Let Your Light Shine

Being ignored has a greater impact on us than others can possibly know. While we all have experiences in life where we may sense nobody notices or cares, we all also have a different threshold for insecurity.

We strive to be liked, heard, and valued to “fit in” to our community, school, work, and organizations. Yet, fitting in is not always what is being served up to us. I experienced this often as I yearned to be accepted just as I am. Yet, being an African American man in the US, where my forefathers were enslaved, mistreated, killed, and marginalized, my American story lacks interest in a country that seems to look the other way rather than celebrate my presence. That is until George Floyd experienced an officer of the law kneeling on his neck, leading to his death, who was then charged with second-degree murder.

My story differs because of the level of confidence instilled in me as a child, during which time I was taught that where a door was closed, I should look for an open window. Where opportunity passed me by, I created my own. When so-called friends turned their backs, I became my greatest supporter. This is not easy when you feel you’re doing it alone.

The reminder I live with is that I am never alone; I am always with myself. This inspires me to get to know, like, and trust myself. In doing so, I move away from the need to blame others for my predicament, whatever it may be. Instead, I consider what I can do differently to change my course or outcome. That is precisely the mindset I bring to developing leaders.

We tend to live our lives externally focused, missing what is right in front of our faces; a mirror reflecting back at us what we need to know to accomplish what we are here to do, as well as showing us what we have yet to learn. That does not necessarily include pleasing other people. Instead, our lives are meant to be a contribution.

Exactly in what way we are to contribute is our life’s journey to discover. I find it next to impossible to navigate when focused outside of myself. When I can bring a leader around to this way of thinking, it’s as though they turn a corner where the light shines brightly on what to do next.