Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Lesson in Courage: Oprah Celebrates Selma & The Legends Who Paved the Way

Extraordinary people often possess extraordinary courage. I was reminded of this undeniable truth last weekend when my husband and I flew to the west coast to attend a special "Legends" weekend hosted by Oprah Winfrey. Being in Oprah's presence, experiencing her graciousness as she and Stedman Graham welcomed guests into their world, and observing the fine way in which she honored our civil rights legends were tremendous lessons in courage.
Winfrey (center) with David Oyelowo (left of Winfrey) and Ava DuVernay (right of Winfrey) honor the legends of civil rights (Seated L-R) Ambassador Andrew Young, Diane Nash, Juanita Jones Abernathy, Joseph Lowery, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Marian Wright Edelman and Rev. C.T. Vivian. (Standing L-R) Congressman John Lewis, Julian Bond, Sidney Poitier, David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay, Quincy Jones, Dick Gregory, and Berry Gordy.

Common, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Ava DuVernay and Carmen Ejogo.
On Saturday, December 6, guests attended a screening of the movie, “Selma” directed by award-winning filmmaker, Ava DuVernay, starring David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey as “Annie Lee Cooper.” Later that evening, we attended a star-studded "Celebrating Selma & The Legends Who Paved The Way" gala at the beautiful Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara. The next morning, Oprah and Stedman hosted guests at their breathtaking estate in Montecito where we enjoyed a powerful gospel performance by The Winans Brothers, Kim Burrell, Ledisi, Bill Withers and his daughter Kori Withers, who has the voice of an angel. 

Scene from "Selma" movie. 
Selma is the story of a courageous movement. The film, shot in a remarkable 32 days, chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s Selma tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.

Oprah Winfrey with one of my personal heroes, Sidney Poitier.
Watching the movie in the company of civil rights legends and the Hollywood elite was overwhelming. Collectively, we felt the power of this brilliantly directed and produced film and after, talked openly about the fear and suffering these courageous souls endured in Selma, Alabama. 

So much of what our civil rights icons and everyday citizens faced is in some respects being relived today as the country fights to change how law enforcement officials police people of color, particularly black men. The director, actors and producers who took the stage after the screening were met with thunderous applause. Once the applause ended, however, a hush fell over the theater. What struck me most in this moment was the feeling that young people need to see and understand what happened on Bloody Sunday and in subsequent marches as people from all walks of life fought for voting rights and equality for black people. Each of us, but especially young people, needs to understand the historical context for what is taking place in present-day America. Every conversation my husband and I engaged in that evening—shared reflections with Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Cookie Johnson, Shonda Rhimes, Robin Roberts, Gayle King, Deborah Roberts and Al Roker—brought us back to the point that our youth need to understand this period in our history so they will know that this struggle didn't begin, nor does it end with them. It is my hope that the film will elicit an elevated level of discourse as we fight to ensure that black lives matter.

Leslie Gordon and Shonda Rhimes
I cannot think of a better word to describe the Legends Who Paved the Way gala than magical. It was simply magical. Oprah spared no expense. South African lifestyle guru and party planner to the stars, Colin Cowie and his event production team provided guests with an experience we won't soon forget. From the powerful video treatments honoring legends Ambassador Andrew Young, Berry Gordy, Rev. C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, Dick Gregory, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Juanita Jones Abernathy, Julian Bond, Marian Wright Edelman, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Quincy Jones, Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, to the soul train line while the O'Jays sang their classic, "Love Train," this gala was an affair to remember. To see these finely dressed folks including Tessa Thompson, Deion Sanders, Tracey Edmonds, Cory Booker, Gayle King, George Lucas, Mellody Hobson, David Oyelowo, Jessica Oyelowo, Holly Robinson Peete, Rodney Peete, Berry Gordy, Eskedar Gobeze, Kevin Liles, Erica Liles, Jeff Jacobs, Holly Jacobs, Andrea Wishom, Charles Young, Oprah and Stedman getting down on the dance floor was a site to behold.

Leslie Gordon and Tamron Hall
On Sunday, December 7, Oprah and Stedman warmly welcomed each guest to their estate, and the lovely Gayle King was also a gracious host. Guests, dressed in sophisticated garden attire, enjoyed mimosas and sparkling beverages as we gathered for a pre-brunch concert. The shared feeling of joy and celebration that took hold when Oprah stepped onto the stage is difficult to put into words. The moment gospel greats Bebe Winans and Kim Burrell opened their mouths, we knew then that we weren’t prepared for what would happen next. When I say they took us to church, this is no exaggeration. Their voices rose to the heavens as they sang lyrics filled with inspiration and encouragement. Guests from Maria Shriver to Smokey Robinson, from David Oyelowo to Phylicia Rashad, were reduced to tears as these powerful voices made the audience reflect and celebrate. Bill Withers and Kori Withers performed “My Father’s Son,” followed by Bebe and his brothers leading guests in Withers’ classic, “Lean On Me.” Bebe walked through the audience with the microphone in his hand, stopping before Smokey Robinson, Congressman John Lewis, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Ledisi who each lent their voices and had the crowd on their feet. Just when we thought we couldn’t take much more of the emotionally charged, spirit-filled performances, Oprah wrapped it up and led guests to an exquisite brunch where conversations with our civil rights legends flowed and guests happily posed for pictures—all a beautiful expression of one of most powerful weekends we’ll ever experience.
AJ Calloway, Senator Cory Booker, Ed Gordon and Samuel L. Jackson
My take away from the "Celebrating Selma & The Legends Who Paved The Way" weekend? Courage. Rising above adversity takes courage. Greatness takes courage—courage to use our gifts and our influence to do great things; to share our blessings; to treat people with kindness and love, no matter their station in life. 

Life takes courage—courage to fight oppression and injustice; courage to decide that we’re worthy of pursuing the best that life has to offer with honesty and integrity; courage to sit among kings and queens and know that we’re worthy of having a seat at the table; courage to decide that an exceptional and solid work ethic is the difference between success and failure. 

I saw courage on every single face at Oprah's estate on Sunday. Guests had the courage to be vulnerable and let the tears flow when Bebe, Marvin and Carvin Winans sang, "Millions didn't make it, but I was one of the ones who did." We had the courage to look into eyes of the person sitting next to us and share our joy. Courage to raise our level of consciousness about what's going on in the world today and decide to take action. Courage to shake the hand of a complete stranger and find common ground. Courage to surround ourselves with people who lift our spirits. Courage to engage in discussions about hope for the world and enormous possibilities for our lives. Courage to change the narrative of race in America and provide guidance and inspiration for our children and future leaders. Courage to dream. Courage to love. Courage to be. That’s what extraordinary people do. They find and embrace courage.
Oprah Winfrey and Leslie Gordon
Oprah Winfrey and Leslie Gordon
Ed Gordon, Quincy Jones and Leslie Gordon

Phylicia Rashād, Bill Withers, AJ Calloway and Angela Bassett
Back row: Carvin Winans, Ed Gordon and Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Front: Leslie Gordon Marvin Winans, Bebe Winans and Cookie Johnson
AJ Calloway, Senator Cory Booker, Leslie Gordon and Samuel L. Jackson

Ed Gordon (right) enjoying a moment with one of his music idols, Bill Withers.
Tasha Smith, Ledisi, Angela Bassett and Leslie Gordon
The lovely Gayle King (my favorite morning anchor).
"Selma" will be released in select cities December 25, 2014.
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Monday, February 24, 2014


Picture a little girl with a smile big enough to get lost in and eyes that shine bright like diamonds. A little girl whose heart is filled with hope that she will one day change the world. Smart and perhaps a little feisty, she has more potential than President Obama has one-liners. This little girl lives in your community. You've watched from your window as she learned to ride a bike with her father running along side to make sure she didn't fall. You've seen her slouching in the church pew in front of you with little braids peeking out from underneath her Sunday hat. You've seen her sporting sparkly gym shoes as she trudges to school behind her big brother or in the backseat of the family car, waving to people on the street. You smile and blow her a kiss because that pretty brown girl... IS YOU.   

No matter how old or how accomplished we become, a pretty brown girl will forever live in our hearts. We pay homage to the pretty brown girls who grew up to be fearless leaders. Women like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou HamerJewel Stradford-Lafontant and Madame C.J. Walker. We thank them for allowing us to stand tall and proud on their shoulders and we also give much respect to dynamic women of todaywomen like Angela Davis, Maya Angelou, Oprah WinfreySonya Sotomayor, bell hooks, Antonia Novello, and Padmasree Warrior. These women and many more, have changed the world and the trajectory for women of color. We have embraced their greatness and have tried to emulate their wisdom and courage. We have carried many of their lessons in our hearts and minds, waiting for the day we too would have the chance to shine. 

Co-founder, Corey Crawley and his original
Pretty Brown Girls
I was fortunate to be in the company of hundreds of pretty brown girls Saturday, February 22, at the Detroit School of Arts for International Pretty Brown Girl Day. International Pretty Brown Girl Day has become an annual day to celebrate all shades of brown as part of the global Pretty Brown Girl movement founded by husband and wife duo, Corey and Sheri Crawley.

As the parents of two daughters, Corey and Sheri were concerned with the harmful messages about skin tone and beauty in the media, and the effects on girls who rarely see images of their own likeness depicted in a positive manner. Simultaneously, Sheri began asking God how she could use her gifts and talents to empower others. Her husband began using Pretty Brown Girl as a term of endearment for their daughters and together they decided to share this simple yet, powerful affirmation to encourage girls to be happy in their beautiful brown skin. The couple began by creating a product line for young ladies that carried the message Pretty Brown Girl. Soon after, the Pretty Brown Girl movement was born.

I must admit, I sat in awe watching Corey, Sheri and their team host International Pretty Brown Girl Day in Detroit, one of many cities in the United States and around the world that celebrated this special day. I was fascinated because the Pretty Brown Girl team, along with the mistress of ceremonies, Dara Davis Munson, not only showed the girls and young women in attendance that they matter and are loved, but they explained why

This movement is all about uplifting, empowering and celebrating all shades of brown. Being in the company of these excited girls made my heart soar. They knew with no uncertainty that this was their day. They danced and laughed as they held the hands of their mothers and fathers who, by the way, were as enchanted as I with this experience. Some of the girls even had their faces painted like beautiful butterflies. They posed for pictures with new friends and celebrated what it means to be pretty brown girls. They listened to messages of support and encouragement, something that is sorely needed for our girls who are often undervalued in this society. The love in the auditorium was palpable and I was moved to tears to see young ballerinas dance en pointe (Yes, you read that right... they were dancing en pointe!), to Stevie Wonder's "Love's In Need Of Love Today." All of the talented young performers reinforced that with love, encouragement and guidance, the pretty brown girls of the world can accomplish anything. It is our job then, to lift them high, make them feel safe, set good examples and give them the confidence to know that greatness lies within. 

On behalf of pretty brown girls everywhere, I thank you, Corey and Sheri Crawley. The impact of your work and the compassion that lives in your hearts extend well beyond your immediate sphere of influence. You are setting the world on fire. I can see it in the eyes and in the smiles of every young girl positively impacted by your generosity of spirit and your courage to give voice to a generation of pretty brown girls that will benefit from this kind of support and encouragement for the rest of their lives. Thank you! 
For more information on The Pretty Brown Girl Movement visit

Pictured left to right: Mistress of Ceremonies, Dara Davis Munson;
Pretty Brown Girl Co-founder, Sheri Crawley; and Leslie Gordon
The Crawley Family

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Who's The Alma In Your Life?

The year was 1977. I was a terrified little girl rushed into surgery for an emergency appendectomy. The memories are still very clear, almost as though it happened just yesterday. I remember being treated like royalty while I recovered in the hospital, receiving cards, flowers and calls from friends and concerned relatives. Father Smith, my grade school principal, even came to visit giving me instant street cred among my classmates when I returned to school. As if that wasn't cool enough, I was allowed to indulge in an obscene amount of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup.
A Get Well Card I Received from Alma Hopkins That I Still Have 37 Years Later. Can you see that she wrote my name over the picture of the 
brown girl, third row, middle column?

While recovering, a simple yet memorable card was delivered to my hospital room. I love this card and have kept it in a special place for 37, yes 37 years. It came from a woman who would, hands down, have the single greatest influence on my career and by default, my life. This woman was --- and still is --- one of my mother's close friends. Her name is Alma Hopkins. She was a beautiful, hotshot female advertising executive at J. Walter Thompson and remains an important figure in Chicago's advertising community to this very day. Alma speaks in a sweet, almost whispery voice and has such a gentleness about her. As a little girl I looked up to her. I loved visiting her stylish home. I admired her air of sophistication and her grace. I didn't know much about what she did at JWT but I knew she was a respected African American women in a competitive field. She was what my mother proudly called a rising star in the ad world. Through her upward trajectory, she carved out an illustrious career eventually becoming chief creative officer for Burrell Communications, an agency I would join many years later as vice president and group director.  Call it irony. Call it kismet. Call it what you will. I call it a blessing and credit Alma with introducing me to advertising.

One particularly humid, summer day when I was ten-years-old, Alma, my mother, a couple of their close friends and I were lounging leisurely around the swimming pool in Alma's posh high-rise apartment building. Though she was relaxing, she was also in work mode with her notebook on her lap and papers strewn about.

"Leslie, can you help me think of some ideas for a Coca-Cola campaign?" Alma asked.

"Who me?" I wanted to ask and look around to see if there could possibly be another Leslie sitting by the pool that day who knew something about ad campaigns.

"Sure," I said as I jumped up with feigned confidence, moving my chair closer to Alma's. The challenge intrigued me and I was giddy that she asked for my help. She went on to explain in layman's terms what the campaign was all about and I remember writing notes on a yellow notepad. I can't recall if I added value to her campaign (probably, no... definitely not), but I remember how I felt that day. Important. Worthy of being asked for my ideas. Happy that she saw something special in me. As a little brown girl, I was often told I was articulate, sometimes pretty and even athletic. That particular day, I felt just plain smart.

Two years later when Alma and her creative team were in search of models for a Coca-Cola print and out-of-home campaign featuring a mother and daughter, she booked my mom and me. I was thrilled to land my first modeling gig but I was perhaps more excited to have behind-the-scenes access to a photo shoot for Coke. Amazing, I remember thinking, even as I held a frozen smile while the Coke bottle threatened to slide from my hand under the photographer's hot studio lights. By this age I had developed a passion for writing. Yet Alma's encouragement and this experience ignited a fire in me. I knew I wanted to go into advertising. This sealed the deal.

Well, my career didn't go quite the way my fiercely determined adolescent self planned. I went to college to study this field that intrigued me and earned a bachelor's degree in advertising. Upon graduating from college, however, I decided to go into public relations instead and later earned a master's degree in humanities. Less sexy perhaps, public relations made sense for me as a writer with the gift of gab and dare I say, persuasion. Public relations has kept me close to the ad world and more often than not, I am at the table with my advertising counterparts setting strategies and bringing national campaigns to life. To this day my passion for advertising remains a constant in my life and shines through in much of my work.

Ask anyone who knows Alma Hopkins and they too will tell you she is a powerhouse in the advertising industry. She has pushed boundaries and stands tall in a field of giants. I have Alma to thank not just for telling, but for showing a little brown girl that she was special, smart and worthy. She set a high standard for me to follow. I think of Alma and her incredible influence a great deal. Because of her influence, I have made a commitment in my own life to pay it forward as a mentor, advocate and resource for a host of talented people.

So I ask you, who's the Alma in your life? Call them today and tell them what they mean to you. I'm picking up the phone to call MY Alma right now.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

When You've Conquered Your Fears, Go Higher

I am training for my first triathlon and trying not to flip out and completely lose it. It probably would have been smarter for me to explore a thousand different challenges that don't send me into the level of panic I feel with my first triathlon less than five months away. I could have, for example, mustered up the courage to audition for the role as the second black female cast member on 'Saturday Night Live' (but I'm not funny), or tried to be a swimsuit model (insert your own joke here). But no, I decided to tackle one of the most daunting things I could think of. Silly me.

For some, training for a tri is a piece of cake. You swim. You bike. You run. How hard could it be, right? And yet, all I can think of when I'm in the water attempting to do a 4 x 100 meter tempo swim is, What in the hell have I gotten myself into? Why in the world would I put myself through this? I pull my goggles over my eyes and sulk a little when no one is watching. Then I finish my pathetic little swim session and out of breath, I hoist myself out of the pool and march into the women's locker room. I pull off my swimsuit, throw my head back and laugh out loud. It doesn't matter that I'm standing naked in a puddle of chlorinated water while a group of cute, little Asian ladies give me the side eye. Doesn't matter at all. I laugh because I think of every little thing I've ever tried to accomplish, from the mundane to the sublime. I laugh at how farfetched some of my challenges have been. And I tell myself to be proud because I've completed them all. Running a marathon. Check. Done eleven of those bad boys. Writing a book. Check. Working on another one now. Living abroad and learning enough Italian, Spanish and Japanese to survive. Check. Well, that was often a comedy of errors trying to manage life in a foreign land with two little kids in tow. But that's another story for another time.

Essentially, my life has been filled with setting my sights on lofty goals and stepping so far outside of my comfort zone that when I turn around, I can no longer see it in the distance. This gives me an edge, keeps me hungry and let's me know I can do anything. It may not be pretty but you can believe that I'll get it done. I will admit, however, that I am scared shitless at the idea of competing in a triathlon.

Six reasons why I'm doing it anyway:

1) When you've conquered a fear, you should celebrate that accomplishment, then go higher. Getting stuck is for Suckas! 

We are all allowed to pause and bask in the glow of our achievements. That's fair. But staying there forever? Nope. That's a losing proposition. Once you know can do something pretty cool like starting a successful business, learning a language, earning a pilot's license or passing the Series 7, it's time to build upon all that awesomeness and take it higher. This is how I feel about my love for semi-competitive/weekend warrior sports like running. Been there, done that. Now after all these years of running, it's time to elevate because I know I can.

2) Trying something new and pushing myself is mandatory. 

Running is my first love. God willing I will run until I'm a little old lady. I've been a runner pretty much all my life. I ran from, and sometimes chased after, the boys on the schoolyard when I was a little girl with my braids flying in the wind behind me. I joined a track team in the fifth grade and I also ran track competitively the first two years of high school in Hawaii in the 80s. Sure I took time off from running as a college student because I had much more important things to do like going to parties... keg parties, parties at the Illini Union, parties at the Kappa House, parties at the Alpha House, you name it, me and my crew were there. Oh, and then there was that little thing called going to class and earning my degree. These life events were much more important than running (especially the partying) and if you don't see it that way, then you're being really short-sighted right now. Shame on you.
Me running my first half-marathon in Sept. 2003

Fast forward to bona fide adulthood. I started taking running seriously in my late 20s when I lived in Japan. I ran with a good friend, Laurie, who had finished three marathons. I was inspired but frustrated because at the time I couldn't run comfortably for more than three miles. I could not imagine running 26.2 miles but I told Laurie I wanted to give it a shot and train for a marathon. She wrote out a training plan for me and I didn't get started right away but once I made up my mind, I followed her plan. In 2003, I completed the first of ten half-marathons and what would become the first of eleven full marathons (and counting), and I haven't looked back. Now it's time to step my game up, work new muscle groups and achieve something new.

3) Learning is invigorating. 

I am learning breathing techniques, what I should prepare for in an open water swim and how to correct some of my egregious mistakes in the pool. This entire process of learning to swim the right way is humbling but also invigorating. Each time I reach a new milestone like running strong after an exhausting swim (I had never done that before) or getting through a kick ass spin class, I'm on top of the world. I have discovered that when I feel good about something I accomplish simply because I want to and not because I have to, it spills over into other areas including my work and how I deal with my family. It gives me confidence and makes me feel open to endless possibilities for other good things to happen in my life.

4) Getting and keeping this body right is a priority. 

I'm happy with who I am and have settled comfortably into being perfectly imperfect. That said, I'm hoping to see these thighs slim down and these abs tighten up a little more throughout my triathlon training. Ah, my never ending quest to be body beautiful, at least in my own eyes.

5) My triathlete friends are buying me a new car when I finish the race. Lucky me.

Some of my awesome triathlete friends.
Left to right: Nellie, Valerie, Sharon and Frances
Okay, this isn't true at all but maybe if my friends read this, they'll get the hint and have a fabulous new car adorned with a huge red bow waiting for me when I cross the finish line! In truth, my very close running friends, many of whom are longtime triathletes and some of the most accomplished women I know, are traveling to my town to do the tri with me. I am blessed beyond words to have strong, athletic, women friends who support one another. I have known for some time that they will always be by my side encouraging me to overcome my fears and I try to do the same for them. They are true gifts to me. Frances, Freda, Celeste, Valerie, Nellie, Noni, Sharon, Bernadette, Carmen, Dayi, Susan, Jackie, and Valarie, I love each of you. And a special shout out to my cousin, Todd, who completed his first tri last summer. He's a bad ass and I love him to death. Todd is holding my hand through this process, giving me great advice and cheering me on.

6) I am worth investing in me. 

My mental and physical health are huge investments and I plan to honor myself, conquer my fears and go higher for as long as I possibly can because I'm worth it. And you are worth investing in yourself too. What fear will you conquer this year? How will you go higher? I'd love to know.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Life is Not a Zero-Sum Game

I've been following New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's "Bridgegate" fallout since the story broke over a week ago. I find it fascinating that Christie is catching so much heat for something he allegedly had no knowledge of. And now, according to Business Insider, his administration has hired a dynamite legal team to investigate the Fort Lee, NJ lane closures as he faces state and federal inquiries.

Here's the thing: Like many other Americans, I don't believe for a second that Christie, a rising star in the Republican party, would allow his Deputy Chief of Staff --- or any of his minions --- to wield that kind of power without his consent or approval. Though charismatic and likable, he is too controlling to allow something like this to happen. Too hungry for power. Too determined to win. So I'm calling bullshit on this disavowal of knowledge Christie is trying to sell the American public. I think his thinly-veiled control issues are finally catching up with him. 

I liken Christie to so many others for whom life and power consist of a series of zero-sum games. In order to win, someone else must lose. And for someone else to win, they must lose. What exactly are they winning when their currency of choice consists of lies, denial and corruption? 

Huh, Bernie Madoff? Please speak into the mic, we can't hear you. 
What were you saying, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich? 

This kind of dirty politics and bad behavior eventually catches up with said offenders. I see it all the time. Politicians, fund managers, CEOs, Hollywood elite and everyday people lie and deceive, free-falling into the zero-sum game. They ultimately unravel when they don't get their way because they are consumed with the idea of winning. 

But winning what? Against whom? 

You've seen them too. They kick, scream and often have very public meltdowns. They slowly implode.

Enter Kanye West. 

While West is no politician, he is certainly a talented artist who has overdosed on his own power. His public rants, self-declared genius status and physical attacks on the always ridiculous paparazzi (who are not without fault) demonstrate his psychosis. West, too, is caught up in this zero-sum game of winning at all costs. He cries that as an artist, his intentions and business acumen are misunderstood.

I appreciate West's hunger. I applaud his drive because we all need some of this to succeed in our own lives. But he exhausts me. I get so tired of seeing him posture and pretend in front of anyone with a camera and a mic. Stop it, Kanye. Stop believing you're the only one who can ascend to greatness. Stop playing the victim. Stop being fixated on winning for winning's sake. Stop buying into the idea that in order to win, you have to take others down. 

Of course we can't all be politicians, musicians or public figures and thankfully, not everyone wants to be. But we can all win at something. I wake up every day thinking about how I should approach a subject I'm writing about, how I should develop pitch angles for my clients, or how I can overcome my own fears and inadequacies to face an upcoming triathlon I'm participating in. Every day I try to be deliberate in my thinking. I try to slow myself down long enough to plot and strategize about how to win in my own life, not how to covertly plot against someone who doesn't support me. I honestly don't have the time to think about other peoples' agendas. Screw the editor who doesn't respond to my pitches (that are all fabulous, by the way!) For every editor who doesn't like my ideas or my writing style, there are others who respect me, see my value and appreciate my voice. I tell myself that I must keep climbing to be the best possible writer and entrepreneur I can be. 

For me, life is absolutely not a zero-sum game. And like most people I know, I am in it to win. But someone else doesn't have to lose in order for that to happen. We can all win.