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Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Getting There: Howard Jean Speaks Part II

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on May 4, 2010

Getting There is a series featuring interviews from Generation Y young people who are breaking stereotypes and not only working hard to achieve their own definition of success but working to improve the lives of others around them.

Mr. Howard Jean, Director of the Call Me MISTER (CMM) Program, works to improve the lives of those around him by teaching self-empowerment and self-respect. The Program is headquartered at Cheyney University, the nation’s oldest historically Black institution of higher education. It is also the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). His work has garnered the interest of and put him on speaking panels with powerful players in the media elite including Bill Cosby, Susan Taylor, and John Quinones. Listen to him speak here. Mr. Jean was gracious enough to take some time to respond to questions for There From Here regarding his youth and tapping into his element. Read his responses below.

Sometimes our true gifts are hidden to us and are only revealed after someone who believes in us points them out. Did you see your gift, or did someone help you to identify it?

Gifts are something that we all possess and develop over time. Some gifts we have right now and some aren’t unearthed until later in life by design. The gifts that I possess, in my opinion, are the ability to help people, think critically and strategically, and power of discernment. My gift isn’t teaching. Teaching is the way I chose to pronounce that gift. I could have chosen any other profession and used those same gifts. We typically have gifts but confused our career or interest with the gift. Our gifts are only used to perform tasks. For me, it has been educating, community development and empowerment.

I think I began to identify my gift when I was in middle school and served as the student body president. When I ran, I looked at the problems or issues we had as students and thought of creative solutions that I or we could use to address those problems.

Authority figures can have a positive and/or negative influence on our lives. Did anyone in a position of authority over you try to steer you away from your dream? If so, how did you recover? If not, how did you fight their negativity?

I always say the situations and people you deal with and go through only help define and add more character or depth to your dream or particular goal you are trying to accomplish.

Growing up as a student in the school system of South Carolina, in a climate of subtle but present racism was the first encounter of persons (system) attempting to steer me away from my dreams. There were multiple times when our growth, creativity or zest for life could have been stifled by those in positions of leadership that did not share the same descent we owned. Parents, if you are reading, make sure you are more than involved in your child’s education; and, don’t allow those in control to deflate the potential of your children. This goes from kindergarten through high school. Misdiagnosis and misguidance seem to be extremely prevalent amongst our kids. Parents have the last word but many are unaware.  My mother made sure we had equal opportunity and exposure to activities, courses and experiences in school.

Teaching in the same school district that I was educated in seemed to have a similar plight but with different rules of engagement and protocol.  A moment, which I’d rather not speak of, could have derailed my plan but if it were not for a sense of purpose and creative map making, my success could have been hindered.

One thing that I maintain as a mantra is move forward, whether it’s an inch, foot or mile. Recognizing that every move towards your goal is a move towards your goal, no matter how large the progress. I have not always made huge steps, great accomplishments or received acclaim by the standards of others. But, I would embrace every opportunity and each goal achieved as MAJOR and BE happy in that moment. Success, to me is a pyramid that takes small and large stones to make. Some stones need to be small accomplishments or basic progressions in order to set the foundation for the rest of stones or success to come.  Measuring yourself against others is the quickest way to failure. If you are able to measure today with yesterday, then you can see and appreciate your greatness. It’s impossible to see greatness in yourself if you are constantly looking at and comparing yourself to others’ greatness.

Can you talk about an important decision you made that impacted your life? Why did you make that decision? How did you feel then compared to how you feel now? Was it worth it?

The decision I made to become an educator and join the Call Me MISTER program. That was probably a decision that has impacted my life the most. It has been the platform for which I have been able to learn, grow, give and impact the lives of others. The decision to be an educator but more so a MISTER, is a lifestyle decision and not just a career move. Living a morally sound (not perfect) life is something hard to commit to for most people who were 17 years old. Knowing that your life will be an example for younger people to follow is something that can be overwhelming. But, because of what I was being prepared for over the course of my life leading up to that point, it was easier to accept. Being reared in principles, morals, responsibility and character are the characteristics that create well adjusted adults and by default great teachers who are also role models. There was no anxiety in making the decision because it was already in me.

Men from the Call me MISTER Program Photo Credit: Meredith Edlow

What advice do you have for men who want to achieve success in their lives?

Great question. While on my path to what I call “success”, I have met some very influential people and learned some priceless lessons.  Success should be defined and measured by the goals you set for yourself. What your neighbor is doing with their goals and dreams has nothing to do with what you are doing with yours. Success is a very relative and measurable goal. It is relative to who you are and your purpose. Your goals are measured by your impact and pace you need to accomplish those goals.

Also, as mentioned in my upcoming book “Be the CEO of YOU (working title)”, a secret that I am sharing for the first time in print but shared through my lectures to students across the country, is creating a list of “virtual mentors”. Because many of the people I look up to are far from reach, with the use of technology, they can be accessed anywhere at any time. Virtual mentors are people you look up to, admire and can learn something from. Don’t negate the traditional face-to-face mentorship experience. For those that don’t have the luxury of this form of communication, though, this technique helps.

This should be done in a way to avoid becoming them. Find a group of traits that your list of “Virtual Mentors” possess, and use those traits to create YOU. The power we have to create ourselves in the images we choose is profound. Once you tap into that power you then empower yourself, which will carry you further than any motivational speaker will take you.

I mention this in my upcoming book, which helps to organize plans for success and structure areas of your life in order to achieve balance.  My book started out as a daily text message. I sent texts focused on what was revealed to me to a group of friends I referred to as “Movers and Shakers”. I decided to make this the more personal and structured way of doing things in my life. My text messages went from one page texts to two page texts to three page texts and so on. I received positive feedback and turned it into a daily email. I added more names to the distribution list and had my thought of the day circulated around offices. My messages became the base of morning meetings for teams. I felt that my perspective on success and maintaining focus could help others as it helped me, so I started writing the book.

What advice do you have for women who want to do the same?

If you are a mother, your definition of success cannot be measured against what the next mother is doing with her child. It has to be measured by what you are doing with your child. Now take that same concept and apply it to your dreams or goals. Women have been the backbone of America through our families for centuries. If they can see the relation between the strong women that have come before them and tap in to them through a virtual mentorship, I’m sure they will see similarities and a pattern of success. Women are created with an innate ability to create strategically and critically, henceforth motherhood. Success starts at the core of who you are. The power to birth a child, a nation, lies in all women, which makes running a Fortune 500 company look like “child’s play” (pun intended).


Over my career I have worked with a few and met many famous/influential people, such as:

President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Tavis Smiley, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Susan Taylor, Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, Dr. Steve Perry, Mr. Salome Thomas-EL, Judge Gregg Mathis, Jill Scott, Mayor Ray Nagin, Boxer Paul Williams, Son of Honorable Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall, and Warren Buffet’s Sister.

Posted in Advice, Guest Posts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Getting There: Tavaghn “Montsterr” Monts Speaks Part II

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on April 17, 2010

Getting There is a series featuring interviews from Generation Y young people who are breaking stereotypes and not only working hard to achieve their own definition of success but working to improve the lives of others around them.

Among other professions Tavaghn “Montster” Monts is Vice President of My Life Keys where he works as a Motivator and Life Coach. He has built a strong network leveraging his ability to relate with his target audience through consistent, branded messages on Twitter. If you’re living under a rock, Twitter is a social networking tool that allows people to connect with one another in a vastly more efficient manner than Facebook. Showing his prowess, Tavaghn does more than share what he’s eating for breakfast, offering ways in which his followers can “Motivate Your Motivation” through the “#MYM” hashtag.

In the video below he answers the following questions:

What advice do you have for men who want to achieve success in their lives?

What advice do you have for women who want to do the same?

You’re also known for your relationship advice. Can you discuss the importance of defining your passions and setting career and life goals for yourself as it pertains to building a strong relationship?

You’ve built a large network on Twitter and use that network to share positive messages. How can young people (under 30) use Twitter to achieve their goals? Would you advise them against saying certain things?

Posted in Advice, Guest Posts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Getting There: Tavaghn “Montsterr” Monts Speaks Part I

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on April 17, 2010

Getting There is a series featuring interviews from Generation Y young people who are breaking stereotypes and not only working hard to achieve their own definition of success but working to improve the lives of others around them.

Among other professions Tavaghn “Montster” Monts is Vice President of My Life Keys where he works as a Motivator and Life Coach. He has built a strong network leveraging his ability to relate with his target audience through consistent, branded messages on Twitter. If you’re living under a rock, Twitter is a social networking tool that allows people to connect with one another in a vastly more efficient manner than Facebook. Showing his prowess, Tavaghn does more than share what he’s eating for breakfast, offering ways in which his followers can “Motivate Your Motivation” through the “#MYM” hashtag.

In the video below he answers the following questions:

Many famous stars attribute their success to knowing exactly what they wanted to do or be when they were a child. Did you know what you wanted to do or be at a young age?

Sometimes our true gifts are hidden to us and are only revealed after someone who believes in us points them out. Did you see your gift, or did someone help you to identify it?

Authority figures can have a positive and/or negative influence on our lives. Did anyone in a position of authority over you try to steer you away from your dream? If so, how did you recover? If not, how did you fight their negativity?

Can you talk about the important decision you made that impacted your life? Why did you make that decision? How did you feel then compared to how you feel now? Was it worth it?

Continue to Part II

Posted in Advice, Guest Posts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Gen Y: Who Motivates You?

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on April 15, 2010

Growing up I put people older than me on a pedestal, assuming they held the knowledge I lacked because, as a child, I could not know what they knew. I’ve since learned my lesson. I know now that there are a lot of people in adult bodies with child-like minds. Sometimes their own children are smarter than they are, which makes me concerned for the future. It concerns me because some children are not strong enough to question their parents’ logic. They believe it when their parents tell them that they won’t amount to anything. They agree that the world does not need another scholar. They believe the teachers, relatives, televisions shows, movies and news media who tell them that they’re lazy, stupid, and too idealistic for their own good. Well, “adults”, who do you think is going to be there for you when you grow too old to take care of yourselves? When you motivate someone to become somebody, you benefit the world by creating a human being capable of love and compassion for someone other than themselves. Unfortunately, some have to be motivated by the negative talk of irresponsible adults who are too busy projecting their own jaded misgivings.

So, I ask you Generation Y, who motivates you? Does this song resonate with you?

The Blue Print 3 – So Ambitious lyrics

Motivation for me, is them telling me what I could not be
Oh well

I felt so inspired by what the teacher said
Said I’d either be dead or be a reefer head
Not sure if that’s how adults should speak to kids
Especially when the only thing I did was speak in class
I’ll teach his ass
Even better what my uncle did
I popped my demo tape in start to beat my head
Peeked out my eye, see if he was beatin his
He might as well said beat it kid,
He’s on the list
It’s like I’m searching for kicks
Like a sneaker head
You gon keep pushing me til I reach the ledge
And when I reach the ledge, I tell ’em all to eat a dick
Take a leap of faith and let my eagle wings spread

(Chorus)
Motivation to me, is them telling me what I could not be, oh well
I’m so ambitious, I might hit two sisters,
Hey I’m on a mission, no matter what the conditions
Fuck the personal issues, when you go through what I been through,
hey, if you believe it, then you can conceive it

Verse 2
Had to lace up my boots, even harder
Father is too far away to father
Further, more of the kids either
Smoke reefer or either move white
There’s few writers, in my cipher
So they made lighter, my type of
Dreams seen to them, they said wise up
How many guys are? You see making it from here
The world dont like us, is that not clear, alright bruh
I’m different I can’t face what I’m gon be, or
For what everybody isn’t, they don’t listen
Just whispering behind my back, no vision,
Lack of ambition, So Wack!

(Chorus) Pharrell
Motivation to me, is them telling me what I could not be, oh well
I’m so ambitious, I might hit two sisters,
Hey I’m on a mission, no matter what the conditions
Fuck the personal issues, when you go through what I been through,
hey, if you believe it, then you can conceive it

Verse 3
Had a couple of meetings, no office yet
Maybe I ain’t good enough for these offices
Back to the drawing board, ducking officers
It’s all good cuz the streets, is saying ?
So with or without any of your involvement
We coming for all of this, respect my conglomerate
I went from piper to the president, cuz every deal I ever made set precedent
N****s probably thought a 4 without 0 buddy, oh Buddy
What I do is make more money
Dear teacher, you probably somewhere speaker
I’m balling out of control, can you hear my sneakers?
Fuck yall!!

(Chorus) Pharrell
Motivation to me, is them telling me what I could not be, oh well
I’m so ambitious, I might hit two sisters,
Hey I’m on a mission, no matter what the conditions
Fuck the personal issues, when you go through what I been through,
hey, if you believe it, then you can conceive it

Posted in RandomThoughtOftheDay | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Eureka! I Found My Motivation!

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on February 16, 2010

Now that I knew my problem was a lack of motivation, I set forth trying to determine what would motivate me. Some people are motivated by “haters”; others are motivated by family. The one thing most of these forces have in common is that they are external forces. Well, I am not motivated by external forces. I didn’t grow up feeling the need to be successful in order to prove something to someone who didn’t believe in me. Nor did I feel pressure to be the future caretaker of the family. Consequently, I developed a highly independent nature, relying on research, deductive reasoning, and some common sense to influence my mindset.

The benefits of being highly independent are clear when it comes to problem solving. You learn how to become resourceful when in need of answers to puzzling questions. I began by asking my friends on social networks and in real life what motivates them. Popular responses included faith, a desire to succeed and bills. In Socratic fashion, I pursued further, unsatisfied with the responses. Every self help book, article, and quote about motivation gives those responses and still people get stuck in the mire of mediocrity. I needed to know what it was about having faith, a desire to succeed, or bills that spurred these people into action; and, not just action, but progression towards goals that they found intrinsically connected them to their inner being.

Far too many people are on paths defined for them. Maybe my Generation Y status gives me a proclivity for idealism, but I believe it necessary to a happy life. Essential to it is defining your own path that connects you to your own spirit. This is not about religion. Connecting to your spirit is about finding who you really are, what you really want to be, and developing a conviction to hurdle over any obstacle that enters your lane. Some people know this, though, and still can’t make the connection. Some people need to start at the beginning by analyzing themselves. If you don’t know what road you should be on, do the following:

  1. Ask yourself what brings a smile to your face
  2. Write it down
  3. Ask yourself what you find yourself talking about all the time
  4. Write it down

After you’ve done these things, you will see a pattern emerge. Somewhere in this list is your career. If you already know what you would do with the rest of your life but can’t get yourself motivated to do it, then you are in the position I was in not too long ago. After talking to people about their motivation and reading through multiple articles and quotations, I realized the secret to finding your motivation has nothing to do with you. Everyone who appears to have a special gift to succeed is only successful because they are motivated by their desire to be of service to others.

Cosmopolitan magazine, Sean Combs, and John Mayer all list multiple motivators. Cosmo suggests that the emotion of envy is an indicator of lack and desire. We become envious of what others have only when it is something that we desire in our own lives. This desire to have what others have is mistaken as a good motivator because it appears to be a catalyst for action. What if you feel undeserving of what others have but still want it? That feeling of being unworthy will kill any desire. In an interview with Playboy Magazine, John Mayer stated the following:

PLAYBOY: So you’ve lost the motivation of playing music to meet girls.

MAYER: If I was playing it so I could meet hot chicks, I’ve met hot chicks, quote unquote. If I was playing it to make a ton of money, I’ve made a ton of money. If I was playing it to be well-known, I am well-known. Once you put aside girls and money, it forces you to realign your motivation for being a musician. Now I’m not a have-not but a have. Which is interesting, because music has to come from a have-not sort of place. And there are many places where I have-not.

PLAYBOY: What motivates you now?

MAYER: My motivation is to prove people wrong, to confuse them. I enjoy the challenge—I must be addicted to the challenge. I’ve gone from being a musician to being a celebrity. And when people do that, their work usually suffers. There are tunes on Battle Studies that are more applicable to other people’s lives than anything I’ve ever written before. This whole time I’ve stayed vulnerable, stayed frustrated, stayed confused. This record is the trade-off to having sort of brutalized myself for a few years. So if people see that over the past couple of years I actually got a firmer grip on writing songs about the ups and downs of life, they might go, “How did he have the time to make a record? Was he writing ‘War of My Life’ in the middle of me thinking he was a douche bag? Did I ever actually know him? Maybe he’s a pretty solid guy.”

John Mayer started his career motivated by women and fame, but he has those now. Without those to serve as motivators, what keeps him interested in playing music? Somewhere in there is a desire for people to be less judgmental. I suggest John Mayer lose the motivation to prove people wrong and write music that allows him to reconnect with his true self – the good guy with the best intentions. Sean Combs has said that his mother served as his main inspiration to become the media mogul that he is today. I’d like to ask him what keeps him motivated now that he can provide everything for her.

I’ve come to realize where my motivation comes from, how I obtained it, and how I will keep it. My hope is that by reading this, you will develop your own realization. My goal is to help you get there from here.

Posted in Advice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »