It has been said, “If you don’t see it before you see it you will never SEE it.” In 1998, it was the best of times and worst of times and I had just faced a professional rejection. Have you ever been bypassed? Have you ever been hurt? Did you ever get sucker punched and then the opposition boasted that they knocked you out? The promotion that was for you was delegated to another – perhaps you can relate. Here is a word for someone. Until you are rejected personally you are not ready to be promoted professionally. I will take it a step further. Until you are rejected locally you are not ready to be propelled globally! The best selling Book of all time notes, “A prophet is with honor everywhere except their hometown.”
During that difficult season in my past, I had a vision that I would speak to a massive audience filled with people as far as the eye could see. Some dreams come true quickly but I can relate to one star who said, “There is NO such thing as an overnight success because it took me FIFTEEN years to get here!” The road to success is paved with toll booths and the million dollar question is are you willing to pay the price? Fast forward to last year and my good friend, Chuck Balsamo was speaking in a massive stadium in Africa on New Years Eve 2015. He posted live videos on Facebook and it went borderline viral. I was so EXCITED for him!! Let me park the car here – POP QUIZ #1: When is the last time you sincerely got happy for someone when they were promoted? Your best friend was finally in a good relationship? Their proverbial ship literally came in! Did you get HAPPY for them or do you throw a private pity party? Do you get encouraged or envious??
LEADERSHIP LESSON – I was taught by my parents to be a cheerleader and not a critic! Anyone can be a hater but it takes maturity and class to be an encouragement and I wrote on my friend’s Facebook wall congratulating him that night. When he returned from Uganda he reached out to me and shared that I may have been the only other speaker who took time to reach out to him when he was promoted to the pinnacle of his profession. He had just addressed 100,000 people while sharing the platform with the President of Uganda!
POP QUIZ #2: Until we can celebrate others we will be tolerated ourselves. Those you honor will HONOR you! Two months ago, I get a call at 7AM from none other than Chuck! He then said to me while still half asleep on the phone, “Frank – I have been invited back to speak again next month at the same stadium and because you were happy for me I am thrilled to open this door for you!” Read that again!! Holy Smokes!!!
The next thing I know I am boarding a plane with him and his family from Washington, DC and we flew to Ethiopia and changed planes only to touch down in Uganda, Africa. We are whisked to stay at a gorgeous, secure hotel and the very next night I had the honor to share the platform with Chuck and the Vice President of Uganda and speak to a capacity crowd! Organizers estimate 100,000 in attendance by end of the night with another 20,000 who were not able to enter the stadium and over THIRTY MILLION watched it LIVE on television!
DON’T MISS THIS! If I was too small to compliment Chuck the year before on Facebook I am certain I would have been “too small” and not ready to speak to that BIG crowd. In life, it is imperative we encourage others NOT to get something from them but because YOU ARE something special!! The next time you are tempted to be jealous of another remember this true story that it PAYS to encourage and compliment others. The last five letters of jealousy spell LOUSY. #Hello
Winners build up and wannabes tear down! We all WIN when we show class and encouragement. My college roommate is George Odembo formerly from Nairobi. George is one of my best friends in the world and he played on the Kenya National Soccer Team and ironically he played years ago in the same stadium (Nelson Mandela National Soccer Stadium) and I was blessed last week to speak there (New Years 2017). One African and another American who God allowed to connect and chase while complete their dreams. WORD to the WISE: You will never reach the TOP if you constantly bottom out by making fun of others. Meet some of my new friends from Africa and I love them with all my heart. Truly, we find ONE race – the human race and we all win when we celebrate others. Leaders – compliment. Losers – criticize. You are a LEADER and encourage someone today. Most folks are dying for affirmation. Remember, we are in this together. #Ebony&Ivory