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G.R.O.W. Towards Your Greatness!

They say greatness is a choice but what have you chosen?

You’ve been frozen in time and broken in mind

For too long the same song playing in your head

Living in breath but better off dead

But who said you didn’t have the power?

Who said this is not your hour?

You’ve been showered with a steady stream of words that kill your dreams

But since you’re still breathing then someone done lied to you

Tried to deny you of your own potential inside you

If you’d just decide to let no one deride you

Don’t even let them get beside you as you unearth the new you

Stop listening to naysayers and decide to do you

No more pity parties, sobbing and boohoos

If no one told you you’re great then let me be the first to

If you have the thirst to drink from faith’s fountain

You’ll develop the might to move mountains

We move tons of dirt to find an ounce of gold

So I ask you to move tons of hurt and find just one ounce of your soul

You’ll be on the path to control your own destiny

Getting out of your own passenger seat and driving your own car

Reaching for the moon but maybe landing among the stars

You have greatness inside you but you must choose to be great

Blaze a path of excellence, leave fear in your wake

All you need is already inside you just believe in yourself

G.R.O.W. towards your greatness and discover your true wealth!

A Motivational Speaker’s Take on White Supremacists

            Motivational speakers are supposed to be objective. We are supposed to speak about how there is always a window opening when a door closes. We are supposed to speak matter-of-factly that life doesn’t care about our excuses, only our results. We are expected to be apolitical and focus on the bright side no matter what. While I have been proud to call myself a motivational speaker, I was an activist and an upstander before I was anything else. Whether I am motivating, teaching, or rapping, fighting for social change will always be at the root of what I do.

When I see our nation facing increasing hostilities from white supremacists who blame others for their own station in life, I am obligated to speak. To that end, I would like to share some words that I hope will inspire these individuals to see the real problem that is facing their advancement—themselves. There are certain motivational principles we speakers share that in the end, will help these individuals take control of their lives and stop attempting to destroy the lives of others, if they have the will to do so.

  1. “When you point a finger at someone else, there are three pointing back at you.”

Les Brown once said that life doesn’t care about your excuses, only your results. While you attack immigrants for taking your jobs (they’re not), DACA students who became valedictorian over your child, or grab your TIKI torches, the question you should be asking is what have you done to improve your life in the last few years? Have you signed up for any certifications? Have you decided to go back to school? Learn a trade? Learn a language? It is impossible to look at yourself and take personal responsibility when you spend so much time looking down on others. As we say in the ‘hood, do YOU! Part of the reason hatred is so strong towards others is because it is partially rooted in envy.

  1. “A negative mind will never give you a positive life.”

You will be whatever consumes you. If you are consumed by hate and ignorance toward someone else, that feeling will eat you alive. When the late South African President Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years, one of the first stops he made was to the home of his prison guards to show that he forgave them. The hate you give others could be a manifestation of some form of contempt for yourself. How much time is spent thinking positively about your future as opposed to practicing evil against others? Your hatred towards others is literally preventing you from forging a path that could change the course of your life. Once you run out of people to hate and attack, you’ll have no one else to judge but yourself. Self-reflection is harder than negative outward projection but in the end it’s worth it.

  1. “Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”

These powerful words spoken by Carol Burnet should be your mantra. There is no cavalry coming for you. No matter how much ignorance you express online or in real life, you still have to look at yourself in the mirror and do something with your life. Someone once said to pray as if it all depends on God but act is if it all depends on you. What is one thing you did today that helped advance in your own life, build on your knowledge, or improve yourself professionally? If your answer is “nothing” than you have no one to be upset with but yourself. If every person whom you hold in contempt disappeared today, it still would do nothing to improve your chances of success if you have done nothing to improve your chances for success.

In closing, it is important to remember that whiteness is a construct, designed to ascribe a certain set of privileges to white people that they neither earned nor had to compete for. As the country has become browner and a bigger part of the global community, there is no way to avoid competition from others. Extremism is on the rise in America in part because of a perceived threat of the “other” coming to take jobs and other opportunities from white people. In 2017, most of the acts of terrorism committed on American soil were committed by white men, emboldened by an administration that has members with their own history of racism, including President Trump himself. If the same anger was focused on looking inward instead of acting out, these individuals may learn that there is indeed a better future for them if they are willing to do the work to prepare for it.

Reflect positively on the end of another year

The end of the year is upon us and what do you know? You’re still here. Despite all of the many tragedies we see in the world today, you still woke up today, blessed to breathe a new day. Have you ever stopped to really ponder what that means? What better time than now to do just that. Even though your day may not be going great, are you still grate-ful?

I am learning more and more how to appreciate each day, each moment with my family, and each moment with you. This holiday season, I really suggest you make an effort to do the same because each year that passes is one you will never see again. Oprah once said that when her time is done on earth she wants to look down and say “I knocked that earth thing out!” You can’t accomplish that if you do not focus on being present and enjoying each moment while you have it to enjoy. Don’t let anyone take your peace and potential happiness away…not even YOU! Happy holidays to you and yours!

The youth of Wisconsin keep my hope strong

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of speaking the Wisconsin Association of Student Councils (WASC) leadership conference. The goal of my  presentations to the middle and high school students as well as their advisors was to talk about not just being a leader, but being an upstanding leader. As a youth speaker, speaking on this issue is one of the topics I am most passionate about. I talked about the importance of not being a leader in name only who is just a bystander, but an upstanding leader who remembers to truly serve others. Speaking to these incredible students showed me that there was not much convincing that I had to do keep them motivated on this topic.

The WASC students came into the conference already motivated and excited to take themselves to the next level as leaders as well as individuals. Their dedication to improving their leadership skills for the betterment of their school and community was truly inspiring. I wish that they could livestream their entire 2-day conference so that America could see the positivity that exudes from our youth. Most of what we see of youth on television is overwhelmingly negative. If we as adults could be fed a daily dose of what youth like the WASC students are doing, we would be as optimistic about the future of this country as I am. Simply put, WASC students rock!

I encourage you today to intentionally look for something positive in the youth around you or in your community in general. It is too easy to be pessimistic about the future of our youth. If you look for negativity on the news from flashmob robbings to school shootings, you will find it. On the flip side, if you look for youth serving their communities by volunteering to help the homeless, tutoring after school, or helping to keep their community clean and safe, you will find that too. If you believe it and seek it, you will find it. Don’t stereotype our youth. They deserve better. They deserve our best. I am fortunate in my career to get to see them give their best everyday. I thank the WASC students for giving me that opportunity this past weekend.

National Student Council Conference: a better future IS possible

This past weekend, I had the true honor of speaking to over 1,000 students at the National Association of Student Councils’  (NASC) annual conference. I have spoken to youth across America and across the globe, but I had never participated in a Student Council conference before, even though I was president of the Student Council in high school. This conference was a refreshing reminder of why I chose to serve my school in this capacity when I was a student. In short, student council leaders are awesome!!!

From the second I walked in the door of the lovely Ocoee High School where the conference was held, I felt the student energy. Whether in the hallways or in the sessions, these students were actively engaged in everything they did. They were not just there to get away from home. Over three days, I saw them engage great speakers like Cara Filler, Mark Black, Kimyung Kim and others in serious conversations about leadership, service, and decision-making. What NASC does so well at their conferences is that they do not just have keynote speakers speak and leave. The speakers and students also lead smaller workshops, so we got to engage the students at a deeper level.

When it was my turn to speak, I truly felt like a rockstar because the students and incredible advisers gave me such a great reception over the prior two days. I was so moved that I just HAD to put on one of their capes when I took the stage! I have NEVER worn a cape on stage before but I was feeling the spirit after a great introduction by Tori and Cooper, two powerful student leaders! After my speech, I spent about an hour just talking to students who came from as close as Florida to as far away as China! It was an event I will never forget.

Theses student UPstanders at this conference had me feeling extremely confident about the future of America. I really believe that these youth will right our wrongs. It is a shame that I cannot point to our “adult” lawmakers in my town of Washington, DC as an example of what can happen when we put service and country first but I believe these incredible leaders of today (not tomorrow) have figured out how to build communities together just fine. I truly hope that I am blessed with future opportunities to work with NASC at state conferences and summer leadership programs. These students and advisers have created an incredible model that other programs should follow. As I said to so many of them at the conference, ROCK ON!

1,000,000 Youth Campaign

 

The problem

In today’s mass media culture, our youth are constantly being reminded of what it is they do not have. Through the entertainment industry, they are constantly reminded of an image they may never attain. From flawless, near-perfect model images of Beyonce and Taylor Swift to television shows broadcasting the multi-room mansions of today’s athletes, our young people become convinced that their lives will never be as drama-free as the utopian images advertised to them hourly on their cell phones, iPods, televisions, laptops, and video games.

While our youth are dealing with the aforementioned challenges, there are few avenues by which they can receive support (or positive reinforcement) for their own concerns. Television shows that speak to teen issues are hard to come by. Community programs are being closed left and right due to lack of funding. School counselors are overworked and underpaid. Many parents are too busy trying to provide for their children that they do not have time during the day to properly interact with their children and learn of the challenges they face. With no consistent means to intervene in the lives of our youth, we are witnessing an increase in suicides, crime, gang activity, dropout rates, teen sexual promiscuity, and drug abuse. For all intents and purposes, our youth have been abandoned by society as a whole.

The need for the 1,000,000 youth campaign

It has been said that one positive thought can overcome an entire army of negative thoughts. The 1,000,000 youth campaign exists to speak positivity into the minds of our youth. The campaign seeks to plant a seed of greatness in the lives of many whose spirits have wilted. Sometimes it takes the belief of someone else to carry one over until she develops her own ability to believe in herself. Through participating in the 1,000,000 youth campaign, participants will learn the “Great 8” formula for personal growth. Specifically, they will learn to:

  • Realize they can overcome any obstacle
  • See suicide as a permanent solution to a temporary problem
  • Understand the relevance school still has in their lives
  • Create goals to pursue their dreams
  • Remove negative people or circumstances from their lives
  • Attract the people and circumstances around them that will advance their goals
  • Respect the differences of others
  • Be upstanders and not bystanders in the face of our bullying epidemic

The How

Through powerful and entertaining motivational speeches including the use of spoken word and hip-hop; through personal stories and stories of others who have overcome obstacles; through affirmations; and through dialogue, Omékongo, empowers every audience member to be an upstander and live their greatest life. Through intense breakout sessions, participants dig deeply into not only developing self-esteem for themselves, but a respect for people of diverse backgrounds. Don’t wait! Contact Omékongo today if you want to motivate your youth with this dynamic motivational youth speaker!

 

 

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Real Talk

Real Talk, hosted by motivational youth speaker Omékongo Dibinga, looks at issues concerning our youth today. Whether it's issues such as racism and bullying to music and distracted driving, Real Talk is an honest conversation with and about youth. This is the show where the lives of our future leaders matter most!

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