Appreciate the journey

Recently, I have caught myself a few times backtracking and re-imagining how life would be for me if I had made certain decisions differently, or if I had done certain things instead of certain other things. You know, the typical analysis of our journeys during the building process. More importantly, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection, and it has impacted me in very many ways, mostly good.

My reflection process has made me revisit my long term plans for myself and the ways I want to make an impact on the world around me. They have also made me beat myself up pretty severely for many missteps I made in the process. This phase I am going through has taken a huge toll on me, and as a result, I find myself anxiously zapping through my days in a pursuit of a natural execution of plans I have put together for the near future.

Today, I got my copy of “Plan Twice, Build Once” by the guys at the podcast, and while reading through, a quote from a particular interview really resonated with me.

I believe you have gone through all the things you went through to get to where you are now. We love to look back and recount all the things we’d change for the better. We imagine a scenario in which we use our newfound knowledge to get from A to B faster, avoid all mistakes, do everything right the first time, and all live happily ever after. But the truth is, we undervalue where the knowledge came from. Those mistakes, those dead-ends, they were vastly more valuable than the times we got it right the first time. It’s not fun. Failure sucks. But a different perspective, an appreciation for the path that got us to where we are now and where we’ll be next, makes everything so much more fulfilling. – Perri Blake Gorman

What amazing insight. We always underestimate the journey that has enabled us glean the knowledge and experience we have today, torturing ourselves with the thought that if we had done X, Y or Z differently, things could have been better.

In essence, do not underestimate the journey. Everything that has happened till now has happened for a reason – good, bad, silly, smart, gruesome, or pleasant. Relish that journey, and live the rest of it. The legend will unravel itself as you continue to travel.



You are responsible for the energy you bring

In the past two weeks, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the happenings of 2014, my objectives going into it, and how much progress I made towards achieving them. I started 2014 with this post, talking very abstractly of the straw man around which I wanted all my action in the year to build off of. I did not hit high notes on all the points I wanted to, but I learned a lot during the year, and I grew. I became more.

The biggest lesson I learned is that I am responsible for the energy I bring. When one gets abstract like that, it leaves the mind to determine a literal meaning, and then create some context based on our personal experiences in life so far. In my context, energy refers to disposition. It refers to the lens through which I process the things that happen in the world around me, and the impact I allow them to have on me. I have lived most of my life knowing that I had to do certain things to achieve certain results, and there was an esoteric element; luck, God, or whatever you believe in – that had to be on your side for things to turn out in a desirable outcome. Genius or naïve, it is what my legend in life has been.

Esoteric as we may call it, positive and negative are dimensions created by us to understand and process the things that happen in the world around us. Every action, reaction or emotion is a type of energy we bring, positive or negative, depending on how we rationalize. The crux is the value construct out of which we generate the energy that we put out in the world from.

We decide who we want to be, what we want to be remembered for, and why our presence in the world should matter in this moment and in the future. We call those our values. As interesting as it sounds, those are all decisions that have to be made. Then, we bring the energy congruent to that person we have decided to be. Success hardly ever comes by accident, in the instances that it does, someone somewhere was setting the stage for it. We typically fight the fights that needs to be fought, work hard to do the things we never thought we could, get mentors who have been on our path in the past and ask for help, all in the process of exercising the audacity to be who we have chosen to be.

Finally, and most importantly, I learned that the universe and all its working elements can be likened to our physical bodies. A large organism that consists of various organs, and cells working within the organs, playing different roles to enable the entire body survive. The cells carry messages across the body, utilizing energy based on the things we are consuming. Sometimes, cells get infected by the things we consume and do not play right in the best interest of the whole body. If the body is strong enough, it destroys and gets rid of the infected cells so that the healthy cells can continue working optimally. If the body is not strong enough, we take some pills to aid the process of ‘fixing’ or restoring balance to the body.

This is the same with us as cells within this large scale organism we call the universe. We play various roles to enable the whole universe survive in the right balance. In as much as we need to choose the role we want to play and play it to the best of our abilities, we should also know in the process of choosing, that life is only fulfilling when the role we play serves the entire organism. When we put out good energy, we not only do good for others, but we also do good for ourselves as well – because we all exist in this organism together. When we do not live true to ourselves and in the interest of the whole, we bring the type of energy infected cells bring in your body when you do not feel good.

You cannot cut off your right thumb with your left hand and laugh hysterically because your right thumb is not your left hand. You are one whole you, and both the right thumb and the left hand are part of the one integral whole. Realistically, the left hand hurts more because it lives to deal with the pain it caused.

In some circles, it is called living a purpose driven life, some other people say we should just do the right thing. Out of this idea as well, comes the innate desire and inspiration to give to charity. Improving the lot of the accessible in order to improve the lot of the whole. You exist ‘with’ us, not ‘to’ us.

You are a force in the universe, and you own the energy you bring to impact it however you choose to. Choose your role, make it valuable to the world around you. Exercise your audacity to be you, and own the energy you bring. Let it matter, and let it improve the lot of the whole that co-exists in the world with you.

[In Progress] Planning an African Festival in Austin, TX

I’m building a team in Q1 2015 to explore the viability of a large scale African festival in Austin. The focus is to expose the positive and empowering aspects of major African cultures, to influence the African narrative positively on a large scale, and to create a forum where Africans both at home and in diaspora can seat with leaders and change agents from other cultures to discuss opportunities for business, education and mutual economic growth through the private sector. Also, an experience centered around some of our major entertainment exports – music and film.

I’m not looking to discuss details around key components yet since we’ll figure it out together, but we should learn lessons and model around SXSW. We might consider having a SXSW experience together and doing some ideation during that period.

I’m looking out for people with experience handling event management and ops for large scale events (dibs if you’ve been involved with SXSW), branding and design, public relations, entertainment/talent management, finance, marketing and social media. All with a positive attitude and the innate ability to have fun while getting important stuff done.

I’m doing Starbucks runs on me through Q1 to look for good fits, figure this out and start coming up with an execution plan. There are no dates set yet for kicking off an actual event, just the planning for now – figuring out who the right partners are, our value proposition and a solid execution plan, even if an actual event doesn’t happen until 2016 or later. As long as we do something extraordinary.

Hit me up, or refer people to me – don’t have to be African, just need to have an open mind.