2020 Recap: Stedman Graham

This week we are delighted to feature the wisdom of Stedman Graham, Identity Leadership Expert, who shared his Nine-Step Success Process at Pendulum Summit 2020.

Stedman began his keynote speech by stating: “You cannot lead anybody else until you first lead yourself.” 

The Leadership Expert – who is most famously known as Oprah Winfrey’s significant other said he has endured the reality of other people defining him until he learned that if he wanted to be successful, he had to determine who he was and define exactly what it was he wanted.

This process that resulted helped him become a best-selling author and led to his passion for helping young people and business leaders find their spark and a path to “self-actualisation.” He said the traditional education system teaches people to be followers, while a 21st century economy demands leaders who come to the table with ideas and drive.

Everyone has the same 24 hours, Graham explained, it’s up to you if they’re spent in a familiar rut or if there’s time to be carved out for learning and goal setting, every day. I hope you enjoy the rest of Graham’s fantastic speaker summary…

Defining Moments 

All of us have defining moments. My defining moment was early on, I was about 13 or 14 years of age. I was a pretty good basketball player and eventually played stately for a European college for a number of years.  We had one store in the town, so I’m going around bragging to everybody I know.  

I wanted to go to college and I’m getting all these scholarship offers from all around the country and bragging to everybody around town. I’m going to college and I am the first in my family to go to college. So I’m down at the store one morning and we’re playing pinball and shooting pool and this guy is behind the counter. I thought this is my time to break the news that I’m going to college. So I see him behind the counter and I walk up to him and I say Mr Teahay, guess what? I’m going to college. I’m thinking he is going to be like I am so proud of you for going to college and for getting out of this town. Congratulations.

That wasn’t the case, instead he looks at me and I look at him and I will never forget what he said. He said to me you’re never going to go to college. Your family is too stupid. You’re too dumb. At this point I’m 13 or 14 years of age and I’ve been teased all my life. I have low self-esteem and not a lot of confidence and I look up at the Mr. Teahay and he owns the only store in town and we go there all the time. I would have to see him all the time and I just felt stupid.

As a result of this I got kind of sad and I was sad for a long time. Until one day I was walking down the street going home and I stopped in my tracks and I got it. I said to myself I am not going to listen to him so marched back down to that store and told him that I am going to college, I am going to get my degree and I am going to bring it back to you and I’m going to show you that I am somebody.

Well, off I go to college, and it was a great day. I got a scholarship. I remember we’d be playing ball all week long and travelling around the country playing basketball. We would come in late at night around 11 o’clock at night and everybody would go to bed, except me. I would stay up all night long studying for our next test. I didn’t care about basketball. The only thing I cared about was the fact I had to get that degree and bring it back and show Mr. Teahay in the store.

Well we finally graduated and It was a great day, I finally got that degree. After I got that degree I said, I’m not finished with you yet. I am going to get my Master’s Degree then I got my Master’s Degree, served in the US Army for 9 years, played ball and I worked in the prison system for five years. I didn’t say I was in the prison system for five years I just worked for them. I then moved to Chicago from Colorado and at this point I still didn’t know who I was as a person. 

So met a woman in Chicago named Oprah you might have heard of her talk show. She started off as a local talk show host and then all of a sudden she became who she is today, which is one of the greatest communicators and one of the most successful women in the world. I am in a relationship with a very powerful woman and she knows who she is but you don’t know who you are and every time you step out into the world you are defined by your relationship.

So think about this. I’m defined by my brother’s, I’m defined by my community and defined by my race and now I’m defined by my relationship and what I found from all of that is that I learned it is not the world that defines you. The only thing that matters is how you define yourself.

9 Step Success Process

When you don’t know who you are in the world you become defined by your house, your car your money, your title, your religion, your race, your culture and your significant other sometimes. Therefore, the ability to be able to self-actualize your own potential is hard and they don’t teach you how to do it in school so people aren’t aware of how to do it.

So I studied it for years I said, let me figure out how to free myself from the outside world. Let me figure out how to define myself so I can take what I learnt from education and make it relevant to my purpose in life and transfer it to my mind so I can then become a thinking human being in the 24 hours I have. Since then, I have done that every single day and that is what makes us all equal. Everybody else can do this in 24 hours they have in a day by just pushing this and thinking about what you do with your time.

Think about how you learn, how you take in information and make it relevant to who you are in the 24 hours in the day that you have and there is a process for that and that is what I teach is a 9-step success process.

First Step

The first step is that you have to know who you are. You have to have a purpose in life. You have to be able to organize your talents, your skills and abilities you have and today in the 21st century, it is all about your skills.

Do you have any skills? Are they marketable skills? Are they relevant skills? Therefore, your ability to be able to organize your life around the most powerful word in the world is essential and what is the most powerful word in the world? And you have to have this word or else you will just be average. 

The most powerful word in the world is love. It is a foundation for your existence. There is only ever two choices: either love or hate or good or bad. It is about your attitude can you look at the glass half empty or half full, are you a negative or positive person?

So we talked about self empowerment and Leadership. If you focus on negativity, what’s going to happen, whatever you put out comes back to you. You’re going to be a failed experiment every single day if you focus on negativity. We all have 60,000 thoughts going through our minds every single day. So if the foundation of your existence is negative, this means you’re hardwired to be negative to everything, everything you think about is negative. Therefore your life is going to be a result of that negative thinking and thoughts

So the first step is love and this is how you do it. The core of success is based on love and so being able to express this is essential. Simply being able to take a piece of paper and write down everything you love in your life is the foundation for success and everything should be personal.

Write down everything you can imagine that you love on a piece of paper and then to be able to take education, information and knowledge and now the internet which is great. You should download all the information that’s relevant to what you love from the internet and then micromanage it, organize it and build it out so you can use it in those 24 hours you have in a day. That should be the foundation for what you should be doing in your life.

Second Step

The second step is that I am motivated every single day. I can’t wait to get up. I know how to organize my life. When I read anything or take in information or knowledge I am able to download that content into my own personal professional development. I am clear. I have clarity around what I should be doing in my life and in my 24 hours everyday. I am able to organize the cultures around what I love. I’m focused on my passion. I’m happy. Every single day.

I will have enough time to create all the things I want to create in my life. I’m motivated, driven and I have a purpose in life and it is a beautiful thing. So this is my second step. You have to have a vision. What is a vision? A vision is that you are raising your social economic development and you can’t do that without a vision. Leadership is about having a vision.

Vision allows you to get beyond your circumstances. You aren’t just your circumstances you are your possibilities you can visualize the whole world. How I can carry this message around to Ireland and how I can carry this message to Africa and how I carry this message to Indian you can’t do that without a vision. You need to see beyond your circumstances, you need to organize the whole marketplace and in the good book it says without a vision the people perish so if you have a leader that doesn’t have a vision you’re really in trouble. 

Third Step

Third step is that I have a plan. Where are you going in your life? What are your action steps? Can you write it down? Like I said before, you have 60,000 thoughts going through your head every single day. The key word here is focus.

You know, whatever you focus on expands. Like today we have so much information coming in, too much information, we have information overload. How do we now take that information and make it relevant to our development so that we can self actualize our own potential based on our own plan? I have a plan. I can write it down. I can use both sides of the brain. I can actually get it done. 

Fourth Step

I’m able now to be clear. I have clarity on where I’m going. I can communicate that to my peers. I can organize as a leader. I can organize my team around that clarity around that vision for Mastering the rules of the road. What mastering the rules of the road essentially is, is that you have a value system and if you don’t have one you have to set a value system you can live with as you work toward your goals. Ask yourself the questions: What is your value system? Are you a hard worker? 

Fifth Step

Do you have the drive, determination and the values to step into the outer limits to overcome your fears? There are only two emotions and they are love and fear. How big is the fear in our lives? And how do you overcome that fear? When are you going to get to the top of the mountain? You have to confront and overcome your fears and get over whatever it is that’s holding you back from a real breakthrough. Fear is learned behavior. 

Sixth Step

Building your internal capacity to welcome and embrace change can mean the difference between getting left behind and being ahead of the curve. Leadership is about being able to overcome the obstacles even though they are tough. Sometimes a business can’t make payroll and you’re trying to run the business while trying to deal with everything else to do with the business as well. You’re trying to organize distribution, you’re trying to build alliances and partnerships and trying to deal with the taxes. You have to overcome the obstacles every single day. You have to be able to get through the changes, the tough times and so your leadership ability is determined by your ability to have the capacity to be able to get through through the tough times every single day.

Seventh Step

Which leads me onto Step Seven build your dream team. Networking and building supportive relationships will only help propel you toward your dreams. You can’t make it on your own. Your team depends on how strong or weak you are. A strong leader attracts a strong team and a weak leader attracts a weak team.

Eighth Step

Step eight is win by decision and that takes a long time to get used to. I need the information. I need to be able to take that information and make it relevant to who I am every single day. The 21st century is about relevancy. Are you relevant to where the marketplace is going? I don’t care where you are. I know where you are. I’m concerned about who you are going to be and where you want to be in five years. Deciding to invest in yourself and your ability to be a leader through continuous self-improvement, learning and growth opportunities will help you go from being a follower to feeling comfortable as a leader.

Ninth Step

Commit to your vision. On the path to success, there will be obstacles and failures. By keeping the end goal in mind at all times, it will be easier to overcome and keep moving forward. You will inevitably fall down on this journey, but you only fail if you don’t get back up again.

So, you know, if you want to transform, we need to do a lot of transactional things which helps with the ability to be able to transform your life.

You couldn’t have a better opportunity today because we have access to technology and access to the global marketplace.. I was watching YouTube and emailing folks, you know in Ireland here and at the hotel. The ability to be able to take technology and reach people all around the world is so simple now today.. You don’t need the TV anymore now you can have access to any kind of program you want using the internet. So the ability to be able to understand how to transform your life based on who you are is easier as we have all this access but the main thing to consider is that the transformation always happens with love.

You can’t transform without love. So when you begin to change, when you begin to evolve, when you begin to understand how to create a lifestyle around yourself, you get to feel power in yourself. It is really one of the greatest and most important opportunities in the world to be able to focus on your own personal professional development because you can’t give anybody else anything until you first give yourself everything..

Some folks will get mad at you when you start to transform and start being a better version of yourself. They’ll want to try to pull you back in and they’ll talk about you and sometimes even hate you. Sometimes it could even be your family doing it.  The world is going to sometimes say to you why don’t you quit? Why don’t you just give up? 

These are obstacles that you must get over in order to succeed. You can succeed in this guys having a tough day is normal. You just need to remember there’s always tomorrow. You might start to hang your head in front of failures but the important thing is to keep going. All of life is like a race. It has both ups and downs and all you have to do is keep going to win the race each time.

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