Nehemiah Frank left Tulsa as a child, became an elite gymnast, struggled to graduate from high school, blossomed in college, and returned to Tulsa as a young man to become a new voice for equity in education and social justice reform.
Nehemiah established a blog in February 2017 to express his observations about educational inequality and social justice reform. Little did he know that The Black Wall Street Times would get national and international attention and put him center stage in his efforts to educate the public about these important issues.
In this episode of The Spirit of Leading Podcast, I talk to Nehemiah about his journey, how it has helped him to evolve as a public advocate, and the impact he hopes to have in improving education for all citizens, and especially the under privileged.
My thanks to Joel Wade and Blue House Media for hosting the recording of The Spirit of Leading podcast. Blue House Media is a video, audio, and web development media company and recording studio. www.bluehousemedia.tv
Wayne Greene is the editorial page editor at the Tulsa World. He clams that the journalistic integrity of the paper is it’s most treasured asset. In this day, when the mainstream media is being attached as FAKE NEWS, it’s imperative that readers and citizens have confidence that their main sources for news are holding themselves to the highest journalistic standards of ethics.
In this episode of The Spirit of Leading Greene recounts his early days as a beat reporter and a city editor to explain the boundaries between reporting and editorializing and how the legitimate press draws distinctions between the two. He takes us into the operational structure of the daily newspaper to help us understand what becomes the news and how newspapers are using today’s social media and internet tools to broaden and deepen their coverage.
America’s troubadour, James Taylor, sings, “shower the ones you love with love.”
In a world punctuated by war and strife, driven and fueled by the wanton passions of greed, conquest, and self-adulation, we can find healing only in the balm of love, sweet love. As Burt Bacharach wrote, “It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
The opposite of love
Fear, not hate, is the opposite of love. Hate is a by-product of fear.
Fear focuses on loss, and no one wants to lose anything. Ideologies that scare followers into a state of protectionism usually engage others as adversaries who threaten to steal away valuable resources or liberties. Such adversaries are to be identified, separated out, and kept at a safe distance, if not eliminated altogether. They are to be hated.
Hate shows itself in vilification (it’s their fault, they caused this, they are the enemy), denigration (they are losers, disgusting, unworthy), and, aggression (we must take back what is ours, and eye-for-an-eye, get them before they get us, they deserve to be punished). And on it goes.
Leaders who feast on your fear subjugate you to their power, because they convince you that only they can save you. They tell you not to go out into the world, not to befriend or trust those who are different from you, not to listen to those politically correct, feckless, kumbaya losers. Who needs hope when you’ve got more muscle?
Tyrants know the only way they stay in power is to keep groups of people fighting each other. All that’s driving the rage are the ambitions of a few power hungry individuals convincing the populace that they need to be afraid of the other guy who is out to get them. It’s my opinion that 95% of the world’s problems are caused by 0.0001% of the world’s population.
These fear mongers scoff at love, because to them it’s weak. And they know it’s the only thing that can bring them down.
The power of love is that it sees every person as an individual with hopes, and dreams, and passion–just like you. Love regards each and every life as equally valuable without exception. When you regard every life as equally valuable and precious as yours, it makes one wonder why all the fighting? How do we just stop it?
When you reduce life to the number one wish, it’s that we all want someone to love, and to be loved in return. When you have that one thing, your life has meaning. That’s all it really takes.
When we all reach out in love to those within our sphere of influence, we can conquer the world with hugs and smiles. Love conquers fear. With nothing to fear, there’s no reason to fight.
According the theory of six degrees of separation, it’s entirely possible to save the world by reaching out to those closest to us. See what I mean from this YouTube video on the Veritasium channel.
Thank you, James, for reminding us that love is powerful and healing and is what we need now more than ever. As you sing:
show them the way you feel.
Things are gonna be much better if you only will.
I want that kind of love to come by here
so we all can be more
P.S. James Taylor is a 2016 recipient of the 36th Kennedy Center Honors for his contributions to the arts.
The right people seem to show up in my life at the right time.
Most have befriended me and loved me. I’m glad several remain close.
Some showed up just in time to help me when I needed it most; then, they were gone. And I miss them.
Some pushed, prodded, and poked me, and tested the limits of my patience and resolve. I’m glad they finally left me alone, although I’m better for the experience.
Several coached and mentored me and showed me how to be INPowered. They believed in me and brought out the best in me. They helped me INLarge my expectations of living. To them I am eternally indebted.
Now it’s my turn to do likewise.
Without those who saw something in me
and helped me to see it too,
I could not be
We have this innate desire to impact our world, to make a difference. This is not the same as wanting to rule the world. It’s better.
The very nature of INPowerment is to make things better. The INPowered see what needs to be done. Then, they take action. Within that description there are three simple habits you can develop the will make you a person of impact.
Pay attention to what can be better
Anytime people are not getting what they need, want, or expect they have a problem that needs a solution. They are also in some form of conflict from mild annoyance to full blown panic.
It is easy to notice the panic, because people are acting out in exaggerated and dysfunctional ways. The mild annoyances and irritations are not so obvious. For example:
- A procedure is a little more awkward than it should be and doesn’t get the quality result it should, but it’s almost good enough.
- A room or office space is cluttered and poorly arranged, making items difficult to find when needed.
- A co-worker is unsure of their skills and is hesitant to ask for help.
Paying attention pushes you out of your own private chamber where you are so internally focused that you are oblivious to the needs and circumstances of others. In contrast, being totally self-absorbed is one sure of way of having no impact.
Engage others in finding a solution
Solving all the problems on your own is another way of having limited or no impact. True, some pacesetters and inventors work individually on a device or invention that changes the world. However, that’s the exception and not the rule.
Everyday impact is when you involve others in solution finding. You help them grow their sense of value. Their input is needed and welcome. They contribute.
They see you as a partner in their growth. They got better because you involved them and gave them an opportunity to be more valuable. They are more likely to do likewise when it’s their turn to engage others. Your impact ripples far beyond your direct involvement.
Act and follow through
Actions speak. When you are known as a go to person, you have impact. Talk is cheap; action creates value.
End each day with your “to do” list checked off. I often ask myself before retiring to bed, “What did I get done today the moved me closer to accomplishing my goals?” Then I ask, “What must I accomplish tomorrow to move me closer to my goals?” Then, I work to stay on task and avoid distractions.
Work on making these three steps your everyday habits.
You will be a person of impact.
You will make a difference.
You will be
I just finished watching Star Wars episodes 4, 5, and 6 again. I had forgotten how strong the message was of how good triumphs over evil. Or, in the case of Star Wars, how the forces of light overcome the forces of darkness.
To me, this holiday season is about light coming into our world to illuminate and encourage us to elevate our expectations of living. This message applies to people of all faiths.
Just as Luke Skywalker believed that a core goodness remained in Darth Vader, I believe in the core goodness of every human. Sadly, some get pulled toward the dark side, lured by their misguided self-serving emotions and ambitions.
The Bible names some of these dark side behaviors: hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy (Galatians 5:20-21). We see these rampant in the world. Men using their religious and political ideologies as rallying points to gloss over the real darkness in their hearts.
Then, the Bible lists some of the behaviors of light: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). The INLightened and INPowered lead their families, workplaces, and communities based on this spirit of light.
As you consider your leadership place in your family, your workplace, and your community, I encourage you to walk in the light, which means living above the darkness of your selfish ambitions and immediate desires.
INCourage the spirit,
INLiven the heart,
INLighten the mind, and
INLarge the expectations of living in yourself and in others.
And you will be
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU
INPowered leaders do not make excuses; they make a difference. Often, the real breakthroughs we have are when we own up to the truth about our shortcomings and take corrective action.
Fessing up has several powerful therapeutic benefits.
First: It feels good to unburden yourself. Let it go. Confession is good for the soul. We spend a lot of emotional energy suppressing a truth that wants to come out.
I know in my heart whether I made a mistake or didn’t give my best effort. Rather than finding excuses for it, I find it liberating to say that I messed up
Second: Consequently, fessing up releases you emotionally and mentally to get on with improving yourself or fixing a problem.
Step one to healing relationships is saying, “I’m sorry.” Now, you can turn your attention to making the relationship better.
Accepting responsibility gives you proactive momentum. Your mental energy can be focused on solution finding.
I have found that when I take responsibility for a situation, I also own the solution finding space. Others look to me to take the lead. I am more in control of the next steps.
Third: Fessing up lets you treat others authentically. Since you have nothing to hide, others can feel more at ease to be honest and authentic with you in return.
When you relax, others can see your humanity, which is more relatable than some artificial façade. A side benefit is others become more forgiving and supportive when they feel they know the real you.
Here’s an added benefit
Fessing up robs critics of the energy they get from playing the blame game.
Critics and naysayers feed off the bad vibes you generate from all the energy you are using to suppress your hidden truth. When you fess up, you turn the tables and shut off their energy source.
Your workplace, your family, and your community need you to be an example of authentic leadership.
and bravely telling your truth will make you more
Exuberance is the energy of joyfulness and the fuel of success. If you want to get noticed by a boss, a customer, a prospect–anyone you want to impress–lead with your enthusiasm.
One summer, while I was in college, I sold books door-to-door. During our weeklong sales school preparing us for the summer, we started each day with a motivational assembly in which we chanted over and over, at the top of our voices, “Act enthusiastic, and you’ll be enthusiastic.”
In the field I learned that the more enthusiasm I showed for what I was doing, the more likely I would make a sale.
Garland McWatters at the 30/30 Next Gen recognition banquet.
Recently, I attended a recognition banquet in Oklahoma City to honor young people under thirty years of age who are already making a mark on their workplace and in their community. They are our next generation of leaders already on the scene. What impressed me, as I talked with several of them individually, was their exuberance about what they were accomplishing both professionally and in their community service.
I know there are scores of young people in every community like them: bright, involved, ready to make a difference, and exuberant about their accomplishments and possibilities.
When I listened to their stories, three qualities about their exuberance impressed me.
Exuberance is visible.
Exuberance shows up in your smile, your body language, and the delight in your eyes.
You can’t disguise it, or fake it.
Exuberance shows itself from the joy you feel doing something you love and believe in. Let it show.
Exuberance is contagious.
Others feed off your energy. You can see it for yourself. And when you are in the presence of someone who is exuberant and enthusiastic, your spirits lift as well.
Hearing and seeing others excited about what they are doing at the 30/30 Next Gen banquet re-energized me about my own projects and goals.
I noticed that summer of selling books, even when I did not make a sale at the door, despite my most enthusiastic pitch, both my prospect and I enjoyed the conversation about the books more. We parted smiling and energized.
Exuberance is dauntless.
Exuberance gets you through the tough times. It doesn’t back down.
I love the character Elle Woods in the movie Legally Blonde. No matter what happened to her–rejection, cruel pranks, humiliation, discouragement–her exuberant approach to life won over her most ardent foes and helped her become even more successful than she imagined she would be. She was dauntless.
Your exuberance is your self-confidence on fire. It keeps you moving toward your goals when others see only dead ends. Be equally dauntless.
Use the extra boost of energy you get from your exuberance to propel you through the dips and valleys of your doubts and fears.
Be unapologetically exuberant,
and show others that you are