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Choose to Thrive in the Face of Adversity | 209

Choose to Thrive in the Face of Adversity | 209

You are a product of your choices, NOT a victim of your circumstances. Your biggest challenges can be transformed into the foundation for extraordinary personal growth.

Today’s conversation is JT McCormick.

JT McCormick serves as the President and CEO of Scribe Media, a publishing company that helps you write, publish and market your book. The company has worked with more than 1,500 authors and Entrepreneur Magazine recently ranked Scribe as having the #1 Top Company Culture in America.

Previously, JT served as the President of Headspring Software, which he helped grow to a multi-million dollar, 100-plus person company that was repeatedly ranked as one of the best places to work in all of Texas.

JT is also the author of I Got There: How a Mixed-Race Kid Overcame Racism, Poverty, and Abuse to Achieve the American Dream. His book tells the story of how he worked his way out of poverty, starting with his career cleaning toilets and eventually becoming the President of multiple companies.

In addition to his role at Scribe Media, JT has mentored at-risk youth in the juvenile justice system, as well as youth in low economic communities. JT’s work has been featured on CNBC, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc, and many others. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Megan, and their four children Ava, Jaxon, Elle and Jace.

JOIN OUR BLAZER NATION COMMUNITY

You’re invited to join our Blazer Nation community and watch full length videos of some of our of conversations there, along with connecting with our tribe of other likeminded Black entrepreneurs and leaders: https://www.facebook.com/groups/blazernation.

We are seeking a few select partners for Trailblazers.FM for our 2021 campaign. If you’d like to reach out to Stephen regarding sponsorship opportunities, please email stephen@stephenahart.com.

CONNECT WITH JT MCCORMICK

Website:               scribemedia.com
Twitter:                 @realjtmccormick
LinkedIn:              /in/jtmccormick/

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

TWEETABLES:

 

JT RECOMMENDS TAKING THIS ACTION

Be

 

THIS EPISODE WAS SPONSORED BY:

Today’s episode of the Trailblazers.FM podcast is brought to you by Brand You Academy.

Brand You Academy

In a COVID influenced world, we are working online, shopping online and going to school online.  And yet, many of you are still invisible online when someone Googles you, meaning you’ve got little to no digital presence. No matter how great you are, you aren’t standing out if no one can find you online. It's never been more important that while you focus on building your business or developing your career, that you also prioritize building your personal brand.

If you aren’t sure where to start that process or what exactly you need to do –  consider investing in Brand You Academy. It’s an online self-paced course that gives you the know how, resources and a host of tools you'll need to begin to build an amazing personal brand that gets you noticed, booked and paid. To learn more visit brandyouacademy.co and use the coupon code BLAZERNATION at checkout to get a $200 discount.

DID YOU ENJOY THIS PODCAST?

If you're listening on Apple Podcasts, help us reach more trailblazers like you by leaving us a 5 star review! Ratings, reviews and subscribes are extremely helpful to expanding our reach within the Apple community.

 

Black Entrepreneurs Matter with Stephen A. Hart | 207

Black Entrepreneurs Matter with Stephen A. Hart | 207

We've decided to optimize the messaging for Trailblazers.FM to become a podcast focused on exploring successful Black entrepreneurs. We will still feature the legendary creators, best-selling authors, and passionate leaders you have always enjoyed, but we are now able to truly double down and deliver even more targeted content for our self-driven entrepreneur community, so that whether you’re running a brick and mortar or you’re operating a side-hustle, you’ll have top tier Black representation and digital mentors on the Trailblazers.FM platform,  who have done something similar to what you’re working to create and/or that you’re doing now.

 

In the summer months of 2020 when I decided it was time to begin preparing to resume the podcast, I knew that while there were now staples to our offering and platform, I also knew that we would need to reboot the platform in a way that would raise the bar and improve not only the content, but the experience for our Blazer Nation community.
 
In today's episode, I wanted to share some of the decisions I've made to improve and grow our platform and share why I did this, in hopes it will not only help to provide clarity but inspiration as you work to do the same at some future point. 
 
I wanted to first set the stage with some observations I’ve made over the past 5 years, where I’ve seen, and learned about a large number of successful Black entrepreneurs and business owners in different industries who are mostly unknown to the masses. It’s not that Black success is limited, but instead the main stream media tends to create and promote its own version of America, with a very limited representation and positive association of Black people … mostly they’ll focus on Black professionals in sports and music. 
 
By limiting this range of positive Black representation and association, it excluded a very needed group of everyday Black business owners and entrepreneurs.
 

Why is this a problem? 

Black business owners and entrepreneurs are on the rise. Black women entrepreneurs are one of the fastest growing segments of new entrepreneurs entering the market, but we lack the representation and awareness as being capable for these roles. 
 
Without adequate understanding and support, our Black founders are struggling to:
  • Access funding
  • Get adequate mentorship
  • Start from the same footing as our white counterparts who have more wealth
  • Scale our businesses and stand out in a digital world
When I first launched Trailblazers.FM back in 2016, my focus was to give a voice to Black professionals in business, including entrepreneurs, creatives, corporate leaders and career employees.  And while I’ve definitely seen these groups as segments of our listening audience, the truth is, that 90% of our featured guests in the past have been entrepreneurs and business owners.
 

Updating our Messaging

As a brand strategist who is constantly telling others to focus on the messaging of their brand, I had to do a bit of soul searching to ensure that the messaging of the podcast and our platform was in alignment with the content we are aiming to deliver.
 
For that reason, I’m not so much making a shift in our content, because it’s what we’d always been focused on. But our messaging will make a shift to align with our content. Going forward, I’m retuning the messaging for Trailblazers.FM as a podcast focused on exploring successful Black entrepreneurs. We will still feature the legendary creators, best-selling authors, and passionate leaders you have always enjoyed, but we are now able to truly double down and deliver even more targeted content for our self-driven entrepreneur community, so that whether you’re running a brick and mortar or you’re operating a side-hustle, you’ll have top tier Black representation and digital mentors on the Trailblazers.FM platform,  who have done something similar to what you’re working to create and/or that you’re doing now. 
 
I’ll double down on going deeper in these conversations to extract more of the meat and potatoes that will help you to succeed. And here’s a request – if we aren’t already connected, I want you to shoot me a DM or tweet or an email (stephen@tbpod.com) and tell me what you want more of in the content of this show.  
 

Expanding to Include Video

Now one of the things we’ve all noticed is the rise of video. 
 
And of course, it’s not that video wasn’t always there. But our using video has become even more common in the simplest of day to day activities, whether it’s Zoom video calls for work or school, or watching more IG Live streams or Facebook Watch videos on LinkedIn Lives. 
 
And so while I’d always had a desire to expand our delivery of content to include video, I think there’s no better time than the present, and so you’ll notice that we’ll begin publishing the full length videos of our interviews, and also several shorter highlights from interesting parts of these podcast conversations. It’s our hope that those who aren’t podcast consumers, or those who maybe don’t like the longer form content, will prefer to digest our videos and highlights of those conversations. 
 
Ultimately, my goal is to reach more people who need to see the positive representation of Black success. I truly believe that by flooding more examples of positive Black stories, we will begin to shift the conscious and unconscious biases of others toward Black people. 
 
I know and have joined in the Black Lives Matter protests this year, and I believe in their impact, but I also believe this is another method to educate and bring awareness to the masses and expand the limited media narratives. 
 
 

Updating our Brand Identity

So there’s one last thing I wanted to talk about and that’s the obvious changes you might have seen to our podcast cover and branding across our website and social media. 
 
So a part of my dad’s legacy is his love and talent as a creative entrepreneur … he has always had a love for theatre, food, and art. These elements run through my DNA in many ways, and I wanted to showcase more of that as I continued to build out and enhance elements of the Trailblazers.FM brand. 
 
I found myself down a Pinterest rabbit hole for a couple months, looking for ideas of art that was a nod to my roots in Jamaica, but still very much me today. 
 
That search lead me to a group of artists who took part in the International Reggae Poster Contest, and to one of the co-founders Maria P aka ItsJustMe.net who is a visual designer in Greece. Her past work and projects included several personalities from Jamaica, including poets, musicians, actors and others. Maria and I worked on recreating a headshot of mine and I’m absolutely happy about the outcome that you now see on our new podcast cover and branding. As a brand strategist, I’m constantly telling my students and clients to work to stand out with your brand, by creating content that is authentic and relatable. 
 
I doubt there’s ever going to be another podcast cover quite like this, and even if there is, I blazed the trail with it. It’s 100% authentic to me, and I know some will not like it, but I absolutely love it. 
 
Listen, my mission moving forward is to create a first class media platform that highlights Black success in business and entrepreneurship.  While I envision having many other brands under our network, Trailblazers.FM is an extension of me. And so I’m owning that! 
 
If you’re a content creator, especially if you’re a Black content creator, I’m going to encourage you to own your brand. We are in need of Black media, but doesn’t mean you’ve got to conform to what has been.
 
In the words of one of the founding heroes of this platform, my brother Shawn Dove, constantly reminds us that: 
 
There is no cavalry coming to save the day. We are the iconic leaders we've been waiting for, the curators of the change we are seeking to see!

CONNECT WITH STEPHEN

 

ONE ACTION

I’m calling on you and challenging you to fight the urge to conform. Search for those unique attributes that make you YOU. Begin to curate and  infuse more of you into your business and your way of serving your audience. Be authentic in how you show up and the way in which you serve. 

 

THIS EPISODE WAS SPONSORED BY:

Today’s episode of the Trailblazers.FM podcast is brought to you by Brand You Academy.

Brand You Academy

In a COVID influenced world, we are working online, shopping online and going to school online.  And yet, many of you are still invisible online when someone Googles you, meaning you’ve got little to no digital presence. No matter how great you are, you aren’t standing out if no one can find you online. It's never been more important that while you focus on building your business or developing your career, that you also prioritize building your personal brand.

If you aren’t sure where to start that process or what exactly you need to do –  consider investing in Brand You Academy. It’s an online self-paced course that gives you the know how, resources and a host of tools you'll need to begin to build an amazing personal brand that gets you noticed, booked and paid. To learn more visit brandyouacademy.co and use the coupon code BLAZERNATION at checkout to get a $200 discount.

DID YOU ENJOY THIS PODCAST?

If you're listening on Apple Podcasts, help us reach more trailblazers like you by leaving us a 5 star review! Ratings, reviews and subscribes are extremely helpful to expanding our reach within the Apple community.

 

Building Your Mental Strength with Karen M Allen | 206

Building Your Mental Strength with Karen M Allen | 206

Dealing with an internal struggle? Are you mentally exhausted? Needing some motivational #missionfuel to help you build your #mentalstrength so you can manage your emotions and thoughts in 2020 with all that's going on?

Joining me today for this special episode is a dear friend and a past guest of the podcast, Karen Millsap Allen.

Karen was first on the podcast back on episode 118.

In case you hadn’t yet heard that episode, let me just share this before we dive into this conversation – At age 29, Karen became a widow, when her husband Richard was tragically killed. She lost her house, her car, her job and so much more. She was devastated, angry, and stressed, as I imagine most of us would be going through a season like that. But Karen refused to be defeated. Karen’s life is in so many ways, a case study in how to develop mental stamina. She’s a single mom on a mission.

Karen is a speaker, author, strategist, coach, advisor to people-focused organizations. She thrives on giving people the tools they need to have a healthy mindset and mental strength training habits.

And so with 2020 dishing each of us a ton of anxiety, devastation, loss, and so many other ‘feels', I wanted to have this conversation with Karen, 1) to help me talk through what these last 8 months of being silent on the podcast was like behind the scenes and what I had to do to get myself right so I could resume the show and 2) I wanted us to discuss just how we can all work on building our mental strength in order to do the legacy work we are trying to get done.

My ask today is that you’d help share this episode. If you're posting to social, please tag @tbpod @stephenahart and use the hashtag #TrailblazersFM #MissionFuel

CONNECT WITH KAREN

TWEETABLES:

Karen's Actionable:

Embrace the challenges, embrace the chaos, embrace change, embrace life. Learn how to flow with it, and learn to release any shame. Ask yourself – Who do you want to be in the world? Allow the answer to that question to help guide you through the challenges, chaos and changes.

 

THIS EPISODE WAS SPONSORED BY:

Today’s episode of the Trailblazers.FM podcast is brought to you by Brand You Academy.

Brand You Academy

In a COVID influenced world, we are working online, shopping online and going to school online.  And yet, many of you are still invisible online when someone Googles you, meaning you’ve got little to no digital presence. No matter how great you are, you aren’t standing out if no one can find you online. It's never been more important that while you focus on building your business or developing your career, that you also prioritize building your personal brand.

If you aren’t sure where to start that process or what exactly you need to do –  consider investing in Brand You Academy. It’s an online self-paced course that gives you the know how, resources and a host of tools you'll need to begin to build an amazing personal brand that gets you noticed, booked and paid. To learn more visit brandyouacademy.co and use the coupon code BLAZERNATION at checkout to get a $200 discount.

 

DID YOU ENJOY THIS PODCAST?

If you're listening on Apple Podcasts, help us reach more trailblazers like you by leaving us a 5 star review! Ratings, reviews and subscribes are extremely helpful to expanding our reach within the Apple community.

 

10 Actions To Blaze Your Trail in 2020 | 204

10 Actions To Blaze Your Trail in 2020 | 204

KEY POINTS FROM :

Turn inward.  Look at yourself.  You are responsible for you.
The circumstances that surrounds a man or woman’s life are not important. It is how that individual responds to those circumstances that is the number one determining factor of whether that individual fails or succeeds.
When it comes to wealth or millionaire-ship, it is a function of your belief, attitude and all the tangible skills that you have right now.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to be where you end up unless you choose to.
You have an opportunity right now to do something different this day — whether it’s a shift in thinking; whether it’s reaching out to somebody and getting information and getting encouragement; or being a source of encouragement to someone that’s around you right now.
Give yourself grace!
Depending on where you are, there’s a lot of things that we did not know, and our parents didn’t know to teach us.  But that’s the past and now we have the power and control to change our lives.
Believe that it is possible.  Freedom is possible.
The journey may be long, depending on where you start, but every step along the journey matters. Every step forward is a good step in a better direction that gives you more options.
Immerse yourself in content and inspiration to help you on your journey.
Don’t just be another man or woman who lived and died; make sure there is significance attached to whatever it is that you do.
Remind yourself that nobody is built like you.
Think about somebody that you must give and forgive them.  Holding that grudge is killing you and weighing you down.
Let them go!  Set it Free!  The best of life is waiting for you, but you can’t get there holding a grudge.
Lean in to you! In the morning, affirm “I believe in me.  I believe in my capabilities.  I believe in my abilities. I believe in who I am.”
Once you leave your home, your cocoon, your safety net, and you go out into the world, there is going to be so many things that are trying to tear you down from that and pull you down from that.  So, if you start your day with this affirmation, it goes a very long way when you fail in something and need to recover.
When you come back home, reflect and assess, “How did I lean into me day?  Where did I show up? When did you shy away?  When did you step away? and Why?”
Sit down and do a SWOT analysis of yourself.  I think the best thing to blaze your trail is to understand who your are as a person, where your weaknesses and strengths are, and then work from there.
Do it before you’re ready!  The action to take is to take action!
Write it down! If you don’t write it down, it doesn’t exist.
We have limited time on the earth, and we have limited time to engage in a particular pursuit; and so anything we must do, we must put it on a schedule. It has to be a realistic schedule; it has to be an accomplishable schedule.  But it still needs to be on a schedule because if it’s not on a schedule, it won’t get done.
Start now!  Start right now!  You don’t need to plan anything else.  Start the business right now.  Buy the URL on GoDaddy.  You don’t need to sit and write the 50-page business plan.  Build the momentum.  When you get small wins it gives you the momentum for bigger wins.
You don’t have to figure out the entire story before you take the first step.
So many of us delay our goals because of preparation, but really it’s fear.  You want to prepare and prepare but it will never be perfect.
Stop succumbing to people’s opinions about your plans and your dreams.
Start on the dream today.  So many people die with so much goodness inside them because they were waiting for this opportune, perfect moment.
Start now!

THIS EPISODE WAS SPONSORED BY:

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Join, support and invest in this movement to help improve the life outcomes of our black men and boys.

DID YOU ENJOY THIS PODCAST?

If you're listening on Apple Podcasts, help us reach more trailblazers like you by leaving us a 5 star review! Ratings, reviews and subscribes are extremely helpful to expanding our reach within the Apple community.

 

Mignon Francois: Turning $5 into $10m+ [Pon Di Replay] | 203

Mignon Francois: Turning $5 into $10m+ [Pon Di Replay] | 203

| 203″ social_linkedin=”true” social_pinterest=”true” social_email=”true”]

This week's feature is a PON DI REPLAY throwback to March 2019 with past trailblazer Mignon Francois.

My ask today is that you’d help share this episode. If you're posting to social, please tag @tbpod and use the hashtag #TrailblazersFM

KEY POINTS FROM MIGNON:

  • There are so many women in my village:  I cant do what I do without my mother; I’m grateful for my daughters because they allow me to run my business in the way that I do; I’m grateful for my grandmother who kept her hand open, and in her unselfishness taught me so many things that I know.
  • My mother would smile at hearing me remember a woman by the name of Mrs. Fishburne.  She was a woman that knew my mother, at the time when I was 5 years old.  She extended kindness to my mother so she could feed us and make it through the week, after having given her last as her tithe.
  • Keep your hand open. Yes, things will fall out, but when you lose things, you also leave your hand open to receive from God.
  • All you get to keep is whatever you can hold in your hand.
  • What do you have in your house? Tell me what youve got, and I’ll tell you what you can do with it?
  • I turned $5 into $60 in one day; I turned $60 into $600 by the end of the week; and I turned that into over $10M in the time that my business has been in operation.
  • Little becomes much when you place it in the Masters hands.
  • Listen to that little voice on the inside that’s telling you that YOU CAN!
  • When we speak against ourselves, and we tell ourselves that we cant do things, who’s ourselves supposed to believe, if we can’t believe in us?
  • Check what you want for yourself, by speaking what you seek until you see what youve said.
  • The glass is half empty or the glass is half full; either way you see it, youre right.
  • Hunger is what inspired me.  When you are hungry you will do what it takes to eat.
  • When you are sick and tired of being tired, you will do something to change your situation.
  • All you own is now.  You only own what you choose to do with the moment that youre sitting in.
  • When you give all that you o-w-n right in the n-o-w, you will  have w-o-n.
  • Mignon’s approach to parenting:  “I nurtured very early on, my childrens ability to hear God for themselves.”
  • What we are living in preparation for has nothing to do with us but the ones that are coming behind us.
  • A good man leaves an inheritance to his childrens children.

 

ONE ACTION

    THIS EPISODE WAS SPONSORED BY:

    The Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Join, support and invest in this movement to help improve the life outcomes of our black men and boys.

    DID YOU ENJOY THIS PODCAST?

    If you're listening on Apple Podcasts, help us reach more trailblazers like you by leaving us a 5 star review! Ratings, reviews and subscribes are extremely helpful to expanding our reach within the Apple community.