Shared Work And Wealth

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Photo: REUTERS

Kwanzaa Day 4

Principle #4 Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) commits us to the principle and practice of shared work and wealth. It stresses our kinship with others and the environment and appreciation for the need for a just and equitable distribution of the good for everyone so that all can live lives of dignity and decency.

This principle urges us to build and maintain our stores, shops, and other business and to profit from them together. This principle teaches us an ethics of shared work and shared wealth and calls on us to engage in economic practices that are constantly concerned about satisfying our needs without exploiting or injuring others and the world.

I think about our Native brother and sisters at Standing Rock. They have the right to control and benefit from the resources of their land.  It has been beautiful to watch their act of activism and defiance in choosing the earth over profits.

Because it all boils down that we all have the right to live lives of dignity and decency.  Whether you are in Standing Rock or Flint. Whether you are in Ferguson or Charlotte.  Our economic practices should never be about satisfying our needs at the expense of others.

What happens to one of us, happens to all of us.
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We are in this together…

Kwanzaa Day 3

Principle #3  Ujima (collective work and responsibility) calls on us, to build and maintain our community together and to make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together. This principle teaches us the shared responsibility to work and build the good family, community, society and world. It takes a mindful village to prosper and it is a joy and blessing for each of us to participate.

Remembrance:
I love supporting my family, friends, and clients.  As a kid, I loved being called on to help. That feeling of solving a problem and helping to ease someone’s load is one I still cherish today.  I love helping because over the years so many people have helped me in too many ways to count.  They have watched my kids so I could work, they have gifted me money and food. They have pointed me in the direction of the perfect job, house or opportunity. They have introduced me to colleagues that have become friends and friends that have become family. They have held my hand, listened to my problems and wiped my tears.

It has taken a village to raise me into the woman I am today.

As this year ends who has helped to make you into the person you are today?

Reflection:
Community is not always easy to build. Not always easy to maintain and changes over time.  New members join, others leave and yet the work continues. I reflect on what it means to be in community and how I want to show up in my family, my work, and the world. I think back on the ways I have fallen short over the past year as well as the ways I surprised myself.

In what ways have you struggled and in what ways have you been victorious?

Re-commitment
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach, author and scholar-activist who stresses the indispensable need to preserve, continually revitalize and promote African American culture.

Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, not a religious one. It is built on the most elevated and liberating practices a culture can share. It’s about being good to your people (YOU decided who those are) and the world. It’s about self-transformation, love and celebrating lives well lived, and standing beside one another as we fight, love, live and prosper.

I love my community and renew my support to their needs, their hopes, their dreams and their liberation.

How will you be good and generous to your community in 2017?

We show the world our highest self when we are in community.

Here is to more shared good in the world.

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An Audacious Act

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Day 2 of Kwanzaa

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves. This reaffirms the right of persons and peoples to determine their own destiny and daily lives; to live in peace and security, and to flourish in freedom.

We all have the right to live in a safe and secure place. Freedom is our divine right. We all should be free to move beyond past limitations and become all that we were created to be.

I talk a lot about freedom in my work. What does it look like? How will we know we are free? In what ways are we chained and what ways do we stop others from being free.

For me, true freedom means that I define myself. I use my voice and my power so that we all flourish, not just some.

I know I can’t breathe until everyone can breathe.  I am part of the problem and part of the solution. I make choices every day that either set folks free or keep them chained.

  • Where I keep my money, where I spend my money and how I use it.
  • What I eat, where I eat and the food system that puts that food on my table.

Our choices are interconnected and they have consequences. so when I use my voice and power, when organizations I support focus on equity and justice they show other organizations that they can also make anti-oppression work a priority as well.

The more we move beyond constraints the more valuable we become to our communities.

Each Kwanzaa we are called upon to think deeply about our lives and the world. Then, we are to recommit ourselves to our highest ideals, our best values, and visions.

Today I will focus on freedom. What will you focus on? What will you reaffirm? How will you use your voice?

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The Seven Principles

 

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December 26th is the first day of Kwanzaa.

I love Kwanzaa, not necessarily for the traditions, but they are beautiful. I love that  Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be Black but most importantly what it means to be human in the fullest sense. It reflects the best of positive thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, and the well-being of family and community.

 I dig it.

In 2017 as we focus on fighting for justice and equity in this world, let us use the principles of Kwanzaa to guide, direct, sustain and comfort us.

Kwanzaa is a celebration of the family, community, and culture which first forms us, names, nurtures and sustains us, and teaches us uplifting ways to understand and assert ourselves in the world.

Our foundation, our rock, our source and our bond.

Kwanzaa teaches and cultivates cultural grounding and principles and practices dedicated to the cooperative creation and sharing of good in the world.

We do not stand alone….not ever. 

Kwanzaa gives us the  Nguzo Saba, the seven principles. They serve as a necessary foundation and framework for grounding and guiding our relationships and community every day of the year.

Principle #1  Umoja (unity) calls on us to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.  We are urged to recognize and respect the foundation and nurturing framework of family and community; the relatedness and interdependence of the peoples of the world; and a profound sense of oneness in and with the world. We laugh together, we cry together, we support one another and we build real community together so that no one gets left behind.

Every day I will share a principle with y’all. I ask that you join me in using these principles  as the foundation for your days, your work, your institutions and organizations and the life you design for yourself.

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A Seat At The Table

 

 

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I grew up experiencing many, many situations where I was the only woman. Where I was the only person of color. Where I was the only one that came from a working class background.

The only one.

Do you have any idea how awful it is to know that when you speak some folks think you are speaking for an entire community or race of people? I was never allowed to make a mistake.  I was being judged by different standards.

It was exhausting…but speak I did.

Walking in the room was not enough. I also sat my ass down at that table and got comfortable. I did not sit at any table, I sat at the big table. The table where all the decision makers were. I sat down like I belonged, because I did.

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Validation Is For Parking

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People want to be validated. All of us. We want to be seen and heard. We want to be thought about and thanked. We want to be understood. Validation makes us feel accepted and reassured.

The need for validation is powerful. It can result in us over-servicing, worrying, trying to please everyone, and not feeling like what we offer at any given moment is enough.

The desire for validation is one of the strongest motivating forces known to man.

The need to be acknowledged can guide our choices. It may help to dictate who we love, where we live, and how we carry ourselves through the world. Western culture puts a great deal of pressure on us to look a certain way, to follow specific metrics for success, and to live a particular lifestyle.

We sometimes let the noise of institutions and other people drown out our own voices. We do it on social networks. We do it in meetings. We do it at the dinner table. We look to others to tell us what we should buy, eat, listen to, and read. We do it to not make waves and to get through. We must “like” stuff to be a part of the gang.

External validation feeeeeeeeels gooooood! So, so, so good.

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Speak Truth To Power

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Truth. Honesty. Candor

I have been described as wholly, honestly, and unapologetically me. I have been told I am straight talking, generous, and compassionate.

I have also been called a hard, evil, mean bitch.

Yep, I am all of those things depending on who you talk to.

I like to speak truth to power, and in certain circles that is not welcomed or wanted. I value candor and I cultivate it in my work environment, as well as in my personal life.

Let’s make our lives easier by calling “bullshit” when it’s needed. (Do you hear me politicians in Washington, DC?)

I want to speak truth, and more importantly, I want to hear truth from those around me. Those that I am in the trenches with. Those I love and care for.  Those that I donate money to. The communities I support. The CEO’s I coach.

I want them to know that I will always cultivate a space for growth, connection, and ideas to flourish. This place cannot be created without candor.

The kind of truth created in this such places changes a culture.

This kind of truth can only occur in an environment where trust has been built and banked for hard times. When you feel organizationally or emotionally bankrupt, this reserve of trust among your friends, partners, donors, and community will help you through any difficult situation. It will give you the strength to tackle and overcome any obstacle.

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Where The Hell Have I Been?

 

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Where the Hell Have I Been?

That is the question.

I know it’s been 11 months since I wrote a blog post. 334 days of radio silence.
I went dark, but I did not stop.
I have been around, but I have been working. Working with organizations, speaking, supporting individual clients, and facilitating Mastermind groups and retreats. I have been growing my business and doing work that has transformed communities. Work that at its core has transformed me. I have been working a lot of hours. A lot. I am proud of every single one.

The price I paid for doing such great work was that I did not get a chance to write. I have to admit that I missed it.
I never refer to myself as a writer. I have too many close friends that love writing. It is what they are here on this earth to do. As little children they dreamed of writing books, while I dreamed of protesting and starting revolutions. They loved words. I loved speeches.

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Turning Point

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Life is always at some turning point.~ Irwin Edman

When is that defining moment in time?  THAT moment.  The one that changes everything.

You know you need to do something: save money, lose weight, start a new program, go back to school, etc.

You have done the research and you have all the knowledge needed to get the job done.

But you have not pulled the trigger.

You know that you should have quit your job three years ago, but you did not.

 

This is the point at which a significant change occurs. This is THAT moment.

How do you know this is the moment you have been waiting for?

You FEEL it.

I have heard this process referred to as See-Feel-Change.

When we FEEL the effects of our decisions, then we can change.

When we FEEL the personal consequences of a problem and we can point out the real people that may suffer from our lack of movement, then we change.

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Like A Boss

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“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

 

Like A Boss is one of my favorite sayings. When I used “The Google” to research the origin of the phrase, I found the following:

Like A Boss is a catchphrase often used in image macros or GIFs that feature a person completing an action with authority and finesse. It was first used on SNL as part of a skit and went viral soon after. You can learn more here.

I always use this phrase when I see someone taking on a big challenge, pushing themselves in a new arena or doing something with amazing gusto and passion.

At the core of this phrase is an important life lesson: No matter who is paying us, we are each our own boss. Whether you are an independent contractor, a small business owner or a Fortune 500 employee – YOU ARE ULTIMATELY YOUR OWN BOSS. You are in charge of your career, your professional development, your continued learning.

We have to do it all – like a boss.

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