Three times in my life, I’ve hung clothes on a line to dry under the Texas sun.
First, standing next to my grandmother, my small hands turned backward on my hips in a mirror of her own.
Next, in a little house I rented where the dryer put rust stains on anything it heated.
And finally, in a small duplex where I lived so poor and distraught and sick that I nearly died.
We’re supposed to look back at our lives and see how far we’ve come and feel a sense of accomplishment and gratitude. That’s what our ancestors would want for us, right? That’s the expectation we all have.
There was a time in my life when I looked back and wished above all else that I could just rewind.
Because what I saw wasn’t a triumphant climb or even a steady progression, but a steep, heart-breaking decline.
It was winter of 2000, and I lived in a place with no phone, no heat, and no running water. If I hung clothes out to dry in the winter chill it was because I’d...
My uncle died. Sorry to kick this off on a depressing note, but there it is. I’m going to come around to something encouraging shortly, but sometimes, we have to go through the hard stuff to get there, you know?
Like getting through the thick layer of dislikable stuff to find the lovable part of that one family member.
I’ve lost a lot of family members and friends over the years—to cancer, lung disease, addiction, alcoholism, suicide, you name it.
Grief and I are old bedfellows.
But this one is unique. And I’m going to be frank about why, so hold onto your hat.
My uncle was wicked smart, well-traveled at a young age, a real animal lover, a multi-lingual and highly educated man of letters, an eagle scout, and a barbeque connoisseur.
He was also a hoarder and a sociopath.
And he looked at me like I was sex on a stick from the time I can remember.
Here’s the thing about people who harm us: Sometimes we love them anyway.
My uncle was like...
That moment you know everything is different. That instant when you realize the truth and can’t go back to the time before you knew it. That second when a flash of insight hits you—profound and shocking and sometimes delightful.
But what if it’s not delightful? What if it’s horrible. What if the Truth—not the regular truth you tell to other people but the Truth you tell to yourself—is that you’ll never be okay going along in the same way you’ve been living or working or relating or loving? What if the Truth is a total shift in who you are?
You feel overwhelmed, scared, tempted to stick your head back in the sand of denial, distraction, or ignorance.
But once you know a thing, you can’t unknow it. Once you look at a Truth within, you can’t unsee it. Once you admit a scene into the vault of memory, it remains to permanently alter your perception on the present as well as the past.
If you admit to yourself...
Most of us have a mission somewhere inside us our entire lives.
That thing you know you’re supposed to do in this life—even if you’re not making a living at it yet—that’s your mission. But you’ve changed. So why shouldn’t your mission evolve as you do?
This week, I want to help you wrap your arms around your mission and give it a clear, solid statement that fits where you are and who you are so you’ll have some direction as you aim for the fulfilling, bright life you deserve. First, let me explain what I mean when I say that your mission evolves.
When I was a kid, we moved around a lot. By the time I was in seventh grade, I’d lived in eight different houses and gone to seven different schools. But there was a period in elementary school where we lived in the same apartment for three years straight. I loved the bedroom I had there. One day my mother walked in to find that I had dragged my two bookcases...
Do your personal relationships affect your potential for professional success? Does your home life impact your ability to be a good leader?
“Let’s say this. I’m not sure that a good home is an asset, but I’m sure that a bad home is a liability,” Bishop T.D. Jakes says with a chuckle.
Jakes, pastor of The Potter’s House Church in Dallas and founder of TDJ Enterprises, says a stable personal and home life become more and more important as you grow professionally.
“Lambs give birth in calm places,” he says. “And if you’re going to birth great ideas, you need calmness, the serenity of having something stable to balance having everything not stable.”
“At the end of the day, I’m not necessarily smarter at work because things are going good at home, but when things are going bad at home, I’m a lot more distracted. I’m a lot more disheveled. I’m not present in the...
The preacher, entrepreneur and author found his blessings in brokenness, and success amid failure.
“I can still see his cracked, parched lips, fever blisters and all that.”
Bishop T.D. Jakes is silent for a moment, struck by the memory. “It hurt me a lot. I even got to a point of wanting-to-die painful.
“But if you took that away from me, I wouldn’t be sitting here.”
When Thomas Dexter Jakes was 10 years old, his father got sick with kidney disease. He was the youngest of three kids, living in South Charleston, West Virginia. Until this point, Jakes’ life had looked much like the lives of other kids in the neighborhood. His mother was a home economics teacher, and his father owned a janitorial business. He went to school. He sold vegetables from his mother’s garden to earn extra money.
But when Jakes’ father got sick, the world tilted on its axis, and childhood all but disappeared. The family traveled back and forth to...
When I first started my business, I was terrified of disappointing my customers.
I would hit “send” on a completed project and slowly sink from that exhilarating high of having met a deadline into a swamp of self-doubt.
Would the client like what I produced? Or would they wonder why they even hired me in the first place?
My mind filled with dire images of my clients rolling their eyes and shaking their heads as they looked at the finished product I had labored over with love.
Now, you may not suffer that extent of self-doubt at this point in your career—I’m glad to say I’ve grown out of that stage myself—but the idea still persists among most entrepreneurs I talk with that losing a client due to customer dissatisfaction is one of the worst things that can happen to a business owner.
I’m here to go against this pervasive belief and tell you a different story.
I was once fired by a client we’ll call...
The pastor and author shares how to harness the power within you.
Every night before he falls asleep, Bishop T.D. Jakes watches a comedy. “I don’t know that I’ve ever told anybody that,” he says, laughing a little self-consciously. No matter what happened during his day, a comedy keeps worry or negativity from affecting his sleep. “I learned to do that so I could detox my mind. And I like going to sleep laughing.”
Jakes has a lot to be joyful about. He’s the bishop of The Potter’s House, a Dallas-based church that’s home to 30,000 members, with services broadcast across the U.S. and Canada. He’s a husband, a father to five children and a grandfather to three. In 2013 he began hosting the BET show Mind, Body and Soul . He’s the founder of TDJ Enterprises, a media and entertainment company where Jakes turns his talents for writing and making music and films into a sizable profit. His gospel albums have scored multiple...
How to find your true value in a world of material success
About 10 years ago, I fell into the dumps. After I aired my grievances and bemoaned my crippled confidence to a friend, she said, “Amy, you were born with all the value you’re ever going to get.” She told me that no job, no relationship, no status, wealth or accolade could make me worth more. She said I was valuable just for being me.
She was a good friend, and something deep inside me recognized the truth in what she said. But no matter how much sense it made, I wasn’t acting as if I believed it. My brain kept telling me things such as: Everyone else your age already has children. If you had just finished college when you were supposed to, you’d have a decent career by now. And those people aren’t just more attractive than you—they’re better than you.
The legendary personal achievement philosopher Jim Rohn said, “Income seldom exceeds your personal development.” As...
Reaching people around the world through his television ministry, Joel Osteen embraces even more— including nonbelievers—with his powerful personal-development message.
I am sitting in the coveted front row of what used to be the Compaq Center, former home of the Houston Rockets. The stage is brilliant with multicolored lights. Guitarists, a bass player and other musicians in jeans are warming up. Three singers take the stage and the crowd of nearly 16,000 cheers as the group begins to sing along with a backup choir.
No, I’m not watching Lady Antebellum, the country-pop crossover band. I am, however, about to see one of the greatest crossover successes of our generation: Joel Osteen.
As the praise music concludes, Osteen’s wife and co-pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Victoria Osteen, takes the stage. She welcomes everyone and then tells the story of a trip to Italy she and Joel took when they were newly married. They wanted to get Joel’s father,...
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