I just read articles about the latest known updates on the COVID-19 CoronaVirus. The media reports what government officials and agencies give freely or leak back-door. So we have to know that what’s being reported isn’t everything. It’s not the whole truth. Not even half of the truth.

It’s the tip of the iceberg.

It’s the drizzle before the hurricane, the eeriness before the tornado, the tremor before the quake, the few crumbling rocks before the eruption or landslide.

Do you get my drift yet?

It’s Way Bigger

Don’t believe for one second that the CoronaVirus is just like a cold, and don’t believe the numbers of reported cases. It’s MUCH BIGGER than is being reported.

Governments just don’t want to create mass hysteria.

Do you remember how everyone acted when they thought all technology would crash January 1, 2000? Almost everyone was in panic about Y2K! Do you remember how stores were gutted and in the last few days of 1999 there were reports of violence—with people fighting in stores over food and stuff?

Magnify that hysteria times two or heck, times five. Especially if the masses begin to freak out about:

  • the odds of death within a week of exposure,
  • no vaccine,
  • lack of food and water,
  • no safe zones for the immune compromised, etc.,
  • not being able to travel because every continent is compromised.

And before I go any farther, let me say this to the person who’s saying, “this is only affecting Asians, I’m not Asian, and I can avoid being around Asians“.

That was the same flawed logic people took with SARS in 2004, and with Ebola. You might as well just isolate yourself and not be around people.

Folks, it’s not just Asians that traveled to and from Asian countries. You see that Italy is being clobbered. We saw it in 2002 with SARS. It spread like crazy in just a few months.

Everyone is at risk. So you can’t just say, “ah well I will just stay away from Asians” but then you’re sitting next to and chatting it up with the British guy who doesn’t tell you he was just in an Asian country, or hanging out with someone who was.

You can’t distinguish who has it or doesn’t based on their race, ethnicity, or nationality.

If they breathe and have contact with other people who breathe, then they are a risk factor.

What’s The Likelihood That This Isn’t SARS 2.0?

Do you think it’s a coinkydink that both SARS and COVID-19 are both coronaviruses that came from China? It’s just, unlike 2002, China is admitting they created COVID-19 in their labs. What if this is just a SARS 2.0 release?

There’s been no known cases of transmission of SARS since 2004. Maybe, because they went back to the lab and said, “well heck look what SARS did, imagine supersizing this bad boy!

Just a thought.

They Fear We Can’t Handle The Truth, And…

Government leaders around the world, including the U.S., aren’t rushing to tell you the TRUTH, and that they don’t have a clue what to do. They are sneakily telling state and federal agencies to prepare their operations, and to low-key alert schools and businesses on how to plan for worst-case scenarios, and the potential economic impact of adjusting or shutting down operations.

A Planned Weapon That Backfired

Because unlike Ebola, which scientists have been fighting for decades, or SARS, which hasn’t been active since 2004, the COVID-19 CoronaVirus is young, shiny, and brand new—straight from the lab without a backup if they screw up. It’s doing what it was created to do—kill humans.

This isn’t what they had planned for population control, or at least not right now, but it will score some points, now won’t it?!?

AND just like we saw from Ebola, it wasn’t just Africans who were exposed. The same was true about SARS seemingly being a Chinese and Asian problem. So you couldn’t just avoid certain people. And how did Ebola and SARS spread? Humans breathing, coughing, and sneezing around other humans. They were mobilized and basically weaponized thanks to contact through travel—planes, trains, and automobiles! Oh yeah and elevators!

When Ego, Pride & Greed Collab

Unfortunately for the United States, this is an election year, and some folks desperately want to hold on to their positions another four years. And they’re too self-absorbed and ignorant to realize that the best way to win re-election is to get ahead of the problem and show the public that you’re doing everything to protect them.

But, that’s too much like right.

Naw, we’re into finger-pointing and late night blame game tweets. We’re more focused on press conferences than cleaning up the cesspool we helped to create. That’s modern-day business and politics.

If it took this long for China to finally taken ownership for their lab-created virus of war (possibly the second of many), and admit to delaying efforts of containment, you can guarantee that the US will ignorantly follow suit—all while pointing fingers the entire time at China.

I mean, why would we ever think that the CoronaVirus would make its way to the US? Yes, I’m being snarky and sarcastic.

The virus was created and released in a country with more humans per square foot than anywhere else on the planet.

But heck, we didn’t plan and prepare for the ultimate arrival of our unwanted guest…

Coron A. Virus, Ph.D., ABC, andZ.

Yes, I just made light of it. I had to find some humor in this tragedy.

People created a virus to kill people, and now they’re saying “oops…we released this version too soon. We were supposed to release version 2.0 in a specific area some time around September but we had an oopsy daisy in our lab so the plan has been fast tracked a tad bit!” 🤷🏽‍♀️ This isn’t an app, it’s truly a weapon of mass destruction. And nobody has an off switch or another weapon to take it out.

This is like the very first next-level fight, when one man decides to weaponize the fallen tree branch, or a huge rock.

Imagine the look on the face of the other dude who came to rumble with balled fists, and that’s all he has to fight with. How do you course correct?

Ego, pride, and greed are deadly sins with massive collateral damage.

What Leaders Should Do

What’s sad is that we would respect leaders more if they stepped up and did the right thing, the first time, not out of force or guilt.

Let’s be honest with ourselves—our federal government throwing $2 Billion at this problem is like spitting a mouthful of water at a forest fire. You clearly just want to say you did something.

If you owe $1800 on your past due bill, sending $2 isn’t going to stop the collection efforts.

Governments have a responsibility not only to the citizens and residents of their nation, but to the entire world. What affects one country affects all. We have a global economy that is fast tracked by nonstop flights, next day and two-day shipping, etc. We are always vulnerable to exposure, so we should respect that reality by doing our part to protect human life, not just some people’s lives.

Right now, our government is just crossing its fingers that a vaccine will be developed before they have to hit the airways with the TRUTH.

What You Should Do

I suggest that rather than operate out of fear, and become reactionary, finding yourself caught up in the panic and mass hysteria— just begin to gradually stock up on nonperishable items every week. Don’t go crazy and turn your home into an episode of the show “Extreme Couponing”.

But be realistic. You already know how people clear out stores when we get hit by bad weather or news of one of Nostradamus’s predictions on the horizon.

Then you’re left upset and irritated. It’s better to be prepared than be left feeling victimized. Then you will just join everyone else in the blame game.

There Are Lessons To Be Learned

Sadly, the world has to learn the hard lesson of why we shouldn’t play God. The CoronaVirus along with every other man-made virus/disease is what happens when people have a God complex and decide they want to control life and death. The masses have to suffer for the ego, pride, and greed of the few.

You and your families are all in my prayers and I hope that you have some loving prayers or thoughts for me and my family too!

God bless us all!

~Natasha

Copyright 2020.

If you didn’t watch the Superbowl game yesterday between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, then you missed an intense and well fought game.

Neither team playing was one of my teams, but I was crossing my fingers for the Chiefs. Yeah, my love for the Cowboys and Raiders just won’t let me cheer for the 49ers! 🤣 So yesterday was a great day in football.

Having Strong Vision

What I found amazing, now serves as one of the overarching lessons from the game, is that some people—including some of the commentators, were beginning to say in the third quarter, that the 49ers basically had this game in the bag—that somehow the Chiefs couldn’t recover from the point deficit. Which is odd, because we’ve witnessed in multiple games that the Chiefs have the grit to not only turnaround the odds, but do so in their favor. While the commentators and fans saw lack, the Chiefs saw opportunity. The Chiefs knew that the game wasn’t over until the clock read 0:00 in the fourth quarter.

While the commentators were saying that Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback for the Chiefs, somehow lost his zest, grit, mojo, magic sauce—Mahomes was focused on inspiring his team and looking for opportunities to leverage, and capitalize on. He tuned out those voices and tuned in to his inner power.

Mahomes didn’t lose anything. He was challenged to try something differently. He was tapping into his other skills. I’m surprised that the retired NFL players commenting on the game forgot what that felt like, the processes they went through to dig deep and rethink strategy. We watched them pull their teams out of the trenches, yet in their vision of Mahomes they didn’t see their past selves.

Until It’s Over, It Ain’t

There’s the lessons: you don’t give up until the game, project, activity, race, or relationship is over. And you don’t let naysayers get in your head and convince you that you don’t have what it takes to win. Even if those naysayers succeeded or failed at the same thing you’re attempting. Get them out of your head. You need to dig through your toolbox of skills and keep working until you get it right, or fail trying.

Passion, Creativity & Innovation

Both teams were highly creative and innovative, but Kansas City simply out-hustled and outmaneuvered San Francisco. Passion wanes because you stop engaging and reinvesting in it.

How many married couples later admit that the passion died when they stopped sharing, dating and learning from each other? They stopped looking for creative and innovative ways to connect.

How many businesses go belly up because they stopped reinvesting in their overall experience for both the worker and the customer. The passion for the mission dwindles because you stop pursuing new and creative ways, and revisiting old ways differently. They stop reinventing and reimagining themselves.

For some people, the mind dies before the body does.

Grit & Tenacity

Through your grit and tenacity, you can knock down barriers, and cause your opponents to make mistakes and decisions that concede to your victory. Or you at least give them a hard-won fight to the end. But you don’t just give up at the first signs of adversity. Neither the 49ers or the Chiefs caved when the scoreboard wasn’t in their favor. They simply pushed harder or with greater finesse.

When the pressure mounts, get excited, because that means you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. You just need to find the right opening to get to the next level. If it’s super easy, then you’re in the wrong arena, the wrong stadium. You’re not playing in the Superbowl, you’re playing in a Pop Warner game.

Now, let’s look at more lessons from yesterday’s game….

Be Present

There were some key plays in the game where the Chiefs did the unexpected, and it worked in their favor. They didn’t belabor in the missteps, they quickly recovered, with a focus on doing better the next time. They lovingly pushed each other to get and keep their heads and hearts in the game. Being present with the current down, not obsessed over the previous ones. You can’t fix the past, only learn from it. Don’t repeat the past mistake. Don’t be sloppy and leave yourself open to future ones.

Your Focus Isn’t Everyone Else’s

After the game ended, Mahomes was interviewed and asked what happened, and why he hadn’t repeatedly thrown the long and powerful passes we saw weeks and months earlier. People wanted to be wowed and drunkardly entertained by mesmerizing antics. His team won the game but not the way people envisioned.

His response was exactly what I expected. He gave an answer that most weren’t expecting, because they were operating from a place of lack. Patrick Mahomes said, in a nutshell, that the 49ers have an amazing defensive team that made it difficult to throw long passes, and risking those opportunities would have meant that the 49ers would’ve won that game. He wasn’t there to entertain, he was there to win.

They are two of the best teams in the NFL, both there because of their amazing skills, and that meant it wouldn’t be a blow-out win for either team. They were gonna have to bust their butts and work smart and hard for that win.

Mahomes gave San Francisco credit for being a phenomenal opponent. He had to find a different way to take them down. He had to look for other opportunities, and not-so-obvious opportunities. He had to trust his coaches and team mates, and they had to trust him. His team members who play on offense had to present scoring opportunities while reducing the risk of turnovers. His defensive team had to find ways to keep the 49ers from turning every attempt into scored points, while also looking for opportunities to force turnovers in favor of the Chiefs.

That’s why we saw footage of Patrick rallying both the offensive and defensive players on the team, it required both to be in the collective mindset that they each have a role to play, tasks to execute, and responsibilities to self and team—and no matter what the score looked like, the words being screamed by fans and haters, or the commentary on television—do your job and don’t give up!

The quarterback is not just the leader of the offensive team, Mahomes is the leader of the entire team. Heck, he’s even an inspiration to the support staff and the water and towel crew who run around making sure players are hydrated and cared for.

What are You and Your Team Made Of?

There has to be harmony even during chaos.

Everyone’s head has to be in the game, and properly aligned. If not, it begins to impact other players. Energy is contagious. Watch quickly how it spreads, for or against a team. Watch it’s heightened state when victory feels imminent, and watch how it dwindles and drains when failure is perceived to be close in hand.

Yes, the Chiefs played and beat the 49ers, but their biggest opponent was their own team, their individual and collective mind. If they allowed their fears, mistakes, and setbacks to gain a footing in their mind, the roots would have grown and latched on, and they would’ve caved to the pressure.

They rechanneled the fear, frustration, disappointment, and anger. They recalibrated. They studied their opponent during the game. They studied themselves and each other. They communicated more and kept every person that was standing and seated on that sideline focused on the mission and vision.

That is why it’s more important to seek out team members with desirable character traits that align with your values, than just seek highly skilled workers. If someone’s heart isn’t in it then it will display in their work. If they aren’t invested in the same things you are, it will show. The Chiefs came together as one unit, one body, one mind.

The more that Kansas City realigned themselves, the more San Francisco would be thrown off by the realignment. Not by a great margin, but enough for the Chiefs to leverage it in their favor. That turned into a win that the team hasn’t experienced in 50 years. Kansas City has been trying 50 years to get a Superbowl win. Their head coach, Andy Reid, has been trying to win a Superbowl as head coach of a team, since he first became the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999. He had no Superbowl wins there during his 13 years with that team, and until yesterday, he had 6 years of unsuccessful attempts with the Chiefs. That’s 19 years of trying but never giving up. Year 20 he succeeded. This is his second Superbowl win in his NFL career. Talk about grit!

Learn and Apply The Lessons

Learn from yesterday’s game. Apply those lessons to your personal, professional, and academic lives. That’s what I love about sports, you can see the mirroring of other aspects of your life. The principles are the same, they’re just set in different arenas.

Is what lies before you a failure or an opportunity? Are you going to give up and walk away, or look for a different way? If you fall will you get back up or will you just lie there like a rug, letting life pass over you?

No, you won’t win every game. No, your efforts may not lead to a Superbowl victory (or something comparable in your life). No, your relationship may not last. But what effort are you investing in the success or failure? What lessons are you learning in real-time to pivot and adjust? How are you getting wiser, stronger, and better?

Life unfolds based on your perceptions. Failing doesn’t make you a failure and winning is not a guaranteed repeated outcome, even for the winner. How many of you initially thought the New England Patriots were clinching the Superbowl title again this year, just because they did it last year? Welp, they were eliminated. But I can guarantee that they are strategizing how to reclaim their spot for next year. Just as the 49ers are. Every team in the NFL is focused on winning the top prize. Even in the high of yesterday’s win, the Chiefs want to win again next year. You’re a fool to think that they are satisfied with just one. It’s a laser focus.

What are you laser-focused on achieving this year? What positive moves will you make to achieve it? What junk and noise will you blot out? What naysayers will you ignore? Who will you embrace that is trying to help you succeed? Who will you inspire to help make the vision a reality?

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman.

As I sit here, some things come to mind…

Many of us live through other people’s experiences. We dislike and fear what someone else dislikes and fears. We ourselves haven’t experienced what they did, yet we embrace the feelings and beliefs as though they are our own. Someone else was harmed by another person, so now we dislike that person for the harm they caused.

Someone didn’t like the food at a restaurant, so we never go and try it for ourselves. A person had a bad experience on their vacation, so we swear we will never visit that place.

That’s why so many people never travel beyond their town, city, county, state, region, or country.

That’s why some people never get on planes, trains, boats, and ships.

We never try new foods. We never read a different genre of books or listen to a different style of music.

That’s why some people don’t pursue educational dreams and career goals.

That’s why thousands of people can’t figure out how to fix their raggedy love life.

That’s why so many of us suffer.

We let other voices dictate to us.

We don’t know the truth but we accept someone’s words as truth.

We don’t think.

We don’t question.

We don’t seek answers.

We choose to exist rather than live. We confuse living with thriving.

When we’re thriving, fear has no stronghold, it has no footing.

When we’re thriving, our experiences are uniquely our own. No one else will have that exact same experience.

We know this.

That’s why two people can sit side-by-side on an amusement park ride and walk away with different experiences. Two people eat the same food at the same time but share different things about the food. One person tastes spices the other one didn’t notice or didn’t know what they were to define them. Two people arguing aren’t having the same experience, they are merely sharing the same space in time.

You have never eaten artichoke but you declare you don’t like it. Never tasted rhubarb but you swear it’s gross. Most likely, because you heard of someone else’s experience, or worse, their uninformed opinions from lack of experience.

How many of you have resolved to settle for a life of seeing the world through the pictures and experiences of other people?

You have to go to know.

People have opinions about cities, states, and countries that they have never visited. It’s hilarious and sad at the same time.

I smirk when I hear people make generalizations about a nationality, race, religion, or gender of people. Do you know every person of that nation, race, religion, or gender? Then how can you say, “all_____people…” or “____people do/say___”? But you don’t know all of them. So how do you know what they all say or do? You most definitely can’t say what one person thinks about all things, so how can you speak about an entire group of people?

I’m guilty of these ignorant statements. I try to catch myself after saying them.

I laugh when I hear or read people make statements about a group of people, yet they don’t know anyone from that group. They don’t know any Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, or Satanists. But they speak as though they do. They don’t personally know any people of African, European, Latin, Hispanic, or Asian descent—but from listening to them, you would swear that they know plenty.

Are all law enforcement officers corrupt, racists, bigots, sexist, and egomaniacs? No. Yet, there are people who see one officer and in that one, they see all. The broad generalization forms and becomes your personal belief system, creed, law.

And your one or few experiences doesn’t mean the totality for all humankind. Remember, those are your experiences, not mine, not your neighbors, and not your child’s.

We speak and act from ignorance. Since we choose not to educate ourselves through asking questions, researching, and stepping beyond our comfort zone, we say and do the stupidest of things.

You become more of what you are against than what you’re for. You are operating from a state of lack. That is a danger zone.

We regurgitate words from religious texts and ceremonies, without knowing their true and full meaning and application. We cling to historical figures and celebrities without knowing the person. Our idolization restricts us from being our authentic self. Our insecurities force us to manufacture false narratives to boost our desired perception. We follow man rather than lead ourselves. Because it’s an easier path and then you have someone to blame other than self.

There’s a reason for these words of declaration:

self-esteem, self-worth, self-enlightenment, self-empowerment, self-acceptance, self-actualization, self-awareness, self-control, self-expression, self-healing, self-help, etcetera.

It starts and ends with self.

We keep expecting others to do it for us. Be the positive change you want to see, stop waiting for it to happen. Take responsibility.

You must lead yourself or you will most definitely be led. And since you don’t know yourself, you will allow someone else to dictate and create your story for you. They will define you. You will allow someone else to determine your worth and value.

Your ignorance comes with a harsh penalty.

We spread our ignorance. We deposit it into our families, our children, our houses of worship, our workplaces, and our communities. We manifest the lack we obsess over.

The uninformed are the easiest to recruit, brainwash, and mold.

What you don’t know that you don’t know, can literally destroy you. Those who feel lost, neglected, powerless, voiceless, and forgotten are prey. That is why drugs, gangs (defined by many names), prostitution, and the sort have great prevalence in society.

People are being preyed upon and they don’t even know it. They have no clue that the biggest predators are the ones standing next to them, hugging them, and cheering them on.

You can blame whomever or whatever you like for the person that you are today. Or you can make the decision to intentionally live with a clean slate. You have the choice to write or re-write your story however you please, with your unique experiences. Your learning only stops when you choose to close yourself off from life. You may not be able to choose where to live your life, but you can choose how to live where you are.

You can live in the world and not be of it. You can be like the fish in the ocean, surrounded by salt, but not consumed by their environment.

Think about it.

Last week, I heard a message from Darren Hardy that spoke of this amazing truth. That fish of the sea live in salt water, they breathe and take in salt water. They eat things that are also in the water. Yet they don’t taste like tons of salt. All they do is swim around all day and night in salt water. But we barely taste the salt in them. That is how we should live our lives.

We can live in it but not be of it.

You aren’t your environment, circumstances, or your past. You aren’t the family you were born into or raised by, or the people you associate with.

Unless you choose to be.

You choose to associate with toxic people and behave like them. You choose to live in fear and ignorance. If you live in a “free” and “developed” nation, you choose to not journey beyond your town, city, county, state, or country. You choose to believe what you think, and to entertain the thoughts that surface. How life unfolds is based on the choices that we make.

How will you choose to live your life, experience the world, and see the people in it?

What will you choose to do without thought of your age, gender, or where you’re from?

What healthy choices will you make starting today?

This very moment.

Then do it!

I love you all,

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Four years ago I participated in an amazing #SisterCircle at Georgia Tech, with the Atlanta-based nonprofit, Sisters of Today and Tomorrow (SOT)—who hosted the event. Here are some pics:

Well, their founder, Carla Morrison, invited me to return this year. Carla knows that I love and live to serve, and if I can make the time, I will never say no. So, I immediately checked my calendar and replied “sign me up!”

So tonight, I will join a jam-packed room of queens and princesses, as we kickoff the Sisters of Today National Leadership Conference.

Tonight’s event, the #LevelUp Fundraiser/Reception is going to be fun. I highlighted the event and my confirmed attendance on my social media…

Then tomorrow, July 19th, I will be facilitating the #SisterCircle with an SOT alum, Idalis. I know it will be fun, deep, engaging, emotional, constructive, and impactful— because I’m still reflecting on the one that I co-facilitated four years ago, so as SOT said on their social media feeds the other day…

I think our circle tomorrow will most definitely be 🔥🔥🔥

To learn more about SOT, to support them through donations or volunteering, or to involve your daughter (age 11-18), please visit

SOT2Girls.org and tell them that I sent you!

Warmest wishes and love,

Natasha

I’m going to focus on today, today. What can I do, see, and be today? That is my focus.

If I have one foot in the past and one in the future, that means I’m straddling the present. If I’m straddling the present then all I can possibly do is take a dump on today or choose to move both of my feet into today’s space. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of dumping on my present. I want to thrive each day. I want to wake excited about what the day will bring, and I want to fall asleep at night pleased with all that I experienced, learned, and shared that day.

I want my life to be about healing reflection not regret. I want to make the most out of my days so that I’m excitedly sharing the greatness of now, and not dwelling on my hay day of the past successes. I want my setback to be a learning setup for bigger and better success, not a cesspool blame game of what-went-wrong.

Yesterday is behind us. Last year is behind us. So are all of the years past that you can’t return to and fix. What happened has happened. You don’t have a time machine to change things; and if you did, would you truly change every thing that happened in your past? Because you would have to in order to get your desired outcome, which means there’s a lot of great people and experiences you would miss out on all because you wanted to change one or more series in your life’s story.

Think of how much precious time you would then lose in the present and how that would then affect your future. There’s a better way to deal with our past….Learn from it and move forward. Stop dumping on your present, or that gift will no longer be your reality.

This isn’t a new year’s resolution, this is my daily affirmation. Focus on being, doing, and seeing all that God has called on me to be, do, and see today.

My self-talk for today….

Maybe it will help someone else who needs a loving push.

~Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

I’m late posting this. I should’ve posted this moons ago, but I didn’t, so here we are today, 14 days later. Let’s just smile and accept it, and understand that this post is about to be long.

It was an honor and privilege to speak at Morehouse College on July 13, 2018 during the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) regional leadership retreat that was hosted by the Morehouse chapter.

As a volunteer advisory council member for the Morehouse NSLS chapter, I was asked about my interest and availability to allow the 100+ student leaders from various schools from around the country a moment to hear my thoughts and opinions about topics surrounding and embedded in leadership.

Wow, they want to actually peer inside of my brain? Are they sure about that? For an entire hour they want to let me loose upon a group of young and seasoned adults who don’t know a thing about me? Are they sure?

Yep, they were sure.

They also wanted to know if I would be interested in being a member of a panel discussion that delved into the topic and process of community engagement and the responsibilities and issues that leaders face when attempting to do good works.

The answer came easily for the panel discussion, “sure”, it’s a 30-minute panel, how much harm could I do? *Smile*

I had to think about the hour-long session. What would my topic be? What would I say? The NSLS hosting committee told me that the skies the limit, and when it comes to the broad conversation on leadership, the sky may not even be the limit—you may extend out toward the galaxy, with the mountain of content you can cover.

So I pondered.

What could I share from my head and my heart with the students that would also allow me to learn from them, at the same time learn more about myself?

That’s how I teach by the way.

As a college professor, my goal isn’t just to share my knowledge and wisdom; I’m thirsty for knowledge and some of the best sources are your students. Where else can you get a room full of people who are assembled for numerous reasons, not tied to an organizational or group goal, and get them to open up and share their thoughts and beliefs in a safe environment?

The classroom is a unique place to share and exchange ideas, experiences, solutions to problems, and more. While my students learn from me, I learn from them.

Each student has their own dynamic story, background, and experiences with success and failure. It’s impossible for educators, researchers and “experts” to know it all—only through hearing, seeing, and recording other people’s experiences can you gather data to begin ‘connecting the dots’.

So as I pondered for awhile about my Morehouse leadership session I considered: what do today’s leaders need to know that was most likely not taught to them throughout their childhood and even as adults?

I emailed the NSLS hosting committee three session topics that I was interested in expanding into full-blown discussions:

  • Fear and failure
  • Responsibility as ethical leaders
  • Your vision, values and how they impact your roles in life

I thought that they would simply choose one topic and then I could run with it. Not! No other speaker was speaking directly about any of these topics, so I could run with any of them. Ah man! Now I had to toss around which topic I was most passionate about.

I chose to blend all three topics into one discussion that I gave the title: “Do NOW What Will Define You Tomorrow“.

I had a super awesome time speaking with the group of men and women that assembled in the classroom that they assigned us to in the Massey Leadership building. I was shocked to see that we ran out of seats and some students chose to remain and stand along the wall to take part in this discussion.

They weren’t ready for me but wow, they were truly receptive to the experience. I’m already an animated speaker, add in a topic that I’m passionate about, and you better hold on tight because it’s going to be a ride that you may never forget. There’s no sleeping when I’m in the room. *Smile*

I try to be as transparent as possible when I speak to people about matters of the heart, and July 13th was no different. I gave them me and in return many of them shared some close, personal stories about themselves.

We discussed our hurts, angers, failures, fears, struggles, beliefs, views, and values. We even discussed the demons within that terrorize us and cause us to be agents of terror within our households, workplaces, schools, and communities.

The morning of the retreat I prepared notes to help guide me and keep me on track. I rarely do this when I speak publicly. I try to just speak from my gut and my heart. I drafted about 6 handwritten pages of notes (written large enough so I could see from a distance). Funny thing, I didn’t even use my notes during my session at Morehouse. But they were always there if I needed backup. I guess I can frame up my notes for a chapter in a future book [*mental note*].

Within one-hour our group went deep, fast, but never drowned in the details and peripheral nonsense that oftentimes blinds us and prevents genuine learning. There was no time for ‘fluff’. We had an hour so we had to jump right in. An hour is nothing when you’re passionately engaged, and before we knew it our time came to a close.

Several students remained after to speak with me. Two remained even longer and walked with me to the Bank of the America auditorium where I would join the panel of esteemed public and private sector leaders.

The panel discussion was awesome. Yep, that’s the word I choose to use to describe the energy, synergy, depth, breadth, and essence of the panelists and the candid conversation that we shared. I know that ‘awesome’ is one of my favorite words, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that the panel was simply that—awesome!

I joined on stage my friends Jerica Richardson [co-founder of HackOut.Ninja] and Cassius Butts [Founder & Chairman of Capital Fortitude Business Advisors; former Regional Administrator for US Small Business Administration (SBA)] along with three of our fellow NSLS Advisory Council members: Oneka Jefferson-Cornelius [Independent Organizational Change and Development Consultant], Robert J. Yancy, PhD [Professor Emeritus, Kennesaw State University], and last but definitely not least, the man “who feeds fish for a living”—Joseph J. Handy, the President and COO of Georgia Aquarium Inc.

During our discussion we shared our failures, mistakes, past experiences, glimpses into our upbringing, and raw truths that we knew weren’t shared with us during our collegiate years in undergrad. Once again, with limited time against us, we chose not to sugar coat the 30 minutes that we had. We poured ourselves out into the auditorium and crossed our fingers that the students would be receptive.

With this powerhouse lineup, we definitely needed more than 30 minutes to truly engage on a level that the students wanted and needed. This was obvious, based on the fact that students swarmed around us as soon as the discussion ended.

From L to R: Charles Knippen; Natasha L. Foreman; Cassius Butts; Lavonya Jones; Dr. Robert Yancy; Oneka Jefferson-Cornelius; Joseph Handy; Jerica Richardson

We stepped out of the auditorium briefly to take the picture that you see above. Let me put names to faces and faces to names to help those of you who maybe only recognize my face in the picture (well, hopefully you can pick me out of the group *Smile*).

Pictured from Left to Right: Charles Knippen, President of NSLS; Natasha L. Foreman (that’s me); Cassius Butts; Lavonya Jones [Morehouse College NSLS chapter advisor (and the reason that Morehouse has an NSLS chapter) and Program Manager for Student Development in the Business Development Department at Morehouse]; Dr. Robert Yancy; Oneka Jefferson-Cornelius; Joseph Handy; and Jerica Richardson.

After we cheesed for this photo we returned to the auditorium to be greeted by the smiling faces of students who were patiently waiting to speak with us. Thankfully, there was a reception afterwards and that allowed us the time and space to connect with the students individually and in clusters, as they asked and answered questions, and shared how this retreat has benefitted them so far.

Some of the students in my session remembered advice given to me by my doctor, to capture life’s moments through photos so that you can reflect on the past later in the future—so the students asked to take pictures with me. A student by the name of Alexandra (who just secured a job doing research on degenerative diseases so she can one day find the cure to Alzheimer’s-Dementia; a passion we share as both of our grandmothers passed away last December after long battles) asked to take a picture with me and you can check us out below:

July 13th was an empowering day. I thought I would be driving away from the campus at 8pm, at the latest, but I was still speaking to students until 9pm, and then chatting it up until 9:45pm with my friend and colleague, Jerica Richardson (also a member of the NSLS Advisory Council for Morehouse, and a speaker at the retreat).

After 6 hours of talking and standing in those high strappy heels, you would’ve thought I would be completely drained, but I wasn’t. I was pumped, excited and hopeful. The students had a day filled with empowering and inspiring words and messages from sessions on:

  • Building Communities
  • Levels of Engagement
  • Event Management
  • Stress Management
  • Getting the Most Out of College
  • Leadership, A Key Component of Entrepreneurship
  • Do NOW What Will Define You Tomorrow

My gut says that between Friday’s sessions and the following day’s sessions on: Public Speaking; Budgeting; Conflict Management; Team Management; Understanding Bias—along with their participation in community service projects at one of three different nearby sites (two urban farms or the on-campus food donation preparation site), the NSLS student leaders have definitely been equipped with additional tools and resources to be better leaders “who make a better world” as the NSLS motto states.

Hopefully I will be called on again in a similar capacity to exchange information, ideas, stories and experiences with NSLS student leaders. I enjoyed every second!

I would like to thank Lavonya Jones, Morehouse College, and NSLS for a great experience and for having the vision and courage to make this retreat and the college chapter possible.

Thanks to Fred Jones for your constant and unwavering support of your wife Lavonya, and for taking pictures and capturing video footage of the sessions (along with a long list of other tasks that you willingly handled before, during, and after the retreat).

A special thank you to the NSLS students who have contacted me via email and connected with me via social media and my blog. I look forward to tracking with you along these winding paths that await you!

Let’s sky dive!!!!

~Natasha

Audio Message

What I’ve shared below can also be heard through this audio message. Click play and enjoy.

I’m sitting here at my desk reflecting.

My reflection is focused upon my life, specifically my love life.

I’m a romantic. I’ve always been. I don’t need the big and grandiose. I love the simple things in life and love. Oftentimes it’s the smallest of gestures that have the biggest impacts, the smallest packages can contain the best of gifts—and that, for me, brings me the greatest joy. A handbag has a price tag and can be damaged, lost, stolen, sold, or given away; sitting by my bedside holding my hand, rubbing my head, kissing me and telling me that all will be well, while I’m in the hospital fighting fear and whatever else—that’s priceless and can never be damaged, lost, stolen, sold, or given away. That time, attention and affection is for me and only me. That is precious and everlasting in my heart and mind.

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