If You Try

If You Try

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Art of Never Giving Up (The Tyler Perry Factor)

Everyday there is the temptation to give up on our dreams. It is hard to produce and make tangible what God has put in the heart. But if it's for us, God will cause it to come about if we don't lose faith. This was Tyler Perry's attitude. He failed at getting people to come out to his stage plays for several years and blew thousands of hard earned dollars as he went after his dream. He persisted though, stayed committed to a single focus (his play), and now he is one of the most powerful people in entertainment. Check out his super inspiring video below.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Remembering My Mama Flo

On September 1st, an amazing woman known to me as "Mama Flo" left this temporary life to take up full possession of her eternal one. Mama Flo or Forestine Thompson was my step-mother, but coincidentally she took the "step" out of our relationship by embracing me just as much as her own biological kids. There are some people that you call family in life just based off of your blood type and there are others who become your family because you have the same DNA in your soul. That's the best way I can describe my relationship with this wonderful woman. Flo was tough, loving, witty, kind, giving, unselfish, strong, confident, and a fighter. She whooped me up every now and then to let me know who was the boss. But she also cooked for me, told me she loved me often, and would be ready to help me in any way I needed if I asked. I just wish I would have taken more advantage of all she was in my life. There will never be another mama Flo, but she is etched on my heart forever and the way she impacted my life will never be forgotten.

The Sharp Skills Story (Episode 5: The Process of Recording Anno Rebelio)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting People To Care About What You Say

Speak less, listen more, read and observe a lot, take a genuine interest in other people and what they are doing, don't be quick to offer advice, let your actions speak for you, make sure your words and actions match, don't talk about what you're working on until your pretty much finished with it, do cool and worthwhile stuff that is worth paying attention to. I think that pretty much sums it up.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Sharp Skills Story (Episode 4: My Infatuation with Business and Entr...

What Champion Minded People Do That Average People Don't (The Michael Jordan Factor Read Time 0:41)

I read a phenomenal article the other day about Michael Jordan's training regiment when he played in the NBA. What set Michael Jordan apart from the other superstars of his day was the willingness to sacrifice personal time for training. He trained and prepared during the off season and trained before the team's regular practices. This sacrifice enabled him and his group to win 6 championships and for Michael Jordan to be branded as (arguably) the best sports figure of all time. You and I may not be athletes, but we can learn a lot from Jordan as we pursue our own niche of greatness. How are you training? What time is devoted to perfected your craft, gifts, and talents? Champion minded people are not satisfied with being average in anything they do, they want to be the best and are willing to pay the price to be so.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Sharp Skills Story (Episode 3: The Biggest Challenges I Have Faced)

Create Your Own Momentum (Read Time 0:41)

You're probably familiar with how frustrating it can be when you are waiting for others to catch your vision. In any worthwhile pursuit in life, you have to be willing to stand alone for a season to get the ball rolling. The older I get, the more I am growing out of an individualist mindset. It is not the best way to go about accomplishing things. But while you are waiting for people to get the memo, begin to do what you can as an individual to speed the process along. Talk about your vision often and speak of how others will play a pivotal role. Act as if you are already living in the realization of what you envision. People will pick up on your confident aura and ask what is different about you. Get everything in place that you can and execute whatever can be done by yourself. Work, tweak, and grind until others see what you see. Momentum never develops on its own and it is often the visionary that kicks it off.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Sharp Skills Story (Episode 2: Balancing Everything On My Plate)

The Unconquerable Power of A Healthy Family (Read Time 0:41)

There is a lot of talk and debate going on about the definition of marriage and the future of the family as many of us know it. I am often tempted to weigh in and give my opinion (especially toward those I disagree with), but I am finding the best defense against today's prevailing and inaccurate schools of thought is to simply demonstrate what a healthy home looks like. Debating, arguing, criticizing, and bible thumping will not work today. The only way to convince others of the truth is to demonstrate it in our own lives. Instead of trying to prove our differing points, opinions and theories, lets live out what we know is right and let that speak for us. You can't expect others (especially opponents) to follow your lead if what you are proposing as truth has not shown itself to be effective in your own family. So lets get busy making our homes healthy; emotionally, mentally, physically, and most importantly spiritually.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Sharp Skills Story (Episode 1: Where It All Started For Me)

Train Yourself To Be A Winner (The Olympian Factor II, Read Time 0:40)

Being a winner does not mean being someone who wins all of the time. It's much deeper than that. Being a winner is a state of mind that declares to the world I will not be defeated even if I should lose. I may suffer loss, setbacks, disappointments, but ultimately I will overcome and make it to my destination. I am convinced that one has to train harder for the game of life than they would an Olympic sport. To be a winner in life is no easy accomplishment, many prefer the wide road of defeat. Winners don't just let life happen to them, they are proactive in trying to create favorable outcomes in any situation they face. They spend time learning form past successes and mistakes. Also, they not only invest in the honing of their craft, but their own personal development as well.

Monday, July 30, 2012

You Need Passion and Discipline To Succeed (The Olympian Factor, Read Time 0:38)

One of my favorite authors, John C. Maxwell, famously quoted "Talent Is Not Enough." He also has a book by the same title. I am beginning to understand the depth of this statement more and more as I pursue my vision with ever increasing intensity. Talent helps you get your foot in the door and even helps others acknowledge what you are good at. But passion and discipline are what will create the momentum that allows you to flourish in your respective lane. Passion is necessary because it is the fuel that drives us to go after something. All the talent in the world won't mean a thing if there is no passion to back it. Discipline is the steering system that keeps us on course while pursuing vision. Discipline causes us to do the necessary things (that we don't necessarily enjoy) that open up the gates to the things that we love to do. Apply passion and discipline to your talent and it will be very hard to not become successful.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Art of Pursuing Your Dream (Read Time: 1:07)

We all have dreams for where we want to be in life and what we want to do. The more mature I become, I am developing a greater focus and determination to see that they become a reality. Life has an interesting way of moving us in a direction that we do not desire to go in if we aren't proactive in charting the correct course. Pursuing a dream is much like an art form. It's as if we all have the ability to create a masterpiece with our lives, we just need the right tools for the job. Here a couple of tools that I use:

1) Utter dependence on God- I realize that the dreams that I have (the real ones at least) are God-given or ordained. There is no way I can wake up to them without his guidance, strength, and inspiration.
2) Dogged Determination- Your dream will not just fall in to your lap (Ask Joseph). It takes a dedicated and steadfast mentality. You will be disappointed on your journey and there will be setbacks. But you must never give up.
3) Write down your dreams and recite them until they become a part of who you are- Don't let life bury your dreams. Keep them before you everyday until you get there.
4) Do at least one thing a day to get closer- Do one thing a day to get you closer to your dream (even if its very small). Just imagine how much closer you would be to realizing your dream if you took 365 steps in a year.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

3 Painless Ways To Motivate Yourself (Read Time 0:51)

If you are like me, you are extremely motivated when you start a project or some other undertaking, but that motivation begins to wane about 3 weeks after its inception. It is easy to be excited about something new, it is the thrill of the unknown that gets many people's blood pumping. But I'm sure we all know that the true rewards only come when we finish what we start. So how can you stay motivated to keep going until you the finish the job? Here are a couple of methods that I use:

1) Usually when I start a new project I write down all of the benefits associated with completing it. I review this list whenever I feel that my motivation is beginning to dry up.
2) I remind myself of the aspects of my current situation that I am not happy about that completing this project/undertaking will change for the better.
3) I spend some time talking or hanging out with friends that are very motivated. Usually their energy will rub off on me and/or hearing them talk will spark some fresh ideas.

How else can you motivate yourself and what methods do you use? Leave a comment.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

8 Ways To Maintain Your Inspiration (Read Time: 1 minute, 58 seconds)

The drudgery and difficulties of life can sometimes cause us to lose our inspiration. Negative feedback and doubters can cause even the strongest of optimist to give up. But one has to maintain a certain level of inspiration to keep going after what God has placed in their heart. There will never be a shortage of discouragement, but I have found that these actions help me stay motivated and inspired in spite of the challenges that life presents. This is by no means an exhaustive lists, you may think of some things that you can do or that you have seen others practice in order to stay motivated:
1) Prayer And Communication With God- my daily routine of connecting with God is the source of my strength and true inspiration that keeps me going.
2) Inspiration Boards- I have compiled a list of pictures/images that I keep in front of me daily that remind me of what I'm working toward.
3) Making Creative Outlets- I find myself most inspired sometimes when I am creating or after I have created something. Most people lose inspiration when they don't have an outlet or platform to express themselves from. Find somewhere or something that you can use as a creative outlet (i.e. blogging, camera, music, etc.)
4) Read A Lot- not everybody is a reader, but they should be. Reading opens your mind to great thinkers and possibilities that are far beyond what you may think is feasible.
5) Remember Your Successes Of The Past- recount your blessings and accomplishments that you have achieved thus far regularly. Don't dwell there and get stuck in former glory, but review these in order to remind yourself that you are heading in the right direction.
6) Surround Yourself With People Who Are Positive- this goes without saying, but you only go as far as your inner circle. If they place limits on themselves, they will place limits on you. If the sky is the limit for them, they will encourage you to have that view as well.
7) Do One Thing A Day That Gets You Closer To Your Goals- this habit will keep the vision fresh on your mind, give you a sense of progress, and help you to inch toward the finish line (consistency is key in any great endeavor).
8) Remember The Key People Who Depend On You- Look into the eyes of the people who are depending on you for inspiration. Carrying that weight will enable you to see past your own personal dilemmas and see the bigger picture.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Official Video- Tha Mic- All In

Tha Mic just released his newest video for the blazing single, All In, off his forthcoming mixtape "Overcoming Anything" available for free download July 28th, 2012. Overcoming anything features collaborations from artists such as Sharp Skills and Dre Marshall. Check out the hot new visual for "All In" below. Follow Tha Mic on Twitter at @ThaMicCheck.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Art Of Learning How To Trust In God (Read Time 58 Seconds)

Trusting others is difficult, well, probably for most people. It's probably safe to say, that trusting people (who we can see) is hard enough. But trusting someone we cannot see? That can prove quite challenging. God has given me an epiphany of sorts in these past couple of days. He showed me that many people believe that He exists, but do not trust that He is who He says He is. There is a very drastic difference between believing in God and trusting in Him. You cannot trust in Him, without first believing in Him, but you can believe in Him, but not trust Him. God often allows us to go through circumstances and situations that are beyond our control. In these He shows us that we can depend on Him no matter what. He wants to bring you and I to a place where we put absolute trust in His Love for us, no matter what kind of situation (even the outcome) we face. We have to be conscience in our determination to trust in Him until it becomes a natural part of our lives. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen if we make it our resolve everyday.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Laziness: The Fire Breathing Dream Killer! (Read time: 59 seconds)

"One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys". Proverbs 18:9

It is amazing to see how lazy that I can be sometimes. A strong and dedicated work ethic is just not a natural inclination for a lot of people, especially those who live a life of relative comfort without having to earn it. When I read the proverb above, I was caught off guard a little. It turns out that laziness has a destructive element to it. Devastation and laziness are immediate relatives. This verse is enough to get me up off of my butt so that I am not a contributor to the destruction of my surroundings and circles of influence. I have found that laziness, if not monitored, has a sneaky way of creeping itself into a prominent place in my life especially after I have worked hard on something beforehand. The goal should not be to become a workaholic, but to have a healthy work ethic in both our individual efforts and the organizations/causes that we are associated with. When tempted to be lazy, remind yourself that giving way to lethargy takes you one step closer to wreckage (in one way or another).

Monday, June 18, 2012

3 Reasons Why You May Be Afraid To Pursue Your Vision (Read Time: 81 seconds)

Many of us have an innate desire within us to do something significant with our lives. Within that many, there are several of us who have an expectation for what that significance should look like. I will venture to say that this is a vision placed within us. Yet, I have found that the vast majority of people never pursue their vision, or at least never put a decent amount of effort into it. Three reasons come to mind on why you and I may be tempted to not go after the God-given vision within us:

1) Fear of Failure- there is the human tendency to play it safe. A lot of people believe that failure means the end, but the truth is that you only fail when you quit. Mistakes, setbacks, and disappointments are actually very useful teachers depending on our outlook.
2) Criticism- Most people don't like critics or the feeling of their efforts being judged. So to spare ourselves the pain of hearing how great we are not, we stay in the background. The messed up part is that we also begin to criticize others who are bold enough to step out on their vision. Some criticism is very useful depending on the source, and the motives of the ones who give it.
3) No Example to Follow- Chances are that the vision that you have is very unique. True, there is nothing new under the sun, but you may envision a totally different version of what once was. It's scary to try to create something and there is no existing template. But if you act on your vision despite having no clear model, you will be a pioneer and an example to many others who are to follow in your footsteps.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Anno Rebelio and Sharp Skills Come to the Pacific Northwest (Tour Dates Included)

The R.E.B.E.L. Firm is excited to announce that Sharp Skills will be hitting the road with his new album Anno Rebelio, with the first stop being the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The PNW has a very special place in Sharp's heart because he spent 7 years there as a resident and started his professional music career there as well, releasing his debut album "The Responsibility" in 2004 and "The Campaign" in 2008. Now he is gearing up to let his fellow R.E.B.E.L.'s there hear his new sound, maturity, and growth as an artist. The tour dates/appearances are as follows (click on the links for more information):

June 24th
C.89 Radio Interview with Eddie Jones-Seattle, WA-8:30am interview time
F.A.M.E. (First African Methodist Episcopal Church)-Seattle, WA-11am service (tentative)

June 27-28th
Generation Now Conference- Vancouver, WA-6pm (27th)-10am (28th)

June 29th
Inside the Music Concert- Seattle, WA-7pm

June 30th
New Creation Christian Center-Seattle, WA-7pm

July 1st
Restoration Bible Church- Seattle, WA-10:30am

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mastering Emotions (A Required Skill for Great Leaders)

This is a picture of one of the greatest leaders who ever lived, Mohandas Gandhi

Our emotions are very important. They are a significant part of what makes us human. But emotions can change at the drop of a dime for a wide variety of reasons (i.e. illness, bad news, hitting knee on coffee table). Therefore, those who seek to be great must govern themselves by something greater than emotions. If one governs him/herself by emotions, then their commitment to whatever their cause is will shift and decline if they get discouraged enough. They will fly off the handle and lose everything they have worked for if they give in to those who vehemently oppose them. Or they can fall into temptations that can wreck their lives and the well being of those around them if they get emotionally seduced. All great people will and have had to overcome emotions during crucial points in their lives. There has to be an internal resolve that will keep you in position when vacillating feelings begin to be stirred. It just comes with the territory.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

You Are What You Think

Thoughts are the inputs that determine our eventual actions. With that said, it is crazy how many people let their thought life go ungoverned. We have to manage the thoughts that we allow to stay in our minds like we manage our finances, relationships, and health (if not more). You can't stop all of the random and stupid thoughts that come through your head, but you can stop them from getting cozy there. We must actively fill our minds with good things. There must be a habit formed of thinking excellent and productive thoughts because these will cause our actions to be the same. I heard someone very recently say that "the most valuable real estate is what is between our ears. Companies pay billions of dollars for a piece of that real estate." Since this is the case, lets keep our most precious real estate in tip top condition.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Check Out this RU The Voice? Tour Footage of Sharp Skills (Video)

How Many People Will You Kill Or Revive Today?

Believe it or not, we either kill people (including ourselves) or revive them every single day. There is a famous phrase that states "the power of life and of death is in the tongue". We take for granted the massive capacity that our mouths have to either destroy or grow. I am guilty at times of being careless with my words and end up saying things I don't mean. Those careless words are like stray bullets hitting innocent bystanders. Then other times I speak as I should and it is like fresh air for someone who has been drowning in life's difficulties. We end up hurting ourselves when we speak negatively to ourselves too. We say things such as "I can't do that", or "I'm not smart enough", "I'm too fat", or "who could ever love me". Internal dialogue like this is the same as putting a revolver to our head and squeezing. It may not be an instant death, but we are carrying the cloud of death over our heads when we operate according to this mode of thinking. So as you go through your day today, ask yourself "how many people will I either kill or give life to today"? You have more power than you know.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Pain You Overcome Is Someone Else's Inspiration

You've probably heard it said that the pain you endure is for someone else. I believe that to be true to a certain degree. I don't think you can totally take yourself out of the equation though. A lot of the pain we experience (that God allows and that we don't inflict on ourselves) is for our character development and overall long term benefit. Yet, that character development is meant to assist others as well. The people who look up to you or who you are paving the way for (even if you are not conscience of it) are going to find motivation from your story. When they hear the odds that you overcame, they will then be able to muster the courage to face their own adversity (especially if it is similar). It is hard not to focus on ourselves when we are hurting, our natural inclination is to nurse our wounds as quickly as possible. But if we would take a moment to look beyond ourselves, we will perhaps see all of the aspiring souls watching are movements and hoping we will overcome them so they know it is possible for them to do the same.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Why The Storms of Life Are Important To Your Growth

Nobody likes to go through hardships in life. I for one would much rather have it easy that put myself through pain, even if it means it will be good for me in the end. The only problem with this aspect of human nature is that if it were left to us, we wouldn't develop the character needed to produce our purpose in life. The truth is we would stay in comfort and be miserable instead of take a few lumps and end up truly happy about the life we lived once we are on our death bed. I'm starting to see why God allows seasons of trouble in my life. I say I want to be great, but I would never put myself through the "training" necessary to get there (if that were even possible). The God ordained storms of life forge fortified character, habits, and purify my soul so that I am strong enough to handle God's big purpose for my life. The same is true for you. So, when you find yourself in the storm of your life, re shift your focus and see it as training that will take you higher in life than you ever dreamed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Business is Good at Sharp Skills Video Shoot!

Business is definitely good and gaining even more momentum for Sharp Skills. This past weekend, Abstract Mindset Media shot the video for the first single off of Anno Rebelio (releasing March 27th 2012), "Business is Good". Sharp was definitely in full affect as he sported his different styles which encompass: business, urban classy, and hip hop. We'll have some behind the scenes footage of the video up soon. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures courtesy of our friends at Orange Coast Media & Design.

Photo Courtesy of Orange Coast Design & Media

Photo Courtesy of Orange Coast Design & Media

Photo Courtesy of Orange Coast Design & Media

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Track Listing and Release Date Announced For Anno Rebelio

The R.E.B.E.L. Firm is excited to announce that Sharp Skills' 3rd studio album, Anno Rebelio, will officially  release March 27th, 2012. It will be available exclusively on the album website for the first 45 days. It will then be released to other popular online music retailers such as Itunes and Rhapsody. The track listing is as follows:

1) Anno Rebelio
2) R.E.B.E.L. Party 2.0
3) Business is Good
4) How Bout It
5) The One ft. Roman the Ryda
6) Fly With Me ft. Shay
7) Earthquake
8) Strength
9) Lay My Life Down
10) If You Try ft. Gwen Phillips

For a sneak peak of the new music, check out the video below. Thanks for your continued support of Sharp Skills and Anno Rebelio! Be sure to follow @sharpskills24 to stay up on the latest news concerning Anno Rebelio.

Monday, January 30, 2012

When Giving Up Isn't An Option (The Rocky Balboa Factor)

There are times in life when you will feel like quiting. Sometimes the pressure from everything surrounding you can weigh you down to such a degree that you give up hope that things will change. These are the times that make us stronger and fortify our resolve. One of the hardest things to do is hang in there, but it is necessary. There are more people watching you than you know and a lot of what they will be inspired to do will stem from you. You have to face your fears. There will be periods where the initial outcome will not be pleasant, but you will reap huge rewards in the long run if you stay the course and don't throw in the towel.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Birthday to the Most Amazing Woman on the Planet!

I want to wish a very special and happy birthday to the love of my life, Menzelle Jacobs. Baby I love you more than these words can reflect. You truly are my heart beat and I know that I would not even be close to where I am today if I didn't have you beside me. You encourage and inspire me. You allow me to dream big and do everything in your power to help me see my visions through (no matter how crazy they seem). You are the best cook that I know, you take care of your boy in the kitchen. You are gorgeous, both inside and out and I want the world to know how blessed I am. It is an honor being your husband and I hope this day will be one you can positively reflect on in the years to come. I pray God's richest blessing on you, that he give you even greater insight, wisdom, strength, and grace as you continue to fulfill your calling as a daughter of the Most High. You are excellent, praise worthy, noble, and you give life to my bones. You are my crown and the world is a much better place because you are in it. Keep shining queen!

-From hubby

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What Are You Doing To Realize Your Dream?

I don't know if you noticed, but 2012 is already moving pretty quick. Many of us have made resolutions, set goals, and made plans to improve our situation. My goal through this post is just to encourage you to stay on the path you have started. Don't be like most people who quit between late January and early February. Stay diligent in what you are working on. Your dreams, goals, and visions are not going to accomplish themselves. Keep going until you develop a rhythm and then that rhythm will work for you. You'll knock out your bite sized goals (leading to the bigger ones) in your sleep. Then at the end of the year, what was once formidable is now attainable. Hang in there!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Harnessing Your Passion To Produce Something Worthwhile (The Steve Jobs Factor)

Would you consider yourself a passionate person? Is there something that fires you up and gets your engine going? Good, this is for you then. Often times we let this valuable passion (or intense desire) go to waste or use it in a destructive manner. Passion can lead to great accomplishment if it is channelled the right way. You can chose to let it be fuel for you creativity or let it just flicker and fizzle out through passionate talk that amounts to nothing. I've learned a huge lesson in harnessing my passion. Don't talk about it, or at least don't let my passion flow out all at once through my speech, especially if the audience probably wont take it and run with it. We often express our passions through conversations, social media, etc. and fail to produce something tangible. Most times, you are losing thunder when you just blab about what you want to do or how strongly you feel about a particular subject (don't get me wrong,I love using social media to convey my thoughts). Take it one step further, write an article or a book, start a peer group, create a product, or whatever else you can think of to show how passionate you are. Don't just talk about it, most people will forget what you say anyway. Make your passion count for something that will last and improve your life and those around you.

"Do you want to sell sugared water forever or do you want to change the world" -Steve Jobs

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sharp Skills Talks Marriage

I recently had a friend of mine hit me up and ask me about marriage, I thought that there may be other people who can benefit from this and decided to share my response. See the question and answer below.

"Sharp, thanks for sharing your blog on 'the artistry of marriage'. I've had a lot of pastors, family, and trusted friends give me advice on Marriage and how to prepare, but I'd love to hear from you in a little more in depth.

Here is my question: As a 21-year old, what can I be doing right now - in my singleness - to be best preparing for marriage? I would love to hear your thoughts on this."

Answer: I can't act like I got this perfect when I was single, but one thing that I did to prepare for marriage was try to forget about it and focus on where I was headed in life. So many people become so consumed on when and who they will marry that they are distracted from doing what they are called to while single. With that said though, I also begin to read books and other material on relationships and how to have successful ones, not just marriage (though that was included and a main area of interest for me). Lastly, I was sort of mentored unknowingly by a young married couple. They allowed me to hang around them even as a single young man and shortly after I found my wife. The biggest and most important thing you can do right now is deepen your relationship with God, get a vision for your life, and begin to move toward it. Hope that helps a bit.