Doing More with What You Have

Photo by RF._.studio

These days, I am focusing more on shifting my mindset from trying to figure out how to do something new to maximize what I already have. This includes how to best nurture my personal and business relationships.

Gone are the days of randomly following people on social media and only liking their posts. How can we actually work together? I hope to participate in more collaborations.

We spend so much time at the start of the year trying to figure out what new, shiny thing we can go after when we already have shiny things around us and within us. How can we repurpose content we already have into something greater? How can we build on relationships we’ve already fostered into something better?

Instead of “What can I do?” I ask myself, “What can I do with what I have?”

Going forward, I am reminding myself that my gifts have no limits.

And I hope you are too.

From teaching and mentoring to sitting down on panels with the crème de la crème to share your perspective, Self-Publishing a book is about far more than book royalties. It is also the easiest way to become an authority in your field. It puts you in rooms you would otherwise not be qualified to be in.

Malcolm X said his alma mater was books and a good library. He had a book with him every time he was on a plane. “I could spend the rest of my life reading,” he said, “Just satisfying my curiosity.”

And, while Maya Angelou spoke six languages, studied modern dance in San Francisco, and spent a year in New York studying African dance with Pearl Primus, she never went to college.

Malcolm and Maya both lectured at universities, although they never attended one. The people came to them despite them not having the degrees and certifications because they were exceptional at being themselves.

People will pay you to be yourself. To talk your talk. To let your light shine.

While writing books, I remember that I am not limited to only writing books. I can use my gifts to make an even more significant impact.

And so can you.

Destiny

As we get closer to September and the close of this year’s poetry contest, I will post more poems from other artists to help spark creativity.

This year’s theme is Freedom, so we will focus on poems that have to do with that in some way.

This one, “Destiny” is from yours truly. Enjoy!

Photo by Pixabay

She could not tame the lyric

there was no trapping the soul

no caging the courage

no binding the song.

There was freedom in her fingers

and a revolution in her pen

this

was her prerogative

The path hard

but the calling HIGHER

the heroism of destiny

beckoning

to be set free

  • Source: Yecheilyah © 2022. (Listen to me recite this on Tik Tok @ yecheilyah or YouTube here.

Haven’t Sent Your Poem in Yet? Wanna win interviews, cash prizes and more?

Click Here!

If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree

When I was a teenager, my cousins joked that I had discovered the cure for AIDS. It was their way of saying I was smart because I read a lot.

I even overheard my mother telling my aunt I was special. I got offended because I thought she meant special as in slow.

That’s because when I was a kid, I thought I was stupid.

In grammar school, I was a terrible student. I got straight Fs in the early years. And when we had to take the IOWA Test, I started to get held back. I can remember going to summer school as early as third grade, and I failed sixth grade twice. I failed seventh grade too, but someone had mercy on me enough to add my name to the eighth-grade roster, and that is how I entered the eighth grade.

I honestly cannot tell you what happened. I never learned the details. As far as I was concerned, it was a miracle.

Once in the eighth grade, they routinely removed me from class to go with the Special Ed teacher. My specific area of difficulty was math.

Whenever that teacher came to the door, all five of us would get up and walk out, and everyone knew what for. It was embarrassing, and I felt ashamed.

If I was so terrible at school, how did I graduate with honors with an armful of Creative Writing awards? And how did I end up in ILCA?

ILCA is short for International Language Career Academy. It was a program at my high school where students had to take four years of language instead of two, and all their courses were advanced except for the electives.

By my junior year of High School, I was not only enrolled in all honors classes, but I was also taking courses at Robert Morris College in downtown Chicago.

I would go to school during the day and then hop on the Green Line and go to college at night.

At the time, I was a member of the UMOJA Spoken Word Poetry club, trying out for track, and the only member of the yearbook team.

My schedule was crazy.

I was also on the drama team, where we wrote and performed plays at school assemblies.

At one of these plays, I recited my poem, “Black Beauty.” It was the first time I had ever shared my poetry with the public.

But let me back up just a bit.

I never explained how I went from Special Ed for math to taking advanced math classes…and passing.

Writing.

My eighth-grade teacher discovered I knew how to write, so they built my assignments around writing.

I excelled.

I excelled so much that I passed math, graduated with honors, and was placed in an advanced High School Program.

There’s an old saying, usually attributed to Einstein, that goes something like:

I was this fish. I used to think I was stupid.

Something in my brain just did not click. I didn’t even learn to ride a bike until I was nine years old.

At the time, The Robert Taylor Projects were considered the poorest urban community in the United States, second only to Cabrini Green. We did not ride bikes. We made tents out of dirty bedsheets, seesaws out of bed railings, and rollercoasters out of shopping carts.

Ain’t nobody have money for bikes.

And even though I’m a full adult now, I still get anxious about math and count slower than most.

People think I’m book smart, but the truth is it wasn’t until I focused on what I was good at (my purpose) that I started to do well.

It was never about being smart, but I was also not stupid. I just needed to find what worked for me, even if that meant I had to work harder than others.

The Point

Passion is connected to purpose. Those things you love to do (with or without payment), has a lot to do with what you are called to do.

Some of you are struggling with something, and it’s not because you are stupid or slow or incapable.

It could just be because you are a fish, trying to climb trees because that’s what everyone else is doing.

Find you some water.


I am Soul is 99cents through February. If you have read this book, be sure to leave an honest review on Amazon!

3 Simple Ways to Know If You Are Posting Valuable Blog Content

It’s time for another blogging tip!

We have already talked about one cool strategy for busy bloggers. I want to extend that conversation by making it easier for those new to blogging to discern if what you are posting is valuable and high quality.

For the record, I am not one of those who think you have to post every day, not on social media and not to the blog. Wasted time is like wasted money, so I will not post or recommend posting just for the sake of posting.

We are not doing all of that.

What we are doing is posting consistently enough to be present enough to serve our audience.

Whenever we post, we want to add value, and adding value only means educating, inspiring, or entertaining your people.

  • Educational
  • Inspirational/Uplifting
  • Entertaining

A fourth category could be Edutainment – Educating through entertainment. Thank me later.

To do this would mean that you must be deliberate about the content you publish.

What does this mean for blogging?

To be deliberate means to have an intentional and purposeful focus. It is the opposite of being fake and posting just to post. It means posting what is important to you and what is helpful, inspiring, or educational to others while somehow making sure it ties into your brand.

I published I am Soul on December 20, 2017. This was intentional, as December 20 is my late mother’s birthday. She was alive then, and I wanted the book to be a dedication because she had been through a lot that year.

I know value is a big buzzword these days, and sometimes it can sound so complicated, but it’s really not all that deep. Posting content of value means you are posting what will uplift, educate, or entertain. Some examples include:

  • Creative writing (poetry, short stories)
  • Promotion for Indie Authors
  • Posting a think piece on a hot topic
  • Sharing some life lessons and experiences (as it is relatable to your brand)
  • Posting a review of a book you read
  • Posting something funny

Blogging doesn’t have to be a waste of time, especially if you are not getting paid to be here. Suppose you are making money from your blog or using it as an author platform to connect with readers. In that case, you definitely don’t want to waste your time publishing ten posts a week that doesn’t add value to your life or the life of others.

Choose a few days a week you want to post and make sure you are entertaining, educating, or inspiring us.

That’s it.


For More Blog Tips Click Here.

Don’t forget to vote for the My Soul is a Witness Book Cover!

PS. This book is 99cents on Kindle! This is your chance to grab it if you don’t have it. Click the title linked above. 

>>Vote Here<<

If My Books Shall Die

jez-timms-unsplash

I read James Baldwin today

and realized I was carrying his bones

in the crooks of my arms,

and that if my books shall die,

then I have labored in vain.

 

I have swam through centuries

and ran years in someone else’s shoes,

I have climbed mountains

and crawled under valleys

only to bleed death.

I have wasted my time

carving obsession into paper

with invisible ink,

Words fallen like stars

on deaf ears.

 

If my books shall die,

then let me not be born.

Take me back to the safety

of my mother’s womb,

the privacy

of not yet existing

if my works have been in vain.

 

If my books shall die,

then I do not exist.

Not on the tops of your shelves,

or faced down on kitchen counters,

or underneath your children’s beds.

Honor me

in the palms of your hands

and not standing next to Grandmother’s old picture in the living room—

Grandmother is dead

and I do not wish to die.

 

Give me my flowers today

and accept the life I offer you

in the form of metaphors

On silver platters,

For I am feeding you

with silver spoons

and all you’ve got to do is eat…

I offer you

the best of me.

 

And when I am dead,

no longer among the living

crack open a book written by me

and feel my breath on your skin.

Hear my voice resurrect

from inside an ancient pen,

Watch my tongue dance,

See my lips move

and witness passion soar from beyond the grave.

 

If my books shall die

then my words did not really contain life,

But if my books shall live…

What are you waiting for?

Go to your bookshelf,

Resurrect me

and carry

my bones.

Remind Yourself that You Exist

Photo by Chris Arock on Unsplash

When your hands are shaking so badly,
your body is an Earthquake.
When your mind is a war-zone of worry.
When uncertainty is an uninvited guest
snaking its way inside your mind
and poisoning it with doubt.
When you are weighed down by
what is not yours to carry.
When depression feels like a friend
and sadness a sister

Remind yourself that you exist.

Don’t you know purpose entered your lungs armed and ready for battle?
The universe waits for you with unparalleled patience.
Accepting delay
Tolerating suffering
A vase for your tears
An embrace for your misunderstanding.

Remember how your bones were formed and stitched together
inside someone else’s body.
Remember that you are a miracle
a divine welcome
Your mother and father’s prophecy
a spiritual alliance of their passion
their history in one body.
You are history
soil and earth
a timeless treasure.

Purpose waits for you to find the courage
to see yourself
because you exist.
You take up space
you send energy out into the world
you vibrate a frequency that someone else feels
you speak a language that someone else understands
You are the manifestation of love
And the universe commands that you jump
even when your heart is in your throat
because you are here

Remind yourself
that you
exist.


Have you heard? I am Soul won the Kindle Book Award for Poetry in the 8th Annual Kindle Book Award Ceremony. Because I want you to get your hands on this book without breaking the bank, I have lowered the kindle book to 99cents for a limited time. Click here to get it now.

Note: This poem is not in the book. This poem is new. 

The 32nd Year: A Reflection

I am in the 32nd year of my life journey even though the gray in the front of my locs won’t let me be great. I just had a birthday (5/26) and I am usually quiet around this time. (And yes, I do admit this is my pitiful way of explaining why *aside from author Interviews* I have not been very active on this blog). But while I have not spoken much about it or posted many pictures, I enjoyed myself and I cannot say enough how much I appreciate the outpouring of love from social media.

Like I would expect anyone to be, I am always excited about my birthday and pretty much think about it up until the day passes, though I am also usually quiet around this time because I also approach birthdays from a reflective point of view. I don’t celebrate holidays, but I do honor, acknowledge, and value birthdays. It’s not something I take for granted or shrug off as a non-important since this is the day when the power of all powers decided I was worthy of entering the world. Stitching me together in my mother’s womb and commanding it to hold me there until it was time to give birth.

Another birthday means another year has passed. I am quiet because I look back on the past year to see how I’ve grown and to be grateful for who I am, where I am and whose I am. I review my goals and the action steps needed to accomplish them. Am I moving or standing still? And if I am moving and if I am standing still is this reality or perception? I know that there is no greater deception than self-deception so it’s important to me to honestly and realistically reflect on my life, my progress, and my purpose since I do not intend to bring last year’s baggage into this new age. It’s important to me to see the good in the finished and the unfinished work. To be grateful for where I am and celebrate on the way to where I am going. Have I wasted a year, or have I taken full advantage of every day? There is much to think about and much to do.

I do not know what this year has in store for me, but I hope I can take full advantage of the day so that next year I can look back on today and know that I have done my very best to contribute to the forward movement of the world.