Thursday, July 20, 2017

From Bayview Projects - Canarsie Brooklyn!!!!!!!!

For many of us living in the US, Starbucks is a household name. Whether or not you are a coffee drinker, there is no doubt that you have stepped into Starbucks a time or two, either to purchase pastry or their multiple lattes or to meet up with friends, study, relax or use free wifi. I've done them all. Starbucks isn't just any old coffee shop, it's a culture. And not only does it have its own vibe, it also has its own language.

What most of us may not know is that Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks is not only a NYC kid, he grew up in the Bayview projects in Canarsie Brooklyn. His parents were poor, not just poor, they were very poor. (For those who may not be accustomed to American culture, the projects is government subsidized housing which is unfortunately stigmatized as poor and crime filled). My question is, how does someone with such a past and from such a beginning have such a great accomplishment? In one of my previous post I talked about the fact that your past should not define you. One of the keys to Schultz 's success, is the fact that he was determined from an early age to break that cycle of poverty in his family. In his book Pour Your Heart Into It. How Starbucks Built a Company one Cup at a Time, Schultz writes " my story is one of perseverance and drive. I willed it to happen. I took my life in my hands, learned from anyone I could, grabbed what opportunity I could, and molded my success step by step".

Howard Schultz wasn't exceptional as a kid, nor is he more gifted or talented as an adult. But his success like the success of so many others is one of 1. Dream, 2. Drive 3. Determination and 4. Dedication. Nothing at all is beyond our grasp if we incorporate the four D's in our lives. In addition to this,  one has to be coachable. Being open to learning new things,  stepping out of our comfort zone and actively looking for opportunities to grow. Accomplishing our dreams, especially very big dreams are no walk in the park. It takes a lot of work, very hard work. And it's often times a long, lengthy, frustrating process.

I encourage each person reading to dream big, don't settle,  and don't assume that your time has passed, regardless of your age or current situation. Never limit or doubt yourself.  Redirect your thinking to one of win win. Sky is always the limit, but only through the 4 D's will you get to that place of greatness.

One Love
Danni

Thursday, July 13, 2017

10 Thousand Hours to Perfection

One day I sat watching Elmo with my toddler. In this episode they had a two headed monster who was giving directions to someone trying to get around in New York City. But when they got to giving directions to Carnegie Hall, the directions given were "practice, practice, practice".

We might assume that this is funny, and the slight message could have easily been missed. But in order for someone to make it to the stages of Carnegie Hall, it's not talent, it's skill. If you have been following me, you know that I place talent and skill in two different categories. Talent we have naturally, skill we have from hours and hours of "practice, practice, practice".

This post is written for those of us who are desiring to excel in a field that we believe we are not competent in. But for the person who is new to a particular activity or task, competence never comes as a result of being talented, becoming a master of a particular task comes from repeatedly doing this activity until it becomes effortless. "Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good" Malcolm Gladwell. Not only do you spend time practicing, you practice with a desire to identify and correct your mistakes. This is extremely important, what's the sense in repeatedly doing the wrong thing over and over.

In the book Outliers by author Malcolm Gladwell, he looks at various people or groups who have truly mastered their craft. He writes "the student who ends up the best in their class (musically) begin to practice more than anyone else 16 hours/ week by age 14. They are practicing purposefully and single minded playing their instruments with the intent to get better. The elite had over 10,000 hours of practice". Can you imagine that, to truly become a master, it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice. It is said that 10,000 hours of practice is equivalent to ten years of performing a task. That may explain why many employers ask for ten years of work experience.

There in lies the key to perfecting a craft. Being the under dog can be extremely discouraging. However, knowing that you are the underdog should motivate you to action. Action isn't merely putting in a few hours here and there, but intentionally and obsessively spending hours and hours working on and mastering our craft. That distinguishes those who become masters and those who remain average.

Please share, like and leave me a comment. I do enjoy reading your thoughts.

One Love
Danni

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Creating A Winning Culture- The Usain Bolt Effect

On my last visit to Jamaica, I happened to stay at a villa in Ocho Rios that was close to a soccer field. Most evenings on our walk down to the town we would pass these little boys ages 8 through 14 running track. I grew up on the island so it never meant anything to me, but over time it arrested my husband's attention (who by the way is not Jamaican) he was very surprised at the boys' dedication and commitment. I guess it was on his mind so much that one day he said to me, "why are they practicing track everyday by themselves"? My response was so nonchalant "that's just what Jamaican kids do babe". It wasn't until recently that that statement came back to me.

Many people around the world are mesmerized by Usain Bolts ability to win so effortlessly and so consistently. But honestly, Usain Bolt's ability never happened in a vacuum. Embedded in the Jamaican culture is an appetite for track and field. Not only do we love the sport, but we believe that it's our duty to create great athletes. Once a child gets into pre K, they are being groomed towards track and field through yearly sports days that have track competitions. As kids grow older in the Jamaican school system, those with unique track abilities are prepared for bigger competitions. So it's not strange to see young children passing time by running track. It's just what Jamaican children do, it's in our DNA.

Preparing our children for greatness should become part of our mental DNA. Preparing ourselves for greatness should also be apart of our DNA. It should dictate and determine the decisions that we make on a daily basis. Children who excel in life for the most part are groomed by parents who are bent on creating excellent kids. Which means that we cannot nonchalantly sit on our phones and ignore our kids when they ask us to read them a story, or choose not to take them to the library because we feel tired. One day we will wake up and see that not only have we lost time, we have lost our kids. We also cannot casually live our minutes, our hours our days aimlessly assuming that great things are within out reach. Every decision, we make should be carefully thought through. Don't allow your mind to carelessly wonder. Choose friends who stretch us instead of dragging us down.

Creating a winning culture in our homes, with our families, in our physical health, with our spiritual lives takes determination, dedication, but most importantly it's allowing ourselves to be principle centered. Over time, it will become embedded in our DNA.

I'm no guru on parenting, actually I'm not a guru at anything, but I want to encourage us to begin evaluating all aspects of our lives, and the lives of our children and begin creating a winning culture for ourselves and our families

Love your feedback. Please hit me up, let me know what your thoughts are.

One Love
Danni