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Put On Your Glasses!

by Wendy Gladney on 06/15/19

I recently had the courage to carve out time and watch Ava DuVernay’s latest piece, “When They See Us.” It was heart wrenching and brought me to tears.  Not just because I am a mother to a wonderful, bright and handsome Black man, but also because I am now a grandmother to a beautiful grandson (and granddaughter) that I love and pray for daily. In my prayers for them, I know there is a level of prejudice they may face, that many of their counterparts will never have to think about, simply because of the color of their skin.

As people of color, it doesn’t matter the pigmentation of our skin, or where we might live. It is a certain reality that we could be pre-judged or have bias placed upon us at any given time.  Although it can be a sensitive subject, there’s a group of people that live “privileged” lives where they never even think about anything happening to them by the law just because of the color of their skin. The question this brings me to is, when will America be a land of equality for all of its citizens? Especially where everyone, no matter what their ethnicity, will be given equal justice under the law. I hope that in my lifetime I can experience this reality for the sake of the sacrifices of my ancestors and the legacy of my future lineage.

Let me pause and say that I don’t believe all law enforcement are prejudiced or biased, but I do think the feeling still permeates in such a way that really effects the poor and immigrants.  This must stop.  If we, people of color, teach our children to honor and respect the law and the police, then the police must earn that respect by treating all citizens with the same respect.  There must also be some sort of training that is mandated throughout the system to help break these chains that have kept us caught up in such behavior.  On the flip side of the coin, I also believe there needs to be a level of responsibility and accountability by everyone to do the right thing and to be mindful of their actions. We shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells, but also don’t provoke a situation that could bring about a negative reaction.

What must we do to bring about change? We must take off the blinders from our eyes, put on our glasses so we can see each other as human beings equal under the eyes of God. Over time there have always been people, and it usually starts with one individual, who are willing to take a stand for justice no matter the cost.  What would the world look like if each of us made ourselves a party of one to start making the world a little better? There must be a conscious effort to bring about this change.  Everyone is going to have to be willing to release hurt and pain from the past if there’s hope for a brighter future.   

Years ago when I was going through counseling regarding some things from my past, I remember the counselor telling me if I wanted to see a change for future generations in my family, I had to be willing to forgive and break negative cycles. It had to start with me.  This was not what I wanted to hear. Why did I have to be the one to make the sacrifices to forgive others that had hurt me when I was innocent? Then I realized why not you, Wendy? Let’s all put on our glasses so we can see what role we must play to improve our families, communities, the nation and the world. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  Harriet Tubman.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker. 

A Letter of Forgiveness to My Father

by Wendy Gladney on 06/10/19

We are told that our first impressions of ourselves comes from our parents. Much of our confidence in what we can or cannot do stems from what is poured into us as children. For those that follow my story know that as a child I was abandoned by my birth mother and sexually abused by my father.  My father lived a lifestyle that also exposed me to things that little girls should never have to experience.  Over the years the relationship between me and my father was like a roller coaster up and down.  I learned from others that my father experienced pain in his life and it has been proven hurt people hurt people.

My father passed away over two decades ago and sometimes it still feels like yesterday to me.  His presence was always larger than life and when he entered a room, he lit it up with his smile.  He had the power to take your breath away without saying a word.  Although I was a victim to his vices, I still loved him.  As a child he was the only parent I knew. Having a void in my life with the absence of my mother, I wanted and longed for the love and acceptance of my father.  How does a child understand the dichotomy of what is unacceptable behavior and the craving to belong?

When I was in high school my father had a heart attack and my grandmother (who I love beyond measure) told me I had to go to the hospital to see him because they didn’t know if he would survive.  As I listened to her words so many thoughts passed through my mind, however, going to see him was not an option and I knew I had to face him.  What I did not know was it would not be his smile that would soften my heart, but rather his helplessness and that now he was a victim.  A victim to all the things that brought him to this point of being flat on his back.  All I remember is telling him that I forgave him for everything he had ever done to me and that I hoped he would heal and get his life right with the Lord.

What I did not know at that time was this would be the beginning of my journey of understanding the power of forgiveness and how it can truly transform someone’s life, family and generations. The journey of healing between me and my father did not happen overnight, and it took several years before we were able to be completely vulnerable and work through our past.  We both had to be willing to open up and share our feelings and listen without judgment.  During one of our talks my father turned to me and thanked me for forgiving him and that he was grateful for another chance for us to build a loving relationship.

I know some who may read this might not understand how I could forgive my father for what I went through as a child, and yes I know he was wrong in his actions, however, I believe in second chances and although he has been gone now for over twenty years this is my open letter of forgiveness to him on this Father’s Day.  It is my hope that someone reading this message will find it in their heart to give someone in their life a second chance through the power of forgiveness.  Forgiveness does not mean people are excused for their actions when they are wrong, but it does mean being willing to be part of a solution that can build bridges instead of walls.  After all, as my grandmother would say, “keep lying down and getting up and one day you too will need someone to forgive you or give you a second chance.”  Happy Father’s Day!

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker. 

The Suite Life

by Wendy Gladney on 06/03/19

Serving the community for close to two decades, I’ve learned the importance of keeping up with what’s going on around town.  Knowing the people, places and things that keep everything going is crucial.  Southern California can be complex with lots of moving parts and staying connected is vital.  With a history as an Event Manager, Community Relations Professional and Strategic Engagement Consultant, I’ve found it almost impossible to consult just one entity as a source of information.

In the year 2000, Sarah Harris started a publication called, “Save The Date” that highlighted people of interest, gatekeepers, gamechangers and a calendar of events.  For several years, it served as the go-to for learning about what was happening in our community.  With the evolution of technology, a lot of information moved from print to online, but for some of us we still like to have the option of getting our information both online and in print.  Due to public demand, Sarah Harris has decided to bring the publication back in the form of a “Concierge Magazine: The Suite Life So Cal.”  The publication will seek to include information from various communities across the Southland.

The magazine will premiere on June 6th with the owners of Harold & Belle’s Restaurant, Ryan and Jessica Legaux, on the cover in celebration of their family restaurant’s 50th Anniversary. Various community members have been invited to partake in a red-carpet event and experience the delicious cuisine of Harold & Belle’s Restaurant.  The highlight of the evening will be the unveiling of the premiere edition.  Ryan and Jessica Legaux will be featured as recognition of their family’s decades of service to the community and entrepreneurship in the City of Los Angeles.

Suite Life Magazine will fast become an invaluable resource for engaged professionals and community organizers. It is designed to provide readers with the latest must-know and must-dos; from events and marketing to project management and community relations. The underlying principle of the publication is to constantly strive to communicate solutions and ideas to help make the reader’s life “suiter.” The magazine will be distributed quarterly at select locations and special events throughout greater Los Angeles.  The information will also be available online with ongoing updates.

The mission is to become the leading source for essential information to execute successful projects, initiatives, events, campaigns and business ventures. The goal is to aid the community in garnering maximum exposure and outcomes for their endeavors. The publication hopes to engage in robust, interactive promotion campaigns that connect the dots of the various communities across the Southland.  They also plan to publish a comprehensive resource guide that provides information that can help foster real-time objectives. I have to say I am grateful, and I look forward to picking up my copy.

Cesar Chavez said, “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our aim.” Together we can make our communities better and more informed.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker. 

Succeeding With Passion: Designing The Life You’ve Always Dreamed Of!

by Wendy Gladney on 05/20/19

I’ve been in the business of helping people figure out their lives in different ways for many years now.  What I’ve learned is that most people go through the motions of living, but they rarely live a life that is truly fulfilled.  They search for the next thing verses enjoying the moment and finding the beauty in the present.  There’s nothing wrong with growing and doing new things, but when we do it to fill a void or to run from something in our lives, it is not acceptable.  If we want to live the life we’ve dreamed of, or more importantly the life we were designed to live, we must find our passion and purpose and live every moment to fulfill it. We have to stop putting our value in the wrong things.  

I recently finished reading the book, “Tuesdays With Morrie,” which is the story about a man who was the mentor (and coach) to another gentleman named Mitch (student) and conversations (or lessons) they shared prior to his death from ALS.  One of the things Morrie revealed was how so many people walk around half-asleep, living a meaningless life.  Many of us chase the wrong things trying to find meaning to our lives. One of my philosophies that I’ve been sharing for many years is if we want to understand our purpose, we must learn what our MEANING is and that will help us develop our MESSAGE, which ultimately clarifies our MISSION.  This is the road map to designing our intentional life.

Life should be more than just surviving and making it to the next day.  I have learned from my personal experiences that when we get out of our own way and help others our life takes a turn.  When we devote our lives to helping others in any way possible it is amazing what happens to ours.  There really is truth to when we help someone else we feel better and our life becomes fuller.  We need to add a little more human kindness in all that we do.  So many people are lonely, hurt, lost and filled with unforgiveness. When we can help people work through these issues it not only helps their lives but improves community.

I recently met two beautiful ladies that are also committed to impacting the lives of others through their work. I’m excited to join together with them on June 1st for “A Passion Architect Event” to bring an opportunity to the community called, “A Passion Architect:  Succeeding With Passion.”  The event is being spearheaded by Stephanie Walton, Fortune 100 Leader, Coach and Speaker.  Stephanie is dedicated to helping people find their passion and live the life they are meant to live.  Also joining is Catrena Elliott, Speaker and Gallup Strength Finders Coach.  The three of us will share steps that can make a positive impact on helping people reach their highest potential. Our focus is on helping women find their true selves and become their best selves. Women are the backbone for families, community and much of what happens in society and when we help women succeed, we help the world succeed.

Grace Hansen said, “don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.”  Get off your butt and start living the life you were always meant to live.  As Morrie said, it is never too late.  Everyday I get up with a new excitement about the possibilities each day holds. I am committed to living my best life and helping others do the same. #CoachWendy

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker. 

Equity Can't Wait

by Wendy Gladney on 05/14/19

American Women for International Understanding, an organization whose mission is to help improve the lives of women and girls across the globe, recently decided to attend a book reading and conversation with Melinda Gates and John Legend.  The conversation was both enriching and uplifting. The event was centered around Melinda Gates new book, “The Moment of Lift:  How Empowering Women Changes the World.”  She shared that when you lift women, you lift all of humanity.  Her sentiments resonate strongly with me because that is the very essence of what we do through our organization Forgiving For Living, Inc. For most of my life, it has been my goal to uplift women and girls to make sure they believe in themselves and know that the world is their oyster.

Before attending this discussion, I knew who Melinda Gates was and the work she and her husband Bill do through their Foundation, but now I feel a connection. They believe every life has equal value and they’re committed to helping all people lead healthy and productive lives.  Once I listened to the dialogue between Melinda and John it became clear that she is sold out to this work and will do all she can to improve equity in the world. She served a call to action for those present to make sure we provide opportunities to women and people of color.  What really resonated with me was when she stressed how we must go beyond just being a mentor and become a sponsor.  We change from being a mentor into a sponsor when we are willing to put something on the line to help a person out. There are many qualified individuals who just need a little support. A sponsor is in a position to offer that support.

When it comes to women’s rights there have been improvements, but in the grand scheme of things and when we look at the global sphere, we still have a long way to go.  Women still make less than men doing the same jobs and, in most cases, women of color make even less than their female white counterparts.  Melinda gave the example how blind auditions helped orchestras eliminate gender biases where those auditioning (men and women) were behind a curtain when auditioning. This helped the selection committee bring an unbiased approach.  Even in this scenario however, when men heard the footsteps of women behind the curtain, they were biased in their selection.

I do believe there are specific roles for which men and women were specifically created, but when it comes to the service (jobs) we provide, everyone should be treated equally.  During the discussion between John Legend and Melinda Gates, another thing they shared was the importance of not emphasizing that certain tasks are gender specific such as taking out the trash or washing dishes.  We should stop putting boys and girls, men and women in certain boxes. If we want our children to act or believe a certain way, they have to see it modeled.  Remember: people respond more to what they see than what they hear.

Equity can’t wait.  The time is now.  If we are going to move forward, we must first forgive the things of the past and progress with compassion. Those that are in positions of leadership or influence must make their voices heard, go beyond mentorship and step up to the responsibility of sponsorship to help those coming behind and alongside us.  It starts with each of us to lift girls, women and people of color.  Thank you, Melinda and John for reminding us that it is up to each of us to do our part and lift as we climb.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker.