By Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
In the complex world of change, chaos, and uncertainty, we must examine the attitude we embrace. One quick way to assess an attitude of another person is to ask yourself how you feel when they leave your presence? Do you feel inspired and charged up ready to take on the world or you do feel like the life has been zapped out of you? Ask yourself, how do people feel when they leave your presence? Each and everyday you must decide the attitude you will embrace. You maybe faced with challenges and difficult people, but it is still a personal decision as to how you allow the attitude of others to influence your attitude. Consider the following seven strategies for improving your attitude.
1. Surround yourself with positive people. Look at those people that are a part of your network and examine the weather (attitude) that they carry. If gloom and doom is all they bring to you consistently, give them a reality check and make them aware of what they are doing. So often people who are consistently negative are not aware of their negative energy. If they are non-responsive, you may have to minimize the time you interact with them. People who fail to change often become toxic and if you stick close to them that toxicity may rub off on you. Seek out those people who recognize the challenges of the day but continue to face them with a positive attitude. Strive to align yourself with people with energy, excitement for life and a positive outlook on the circumstances they face.
2. Read and listen to motivational and inspirational books and tapes. This is a great way to keep yourself inspired and focused on the possibilities of life. When you wake up in the morning, instead of turning on the television, spend those first minutes reading inspirational, biblical, or motivational books. If you drive to work, put in a CD or tape. If you ride the train or bus, read books or invest in a personal CD player and fill your mind with positive thoughts. You have no excuses because you can go to your local library and get books and tapes. Information on anything you want is on the Internet. You simply must have a desire to find ways to maintain a positive attitude.
3. Count your blessings. Recognize that no matter how things maybe, see the blessing in the midst of the chaos and confusion. As you reflect on the blessing that will help you get things in perspective and help you see the glass half full versus half empty.
4. Smile. Be mindful of your countenance and body language. What messages do you send to people when they interact with you? A smile says to others that you are approachable and it costs nothing.
5. Take time to appreciate the simple things in life. Take a walk in the park and don’t just rush by the roses, instead take time to enjoy and smell them. Take time to watch a sunset and remember who to thank. Spend time with those less fortunate and seek opportunities to give words of encouragement to those who pass your way.
6. Believe in yourself. Recognize that you are special and unique. There is no one else quite like you. So let your positive attitude shine. Walk and talk with confidence and know that you have something special to contribute to the world.
7. Live each day to the fullest. Quit putting off some of the things you want to do in life and go for the gusto now. Learn to maximize the minutes of each day. Practice these strategies to help you maintain a winning attitude; an attitude others want to catch!
Your Comments Are Welcome.
By Michelle Porchia
Women have created businesses and impacted history, the economy, and personal lives throughout history. As a Black woman entrepreneur myself, I am highlighting a few historic, successful and impactful Black female entrepreneur who paved the way for Black women and all women to become entrepreneurs. There are 24.9% Black women entrepreneurs (catalyst.org). Many people have heard of Madam CJ Walker (1867–1919), a millionaire who built a business on hair-care products. I want to share about the women most have not heard of, except of course Suzanne de Passe, whom most people have heard of.
Although many details of Mary Ellen Pleasant's (1814–1904) life are obscure, she lived for a time as a free woman in Boston before coming to San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush in 1849. Taking advantage of the opportunities available in the booming new city, Pleasant started working as a cook for wealthy clients but soon began opening laundries, boardinghouses, and restaurants, using the $45,000 she inherited upon the death of her first husband. Her establishments were patronized by many of San Francisco's newly minted elite, enabling Pleasant to interact with the city's most powerful businessmen and politicians. An ardent abolitionist and racial advocate, Pleasant employed many African-Americans and used her businesses as a way to promote Black employment throughout San Francisco.
Elleanor Eldridge (1784–c. 1845) stands out as an impressive success story from the beginning of American history. The youngest of seven daughters born to Hannah Prophet and Robin Eldridge, a slave who won his freedom fighting in the Revolution, Eldridge began working as a laundress at age ten following the death of her mother. Industrious and naturally bright, she quickly became adept at arithmetic, spinning, weaving, cheese making, and all types of housework. Drawing on her skill with numbers, at age nineteen Eldridge took over her deceased father's estate and quickly opened a business with her sister in Warwick, Rhode Island, weaving, nursing, and making soap. Realizing that investment and versatility were the keys to success, she used their profits to purchase a lot and build a house, which she rented out for forty dollars a year. Eldridge eventually settled in Providence, where she opened a profitable business whitewashing, painting, and wallpapering. Her hard work and enterprising nature enabled her to eventually purchase several houses in Providence for rent income.
A strong voice for education, Maggie Lena Walker (1867–1934) became the first African American female bank president. Walker was a member of the Independent Order of St. Luke, an organization founded by a former slave dedicated to the uplifting of African Americans. After becoming leader of the Order when it was on the verge of financial ruin, Walker became the first female bank president in the United States by founding the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in 1903. Succeeding in her twin goals of revitalizing the Order of St. Luke and encouraging economic security for the black community of Richmond, Virginia, Walker grew her business by welcoming small depositors and helping to finance black home ownership. Her success is evidenced by the fact that the bank, now named the Consolidated Bank and Trust Co., remains open today as the oldest continuously black-owned bank in the United States. True to the Order of St Luke's goal of uplifting African Americans, Walker went on to found other businesses and advocate tirelessly for black rights and women's suffrage throughout her life.
Suzanne de Passe (1946 - ) has won numerous awards, including Emmys, Peabodys, and Golden Globes. She is so well known for her managerial abilities that Harvard Business School has conducted two studies of her management style. The twentieth century has seen the slow emergence of Black women in positions of corporate authority, a number of them in the entertainment industry. Suzanne de Passe was one of the first African-American women to become a power player in the music, television, and film industries. Beginning her career as a creative assistant at Motown Records in the 1960s, de Passe rose to become a vice president of the company before turning her attention to screenwriting. After achieving acclaim for works such as "Lady Sings the Blues", the successful film biography of Billie Holiday, de Passe eventually founded her own entertainment company, de Passe Entertainment, which primarily produces material for television. Her ability to balance her projects' creative integrity with the bottom line has proven so successful that Harvard Business School has conducted two studies of her managerial style. De Passe's versatility, creative integrity, and sound business sense has enabled her to become one of the most influential women in the entertainment industry today. Courtesy the Austin/Thompson Collection, by permission of De Passe Entertainment.
There were many women to choose from, and it was hard to narrow it down to just a few for this article. I chose women from diversified fields and eras to give a snapshot of the impact that Black women have made to the business/entrepreneurial world, not just for Black women but for all female entrepreneurs and business owners. Keep reaching toward your dreams. Women have sacrificed for us to live our dreams, build our businesses and make an impact.
Your Comments Are Welcome
Serving In The Faith Based World: Debra Gould Facilitates Staff Retreat at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church
By Debra W. Gould, MS
(Left) Debra with Pastor Fred Luter, Jr. (Right) Debra with Minister of Music Ellis Lindsey
(Left) Debra with Church Administrator Larry Johnson (Right) Joe Gould, Jr. with Minister of Music Ellis Lindsay
Ebony Speaker Debra Gould enjoyed serving as the lead facilitator during a recent staff retreat at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. Here are Debra's reflections:
Just sharing this great news that Pastor Fred Luter, Jr. contacted Debra W.Gould a member of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church to conduct two training
sessions for the 2013 Church Retreat on Friday, September 13, 2013. It was an honor and privilege to serve and present for my church members at
Franklin Avenue Baptist Church. I'm still blown away to receive a personal phone call from Pastor Luter to make this request. Talk about a WOW moment
to have the Southern Baptist Convention's first African American President and Pastor of your own church with approximately 5000 members to make a
request of Debra Gould availability on September 13, 2013. GOD IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!
About Rev. Fred Luter, Jr.
Senior Pastor Fred Luter, Jr. was elected the Southern Baptist Convention's first African American Vice President in 2011. He made history again
when he became SBC's first ever African American President at the annual meeting held in his hometown of New Orleans on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.
In 2013, Pastor Luter was re-elected at the annual meeting in Houston, Texas.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org and
Your comments are welcome below.
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.