Category Archives: Uncategorized

What Did The Patriots Epic Super Bowl Win Teach Us?

 

 As a diehard Pittsburgh Steeler fan from the late 70’s, whose favorite players are John Stallworth and Rod Woodson and being a victim of the current Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots, I can’t tell you how painful it is for me to write this article. I despise the patriots, no really I can’t stand them.  However, I have to give them credit for an unbelievable , incredible victory. Not just a victory but a win for the ages.  Not only did they put on arguably the best super bowl in history, they also provided an awesome teaching and life lesson for us all. Did I say I hate the Patriots?

     Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Let’s just say that for some strange reason someone didn’t watch the game. They watched the Law and Order Special Victim marathon instead (good choice).  So the following day they happen to be on the train to work and see a passerby’s newspaper stating CONGRATULATIONS PATRIOTS ON YOUR EPIC SUPER BOWL WIN! 

     So now they know the score and are very intrigued to actually watch it for themselves. So they immediately get to a quiet area and start watching the game on their device. They want to see this amazing Patriots team dominate the Falcons for the championship.

     To their surprise the Falcons have a 3rd quarter lead of 28-3! Whoa! Isn’t this just like life? Either we read in the Bible that we are the head and not the tail, we are healed and prosperous, and victory is ours. Or we have a plan for our life that states at 20 years of age we will be here, at 30 we will be here and at 40 we will be here. Then we look at our actual performance and see it is so far removed from what we see as the ideal. We look at our own life and we are down 28-3, late in the game. This is the reality for many individuals, where nothing looks like how it was pictured. What then happens is we begin to question everything.

     Maybe I read the paper wrong. Maybe it didn’t say that the patriots won. Maybe it was a spoof paper, or it was an old paper. It can’t be right because look at the score.  What I am seeing with my eyes isn’t matching what I actually read.  More importantly, maybe what I read in the Word is not for me, maybe the Bible is not for this day and age, maybe what I read about God’s promises for me are wrong. 

     After the questioning period many people leave or give up on the process before the miracle happens. How many people left the Pats for dead yesterday? How many memes were made making fun of Brady and the Patriots before the comeback, how many Patriot fans turned off the game before then end? How many people crowned the Falcons prematurely? Likewise in our lives. How many people give up on their dreams too soon? How many people ridicule you because they think you are losing? How many family and friends have left you before your comeback? 

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-38 in overtime during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Jamie Squire,Getty Images
Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-38 in overtime during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Jamie Squire,Getty Images

     What the Patriots did to overcome all the obstacles involved 2 things:

     1) Keep Playing- They kept the game going and did what they do best. Play football. They never quit playing because there was still time left in the game. Whenever there is time left, that means there is still an opportunity for victory. By continuing to play they kept themselves in the game. We cannot quit no matter how far are dreams may seem to be. The only way we lose is if we quit. Everyday you wake up is another day to get closer and make progress. Keep pushing and making moves, and stop looking at the score.

     2) Step up the pressure- The Patriots not only kept playing they also stepped up the pressure when they had to.  For them to win that game they needed to place a sense of urgency in their play. They blitzed more, and they were more aggressive than they were in the first half. As a result things started to adjust in their favor.  Well for our dreams to become reality we have to do the same. If you usually call 10 prospective clients a day step it up to 30 or 40, if you go to 1 networking event a month step it up to 4 to 5 a month. Stepping up the pressure is a key to making the dream a reality.

     So as frustrating as it was for me to write this article and give the Patriots praise, what they displayed was incredible resiliency, poise and determination. They showed the heart of a champion. They laid the blueprint for success this year, and they inspired millions and Congratulations to them for doing that. I think I am going to be sick!

 

 

2017, The Year of Collaboration!!!

2017, The Year Of Collaboration!!!

      So many new businesses were started in 2016. So many of my social media friends made the leap into entrepreneurism. Whether it was starting their own company, or joining a multi-level marketing business, they made decision to leave their typical 9 to 5 to branch out on their own. Especially among African-American women who began businesses at a staggering rate. I like to call 2016 the year of the entrepreneur.

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      We all know initially the excitement and enthusiasm of anything new keeps you going for the first few months. However after that wears off, and the reality of uncertain cash flow, delayed or cancelled meetings start to happen the feeling of concern becomes real. This happens to just about everyone, some quit and some push on pass this give up point.

     For those who push on pass that checkpoint I believe they have an oasis in the desert coming. The most logical step I see is to partner with a business or individual who is in line with your vision and build together.  Now I am not saying to close up shop and merge with another company but I am saying that partnership can be a key way to grow your relationships, income and influence. Partnership may not be for everyone but here is why I think it can be a solid idea.

     1) Credibility– One reason some businesses are not as successful as they can be is simply because of credibility. When people do not know you or your product they don’t know if they can trust you. If they can’t trust you why should they support your business? Partnering with a credible business immediately can help your presence. When Gayle King invited TSY to her home and donated suits/ties to our organization that did a great boost for our credibility. Same result when Butch Graves (CEO Black Enterprise) invited us to his home to gather suits.

     2) Exposure-Being able to partner with a larger organization helps with tremendous exposure. Once they post on the social media pages that you have a partnership with them, your value increases. Always have video, photos, etc. to take advantage of your relationship and share it with your clients/customers/audience. When TSY partnered with HBO/ABC/CBS, we took a tremendous amount of footage to capitalize on the relationship and shared it to show the collaboration and work we were doing.

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3) Growth– Maybe your collaboration is not with a larger company but with someone who is growing like yourself or slightly bigger. That is still great because both of you can build off the other. Together an alliance is still greater that just going at it alone. Since the year has started I have personally partnered with 3-4 individuals for a new book deal, fashion show, service partnership, and a couple of other activities still in the works. So mutual growth is fantastic and exciting.

     Either way major work is always the common denominator but if you come across the right person, or company at least consider the idea of how a partnership can work to help you to build your brand.

 PK

Help!!! I Hate My Boss!!!

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How many times have you heard this? How many times have you said this? I know I have heard and said this many times.  Actually a great number of people feel this way at some point in their professional career. From my personal experience and from the individuals I have spoken to It comes down to 2 reasons.

The first reason many individuals hate their boss is because their boss lacks people skills. That is a tough situation to be in. The person that you get your guidance, direction, input and leadership from talks to you in such a harsh, disrespectful manner. Whenever this is the case the dynamics involved in that work relationship can make things very ugly. The supervisor may know the technical or book knowledge to advance to be the supervisor but may lack in knowing how to express themselves properly. So people begin to hate any encounter, meeting, or discussion with them. This can also effect performance because feelings for them will leak over into other work areas. This can lead to not being as excited about their job because of a fear of being addressed by them. Some people I have spoken to even fall into a severe depression that spills over into their family life. They also feel trapped because they know they need the job to pay bills but hate going to work. The strange thing is  the boss may not have a clue that they lack people skills and may even begin to look at workers like they have no idea what they are referring to.

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The second reason and the one that I can relate to is the season may be up for that boss or job. So It may not be that there is hate for the boss but a hatred for not living or building their dream. I know this feeling to well. It really has nothing to do with the boss or job but more so because of a desire to fulfill my dream. When a woman is 9 months pregnant, all she knows is I have to get this baby out of me. Everything else becomes less significant and not as important, getting this baby out takes priority. Well when someone has a vision or dream that they have been pregnant with for a long time, sooner or later it will be time to deliver. When the time for delivery is near, the dream demands action. If noaction is taking then that is where the frustration comes in. So many people who say that they hate their boss or jobs actually are hating their lack of movement or action on their part to deliver their dream. So when they enter work M-F 9-5, they are becoming more and more frustrated and upset. So now they must redirect that energy and use that same passion positively to build and create their future. Once they begin to do that, they will no longer hate their boss because they will be their own boss

 

Don’t hide your network, share it!!!

My beliefs are that if I have a connection that can benefit a friend of mine, I will make an introduction to see if there is any synergy and build from there. I mean, why not? Isn’t that the right thing to do? Isn’t that how all business minded individuals think?

Unfortunately the answer to the last question is a resounding no. From my discussions with entrepreneurs one of the biggest shocks they have faced is when their friends or close associates refuse or do not offer their network as a resource to them. Now I have to admit that sharing netoworks can be tricky, for various reasons so its not as cut and dry as one may think.

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Some reasons people do not share their networks are:

  1. Fear of people ruining relationships- Some people feel that I am not going to introduce you to someone who I have worked hard to build a relationship with and have you destroy that relationship because you do something bad. That is a very real concern. I in no way meant to imply that you share your network with everyone because that can definitely happen. Some people are not ready for some of your introductions yet. They will in fact destroy your connections if you introduce them, but there are some people who can handle it and who are ready. You know exactly who those people are, just choose wisely.
  2. Fear of people building a better and stronger relationship with YOUR connections-Yes, this is a very real concern. They feel if I make this introduction and they have nice chemistry they may connect and do great things and succeed without me. This comes from a sense of insecurity. I have noticed that when you get so consumed with your purpose, vision and business, you have no time to worry about others success or to fear it as well.
  3. Some people don’t like to mix their friends. They have work friends, childhood friends, business friends, and family friends. They keep them all separate and love it that way. Nothing you can say or do will convince them to change this behavior.
  4. Lastly, they are only focused on themselves and can careless about how others succeed or if they do. They believe, listen I made these connections and I am doing what I have to do, let them do what they have to do as well. Yes, there are plenty of individuals like this believe it or not. They feel in every relationship they have they are the ones to be supported, praised, looked up to, cheered on, given to, looked at in awe. They don’t know you to support you, they know you so that you can give all you have to them and them alone.
Group of Business people networking
Group of Business people networking

The key to being successful is building strong relationships, nurturing them and supporting each other. When people show you who they are the first time believe them and learn from it. I always say, its not lonely at the top if you bring people with you.

Why are our young black men hurting?

 

I have just come from an awesome basketball camp sponsored by YOUNGLIFE. We had a great time of supporting and cheering on some terrific young men while we were there. My organization ThatSuitsYOU and Dr. Alex Ellis Tiedtogreatness were guest presenters. We donated over 150 ties and suits to these young men, which was a trememdous sight to see. We also encouraged them during thier tournament all the way to the championship. I figured this would be the highlight of the week and my job was done, boy was I wrong.

 

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Each night Young Life conducted a initimate smaller group chat with the young men. I was not ready for this. After seeing the guys eat, play basketball, try on ties, etc for most of the day I assumed they were during fairly well in everyday life. I was mistaken.  Our young men are in pain, they are hurting. Secretly hiding pain everyday that no 14-21 should have to hide. They are facing issues like

  • Living without a father in the home.

CNN recently reported that 68% of black households have 1 parent. Coming from a 2 parent household and being a parent now in a household I know how challenging it is personally to raise children with both parents. So being a sinlgle parent can be even more so. I am in no way am down playing single moms but I know the benefits that a father brings to the relationship of a young man. These young men have developed a strong resentment and hate for their absent fathers. They said they felt unloved, and abandoned.  Without their fathers being there, they are being looked at now to HANDLE the hole that their dad has left. So teenagers are asked to play the role of teenager/father in the household.

  • Lack of love/appreciate

They expressed a lack of love because they believe in alot of cases their mother treats them harsh because of the disrespect she felt from their dad. Being that he is not present they recieve the brunt of her anger. That misguided anger towards them is also displayed in front of their siblings which adds to their frustration. Also, because it is a single parent home their mother may have to work longer hours to pay all the bills for them to survive, which means less time, less communication, less interaction with the one parent that they have. Again, not to point the finger at her as she is trying to do everything that she can, but they see it as another form of neglect.

  • No one to talk to

Just the 2 issues we addressed so far can be stressful and now they feel as though they have no one to discuss these issues with. Their father is either in prison, dead or wants nothing to do with them. Their mother is working extended hours and has so many other responsibilities. They feel they can’t discuss these things with their friends because it will make them look weak, soft or vulnerble. And NO black male can have either of those characteristics because that is a definite death wish in their community. So they basically suck it up and keep everything bottled in until something triggers an explosion.

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This explains the anger we see in alot of our youth. This explain the solitude, the rebellion and misunderstandings. All children want is to be heard, to be appreciated, to be loved and supported. I believe alot of times we don’t give our young men a solid chance. They face these issues addressed here and much more. I didn’t even mention gangs, drugs, racism, unfair education, stereotypes, etc.  We mix all these things together into a young man, shake it up, let it sit, give him a diploma or GED and say go be a success in life, make me proud!!!

In conclusion there is big money in the prison system. 74 BILLION dollars worth. Any smart and savvy businessman that is in a business that deals with that much money will do whatever it takes to keep that going and to increase it consistently. That is only smart business. Knowing this, we have to be proactive in our thinking to not to expect our help for this growing issue of mass incarceration to come from outside sources. We have to be creative and tenacious to build programs, nonprofits, businesses to address and curb this problem. Their very lives are at stake. To see these young men share and cry and share and console one another was life changing. While TSY provided suits and motivational information and TTG did the same, it was the relationship building that truly made an impact.

Fathers, our young men need us bad!!!

After reading this call your sons, hug them, listen to them, they NEED US!!!

Tie training video

 

See more videos and photos from this awesome event on our social media pages

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@thatsuitsyou

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Why Is Running A Business So Hard?

If it was that easy, everyone would do it! That is the answer to the above question.

Yes, this is the entrepreneur generation. If my parents generation was the employer generation, then I would definitely have to  agree with that initial statement. Both of my folks worked consistently and successfully at their careers. My mother retired from Verizon and my father from NYC transit. I am very grateful and proud of them as they are happy and now do a lot of traveling with their free time.  A lot of people in my generation, like myself, wanted to go a different route.  Many wanted the opportunity to create, design, draw, speak, travel, etc.  They wanted to build their own dreams, create a worldwide brand, and make their own money. The problem is many want all of that but often forget the main ingredient in both generations is WORK!

Yes, there is no way around it, work is required. I actually believe the prior generations work ethic was so much more intense and committed than my generation and definitely the upcoming generation. Now most of the time their commitment was to being an employer than an entrepreneur but still that characteristic was key to them being successful. Whether it is because of microwaves, fast food, remote controls,  the internet, etc, we want everything quick fast.  However, you can’t put an empire in a microwave and 30 seconds later get it. There are no DRIVE THROUGH Mega Brands. Empires and brands are going to take time. There are going to take work.

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In between the creation of your business and the lifestyle you desire is the road called work. That road has derailed many individuals because to drive that road you need consistency. I believe the prior generation would have been awesome entrepreneurs because they had that characteristic.  Consistency doesn’t have time to cry because it is too hard, too tough, not fair or because you are tired or sleepy. Consistency demands you continue to drive no matter how bumpy the road is and doesn’t settle for less.

Finally, try not to focus on how tough the journey is but more so on the process of getting better and on your accomplishments. The strength it takes to start the process is the same strength that you need to keep pushing forward. Remember, if it was easy everyone would do it.

The 3 T’s Excuses of Business

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Mostly everyone wants to make more money, have a business or have more free time. No matter the race, age or gender these are the most popular desires for most of us. The problem is we allow the 3 T’s to deter us from the things we really want.

 

The first T is Tools. We feel we lack the tools we need to effectively maneuver our life to where we need it to be.  We feel if I only knew more, or had more or had access to more I could live like I want to.  That thought may be so real in our minds we decide to remain in our current state. I say decide because I believe it is a choice. I believe despite the apparent lack of tools, we can still achieve greatness by stepping out in the dark and working, planning and moving until we reach the light. The moment we begin to pursue better,those tools become attracted to us, but as long as we are complacent we actually repel them.

The second T is Tired. Wow, how often do people say they want more but they are so tired. Success doesn’t just happen, we have to work for it. Unfortunately if someone doesn’t want to work, or is always tired, they will never reach that destination. You will never reach the full destination on 1/4 tank of gas. The truly successful are willing to push the car until they reach the goal, not say well I tried but I am out of gas. Push beyond the tired point, push beyond your normal limits, push beyond your give up point. Tremendous success requires tremendous effort!!!

 

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The Final T is Time.  We are all giving the same amount of time each day, so the excuse that I don’t have enough time is not valid. I know successful people that have several kids, and multiple  jobs. I also know unsuccessful people that have no kids or any jobs.  So it is not how much time we have but what we do with our time that truly matters.

Finally true success is definitely attainable but it will require us to push ourselves beyond our give up point and move pass all excuses

 

I am at a Networking Event…. Now what?

networking

As an entrepreneur you have most likely heard how important it is for you to “GET OUT AND NETWORK”. If you are on social media (and I strongly recommend that you are), you have without a doubt seen numerous flyers, invites or post about networking events. Network, network, network, is being shouted all over the place. So as an upcoming business person you decide to go and see what the hype is all about.

Now coming from someone who attends networking events regularly I can definitely share a few tips that I have learned. First, let me start off by saying that like anything else, networking is what you get out of it. Meaning, just by listening to some, they would give the impression that simply attending a networking event would guarantee you an increase in clients or knowledge. No, being successful at these events requires you to master the 3 S’s; Selective, Strategy and Smart.

Selective: Being selective in regards to the events you go to, and the people you spend time engaging with. Like I mentioned earlier there are network events going on several times each week. The most popular days seem to be Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. So knowing this you have to plan accordingly and be very selective to which events you believe would be most beneficial to your brand and business. Attending too many events can be counterproductive as you may meet more people but not necessarily the right people for you. Also the travel and hours of attending too many events will definitely cause fatigue.

Strategy: Strategy is displayed by seeing where the event will be held, who is attending the event and how many people are they anticipating.  All of these are very important and will help you in being strategic about attending or not. If the event is far away but they are anticipating some key people in your field attending, you would make the decision that it will be worth the travel. However, if they are expecting a large turnout to an event near your home but not one person attending fits your brand you might decide to sit this one out.

Smart: Perhaps the most important S is be smart. After being selective and strategic, when you arrive at the event, be smart. Dress the part. A good networking experience is like having several mini interviews throughout the night. The rule; make a good first impression stands, so always dress to impress. It would be foolish to do all this work preparing for the NETWORK event and then simply stand against the wall and make it a NOWORK event. Be smart and work the room, listen to different conversations, use a firm handshake when meeting people and be very specific and brief when introducing yourself. If there is a connection with people, there will be time to get deeper into your business. Be smart, always have several business cards. To many times I am at these events and people say , “I don’t have anymore”. Not smart at all.

Finally, although there most likely will be food, music and drinks and it may seem like a party, it isn’t. You are at work, building your brand. Sure, have fun but the priority is to make connections and spread the word about your business.

Follow Gerard Kersey

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@thatsuitsyou (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Periscope)

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CAN YOU RELATE TO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS?

 

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This is an interesting question that I have to ask because I found that a lot of people really can not. In this impersonal social media and email era, the skill of dealing with humans is being lost in a lot of ways.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE social media junkie, I also prefer email and text over speaking on the phone as well, however I still know the importance and skill it takes to deal with people face to face and one on one. Seems like a contradiction but it really isn’t. I believe to be truly successful in today’s world you must be able to be efficient at both.

How many times have you received horrible customer service from a store or business? How many supervisors do you know that know their job but have zero people skills? Or How many people do you know that can only think about themselves? They want you to help them, support them, come to their event,  but don’t even for a second think about reciprocating for you. Yes, true people skills really seems to be lacking today. More importantly the people guilty of these actions seem totally oblivious to their actions. They are the same ones going to social media to say how crazy everyone else is!

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Despite this deterioration, don’t allow this to deter you from still displaying your excellent people skills and nurturing your relationships.  The  reason being, those with great people skills still seem to go further in life and have healthier relationships. But what if you are one of those people who we are talking about who walks around with a frown but  swears to everyone you are really smiling.  There are many people who are destroying critical relationships and they have no clue that they are doing it.

What do you do to repair or maintain your relationships?

  • Ask a close friend. Ask someone who will give you honest feedback.  They can tell you if you come off selfish, or inconsiderate of others. If so don’t be offended, make adjustments.
  • Speak to people how you would like to be spoken to. Sounds simple, but if we really heard how we speak to people sometimes we would be shocked. No one likes to be spoken to like a child even when they are in the wrong.
  • Look in the mirror. There are times when we know we are wrong but at the moment really don’t care because we are so focused on ourselves. Take a good look at yourself and realize when you are at fault. If you are be responsible and change your approach.

I can’t stress enough how important relationships are in  today’s society. So often we think money is our number one resource, when in actuality our number resource is people. Remember it is not always WHAT you know, but WHO you know!

THE EFFECT OF A SUIT ON A MAN

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When I was out of work and trying to get back into the workforce someone reached out to me and helped me tremendously. A mentor of mine who saw that I was beginning to make positive changes in my life took me to a suit store in Brooklyn and purchased me a brand new suit, shirt and a tie. I will never forget that moment, I practically cried from the emotions of another man buying me these items without wanting anything in return. That moment was etched in my heart until this day. It is that moment that I think about constantly when we give back to the men we serve today. It is that moment that got me started and keeps me going.

While cleaning out my closet of older suits I decided now was the time to make this dream of assisting men with professional attire a reality so I started That Suits You, a nonprofit organization that provides suits to men looking to get back into the workforce.

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The journey of starting the organization involved collecting suits from family and friends. I was amazed at the results I was received. My wife and brother joined the team and we began holding suit drives and reaching out to churches, businesses and individuals all over. I have found that people don’t mind giving these items if they know it will be helping people. The idea of men who have completed training and are ready to work but do not have anything to wear to their interview is heart wrenching and very sad to see. However when we see their face when we present them with a suit, tie, shirt and occasionally shoes, all at no cost to them, it is priceless. That same emotion I felt when I received my suit is what we strive to do to these men. When I received that first suit I felt empowered, I felt important, and I felt like I could take on the world. We want the men we assist to feel the same way and we have seen it time and time again.

There is something about a man in a suit. There is something empowering about it. Women love to see them, and men love to wear them. A man in a suit, says he is working, he is making things happen, he is successful. That may not be the reality but it gives that perception. When people see young men saggin their pants, that statement speaks volumes to the world. That look says they are not working, they are not being positive and they are not being successful. Although that may not be true, that is the image it portrays. A lot of times men dress that way because they haven’t been taught better or they don’t have the means to obtain better. We want to be a part of changing the culture, look, dress and perception of men all over. We want to be a part of teaching men to dress better. We want them to have that look of a well dressed man. Once I had my first suit, I wanted to wear them more and more. I believe once we get a man in his first suit, he will have that same feeling.

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We recently did a job conference workshop with NYC College of Technology, where we donated ties to some of the young men who came. We also taught men how to tie a tie and did mock interviews with the young adults. However to me, the most powerful part of the day was the time we spent speaking and sharing to everyone there. Having the opportunity to pour my heart into these young people was priceless. I shared with them about starting a business and seeing a dream become a reality. I also expressed the importance of dressing appropriately and being professional in everything you do. That Suits You places us in position to give back to teens and young adults and hopefully steer them in a positive direction to being a success story.

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