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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Remembering Designer Patrick Kelly


by Cyrus Webb

Passion is something that can't be confined by location, current circumstances or even the negative energy that may surround you. When it comes to what you were really meant to do, not even death can stop your destiny from being fulfilled.

As I was thinking about the start of the new year I kept going back to the thought of how many people are willfully inching towards what is a slow creative death. They know what they are good at, they know what really drives them but they are allowing something to hinder them and stunt their development and progress.

An example of someone who would not let location or even poverty stop him from reaching his personal greatness is fashion designer Patrick Kelly. Born September 24, 1954 in my home state of Mississippi, Kelly rose from obscurity to become the first American designer of any race to reach the top in Paris. At the age of 33 he had inked out a $5 million deal Warnaco, propelling him towards the greatness that he believed was possible.

The road was not an easy one though. There were some homeless nights when he didn't know when his next meal would be coming from. There were also the naysayers that told him what was not going to be possible. Patrick Kelly just chose not to listen. There was an inner voice cheering him on along with those around him who knew what he could achieve. That is where he focused his attention.

So how was he able to do it? How was a man that seemed destined to be just another statistic able to separate from the pack and succeed? It was passion. For him there was no way he was going to live on this earth and not be doing what he knew was meant for him to do. That is what so many of us can learn from. Regardless of how many "nos" we hear, there will be those who will believe and give us the "yes" needed to keep going. If you give up now, however, you will never know what could have been.

Sadly Patrick Kelly left this earth in January 1990. He was just 36 years old. Though we don't have him physically with us to learn from, his example is a lesson all of us should take the time to study and emulate. People like Patrick Kelly remind us that the possibility for greatness is there if we never let our goal out of our sight.

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