Growth, Consistency, & Evolution
I’ve never had a true passion for reading. Quite honestly, I don’t like to use the word hate, but I highly disliked reading for a very long time. I actually had quiet the difficult time comprehending texts growing up. I was a word caller, meaning I could decode every word on the paper but if you asked me, what was the meaning of the content, I would have to go back and re-read it over and over again. That was then. Want to know something about now? I still don’t like reading. Yes, I was a teacher for 5 years and now an Assistant Principal, so that may come as an interesting fact about me but here’s the real point of this; I had then, and still have now, a thirst for learning. That thirst and desire to learn is stronger than my dislike of reading. Guess what I do now, and very often? READ. There’s so much knowledge and wisdom to be gained, and it’s imperative and essential to try to attain it. I don’t always have time to read, so I listen. Podcasts, audiobooks, apps. There’s no excuses. With all of that said, one of the recent topics and themes I’ve been reading about is growth, evolution, and consistency. Allow me a moment of your time to break down and share my thoughts with you.
Quotes quotes quotes. I love them. A lot of them have deep relative meaning to my everyday life. “You’re the average of the five people you spend most time with” quote widely contributed to a motivational speaker by the name of Jim Rohn. If you know me, then you know I like to be busy, work hard, exemplify leadership while positively effecting the lives of others, particularly our youth. Let’s look at my closest five or the five I spend most of my time with.
My father was a true leader of men. Akron Police Department for 34 years. Sergeant. The men in his unit have personally told me how they enjoyed working with my father and being in his unit. How he was tough but fair and they knew he had their back. I even have had a few gentlemen, who served some jail time, tell me how they respected my father because he was always fair. Do you understand the pride I have in being my father’s son? A TON. A black man and a police officer in the inner-city. I’m sure you all know the negativity which surrounds police officers in today’s society. I even get nervous when I get pulled over but I respect the job they do because I see the respect my father garnered for doing the job the right way.
My mother, earned her Master’s degree while taking care of my younger brother and I. I still remember going to class with her when she was teaching high school students. She then earned and attained her PhD. She’s an educator, a wife, mother, also a sign-language interpreter. Oh, I forgot to mention she’s a business owner and massage therapist. She’s Superwoman. She did all of those things and whenever I called her, she was always there. I’m not bragging but seriously she does it all.
My wife, I could talk forever about. Graduates this summer with an accounting degree. She told me before we got married, she needed to live on her own so she would know what it’s like to take care of herself. She is a leader and self-driven. The arguments we sometimes have are simply because she’s strong minded, independent, focused, and I’m simply just in her way. She’s creating her own path, working and finishing school, and already making plans for attaining her CPA.
My little brother. Has 3 degrees and more certifications than I can count. Has had various job opportunities in America. All under the age of 26. He says to me frequently “big bro all I know is to work hard and be a leader. That’s what you do every day. I’ve watched you do it for years. That’s all I know”.
My best friend (feel free to look him up) Justin Porter M.Ed. CSCS. ACSM-PT. Those letters behind his name are important. He earned them. Successful business owner. Successful fitness/gym instructor of Functional Fitness Applied Strength & Conditioning. 4a-10p for 2 years straight. Out of 730 days he probably worked 725, to get the business off the ground and make ends meet.
Stay with me people, this is where we start to tie things together. Looking at my closest five I think you can understand why I am the way I am. This is and has been what I’ve been consistently exposed to throughout my life. I asked Justin about his growth, evolution and consistency and he said something very interesting. “My vision changes yearly on where I’m at and where I see myself. The mission is to provide an inviting atmosphere for people to become better versions of themselves and improve their quality of life by the way of physical fitness and human interaction. It’s really about the atmosphere for us… that fosters improvement. The way we’ve done it has changed/evolved as we’ve become more educated, knowledgeable, experienced to meet the needs and changes”. Keep those words in mind when it comes to growth, evolution and consistency.
Efehi Osa aka Coach “O” @trulygifted (look him up), started elite-skills back in 2008-9 I believe. 10 years later he has over 15 thousand followers on Instagram and trains hundreds of players ranging from young hoopers to top level pro athletes. “My mission and vision is to impact lives for God’s glory through hoops. It’s been consistent over the years. Build people up, build relationships, develop character. Make sure they are aware I do it for his glory… Stay the course, results will come”. STAY THE COURSE, RESULTS WILL COME.
I recently just finished reading Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It, by Charlamagne Tha God (celebrity radio host). He was fired 4 times and jobless with a wife and child to take care of before he finally got his big break. Even in the midst of that adversity he didn’t break. He stayed consistent in the pursuit of chasing his dream while harnessing the skills of his craft. He frequently says things along the lines of don’t expect me to have the same thoughts as I had years ago, I’ve learned and I evolved.
Antonio Goodwin CEO at A Better Cleaning Service in my hometown of Akron, Ohio. I asked him how and why he got started with his business. His answer was directly related to his passion. His answer was “my children”. “I want them to know college is the ideal way but you also have options to become successful if you apply yourself and believe in yourself”. Before his business Antonio was working at various banks in which they were closing and threatening to lay off the employees. Antonio had to make a decision and he bet on himself. “It started out slow but it slowly grew into a legit business… The main thing that keeps me going is my kids… They’re happy. Another thing is a lot of people were telling me what I couldn’t do but I bet on myself”.
I say all of that to say this to parents, players, students, businessmen & women, entrepreneurs in order to be successful, you have to stay incredibly consistent in the pursuit of your goals. Without consistency success is bleak. There will be many setbacks that will test your ability to stay consistent. What will help with that consistency is your passion for attaining that goal. What is driving you? During the course of attaining your goal what changes will you make over time to benefit yourself en route to attaining your dream? Change is inevitable. Are you willing to accept personal changes and sacrifices to reach your destination? This represents true growth. When you take into account your consistency, your changes over time, you recognize the evolution. Justin’s business has evolved to the point where he (reluctantly) can take days off and be comfortable. Coach O’s business has evolved into a business that is virtuously endless regarding the lives he can impact. Not to mention professional athletes seek out his guidance. Antonio's business has evolved from a few clients to him running a successful business, accepting commercial contracts, providing him the opportunity to support his family financially.
Don’t fall into the comfortability of complacency. Yes, old habits die hard but break the cycle. Don’t let peer pressure prevent you from accomplishing your greatness. Although all of us (myself, Justin, Coach O, Antonio) has stayed true to ourselves, we’ve all changed as in we’ve all grown, but what has stayed the same is the commitment of consistency, hard-work, and the acceptance of making necessary changes which results in our evolution.