By Carole Copeland Thomas
What happens when a baaaad "sistah" checks off both boxes? You get an incredible woman who circumvents the world and makes history because of her brilliance and bravery! In 2019 Jessica Nabongo made history by begin the FIRST black woman to visit ALL 195 countries in the world!
Her parents are from Uganda. She grew up in Detroit. Her accomplishments are amazing. Watch this video below and learn more about her amazing achievement.
She's Black History.
She's Women's History.
Beautifully, she's BOTH!
We salute her for being bold, beautiful and an inspiration to women and girls everywhere!
It’s February, and Valentines Day is right around the corner! The perfect gift item for you and your special friends is Strength Through the Challenge.
Order the book at www.persistencelane.com.
Debra Gould will also send a FREE copy of her book Real Relationship Requires Real Work by mail with your Strength Through the Challenge book purchase.
By Michelle Porchia
Happy New Year!
I don't need to rehash 2020. We all know what has gone on all too well. I know many are glad it is behind us. Hindsight truly is 2020.
I know many people couldn't wait for 2020 to be over and they were looking forward to 2021 ushering in a different scenario. I encourage you to ease into 2021. Breathe and take it a step at a time. My wish is that 2021 brings you good health, joy, peace and abundance in all ways.
In the past I have suggested, rather than putting pressure on yourself to set resolutions, to instead set a word with the intention of living out its meaning.
I'm reminded of a song from "The Wiz" called "Ease on Down the Road."
Come on and
Ease on down, ease on down the road
Come on, ease on down
Ease on down the road
Don't you carry nothing
That might be a load
Come on, ease on down
Ease on down the road
Here are some overall skills that will help you enter 2021 in a good space or at least more calmly. First, INHALE/EXHALE. Secondly, be still. Third, reflect.
Breathing helps us to center our thoughts, our bodies, our minds. Breathing helps us to be still. You may say, "I've been home and still for 10 months." The stillness I am speaking of is centering yourself...mindfulness so-to-speak, calming your mind. Many have so much going on and they feel like they are being pulled in so many different directions at the same time.
You've seen me suggest many times to your thoughts, and once again I encourage you to journal. It helps you to be still and get your thoughts gathered and focused. It also helps to get some of the thoughts out of your head. Reflect on what 2020 meant to you. What will you take with you and what will you leave behind? What did you learn? Don't beat up on yourself. Simply listen as you reflect and assess and then decide "now what?"
The "good" I've heard people say they've learned and appreciated during 2020:
Family spending more time together
Family doing more fun things together
Learning new skills
Getting around to hobbies
Trying new recipes
Finally purging my home
Appreciating things I have taken for granted
Getting the pet I/we have wanted
My suggestions for 2021:
Set an intention. Normally people set resolutions for the New Year and what happens is we set ourselves up for stress and pressure to achieve the goals. The past two years I have switched to setting an intention. My intention in 2020 was ACCEPTANCE. My encouragement was the first line of the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..." My song (which may seem like a strange choice) was The Climb by Miley Cyrus. How applicable. This year my word is FOCUS. I've just chosen it. It was difficult to choose a word this year. I haven't chosen my encouragement or my song yet.
Let go. Try not to bring things from 2020 that don't serve you. I've mentioned before about clearing clutter. Mental clutter. Physical clutter. Emotional clutter. Get help if necessary. Take care of your mental health. Take care of your physical health. During these times, people could use that coat, coffee maker, DVR that you haven't used in years. Donate them to the church store or other organizations. I'm part of a group on Facebook that is in my town where everything is free...no selling allowed. You post a picture of items you don't want; people ask to have it and then they come and pick it up from your porch. People can also post that they are looking for particular items. It has helped me purge items, especially when the donation centers were closed.
Bottom line, take it slow. Be kind to yourself and others. Look for the good.
I wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful 2021.
A Video Commentary By The Ebony Speakers
Learn more about Debra, Michelle, Nancy & Carole and how they face life with new zeal and fortitude as they tackle life after 60!
By Debra Gould, MS
Watch Debra as she shares her words of wisdom in these uncertain times.
From Top Left to Right: Nancy Je Lewis, Carole Copeland Thomas, Michelle Porchia and Debra Gould Sound Off About Kamala Harris. Watch and Share with Others.
Nancy J. Lewis, MS, SHRM-CP, PHR, RCC
Leadership is a skill that we all have to demonstrate at some point in our lives and careers. The key factor is do you model leadership traits others want to follow. Leadership is about walking in integrity because the example teaches. So you have to walk the walk and talk the talk. Below are three critical skills I feel leaders in the changing world of work must exemplify to be successful and have others "want" to follow them.
1) Be willing to do whatever you expect your team to do. If a job needs to be done and you are there, jump in and lend a helping hand. Don't let your title of leader go to your head where you forget the basics of creating a great team. This means letting go of your pride and be willing to humble yourself and do whatever is necessary to build a winning team. Don't tell people how much you value them, show them.
2) Communicate and talk to your team not just when you are giving them a project or providing constructive feedback. A philosophy that was great in the 80's and 90's was Management By Walking Around (MBWA) and we need to get back to it and make it a part of our daily routine. Managers need to be visible and stop hiding in their cubicles and offices and get out and start talking to their team to see how they are doing, what they need to be successful and offering feedback as necessary. Communicating to your team that you care about them as employees will go a long way in creating a dynamic team. Communication can be done in a myriad of ways and today, we must find the best way to connect with our team, but talking to people face-to-face is still a key skill everyone needs to have.
3) Celebrate differences and find ways to utilize the strengths and talents of your entire team. Recognize that different doesn't mean deficient; it simply means different. Be mindful of how you relate and connect with others as it relates to your biases whether conscious or unconscious. That is an entire blog by itself. Challenge yourself to spend time with people who are different from you and ask about their story and then listen to it. You just might learn something. People are willing and happy to share when they feel you genuinely want to know.
The key message in this is to be authentic and true in your willingness to find out about others who are from diverse backgrounds. Determine to move from tolerating differences to celebrating them.
By Michelle Porchia
We celebrated the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. in January. Now Black History Month, celebrated throughout February, is here. The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be "Negro History Week." In 1976, fifty years after the first celebration, the Association used its influence to institutionalize the shifts from a week to a month and from Negro history to Black history. Since the mid-1970s, every American president, Democrat and Republican, has issued proclamations endorsing the Association’s annual theme.
When people think of Black History Month, people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Harriett Tubman are usually the names that pop up. I’d like to challenge to explore and understand (not to take anything away from these people) that there are so many more Black people that have made major contributions. Secondly, it’s not only Black history, it is American history.
Katherine Johnson helped synch Project Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the moon-orbiting Command and Service Module. She also worked on the Space Shuttle and the Earth Resources Satellite, and authored or coauthored 26 research reports.
Jane Wright played a major breakthrough in cancer treatment and the development of chemotherapy in the 1940s.
Percy Julian was a pioneering chemist whose research at academic and corporate institutions led to the chemical synthesis of drugs to treat glaucoma and arthritis. He is regarded as one of the most influential chemists in American history.
Frederick M. Jones invented the Air Conditioner (AC).
Alexander Miles invented the Elevator.
Osbourn Dorsey invented the Door Knob/Door Stopper.
Garrett Morgan was the inventor of Traffic Light/Gas Mask.
J. Standard invented the Refrigerator.
T.A Carrington was the inventor of the Stove.
Joseph N. Jackson invented and patented the TV Remote Control.
Thomas Stewart was the inventor of the Mop.
Mary Van Brittan Brown invented the Home Security System Co in 1966.
Frederick McKinley Jones invented the Refrigerated Trucks in 1940.
Shirley Ann Jackson conducted breakthrough research that led others to invent Caller ID and Call Waiting.
Alexander Miles invented the Automatic Elevator Doors in 1887.
Lewis Latimer invented the Carbon Light Bulb Filament in 1881.
Elijah McCoy invented a lubrication device to make railroad operations more efficient.
Daniel Hale Williams was also one of the first physicians to successfully complete pericardial surgery on a patient. Williams later became chief surgeon of the Freedmen’s Hospital.
This list barely touches on the many contributions that Black people have made to American history and everyday life. It is unfortunate that we have some states and people who are trying to change the contributions that Black people have made in history; for example, saying slaves were happy and they “worked” for plantation owners.
My hopes are that we won’t need Black History Month in the future because I would like to believe that students will be taught “history” and the contributions ALL people have made to history, regardless of their color or gender. This would also impact the understanding of diversity. Until then, let us start learning about the various contributions people of color have made. There is more to Black people than slavery and protests.
By Carole Copeland Thomas
By Carole Copeland Thomas
For some, the holidays are a triumphant time to celebrate the Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, and other religious and nonreligious traditions on the season. Gift giving, office parties, and tons of food are earmarked with company bonuses, holiday concerts, and family get-togethers wrapped up in bright shiny packages. And let’s now forget the children, whose excitement and anticipation of Christmas are filled with toys, presents, and at least a one week break from school.
Those are the happy reflections of the holidays that perhaps represent your current state of mind. For others, a different picture unfolds as another season, or a new reminder takes shape of sadness, misery, and loss.
I know both kinds of holidays, including the happiness of my childhood years combined with the first Christmas after losing my teenage son. The happy and the sad times are both graphic reminders of what many people are facing this December.
For those who are struggling to get through the season, here are FIVE ways to cope with the holidays in a proactive and intentional manner. These are proven methods that have helped me in past years and should help those who need an anchor to navigate the season.
1. Think Of December As A Temporary Moment In Time
I am reminded of my dear friend, Joni Spicer, who faced terminal cancer in 2018 and how she navigated through last December. She made up her mind, called all of her friends, and hosted her Annual Christmas Eve Open House. I dropped by early on and was amazed by her courage and confidence to celebrate the temporary. She was thin as a rail but looked elegant and beautiful. Her house was decorated like a Norman Rockwell Christmas card. I understand that countless friends attended her gathering and celebrated the here and now with Joni and her family.
We buried Joni the next month, but what a climactic ending orchestrated with every last ounce of energy she had in her body. It was a temporary moment in time and a way for this courageous woman to not let death define her holiday spirit. Her act of courage will stay with me forever.
Perhaps you can find some ritualistic way to celebrate what you have in a meaningful and spirit-filled manner. Yes, it’s temporary, but it will hopefully move you through a more inviting 2020.
2. Your Loss Is Real, And Your Pain Is Normal
Perhaps there are only a few close friends to whom you can express this emotion. Most people are simply too wrapped up in their own drama to take on yours. Some people don’t care, others want you to “get over it,” and a tiny fraction are gleeful about your misery.
Be careful whose confidence you keep. When you’re in pain, emotionally or physically, express yourself to those who really care. Don’t ignore your feelings, and don’t navigate this month in denial. You’re human, and your sheer resilience should help you gain the strength and hopefulness to move forward in your life.
3. Reflect On The Positive
Our human nature and our protective emotional devices propel us from zero to 500 when events happen to us. You receive a note from your doctor that a second test is needed for precautions only. Your mind immediately goes to a terminal illness.
It's difficult to schedule a meeting with your boss about that raise you’re going to request. Your mind tells you that something is wrong and your job is in jeopardy.
Or a normal business slowdown occurs in December, and you panic with thoughts of your company shutting down.
These are all very real emotions that YOU must manage. Going to the “dark side” is a natural reaction. YOU must manage that reaction by pumping your thoughts with positive ideas, affirmations, and expectations. Do it first thing in the morning, EVERY morning to remind YOU that a positive perspective is more productive than negative stimulators. Thank your doctor for her/his proactive choice that will KEEP you healthy in the days ahead. Understand that your boss has deadlines to meet and has NOT forgotten to schedule a meeting with you. And remind yourself next summer to add on extra marketing activities so that WHEN the December slowdown happens, you’ll be prepared.
It’s a mind shift, designed to redirect your thoughts in a more positive-proactive manner.
4. Add Lighting To Your Home or Office
Depending on where you live in the world, shorter days in December might affect your emotions. That’s a real clinical condition for some, whose emotional state is directly impacted by increased darkness in late afternoons. And there’s an entire historical pagan tradition around December 21st, Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.
To counter the darkness, add additional lighting to your home or office. If you celebrate Christmas, the lights on Christmas trees and other holiday decorations can improve your mood. So think of adding additional lamps and other lighting devices from December through March as mood-picker uppers. Fireplaces are also beneficial. Light and sunshine work wonders on improving your emotional state of being and general outlook on life.
Yes, deep breathing provides a healthy and proactive way to clear your thoughts and center your spirit for another day of adventure. As part of my morning routine after prayers and journaling, I recite a positive affirmation that reminds me to breathe and stay calm during the day. It’s a good way to center yourself while being reminded that your mind and body will be better positioned for whatever life throws at you when you practice deep breathing and staying calm. That’s my morning message to ME as I face all the ups and downs in my business and personal life.
From yoga to health regiments to working out at the gym, deep breathing gives you energy and provides the pathway to stay focused on your goals and objectives. There are countless breathing exercises you can build into your daily regiment to add value to your healthy lifestyle activities.
These FIVE steps are designed to help you pick yourself up when you feel the positive energy draining from your system. Try them and pass them on to others. Learn how to take life one day at a time. Explore ways to manage your emotional and physical conditions so that you see more promising possibilities in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
Determine what you can and cannot CONTROL or CHANGE. Adjust your attitude when circumstances are out of our control. Fortifying the positive aspects of your attitude will help prepare you for more meaningful and beneficial opportunities in your future.
You can cope! You can overcome! You can make it through the dynamic days of December.
By Debra Gould, MS
Part Four In A Four Part Series
As the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: Finish each day and be done with it.
There’s nothing more comforting than coming home after a bad day to find your loving partner waiting with a sympathetic ear (and maybe even a glass of wine). But then there are those days when you both come home needing love and patience – the problem then is that it’s hard for either of you to give it.
Add to that the responsibilities of family life, and two bad moods can cause a clash and bad feelings over – nothing. Or possibly the argument is over something that should be talked at a time you’re both ready to deal with a more contentious subject.
It’s hard to have perspective on difficult days. But for the sake of your relationship, and out of respect for each other, don’t go to bed mad. As tempting as it might be to simply roll away and turn out the lights, this is not a healthy for the body, mind, or marriage.
Anger fuels the creation of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol is linked to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and cancers. Learning to let go of strife might not only save your marriage, it could literally save your life.
If you ever find yourself harboring bedtime anger, consider the following:
Most of all remember that holding onto anger is a habit that will ultimately tear two people apart. On the other hand, love, compassion, and generosity of spirit are guaranteed to hold you together.
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success.
Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576,
email: email@example.com and
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.