when we notice …the deli clerk’s attentive service, a co-worker’s support, the caring demonstrated by our child’s teacher or the 200% effort exerted by someone that we supervise… and then when we let that person know that we noticed!

I was inspired this past February by Daquetta Jones’ daily Facebook postings.  Highly accomplished in her own right, each day Daquetta posted the achievements and talents of a different community member…

Jamil Hood was one individual recognized!  In Daquetta’s words:  “Jamil Hood is a devoted father, leader, educator, community activist and basketball coach that has won State, Regional & Section 2 Championships!…He is the founding proprietor of #HoodsHouseOfHoops, a nonprofit, designed to provide outreach and guidance to inner city youth in low-income communities…” AND MUCH MORE!

I was struck by both Daquetta’s efforts to truly see each individual – and bring to light their special and specific talents and contributions…AND HOW MUCH THIS RECOGNITION MEANT TO EACH PERSON…

Jamil’s response:  “ Thank you Daquetta Jones for the recognition of love and honor. It’s a fact that black men are often stereotyped (in a way that does not recognize our accomplishments!)…I thank you again for this recognition on my birthday of all days.  I sincerely thank you!”

Other responses by recognized community members:  “Daquetta!!! I did not expect this on my birthday!!! I love you so much and I thank you for making space for me to flourish…!” (Jayana LaFountaine, Troy-based portrait photographer and documentarian,  devoted to preserving legacy and bringing joy to families/friends of all colors, shapes and sizes…)

 I’m literally blown away and for once speechless.  I truly appreciate and am inspired by Daquetta Jones!” (Tabitha Wilson, City of Albany School District board member, who works for NYS OTDA and lives by this motto: “If service is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you.” ).

Equally as important:  Recognizing our own strengths and talents and where/in what settings we can use them!  Here are 20 inspiring questions (by Scott Christ) to help you recognize your dreams and passions:

“What beliefs do you carry that may be holding you back?
It takes guts to call yourself out and question beliefs that just don’t seem right. We’re all ingrained with a set of learned behaviors that may be holding us back. It’s okay to question them and seek a better way. That’s a true sign of growth.

What’s your hobby?
The things you love to do in your downtime can tell you a lot about how to find happiness in your life. Do the stuff you enjoy doing, and you’ll get closer to finding your true calling.

What’s your talent?
One thing that’s even more important than recognizing your hobbies is understanding your talents. What are you good at? If you asked five friends, what would they identify as your biggest assets? The answers can help you find your dream and change your life.

Who do you like to work with?
Think about the people who you work well with. Use your intuition to guide you toward similar people in your work environment.

Where do you enjoy working?
What is the work setting where you’re most productive? Perhaps in group meetings? Or alone in your office? Try spending most of your time there. If you’re stuck in a job that puts you in a setting you don’t enjoy, speak up and tell your boss.

What are your passions?
What makes you genuinely happy in life? Identify your passions, and then do everything in your power to spend time doing the things you love. Then answer this:

How can you turn your passions into work?
It’s one thing to pursue your passion as a hobby. It’s a whole different ballgame to do what you love and get paid for it. If you’re stuck in a job you hate, find a way to turn your passion into your career. If you want something badly enough, and are willing to take action and do the things that others aren’t willing to do, you’ll achieve whatever you want in your career and in your life.

What inspires you?
Where do you find inspiration to drive you forward? Maybe it’s books, websites, friends, or family members. The point is, harness your preferred sources of inspiration every day.

How do you motivate yourself to take action?
Being inspired is great. But if you don’t have a method and plan to motivate yourself to make positive change in your life, you’ll remain in the same place you’re in today.

What do you dream about?
Dreams expose truths about our lives we often have trouble seeing. Keep a dream journal to record your subconscious thoughts. Whenever you wake up in the middle of a dream, write down exactly what occurred. Then analyze the dream the next day and look for signs and signals from your subconscious mind.

What have you overcome?
Most of us have struggled mightily and overcome great obstacles. Don’t take this for granted. Thinking about the massive obstacles you’ve overcome already should convince you that you can accomplish anything you want in life.

How do you respond to what others say about you?
You can choose to react negatively to what others say about you, or you can choose to ignore it. Even our friends and close family members can say and do things that are extremely hurtful. Words others say don’t define you though. Your actions and thoughts define you. Don’t ever forget that.

Why are you here?  Want to know how to find your dream and change your life in one simple step? Then answer this question: What do you think your purpose is? It’s a deep question. But it’s an important one. You may not know the answer right now, and that’s okay. You’ll find it when you’re ready.

Who do you admire?
Seek inspiration in others whom you admire. Despite all the bad things going on in the world, there are still millions of heroes, dreamers, and leaders that can inspire all of us to live better.

What are your weaknesses?
Nobody’s perfect. And acknowledging the things you need to get better at is a crucial step to find your dream and change your life.

What are your goals?
Think about what you aspire to accomplish in your life. These goals should drive your actions. Speaking of action…

How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?
Goals without a plan are meaningless. Once you figure out your goals, write down action steps that will help you achieve them. Most people don’t do this, and it can mean the difference between getting what you want and failing.

What are you grateful for?
Be thankful every single day. And show your gratitude to others too. Say, “Thank you.” Return acts of kindness. Be grateful for what you have.

 How can you make yourself better?
We all have problems. But you can either give up and accept your circumstances or you can choose to find ways to improve. Are you unhappy with your body? Then learn how to eat better and form consistent exercise habits. Hate your job? Then start taking action to develop a new skill.

How can you make the world better?
Last, but certainly not least, is figuring out your ultimate goal. How can you change the world? If you don’t know the answer just yet, combine all the answers above and you’ll have a much better idea. You have the power to do amazing things. Don’t take that for granted.

WHEN YOU BEGIN TO DISCOVER (or rediscover) whatever it is that makes you feel most alive, FIND A WAY TO DO MORE OF IT!… 



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