An intentional conversation with blogger, and singer Tara McLeod: A pleasure!


I walked in the Barnes & Nobles in Plantation, Florida, last Saturday morning, thinking in my mind, I am here for a couple of minutes, after missing an earlier appointment with a business acquaintance to discuss about leadership, life issues, and  community building to help people live the life they’ve always wanted. I would be there to take my time, and recompose myself after a glimpse of disappointment.

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I rushed in the magazines section in the back, picked up a couple of recent magazines, and walked through the aisles, looking for a comfortable sitting place. Two lazy boy chairs were available, I avoided them preferring a chair by a table where it would be more comfortable to take notes.

It was Christmas eve. The book store was full with last minutes shoppers looking for gifts for their loved ones.

I sat by the Sociology and Cultural Studies bookshelves where was pulling books, after books.

I said “Hi.”

She replied with a direct eye contact “Good morning.”

“Are you in Sociology?”

“No,” she answered shortly.

“What are you looking for,” I asked.

She said she was looking for the book “Women that run with the wolves.”

A customer representative helped her out to find this book. I asked her about the book and her type of reading.

She mentioned personal development, and self-help materials which lead to growth and becoming the best she can be.

She told me she’s very active in her church as a member of the choir, and the women ministry group.

She  blogs and speaks on relationships issues.

I told her what I do as a global connector for Life Leadership in South Florida and the Caribbean.

We agree to continue our conversation, link our communities to reach millions of people, and spread more light in a very dark world.

A pleasure to have met you Tara!

Roosevelt

 

 

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Hell: ‘Whatever you fear most…’ an oustanding Edwidge Danticat’s folk story!


I am reading Edwige Danticat. Her recent memoir “Brother, I’m dying” is amazing. She tells her family story in poignant way. She combines her story with the story of her dad, her uncle, her countries, her travels, her neighborhood, her grandmas.to free herself, and to free us as well to tell our own story, and to live the life we want.

She used the power of words to include  folktales, stories that she heard from her parents to make good learning lessons from life.

“Hell” is one of those stories told by Danticat’s Granmè Melina.

12501577_114057308995588_315286960_n(1)Here is the story. Enjoy… And share with friends, fans, and family.

A man, one day fell asleep and woke up in a foreign land where he knew no one and no one knew him. Finding himself on his back in the middle of a dirt road, filled with strangers, he looked up at the blurry faces around him, which were framed by a gloomy gray sky, and asked, “Where am I?”

“You’re where you are,” answered a booming voice.

“Where’s that?” he asked.

“Where you need to be,” replied the voice.

“I din’t ask to be here,” the man said, “wherever it is.”

“No matter how you ended up here,” said the voice, “here you are.”

Tired about the roundabout conversation, the man said, “I want you to tell me right now where I am. If you don’t, I’m going to be angry.”

“Who cares about your anger?” answered the voice. “No one is scared of you here.”

Truly upset now, the man said, “Tell me where I am right now!”

“You are in Hell,” replied the voice.

And since these were long time ago, the man didn’t know what hell was, even though he could already see that it was not a happy place.

“What is hell?” he asked.

“Hell”, replied the voice, “is whatever you fear most.”


A story told by Edwige Dandicat in “Brother, I’m dying.” Thanks again Edwige to share with us the power of words and storytelling.

Roosevelt Jean-Francois

Fulbright Scholar, Connector, Speaker

 

 

 

Remember your story, carry your story, and tell your story!


“I hope that you will always remember your story, and that you will carry your story with you as proudly as I carry mine.” First Lady Michele Obama told a graduating class of 100 students, giving the commencement address to Santa Fe Indian School.

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She personalized the history of the African American experience, and shared her family’s roots in 19th century American chattel slavery. Her remarks seemed geared toward moving beyond a sense of connection between her and the audience, which was already palpable in the hall, to something deeper, something more akin to identification.

I am the great-great-granddaughter of Jim Robinson, who was born in South Carolina, lived as a slave and is likely buried in an unmarked grave on the plantation where he worked.

I am the great-granddaughter of Fraser Robinson, an illiterate houseboy who taught himself to read and became an entrepreneur—selling newspapers and shoes.

She spoke of values, claiming the shared values of respect, perseverance and integrity, three of the ten core values of the Santa Fe Indian School. She remarked on the hopeful, positive trajectory of the school and the accomplishments of its students.

Our story is about who we are. When we talk about our experiences, what we see, feel, do, fear, like with our own words, we create our own life.

Don’t try to be the next so and so. Be the first you. Remember your story, carry your story, and tell your story.

Your story makes you you.

Roosevelt

 

 

 

 

Tell your story with your own words, and live your life.


What we talk about is our story. Our story is about who we are. When we talk about our experiences, what we see, feel, do, fear, like with our own words, we create our own life.

We market ourselves by telling our story.

Marketing is storytelling, said best selling author and blogger Seth Goddin.

The story of you built you.  Your story makes you you.

Sometimes the way you see yourself isn’t exactly the way others see you. Not as good as you think you are. Not as bad as they think you are.

Tell your story. Tell it on purpose.

Roosevelt

 

Tennis Player Victoria Duval is back on the court and shared a life leadership lesson about her dreams, struggle, victory


vicduv4I just read that story penned by tennis player Victoria Duval announcing her return to the court after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I was happy to hear she is now cancer free after she underwent chemotherapy and treatment. I feel inspired by her story. I know her parents. I went to the same school with his father. Her mother and father are both medical doctors who went through deep challenges to raise their 2 sons and their 19 year old daughter Victoria Duval.



Victoria is a great story of Dreams, Struggle, Victory. She was 7, when she dreamed of  playing tennis and conquerred the world one set and tie break at a time.

Her struggle started when she was robbed at gunpoint and held hostage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she grew up. Her father had his legs broken, his left arm crushed, his ribs fractured ribs, after he stayed 11 hours under the earthquake destroyed his in January 2010 in Haiti. vicduval7

She was 17 when she made her first professional appearance at the US Open in 2013. Then in 2014, she was in Wimbledon before she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Today, she is claiming her victory to life. She is cancer free, she is writing her memoir, and she just wrote this story for the online magazine The players Tribune,

I hope you find the same joy, passion, and inspiration I had when I read this story that I share with you below.vicduv3

My prayers are with the Duval’s family for their dreams, struggle, victory.

God bless,

Roosevelt

June of 2014, at the age of 18, I was competing in a tournament in Mexico when I felt a large lump in my neck. I was traveling with a coach at the time. I didn’t think anything of it but informed my mother immediately.

Just to be safe I did some scans when I got home and they told me that everything seemed to be okay. My mother and I traveled to Europe a few days later. I was extremely excited to go to Wimbledon — I’d only played the junior event, never the women’s. My ranking wasn’t high enough to get into the main draw, but I had made it to the qualifying rounds. Three wins, and I was in.

A few weeks into the trip, the lump kept getting bigger and bigger. My mom, relying on her medical background, had a hunch that something was very wrong based on its location. The tournament doctor, agreeing with my mother’s intuition, quickly arranged for an emergency biopsy.

The day before my first round of qualifying, I was told that the results came in. That was probably one of the most stressful moments of my life. My legs were shaking as I made my way over to the doctor’s office. I didn’t really know what to think, to be honest, but nothing could have prepared me for the news I was about to hear.

She said I had cancer.

As soon as she said that, I immediately blacked out and cried hysterically. I didn’t know much about cancer — I just automatically associated it with death. This may sound dramatic, but I even started thinking about how I wanted to spend my last moments on Earth.

The physical therapist who had accompanied me to the office told me that if I wanted to go home I could. But going home was the last thing I wanted to do. I came to England with one goal— to get through qualifying and play in the main draw at Wimbledon. And I made a decision that I wasn’t going to let this diagnosis stop me.

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The physical therapist advised me to keep the news as private as possible, and to stay focused on the tournament. For better or worse, my state of denial made focusing quite simple. I went on to win all three of my qualifying matches — and, in the first round of the main draw, even beat a girl ranked Top 30 in the world.

I didn’t know much about cancer— I just automatically associated it with death.

Once my illness was more thoroughly explained to me, I realized that I had a great chance of winning the battle with cancer. My fears started to slowly dissipate. And in the same way that I relied on my faith to get me through qualifying, I knew that God had a plan for me in this new battle.

When I flew home, I went to the hospital to do some more tests and build a plan of treatment. Hearing the effects and process of chemotherapy terrified me. Nonetheless, I was optimistic.

That optimism was short lived. A few days later, after finishing my first round of chemo, I lost hope. I didn’t see how I was going to be able to deal with feeling so horrible for three months. But I somehow found the strength to persist.

Every two weeks, my parents drove me to Jacksonville for treatment. Words can’t really express what it feels like to go through chemotherapy. The constant urge to throw up, headaches, stomach pains, fatigue, loss of appetite, metal taste in your mouth, and the list continues. The good news for me was that I was in stellar shape before starting treatment, so my body responded well. I was even able to play some tennis.

fter completing my last round of treatment in September, I cried enough tears to fill a lake. Tears of joy, of course. Three months felt like an eternity, but I did it! I won my battle with cancer!

My oncologist informed me that the fight wasn’t over, however. He said the road to recovery would be a long and arduous one. I thought, well, how bad could this be? The tough stuff is over now! Not so fast…

I started playing tennis again in late November. I was ecstatic to be back on court. Even though my body didn’t last long at practice, it surely felt like a privilege. In December, I started doing a lot of pool workouts with my physical therapist to start building some strength. The first month was very difficult. My muscles had practically atrophied. At the time, it seemed impossible to get back in shape. But I kept pushing. After a few months, I became strong enough to graduate from physical therapy to tougher fitness training with a conditioning coach. In March, my trainer and I felt that it was time to really focus on the gym. From a tennis perspective, my timing was there. But physically, I couldn’t keep up on the court.

I started to feel much better around April — though still not even at 50 percent of where I was before treatment. For the past two months, it has been steady progress: 30 minutes in the gym, turning to an hour, then turning to an hour and a half. At this rate, I’m going to be back to doing what I love in no time!

My goal is to be playing tournaments in a few weeks. I am also writing my memoir, coming out Fall 2016, in which I will elaborate in much more detail about my journey.

This journey has been a tough but educational one. The most important lesson I learned is appreciation. I learned that good health is a privilege — and that, once you have something taken away from you, you begin to realize how much you took it for granted.

Finally, I learned that everything happens for a reason. God has opened my eyes to a new meaning of life, and showered me with many blessings. Little did I know how much of a blessing this illness would end up being.

I wouldn’t change what I went through for the world.

Setting People Free at the Life Leadership Summer Leadership Convention this week-end in Green Bay, Wisconsin


I spent this week-end at the Life Leadership Summer Convention with my three kids, a lot of friends, and thousands and thousands of members of the Life Leadership Compensated Community in Green Bay, Wisconsin. We had fun, we learned, and we got inspired,uplifted, and renewed with passionate vigor and lasting motivational speeches and, meaningful conversations with top leaders and achievers in the Life Leadership Compensated Community.

IMG_3673I flew from Fort-Lauderdale to O’hare, Chicago, and drove to Green Bay, WI. As a Green Bay fan, I was anxious to discover the Lambeau Stadium, home of the Green bay Packers and the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi for whom “winning is everything”.

Bestselling author, and CEO of Life Leadership, Chris Brady kicked off the even with these simple words: “We set people free”.

IMG_3620LIFE Leadership is dedicated to providing solid world-class training to any individual ready to commit to a lifestyle full of challenges and success”, he told a very enthusiastic audience.

Life Leadership has delivered what it said we can expect from a leadership convention. This is a place to learn the newest, most stimulating and insightful information, and to bond with our community on a much deeper level

Always a blast, the Leadership Conventions offer an unforgettable weekend full of training, inspiration, cheering, and fun. Top LIFE industry leaders share personal insights and life-changing information that will help us catapult our leadership development and self education business and life to new heights.

There was never a dull moment at this Leadership Convention. I jumped on my feet with excitement and shouting with enthusiasm.

IMG_3690The speakers were outstanding covering every aspect of building and developing the LIFE business while teaching principles of leadership and personal development.

Haitians find Hope through Life Leadership.

I was so delighted to see how many Haitians who came from Haiti to participate in this event. They were  proud to carry the blue and red flag to cross the Convention stage as they were being recognized for their achievements for the last quarter.

Haitian Leader Thierry Laplanche, who won the top gun power player contest, the higher quarterly most disputed contest in the Life Leadership Community, shared his dream that ‘one day, the Haitian flag will be on the podium by the US, and Canadian flags”.

“This will be a symbol of Haiti being on its way to prosperity, wealth, and peace, and a symbol that Life Leadership can change the world”, said Laplanche, a medical doctor, turned to be a leadership expert and the one of the top community builders in Haiti at the moment.IMG_3681

Whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned professional, Leadership Conventions will inspire, motivate, and compel you to keep moving forward.

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Leadership & the power of measuring our words!


I just read in my Daily Bread devotionals this short poem about the merits of measuring our words penned years ago by an anonymous writer.

A wise old owl sat in an oak ;

The more he saw the less he spoke;

the less he spoke the more he heard;

why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

In my self-directed education leadership journey, being that “wise old bird” is a challenge. I am learning to use more my listening skills than my speaking ability.

Proverbs 10:19 says, “He who restrains his lips is wise.”

Author says “we are wise to be careful about what we say or how much we say in certain situations. It makes sense to guard our words when we are angry”.

“Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).

Although there is a time to be quiet and a time to speak (Eccl. 3:7), choosing to speak less allows us to hear more.

What about you, do you guard your tongue and unleash your ears?

God bless,

Roosevelt

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