Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Road To Success Is Never a Straight Line

This weekend I watched a number of programs that reminded me how to impact my own life. I was reminded to: Not give up and do not be dismayed by the many ways, roads I've traveled to reach my goal of success.

I watched Oprah's Life Class on OWN with Steve Harvey and Being Tamar on Centric.  While I was entertained, entertainment wasn't my goal.  Inspiration, wisdom and knowledge was my goal.  I can say goal achieved.

@IamSteveHarvey & @Oprah conducting #LifeClass Lab
Airdates: 9/8 & 9/14/2014 on #OWN
check local listings for times
Each one I mention above are successful and their success didn't happen over night.

Some may scratch their heads about Steve.  Others might ask what in the world kind of wisdom can Tamar Braxton give?  Oprah is a proven commodity but there are souls that still doubt her presence, ability and influence.

On OWN's wildly insightful Life Class, Steve Harvey promoted his latest world wellness project, Act Like A Success.  While I could fill the page with such memorable quotes from both Oprah and Steve to inspire us to be our best selves... The two thoughts that most resonated with me were: 1) Steve's testimony about how many things he's tried before landing on where he is today.  Not to mention the mountainous terrain he's had and continues to cross.  2) Distinguish between your talent and your gift.  Your talent is what you paid for, your gift is what you're made for...  Your gifts are directly correlated with your purpose.

Tamar talked about from a very early age having the desire to sing, and at the age of fourteen happening upon her first deal to sing in the girl group, The Braxtons-- her sisters.  Pretty easy right? For she was attached to exposure. 

Tamar Braxton
What would we do if we had the exposure?  Well five--yes 5--record deal dumps later, a brutal beating from neighborhood kids and an unrelenting abusive relationship we get to experience the former pop-doo-wop Queen do it for herself.  At the Soul Train Music Awards, Tamar announced that at age thirty-seven her dreams were coming true.  Hmm... from age fourteen to age thirty-seven--that's how many years?  I did the math for you, twenty-three years to keep going at it has resulted in hit songs (the girl's pipes can't be denied no matter how you feel about her ridiculousness), awards, two ratings popular television shows, Braxton Family Values, Tamar and Vince on WE and a third show just picked up for National Network and syndication, The Real, FOX and BET respectively.  She also speaks of a self-described successful personal life.

This all applies to me because in circa 1995, I sat in my cubicle on Wall Street and proceeded to type out a story about three women in their twenties desperate to make a way out of no way.  It took me seven years to bring that story to fruition--a novel and novelist was born.  It would take me an additional five years to get out the next book, a story about two friends, a man and a woman who had been so since they were ten years old.  Now as adults they need to determine if they truly are friends or masking deceitful desires for more...  I self-published both novels and I can't begin to explain the time, money and fortitude it took and takes for me to get ninety-thousand words from thought to page to publication. 

In between that time, I quit Wall Street, enrolled in a two-year intensive theater acting program, that I rocked.  I starred, was featured in and won awards for numerous stage productions and landed a couple of features and commercials here and there.

When that part of my life started to slow down, I started flying the not-so-friendly skies and to date, still doing it.  Next year will be my fifteenth year of popping that coke can.  2015 will be my twentieth year of writing/acting/producing/story-telling and loving life. 

My point: writing is my talent.  Story is my gift... no matter the medium.  Story is my gift.  And no matter how many roads it is taking me to get there, I'm still pulling that wagon, Steve Harvey.  I'm still pulling.  Today I'm freed from how someone else feels about my continuing.  Yeah, I've tried a lot of things and ways to tell my story.

My road has been pervaded with challenging, employment difficulties, sacrifice, choices, hard relationships, despair, doubt and the big C-- Breast Cancer.  However, I remember... The road to success is not a straight line...  If I stop I won't reach it, and Ain't no stopping me now... I'm on the move.

This is Toni Staton Harris, checkin' up and checkin' in on your road to success.  What is your Gift?Don't give up, no matter how many twists and turns you have to make.

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