. If you stand on the shoulders of others, you have a reciprocal responsibility to live your life so that others may stand on your shoulders. It’s the quid pro quo of life. We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give.” – Vernon Jordan
16. “I have this ability to find this hidden talent in people that sometimes even they didn’t know they had.” – Berry Gordy
17. “The road back may not be as short as we wish,… But there are solid reasons to feel confident about the future.” – Richard Parsons
18. “My Vocation is my Vacation. I love what I do.” – Nick Cannon
19. “There is nothing a woman can’t do. Men might think they do things all by themselves but a woman is always there guiding them or helping them.” – Marjorie Joyner
20. “When I was younger there was something in me. I had passion. I may not have known what I was going to do with that passion, but there was something-and I still feel it. It’s this little engine that roars inside of me and I just want to keep going and going.” – Sheila Johnson
21. “Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It’s about accepting all of yourself.” – Tyra Banks
Denzel Washington’s Motivational Speech “Claim Your Dream”
Serena Williams reads “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou
“25 Things That Really Matter In Life” is designed to get you started living a better life within the next fifteen minutes. Moreover, here’s the best thing: You can read this book in an hour and it will still be relevant five years from now. The book changes with you. If you’re looking for a book written by a highly credentialed author with letters after his name to help you find out who you are and what happened in your life that made you the way you are, this is not the book for you. If you want a book to help you begin to change your life right now, then keep reading because this is the book for you.
#1. Faith: Have faith in God or believe in something other than yourself. Faith is the greatest power at your disposal. Faith never fails. You need to believe in yourself in order to convince others to believe in you. Pray and ask God to give you the strength and humility to be more focused and forgiving. Leave the negative aspects of living to a higher power so you can live your best life. The only time you can fail is when you give up on faith, so incorporate faith as part of your spirit. Then, when negative circumstances confront you, you automatically go into “Faith Mode,” a way of life that allows you to behave without fear of the opposing forces that may surround you. There are levels of faith. Having strong faith is a process. If your faith is not at the highest level, you may suffer a setback. This is no reason to quit or give up. You will not be strong overnight. (Faith moved me to quit my job. With a wife and two small children, I chose to change my career and pursue a path I had been doing for less than three years. I developed a solid and flexible plan that guided me to where I am today. There are no limitations on how much faith you can have. Fear causes paralysis. Faith is an energizer.)
#2. Family: Spending quality time with your family (spouse, children, and parents) can extend your life. Loved ones at home, who love you, are among the things in life that really matter. (When I was growing up, family was important in my life. Aunts, uncles and cousins lived in my neighborhood. Most of us worshiped at the same church and vacationed together. Family was a way of life that was never challenged. That foundation remains solid today: My family members never distanced themselves from me.)
#3. Love: Despite the high divorce rate (approximately fifty percent), studies show people who are in committed, monogamous relationships believe they have healthier and happier lives. A strong emotional connection with the one you love is paramount for a happy existence. Love should feel euphoric. When you find that special someone who will not take advantage of your vulnerabilities, who you trust implicitly, who can communicate with you in a manner that is “hearable” and who is consistent in his or her behavior, then you will live a happier and more meaningful life. When you totally surrender to the other person, you will experience a bond sealed by a higher power. One of the best things about having a true love is that everything you do together is special. (Love is expressed in many ways: patience, kindness, caring, forgiveness, and so forth. Self-love is probably the most important aspect of love. I’ve learned that you must have boundaries in love. You can’t keep saying “Yes” without being able to say “No.” Falling in love is easy. Maintaining love is something entirely different. In my early relationships, I was comfortable with conflict (arguing.) Later in life, I overcompensated by avoiding conflict. I’m a “work in progress” when it comes to having my needs met. For me, loving someone and making someone feel loved are different. Love requires balance. Are you able to identify the important components of love and balance them with the other aspects of your life? Some of us confuse lust with love. Lust desires to take . . . love desires to give.)
#4. Children: A happy family is the key to a happy life, especially with your children. Quality relationships with your children will help you stay balanced and will help them lead balanced lives. The only way to cultivate and sustain solid relationships with your children is to spend quality time with them. Turn off the television, leave work early, and invest your time where you’ll get the most return, which is with the ones you love. From the time my children were infants, I took them everywhere I went. I even set up a workstation at my office and home office for them. We worked, laughed, talked and played every day. One of my fondest memories is watching my children laugh. When children are laughing, all is right with the world. (I was born to be a dad. Having a good relationship with my children is one of the most important factors for my happiness and stability. The best gift that a man can give to his children, in addition to spending time with them, is to model the appropriate behavior consistently).
#5. Good Health: Good health is paramount to good living. Good health is something many people tend to appreciate only when it’s deteriorating or gone. You can have millions of dollars in the bank, a beautiful house and a nice car, and it will mean very little if you’re sick. Take care of your mind, body and soul. (I’m in relatively good health. I have no physical limitations. Like many people, living a healthy life style was not a priority. Although I never smoked, used drugs, or drank alcohol, I had poor eating habits and didn’t exercise consistently throughout the first half of my life. I wish I had acted differently. Today, I realize that those poor eating habits have not been kind to me. Living a healthier lifestyle can add years to your life.)
25 Things That Really Matter In Life by Gary A. Johnson
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