Every week, we'll be sharing brilliant insights from our conference and podcast guests. From CEOs and senior leaders, to upcoming new talent and inspirational trailblazers, we'll be unlocking their wisdom on our blog.
This week, we're sharing thoughts from acclaimed British spoken-word artist, poet, rapper, and podcast host - George The Poet, who spoke at the BYP Leadership Conference. The lessons he talks about are all about succeeding in the face of adversity and in situations which have been set up for you to fail in.
Photo credit: GeorgeThePoet.com
George The Poet is one person who has defied the odds at every level and through his craft he has opened doors for himself and others that many others might have thought impossible. But what is ‘impossible’ exactly? We all have the chance to do things that we never imagined. Things that people may have told us were impossible at points. ‘Impossible’ is a word that people use to describe something that they can’t do. But their impossible is not your impossible. There are no winners until someone has won it.
Many of us have parents who came to this country 50,60, 70 years ago and although we have advantages in our generation in relation to technology, they also had their own advantages in regards to their connection to home or the culture that they were cultivated in and that we may not have had the opportunity to have grown up in.We are one of the first generations that will get the opportunity to influence future generations of black people in ways that were not possible before us.
So the question is - are you ready to fly?
It all starts from what we know. We all have cumulative knowledge today. We know things and have the ability to build them up. We know the methods when it comes to creating based on our experiences which is an extremely powerful thing that we should not take for granted.
Everyone brings something to the table, but not everyone gets a seat at that table. They don’t get to elevate to the levels in the lives that they are hoping for, which is an unfortunate thing because people in this day and age want more than simply working menial jobs for minimum wage. We want self determination and passion in our work. But the problem is many are marginalised because of the circumstances in their situation - where they are from, how they grew up etc. They are written off from an early age.
George saw from a young age as he progressed through life and education and achieving success in his field, that he was in places that his friends weren’t and this gave him a lesson in opportunity - “save yourself or get left in a lost community”. In other words, even though he saw himself in his friends, if he stayed then he couldn’t be much help for his community. He had to move to a better reality to better his situation and succeed where many around him remained stagnant or were caught up in a cycle of negativity due to the environment around them. Ultimately, your situation can define your reality, but only if you let it.
You too can fly, but you need to break out of the familiar situations which you might see others doing. You need to dare to be different and travel the path which is unique to you and not let your environment define you.
George wants you to know that in our mission to fly and overcome our situations, you do not need to compromise yourself for your salary, you do not need to jeopardise your health or your sanity. Find your purpose in service and help your community as many weren’t able to get the chances that you managed to get. Where you can, be the example that no matter where you came from, you too are able to fly.
You can watch George The Poet's full talk here:
Writer: Tonte Bo Douglas