This is what I had to tell myself when I was homeless in this parking lot in 1984. This urban parking lot in Los Angeles was my university. It was also my home for 6 months of my life when I was 18 years old. I had lost everything, and had to start again from scratch. People were not all that nice to me, and life was really hard. I had to learn to rise above.
Like so many others, this was a time of complete transformation, rebuilding and rebranding in and for my life. But this is soooooo very true about how I graduated from that dark place — I had to BELIEVE.
When it felt at age 18 like the world was sitting on my chest, and I almost could not breath, I have to BELIEVE that life really was 10% what life did to me, and 90% how I choose to respond to it. I had to believe it. Internalize it. Become it. Live it. The result: my lifelong resiliency is strong. And resiliency, never giving up, doubling down on commitment, and leaning into life, is key to any and all forms of success. Much more important than simple knowledge, degrees or even enherited privilege.
I had to BELIEVE that I was somebody. And you do, too. Even when there is darkness all around you.
I had to BELIEVE that I was as unique and one of a kind as my mother always told me that I was, as a child.
I had to BELIEVE that I could get myself up off the floor. So do you.
I had to REMEMBER that you cannot fall from the floor. So do you.
I had to REMEMBER that success was going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. So do all of us.
I had to REMEMBER that the new John Hope Bryant was resilient, and ‘he takes no for vitamins.’ I hope that you are smiling on this point. A friend told me this, and it is so true.
I had to REMEMBER that ‘I have been doing so much, with so little, for so long, that I could almost anything with nothing.’
I had to REMEMBER that ‘I had been counted out countless time, but with every round, still I rise.’
I had to REMEMBER that 99% of the people talking (bad) about me, even hating on me back then, . These were . These were notwere not anyone who I ever wanted to be my role models.
It is sort of amazing how and why human beings obsess over things, and even negative people not doing much themselves, that respectfully speaking ~ doesn’t really matter. It’s just negative noise. When what you need, is focused quiet clarity.
I had to REMEMBER that haters don’t build anything, dreamers that actually build things do.
Sitting in that parking lot, alone and without resources, I had to start where I stood. I had to stand with dignity, and reclaim my own somebody-ness. I had to BELIEVE that I was somebody. In these times, so will you.
What got me out of sleeping in my car in 1984? THIS LESSON: I had to BELIEVE that God had a plan for me and my life. A plan that was uniquely and powerfully mine. I just had to discover what that plan was for myself. And you cannot do that sitting in the midst of a bunch of negative noise.
And it was in these quite, focused moments, in the midst of some my dark days, when the seeds of the organization that would years later become Operation HOPE, were plated.
It was when I decided that “there was a difference between being broke and being poor. Being broke is a temporary economic situation, but being poor is a disabling frame of mind, a depressed condition of your spirit, and you must vow to never, ever be poor again.”
Helping millions of people to walk backwards through this door of hopelessness and loss, and into their greatness and purpose in life, is today the principal work of Operation HOPE.
Helping to re-introduce you — back to yourself. Back to your greatness.
Greatness, from birth. Greatness, waiting for YOU to see it.
You really ARE one of a kind. Now, GET. UP.
*This piece was originally published on LinkedIn