#GoodPeopleProject: Homeless to Hopeful

Anthony Ross has a harrowing story that’s hard not to be moved by. I was moved by it when I met him, a young man who’d been homeless since he was 13 and before that, living in poverty with his drug addicted mother. Anthony, despite his difficult upbringing and homelessness told me he had a dream. It was to get out of his cycle of homelessness and poverty and go to college. Together, with taking Anthony on as a mentee, we set out just to make that happen. The following story was captured by a staff writer for the #GoodPeopleProject 

Anthony Ross

Anthony Ross is a dreamer.

Although it may be surprising to learn that, once you know where he came from. Where can one find dreams when all you know is pain, hurt and poverty? And yet Anthony had them. He had them at his darkest moments and in the direst circumstances. Dreams for a better life. For a way out of a cycle that for far too many young black boys leads to death and ruin.

Anthony grew up in Washington, D.C. where he and his older sisters were being raised by their grandmother. But while some grandparents can carry the load, Anthony’s grandmother wasn’t equipped to care for him.

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“Whenever I got in trouble I’d get locked in my room for days without eating,” Anthony said. “I accumulated a lot of diseases from not eating. My grandmother didn’t have the patience.”

Her lack of patience lead to them not having much of a relationship, yet, when she died from heart disease an already rough situation became worse as Anthony and his three older sisters were sent to live with their crack addicted mother in a house with no heat, electricity or running water in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Even less fit than their grandmother, their severely addicted mother tried to attack her children with a meat cleaver.

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#GoodPeopleProject: Southern Girl in the City

#GoodPeopleProject: Southern Girl in the City

Danyelle is an old fashioned spirit with a modern twist.

In this first feature for the #GoodPeopleProject (a new series where I profile good people in search of something I believe my community can help with) we’re profiling a single woman who is looking for love. Our first entry features a good friend of mine, Danyelle, I call her “Danny.” We have a friendship that goes back 20 years to our college days. What follows is the story of who she is, why she’s “good people” and why you should get to know her. Fellas, if you’re interested in meeting Danyelle, please use the form below. Ladies, if you know someone in your network you believe is a good fit for Danyelle, help me play matchmaker! 

There’s nothing wrong with being a little old fashioned.

That’s what Danyelle of Alexandria, Va. believes. That there’s nothing wrong with believing in a marriage that can last forty years or more. There’s nothing wrong with loving God and being one with nature.  There’s nothing wrong with staying true to your roots – Danyelle is family-oriented and down-to-earth, while possessing a Christian-based humility and sense of stewardship.

But she’s tried to put a modern spin on it as a city-dweller.

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30 Steps To A Better You – The Journey Begins!

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WWII veteran Ed Bray was 89 years old when he finally learned how to read the medals he’d been awarded for his bravery. He’d been illiterate for the majority of his life, a secret he hid with the help of his wife, who died in 2009 and close friends.

But he’d been ashamed. It was like he was only living half his life because he couldn’t fully appreciate it all.

While you and I may be literate, we all have things in our life that hold us back from fully appreciating our lives. Maybe it’s our fears. Maybe it’s how we feel about our bodies, or our minds. Maybe it’s emotional or mental. Maybe it’s our relationships – family, friends, significant others – and how those relationships are faring. Are they thriving or failing? And if they’re failing, how is that holding us down?

I’m here to propose that just because you’ve always been one way, doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. Just like Ed Bray didn’t have to remain illiterate, we don’t have to remain unable to find and enjoy the things we want in life.

But how do we get there?

It starts in the same way it started for Bray. We have to learn.

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The Most Powerful Love Story I’ve Ever Heard – What Working For Your Relationship Really Means

The Most Powerful Love Story I’ve Ever Heard – What Working For Your Relationship Really Means

Did you ever find that you had to lose everything to understand what you truly had?

That’s the story of Bob and Gloria Farley and their incredible love story that survived even after a car accident robbed Bob Farley of his memories, making him forget he was a husband and father of two children.

I had the privilege of meeting with the Farleys in an interview for the OWN Network. After hearing their story, I was compelled to meet them. A family man myself, I had to know how a love survives, endures, even thrives after a 32 day coma, years of rehabilitation, a couple having to fall in love again and a man searching for his place in a family that – to him – appeared to be strangers.

When Bob and Gloria Farley got married, they had no idea they’d have to fall in love twice to make their relationship work. Watch as they share how they overcame an unimaginable accident and reveal the secret to their 42 years of marriage.

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Above All, Live Your Truth

Above All, Live Your Truth

Four years ago, when I was launching my brand, a close friend and mentor (who was at the time and remains today a very successful businessman) advised me to never talk or refer to spirituality. Why? Because he said it would limit my audience by alienating the many who didn’t align with my views.

While I truly value mentorship. Hard headed me didn’t listen and talked about my faith, at will.

Guess what happened? My mentor was right. Alienation came. So did ridicule and criticism. Several incidents happened that I couldn’t believe: 

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Dating The Same Type of Person Says A Lot About You

Dating The Same Type of Person Says A Lot About You

If you keep winding up on dates with the same type of person, over and over again, this post is for you!

There are things we should know about our character and personality that make us susceptible to attracting and staying with unbalanced partners. It is important to pay attention to this because doing so can help bring healthier people into your life. The following are eight types of people and what dating them could say about you.

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6 Reasons Why You Should Take A Dating Sabbatical

6 Reasons Why You Should Take A Dating Sabbatical

Many of you are not going to believe what I’m about to write. It is counter to what you would expect from a professional working in the dating industry – I’m going rogue with this one!

At this time of year, dating and relationships blogs are chock-full of posts about where and how you can increase summer romantic escapades. But let’s face it, an effective dating strategy is only as effective as you are ‘ready’ to date. The rub is that many people are simply not ready. Perhaps you recently got out of a relationship, maybe you have lost hope you will meet someone, or you could simply be tired of dating. For those reasons and more, I strongly encourage you to take a break. Yes, remove yourself from the dating scene! There are many perks to doing so. The following are my top 6 reasons for taking a summer dating sabbatical.

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Don’t Get Married Unless You Can Answer These 24 Questions

Don’t Get Married Unless You Can Answer These 24 Questions

 

I dedicate this post to everyone struggling with how to define ‘marriage material.’ You’ve heard me talk ad nauseum about the importance of finding a partner that you’re attracted to, who matches your values, and compliments your personality. However, in order for someone to be marriage material, you need more. After all, a successful relationship must be based on more than just love to survive.

If you’re single, here are 24 important questions to ask yourself. If you’re in a relationship, these are great questions to discuss with your partner. You don’t have to be in complete agreement on each of these answers but you do need to be able to compromise if there are differences – if you can successfully do that, I say you have someone who is marriage material!

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8 Ways To Put The Romance Back In Your Relationship

8 Ways To Put The Romance Back In Your Relationship

“Love is like a campfire: It may be sparked quickly, and at first the kindling throws out a lot of heat, but it burns out quickly. For long lasting, steady warmth (with delightful bursts of intense heat from time to time), you must carefully tend the fire.” ~ Molleen Matsumura

No matter how perfectly matched you are with your partner, there will be a time when the romance wanes. I recall always hearing stories about the “5 year itch” – a term used to describe when married couples reach an inflection point. Each time I heard about this “itch” I completely dismissed it as a real possibility for my wife and me. After all, we were the “perfect couple” (aligned values, rarely fought, passionate). Then, in what felt like an outer body experience, there my wife and I were in years 5 and 7 of our marriage going through what felt like hurricane Katrina.

I’m happy to tell you we survived (we recently celebrated 12 years of marriage) and in many ways are stronger and better connected than ever.  The lessons I learned can be applied to any couple (married or not) seeking to regain that spark. The following 8 methods will help you to regain the romance in your relationship.

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How I Sold My First 10,000 Books (4 Lessons To Help You)

If you haven’t yet published a book, know one thing – it is ridiculously challenging. Not only is the writing and editing process tough, the marketing phase makes grown adults cry.

Selling books is very hard.

There are somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the U.S. alone.  On average, they sell less than 250 copies each (I had to recheck that 250 figure a few times because I couldn’t believe it, but it’s correct).

Prior to my book being published in October of 2012, I thought I would crush it in sales. I had strategy after strategy after strategy. It turns out, when the book launched it came no where near my sales goal in the first week, 30 days, or 3 months. However, I readjusted, readjusted more, and then readjusted even more and soon enough hit a sales stride.

By the 5th month after publishing, I reached 10,000 books sold. To this day, my book sales remain strong and I’m proud of the markers hit (including #1 Amazon Relationship Book and #1 Amazon Happiness Book).

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My book’s Amazon book rankings in March 2013.

My sales journey is only 3 years old and it has already been eye opening. In an effort to help you if you’re struggling with the book sales process or just simply to give insight if you’re currently crushing it on the marketing end, I’d like share the top 4 sales lessons I’ve learned in my book journey.

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6 Habits I Learned From 6 Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

I spend a few hours each week seeking out entrepreneurs. I normally block a time late at night when my wife and sons are sleeping and start digging. I hit up every platform possible searching for business people I’ve never heard about and who carry a powerful message. Most of the time, I come across some real wacks (isn’t it fascinating how many people online peddle advice with zero credibility, but I digress). In addition to all the questionable people out here, there is a significant number of real power players.

 

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Why You Should Join #MentorMonday Today!

Why You Should Join #MentorMonday Today!

What is #MentorMonday?

A monthly 1-hour live video chat that mixes business, life, and relationship mentoring.

How often does it occur?

#MentorMonday is held once a month on a Monday. Updates and schedule information can always be found at either my Spreecast channel or Events page.

Is it open to the public?

Yes, #MentorMonday is open to the public. We also invite organizations to join. If you have a group interested in participating, we are developing special accommodations for you. Group representatives, contact us here for more information.

How to do I join?
1) Sign up to Spreecast here (literally takes 2 minutes).
2) Follow my Spreecast channel here.
3) RSVP for the upcoming #MentorMonday session.
4) MOST IMPORTANTLY, on the night you join the live session you MUST have a drink your hand 🙂 Watch previous episodes here to see why this is important.

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If You Want Plan A to Work, You Must Burn Plan B!

If You Want Plan A to Work, You Must Burn Plan B!

There are many ideas on how to become successful. Never have I come across one as simple and powerful as this: Burn Your Ships!

This idea comes from the story of Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez.

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7 Reasons Why I’d Never Cheat On My Wife

7 Reasons Why I’d Never Cheat On My Wife

This is an actual conversation that took place between myself and a staffer (supplied by the venue) at one of my events:

Guy: C’mon son, I know you’re married, but don’t tell me you ain’t smashin’ none of these hotties that be comin’ to yo events?

Me: Nope.

Guy: C’mon son?

Me: Nope.

Guy: You crazy Paul, you crazy in the head… even if I was married I would be runnin’ all through them hoes.

Me: That’s because you haven’t grown up yet.

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Don’t Wait On Boaz To Knock On Your Door

Don’t Wait On Boaz To Knock On Your Door

If I got a penny every time someone told me they are “waiting on their Boaz,” my net worth would be greater than Mark Zuckerberg’s.

He’s not going to knock on your door.

But let me tell you who is, all his brothers: Broke-az, Dumb-az, Ratchet-az, Lazy-az, Cheatin-az, and Use-you-up-and-leave-yo-az.

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What Do You Like To Eat? (Why Online Dating Bites)

What Do You Like To Eat? (Why Online Dating Bites)

I have a love-hate relationship with online dating. On one hand, we can’t deny it’s creating marriages but on the other hand, we can’t deny it’s creating headaches…big, serious, migraine ones.

My firm manages dating accounts for our clients and over the years, I’ve witnessed just about all the good and bad online has to offer. Sure, having clients meet their spouse or someone who becomes a great friend happens but more often than not, the result is different. The frustrating part is so many people online initially appear promising but do just one thing so wack, there’s no possibility of a comeback.

Enter “Mr. Diplomat”.

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Falling in Love with Potential is a Mistake!

I told the moderator of a panel I was on: “falling in love with potential is a mistake.” The moderator looked at me like I was crazy. He gave me the side-eye and said: “I don’t agree at all, Michelle Obama married for potential and look at her now.”

My jaw dropped to the floor, what a ridiculously misinformed comment.

The truth of the matter is when 25 year-old Michelle Robinson met 27 year-old Barack Obama he had the following in his favor:

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12 Signs To Know You’re Really In Love

12 Signs To Know You’re Really In Love

Love does not have an on/off switch (and whoever invents such a thing will instantly become the richest person on the planet).

When we are not interested in someone it is obvious but when we are, it can be confusing. Is it love, lust, infatuation, or just thirst?

Well be confused no more. Here are 12 easy questions to help you determine if you are actually in love. While each one individually might not necessarily mean love, if you answer “yes” to 6 or more of the following questions, it’s official, you’ve got the love jones!

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It Doesn’t Matter How Many People Don’t Get It…

It Doesn’t Matter How Many People Don’t Get It…

Exec: “I’m sorry, you’re just not….hmm…URBAN enough.”

Me: “You mean, I’m not enough BLACK enough?”

Exec: “You know what I’m trying to say.”

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Stop Half-Assing and Start Whole-Assing!

Throw away your Playstation and delete Words With Friends.

If your goal is to achieve your highest level of greatness, there is only one route. You must work your ass off (at one thing).

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Allow Me To Introduce Myself…

If you want to learn about me in the shortest amount of time, this is for you:

Paul Carrick Brunson – Reel from gianttt on Vimeo.

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How To Get Rid Of Your Sunday Night Anxiety

Not long ago, when I worked in investment banking, at exactly 7:30pm on Sundays, I would get serious anxiety just thinking about the workweek ahead. I didn’t like my job. Actually, I hated it. My anxiety was so bad that my body would cramp and my attitude always turned crappy. It got to the point where I couldn’t enjoy Sunday dinner with my family. It was terrible.

I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent Caring for myself is an act of survival

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Believe You Deserve Love

Believe You Deserve Love

No matter how bad you think you are, remember there are people out there who don’t think like you. You would probably say they have less than you – less to offer, less in personality, less in looks – yet nothing stops them.

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Surround Yourself With Better People

Surround Yourself With Better People

If you want your situation to change, YOU have to change. The most effective strategy we can use to create lasting change is to actively surround ourselves with people who inspire us.

I want you to promise me that you will spend more time with people who motivate you to be better. Promise me!

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How I Cured My Emptiness

How I Cured My Emptiness

Reporter: You had such an incredible year, I would imagine the best of your life, right?

Me: Hmmm (I thought long and hard about the question).

Reporter: Wow, you have to think about it? Shouldn’t your answer be an automatic YES? You starred in 2 new shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network, released a bestselling book, became nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and also your industry’s Best Matchmaker and Relationship Coach of the year nomination!  Come on man, what more could you want?

Me: No, it actually WAS NOT the best year of my life. In fact, I wasn’t very happy this year.

Reporter: (Silence)

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Dear Frustrated Entrepreneur

Dear Frustrated Entrepreneur

Dear Frustrated Entrepreneur – A year ago today, I was on a flight to Los Angeles (as I am now writing this) but my situation was much different. 12 months ago I was a recent business guy turned matchmaker. Many of my friends and former business partners laughed, mocked, and more damaging to me personally, doubted me. I recall a family friend visiting me at my house and saying “look, you have a son now, stop playing around and get a REAL career.”

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There Will Always Be Rules

There Will Always Be Rules

The following is an excerpt from the Introduction of my book It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have To Be):

She followed all the “rules,” and he did exactly what his father told him to do. Even though those rules and his father’s advice were all colored by the experiences of others’ failures, of their disappointment in learning society’s love myths weren’t true, then imposing their jaded perspective on you. The contradictions pile up like a freeway accident.

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Proven Ways To Meet Someone New

Proven Ways To Meet Someone New

Everyday I schedule time to respond to questions on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a very interesting part of my day because I never know what I’ll be asked. The questions range from what you would imagine is typical: “Do all men cheat?” While some are more outrageous and crazy: “Paul, what do you do with your clipped toe nails?” (Answers: 1) the most extensive studies on infidelity and marriage suggest the majority of men do not cheat. 2) I collect my nails in a silk satchel and put them under my pillow at night… just kidding!)

Recently, something stood out in the questions. Several people asked, “How can I meet someone new?” I found this interesting because normally I get the question of “Where can I meet someone new?” Typically it’s not “how.” For the record, I like “how” much better because there’s not one spot where you can absolutely find a partner.

The key to meeting “the one” is in the expansion of your social circle. It’s important to remember that the number one way, over the last 100 years, that women and men meet for marriage has been through family and friends. And, while you can’t expand your family, you can expand your friendship circles.

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How I Found My Passion + Tips On Branding & Entrepreneurship

About a year ago, I was contacted by a guy on twitter named Torrey McGraw (sounds like a country singer, right). At the time, he pitched an interview idea for me to talk in-depth about my company and how (and why) I created it. My gut thought was “who the hell would want to listen to me talk about business?” Also, I didn’t know Torrey from Adam. Could he be trying to get me on live video and do the okie-doke with some gag (this actually happened before…long story)??  But I trusted my gut and trusted Torrey, and did it.

12 months later, Torrey (who has now become a good friend and to my knowledge can’t sing a lick) tells me our interview was one of the most popular ever done on his Grind and Thrive site. Also, to keep it real, I’m very passionate about entrepreneurship (hell, I’m Jamaican, so I have to be). What this interview did for me was gave me the confidence to finally speak up about something other than romantic relationships.

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Do You Believe In The Power Of Prayer? If So, Pray With Me.

Do You Believe In The Power Of Prayer? If So, Pray With Me.

This is a terribly tragic and profound story about the cousin of a good friend of mine. Yesterday morning, a pregnant mother, who was leaving her baby shower, after just getting married 30 days ago, lost her life in a car crash. The driver of the car was her 15 year-old son. In the backseat, her 5 year-old daughter. Her children survived the crash and her unborn baby was delivered alive.

This family needs our prayer. Let us uplift them in prayer. Let us also be reminded that we must embrace today, for tomorrow is not promised. Friends, I ask you to allow this story to remind you that we must make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again…

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Confidence Is The Great Equalizer Of Dating. Do You Have It?

Confidence Is The Great Equalizer Of Dating. Do You Have It?

I have a secret to tell you — I’m a voyeur. Not a “sit outside your house and watch you get dressed” type of voyeur, but the type that is obsessed with how you interact with new people… especially romantic interests. It is partly because of this trait that I created flow dating — speed dating meets dance-off meets pop culture and political trivia.

Flow dating is not only designed for good people to connect, it’s also my human fishbowl — to watch how people interact, see what is effective, and what’s not working.

In just 2 years time, I have facilitated over 10,000 speed dates and successfully matched nearly 3,000 people on first dates. While I’m happy with those numbers, what has been most rewarding for me personally has been analyzing the interactions of those men and women. I’ve had all ethnicities participate, they’ve come from all walks of life (religion, education, career, etc.), and despite that diversity, nearly 100% of attendees have agreed to one simple theory: confidence equals sex appeal which equals the fastest driver to attraction!

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10 Things Every Man Who Is Single Needs to Know

10 Things Every Man Who Is Single Needs to Know

One thing I pride myself on is listening. And since I started blogging for ESSENCE, I’ve had a lot to listen to because… well, y’all have had a lot to say. What stood out the most is that no matter the forum (Twitter, Facebook, ESSENCE Community, etc.), a common theme has been, “Paul, we love your articles and advice but when are you going to give the Men some straight talk (no chaser)?”

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Perfecting The Balance Between Supporter, Career Woman, Wife and Mother

Perfecting The Balance Between Supporter, Career Woman, Wife and Mother

The following post is an interview my wife (Jill Brunson – that’s her on the left with our son Kingston) recently conducted for I Am Modern Magazine. The article was written by Esther Boykin. I thought it would be powerful to give Jill’s perspective on balancing between being a supporter, successful career woman, wife, and mother:

Marriage is like a gymnastics competition; full of complex balancing acts to master. One of the most challenging can be the fine line between living your passion, supporting your partner’s dreams, and somehow, still building a life together. For some couples this complicated balance is easy- they share a similar professional goal but for most of us this precarious balance requires endless adjustments and the occasional fall.

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The “Secret” That Got My Wife & Me Through 12 Years Of Marriage

The “Secret” That Got My Wife & Me Through 12 Years Of Marriage

Tomorrow on July 21st, my wife and I will celebrate 12 years of marriage!!! (That’s us on our wedding day on the left.) It’s amazing for me to think about how long we’ve been together because it honestly feels like it was just yesterday when we jumped the broom.

Our 12-year journey has been the greatest teacher in my life. The lessons have come in moments of pain and pleasure. Through “ups,” such as the birth of our son Kingston nearly two years ago, to ebbing events, like the loss of family and friends.

As I reflect upon the journey, there are 11 lessons that most standout. I believe these lessons can be helpful if you’re recently entering a relationship or have been boo’d up for awhile.

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Never Allow Anyone To Rob You Of Your Dream!

Never Allow Anyone To Rob You Of Your Dream!

The following is an excerpt from an email I received in 2010. It was written by a veteran agent at one of the top talent agencies.

My team and I have reviewed your YouTube videos and we don’t think you can hold an audience. Therefore, we do not believe you can be successful in television.”

After I received this email, I printed it and placed it in a file that I would look at weekly.

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PLEASE!!! Can We Ban The Dinner 1st Date?

PLEASE!!! Can We Ban The Dinner 1st Date?

I nominate we declare death to the dinner first date. It’s not that it’s a bad idea. It’s just done to death. Two people sit down, eat food and have a conversation, but what do you really learn about someone from a dinner date that you couldn’t get out of a conversation over coffee in two-thirds less time and for only a fraction of the cost?

First dates should be kept simple — you shouldn’t commit hours upon hours of time and hundreds of dollars to someone you barely know when there is a greater than 50% chance you’re going to want to bail before they bring out the salads. Also, if your goal is to actually get to know someone and learn something about their character, you need to step away from the dining table and engage in some mutual activity. And by activity, I don’t mean sitting in silence for two hours in the safety of an air-conditioned movie theater.

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My New Box Of Chocolates

My New Box Of Chocolates

Welcome to my new home!!!

I debated if I should have used the term ‘home’ or ‘blog’ but I much prefer the former. Why? Because through this platform, I will share with you my most personal possession, my thoughts. This site will be my outlet to share events I’m attending, initially communicate with clients, and test ideas I’m developing.

Most importantly, I’ll use this site to dig deeper into my writing. My goal is to post fresh content daily. Originally, I was going to set a specific format for the week (like Monday’s focus on inspirational content, Tuesday’s post on relationships, etc.), but I’ve decided against that. I thrive from fluidness in my business, so I’m going to apply the same here. I’ll also broaden what you normally get from me via my Essence.com column to cover ALL my passions (relationships, personal growth, health, and entrepreneurship). This means everyday will be like a box of chocolates – something unexpected, something good!

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Finding A Great Mentor Is Hard. Here’s How I Found Mine.

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Having lunch with my mentor Ed Neff.

There has been no greater impact on my professional, personal, and romantic life than having mentors. That’s right, I have someone’s guidance in every aspect of my life so, yes, I even have a love mentor! The benefit of mentorship hasn’t only been through my role as mentee, I’ve also realized the power of being a mentor, starting in college with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and continuing through today where I still mentor several people.

 

While mentorship has a certain meaning to many, it’s not neatly defined, causing confusion about exactly “what is a mentoring relationship?” The largest misconception I’ve noticed is the thought you can’t be mentored unless you have an official relationship with someone who confirms they’re your mentor. This is an old and limiting belief. I spent the early part of my business career being mentored by Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Susan Taylor, & Reginald Lewis. None of them knew it, though. I believe simply listening to someone’s speeches, reading articles and blog posts they’ve written, or exchanging thoughts with them via social media, can all be considered “being mentored.” At the end of the day, I define mentorship as a personal development in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person guides a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.

 

That being said, you won’t get an argument from me about whether formal mentorship is more effective. It’s MUCH more effective! A relationship with established roles and defined expectations always gets optimal results. So how do you structure a formal mentoring relationship, especially with someone who is highly sought after? Well, the first thing to know is while it may seem against conventional thought, whatever you do, please, please, please do not ask someone to be your mentor. Seems strange, right? You would think in order for someone to be a mentor, you would need to ask them.

 

The problem is when we ask we’re typically asking strangers, people we have only met recently, or those we don’t yet have strong bonds with. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, sums it up best in her book Lean In:

 

“If someone has to ask the question, the answer is probably no. When someone finds the right mentor, it is obvious.  The question becomes a statement. Chasing or forcing that connection rarely works.”

 

So the real question is not so much “how to ask someone to be a mentor” but rather, “how to build a rapport with someone you would like to become your mentor?” Here are the 5 steps I used (as well as steps that were used on me) to seal the deal on my most rewarding mentoring relationships.

 

1. Become Mentee Material

Are you somebody you yourself would like to mentor? Are you open, flexible, resilient, and respectful? Are you eager to learn, and committed to modifying how you’re interacting in the world so you can have even more success, reward and happiness?

If the answer is “no” don’t move to step 2 until you nail this one first. It took several failed mentoring relationships for me to appreciate the importance of becoming mentee material. Be someone who is already actively building his/her life, and is demonstrating that every day.

 

2. Make Sure The Person Shares Your Values

Don’t simply see their awards and accolades and because you aspire for those same things believe he or she is the right person to guide you. It’s critical that you know your potential mentor has the same values you do. Values are essentially your guidebook to life. If your mentor has different values, it means they play by a different set of rules from you. Some of which you may consider immoral or unethical.

 

Most people searching for a mentor don’t focus on values because they either don’t know their own (and so don’t have anything to match against) or don’t want to expend the effort to assess someone else’s values. Determining someone’s values requires dedication. You have to watch actions play out over time. While values are key, I don’t believe any other similarities are critical – so your mentor doesn’t need to be the same ethnicity, religion, gender, or nationality. My greatest mentors (like Ed Neff pictured above) have all been different from me in many aspects, but we always had the same values in common. Shared values are the single most important matchmaking category for success (and that’s in all relationships – business, platonic, and romantic).

 

3. Advocate For Their Work!

Tweet their posts, comment in a positive way on their blogs, share their updates, start a discussion on LinkedIn about a post they’ve made, promote and attend a live talk they’re giving, and the list goes on.  In short, offer your unique voice, perspectives, experiences and resources to further the action and conversation that these influencers have sparked.  Understand that you are able to be of service to them, and go out and do it. In particular, show up in their comments – this is where many people with large followings go to for their “oxygen.” Continue to show up, give insight, and provide value, consistently. It’s important to note this step isn’t simply about advocating their work for a few weeks and thinking you’ll be noticed immediately. It takes time and keep in mind, you may never be recognized for being their advocate. It took me 4 years of consistently promoting and attending his independent film events before finally connecting with someone who later became my mentor, Ed Neff. What got me through those many years of advocating with no reciprocation was shifting my mindset to giving with no expectation.

 

4. Elevate Your Value To Them Over Time

Go beyond the comments and offer ideas, refer new clients or business to them. What finally placed me in a position of strength with Ed was when I introduced him to a potential acquirer of one of his businesses. This increased value will move you from someone your possible mentor sees as merely a member of their audience to a member of their network. It’s this critical step I see so many not do and it’s the one strategic move that will most differentiate you from mentee potential to mentee personified.

 

5. Don’t Ask For Mentorship, Make A Statement

Going back to the Sanberg quote above, you’ll know your relationship is in the right place for formal mentorship when you don’t have to “ask” but simply say – “you’re my mentor.” I recall when I made this same statement to Ed, we were having dinner and towards the end I simply said “thanks for being such a great mentor.” That was 7 years of stellar guidance ago.

 

Finding a great (formal) mentor can seem daunting, but start where you are. Begin through the inspiring people you’re already interacting and working with now. Mentors need to be people to whom you have demonstrated your potential – who know how you think, act, communicate and contribute. And they have to like, trust and believe in you already (why else would they help you?).  They also need to believe with absolute certainty that you’ll put to great use all their input and feedback.

 

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5 Questions Alpha Women Should Ask If They Are Ready For A Relationship

5 Questions Alpha Women Should Ask If They Are Ready For A Relationship


Alpha women,
characterized by some as brilliant, confident, and ambitious, and others as potentially problematic to biologically-based gender roles (I hope you see the irony in that statement), have been the subject of conversations about dating, relationships, and marriage on and off for many years.  While there are different schools of thought on the dating challenges Alpha women face, the pursuit and development of any relationship worth having doesn’t start with trends and statistically based generalizations about a “type” of woman, or man for that matter.  The pursuit of meaningful and lasting relationships start with an individual woman’s relationship and understanding of herself.  Here are 5 questions every (Alpha) woman should ask herself if she is serious about finding a valuable and meaningful relationship.

  1. Do you love yourself?

And do you actively practice self-love? The knee-jerk response to these questions might be “Yes,” wrapped in an “obviously” tone.  But when you sit and think about it, figure out if your self-love truly comes from within, or if it is dressed up in the impressions and expectations other people have for you. As someone who once lived my life (note – I am still a work in progress) based on the approval and satisfaction of others, I have learned that loving yourself is a very active and conscious process that is nuanced, personal, and necessary.

  1.  Are you self-aware?

Being self-aware means objectively observing of your own thoughts and emotions. It can help you confirm or adjust actions you take in response to situations.  Increased self-awareness gives you more control over how you move in this world. Instead of acting solely based on feelings, and having to backtrack or undo something you did as based on those feelings, self-awareness can help you put space and time between your feelings and reactions. Being self-aware keeps you present and helps you live from a place of strength and cognitive fortitude.

  1.  Are you comfortable being vulnerable?

As someone who spent most of my adult life on the emotional defensive, I equated being vulnerable with being weak, “telling all my business,” or expressing my true emotions (e.g., saying I’m angry when I’m actually hurt) at the cost of losing some control. Dr. Brene Brown notes that vulnerability exposes us to uncertainty, emotional risk, and emotional exposure in an effort to develop trust, intimacy, and connection with others. These things could be pretty scary for women, and people in general, who are used to being buttoned up and in the driver’s seat. If you are not willing to be vulnerable – to work for true connection – you would be selling yourself and your potential relationship, short.

  1.  What do you value?

Your values are those guiding principles that influence the decisions and choices you make across different areas of your life. Do the choices you make in dating and relationships reflect what you say you value? Do you know what values you want in your future boo? Do the men you spend time with embody those values?

  1.  Have you tried something different?

Society has a funny way of telling individuals what we should want, who we should or shouldn’t date, how we should look, when we should get married, and the beat goes on. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what you actually want? Have you stepped outside of what the world says you “need” or should desire? Are you willing to be flexible on some things? Do you confuse preferences with non-negotiables?  Are your expectations unrealistic, unreasonable, or maybe unfair? For example, I am 5’8”. There was a time when I “needed” a tall man. Because tall men are known to treat women better. Said no one ever. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having preferences. The challenges start, though, when preferences contribute to you overlooking a good man who has lots of what you say you value because he isn’t 6’3” chocolate, bald with a beard, and built like an NFL wide-receiver.

Whether you consider yourself an Alpha woman or not (I’m still undecided on the label), asking yourself these five questions are a good place to start when you are thinking about pursuing a relationship.

For more strategies Alpha women can use when dating, go here.

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Who Are The Real Winners & Losers from Miss Universe 2015?

Who Are The Real Winners & Losers from Miss Universe 2015?

I was off the grid with family and friends last night, but when my timeline blew up with the #MissUniverse hash tag, I had to investigate. I watched a video replay of the “incident,” then read a few hundred comments plus a few articles this morning. The whole Miss Universe debacle appears disastrous at the moment, but I actually think we’re going to see more winners than you may think:

Winners

 

1) Miss Colombia

There’s no doubt she experienced a few minutes of excruciating shock and pain, but I predict the aftermath will be all upside for her. As a runner-up, Ariadna Gutierrez would have been placed in the immediately “forgotten” territory, but not now. She’s endeared herself to the world, we ALL sympathize with her, and she is still considered by many to actually be the winner. Ariadna will have more demand for bookings than any Miss Universe runner-up (and many previous winners) in the history of the organization. Check out her popularity and net worth in 12 months, she’ll be just fine.

 

2) Owners of the Miss Universe organization (WME-IMG)

From a business standpoint, they won BIG. For a live event, Miss Universe has historically had low to mediocre viewership, with even less subsequent media coverage. That all changed in seconds last night, with Miss Universe not only trending as the #1 topic worldwide on social media, but it’s also dominating the news cycle today. Literally, millions of dollars worth of publicity. I predict viewership and sponsor dollars of Miss Universe (and the other properties they own, like Miss USA) to be up next year!

 

3) Miss Philippines

You can’t say Pia Wurtzbach didn’t live out the plot of an Oscar winning screenplay – working your ass off your entire life for something, dueling it out with just one other person, shockingly thinking you lost it, and then in a surreal moment, capturing it back. This plot twist even had one notable newspaper calling it “too perfect.” Undoubtedly, Pia is the most famous Miss Universe in the history of the competition (and she hasn’t even worn the crown for a full 24-hours).

 

4) Steve Harvey

When the dust settles, this is going to be a win for him. First off, he caught the mistake, resolved it immediately, and took responsibility for the error. That alone should be celebrated, NOT attacked. Secondly, right now, he’s one of the most recognized names and faces in the world. He has a lane to leverage this attention and given his unprecedented rise to media king (dominating network TV, cable TV, & radio), Harvey and his team have a proven record of making big things happen.

 

Losers

 

1) Everyone who posted racist comments or otherwise joked Steve Harvey about his mistake

Most people who make even basic mistakes never acknowledge them, let alone take responsibility for the mistake. One of the easiest ways to determine someone’s character is to see if they talk/post badly about other people, especially if what they’re gossiping about is something they do themselves. All too often, the real character of a person only appears when some negative event hits them or you.

 

2) Donald Trump

I know Steve Harvey has been loyal to Trump (not necessarily supporting his run for President but when I’ve heard people ask Steve about Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign rhetoric, Steve has never publicly attacked. He instead diffuses the questions with humor). Well, when Donald had the same opportunity last night to either stay silent or defend someone he’s called “a friend,” Trump instead retweeted someone bashing the Miss Universe situation. When you repost someone else’s thoughts it’s no different from you posting it directly yourself. On top of that, a sneak diss or subliminal shot is still an attack.

 

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3 Success Habits I Learned In 3 Days From 3 Powerful Women

3 Success Habits I Learned In 3 Days From 3 Powerful Women

Recently, I had the best week ever. Within three days, I met three of the most successful women I had ever had the pleasure of shaking hands with. Each, known for success in different industries, each armed with different talents, and each of a different generation. However, despite their many differences, there were common themes I observed from my interactions with them that will forever change how I approach business and life.

 

First, I met Susan Taylor at a Caribbean awards dinner. Susan is considered to be one of the most powerful women in the history of publishing. She was the editor-in-chief of Essence magazine for nearly two decades.

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The next day, I had the pleasure of interviewing Taraji P. Henson for Black Enterprise’s Our World at the American Black Film Festival. With her starring role on Fox’s Empire, Taraji is one of the most in demand actresses today.

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Within 24-hours after meeting Taraji, I met Miko Branch at an event I co-founded called Weekend StartUp School. Miko is the co-founder of Miss Jessie’s, a natural hair products empire. Miko is also recognized for being a pioneer in the natural hair movement.

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Now, after speaking with each of these ladies, on three different days, in three different scenarios, three traits immediately stood out and are clearly reasons for their extraordinary career success.

 

1. Stay Hungry

They all alluded to currently feeling as if they have “only scratched the surface of what can be achieved” (as was said by Miko). Most illustrative of this point is Susan Talyor, who at 69-years of age has already accomplished several lifetimes of achievement yet told me “I’m just getting started in my career and my work.” I could see in her eyes how focused she was on doing more. In my interview with Taraji, she mentioned “I can’t slowdown because I’m not anywhere near where I should be,” suggesting that despite the fact she’s the most seen actress on TV in her role as Cookie on Empire, she aspires for much more. These women personify my favorite Steve Jobs quote: “stay hungry…”

 

2. Demand Your Worth

To be successful in any area of your life, you not only have to know your worth, you must have the courage to never accept less. Take Miko for instance, she grew her company alongside her sister Titi to become a multi-million-dollar global enterprise without a penny of investment. Not because they didn’t get investor offers, they actually got many. Including outright acquisition attempts, but the sisters never gave up a percentage of ownership (not even in times of dire need for cash) because no one could match what they believed the company was worth. Taraji said “for the last 15 years, you haven’t seen me in as many roles as other actresses because I refused to take parts that paid below my rate.” Susan stated “knowing your worth is what allows you to draw the line and give yourself to you first.” These ladies have keen self-awareness to know their value and they also possess an unwavering strength to turn away from anything or anyone who can’t see that value, as well.

 

3. Know Your Accessibility is Currency

I have the opportunity to be in a lot of VIP sections, namely because I host a syndicated TV show and popular bi-weekly video chat. So my invites normally come with a “Paul, be sure to mention this on your show :-).” Whenever I’m in one of these “elite spaces” I become the ultimate people watcher. I’ve always been curious about the characteristics of the most successful and popular, so I turn into a kid at the window of a candy store in any VIP room. For those of you who haven’t been up close to A-List entertainers, business moguls, or star athletes, it’s a lot of what you probably can imagine. A bunch of folks walking around with their nose up, avoiding eye-contact, and keeping their distance from the non-VIPs at all costs. That is of course, not if you’re Susan Taylor, Taraji P. Henson, or Miko Branch. I watched how all three ladies not only welcomed each and every person who came their way, handing out hugs and kisses, but each also remained focused on the person directly before them, giving the appearance of truly caring about each conversation they had. Taraji exemplified this perfectly, literally showing me her recently purchased iWatch within 2 minutes of us meeting. I’ve witnessed only a select number of other successful people do this and my belief is that real connections with your audience/fan base/following is what distinguishes those who achieve long-term success and lasting legacy with those who disappear after their 15 minutes of fame or who have tarnished reputations long after their death. No doubt the reputation of these ladies is strong and will be intact forever because they understand and embrace that their accessibility is also currency.

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10 Things I Learned From a Legendary Director on How To Control a Room

10 Things I Learned From a Legendary Director on How To Control a Room

The moments before an interview, I have only one hope: that the person I’m interviewing won’t be an ass. Seriously, that’s it. I have the privilege of sitting down one-on-one mostly with people I’ve admired from afar – business leaders, artists, and change agents. But in a selfish move, to guard my memory of their work, I literally pray nothing will happen that will ruin my appreciation of them or their work.

 

So, when I sat down yesterday with legendary director Spike Lee for a one-on-one interview, I had the same hope. My memory of Spike goes back to his first feature length film ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ and the one thing I’ve never seen him do over the years is stand down from an issue. With a personality like his, an interview can become complicated because it takes cooperation to make for a good question and answer session. There needs to be willingness from both the interviewer and the interviewee to give and take. A good interview is like watching a couple flawlessly tango.

 

With my single hope, I was focused on doing everything within my control to make my interview with Spike Lee good. As I awaited for him on the set, alongside a group of about a dozen people, I began to think about all the things I had learned over the years in order to direct the interview along the questions and themes I had researched about him. Someone then entered the room and said “Spike just arrived downstairs, he’ll be up in 3 minutes!” As the 3-minute countdown began in my head, I wasn’t nervous, I was in the zone. An edge of super confidence even came over me. I began to think, forget about this simply being good, I would show Spike Lee what a GREAT interview really was. Well, I was ROYALLY mistaken! Little did I know, in 3 minutes, I would get a master class from Spike Lee.

 

Now, less than a full day after the interview, I remain in awe of what I witnessed Spike do, effortlessly. The techniques he used should be studied and considered if you are seeking to quickly place yourself in a position of power in a room of strangers or in an interview.

 

Here are the 10 things I learned from the legendary director Spike Lee on how to control a room (and an interview).

 

1. Have a Powerful Preceding Reputation

This is much easier said than done, but it made an impact in the room so I have to mention it. Everyone knows who Spike Lee is and most would agree his brand conjures up thoughts of: intelligence, creativeness, and defiance against the status quo. These descriptors were already on our minds before he entered the room and so, it played a part in his perception once we saw him. Remember that your reputation always precedes you. Control your brand, before you even think about controlling the room.

 

2. Walk in the Room Boldly

The moment Spike entered the room, he didn’t stop walking until he landed at his interview chair. He moved with a sense of urgency. I’ve watched countless other power players do the same. Not hesitating when you break the room’s threshold gives the appearance of a true sense of purpose. When you enter a room, go to where you want to be and don’t let anything or anyone interfere with you. Spike sure didn’t.

 

3. Make Eye Contact With Everyone

As Spike walked to his chair, he appeared to be surveying the room. I didn’t quite understand it until I saw him sit down. He was actually making eye contact with everyone, individually. There were only about a dozen of us in the room and Spike connected with each person. Most people in the room simply got a quick glance and slight smile, and while appearing minor, these two actions were significant. One of the most important nonverbal signals people use to size you up and figure out your intent is your facial expression. A slight smile and eye contact suggests you’re approachable, but not overly eager.

 

4. Make it Clear You’re On a Tight Timetable

When Spike finished his room survey and sat down, he blurted out in a fun yet serious tone “Okay my people, let’s go, I have to be at ‘The Daily Show’ soon.” In just a few words, he put everyone on notice that we had a strict deadline. Psychologically, creating a sense of urgency is a master move of a power player. Urgency causes people to act quickly because you stop thinking about the unnecessary and only concentrate on the critical. So all those extra camera shots and scenes we wanted to get with Spike got thrown out the window, he gave us a new mission, just focus on the main interview. It was at this exact moment that I believe Spike “took control” of the room. He emerged as our leader (after only being in the room for a few minutes and uttering only a handful of words).

 

5. Reference Other Important Projects You’re Involved With

If you notice in the prior point, Spike mentioned “The Daily Show.” Was this by accident? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Strategically dropping a name is much different from bragging, with the latter being about your ego and the former being about the ego of those in the room with you. It’s critical to talk yourself up. Who else is going to do it? Especially when you’re working on important projects. It’s how you manage your brand and in cases like “controlling a room,” it works wonders. There we were, the Our World Black Enterprise staff (an amazing TV team that puts on a quality show but we have no where near the budget, audience, or brand of The Daily Show…at least, not yet :-)). So when Spike dropped such a high level brand, he added a sense of competitiveness to our urgency. This again was a great move. To be honest, it made me feel like I had to step up my game. I also felt humbled. Knowing my team and I were in the same media lineup of The Daily Show.

 

6. Be The First To Break The Ice

With Spike seated, it was my turn to take my place in the seat across from him. Once within eyesight, I gave him a smile, held out my hand and said “It’s an honor to meet you Mr. Lee.” I like to build a rapport with my interviewees before the start of the interview, so I was ready to launch into a pre-scripted ice breaker. I had prepared in my mind to ask Spike about the children’s book he and his wife wrote. Especially, since my family owns a copy of the book and I had recently read it to my little boys. But before I could get out my words, with laser quickness, Spike asked me “so, where did you go to school?” I responded, “Old Dominion for undergrad & Georgetown for grad.” He then immediately asked, which team I preferred. I answered “Georgetown.” As I finished pronouncing the “town” in Georgetown, he started with his next question about my thoughts on the basketball coach. Long story short, this dude completely flipped the script on me!!! He was leading our pre-interview session. Guiding it where he wanted, at his own pace. Spike broke the ice first. “Breaking the ice” is basically the initial dialogue you have with someone, just the first 1 or 2 exchanges. From what I’ve witnessed, whoever controls those first few exchanges, typically maintains control of the conversation going forward. In this case, Spike beat me to it. So after meeting him just seconds prior, before the camera even began to roll, the legendary director was already controlling the interview.

 

7. Use “Power” Body Language Moves

Once the official on air interview began (Spike yelled “Action”, by the way), I noticed something Spike was doing that I first mistook for coyness and later realized it was another masterful control move. We were both seated in swivel chairs and with the ease of a foot push, the chair would swivel from side to side. While I asked him questions, he sat in a squared off position with me – belly to belly. However, once my question was asked and we began to exchange on the topic, his foot would swivel his chair ever slightly away from me. From being someone who has studied body language for nearly a decade, I’m aware that the movement of someone’s belly button away from you suggests a disinterest but masterful Spike completely remixed this rule. He would focus on me, then move away, then focus on me again, then move away. It was very effective in making me feel as if at certain points I was losing his attention and therefore had to change the flow or subject in order to gain his attention back. He was making me work and controlling the topics of our conversation, by the slight push of his foot.

 

Another body language rule he used quite effectively was pointing his finger. However, instead of what you would typically think, that someone pointing a finger at you is offensive, Spike instead would point his finger upward. I’ve actually not seen that move since I was a little boy and my mother was telling me “no.” By the simple point of his finger as I was talking, it politely signaled for me to pause. It was ridiculously effective and didn’t feel as if he was being rude, at all. To experiment, I used the upward finger pointing move in 3 conversations since the interview and it’s like a magic wand. Whoever you’re talking to just automatically stops talking 🙂 (I suggest using this sparingly).

 

8. Use the Power Pause

Google any video interview of Spike and you’ll see he does something with his delivery that few people do, especially on a televised interview. He pauses, at will. On TV, at live events, on podcasts, any situation with time limitations, people normally don’t slow down, they actually speed up their cadence. Not only that, from advice I’ve received from some of the best TV producers in the business, the key with interviews is to talk succinctly and drop quick (verbal) bombs – this reasoning comes from the fact TV is sound bite driven so if you say something quick and clever, chances are it’ll make additional clips of the show (like a commercial tease). No person I’ve ever interviewed has defied this law, except Spike Lee. The funny thing is that a “power pause” is a technique many interviewers not interviewees use (I first learned about the power pause from watching Barbara Walters. She is notorious for asking a question, getting an answer, and not responding to the answer and like magic, the interviewee sensing the silence, delves deeper in their answer and gives up something they hadn’t shared before). So with the power pause at his disposal, Spike had another tool to control the conversation.

 

9. Don’t Use Fillers…Ever.

Spike delivered a filler free interview. The bottom line is that the use of “umm,” “yeah,” “like,” etc., destroys the appearance of confidence in your subject matter as well as yourself.

 

10. Make No Apologies

Name drop coming in 3, 2, 1…I remember Oprah telling me that every person she ever interviewed asked her the same question afterwards, “How did I do?” Over the past 2 years, having interviewed about 60 very prominent artists, business leaders, and change agents, that same question came up, as well. Inevitably, at some point after the interview, the interviewee would lean in close to me, nearly whispering and ask, “Paul, how did I do?” Yesterday, the streak ended. When our interview wrapped, Spike wished my Georgetown basketball team well, thanked me for the interview, and that was that. He gave not even the slight appearance of concern for my impression of the quality of his interview. I respect that. It’s like Kobe Bryant walking off the court and asking someone “was my game okay?” Power players don’t need a confirmation – they know if they crushed it or got crushed. Now, is feedback important? Of course it is. But if your primary goal is to control the room, what’s the need for feedback when you already know you’re a legend.

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Patti Pies And Tonight’s #MentorMonday

Patti Pies And Tonight’s #MentorMonday

What can you learn from Patti Pies?

RSVP for #MentorMonday here.

By now you may have heard about the infamous Patti Pies.  These are the pastries made by Patti LaBelle and sold at Walmart made a bit more famous by the viral video of James Wright Chanel.

Recently Ms. LaBelle is under fire for proclaiming Chanel didn’t make her pies famous. (Read how the pies got famous here.)

If you ask me it doesn’t matter if Chanel made LaBelle’s pies famous or not; and it really doesn’t matter what LaBelle says about Chanel’s involvement. She thanked him on social media and may have also sent him a gift, but when TMZ asked her if Chanel was responsible for being sold out at Walmart, LaBelle took the credit for the pies.

And well she should have!

You see, I remember LaBelle being on Arsenio Hall – you know when he did the show originally 20+ years ago – talking about pies.  LaBelle was approached by Walmart for her cooking prowess to bring some oomf to their pastry offerings.  This was in addition to LaBelle’s long-standing divaship as a singer, actor, and author.

LaBelle has been building her brand since the 1960’s!

So while Chanel may have brought some light to LaBelle’s latest offering, he got all the recognition he should have because instead of going viral for Patti Pies, Chanel needed to have some sort of product to sell On His Own (that’s a small shout out to one of LaBelle’s songs Chanel sang during the video).

That’s right.  I can’t take credit for anyone eles’s hard work. And when I hit the limelight I need to be ready to sell…ME!  Chanel is credited by some for spiking the sales of Patti Pies by $2.5 million in 72 hours.  Now if LaBelle makes $1 per pie (and that’s a very high estimate), Chanel made her a quarter of a million dollars. This is LaBelle’s side side hustle so that is a nice passive income for a weekend.  However, what if Chanel took those three million YouTube views and made himself $2.5 million dollars?

How could he have done that you ask?

That’s where #MentorMonday comes in.  This week’s guest, Tracey La’Stell Slates, is a senior producer for the Steve Harvey Television Show and is going to tell US how to get ourselves and our products on television.  And she is also going to talk about the impact we can make once we get there. Chanel made an impact, but once he hit the spotlight what was his next step?  What product did he have ready for the marketplace?   Would he have even had the fame he did if he hadn’t used Patti LaBelle’s product as the backdrop for his talents?

If you stay ready you don’t have to get ready and today’s episode of #MentorMonday is all about getting ready.

Join us tonight at 9PM by RSVPing here.

We’ll see you tonight for all the fun and information you’ve come to expect from #MentorMonday.

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The Sex And Relationships Talk You’ve Wanted Is HERE! (And We’ve Got Prizes)

The Sex And Relationships Talk You’ve Wanted Is HERE! (And We’ve Got Prizes)

#MentorMonday, a popular mentoring platform for entrepreneurs and visionaries hosted by Paul C. Brunson, has been known to “go there.”  Paul has been known to surprise guests with dating games, conversations about health and wealth turning into how to use pineapples during lovemaking, and many more super seductive conversations having portions of #MentorMonday lovingly dubbed #MentorMondayAfterDark conversations.

And here we go again!

#MENTOR MONDAY (8)

For two hours on November 10th starting at 8pm ET, Paul C. Brunson will have a few special guests on the Sex and Relationships episode of #MentorMonday sponsored by Bedsider.org and #ThxBirthControl. Celebrities, doctors, and authors on relationships will be brought onto the hot seat to talk about their personal lives in a way most interviews will never be held. Last year’s episode had one panelist admit to masturbating before his date could return from the shower; the pair never spoke again.

You are invited to join us for this high-level adult discussion on one of the most taboo but necessary functions of the human experience. Sex.  Don’t worry. This isn’t the baby making episode!  Bedsider.org and #ThxBirthControl are sponsoring the event and they are more than prepared to offer great tips on how we can all plan for our baby having days.

PLUS, we are giving away an awesome gift pack!  You’ll receive an Astroglide gift basket and the book 20 Things You May Not Know About The Penis by Dr. Draion Burch, It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have To Be) by Paul C. Brunson, and $100 gift card to get you ready for that special night.

Second and third place prizes will be Dr. Drai’s book 20 Things You May Not Know About The Penis.

Sign up to enter the drawing below and then RSVP to the Sex and Relationships #MentorMonday episode you don’t want to miss here.

 

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The Most Simple Body Language Rule That Will Change Your Life Forever

The Most Simple Body Language Rule That Will Change Your Life Forever

4 years ago, I read about a very simple body language rule in Janine Driver’s book You Say More Than You Think and immediately thought I had acquired a special super power. To test it, I jumped in my car and drove to the nearest supermarket. BOOM! I felt like I was the master of body language!! Everything she outlined I saw play out before my eyes. Little did I know, I had just developed a skill that I would go on to teach hundreds of clients, many of whom would later tell me the quick tip changed their lives.

 

The origin of the Belly Button Rule dates back to the 1930s and since then, numerous scientists and body language experts have honed the theory. Most notably, Dr. Albert Mehrabian, professor Emeritus of Psychology and UCLA has said “the belly button rule is the most important indicator of reading a person’s intention.”

 

Let me break down the rule plainly:

The belly button rule (also known as BBR) means the direction of our navel reflects our true interest.

 

Simple.

 

So now that you know the definition, let me give you a quick test. Look at the photo below and;

  1. Identify the person who has the least interest in their conversation?
  2. Identify the most popular person?

Group of businesspeople communicating

The answers are at the bottom of the page.

 

Congratulations! You’re on your way to becoming a BBR master!! Now that you know what the rule means AND how to spot it, here’s how to apply your new skill in popular situations:

 

At Work/Meeting

Say you’re sitting at a conference table with a small group of co-workers. Once the meeting gets started, check out where their belly buttons face during most of the meeting. If you have that one co-worker who appears to be engaged in the meeting but has a navel pointed at the door, they’re most likely not interested in the conversation.

 

Another great use of BBR at work is to see at what point the people you’re meeting with shift the direction of their belly button. Let’s say at one point in the meeting you voice your opinion about a new sales goal and a person who had previously been focusing on you (with their navel) suddenly points their belly button in a different direction. This shift could indicate a hidden emotion, a difference in opinion or a lack of interest. All great clues to note and use to your advantage.

 

On a Date

You’re seated across from a man you’re meeting for coffee for the first time. He’s saying all the right things, looks like the perfect gentleman (you could definitely sop him up with a biscuit), and he even keeps good eye contact with you. However, during parts of the date, his navel shifts away from your direction. This is not cause for a red alert but it is very telling. It shows that he may be uncomfortable and want out of that particular topic of conversation. Of course, when you see a prolonged navel pointing away from you, it means your date has mentally checked out the conversation and wants to go.

 

Meeting a Group Socially

Knowing BBR is very powerful if you’re approaching a group or a couple already engaged in conversation. Let’s say you’re going to join the group of people talking in the photo above we used for the quiz. If you’re interested in identifying and talking with the most popular person in the group, by simply adding up who has the most navels pointed at her/him, you’ll have a good indication. Or, let’s say you’re running on CP time, you’ve arrived to the cocktail party late, and you want to quickly get in the mix (and not stand by yourself). Therefore, you’ll want to find the easiest person to chat up and that person is most likely going to be the person with their navel pointed away from the person they’re talking with – this person is looking for an out and you could be their rescue.

 

Lastly, remember that BBR is not simply about having more awareness. I want you to use it to also create more influence in the conversations you have. For example, BBR is a skill President Bill Clinton has down to a science and he uses it to create stronger connections. Check out any video of him engaging a crowd and you’ll see exactly what I mean. When he walks up to someone, he points his… (insert jokes here if you must) navel directly at the person he’s talking or shaking hands with. So simple yet so effective! When these same people are later surveyed or asked about President Clinton, they mostly state how they felt like he gave them his undivided attention and really connected with them. What Clinton did is something the most adept politicians and public figures learn and it’s something I encourage you to learn, as well. The next time you engage with someone (and this is especially true for my fellow introverts because we’re often thought to be aloof), make sure to keep your navel focused on the person at all times. They will feel your focus and better receive the message you’re attempting to communicate.

 

That’s it.

 

Get out there and get your BBR on!

 

Answers from Photo Quiz Above:

  1. Identify the person who has the least interest in their conversation? Not interested in his conversation is the gentleman in the brown jacket (second from the right). This is clear because his belly button is not only pointed away from the person he’s in conversation with, it’s also directed away from anyone in the group. His interest is to get away from the person he’s with as fast as possible.
  2. Identify the most popular person? The person with the most interest is the young lady in the white shirt on the left side talking with the two gentleman. This is clear because both men have pointed their navels towards her direction (opposed to at each other or away from their conversation).

 

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#MentorMonday [Recap]: Being A Speaker Starts With Marshawn Evans And These 3 Steps

 

#MentorMonday started out with practical advice for your BIG dreams when Paul gave this tip for Twitter:

Depending on your posting frequency on Twitter, post more content, not less.  Paul has increased his postings on the social media platform and has been getting about 100,000 click throughs per day!  By tweeting at all times of the day he is seeing much better engagement on his quality content.

And then, drumroll please…

He also announced that his producer, Ella Rucker, is speaking at Social Media Week Lagos AND #MentorMonday alum Russ Terry, CEO of @CoachHostRadio, is a sponsor of #SMWMastermind at @SMWLagos.  #MentorMonday is about building a community and we are grateful that we are supporting each other.  Spreecast is also a proud sponsor of this huge step in growing the #MentorMonday family internationally.

Also, if you have signed up for Weekend Startup School, but haven’t gotten any response, please email Ella.  The Weekend Startup School has been expanded so if you would still like to participate or need more info you can go to WeekendStartupSchool.com.

Next up was our guest, Marshawn Evans.

In his intro, Paul testified that he has followed Marshawn’s advice for his public speaking career and has seen a rise in the income he is able to make.

Marshawn shared her story on how she became one of the highest paid and most in demand speakers in the world.  She started in daycare centers and then worked her way through the pageant circuit.

She advised the #MentorMonday community on one of the first things they need to do when they decide they want to start speaking.

Be clear on where you are in your speaking career.  You are an

1.  Aspiring speaker if you haven’t found your story or your brand.

2. Emerging speaker if you are in business, but have inconsistent income and inconsistent visibility.

3. Established influencer if you are having problems monetizing your influence.

Marshawn and her team are creating #Speakerpreneurs (trademarked phrase, of course).

She also gave information on how the “big four” speaking opportunities for beginner entrepreneurs can make you more money.

But the BEST gift to speakers from Marshawn’s visit to #MentorMonday? Access to her new, 3-part video series for FREE (you can find it here) early for the #MentorMonday family!

You can find the whole conversation on Spreecast by clicking here.

Resources:

Marshawn’s Free Video Series

Marshawn’s Twitter

Ella’s Social Media Week Lagos Speaker Profile

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#MentorMonday [Recap]: Defining Your Mission And Your Vision With Angela Benton

This week on #MentorMonday we welcomed on Ms. Angela Benton.  Angela came on #MentorMonday to talk about how to define your mission and your vision for a better business and better life.  How did Angela define her life and her business?  She saw a need and made it her mission to help entrepreneurs.  Angela brought diversity to Silicon Valley.  As the founder and CEO of the NewME Accelerator program, Angela has accelerated hundreds of entrepreneurs.  Since 2011, NewME entrepreneurs have raised over $17 million in venture capital funds.  So it is safe to say that Angela has certainly defined success in Silicon Valley.

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