Its not over…
I had a chance encounter recently with a gentleman while helping a friend to sell her mother’s belongings at an estate sale. I served as resident attendant, the “estate lawyer” on premise to assist with the disposition of her worldly assets, and observed many people milling about the home, poking and prodding – lifting and shifting – and even smelling the items for sale. I settled my eyes from time to time on the gentleman I initially mentioned above and I allowed my ear to peer in from time to time. He said good things; principled things to his wife and to his children as they continued to work their way around the room. I looked at him with a degree of reverence and satisfaction. It was a pleasing site.
I ended up selling some of the furniture to him and as I waited for him to retrieve the cash to pay me, I remembered a lesson that my father taught me. And so, when the gentleman approached again and after I had collected the payment, I shared my thoughts with him. I told him that he was “a good brotha and that he had the right spirit.” I encouraged him to keep it up and that we need more brothers like that.
The gentleman paid with a handshake, concealing the payment in the same way that I do when I salute my barber following a job well done. (I liked that also). The gentleman was in the process of retreating to his car when I gave him this acknowledgement and encouraged him. He then glanced up, in surprise and said thank you. He took another step toward his car but it was with clear hesitation. He then paused, reached into his pocket and handed me a ten dollar bill, then quickly returned on his way to his car.
I later realized that this guy intended to short me. He planned to pay $60 for what really cost $70 but, for some reason, he corrected himself and paid me up in full. Perhaps it was an innocent error on his part. That is possible. However, experiencing the event first-hand, to me, it was clearly something more. Something struck his conscious.
I sincerely believe that it truly was the Crown of masculine distinction that I had placed above his head through my expressions of reverence and pride in him. I had bestowed upon this stranger an admirable degree of morality and I recognized him for what I observed to have been good efforts as a man, a father and a leader among his small community.
Rightly or wrongly, the ultimate effect of my words (though not my intent) was to direct his behavior in that moment, to steer him away from what may have been an instinctive decision (to take advantage of the opportunity to get over or get ahead) and to cause him, on his own volition and without specific prompt, to choose to do what was right.
I cannot say that my few words will have an everlasting impact on him but I can commit myself to the idea that my words promoted positive behavior and ensured a very positive result for all concerned.
To bring this full circle, my father told me that when I see someone doing good, especially a young person, I should take interest in that person and encourage them to “keep it up” and support them in their effort. I have practiced this in life. Consistently seeking to encourage our little brothers and sisters to stay the course and ward off apathy because their good works are being observed and they will be rewarded. #MindsMatterofCleveland #3Rs and #OrchardSchoolVolunteers
So many young people stray from their course because staying that course does not illicit them any greater benefit than diverging from it has. This is where we can begin to make an everlasting difference. The next time you find yourself impressed or pleased with someone, you should tell them. Tell them that you know growing up during these times may be challenging but they will get their just deserts in time, stay focused.
At Morehouse College, we are taught that the crown is already above our heads and that it is our responsibility to do all that must be done to grow into that crown. You see, we are taught a lesson on the Red Clay Hill much different than the lessons taught in the wilderness. We are encouraged into great things and great goals. We are told that it is possible and d@*n near expected. To some this may seem daunting, but to the young brother who has not ever been told that his success in life it is more than possible, overcoming isn’t a dream and that people will be proud and excited to see him succeed, the lessons of the House are more than fitting. Now just imagine if you were to bump into a young person who, instead of hearing encouragement or even silence, has become used to hearing things to the effect that his grades were not good enough OR he would not be able to afford to go to one of those big schools he saw on tv, OR that no one from that neighborhood or from that family had ever done anything or made it anywhere.
Today you had the chance to encourage someone along their journey. Tomorrow, the opportunity will again present itself.
I intend to seize that opportunity, today, tomorrow and each day of my life from here until the end. I suggest you be intentional about placing a crown of distinction above the heads of your friends, family, colleagues and also those strangers that you may come face to face with.
It’s time to get started.
*This post has not been endorsed by Spike Lee or Morehouse College. I do support them both.
I saw this sign for the first time last week after leaving service. It was fitting.
Neither attending Church, nor thanking God (per se), however, had (consciously) been on my To Do list for that morning. Catching up on past due tasks, getting ahead of an inevitably demanding work week, responding to overwhelming amounts of emails in professional and personal inboxes, reading the daily news, hitting the gym and finalizing plans hatched but not yet fully mature had all made the list. They always did. They always do. These things are more regular than Cliff and Norm at Cheers.
The night before I read this sign, God sent two messengers to make initial touch points with me.
(1) The First Messenger: I shared some good words of fellowship with a Morehouse brother of mine who operates a prominent Funeral Home and business here in Cleveland. We talked about the pillars of our lives–updating one another about family, work and our homes. We discussed recreation and what we did when not focusing on our professions and what the world knows us for most.
We had faith in common…and I confessed a desire to become a more active participant in my faith. I mentioned that I needed to leave the sideline. While I maintain unwavering faith in God there was a need to begin the process of actively preparing myself for the day when I would be called into the game, so that I would be ready, equipped and able. I have never been a sideline kind of person. Too much has been given to me for that. Most of us, when willing, will quickly recognize that we have far too much talent to resign ourselves to anyone’s bench.
(2) The Second Messenger: Later in that evening, God’s second messenger touched me. She mentioned that “we’ve missed you” at Church but that she hoped to see me there again soon. I had no idea. I had no clue that they were even thinking of me, let alone missing me. I did not expect to have been a thought in her mind but I was pleased to hear that she, the Church and the Church family were waiting with open arms to receive another of God’s children.
These Messengers both got into the game that night. They were called off of the bench and they were ready.
That is the amazing part of faith and the omnipotence of our heavenly father. The timing of his gospel and ministry is always right–well surpassing that of any jazz ensemble, counter-puncher or prolific comedian; the impact of his faithful messengers is always greater and deeper than we or they can imagine; and his ability to scout and recruit consistently brings into the fold those blue chip prospects capable of delivering in the clutch. We may never know when we are the one’s being called into the game to deliver the message. Sometimes, we are simply a vessel and, we ourselves, remain unaware of the message we have been sent to pass along.
I do not purport to be anyone’s pastor, but I do feel quite compelled to be a messenger today.
Take time to Thank God today.
Put that on your To Do list.
The crowdfunding industry is on track to account for more funding than venture capital, (See the recent report by Massolution.)
Just five years ago there was a relatively small market of early adopters crowdfunding online to the tune of a reported $880 million in 2010.
Fast forward to today and we saw $16 billion crowdfunded in 2014, with 2015 estimated to grow to over $34 billion.
In comparison, the VC industry invests an average of $30 billion each year.
So, if you are looking to raise capital, it may make as much sense for your business to hang out in the crowd as it does in the country club.
After an intense ten days of due diligence, document preparation and negotiation, and, following the artful dance involving the exchange of signatures pages when finalizing a transaction, our client’s Series A deal closed late in the evening and the Company was funded by the time the banks opened the next morning. Admittedly, funding generally occurs before the deal is considered closed, but untimely glitches and snafus can and oftentimes do occur in the late ours of a deal, especially when working with parties across time zones and borders. Ultimately, it was important to the client to accomplish the closing as of a date certain and we worked to help our client reach that goal.
The Company is now in the position to take advantage of and fully exploit its proprietary technology, seize its market potential and generate revenue at levels that would please their investors.
As the cliche goes, it takes money to make money, and in this case, the investors demonstrated their appreciation for that principle. With positive performance, we would expect the Company to be successful in future raises or issuances that follow the success experienced in this round.
The Series A is usually a company’s first institutional financing, and is led by one or more venture investors. Selecting the right lead investor is very important to maximizing the potential benefit stemming from taking on that investment. The valuation in this round will reflect progress made with seed capital, the quality of the management team and other qualitative assessments conducted in the seed round. Oftentimes investors in a Series A round will purchase a 50% ownership stake in the company. In our case, the founders were successful in achieving their necessary financing without giving up even a quarter of the Company. The investor, however, did not walk away without adequate value for its investment. The investor targeted a specific ownership percentage and we worked with the founders to prepare a capitalization table that they were comfortable with for this round and others. Ultimately, all parties can be satisfied with the deal and focus on driving sales going forward.
I see in her,
That which I wished to see in me.
Beauty meeting the eyes perception,
Depth and meaning, however,
still beyond conception.
Closing the final waking hours of a long day, filled with many brief moments for reflection, I realize how much more is needed. I understand that to really reach the depths of what can be gained through reflection, one must be deliberate and concentrated and one must set aside and reserve time.
Nonetheless, in my brief moments for reflection today, I have realized that in my sister was the gospel of Christ and she was a rare human being. A person type that we can aspire to. Revered for her unconditional goodness, she will live on and be celebrated. But more importantly, she will be there when so many of us take time to reflect.