Created by Cyrus Webb for Shadow Play Entertainment in April 2006, Conversations Magazine is a colorful combination of the arts, entertainment, fashion, food and health. Get exclusive interviews, great tips and suggestions for the entire family. To see how you can be featured or to advertise with Conversations, contact Cyrus Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601.896.5616.
Click cover to order Conversations Magazine's Anniversary Issue 2019
Feeding Your Love of Life!
Saturday, July 27, 2019
STEDMAN GRAHAM: Building A Brand (and Leaders) One Person at a Time
by Cyrus Webb
Being able to enjoy a conversation with
Stedman Graham was truly a full circle moment for me, I first read a book by our
him in my very first year of radio back in 2003. It was Build Your Own Life
Brand, and since that time Mr. Graham has been someone that I have been able to
follow as he has been able to write, not only about leadership but the
importance of identity.
In 2019 he is celebrating another
bestseller IDENTITY LEADERSHIP, and once again it takes us not just into how we
are able to affect others but how everything starts with understanding and
knowing ourselves. In this INSPIRATION issue of Conversations I talk with him about
the journey to doing work he loves, what keeps him inspired and what it’s like
to affect the lives of others.
What has it been like for you, Mr.
Graham, to see people grasping on to the lessons you have shared about Identity,
and the importance of knowing who they are as they are kind of moving forward
in their business and their life?
It’s been humbling to see the response
and for people to get it. It's important to me, because I want people to raise
their social, economic development. I want them to take control of their own
destiny. I want them to focus on empowering themselves and their families, and
I want them to understand that there is a process of success for doing that.
Just going to school and trying to get a degree and coming out and looking for
a job today is different.
So today the people are asking you to
be more engaged and asking you to focus on skills. They are asking you to know
your talents, your abilities, and we live in a global marketplace now with
technology so we have a chance to be able to learn how to take information and
education and make it relevant to expand our social, economic development. If
we take charge of our own selves then the identity leadership is
self-leadership. It's based on the philosophy that you cannot lead anybody else
until you first lead yourself.
In Chapter 3 of the book IDENTITY LEADERSHIP you talk about leaders and you give
your own personal experience there about how you were an individual who allowed
other people to define who you were and how confusing that was. You also talk
about the importance of realizing what you had to do for yourself. One point
you make is when we buy into labels we allow ourselves to be placed in a box.
How important was it for you to get out of that box so that you could be able
to show other people what's possible?
I never tried to give my power away. I didn't know how to do it any other way.
I didn't know how to overcome the labels: the racial labels, the family labels…
growing up and having a fight every day in school and people calling you names.
When it came to racial labels, I did not understand people focusing on the
color of your skin. I couldn't deal with that, and you have the race-based
consciousness. I didn't realize it's about not knowing who you are. It's not
about your race or the color of your skin or your gender. The world defines you
when you can't define yourself, and of course my relationship with Oprah
throughout the years I have been define by that.
And so you lose your name, you lose your identity. That process was a fantastic
lesson for me to learn through, because the closest thing to Freedom is being
able to focus on the internal and not on the external. That’s why I do this
work, to help people through the process.
The book you talked about Build Your Own Life Brand is all about you can make
it happen if you are willing to do the work on yourself. I do all of this work
and now talking about Identity Leadership—which is the ultimate self-leadership--it's
all about leadership and the ability to be able to show people how to get
beyond the labels, how to take charge of their home development and how to take
the resources of the world and make it relevant to who they are every
day. Everyone is equal because everybody has 24 hours, but the question is
what do you do with your time, what are you doing with your 24 hours?
Another great thing you do in IDENTITY
LEADERSHIP is give us real examples of individuals we can learn from. As I
mentioned you share your own experiences but also individuals like Amazon
founder Jeff Bezos and others. One thing they all have in common is not giving
up or allowing fear of failure to stop them. Do you think that is also part of
being an effective leader and force in the world?
Identity Leaders don't worry too much
about failure, because if you focused on your purpose in life, if you are
focused on your passion giving up is not an option. If you are focusing on what
motivates you and what gets you up in the morning and what you are willing to
give your life for, you will keep going. Like me this work motivates me. I am
willing to give my life for this work.
So the ability to be able to overcome
the obstacle and deal with failure is not as difficult, because you want to
learn. And when you realize that failure is a learning process and what will
get you to the next level is not repeating the same mistake over and over, then
you are very careful about preparation. Success is when preparation meets the
opportunity. It's all preparation.
So it’s about your ability to be able
to prepare yourself with knowledge, with information, with education, with what
you have learned, with your experiences, with other experts and your resources in
the world. And now through technology we have a different way to be able to
organize that information. So if you reverse the process of making that
information relevant to our purpose and what we love and what we care about,
and take the 24 hours that we have every single day, then we can begin to
organize our life around ourselves.
It's a self-actualization process around you and making sure that you
understand that everything should be centered around you, so the more you have the
more you can give back.
And to tie that in also, Mr. Graham, and to Mr. Bezos as well, another thing
that you mentioned about him was about the use of time. Optimizing time. Have
you found as you've been out talking about this work and talking about identity
and identity leadership that this is one of the biggest things that we find
ourselves working on: things that are draining us of our time and not using our
of your leaders, you have Bezos, Oprah and others…all of these folks they
focus on saving time, making sure they can eliminate things that are not
relevant to their development so they can stay focused. We have over
60,000 thoughts a day, so the question is how do you now focus?
What are you actually working on that's
going to be actionable that's going to take you to the next level based on your
vision? Do you have a plan to be able to write things down so you can set goals
so you can actually get things done? Then can you build a new value for yourself?
Not the value the world gives you. Start working so that the world sees you as
you see yourself.
You also said this in the book Mr Graham another powerful thing when you are
talking about defining factors of identity leaders, you say they know where
they want to be. I think that direction is so important because you go on to
say, and you know how they are going to get there. Do you also hope the
book helps others to figure out the direction that they need to go to get to
where they want to be?
talk about where most people are. I mean 6.9 billion people soon to be 7
billion people or maybe more in the world right now. Most wake up in the
morning, wash their face and they brush their teeth. They get something to eat
and they get the kids off to school, they work all day and they come home in
the afternoon and they spend time with the family and watch TV and they go to
bed. And then they repeat that same process over and over and over. It's kind
of a routine. For them there is no thinking, no developing, no building, no
self-actualizing and no taking information and making it relevant to a
self-direct or learning process.
We have to break out of that rut, out
of that mindset. You are here. Where do you want to go? If the response is ‘I
don't know where I want to go, I don't know who I want to become, I don't know
what's possible for me’ it’s because we haven't created a vision beyond
ourselves, and we haven't started with purpose and passion in what we love.
There is no Focus around building anything, shaping anything, creating anything
or designing anything, because we have no process to move forward.
So we have to begin to organize who can we become. What does that picture of
the puzzle looks like 10 years from now? Where are you going to be 20 years
from now? We can create that because we have a mind. We live in the greatest
country in the world. We've got to turn around where everything is relevant to
us so we can actually build something.
a beautiful thing if you can work on it. That's like a blessing being able to
work on your purpose and to organize information around your purpose, and then
everything you read, everything you learn, everything that you pick up you can
pull out information that's relevant to empowering your life every single day.
If you can get to a place where this happens you develop a process of
continuous improvement so you are better today than you were yesterday.