“Here’s to the
the rebels, the
Along my life’s journey I’ve been called all of these – and worse.
Here's a secret (well – maybe not so secret –
but a rarely practiced nugget of wisdom):
Excellence is rarely achieved by staying in the safe lane.
* from one of my favorite quotes,
by Rob Siltanen. Made famous by
Growth, betterment and innovation often require making a dramatic change in direction — which can brand you as a bit of a rebel. Not everyone is going to be happy if you turn around, leave the road, or even bulldoze the whole thing and set a new course. Not everyone is going to applaud if something needs breaking before it can be better and you’re the one who swings the hammer. Yes, some people will see you as a visionary leader. But others will call you a troublemaker.
I know, because I’ve been there.
I’ve been stuck. I’ve felt like an imposter. I’ve failed.
I have been close to giving up.
A bit of background...
I was born in Guyana, South America. I spent my early childhood being raised by my great grandmother, as my parents left for greater opportunities in North America. At age five I joined my parents in Toronto, where my family lived in one of the roughest neighbourhoods in Canada. Rampant poverty, high crime and drug use, few resources, and overcrowded schools surrounded us.
I often felt socially isolated and challenged — I looked different. I spoke differently. I was from an entirely different culture. I teetered on becoming another tragic statistic.
There was a time when I had no belief in my ability to do anything.
There was negative self-talk. There were no goals. There was a lot of fear.
When I looked into my future I didn’t like what I saw.
So, I drew a line in the sand.
I began to make small, better decisions.
A university scholarship I had turned down in high school was made again. I leapt at the chance of a do-over. I packed my bags, grabbed my passport and headed to the US on a soccer scholarship.
I decided to focus, re-invest in myself.
And that was the change that sparked a personal and professional trajectory for me.
I found some solace and strength
in my new environment.
I found encouragement,
mentorship and internal drive.
I found hope.
I conjured up belief in myself and held on tight.
There was no magic pill.
I stayed away from distractions.
I developed clarity in my goals.
I was single-minded in my focus.
I found mentors who invested in my success.
I stopped giving my power away to others.
I became accountable to myself.
I set and met high expectations, and then raised them again.
2 My favorite music is Motown. Marvin, Diana, Smokey… all the greats.
3 I recently had my DNA done, and found out that I am 1% Japanese!
4 I dream of someday owning a farm and building my own cabin.
5 My favourite ice cream is Rum ‘n’ Raisin.
6 Bonus! My personal mantra: Leave things better than you found them.