The Power of Good Mentors

In life having good mentors can provide you with an incredible amount of guidance and perspective that you would have never had before. I have been fortunate enough in my life to have several individuals that have helped to develop me into the man I am today. From my dad, Gregg Colvin, Jon Klein, or Monroe Gorden they have all played a direct part in the man I have become. I have also been blessed to have a great stable of coaches to this day who during my childhood and teen years made sure that I never went down the wrong path. My mentors have opened so many doors for me and push me everyday to raise the bar for my success. While they are all leaders in their industry they continue to help me network and make my own path.

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In my opinion Mentors should be someone you look up to and value their input. But this should also be someone who you can take honest and constructive criticism from and respect their thoughts. Unfortunately in the millennial generation many of us cannot take hard criticism and grow from it. What I always suggest is to never have a mentor who will hold your hand. A mentor should let you fail from time to time and help build you up to be stronger.

Having a mentor in business is a valuable asset. I say this because we all need someone to help us make it. As much as we all like to take credit and say we do it all by ourselves this could be furthest from the truth if you are honest with yourself. Mentors open doors and can help eliminate the noise. Having someone who you can call that has been in your shoes is powerful.

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The Power of Surrounding Yourself with like Minded Individuals

Growing up my parents always taught me to surround myself with people that shared similar aspirations as I. They said this because this would allow me to grow in an environment that was supportive of my ideas and thought process. But now looking back I can’t help but think my parents were setting a president in my life that I should only keep individuals around me that could help push me and mold me into a strong man. Everyday I wake up this lesson from my parents is still a pillar in which I live my life by. Many friends have come and gone but the ones that have stayed consistent push me to be a better man, business owner, friend and entrepreneur.

Having liked minded individuals around you can also push innovation and creativity because they understand the goal and can give valuable constructive criticism. While all of my close friends may be like minded we all have individual things that make us unique. For example, I have also been a big picture and idea guy. The individuals that I keep around me can take my ideas and put them into action.

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But lets look at the other side of the spectrum. Just as I have surrounded myself my entire life with like minded individuals who often share similar views and push me to be a better person, I could have easily surrounded myself with individuals that would tear me down and push me into questionable things. The individuals that we hangout with are a reflection of our own thoughts and ambitions. If you hang around someone long enough you mirror your environment. 

Follow me on Twitter: @LifeofKM

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Do you settle?

In life one of the worse things you can do is settle. Settling in life is the same thing as accepting mediocrity. In most cases success comes down to do you respect yourself enough to keep pushing on. In business settling could be the end of your business. Someone always wants to be top of the food chain. For example lets look at Alabama’s football team. Year in and year out they continue to win national championships. This is because they do not settle. They continue to push the bar. If you believe that if you take the foot off the gas now  and your company with continue on path it is on you are incredibly mistaken.

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In American society the harsh reality is that we live in a constant state of competition with our peers. Success in this country is based on your successes against someones else. From the time we are born until we die we are bred by our parents and society to what success really means and if you fall short of that you are not good enough.

Companies like Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk is the are the perfect example of not settling. Elon Musk continues everyday to push the envelope. Tesla has created a niche in the market after noticing a need for a high performance electric car. Tesla has put the whole automobile industry on notice in their quest to disrupt the market.

Follow me on Twitter: @LifeofKM

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The Power of Failure

Do you underestimate the power of failure? The power of failing is incredible. I say this because behind every failure there is a lesson to be learned. If you learn that lesson and make sure that mistake never repeats itself that failure was well worth it. Anyone that you see in the media or admire I am sure has failed many times before they got to where they are. Take Michael Jordan for an example. He is arguably the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball but even he was cut from his from his high school basketball team. He turned that failure into an unmatched drive to compete and succeed on the court.

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The lessons we learn from our failures are unmatched.  Football has taught me this more than anything else. Football ultimate team sport but if any of the 11 individuals on the offense or defense does not do their job on a given play the whole play is in jeopardy. This is because everyone counts on each other. But if you fail at your job it’s not just your fault everyone shares in the failure. But that feeling of guilt will force you to fix your mistakes because you never want that on you.

Not only does failure make you grow as an individual it also can inspire and humble others. A sense of failure creates a sense of an even playing field that allows you to start a new and grow into what you want to be. An example of this would be AA meetings. The support group is successful because of individuals who have overcome their additions. This allows new comers to have a sanctuary and have hope. Though their past failures have landed them in AA, AA has allowed for them to grow stronger and face the world.

Follow me on Twitter: @LifeofKM

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Is hard work all you need to live the American Dream still?

“I think that my biggest attribute to any success that I have had is hard work. There really is no substitute for working hard.” (Maria Bartiromo) My entire childhood my parents always told me that I could do anything I always wanted to do with hard work. While this was true for my parents generation, for my generation -the millennial generation– this couldn’t be further from the truth. I say this bold statement because when you look at my generation, you’ll see that we fail to understand what hard work is as a whole. While some of you may think this is an extreme overgeneralization, just think of how many people are obsessed with social media, and capturing their life I want you to think of how much nowadays people are consumed with the idea of being an instagram model or how easy the millennial generation quits when things get hard. But as a whole I believe that my generation just looks at things different. Our parents believe that if we work hard and are determined we will make. Millennials go about this very differently because we believe it’s more so about who you know not just what you know and how hard you work. I believe that millennials choose to work smarter not harder.

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Millennials work smarter partly because of our deep understanding of how to use technology which has allowed many of us to automate things. Like with basic principles of math millennials believe that’s what calculators were made for. Which in part is true. While our parents would rather be much more meticulous about things and seeing the process the millennial generation would rather find the quickest and most efficient way of getting a task done but this also leaves room for errors.

 

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Does race really matter?

I walk this earth as a 6’3 300 pound African-American man from Silver Spring Maryland. I grew up in an area where you can look out the window and see people that represent all ends of this earth. However, throughout my entire life the one statement I have heard the most is “You’re not like the rest of them.” This statement really hits home for me. Anyone that knows me can tell you that I live my life completely independent of the African American stereotype. When I say this I mean the way I talk, carry myself, issues I that I deal with, and the way I react to things.  When I walk into a boardroom or just your average meeting the second I open my mouth people immediately recognize that I am different. I am a well educated black man, graduating from one of the best institutions in the world, UCLA. I am getting my MBA next year from University of Nevada, Reno. What most people don’t know is that I own several companies and have been recognized by several established online publications.  Aside from my unfaltering drive, where I come from gives me my unique edge on life. In my 24 years on this planet I have come to the conclusion that race matters.

In order to give you, my readers a better understanding of why the topic of race has had such an impact on me and shaped me let me give you some background stories. When I was in 8th grade my parents shipped me off to Randolph Macon Military Academy. This was one of the best things my parents could have ever done for me. The school was located in Front Royal Virginia. On a day in late February that year, my impression of the world that I lived in changed forever. I was on the school basketball team and we were playing in the middle school conference championship. I remember it being a close game, and highly competitive. However, what I remember clear as day from that game is when I was on the free throw line and someone screamed out the word “Nigger” as I shot my shot. This caught me completely off guard as well as several of my teammates.  Throughout the rest of that game I heard threats and the situation even escalated as the parents began to get into arguments in the stands . Can you imagine how it would feel to hear those words as a 13 year old boy? I began to understand the role that race played in society. I was raised with the knowledge to treat everyone as an equal and with respect, but that game changed me and my understanding of who it applied to.

Now lets fast forward to my sophmore year at UCLA. It is common for some football players and baseball players to work part time in the off season as security guards at fraternity parties. My friend from the baseball team was driving us back home from a job. On our way home, we stopped at a teammates place to pick something up. While in the driveway I noticed the muzzle of a gun sticking out of the side of a dumpster. I began to sink into the chair and try to get my friends attention, but he was on the phone. By the time I had gotten his attention we were being dragged out of the car at gunpoint by two cops and searched. We are two African American athletes who are educated, intelligent and had performed countless acts of community service, just minding our own business and suddenly being pulled out of our car by armed policemen and searched because we fit the description for “2 black guys wearing black T-Shirts”. Funny thing was our T-Shirts were red, and the car windows were tinted. So how could they have possibly known that. We eventually got forced apologies from the officers after their accidental mishap.  

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I know many of you may think that I must have done something wrong or that I dislike police officers, but no, I respect them for what they do. They make us all safer. I am telling you about my experience more so to open your eyes and say that two bad apples don’t spoil the bunch. At that moment, all those cops saw was two African American boys. They did not see two student-Athletes who attend UCLA, or how intelligent we were or any of our accomplishments. All they saw was our skin color. I have brought these two stories up because while these prejudiced things have happened to me throughout my life, I continue moving on.

I want people to understand both sides of my narrative. Although I may have suffered racism from caucasians, I have also suffered it from African American as well. I don’t always talk, act, or dress like your traditional African American. I’m different and I know that. I am treated differently and I understand that. When I get out of nice cars I often notice the way people look at me because maybe they don’t believe that I made my money in a legitimate fashion. The more and more successful I become, the more and more I will break down those stereotypes. Although these were abhorrent experiences, I am thankful for them and the understanding and wisdom that they have brought me.  I will continue through my life with my eyes wide open.

I walk this earth as a 6’3 300 pound African-American man. No matter where I go or what I accomplish I can tell you that race matters.

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Do you do what you love?

Do you come home after work and constantly complain about your job? If you do you are not alone. In America 52.3% are unhappy with their current job. This can be for a variety of reasons like your boss, location, material, commute or just money? For whatever reason you hate your job you need to take ownership of that. You can make a change. You can take control this. There are two types of jobs on this earth which are: jobs we want to do and jobs we have to do.

Jobs we have to do are jobs that we normally take for external reason such as family needs, cover the essentials, overall obsession with the money or benefits that the jobs may bring. This type of job can also be a stepping ladder or a means to get to a job you want. But having one of these types of jobs leaves us feeling empty at the end of the day. These types of job only tap into half of our self worth and cause that emptiness feeling that you get at the end of the day. Having this type of job can often lead to self doubt and worry.

But on the other side of the spectrum are jobs we want to do. These are the jobs where people want to come to work everyday and pour their hearts out for the company. These are the lucky 47.7% of Americans who jump out of bed in the morning to go to work. These people are also more productive and successful because they enjoy what they do and want to be there. These people are often go getters and do not settle. Having a job you love and care about is infectious and can also be noticed by those around you.

As I stated we must take ownership of our jobs. Whether you have a job you want or a job you to do is irrelevant because you can make any job positive in the way that you look at things and carry a good perspective on things. Having the ability to do whatever you want for work is not easy. Most people don’t want into those positions but even if you take the jobs that are less than glamorous if you do it well and put your time into it you may one day get to have a job you want.

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