I make a point in the book to stress that “all policemen are not bad”, and we should “pray for those in blue”.My past experience working with kids taught me that when you add music or song and dance to a lesson, young people are more likely to engage, and more importantly, they are more likely to remember. Each letter corresponds with a reminder. For example, “V” is for VISIBLE hands always! The book encourages readers to “Memorize the 5”. I know this book will not guarantee the end of unarmed black male fatalities. Our community will continue working to educate our kids on "The Talk", but we need law enforcement to continue working to educate and train officers too. I make a point in the book to stress that “all policemen are not bad”, and we should “pray for those in blue”. However, as long as unarmed black men are disproportionately killed by the police, my debut self-published book will be one of the ways that we can give our boys a positive vision for their futures to do what we can to make sure they come home alive. It can be purchased now on Amazon. Click here to listen to my interview on Vivid Talk™ Radio.
It’s funny how when you’re younger, you take risks so easily. Think about a baby. When the dad is playing and throws the baby in the air, the baby is usually having the time of his life. The baby laughs hysterically, probably while the mom is having a nervous breakdown. And of course the dad does it again and again, just to hear the baby laugh and giggle. The baby doesn’t know to fear. The baby never thinks the dad will drop him or her. The baby just has faith that the dad is going to catch him. The mom fears the baby will get hurt, but the baby is having a wonderful time.
I seemed to always have faith as a child. As a young person, I would speak something and it would happen. I would desire something, and it came to pass. I never really thought about it not happening. Just child like faith, I guess. As an adult, I knew I wanted to be a scriptwriter. I studied screenwriting in college and just believed it would eventually come to pass. I was asked to write a stage play that would give hope to a hurting people. I did so, and with the Fishers of Men ministry, we produced the first show in December 2000.
I went on to produce the show several times after that first one. Some did well, some did not. Over the years, I started looking for an Executive Producer, someone to invest in the show in order for us to take it on tour. At one point, I spoke to a producer, and he told me he did not want to review the show on DVD. He wanted me to stage a live production. I did so, at my expense of course, but he didn’t show up. Another time a pastor wanted to support the show, so he said. I sent him my only copy of a show we did in Alabama. I told him that it was my only copy and that I needed them to review it and get it back to me. He never got it back to me, and he never helped produce the show. Another time we did the show, it was by invitation only. We invited producers, investors, businessmen, etc. It was very classy, and we laid out the red carpet for them. We got a lot of interest and people that just wanted to see the show for free. Each show we thought, "This is our moment. This is the time. This one is going to be our big break."
The show had an excellent storyline, great music and the best actors and acting this side of heaven. I say that because I couldn’t understand why it didn’t take off. Why wasn’t the effort and work we all put into it getting the rewards it deserved? Not Tony’s or Emmy’s, I’m talking about the big-break-type rewards. Each time we did a show, no matter how it did, I always went home and started planning the next one. I would dust myself off and start again. I had such an awesome cast, and we were in this together. We vowed never to give up, and at some point somebody would pick up the show. We had faith to believe it would happen. Each show, after the very first one, I funded myself. One other person that truly believed in me and absolutely loved the show, invested in the show as well. He believed the show would be a hit and that eventually we would get the investors needed to take it national.
Well, we did the show some years back and had an excellent turnout. I went forth believing this is the one that will take us over the top. The box office didn’t do well. I couldn’t pay my actors. Again. This time I went home and felt defeated. I didn’t have the zeal to get up and try again. I realized I was actually angry at God. I was embarrassed. I was exhausted and just could not understand why. I knew God gave me the script. I knew He anointed the unbelievably talented actors, and I knew He gave me the message. So, why God?
Even when the show wasn’t as successful as I would have liked, I still tried again and again. Years went by, and I was still kind of down. I had so many projects come to mind, and I would get excited about them, and then stop. I would be so excited about a creative endeavor, start doing the research, and stop. I did this several times. I would start a book and wouldn’t finish it. I would start a stage play, screenplay and project and just stop writing. I was depressed. I was frustrated, and some days I didn’t want to get up in the morning. One thing I know about myself, if I’m not creating, I’m not living.
I didn’t understand what was happening to my faith. I didn’t understand what was happening to my zeal. I went to God and admitted I was angry with Him. I believed what I was doing was what He told me to do, so why wasn’t it successful? Of course, He’s God, and He knew I was angry with Him. He knew I was hurt. Failure is a part of success. Was I doing the shows for fame and glory? Or was I doing the show to truly minister to the lives of hurting people? That’s where my true frustration came from.
When I repented and humbled myself before God and admitted I was angry at Him, He showed me. He showed me some things in me that He was pruning and purging in order for me to go to the next level. He showed me that where He was taking me, my character needed to be able to sustain me there. It was at this time that I finally realized why I would start things and wouldn’t finish or wouldn’t have the excitement I used to have when I started a new project. It was because, I was afraid to believe again. I was afraid to get my hopes up again. I was really afraid to let myself get lost in something and see it die with me. I didn’t have the energy or the faith that I once had when God would give me an idea. I had lost hope. I knew what I went through was still to grow my faith. God had to get me to a place like Abraham. The Word says that Abraham believed beyond belief–when there was no evidence and no reason to believe. Abraham believed beyond hope. So, I brushed myself off and began again with my new swimsuit line that I mentioned during my guest appearance on Vivid Talk™ Radio, knowing that everything is working for my good–knowing I will trust and believe God–even when I can’t see any reason to keep believing.
Q: You describe yourself as an ordinary guy with an unordinary vision. Tell me about that.Gwen, I mean...I'm just your average Joe, a kid that lives in New Jersey. The vision and the dreams that I have are only things that I know that God can do through me. I know I wouldn't be able to accomplish any of those things that are in my mind and that I really feel in my heart without His power and control. What I mean by "ordinary"–it's because of the fact that I know they're so big, I can't do them alone. That's exactly what I feel and what I see in why I believe I'm sent here on this earth.
Q: So, tell me about A Gentleman's Journi.A Gentleman's Journi is a personal consulting/styling services company. What we do is we save people time so they can spend time doing the things that they really love to do–like spending time with their family and their friends. And then, we save people money. Of course, that's another big thing so they can put it towards things that actually mean something in life at the end of the day for the future. And to have people looking and operating at their best. When it comes to blue collar, white collar, creative projects, music videos, photo shoots, even movies–we facilitate those services to cater toward whatever category or lifestyle that person or company needs.
Q: Have you always known that you're a visionary?Yeah. I've known that since I was a kid. Even in preschool, I would always daydream a lot. On my progress reports, my teachers would say, "Keith. He's in the room, but he's not in the room. He's always looking up into the sky and daydreaming." Even when it comes to what my dad has been doing for 35 years. Seeing him do and travel across the world, I'm thinking in my mind, "I want to do that, but I want to do it like this and like that." I was always dreaming with the end goal in mind.
Q: So, tell me some more about the vision. What's the big picture?The big picture, Gwen...The way that I see the company that my brother and I have been blessed with is that this isn't just a company about fashion. This company is made and designed to pour into people's lives on an internal level. In the industry, some people use fashion and clothes to cover up. It is our job, and one of our passions, to make them express through clothing who they really are. And that's not hiding anything. When it comes to digging deeper and developing that character and making sure that the inside matches the outside. That is the overall picture. When it comes to the influence that we're going to have, we are going to be all over the globe, not just via fashion, but when it comes to mentoring kids, when it comes to having different programs across the globe when we're giving clothes and giving resources to people that don't necessarily have the means to have them. We are going to be developing different relationships that puts us on different platforms that allows our light to shine on these platforms where darkness is. Being recognized as one of the most influential fashion consulting brands in the world, if not the one. It's going to be something epic that only God is going to be able to do. In a nutshell, that's it.
Q: How does attention to detail in styling parallel attention to detail in life?It's the little things that really count and really go the long way. I'm a big, big advocate of being my best self in private so that I may be able to be the best person that I can be in public. And just the little things when it comes to doing what you're doing in private–when you wake up in the morning, what is your routine? What are the little small things that people don't necessarily notice if they don't have that eye, but they have a big impact on your life later on? When it comes to what I do when I wake up in the morning, when it comes to how often I am praying and meditating, and when it comes to being an advocate for things that I really, really am passionate about, in private–not so much on a major stage. When I translate these different things into fashion, it's the little small things like the handkerchief in your pocket, or the pin on your lapel, or the cuff on your shirt–even the cuff in your pant or the small little color in your shoe that goes with the collar of your shirt, that brings the outfit to life. Little things like that really go the long way, and they make the difference.
Q: Tell me more about the "journi". What's this visionary lifestyle like for you?Well, it's tough! It's not easy. There are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes, especially when you're alone. You start to feel insecure about different things. You sometimes get distracted by other people and what they're doing and how much success they're having. Those things play a part in making you question, "Maybe I should do it this way?" That in itself, that is a job. That's an 8-hour situation all by itself. But when it comes to really locking in to–number one–who you are as a person and what you know God has put inside you, submitting to what He has for your life, and allowing Him to lead it. That definitely brings a different perspective of peace and relieves the anxiety from your shoulders at times, if not all the times. Those little small things, Gwen, they can really have a massive impact on somebody's life–or on your life, or my life as an individual, if I'm not conscious in identifying, "Why am I feeling this way?" At the end of the day, if we don't identify why we feel the way we feel, it's going to end up hurting us in the future. It may even hold us back from what we're supposed to be doing.
These questions cover only the first 12 minutes of "Visionary Profile: Keith 'SirKeithington' Reed, Jr." Click here to listen to the full interview.
As soon as I stepped in, I blacked out, but I remember saying, "I do not want to die here. Felicia, get up."I was a speaker at a weekend conference. I showed up. Popped a few pills. And hit the stage. I had started, what I thought was my cycle. However, I was actually hemorrhaging, but thinking, "I'll go to the doctor on Monday." When Monday came around, I had gone through 45 overnight pads. I stepped out of bed, took two steps, and everything inside of me fell on the floor. I panicked, but my assumption is my adrenaline was flowing. I heard my heart beating in my head. Later I learned that my heart wasn't getting the blood that it needed, so I was headed for a cardiac episode.I had gone through 45 overnight pads over the weekend. My body was responding to a case of severe anemia. My son was at home, and I didn't want him to see the scene, so I managed to clean it up and get in the shower. As soon as I stepped in, I blacked out, but I remember saying, "I do not want to die here. Felicia, get up." Somehow, I kicked the shower door open, crawled out, and called out to my son. He found me, got me together, and rushed me to the hospital. Miraculously, I walked into the emergency room under my own power. My palms and the insides of my eyes were snow white. Turns out my hemoglobin was at 3 (12-15 is normal). My platelets were 8 (of 145-450). The doctor informed me that an emergency blood transfusion and an emergency platelet transfusion were required to literally save my life. She could not understand how I was conscious or even talking.
If you're reading this, and you've been self-diagnosing, I want you to make an appointment because this is not a game. There are too many of us dying still young.I spent a week in the Intensive Care Unit. If I never heard the Holy Spirit, if I never knew what God has for me, he set me right on top of my purpose. He made me sit there and think about it. He said, "I'm entrusting you with a vision. But I can't even communicate with you because your temple is sick, and I cannot live in it." I think what we miss as visionaries and leaders is where the vision came from. We miss that in order for us to get to the level of success that God has planned for us, we have to take care of ourselves. God needs our temples to be in order. If you're reading this, and you've been self-diagnosing, I want you to make an appointment because this is not a game. There are too many of us dying still young.
Do you spend more money on your car than you do on your body? Even your car gets premium gas. It boils down to priorities, education, and making a decision.The introduction of toxins into your body can be the root of many auto-immune disorders, many inflammatory diseases–all because our bodies are trying to do something they just weren't designed to do. Our bodies are smart. They want to work on our behalf. They want to do a good job for us, and they will continue to try to do that until they hit a wall. Let me tell you how Cancer works. We all have Cancer cells. However, there are modulators that turn them on and off. When we consume things, lead lifestyles, or are subject to stressors–whether from the environment, the products we're using–that tell those Cancer cells to turn on. That's what causes the overgrowth of cells that were never designed to be activated and multiplied to that degree. The good news is that we have a say-so in a lot of what we're experiencing in our health. We just have to gain the knowledge and then adhere to what we learn. Food is purposely being created to induce an addictive response. It's being perpetuated, but we have to wake up. We're so focused on what we want to do and achieve, that we're ignoring the signs as we see them. That vision that we think we're going after really could be influenced by other factors, like toxins that we're putting into our bodies because we're not slowing down and paying attention. Carrying an extra 30 pounds of weight has a profound negative impact on our brain function. So often, the investment in our health, in ourselves is absent. Studies have shown that 1 in 4 people self-diagnose, and 60% of them are wrong. We are driving around in BMWs and Land Rovers. How many people would venture a guess about that random sound or issue that is causing their engine lights to come on? Better yet, how many Mercedes do we see in the drive through at McDonald's? Do you spend more money on your car than you do on your body? Even your car gets premium gas. It boils down to priorities, education, and making a decision. You have to make a decision to be present and functioning and healthy and whole to actually see your vision come to pass.
Ambiguity is my friend. Possibility and Purpose are her cousins. Even if you can't agree with those sentiments for yourself wholeheartedly, the Bible clearly says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish..." So, that tells me that if I am not happy with any area of life, it's because I don't have a vision for better. I like the part of the definition that says "not presently workable". Your vision, by its very nature, will not be workable this very moment. That's why it's a vision. It's a big picture. Vision gives you the spark you need to endure any test, trial, or trauma. In every life, there will be many. Click To Tweet You can say, "I want a better job," but you have to define what "better" is. It's that blurry picture way out on the horizon. I imagine those dream sequences in movies. They are glowing and idealistic. So, even though your vision is impractical, it serves a vital purpose. Habakkuk 2: 2 says, "Write the vision, and make it plain." Vision gives you the spark you need to endure any test, trial, or trauma. In every life, there will be many. Statistics for business success tells us that only 20% of new businesses will make it past their first year, and after five years, half of those will go out of business (usatoday.com). That tells me that there's more failure than success, and any entrepreneur can attest that they are changed in the process. This has proven true in my own life, and I have seen it in the lives of entrepreneurs around me. What's most astounding is that those same people (me included) keep going and going and going. It's truly a way of life–the visionary lifestyle. That's the reason for Vivid Talk™ Radio, a featured Blogtalk Radio Show, Vivid Talk™ LIVE, a live streaming video show, and Vivid Magazine, available in print, digital, and online versions, to cultivate the visionary lifestyle. You need to get a vision for every area of life. We have summed it us as your inside, your outside, and your surroundings. Making your vision "plain" is a process. I have defined it as the V.I.V.I.D.™ Model for growth and development. It serves as the foundation for everything we do, and we are bringing together other entrepreneurs and visionaries to coach you through the process. As the Principal of Adam Red, a branding agency, and Better Life Coach, I am most concerned about the core–your inside. You will find me talking about faith and identity as a foundation because without a vision of who we are and where we ultimately come from, success will be fleeting. Dr. Jada Moore-Ruffin and I connected through a women's network. After 20 years in family practice, she launched REAL Weight Loss + Wellness, and as a Wellness Coach, she wants to help you get a vision for your outside. You need a vision for the physical body that carries you through this life. Katherine Jordan and I met through The Pinkpreneur Network. She is the owner of The Savvy ID where she is the Creative Director offering home staging for real estate agents and interior styling for female entrepreneurs. Katherine will help you get a vision for your surroundings. The environments that you create for yourself matter in this visionary journey. We decided to collaborate so that we could create, execute, and sustain something bigger than ourselves. Hear about our visionary lifestyles here, and tell us about yours for a chance to win Vivid swag!
I said to myself, "Look, you gotta make a decision. Either you are going to lose, or you are going to win. It’s up to you."Choices are options waiting for selection. Chocolate or vanilla? Tie or no tie? Burger or salad? We make choices every day–often without much contemplation. However, a decision very often requires you to create your own set of options or surmise possible outcomes. If I decide to go back to school and get that advanced degree, that may allow me to earn more income to meet a personal goal. If you decide to go to counseling in an effort to save your marriage, your kids could get to live with the benefits of both parents in their lives each day. Obviously, decisions take way more contemplation than a choice because we have to determine what’s at stake. 'I never lose, either I win, or I learn.' – Nelson MandelaClick To TweetSo, after much self-talk, cheerleading, mantras and serious prayer, I had a revelation. I said to myself, "Look, you gotta make a decision. Either you are going to lose, or you are going to win. It’s up to you." This was not a choice, because I knew deep inside that either way there was going to be some type of aftermath. So no, the choice thing was not about picking. It was about determining in my mind that my decision would result in an intended outcome. Now, just how that looks, only time will tell. So, that day I posted on Facebook Live. (I make rare appearances when really compelled and the spirit hits me that somebody else may need this too.) I gave a little bit of me to the universe. It was a declaration that I had decided to win. When that happened, things began to shift. The problems, setbacks and annoying issues didn’t stop (no they did not), but my approach was new. I decided that no matter what, I am winning. I am a winner. I am often reminded of my favorite quote, by the legendary, Nelson Mandela. It goes like this, "I never lose, either I win, or I learn." Is it time for you to make a decision? What decision do you need to make to take your life and your vision to the next level? Reply in the comments section below.