The Black Panther Strikes

BlackPanter

The Black Panther movie strikes a chord with movie goers around the world. It is shattering box office records. It is catalytic in its messaging, story-line and visual excitement. People are using it to express profound pride, as it delivers lessons on universal themes, humanity, equality, diversity and inclusion, as well as the pursuit of excellence.

I have seen the movie 3 times, including 3-D and IMAX. Each time I walked away with greater insight. I read the comic book as a youth, so this is nostalgic and a long time coming.

Poetry and the arts allow us the opportunity to express ideas which are magnified with individual interpretation. When translated, transferred and transformed through the prism of our experiences, the results can be nothing short of amazing. Here is my poetic take on the Black Panther experience.

The Black Panther Strikes

The Black Panther strikes;

The images inspire imagination;

Invite, excite and ignite

The embers of genius

Until we remember with fascination

The universal themes and memes

That elicit dreams of excellence

That stream a new ideology;

That emphasizes and empathizes

To aspire desire,

To fire a higher reach,

Through awe and technology.

 

The Black Panther strikes,

As a cultural phenomenon,

For those among us who’d like an icon;

A super hero with super powers

That look like us with a face like ours;

To build confidence and regal speech,

To show what is possible,

When obstacles are breached;

When an illusion is legal,

But is shifted

And confusion is lifted

And giftedness is the new twist

To enlist us in the new success,

Which is true success.

 

The Black Panther strikes;

To the heart of the marginalized;

The underserved and disenfranchised;

The heirs, apparently in poverty,

Seeking their cultural identity;

Phenomenally packaged in energy.

They speak seeking a symphony,

In harmony and synergy.

 

Empathy and intellect can remove

Barriers, as we get involved

And agree to work to solve

The problems that surround us

And have bound us.

We must lift every man,

Woman and child to a place of forgiveness,

Where we can be reconciled;

To share, prepare and repair;

To lift each other from despair.

 

The Black Panther strikes,

Directly to community;

Inciting citizens in unity;

And stirs the blending of generations

Through tribal traditions

And pageantry.

We show young people

Who they can be

And celebrate their ancestry;

Seeking challenges to prove they’re free.

Science, technology, engineering and math;

Can help us blaze a wider path;

To channel the rage

And engage on a stage

That is larger than we

Intended, but to accept

The mantel and comprehend;

What we should support,

What we should defend.

 

The Black Panther strikes

To protect the family

And project the family,

As the center of cultural identity;

The truth is, we are all related,

Although our lineage is debated.

We have the capacity;

To help others improve their lot.

We can’t afford to hoard

Resources, when we’ve got

The power through distribution,

To offer solutions.

 

The Black Panther strikes

A story to which we can all relate;

To entertain and educate

And inspire action

Through universal mores

Of dignity and deliverance,

Eloquence and excellence;

Leadership and tough decisions;

Technology executed with precision.

Ancestors deserving a connection;

Connective tissue is in each of us

Enabling us to adjust,

So that we love and trust.

 

The Black Panther strikes,

Through imagination and truths,

From elders down through our youth;

For Millennials and women have value,

The men and young boys have talent

And though steeped in the values of tradition,

The motives that drive ambition;

They are inspired through art and technology;

That transcends pathology;

And through mythology

Explore new pathways

Beyond injustice and inequality.

 

The Black Panther strikes,

So close to home.

There are delegations of youth

At the screenings;

Reporters postulating the meaning,

As millions with African descent,

Extoll the messages and what they represent

And seeing it as a rallying cry;

A cry to honor our first investors

To honor our elders and ancestors;

Imploring us not to forget,

Their sacrifices, wisdom and toil,

For roots and foundation

Enrich the soil.

 

Copyright © 2018 Orlando Ceaser

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The Core of More™ – Be Awesome from the Inside Out

There are crucial components to your development that must be examined to accelerate your progress. There is a core set of skills, values or principles which can be debated, but factually, these key ingredients build on your present state.

Let’s place four elements in this Core of More™. These elements confirm there is more in your core than you can imagine, yet you periodically ignore one or more components. They are Let it glow, Let it grow, Let it flow and Let it go. These ingredients will enable you to gain rather than regress and achieve surplus, that is not necessarily excess.

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Let it Glow

Your light, however you define it, must be allowed to shine. Your talent, skills, abilities, capacity and resources must be a beacon of hope, a living positive example. Your light must be an indicator of your presence, purpose and performance. As we sang in Sunday School, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” When it shines, it has a glow, a luminescence that grabs people attention, pinpoints your location and potentially influences your behavior.

Let it Grow

Skill level and impact will expand and enlarge your contributions. Influence grows as your abilities are refined and increased. You will devote the time, effort, energy and insight received from teachers, mentors and coaches to improve knowledge and the quality of your work.

You will become a continuous learner and communicator, passionate about getting better in the priority areas of your life. Your light will get larger and brighter and more will take notice of you and more will be expected of you, as more are influenced by your presence. Your abundance will become a windfall to others, as you realize you are slated to get better, so others can benefit from your brilliance.

Let it Flow

As it glows and grows, it will flow in the execution of your skill set and in helping other people. Work will become easier and more natural. Executing your tasks will appear effortless, mainly because you are in your sweet spot and you are letting it flow. It is captured in an acronym SMILE (So Make It Look Easy). An athlete will comment that they let the game come to them or the game slows down for them as they improve their craft.

When you let it flow, you remove the barriers to your performance. Your actions are as a well-trained athlete, gliding through the race; a musician who makes playing the instrument look easy; a world class professional speaker in their comfort zone, delivering a powerful message. You are caught up in the flow.

Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi , has a concept of flow which is defined as follows, “In positive psychology, as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity”1. It is a state where skills are consistent with the challenges presented to you. In the state of flow, you lose track of time and you are consumed in passion”2. Simon Sinek says, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.”3 When you Let it flow, your passion shows, as you let it flow.

Let it Go

Along your journey, there are nouns you must displace. There are people, places or things that are excessive weight that must be discarded. As a hot air balloonist will tell you, if they want to increase their altitude, sand bags must be cast over board or they will hamper your ascension.

There are personal situations that try to hold you back and hold you down. In earlier articles I refer to them as the Hindre™ a person or spirit of negativity that attempts to hinder or restrict your progress. They must be released if you are to soar to the rightful heights of your achievement. You may know these impediments, or you must be open to people giving you a second opinion on people who are plotting against you.

You must let go of destructive habits, attitudes, the wrong crowd, the wrong mindset or other roadblocks that are impeding your progress.

Let it glow, Let it grow, Let it flow and Let it go, are part of the Core of More™. Apply these principles to help you achieve success in the professional and personal realms of your life.

Copyright © 2018 Orlando Ceaser

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
  2. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1998). Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life
  3. wordpress.com/2014/08/24/working..

 

Reputation – Working Capital in a Successful Life

Have you ever heard the phrase,” You are nothing like I expected,” or” You are nothing like I was told?” When you heard these questions, you probably received them with mixed emotions. They could indicate positive feelings about you or an underlying misconception or suspicion about your reputation. Why were they surprised?

If you’re like me, you try very hard to establish and protect your reputation. Your reputation is who you are, what you stand for and what you represent. Many times it goes before you and people say such things as,” Your reputation preceded you.” So it is critical that you do everything to keep your reputation pristine and positive.

Your reputation is like currency. It enables you to incur special favors and treatment, assignments, employment and business opportunities, the benefit of the doubt and information, power and influence. A poor reputation can also work against you and deprive you of many of the finer things in life. Reputation can affect what people think of you; a fine person they would like to work with or I wouldn’t work with them if they were the last person on Earth.

A Bad Reputation

A bad reputation, which could relate to a bad driving record, poor credit history or hard to work with, can haunt your work life. You may lose out on a job. Usually, losing out on a job may never be brought to your attention, but it does happen. Another tragedy is that there are times when a poor reputation, is not your fault. A director was asked to hire an assistant, who competed against her for her current job. She was initially reluctant. She had the usual concerns about this individual potentially sabotaging her agenda. But she was open to using the person’s skills to improve the overall department. She also felt that she could groom the individual to one day take her job or a similar assignment. She accepted it as a good a challenge.

Shortly after the person joined her department, she began hearing negative comments from members of the team about some of his remarks. He was undermining her authority. He secretly questioned her decisions and even went as far as to sabotage some of the marketing projects. Additionally, he was personally connected to other directors and began to influence their perceptions of her. He told them she was lazy, incompetent and ineffective, that she was in a job that was over her head. They believed him because he knew marketing and worked closely with her every day. He was eventually reassigned, but the damage had already been done to her reputation. He wanted her out of the job, so he could take her place. He could not beat her in the interview, but he was committed to poisoning her reputation.

Survey your people. Could any of them one day do your job? Assess their talent and interest and dedicate yourself to ensuring they will be ready for future promotions. The right person will be patient and welcoming your assistance and advocacy. The wrong person may try to sabotage your efforts, so do not be naïve. Prepare for any signs of betrayal, such as silent insidious insubordination, in word or deed. People will come to you in confidence. Take well meaning comments seriously, especially if they are warning you about passive aggressive behavior that is being used to discredit your reputation.

A positive reputation is crucial in validating who you are. It is a reflection of your life’s work and therefore should be guarded as you would your bank account or investment portfolio. The concept of acting above and beyond reproach is necessary to support your reputation. This should be done to establish a history of consistency. You must not cut corners where integrity is concerned. You don’t want anyone to doubt your character.

While you are working hard to protect your reputation, bear in mind, there may be individuals trying to give you a bad name. There are detractors or haters, determined to bring you down and remove you from competing with them for a current or future assignment.

A candidate was almost denied employment because his previous employer misrepresented his reputation during a reference check. The new company was so impressed with him in the interview that they allowed him an opportunity to address the malicious accusations lodged against him. He told his version of the story to address the example his employer had given, which were completely taken out of context. He also supplied the names of the zone manager and director of sales who spoke very highly of the candidate. They even went as far as to discredit his supervisor, which enabled him to get the job. This doesn’t usually happen, but the reputation of the candidate came through loudly and clearly in the interview and in the comments from the zone manager and the director of sales.

A manager was astonished to find out that an employee was interviewing his people, in an effort to gather negative information about him. She was planning to file a lawsuit against her manager. She wanted to prove that the organization tolerated bad behavior on the part of its managers. Since the manager’s reputation was beyond reproach, she failed in her efforts to link him to her lawsuit.

Failing to pay attention to integrity and your reputation is a very costly enterprise. A poor reputation may literally cost you thousands of dollars in lost promotions, salary increases, bonuses, key relationships and important clients. You must do everything in your power to keep your reputation positive and of the highest caliber. This involves monitoring and managing your personal and professional image. Just as there are agencies to monitor your credit and issue credit reports, you must find a way to monitor your reputation. You must set up a process, a mechanism or system to collect image data on yourself. There are a few simple techniques you should consider. You have heard them before and they should be repeated because repetition reinforces learning.

Reputation Feedback

Select a few trusted advisors to give you feedback on your character, image, personal and professional leadership. These all add up to your reputation, as you know it. You should gather information the old fashioned way by asking questions in a questionnaire, on the telephone, in a meeting or over a meal. Consider using the following questions.

• Do you feel I am listening to you?
• Do you feel I am treating you and others fairly?
• Have you heard anything that should be brought to my attention?
• What are things I need to change to make things better for you?
• Is there any dissent that has surfaced among your team members?
• What can I do to make you feel a greater part of the team?
• Are my actions in line with my stated values and intentions and your expectations?

Ask different people about the word on the street about you. What are people saying? What have they heard about you? If your company conducts employee surveys, they may drill down to your level to give you feedback. If this is the case, reputation information will be provided to you. If your company provides customer surveys which allow the customer to give data on the company and its representatives, you may get reputation data in this manner. Customer surveys give the perception information which contributes to the corporate image, your personal image and reputation.

360° feedback instruments are available to alert managers to how they are perceived by their people. Climate studies can also be conducted to assess the environment within a team or organization. Personally, you should always be aware of your actions because they are registered somewhere in the hearts and minds of those around you. The collection of your actions will shape your reputation and place you in high esteem or doom you to suffer dire consequences.

• The old adage of “ your word is your bond” should have meaning in your life, as you follow through on your obligations
• Treat people the way you want to be treated
• Remember you are an employee of the company and are always on duty
• Always model the company’s values
• Do not do anything that you would not like to see as a headline in the media
• Cultivate a number of trusted individuals who will advise you on matters that may affect your career
• In personnel matters, preserve the individual’s self esteem
• Cultivate advocate who will defend your reputation and alert you to any assaults on your character

You can bolster your character, image and reputation by sticking to these cardinal principles.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser