Tag Archives: Leader

A New Day in Dallas Leadership: Let’s Make The Most of It!

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Yesterday morning, I was honored to attend the City of Dallas Council Inauguration ceremony at the Meyerson Symphony Center.  Yes, it was a grandiose occasion where dignitaries, civic leaders, role models, even our future (shout out to the Parks and Rec Department for sending a couple of summer camps to witness this event) were in attendance, but that’s not why I was excited.  Yes, it’s believed to be one of the youngest councils in Dallas’ history, speaking volumes based on the historical decision makers of the city and how this affects young intellectuals views of Dallas proper, but THAT didn’t even excite me, either.  For the first time, I had several friends (and one former teacher-she taught me AP Government) who were starting their career as a city policy maker, and I felt very proud of them.  I’m witnessing people who I’ve learned from and worked with in “the movement” achieve one of their goals, and  I’m extremely happy for them.  They have all worked hard the last several months (and years) to get to this point, and they deserve to enjoy this time….

This entry isn’t designed to be a very long message, I just want to thank the 15 people who will be doing the work of the people of Dallas; from enduring hours long of council meetings, becoming target practice at town hall meetings, not feeling appreciated for the daily decisions made to better the city, and sacrificing their time, energy, and talents from their families to help the greater good.  You are true leaders who will be admired, acknowledged, and appreciated for the work you will do to help your constituents.

With that, I trust you all are doing this for the right reason; to make ALL of Dallas a better city.  You all are the city’s highest ranking officials; the realization that, if different people from different backgrounds can work together and create a solution for the greater good, then ALL of the city will benefit.  Do you notice I’m emphasizing ALL, lol.

Everyone on that stage motivated me.  I was able to see the bigger picture, and want to make sure I’m able to do what I need in order to make your job effective at the horseshoe.  We need both policy makers and the citizens to pull their weight in order make this work, and I’m willing to do just that.

Let’s make Dallas Great!

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Black Or White: Who Cares, just be true to yourself…

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Since early Friday morning, I’ve read the articles concerning Rachel Dolezal, the comedic memes questioning her true “blackness”, and the MANY texts/debates on her choice of action in the civil rights movement.  While I have no issue of her, a caucasian woman, heading a chapter of the NAACP (if you know your history, this organization was not only founded bi-racially but had a mission of something that is much larger than what we are actually practicing today), I do have an issue that she disregarded her cultural background and totally “reinvented” herself, not for a person who supports blacks (White Chocolate) but a person who pretended to be black (A Macaroni Nigga…)

*Start at 5:00 mark

Though funny to some (and offensive to many), Paul Mooney makes a valid point; black people are one of the most replicated, exploited, unappreciated, and underestimated group of people on this Earth.  This is not from happenstance.  Black intellectuals, scholars, and leaders have to fight harder than their Euro-centered counterparts to make their points legitimate to American Culture because of our historic preconceived notions that blacks are ignorant and primitive, and should be confined to athletic and entertainment avenues to exercise our “expressions”, ones that can also be controlled and monitored by someone whose more capable to control (sounds familiar?…).  In order for us to “conform”, several things can happen:  we can disown our culture (as Dolezal did), and not acknowledge our past and assimilate to mainstream society, be an “Uncle Tom” to ensure the safety of our families and loved ones at the sacrifice of our self-respect, “shuck and jive” to entertain and distract our oppressors, which will provide comfort and stability to a struggling black family (an outlet that was necessary in MANY cases, but not sustainable in the long run), or we can rebel (which will DEFINITELY) oust us from society, either through media suicide, discreditation, or death.

SOME progress has been made the last several decades; but we (ALL Americans) still have a long road to travel before people are not only equal, but society will judge people on the content of their character, and not the color of their skin. Dolezal’s deception not only discredits a successful (and necessary Civil Rights organization), but it forces people to stop working on the improvement of race relations in America…  and when we stop working on an incomplete project, we will digress and go back to square one.  Rachael Dolezal, for her to be more impactful, should fully recognize, embrace, and articulate her past, continue to fight for people she wants to, and show that other ethnicities can enhance different cultures.  It’ll be MLK’s dream realized and will allow our country to make a step forward.  For her to disown her past, illustrates a denial of a piece of her life that needs to be addressed.

Again, I don’t have an issue with Rachel, but I am concerned for her mental health.  It’s not healthy to disregard your heritage, create a new identity, and misdirect/misrepresent people on your history, your culture, or your intentions.  Some blacks have tried that already…  mission failed.

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Life long learning

Thank you Phillip for writing this blog!  It was great catching up with you and I love what you are doing w/ your family, your community, and uplifting people ensuring their financial stability.  Keep up the GREAT work!

To look at his message, click on the link below:

Life long learning.

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It’s the First of the Month!!! A GREAT Time to Build a New Habit!

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”

-Aristotle

I woke up this morning refreshed (mainly because there have been no nightly NBA Playoff games in the past couple of days, lol); I had a restful weekend, was able to do some yard work, admired the long-awaited sun after the weeks of rain, was comforted my mother arrived home from her travels, effectively planned/prepared for the following week, but most importantly, realized the next day was the 1st of the month!  No, not because I was picking up a check to chill (90’s rap humor), but because it gives me a chance to build a positive habit!  A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary (thanks http://www.dictionary.com).  Habits can be both beneficial or detrimental to your way of life. Habits also are always formed, whether you like it or not; you determine if you want to have a positive or negative routine.

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Again, I really appreciate the first of the month falling on a Monday because it helps my mind establish a goal and track my progress; with most people’s work week starting on a Monday, it’s natural for us to get the shenanigans out of our system during our personal time and start fresh when it’s time to perform at the beginning of the work week.

Studying this word cloud above, I notice the words that are most associated with habits: life, control, positive, habitual, free. Theses terms are synonymous with my future aspirations, but in order to add or enhance these traits, habits must be formed to create consistency, which builds character, which in effect creates/perpectuates a positive reputation.

I’m challenging myself (and would like to challenge my friends and the world) to build on my brand by creating one more positive habit this month.  There are numerous aspects of your life where you can create positive habits; your health and well-being, professional, social, intellectual, technological, relational, etc.  You must put in the work to appreciate your value (this is your personal investment-hmmmm… sounds like another blog topic).  Studies show that habits are formed between 21-30 days, so use the month of June to kick-start your perfomance for the 2nd half of the year!

HAVE A GREAT MONTH!

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TCU Commercial of EMBA Program

A special thanks to the Neely School of Business Executive MBA Program for highlighting me on one of their promotional commercials!

I really learned A LOT from the program and suggest any Transformational Leader to participate!

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I’m Back!!

Hello blogosphere… It’s been nearly a year since my last post and a lot has happened in my life.  I won’t bore you with the details in this message, but in later entries I will attempt to articulate emotions, reflections, frustrations, and possible lessons this season in my life.  I’m realizing the importance of communicating not only verbally, but emotionally, and tangibly; it’s time for me to evolve so I can help impact the world!

I’ve owned this site for over 4 years and have not been consistent with my entries.  There are a few reasons for this:

1.  Apathy:  I just don’t care to write sometimes.  I’m more comfortable talking or showing you my feelings or intentions for change.  This is how I naturally grew up; I wasn’t strong in English/Language Arts, and as a young boy, I was groomed not to express my feelings/articulate through words, but through actions.  As I mature, I realize the importance of the written word and how writing helps you free your mind of apathy.

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2.  Lack of Time Management:  To write effectively really takes a discipline and talent (which I don’t really have).  So to compensate, I must be intentional with my entries; I have completed/drafts of journal topics accumulated from the past year that’s ready to be seen, but I have to be committed to consistently communicating (which I also struggle with in real life-yet another journal topic, lol)

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3.  Paralysis by Analysis:  People get judged by their work; with social media, I have to be careful with what I put out in this space so it won’t come back and bite me.

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4.  (And most importantly) My insecurity:  I’ve let fear control me, my thoughts, and my actions.  Whether it’s insecurity to complete tasks in school, to the fear of rejection, to the fear of losing someone else in my life, I’ve let that spirit dictate my actions.  That leads to apathy, being unorganized, thinking too hard, preventing me to do God’s Will for me; to be a walking testimony so I can influence.

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So for the next few weeks I will pour my life out to you; you will hear my opinions of some current events, the frustrations of society as an African-American Young Professional who wants to teach and reach others, my viewpoint on how millennials can (and will) change society, some of the lessons learned from my experiences, and how to become influential in your personal, civic, and professional lives.

Until next entry…

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Global Diversity Leadership Exchange vLog

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Intangible Solutions For A Tangible Problem

Recently, the state of education in America has been a hot topic (and rightfully so).  With growing competition abroad, the reauthorization of education policy, and the state of the economy, people all over the country are panicking for solutions.  Though there are large, policy-changing answers we can find to improve the system, there are also small, intangible solutions every day Americans can do in order to enhance the education of our young people.

For the past five years, I’ve worked in an organization that supports and supplements the instruction of the teacher.  In doing so, I’ve been able to experience the problems faced by the teacher.  I realize teachers have a lot of things they need to do in order to educate kids.  With overcrowded classrooms, lack of supplies, and long processes, it’s very difficult for teachers to educate students alone.  What my company is able to do is provide assistance, bringing in people to confirm everything the teacher just instructed.  By doing this, students start making connections; they realize teachers are not instructing for their own health, and when the same thing is said from another person who has “swag” or they can relate to the student, then a connection is made.  The education system is starting to improve.

I wonder, is there a connection with establishing a positive relationship with America’s future and the improvement of education?  Is our society built on nourishing tomorrow or is it worried about what we can get today?  We love to talk about our posterity and how we need to invest in the future today, but do we practice what we preach?  It is evident that we are lacking in compassion for our youth (automatic rejection of their music, ignoring their viewpoint, disengagement of their actions).  THIS IS STUPID ON OUR PART!!!!

One thing these young people have that we didn’t is the instant access to information.  They can Google on their phone and broadcast whatever they find to the whole world in seconds.  As adults, our responsibility is to:

  • Develop a good report/relationship with our children
  • Listen to their ideas/thoughts
  • Advise/Teach/Discipline them the appropriate plans of actions (based from experience)
  • Developing an environment for nurturing, learning and loving

Is this easy: no.   The hardest stage in any process is implementation.  It takes energy, effort, and patience.  There are some stupid brats who don’t want to listen.  We can’t save everyone.  Our job is to make ourselves available so we can be in a position to teach/help someone who wants to improve.  It takes a village to raise a child.  Let’s not leave our children behind.

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How My Family Made An Impact On My Life: Dad’s Domino Games…

“Families are the compass that guide us.  They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.”
-Brad Henry
I want to continue on my conversation on how my family impacted my life.  Please understand, my family is not exclusive to people I am related to by blood.  They are childhood friends, teachers, and mentors who accept me for who I am and teach me a great deal about life (directly and indirectly).
In the next few blogs I will talk about people my family exposed me to who influenced me.  I will not specify names because there are SO many people who I admire, and if I forget some names I will regret it.  I do want to speak generally and provide thematic messages on the importance of surrounding yourself with high quality people.
One thing I forgot to mention when discussing my immediate family was their talent for exposing me to great people.  My father, mother, brother, and sister had a network of people around me to teach me mostly good, exposed me occasionally to bad, but definitely entertained me to the fullest.
Walk with Kings, but don’t lose the common touch
One of my father’s favorite pastime was playing dominoes.  I remember him playing at least twice a week for hours each meeting with the same 3 men.  These men were diplomats, nor politicians, they were people he trust.  Initially, it didn’t make sense for my dad to “associate” with these blue collar workers.  My father was a banker, entrepreneur, and leader of the largest black chamber in the country.  Why would he spend most of his recreational time with people “below him”.  Watching them play dominoes and occasionally running an errand for them, I was able to socialize and learn from everyone at the table.  I started getting tips on how I maintain my car, and the best method in keeping a great lawn.  Most importantly, witnessed how 4 different types of black men can interact and work as a team.  Even though they had different education levels, different professions, even different socioeconomic statuses, they had one thing in common:  They are black men that was surviving a world I had not experienced yet.  As I grow older, I began to realize a very important lesson he was teaching me: give all people the same respect.  Every person can teach you a lesson, the question is will you learn and apply it.
It takes a group of diverse people to make a society thrive, and it takes a functioning community to prosper.  In order to fulfill many of my goals, it requires me to talk, relate, and understand different types of people.  It would be total suicide if I believed I was better than someone because of what little resources I have.
People are people are people.  No person is better or worse than the other:  we are just different.  Let’s appreciate our diversity and learn from one another so we can be the best we can be.

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How My Family Impacts My Life, Part 1

After days of thinking, I’ve decided to write about a group of people that have made the most impact of my life:  mi familia (Thanks Cedric Lyons).  In later blogs, I will write in more detail about my family,  and will discuss my friends, mentors, and people I’ve encountered in life that have influenced my philosophy, my ideology, and have stretched my mind to levels I’ve never thought can imagine.  I am a fortunate man, but I must give you a snap-shot about 4 people who I lived with most of my life:  Thomas Lee Houston Sr. (Dad), Dorothy Faye McDowell Houston (Mom), Thomas Houston Jr. (Brother), and Natalie Lynn Houston Hunter (Sister).

Dad (My example)

Outside the Russell Glen Residence, Tom Houston was a very influential banker, businessman, and entrepreneur in the Dallas community.  He was one of the first black corporate bankers in the city, developed businesses, and led the oldest and largest black chamber in the country.  But inside the house, Dad was a relaxed, domino-playing, v-neck and boxer wearing patriarch who enjoyed family trips to Elgin for hot sausage and time with his friends.   Honestly, I didn’t know the depth of the “legend” of Thomas L. Houston until after college when I was being acclimated to the “real world”.  Initially, I didn’t understand why he hid that from me.  I appreciate it now…  He wanted me to be my own man.  He wanted to make sure I wasn’t pressured in going into his shadow (whether it’s basking in his glory or making the same mistakes he made).  He wanted to make sure I understand that your home life needs to be your safe haven from what you experience in the outside world.  I respect that, and will use that as an example now in my professional life and when I start my own family.  Thanks Pops.

Mom (The Nurturer)

Everywhere I go, I always hear good things about my mother; in fact, I don’t think she has ever made genuine enemies.  She’s neither a gentle woman, nor one that’s quiet… just authentic.  She has an honest, nurturing aura to her that, regardless what she says and how she says it (the good, bad, or ugly), you can’t despise or hate her.  Mom has your best intentions at heart.  It was evident when she helped me sell candy at her own rival high school to pay for my band uniform or when she’s tired but still helps my sister by taking care of her grandsons.  She is smart, clever, witty, and beautiful.  She’s diverse:  one of the best cooks I’ve EVER met, loves to joke around, but at the same time would love to dress up and go to a formal function.  She’s the total package, and I’m fortunate to have her as a guide on my quest for my wife.

Tommy (Mr. Persistent)

Tommy was fifteen years older than I (yes, I was my parent’s “blessing”).  Honestly, I didn’t know him much, but the things I remember left lasting impressions.  In my mind my father and brother had the same intensity (stubbornness), so when there was conflict, there was no resolution.  My brother had a lot of my mom’s qualities: easy to talk to, compassionate, gentle (despite his 6’4’’ 350+pound frame).  He loved people:  he had a warm smile and cared for the welfare of people he was close to and even strangers.  He was also VERY PERSISTENT…  He sold everything.  Pre-paid Legal, Kirby, ACN, Olive Leaf Oil Extract, property, baseball cards, Noni Juice.  Every Multi-level marketing plan that was in existence, Tommy sold (or tried to sell).  Lastly, I feel that Tommy was misunderstood in our family.  He was the emotional being in the house.  He was very relational, wanted to be appreciated, and wanted to always impart his wisdom (or his ideology) on us.  We as Houstons typically don’t operate like that.  In hindsight, I (we) could have done more to show we cared.  I regret I didn’t spend the time I could have with him before he died.   I love and miss him very much….

Nat (My Swag lifesaver)

My older sister is the reason why you see the Matt Houston brand today.  After graduating college, she moved back home and changed my life.  I was in middle school (an awkward time for me) and she taught me the importance having my belt match my shoes (outside of a suit).  This changed my life.  She ignited a fire in me that made me question what I used to wear, what I want to wear, and how I carry myself.  She didn’t just give me fashion conscience, but she gave me confidence.  I changed from a zero to a hero in the matter of months! (a little exaggeration).  Seriously, Natalie showed me the importance of appearance and how people always observe how you carry yourself.  Most importantly, Natalie taught me the importance of discipline.  She is the most regimented person I know.  Before there was surgery or lap band, she lost tons of pounds through hard work, healthy eating, and exercising.  She’s amazing.  She is also a phenomenal model as I’m on my search for my life mate.  She is a professional, yet takes care of her husband and two very active sons.  She’s a great package and I’m lucky to have her as my big sister.

These four people molded me into the man I am today.  There is not a day when I don’t appreciate them.  Thank you and I love you very much.  I’m blessed to be your son and your brother.

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