All posts by Kupah James

Guest Post – Selfless Good Deeds: Fact or Fiction

I had an interesting conversation with a friend this week – It was pretty funny and I think it had a larger point..  KJ #CoSigned. So, I asked her to put it into a post to share with everyone this week.. Enjoy!

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Some food for thought:::

I’m attending a spinning event this Friday to raise money and bring awareness to the Family Reach Foundation. To be honest, I’m not entirely looking forward to it because we’ll be spinning for 3 hours straight, I don’t currently have padded bike shorts and I keep having flashbacks to the only other time I’ve attended a spinning class.

Last year, the man, the myth, the legend – Kupah James, invited me to a spin event for a new spinning club that opened up in Canton where he DJ’ed during a 1 hour class. I finally agreed 10 minutes before he left and at the end of it I was thrilled that I went and had a great time. But, I was not amazing at spinning, and I’m one of those annoying competitive people that prefer to succeed from the get go. (And, spinning hurts..)

In thinking about this I was wrestling with my perspective because obviously this is an amazing event for an incredible organization, but why didn’t I just donate money and leave it at that? I then recalled the episode of Friends in season 5: The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS and her debate with Joey about the existence of selfless good deeds.

I love the company I work for and we participate in a lot of events during the course of the year which all are tied to various charitable endeavors. They also almost all require physical activity – cycling, spinning, running, walking, triathlon-ing. The majority of my coworkers bike, walk or run to work from the suburbs and are highly competitive, athletically endowed individuals. For those of us that are not, we tend to get very nervous beforehand and then go back and do it again and again.

Understanding that “good deed” doesn’t always mean charity – but, as an example for the larger point, come on people why so nit-picky?

So what’s the deal – am I selfishly participating in this good deed, or is it selfless on account of the sacrifice from my energy, legs, competitive nature, embarrassment and functioning lady parts?

I can honestly say that it’s selfish for me. I’ll like being able to say I did this, I love that I exceeded my donation goal for funds raised & I get teary-eyed. In public. Whenever we talk about these organizations and learn how our impact was felt by individuals and families; It’s a great feeling.

Sorry Phoebs, Joey was right on this one. There are no selfless good deeds.

And for all of you that think you’re just a nicer person than I am and you selflessly help your friends out, pick up trash on the street when no one’s looking, whatever it is.. Let’s lay it all out there: 1 of the following are always true.

  1. It’s a great feeling to think that you’ve helped even in a small way for any cause/friend/environmental impact.
  2. And, if you’re that cold-hearted or cynical that you don’t believe in humanity – even a philanthropic millionaire who you’d assume just donates $$ for the write off or the appearance, gets the good reputation and the write off. ((Bragging rights or favors to hold against your friends))
  3. Or, as my scientist coworkers might say: it’s science. They get you to run, walk or bike for a cause the endorphins literally make you euphoric.

Selfish doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. By taking care of YOU or making YOU feel good,  you’re a better person to be around, you’re a better worker, a better friend, a better citizen and you can make a bigger impact on the world you live in.

– SP

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BACKGROUND:

For those of you who aren’t able to remember and quote every line of every episode of Friends.

Joey is participating in a telethon with PBS; Phoebe hates PBS because she used to watch Sesame Street as a kid and when her mom died she wrote them a letter to a less than satisfactory response. She accuses Joey of selfishness that appears as a good deed, because he wants to be on TV. Joey then claims there is no selfless good deed – Phoebe thinks birthing her brothers triplets was selfless and Joey calls her out because she felt great about doing that for her brother and loves the triplets.

My favorite way Phoebe tried to prove her point: She lets a bee sting her. “The bee gets to look tough in front of his bee friends and I am definitely not happy about it.” Joey replies, “You know the bee probably died right afterwards?”

“Because she fails at all her attempts, she decides to donate $200 to PBS, because “they bring happiness to lots of kids whose moms didn’t kill themselves”, and she won the bet. However, this donations leads to Joey being the volunteer which broke last year’s record, so he finally gets on TV; which makes Phoebe happy. (source)”

OutSide Da Box

One of the most important things in a successful life is having a vision.

A vision is something that can be abstract or tangible but is absolutely necessary as the foundation for any forward progress. You may call them goals, which is more commonly connected to the wants and directions of such ideas. I call them visions because that’s what they are in my mind.

All of my goals started as a vision. A moment in my life where I thought of something and then envisioned it becoming a reality and how to make it so. These are my visions and from them I form goals, which are my way of actually making them a reality.

This entry isn’t about what my visions are but more about you having a vision, what they mean to you, what ARE your visions, have you envisioned something in the past and made it so today?

But most importantly are your visions your own or are they the visions of a conformity? That’s where this gets interesting because I challenge each and everyone of you to examine your visions and call out the ones actually yours vs the ones you adopted from the “Box”. The “Box” is anything served up, advised, or promoted from the stiff thinking of the masses. In other words #LAMESAUCE

In this entry I challenge… NO, I dare you to think of a vision or call one from the past back up to the present and re-visit that vision. I ask you to take that vision and re-analyze it, examine it, refine it and then make it so! Or at least try.

Whatever it is or whatever you’re currently doing I just suggest that you think outside the box. Some of the most amazing ideas, inventions and creations came from just that. So if someone else can do it why can’t you?

No, but really – what are your visions, have you envisioned something in the past and made it so today??

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Branding – Some basics

Branding is so very important and, not just in business, but in life in general with social media being such a force in how we communicate with each other. Each one of these sites is showcasing your “brand” all over the World Wide Web.

Confession: every time I make a new friend on FB or a new Twitter follower, I immediately creep all over their pages, walls, photos and anything else I can. And most times I don’t have to ask any questions because their entire life, interests, hobbies, thoughts, beliefs and profession are online.

This should be extremely alarming to you if you are not thinking about your online profile…

Things to consider when posting online:
•It doesn’t come down on its own, whatever you post is online for about as long as the site is alive, and long after you have forgotten you posted it.
• World Wide Web: Not a secret club house, if you put it online it’s for the world. Please do not convince yourself that anyone can’t find it.
• Private Social Media Life: This is simple, it doesn’t exist. A private social media platform is an Oxymoron. Unless you have read all the terms and agreements before checking that box then how can you argue?
• Storefront: Is what your posting as interesting to the world as it is to you? Didn’t think so. An extra thought before posting historically never hurt anyone, EVER!

These are just a few of things to ponder regarding social media. There are many ways to create a brand and maintain it. Do you have to be on the cover of a magazine or play professional sports, win an academy award? Well yes, but that’s not the point.

Branding isn’t what you have done necessarily and it doesn’t have to be a specific goal either. You wanna have a direction, a goal, an image. There should be something to where you wanna get to and then you need to create the Brand to help get you there. More importantly, once you have acquired this you must continue to evolve your brand as your continue to grow.

Never forget that it’s much easier to fall off the Pedestal then it is to climb it.

I’ll leave you with this Quote, that I didn’t create…

~Remember and be nice to all the people you meet on your way up, because those will be the same people you see on the way down.~

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10 Things That Aren’t Supposed 2 Happen But Just Might

10. Zombie Apocalypse

9. Global Warming

8. Contact w Life Forms From Outer Space

7. Technology will eventually take over

6. You will never get that drunk again.

5. Kids should never be the parents until they ARE the parents.

4. Mistaken identity and it’s not good #YouveGotTheWrongGuy

4b. Mistaken identity and it IS GOOD – #HilarityEnsues

3. Your girlfriend and your wife get along.

2.  Your favorite TV show gets canceled before the story ends.

1. All of the things you think you can never achieve and never will work out. Happen and do.

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What could you add to this list?! What things that weren’t supposed to happen to you, actually did??

What do you wish WOULD happen even though it shouldn’t? What do you hope NEVER does???

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Black History Month: Modern Day Entrepreneurs

To continue the discussion around Black History Month I wanted to also call out a variety of modern day entrepreneurs that have been taking over film/tv/toys/music/clothing/appliances/entertainment..

Lonnie G Johnson: Engineer and inventor who has developed multiple things in energy technology. Most notably.. he was the inventor of the SUPER SOAKER! #BestToyEver #LetsHaveAWaterFight

Tyler Perry: I know everyone knows him as the Madea character and movie director (which is no small feat – those movies are crazy popular!) But, he actually got his start as an accomplished playwright. He’s also an author, producer, songwriter and has created multiple television shows.

Tyra Banks: Not just a pretty face.. She was a successful model and turned that into a TV and film career. She now has her own production company which has produced a number of shows and movies including America’s Next Top Model which is still going strong over 10 years later. She’s one of four African-Americans who has repeatedly been one of Time Magazine’s most influential people.

George Foreman: Starting out a troubled youth who dropped out of high school he became an Olympic winning boxer. After retiring from his storied boxing career he brought the George Foreman grill into our lives. #GeniusIdea. Fun fact: Of his 12 children, 6 are named after him.. 5 sons named George and one daughter named Georgetta.

Russell Simmons: Third richest hip-hop figure he’s a true businessman. He created Def Jam music label and a few clothing lines, most famous being Phat Farm. Def Jam is known for many hip hop artists, some big names today include Kanye, Rihanna and Frank Ocean.

Sean “Puffy” Combs: First one to sign Notorious BIG on Bad Boy Records.. Producer, artist, created the TV Show Making the Band, actor.. Richest figure in hip hop worth $580 million. Other ventures he’s known for are his Sean John clothing line and now owner of Enyce, owner of two NY restaurants and developed Ciroc vodka. Also known as.. Puffy, P. Diddy and Diddy.. and somehow never lost brand recognition. #Didn’tWorkForPrince

And then there’s Michael Jordan, arguably the best Basketball Player ever, this man has done things that might not ever be eclipsed (at least in my mind.) I could probably blog about his quotes and sayings for 2 whole months and still not capture all that he has left behind. I do not know every business deal or endorsement he has but Michael Jordan did it, and he was one of the first and he did it the best. Not only an amazing basketball player but as a role model he captivated me as a young boy and made me feel like if I worked hard enough I could have anything. Now a days you can “flick” through IG, FB and Twitter and be motivated by anyone or anything, its good but bad. You can simply pull out your phone, tablet or laptop and “SEEM” motivated by scouring social media. Back then (I’m old reference) you actually had to go and buy books or watch documentaries and plan your nightly activities because the Chicago Bulls played on TNT at 8:35 and you couldn’t record it. Any way Michael is and always will be one of the most important and influential people in my life. He’s the definition of an entrepreneur – he has his hands in and on everything. #Can’tLearnEnoughFromHim

Oprah: #NuffSaid. #Recognize. #BlackWomen. #1. #AspireToBeAsSuccessful.

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Any surprises? Who else would you include? Most interesting Black History Month facts?

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Top 10 Ways to keep an eX and eX

It’s Valentine’s Day.. You either love it or hate it. You’re either single or not. If you’re single – embrace it. Make Moves with your life, Do You. Spend time with your friends. Party hard.

But, whether you’re single or with someone, this day can bring up some crazy emotions.. People are always talking about how much it sucks to be single, or how great it is, or professing their loves for their significant someone. No one ever talks about the eX-Factor.

On Valentine’s Day you might be tempted to reach out to an eX and rekindle some flame.. or you’ll hear from one. So here’s a different kinda post that might be useful to you:

Top 10 Ways to Keep an Ex an Ex

  1. Delete the Number
  2. Ignore them!!!! Ignore them so much it starts to piss you off when they reach out.
  3. Find someone better
  4. Think about the times you wished you were single
  5. Make Plans w Friends
  6. Watch Good Break Up Movies and/or listen to Break Up Music
  7. Ask your closest most trusted friends to remind you of the reason they are given the Ex Title
  8. Think about the annoying times
  9. Have too much pride to look “crazy” or “desperate”
  10. Start a new hobby, class, go on a trip so you start a new chapter without any association of them

Have you used any of these? Anything missing from this list? Anything SO TRUE on this list? Let me know!

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Remembering Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month I thought it would be fun and interesting to talk about some famous African American entrepreneurs over the next few weeks.

Paying homage to those who paved the way for those today..

Madam CJ Walker (1867-1919): Founder of the “hair-growing” business. She got her start trying to cure hair loss and turned into a self declared hair culturist creating Madame CJ Walker Manufacturing Company complete with sales and marketing departments. She even opened a college to teach others her craft. Her products were hair treatments and lotions. She inspired the first permanent wave machine and fun fact: Was the first self-made female millionaire in America! Not just first African-American millionaire, but FEMALE millionaire. Yeah, look out Oprah!

Elijah McCoy (1844-1929): Child of former slaves who escaped on the underground railroad, he was issued more than 57 patents in his lifetime. After an apprenticeship he began working as a train fireman and oiler. He create a lubricating system for steam engines to prevent them from overheating without requiring the train to stop. Fun fact: Other manufacturers tried to copy, but, their product was never as good, so people would say, “I want the Real McCoy” which is where the STILL USED statement comes from. Lol Um DOPE! #History

Garrett Morgan (1877-1963): I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this dude is one of the most interesting inventors and entrepreneurs I’ve read about because of the importance and lasting impact of his creations. He created multiple inventions and was a very successful businessman. But, two of his inventions were: the Gas Mask and Traffic Lights. His original gas mask was called a safety hood. He was able to save a number of lives after a tunnel explosion almost killed a number of water works workers. After running into some issues from people who didn’t want to buy from a black man. The US Army used his gas mask during WWI when poisonous gases were heavily used.

After witnessing a bad traffic accident and seeing the need to have a back up or replacement for policemen or traffic workers directing traffic he created the first traffic signal. This was sold to General Electric for $40,000 and was the original model for the traffic lights we use today. WHAT?! … I mean.. WHAT?!

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Today I wanted to start by showcasing some amazing people we either have never heard of or can easily get lost over time. There are so many amazing African American entrepreneurs and inventors modern day that I want to talk about too – but, special notice needs to be made to these 3 (of many, many others!)

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Micro-SOFT takes new approach.. Should you?

Microsoft just announced a new CEO today, Satya Nadella. He’s worked for the company since 1992, has the technical goods and gets the vision and vibe of the company. These are the main points mentioned in his selection. He wasn’t some fancy business man who “knows business” and hands were shook and deals made. He worked from the bottom to the top. Literally.

Reading about this, Nadella was quoted in a New York Times article: “In an email to Microsoft employees on Tuesday morning, he wrote that he is “defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning.” I buy more books than I can finish,” he wrote. “I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things.””

I hadn’t known about this guy before today. But, HELLO! I can confidently say he’s the f***n shit. Work your ass off. Be loyal. LEARN. Motivate yourself. Be great. THERE ARE NO EXCUSES.

You can’t read that and make excuses anymore. You’re just done. I don’t want to hear it. Sorry, I’m not sorry. Mmkay?

Let’s face it he started working for a company in the early stages, they had no idea the monster the company would become. They believed in it. They worked hard. They didn’t let people put roadblocks in the way. Or they did, and they ignored them. (Haters I’m looking at you.) This guy didn’t just get rich with the company and jump ship. He must have believed in it in some way or another, or loved the hell out of his job and kept doing what made him happy. Either way he stuck around and it paid off.

I’m an entrepreneur who’s running a thriving business. Do I want to be 1000x bigger and more successful? Yes – and then I want to by another 5000%. I believe in myself, I believe in my company, I believe in the amazing people that work for and with me. To everyone that tells me enough is never enough for me, I’m never happy, I’m never satisfied. I say to you: I am happy, I am satisfied, but there’s more happiness and greater satisfaction to be had. And, I want it.

I do not intend to stop. I do need to read more. I want to read more. I will read more. Not just to read, but to learn, to expand my knowledge base, to connect to more people. To diversify me, my company, my life and my experience.

Do you think this guy needed to take online courses? Did he need to learn more? He had JOB SECURITY PEOPLE. He had money. He had experience. But he kept reaching for more and now… HE’S THE CEO OF MICROSOFT. He’s the THIRD ONE. The first was Bill Gates. Done and done.

Like I was saying.. No excuses. Make Moves.

Make $, Spend $

“I want to live my youth not experience my age.”…

That came to me one day while debating with another about dollar bills and what to do with them, how to save it, make it, blah blah blah. I realize the importance of rainy days and/or emergencies. I know that saving money is one key to a financial security as well as ones future. We are told to manage dollars and live on a budget. Not to live beyond our means; the list continues and as we grow older we only hear more sophisticated versions of “Save Money”.

If I would like to retire young enough to enjoy some fruits of my labor then saving money is a necessity.

What if I’m to be a family man? Then my family is a wonderful reason to save. Save Save Save! A lesson they teach early in school and continue to encourage this value as life continues.

What if I wanted to just be a spend thrift and die broke?

What “They” don’t teach is how to do both, enjoy the money we’re earning now and be prepared for the future.

Let’s remember how we came into this world and how we are leaving it. Most likely it will be in a similar fashion: Broke, little to no clothing and hungry. What I mean by this is that you can’t take all that money you save with you after this life and since we haven’t figured out the exact science to say when most of us are going to die, why am I supposed to save ALL THIS MONEY?

I personally don’t want to visit Aruba and/or Hawaii in my 60’s or 70’s when I have an inhaler and a bum knee, you might but, not me. I wanna run on an Aruban beach NOW and possibly with my walker when I’m 90. Lol. I want to wear nice suits that fall on my shoulders perfectly, I would love to see something magical early in life but then be able to revisit it later on in case I realize I wasn’t mature enough to appreciate it the first time. I want to work hard and thus play harder and when my time comes I won’t feel like I was too busy saving my money to enjoy some of the freedoms and luxuries it can provide.

Don’t be fooled.. I do get it!

The average adult, with the aid of medical and technological advancements, can now live longer and may need more money saved to sustain. A soon to be grandmother is expecting her first granchild or an additional family member then I see the need to be watchful of saving. If one parent is serving the country in a military capacity then I understand that. I could go on about why living longer could/would be completely justified in needing to save more.

For me… I want to live long enough to say that I have “lived”. Simple. We have all heard phrases like “live life to the fullest” or “live like there’s no tomorrow” however I do not believe we take that to its full potential. I want to be mindful of doing that.

I live life every single day, take chances, meet new people, welcome good change while learning from poor change. I appreciate the awards and apologize for my shortcomings (well some of them) lol. I live! I push myself and refuse to be stationary by society’s expectations or demands. I set my own. So how does this relate to the title of this blog?

As a child in a single household we survived by the strongest most intuitive bold woman I will ever know: my mother. Welfare, section 8, food stamps all were part of my adolescent stages. While one half of my creation did exactly what was asked/required of her she could not protect me from the horrible humiliation I felt due to our financial situation. No one could have, it was a necessary experience I was to live and learn from. And believe me I learned…

I have successfully completed high school w 4 years perfect attendance, double majored during my undergraduate career, shared 7 years of my life working for the Norfolk County D.A.’s office while building a high end sophisticated entertainment company. Let me assure you I’m just getting started and I plan on going until I can’t go anymore.

Work hard, play hard, live bold, challenge conformity, dare to be different, question authority and believe in your own ability to #MakeMoves

See you all next time!

Roll ‘Em

The thing that I feel the most lucky and thankful for is my family and friends. But, a close second is that I get to wake up and love every second of what I do for work every day!

It’s easy to follow society’s plan, It goes something like this..

  1. Schooling
  2. Secondary Schooling
  3. Job/Career
  4. Find a Mate/Partner
  5. Co-Habitate
  6. Pets
  7. Pro-Create
  8. Save money
  9. Raise Family
  10. Retire
  11. Eventually punch the ticket..

While all of that sounds great it also sound a little cookie cutter and boring to the opportunistic mind of me and others like me. There are so many things each person should attempt to experience but in order to experience different is to explore different, think different, believe different and want different.

I believe I am different and therefore I behave differently resulting in a different sort of life experience for me. I am both happy and nervous by this state of being but that’s the point. Being nervous isn’t something society says is ok. We are supposed to make comfortable, calculated decisions for everything, REALLY? Nah! I say NAY!

I say make safe decisions and risky decisions combined. Put yourself in a situation to live differently than everyone else. Does that mean go out and buy a Lamborghini? Well maybe but that’s not my point. My point is to try things outside your comfort zone and you just might make your comfort zone a bit bigger.

Make a list of things you would like to try but never have and how you could try them safely. Then implement that list and try one at a time, see if anything changes?

Let me know what your list looks like!

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”

~ C. JoyBell C.