I've opted do a solo show today. At the time of this episode going live, we're days away from Thanksgiving 2016 here in the United States. It's usually a time that allows us to reflect on all the many things we are grateful for.
I think now more than any time in our past, it's a holiday that is so necessary. It seems that more and more noise and news enters and exits our minds daily, and even this week, the media and corporations would want your thoughts on football and Black Friday promotions, but I want to get away from the material and the money and the noise for just a little while.
For a couple minutes, I'm going to share some of the events that have happened that really moved us all in 2016. I'm sure there are many more too, but I wanted to share those that came to mind, so we can all spend this time, and throughout this week and this season, in a mode of reflection.
In 2016, we survived!
We made it past what was hopefully the worst of the Zika virus. Some survived the bombing in Brussels and the shooting in Orlando, Florida.
And though we can each think of a handful of viral reports of people that were shot and killed by police, the Washington Post has a database that shows that number as of today, at a tally of 844 people that were shot and killed by police in 2016. That's a very startling number.
Our friends in Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and throughout the Southeast US, got hit by a very strong Hurricane Matthew. More than 1,000 people lost their lives in that storm alone.
In 2016, we witnessed the passing of Trailblazers and legends in Muhammad Ali and Prince.
And of course, we all look at the results of this election and for many like myself, we look at the end of a run by one iconic trailblazer in Barack Obama and his family. We should all be so grateful for the job he has done for our country. I know many voiced their frustrations at the job our government has done over these past eight years, but as I look at where we came from at the beginning of this administration in 2009, I'm especially happy that he was able to get as much done in that time. And I hope to someday soon, have him on this show to share some of that journey with our listeners.
On a lighter note, as a Jamaican born migrant who has been a US citizen for more than 15 years, I'm especially proud of the outcome for both Jamaica and the United States at this summer's olympic games. Who couldn't be happier for Michael Phelps, Simone Manuel, Simone Biles, and of course Usain Bolt.
And best of all, February 1, 2016 was the day we saw the Trailblazers Podcast launch it's programming and has since that point been downloaded in more than 74 countries across the globe. We have grown a social media community that is now in the 10s of thousands across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And we've been blessed to have heard stories from more than 40 successful professionals all over the country and a couple in other parts of the world.
In the course of this year, I've learned to push myself past fears to realize this dream of being a podcaster. Fears of the unknown crippled me for years to see this dream become a reality. But with the help of God and those of you who sent emails, and tweets and shared encouraging whatsapp and facebook messages, you kept pushing me to do bigger and better things, you kept sharing, and we kept growing.
For those guests who were kind enough to be transparent with our listeners, you've been a blessing to so many people from the Philippines, to Nigeria, from Latvia to Brazil and from the United Kingdom to Washington DC.
I learned that done was better than perfect and learned to keep publishing through many of the audio struggles I experienced this summer when the platform I used to record with failed with the Windows 10 updates. But I pushed ahead and you kept downloading.
Many have heard me talk candidly about the choice I made to focus on Trailblazers and push through alot.
And once I made the decision this year, I learned quickly how to eliminate a ton of wasted time watching tv and idling on things that weren't essential. With a full time job, 2 young children and a wife and now this podcast, I had to focus on removing every obstacle, so I could execute consistently and be at this point celebrating 43 straight Monday mornings with an episode being published at 5am ET.
My challenge to you today as we enter this holiday season is based on an amazing book I have listened to twice in the past 3 weeks on audiobook. It's titled Essentialism, by Greg McKeown.
My challenge is to first read the book, then begin to look ahead to 2017 with a shift in your mindset. I want you to shift from an undisciplined pursuit of trying to chase all sorts of 'things'... material things, accolades, titles, and the like.
I want you to instead, focus! Focus on the disciplined pursuit of less, but better!
It's time to create more space to breathe and to think. It's time to celebrate the time we spend with the people that mean the most.
Figure out what is most important and begin to make that your sole priority.
God, family and my pursuit of making others around me better are what pushes me. I hope and I pray that 2017 will allow me to continue to push ahead toward less, but better.
I am grateful to each and every one of you in our community. We're on track to see more than 20,000 downloads in 2016. I feel so blessed to have a part in so many people listening and learning from this podcast and our guests.
I hope that you've grown from the content and I encourage you to keep sending me tweets and messages and emails and telling me what you want more of for the coming year.
I firmly believe that the success of this podcast is heavily dependent on the involvement of our community and each of you, as you continue to share this podcast with your colleagues at work and school. Our message matters, but our messengers matter even more. We need you! I need you!
As we look to 2017, I feel encouraged. I know that in light of the election season we saw, I know and I believe in my heart that the message of the Trailblazers podcast is needed now more than ever.
We need to keep exploring and highlighting the stories of our successful black professionals, black entrepreneurs and black thought leaders. We need to keep this light shining on them.
And as you hear these stories, I want you to put into action what you hear these guests encouraging you to do week in and week out. Keep going, keep trying, keep writing down your goals, and tasking them out. Keep putting on your blinders and pushing through the failures.
Make a decision today to get started. You've got about 40 days left in 2016 to make this year amazing! Let's give thanks for all the many blessings we've had and let's enjoy this holiday season with those that matter most.
I'll end with this quote from Napoleon Hill in Think & Grow Rich:
Form the habit of persistence! Persistence to go the extra mile. Have the courage to persist. With persistence comes success.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.