Under 30 Following The Vision Magazine Launch

Atlanta Tech Village; December 2013


I had the pleasure of being the keynote speaker for Under 30 Following The Vision Magazine Launch in December 2013. It was such a great event and I was honored to be a distinguished guest. I was asked to share my story and what it means to be under 30 following your vision and to inspire others.

3 key points that I have learned along my journey in order to empower you to follow your vision.

#1 Declare your vision and affirm it daily.

There’s a scripture that declares this perfectly: “write the vision, make it plain on tablets so he may run who reads it” – Habakkuk 2:2

We have to speak existence into our dreams and our vision. We have to write it down and make it crystal clear. We have to take the steps to make it real. In addition to this, make sure that your vision is in alignment with your purpose because that is the only way that you will prosper. Oftentimes we may get caught up in our own selfish dreams of what we want to do that has nothing to do with what we are meant to GIVE with the talents and gifts that we were blessed with. So remember that, it’s not what we want, but what we are purposed to do in this world.

This requires cultivating our minds so that our actions can be trained to work towards this grand idea and plan that you need to execute. So if you haven’t already, write your vision down with affirmative words. Don’t just simply state I wish, I hope, maybe, etc. Declare it. Say I will do this. I am capable of achieving this.

And once it’s written down, place it in a visible place that you view daily so that there’s no question on what you’re setting out to do and every morning that you wake up, you can get excited about it!

Now is not the time to be lackluster about what it is that you want to do. It takes passion, intensity, courage, and determination. Train like athletes – they train their bodies, we train our minds. Being an entrepreneur takes an incredible amount of intellect, mental energy, belief in yourself, seeing the unseen, and challenging assumptions.

Visions are real. They are intangible, invisible ideas, so your job is to do the work to make it manifest in reality.

#2 Get the right people around you

I do a lot of reading and recently read an article called “The Unicorn Club” which is a study on billion dollar startups. Anyone have billion dollar visions out there? (Okay great, it’s not just me) This study is on U.S. based tech companies (public or private) and they reported on their patterns of success. There’s one point that stuck out and I want to bring to your attention today:

-Inexperienced, twentysomething founders were an outlier, while well-educated thirtysomething founders who have a history together have built the most successes.

This means that we are the underdogs. (& only 2 had female co-founders, none have female founding CEOs, and there was little ethnic diversity) So some of us are under, underdogs. (just sayin) Experience is attributed to the fact that the older you are, the greater the likelihood that you’ve spent more years working and gaining knowledge, thus you’re able to apply that in a greater way. So what’s extremely important is because we are young, we need to surround ourselves with people who have greater experience. (Mentors, advisors, other executives) and never for a second think that you know it all. Because we don’t.

#3 Do not give up.

Flashback – 2009 was when I took the first step towards my vision. I competed in the Inventure Prize at Georgia Tech with an idea to develop hair care software to predict how certain products will react on your hair. I pitched and made it to the semi-finals. During that round after I presented, you should have seen the looks on the judges faces. They might have thought I was crazy. They didn’t understand it and didn’t seem to be excited – I mean I couldn’t blame them. They were old white men. Why would they be excited about black hair care? They didn’t think it was a good idea, didn’t fit their criteria. So at that point I could’ve said, you know what – they’re right. I’m crazy. Let’s just stop now, forget this ever happened. Don’t want to embarrass myself. When really…..it’s all about timing. Back then, I didn’t know, but now I get it. I did my part. I had to put myself out there. Be fearless, be confident, and declare what I wanted to achieve. I didn’t know that the reason was so that 2 years later, my co-founders would remember and reach out to me and help start the spark to ignite the founding of our company which led us to Flashpoint 2 months later.

I love this scripture:

The vision is yet for an appointed time. It describes the end and it will be fulfilled. It will not deceive or disappoint. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behind on its appointed day. Habakkuk 2: 3

Wow…so that means there is already a date stamped on the vision that we all have.

How great is it to know that we have all been called for a plan or purpose and that once we recognize it, that vision WILL come to pass. IF you do not give up.

The world and its steadily changing economy is waiting for us, yearning for more individuals with a passion to take a stance. We need to take the initiative and remember that the price of leadership is sacrifice; thus, we should embody self-confidence and go forward when others hesitate.

So lets begin with a new goal and a new motivation to breed a generation of excellence so as we enter our prospective industries and careers we will embody the guidance of wise leaders because wisdom is the key to everything.

In closing with the words of wisdom that impacted my as a teenager, by Henry David Thoreau:

“I have learned this at least by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dream, and endeavors to live the life which he imagines, he will meet success [even in] unexpected hours.”

It may be unexpected for you to be successful, it may be unexpected for you to achieve what you’ve declared in your vision, but if there’s one thing that’s for certain: there’s nothing as powerful and no army can stop an idea whose time has come.

Continue to grow, continue to imagine, make your vision plain, and never relinquish your dreams.