Happy New Year to all of you! We should all be thankful, as we are blessed and fortunate to have another opportunity to be great, to give of ourselves intentionally, and have another chance to hustle and fight to create the picture of life that we desire, and that solely lies within our grasp.
At the start of this New Year, I want to discuss an idea and reality with you that is the very motto and basis of belief for our firm - Your story defines you.
As I have talked with you much about, you are the author of your own story, and you are responsible for the total sum of the degree of success and intentional service that your story will hold. That’s what Your Story Defines You means. It means that in the end your name and your journey on this earth will be defined by your story. This humbling reality should inspire and motivate you to want to be intentional about how you start this year. It should make you reflect on the type of legacy you would like to live.
I want to give you some key steps to walk through this year as someone who understands that your story defines you and as someone who is wise enough to embrace the reality that life is short and your legacy is within your own power.
First, take a moment to write down how you would like your life story to be defined. No, I’m not asking you to write down a new year’s resolution. Let’s leave that commercial practice to those who insist on being average and have to wait for the start of the year to do things that they should do every day, like being healthy, not being a jerk, actually focus on serving their communities, etc.…
You are a hustler, so you see life as a stage where the world can witness your story. Write down how in the end, at your funeral and following every day afterwards, how you envision and desire your life to be defined and talked about by those who will be here to witness it. Write down the type of impact that your life had on others, the changes and impacts it made in communities and how your leadership tangibly changed the lives of others. In other words write your obituary. Write the article that will be in the paper reflecting on your life of service, intentional sacrifice, and bold leadership and life of purpose.
After you define and write that story, then write clear goals and measurable monthly goals for making that story a reality. What are you actually going to have accomplished at the end of every month? For example, if you want to grow your personal brand, then set a number for how many public or social events you are going to attend, and then hold yourself accountable to that.
Be descriptive about what type of events, and what the goal and benefit for being at the events will be. Then you have the flexibility within that month to make it happen within that timeframe. If you’re local community doesn’t have the events that present the opportunity and benefit for you, then research and go wherever they are and/or create them in your community. That’s the type of clear monthly goal setting that you as a true hustler should and must set for yourself monthly.
On Christmas day our local community lost a true leader and trailblazer whose story was defined by her courage, and extraordinary achievements and faithful service to her community. Helen P. Gay was 96 years old and the first black councilwoman to ever be elected to the city council. Her life impacted and paved the way for so many minorities and also made tangible and powerful changes for the betterment of all of our community, our state, and our country. Last year I had the honor of a lifetime when local councilmen Reuben Blackwell arranged for me to visit her along with him at her home.
The power of her service and her life’s story was so inspiring and humbling as I sat and listened to her recounting having Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visit her home and how she cooked and watched him make his famous I Have A Dream speech for the first time in Rocky Mount, NC in 1962, just nine months before he would go on to make that speech in Washington, DC where it became forever immortalized. You can listen to his speech here.
Helen defined her story, set goals, and made extraordinary achievements to all of society because of it. Helen was a giant among humankind and did it during times where she legally didn’t have the right to enjoy many of the freedoms we take for granted, simply because of the color of her skin. She left an example for us all. Read her obituary and story here.
At the start of the New Year that you are fortunate to see, you need to understand that Your Story Defines You, and you need to set goals and hold yourself accountable each month, to making that story a story that you are proud of, and that impacts our world for the better long after you’re gone.
Take what you want out of life, and dare to be great! We all depend on it! As always, keep hustling hard and keep fighting forward!
Happy New Year!
David L. Joyner and the Joyner Media & Strategies Team