Sidenote: I never intended for this to be a two part series. However, his death got me thinking about my “dash” and figured that these episodes really belonged together (hence, the gap in the timeframe). Here is part one, but you don’t have to listen to that one first in order to understand this episode. 🙂 https://hustleinfaith.com/what-will-your-dash-look-like/

Before I jump into today’s episode, I want to take a moment to thank you for your support. I actually did something that I hardly ever do…I took a look at the analytics for this podcast. It’s crazy how much this podcast has grown. Oftentimes, it felt like I was talking to myself, but clearly I’m not.

I started this podcast solely out of trying to inspire and motivate people to never give up and to keep going, so it’s really humbling to see how much this podcast has grown despite the fact that I’ve NEVER spent money on advertising. It’s been purely by word of mouth. So if you’re enjoying this content, if you don’t mind, I would really appreciate it if you can pay it forward by leaving a rating and a review on iTunes because it will help other people to discover this podcast as well. I’d truly appreciate it and thanks again for your support.

All right. Whew. Where do I even begin with how to describe this past week…Yet, more protests have been happening. Athletes literally said enough is enough and did not play any of their games in hopes to draw more attention to the obviously clear double standards that exist in this country, by the way, more power to every last one of those athletes for using their platform. 

They are in a unique situation to drive change. These billionaire owners literally can’t do a single thing without the players. More power to these athletes in forcing the owners to pay attention by messing with their bottom line. I have always felt this way and loved it when I saw Jemele Hill’s article called, “ Why should a country that doesn’t value black lives get to be entertained by black athletes?” Team owners shouldn’t continue to benefit from your talent if they aren’t willing to fight for your right to exist in peace. 

Then on Friday, as if all of what I mentioned wasn’t enough we lost actor Chadwick Boseman at age 43 to colon cancer.

Learning about the news of his death really felt like a kick in the gut. He was the exact same age and had the exact same cancer my dad died from. He portrayed Jackie Robinson in the film 42 and literally the day of Chadwick’s death coincided with the day that Major League Baseball commemorated legend Jackie Robinson.

The thing that struck me the most was that this man filmed Civil War, Marshall, Black Panther, Infinity War, Endgame, 21 Bridges and Da 5 Bloods, that’s 7 films all while he was fighting stage 3 cancer. Chadwick truly was a real-life superhero. How he was able to film all those movies is truly remarkable. I remember accompanying my dad for the surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments. Everything that I just named leaves your body feeling incredibly exhausted and it takes every ounce of strength that hasn’t been zapped from you physically to keep you mentally sane.

I haven’t seen all of those movies that I listed, but you better believe the one film that I, like every Black person has seen Black Panther. I remember being so excited because I love comic book movies and when I heard that they were doing Black Panther I could hardly contain myself. 

I know a lot of people who are not Black may not understand this, but to see an all Black cast not in playing the token role of a sidekick, a slave, or any of the other demeaning stereotype roles we’re normally relegated to and incredibly tired of seeing reflected on the big screen was just so refreshing. I genuinely felt like a child watching that movie. 

I know many people held watch parties, people dressed up as their favorite characters, and everyone under the sun would jokingly greet each other the way they did in the film. When I was watching the film, I and countless other Black people that I would talk to about the film kept wishing that a place like this existed. Seeing a place like Wakanda on the big screen, allowed me for a short period of time to actually feel seen and represented.

Needless to say, Black Panther went on to make more than a billion dollars and proved to the movie industry something that we already knew…we can produce box office hits if given the opportunity and resources to do so. 

We have been fortunate enough to witness how talented and kind Chadwick was on and offscreen. He was visiting terminally ill children while he was fighting for his own life. Chadwick did more in his 43 years of life than some have with 100 years.

One of the stories that really touched me is Chadwick’s acceptance speech at AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Denzel Washington on the TNT thanking Denzel Washington for paying his tuition to attend the British Academy of Dramatic Acting in Oxford. Phylicia Rashad told Denzel that she had a couple of students that were accepted into the program but they didn’t have the money to pay the tuition. Denzel Washington anonymously paid all of the students’ tuition and years later Chadwick found out it was Denzel Washington who paid his tuition.

Chadwick’s death, hearing this story about how Denzel paid for Chadwick’s tuition, all of the chaos currently happening in this nation got me thinking about how we can be here today and gone tomorrow, that phrase, by the way, is also one of my favorite songs by Aloe Blacc.

Here Today Gone Tomorrow

The Bible also says in James 4:14 states that our life is like a vapor. I’m well aware that tomorrow isn’t promised, which is why I’m constantly asking myself, “What will your dash look like?” Many times when we look at an obituary or headstone, we look at their birthdate and date of death, but what about the dash?

That dash is more than just a line between our birthday and date of death it’s our life. Now, in case you want to learn more about how I shifted my mindset so I could position myself to get on the right path to achieving my dash check out episode 58: What will your dash look like?

Honestly, if your goal is to live an extraordinary life you’ve got to do the things that mention in Episode 58, but then after that, you’ve got to be willing to put in the work by addressing the following:

Time

People ask me all the time, “T or Tosha how can you find the time to do all the stuff that you do? When do you sleep? Here’s the thing, I’ve always been very protective of my time, but when my dad passed away even more so. Time is a scarce resource. Everything in life has an opportunity cost.You can’t get it back. This is why I’m fiercely protective of my time. If I spend my time with toxic people or working on projects/activities that do not add value to my life, I just wasted my time.  Everyone that is currently in my life and the activities that I choose to participate in are there for a reason. 

If you want your dash to matter then you’re going to have to carve out time to determine what it is you want out of life. I know many so many people stuck in dead end jobs. I totally get that feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day where you just want to go home and watch TV, but how is that TV show contributing to your future? It’s not. 

I’m not saying, you gotta work, work, work, work, but carve out at least an hour to teach yourself a new skill that you think will allow you to create an opportunity for you to experience success. Throughout my entire career, I have always carved out at least an hour for myself to learn something new and/or continue developing a skill set. My background is marketing, but I’m a techie at heart. I pick up software pretty quickly and decided to develop this skill. This is literally how I taught myself to build websites and create and edit audio and videos which enabled me to create a nice little side hustle doing something that I love. 

Successful people don’t watch a lot of TV and aren’t super active on social media. Why? Both of those activities are huge time sucks. This is precious time that you can spend networking with other like minded people who share your vision and may be in a position to help you achieve your goal. I make sure to donate my time to share the knowledge that I’ve acquired with others less fortunate than me.

Knowledge 

I’m a firm believer in acquiring knowledge that is going to enable me to create my own opportunities and not solely rely on a 9 to 5  to provide for me. I then go out of my way to share this knowledge with other people. Life is hard. We have enough hurdles as it is in life that we have to clear. My goal is to help you reduce the time that you spend doing so by offering solid advice. It brings me joy to be the shortcut someone needs to help them succeed. This is why I’m so passionate about education. Whenever I volunteer in the schools,  I make it a special point to connect with the Black and Latino students.

Many times, these students are dismissed, forgotten or worse forced into accepting society’s standard of what success looks like for them. Let me tell you…it ain’t pretty. School conditions many students to be worker bees. You can only achieve success if you have a 9 to 5 and climb the corporate ladder for the rest of your life. If you dare even attempt to fly away from this mindset then you’ve got to fight through an angry mob of bees that don’t want to see you succeed.

 I want these students to see that they can flip the script just like those NBA athletes. Stop playing someone else’s game. If people refuse to listen then take that as a cue to go create your own opportunity because people will not fight for your best interest.

(White people) need to be coached up and they need to be educated about what the heck is going on in the world,” Carroll said. “Black people can’t scream anymore, they can’t march any more, they can’t bear their souls anymore to what they’ve lived with for hundreds of years because white guys came over from Europe and started a new country with a great idea and great ideals and wrote down great writings and laws and all of that about democracy and freedom and equality for all. And then that’s not what happened, because we went down this road here and followed economics—rich white guys making money—and they put together a system of slavery, and we’ve never left it, really. It has never gone away.

“And Black people know the truth, they know exactly what’s going on. It’s white people who don’t know. It’s not that they’re not telling us; they’ve been telling us the stories. We know what’s right and what’s wrong, we just have not been open to listen to it. We’ve been unwilling to accept the real history. We’ve been taught a false history of what happened in this country, we’ve been basing things on false premises, and it has not been about equality for all, it has not been about freedom for all, it has not been opportunity for all, and it needs to be. This is a humanity issue we’re dealing with. This is a white people’s issue to get over and learn what’s going on and to figure it out and start loving everybody that is part of our country, and that want to our country, wherever they want to come from.”

Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks Head Coach https://sports.yahoo.com/pete-carroll-seahawks-white-people-real-history-racism-speech-nfl-032543213.html

The only thing that the corporate world has to offer is a mentorship program that are nothing more than an illusion to make someone like me *think* that I have a shot at making it to the top of the ladder, but I really don’t. In every company that I’ve worked at that had a mentorship program not a single one of them had anyone of color in senior management. It’s been this way throughout my entire career.

Why is this the case? If we’re being completely honest oftentimes many of the business deals that are made are made in places that are not frequented by people who look like me (i.e. golf courses, country clubs, etc). 

I’m not trying to say this to be malicious or desire pity, trust me I don’t need or want it, I’m simply stating this because it is a fact. I figured out fairly early on in my career that I wasn’t going to continue climbing a ladder that wasn’t meant for me and nor  did I want to find out that my ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. 

So I simply view my job as a means to an end—to fund the projects that I’m most passionate about in life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and the folks I work with have been pretty cool so far, but again my motto is  I work to live, not live to work. I channel my energy and time by sharing my knowledge so other people don’t feel like they have to play the game.

Strategy

You can’t create your own game if you don’t have a strategy. After all a goal without a plan is just a wish. What does success look like to you? Does your idea of success enable you to be a conduit? Meaning, are other people going to be blessed by you achieving your goals. 

So for example, one of my goals is to create an afterschool workshop to help Black and Latino kids get the business skills they need to create their own opportunities. My definition of success is to help out as many people as I can to achieve their dreams. I know for a fact that my time and knowledge is going to help out future generations. 

Phylicia Rashad and Denzel Washington had no idea that their willingness to go above and beyond in donating their time, expertise and generosity was going to produce a future king that would be admired throughout the ages.

I’ve been truly blessed. It’s an honor for me to be in a situation to help as many people as I can but especially those within my community. 

If you’re like me and you want your dash to matter it starts with making sure that you reclaim your time, gain knowledge to help you create opportunities and determine ways in how you can be a conduit in sharing your gifts and talents with others. When people see my dash I want them to know that my life represented Proverbs 11:25 “The generous soul will be made rich,

And he who waters will also be watered himself.” 

I already know that I’ve already watered quite a few souls and if you can’t say the same it’s not too late. Don’t overthink it and take the shot.

I want to end this episode by sharing two poems with you. With all the chaos in this world it seems like they both can be a good reminder to never lose focus on our dash.

Both of these poems were included in my dad’s obituary. 

Medieval Times

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

By Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

You’re the Cats

By  LaTosha Johnson 

You have always been there for me, and now it is my turn to be here for you, 

because you need someone to care for you too.

When I was small, you were always there to help me, 

Whether it was homework (I am past the “Alligator” situation), problems, and questions.

You are always there to give me advice, 

And since I am stubborn, I always need it twice.

You are the epitome of what a REAL father is and should be, 

I hope you realize how very special you are to me.

Please do not hesitate to ask me for help,

There is nothing too big that with prayer cannot be dealt.

You are always providing for us and our needs above your own,

With your love and guidance I wan to show you how much I have grown.

We are always buddies, and buddies help each other out, 

Especially when they are dealing with a troublesome bout.

You will be fine rest assured because we’re here to help you, 

And we will be with you through and through.

I wish I could repay you for everything you have and continue to do for me,

But there is nothing in the world that would amount to this you see.

I love you so much that my feelings cannot be expressed, 

I am so proud of you and appreciate everything you do which is why you are such a success.

You have accomplished so many things that many people only dream

But what separates you from them is that you made your dreams a reality.

You work hard and deserve to have us take care of you, 

So please relax and get some rest, 

Your love selflessness is what makes you Daddy the absolute best.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to take the How Well Rounded Are  You in Life quiz and check out  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating, purchasing a  Hustle in Faith journal  or an  item from StarenguCrew in order to help offset the cost of producing this show.

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