Sunday, December 31, 2017

Is It the End or Is It The Beginning?

Happy New Year 2018 - Is it the end or is it the beginning?

Is your cup half empty or half full?  If you are one who sees the cup as half empty then you probably look at New Year’s Eve as the end of 2017.  It’s your choice but for me I’m choosing to see it as the beginning of a Brand New Year.  My prayer is that you will continue the journey to a Brand New You.  

When you look back on 2017, don’t be mad, be grateful for change and growth.  It took 365 days to get to where you are today--the eve of 2018.  Whether you in 2017 identified with the #metoo moment, was disappointed in a love one, disillusioned by government, lost faith in your church leadership, lost your partner or just got depressed from the constant reality show politics, remember, “we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor 4:8-9 NIV)

So, we can choose to see 2018 as an opportunity to create a Brand New You.  If you are feeling pressed, perplexed, or persecuted, I invite you to watch and listen to the lyrics of Alicia Keys song, Brand New Me.  Don’t be mad, embrace the Brand New You; the journey continues!  It takes a brave, brave person to tell their story.  In 2016 I shared my story in Start Where You Are: My Journey from Childhood Poverty and I have no regrets.  Today I am stronger, wiser, and happier and have helped others have a breakthrough in their own story.

When I look back over 2017, I see more successes:
recipient of the Air Education and Training Command and Air Force, Blacks In Government Meritorious Service Award, completed San Antonio Rock n Roll Half Marathon, helped provide water to 28 children in Africa, partnered to bring Live2Lead, leadership seminar to veterans, teamed with a nonprofit to provide backpacks to children returning to school, received 10-year Civilian Service Pin and was promoted.  What do I contribute my success too?  I sure didn't do it alone.  I had the tried and true Fs--Faith.Family.Friends+Failures.  Of course, there were NOT failures, right? You are correct, those were just refueling pit stops and new growth opportunities--the glass is half full.

Go ahead and reflect on your 2017.  While you do, let me share my 7 Start Where You Are Success Strategies with those of you who are following the Storyteller4Change.  Try them and leave me a comment on my blog, facebook or twitter @mmanyweather.

Start Where You Are Top 7 Success Strategies
  1. Know yourself;  know your passion.  Don’t underestimate the power of self reflection.  
  2. Have a plan!  Any road will get you there if you don’t know where you’re going; the plan will help you recalculate.  
  3. Let some things go so you can continue to grow—know when it’s time to say goodbye.  Is it the end or just the beginning?
  4. Focus daily on building your own brand and editing your own story—each day is a day to reshape a chapter, an ending, or create a new beginning.
  5. Never invest to sell a product or service and don’t invest in others to sell your story; invest in you to share your story so others can overcome, learn, and grow.
  6. To inspire others by your story, you must first be inspired by it—if it didn't inspire you, it won’t inspire them.
  7. Know yourself and know your passion (strengths and weaknesses).  Others can help you with some things but they can never substitute your passion nor tell your story like you.  Keep editing to keep climbing to keep growing.
Start Where You Are and there will be Much Success to You in 2018!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

You don't know what you don't know! Believe Me!

You don't know what you don't know.  Really.  Believe Me.  Consider this:  There is only 3 possible knowledge:  

1.  What you don't know you don't know
2.  What you know you don't know
3.  What you know

Hey,  don't be discouraged because we are all in the same boat.  What we don't know we don't know and what we know we don't know are greater than what we know.  When I retired from the Air Force in 2005, I vowed never to run again for Anyone.  Fast forward 11 years and I’m back on the road again but not for Anyone Else.  What I didn’t know is that I was never running for Anyone Else—who the heck is Anyone Else anyway.  I was running for Someone Else—In the words of Alicia Keys song, Brand New ME.  It was me who had joined the Air Force, raised my hand and stated the USAF commissioning oath:  I, (MYRA EVANS) having been appointed a (Second Lieutenant) in the United States Air Force, do solemnly affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, SO HELP ME GOD.”  Yes, I was aiming high.  I understood that just because I put on the uniform didn't make me a hero.  That was just the beginning.  I was committed to serving other.  Over 30 years later, I still remember this oath as it was repeated four more times as I accepted each new rank.  Running was not just about me staying fit but about my commitment to something bigger than me—It was about the Constitution of the United States; it was about the love of country; it was about integrity, service, and excellence.    

Two months ago I learned something else I didn't know.  I made a commitment to enter the Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon that will take place in San Antonio on 3 Dec.  I must admit, one of the reasons I’ve never even attempted such a feat was out of fear and because I thought a marathon was an unattainable goal for me.  Why?  Because I thought it was a 23 mile race defined by how fast I could run.  I did’t know what I didn’t know.  So I decided to do a little research.  Webster d
efines a marathon as:  "1 :a footrace run on an open course usually of 26 miles 385 yards (42.2 kilometers); broadly :a long-distance race. “  Wait a minute, that’s what I know.  But if there is a 1 there must be a 2, right?.  It goes on to say, “2 a :an endurance contest. b :something (such as an event, activity, or session) characterized by great length or concentrated effort.”  That’s when the light bulb came on and my knowledge on marathon moved to the what I know.  I know I will meet my goal of a half marathon if 1) I Get started, and 2) I endure and finish 13 miles.  Imagine that, I could start right where I am and grow until I build up my endurance.  Yes, it can be done.  And I’m not alone.  I have a whole team pulling with me and a church family who prays for me.  And because I did my part and got started, I’m already in the 6 mile club.  God will do the rest.

So, why am I committed to completing the half marathon?  I’m glad you asked.  Most importantly, I’m running to impact the lives of million young girls all over the world who have to carry fresh water to bathe, eat, and live.  Back in the 60s and 70s, I thought I was poor and felt ashamed because I had to walk several hundreds yards to fill milk jugs with water before going to school.  Notice, I felt poor and ashamed, but not because I felt it was life or death.  What I didn’t know then that I know now is there are girls in Africa walking an average of 6 miles everyday for water, any water—and it is life or death for them.  And even closer to home, Harvey, Irma, Maria, and now Nate reminds us how much we really don’t know and how much we take for granted.  Today, my fears seem so petty when compared to what African children go through or what Puerto Ricans will have to endure as they try to rebuild their lives.  I’ve come a long way but in the words of John Maxwell, there is “more more” to be done.  I hope you will consider joining me.  It’s not too late.  For more information, check out or go to my campaign page here and donate to help me raise funds to impact the lives of other.  We an go further together. 

I’m running for myself, for freedom, for fresh, clean water and things bigger than me.  I’m letting the fears of my past fuel my passion and keep me running to serve and impact others.  I pulled off my Air Force uniform but I could take off my servant badge.  I earned it and I'm proud to display it.  #StartWhereYouAre #StartGrowBuild.

Success to You!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

It's Time to "Right" Your Story!

It's Time to "Right" Your Story!
No, no, editors!  "Right" is not fake.  Last month we launched the Start Where You Are series with, "It's Time to Write Your Book", thanks to my good friend and mentor        Zack Obront, Co-Founder of Book in a Box, and my professional partner Adam Ortiz, CEO of Ms Entrepreneur Role Model Search.  What an amazing time.  If you missed the event and are serious about writing a book or becoming an author, you have to check out the video of the event here.  Also, in case you missed the relationship between "It's time to "right" your book" and "Start Where You Are", I've titled this blog, It's time to "Right" your story.  

How can you "right" your story?  There are three things you can do to right your story right now.

First, determine your vision and what results you want.  There are several tools to help with this.  SMBIRanchTM has a complete toolkit to help small business leaders unlock wealth creation.  A simple tool for you to get started is a professional assessment.  I'm sure you are familiar with assessment use in the education industry.  In education, the term assessment refers to a wide variety of methods or tools used to evaluate, measure, and document the academic learning progress, skill acquisition, or as my sister teacher would say sometimes--aggravate the heck out of her.  Seriously, there are many types of assessments and not all are equal but when you consider your journey in pursuit of your dream, you want to pick one that will give you a personal detailed report of your natural behavior. The assessment will do two things for you: 
  1. Help you identify your strengths, gifts, and talents and
  2. Give you a baseline in which you can use to measure your progress on your start, grow, build journey to right your story.  

Second, get yourself a coach.  Everyone needs a coach, even the coach.  A coach will help you decipher your results.  The Institute for Life Coach Training defines coaching as:

"Coaching is a professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses or organizations, helping them to bridge the gap between where they are now and where they want to be. Coaches partner with their clients to design the life they want, bring out their clients’ own brilliance and resources so that they can achieve excellence and create purposeful, extraordinary lives. By creating clarity, coaching moves the client into action, accelerating their progress by providing greater focus and awareness of all the possibilities which exist to create fulfilling lives."

Coaching is not counseling. Global e-Talent Network has a very unique process, Small Business Innovation RanchTM, an innovative process for coaching entrepreneurs and small businesses.  You can download a free Small Business (SMB) Innovation CanvasTM at  Loeka Wiltz, the creator of the canvas states:  "The canvas is a treasure chest of elegant tools for Small Business (SMB) Leaders and Teams.  It is a toolkit filled with action learning, action-based research, design, and leadership tools that will help create useful solutions..."  A coach will help you use the canvas and your experiences, strengths and talents to design your future and "right" your story instead of concentrating on your past to just put it in the past.  The right coaching team will help you start, grow, and build.

Third, identify your gaps--what's standing between YOUR now and YOUR future.  By identifying your gaps, you can now concentrate your efforts on what's most important to you in achieving your vision and goals.  Remember, the coach you choose will be a partner and will help you with identifying your gaps and more importantly help you create an action plan to produce your best you and extraordinary results.  The SMBIRanchTM process will help you clarify YOUR problem and get to YOUR root cause for not realizing your full potential.  

If you are ready to start, grow, and build as an individual or as a team, reach out to the SMBIRanchTM team today.

Success to you!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Why & Who Do You Remember: Thank You Fallen Heros!

Are you like many Americans who often confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day?  Has Memorial Day become just another day off for you like so many holidays?  Have you ever asked yourself, "why do we celebrate Memorial Day and Veterans Day?  Well, I believe the question is worth addressing based on the many well wishes I see on social media.  

First of all Memorial is defined by Webster as:   "1: serving to preserve remembrance :  commemorative...2:  of or relating to memory"

Anyone who knows me know I consume a lot of news, mostly from CNN.  I found this 2010 article by Lisa Respers France that was recently updated, Get it straight: The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  
In her article she states, "Inevitably, someone says something demonstrating confusion over the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day".  The article very simply explains, "Memorial Day is the holiday set aside to pay tribute to those who died serving in the military... Veterans Day is the holiday set aside to honor all who have served in the military."  [emphasis added by me].  

The start of Memorial Day according to the Department of Veterans Affairs website states, "Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans -- the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) -- established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country." The passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 by Congress made it an official holiday.  I hope you will check it out here before you discount history as fake news.

I'm a living veterans and I declare, 2 Corinthians 4:9, "persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed" (NIV).  I proudly served but I completed service without paying the ultimate sacrifice--I made it out alive.  Those of us who are living appreciate all the Happy Memorial Day" wishes so don't get me wrong.  But we made it out alive!  So today, I like so many other living veterans pause to give honor--not receive it.  Today, I answer my why I remember with "because I'm proud to be an American".  I answer the who do I remember with:  "all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice".  For me no one sums it up better than Lee Greenwood in the lyrics of
"Proud To Be An American".  As you listen to and watch this YouTube video, pay close attention to the following lyrics:

I'd thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can't take that away.

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

Back to Webster's definition of memorial, because now that we remember there is another question.   How will you preserve your remembrance?  Go ahead, enjoy the barbecue, I will too.  But don't forget to pray and ask God to bless the USA
.  Listen closely to the lyrics in the video which says:

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

That I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Women are Innovators Too: Happy Mothers' Day!

Women are innovators too so why must we ask for permission to be recognized in the technology industry?  Women whether a mother or not, learned about technology, programming, and connecting dots at an early age.  They are the living definition of the words innovation and technology.  They figured out how to train-up children.  They didn’t come with a book of instruction, did they? 
Webster defines technology as the practical application of knowledge".  You all remember, “Do as I say, not as I do”?  Well that was practical back in the day.  But today, how many mothers you know still raising children that way? Women had to transform as and learn to model behavior.  In an article by The Clemmer Group, the author writes, “Too few managers model what they demand from others.  If you’re a manager, ask yourself:  How often do I seem to be saying one thing while doing another? How often am I practicing what I preach?”  I submit, baby boomer mothers are and they have raised a lot of women innovators. 
Ryan Allis, in his article “The Top 12 Innovators of All Time”, defined innovation asthe process of creating something new that makes life better.”  He goes on to say, “Innovation is impossible without passion.  Innovators see the world differently.”  Well, when raising children, women have passion.  They train up someone new who makes life better.   They see each little one differently.  Why then is there only one woman on Ryan Allis’ list?  I’m not picking on Ryan Allis, I don’t even know him.  But I say, “The very core of raising children is innovation” so Mothers should be added to the list.  Women, stand up; you have the knowledge and the experience the innovation world needs. 
Consider for example, the Queen of Software was convinced if programming was written in a way that anyone could read then there would be more programmers.  My Sister in Arms, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper designed the language Flow-Matic which gave birth to what many technology geeks know as the Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL).   It’s amazing that Lady COBOL [in 1958] captured the essence of starting where you are.  She made life better while growing and building something unique and useful.
Then there is Jenne Saucedo-Herrera who didn’t just become the President and CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.  She started with a heart for her community and a passion for economic development.  Her start is proof positive that if you have the tenacity to start where you are, you can become a technology leader yourself. 
Finally, Take Paula Gold-Williams, after 10-months of doing the job she was finally given the job of CEO of CPS Energy. Of special note is that Jenne Saucedo-Herrera is a former executive leader at CPS and CPS Energy is a Technology entity.  No doubt, CPS Energy has a history of starting women where they are.  They recognize growth potential and they allow them to use their creativity to build out new technology. To be disruptive, technology must be developed, prototyped, and commercialized.  It takes time and commitment.  Women are used to managing multiple projects, using what they have to get the job done despite the odds, and waiting patiently for their time.
So, are we really committed to doing for young ladies on the sidelines what needs to be done so they don’t feel they have to ask permission to be in technology?  Are you ready to answer the question, why aren’t more women being counted among the top in technology and innovation in record numbers?  I submit three reasons.  First, women don’t know they have an innovation story to tell because they are so busy, innovating that they’ve never stopped to think about telling their story.  Second, those women who know they have a story to tell, don’t know how to tell it.  They spend unnecessary time all over the place, starting and restarting.  Third, women are still multi-tasking, trying to connect too many things, instead of focusing on delivering one clear technology and innovation message.
As I sit in my community space at Geekdom and look around, I observe and think.  Why are we having this conversation about gender 60 years later?  Why must we ask for permission to be in technology, when women are the very essence of technology.  Women know what it is to recognize and grow talent.  No two children are alike, yet they manage to recognize what each brings to the table and grow them up to be winners. 

So how do you go from start to GrOw in the technology and innovation industry?  My fellow Texans leading social enterprises, corporations, or non-profit organizations, let me introduce you to two friends I’ve met on my own journey.   Founder and CEO of Ms Entrepreneur Role Model Search, Adam Ortiz and Book-in-a Box co-founder and best-selling author, Zach Orbont are committed to doing for women on the sidelines what needs to be done so they don’t feel they have to ask permission to be in technology.  They can help you tell your story in very innovative ways.  I'm happy to be teaming with Adam Ortiz and Zach Orbont to help women learn new ways to share their innovation story.  Small Business Innovation Ranch through its InnoWomenTM program will team with them to bring you a free live event that will be shared around the world to help women tell their story to grow their business and their communities.  You don’t want to miss it so be on the lookout for the Eventbrite invitation. We need men and women in positions and in technology today to be open to recognizing technology talent in women of all backgrounds thereby granting permission while building new talent in the technology industry.  


Your Change is Gonna Come

Start Where you are; your change is gonna come! Places I go and people I meet often comment on how I’m always smiling.  The truth of ...