The most important lesson was taught to me by my first boss. One day he caught me goofing off and he said, "George, if you can't work and talk, don't talk. Do the work." That's where black people are in this moment in time. There has been enough talk and book ideas. We must now do the work. Here are some steps that I think people need to take to get started:
1) Get a good education and create a job. It doesn't matter if the education you receive is formal or informal. You need to be able to converse with a variety of people about what's going on in your own life and in America. To do this, you have to be well read and informed. It then becomes easier to connect and find common interests and common bonds.
2) Develop strong interpersonal and people skills. The power and importance of relationships in our lives is not understood and totally underestimated. "Effective" people, those who can get things done, spend 14 percent of their time cultivating relationships. But "successful" people spend more than half of their lives working on relationships. Understand that the key to success is directly related to your willingness to ask people for help. Those people that you ask for support consist of your infrastructure of support. Your level of excellence and success are determined by your relationships. Always remember that people give to people and people leave people�they don't leave companies. The most powerful asset in the 21st century won't be the computer but your relationships.
3) Be on purpose. Find out what your purpose is by taking the journey to discover it. Know why God has put you here and determine your unique purpose in life. There is a specific reason you're here and part of the early journey of life is to determine that reason. As a start, you should try a bunch of different [activities]. Then gravitate towards those things you enjoy and that come easy to you. Next, make a living doing those things. There are so many people doing work that they hate, they just do it for a paycheck but they hate their jobs and they wish they were someplace else. They watch the clock. Those people are mediocre because it's difficult to do something well that you don't like. I know for me, there's nothing that I'd rather be doing on this earth than what I'm doing right now. I'm on purpose.
4) Never work for money. I can honestly say I've never taken a job for money. I believe if you want money you will never get it. Instead, take a job because you believe there is something in it that you love and the money will come. My first job was in the basement of a grocery store. A brother gave me the job organizing soda bottles so we could prepare them for returns. The place where I worked was dark and in disarray, yet I looked at it with joy. I promised my new boss that he wouldn't recognize the place once I finished with it and he didn't. I did a great job. In ten days he gave me a promotion to stock clerk. In a month I was the head stock clerk. Since I performed my job with excellence, I distinguished myself quickly, got more responsibility and more money. Years later, my former boss reminded me that I never asked him how much any of the jobs paid before I accepted them. And that was because it really didn't matter to me. I've found that if you bring value to a job, the money will come. I've never worked for money.
5) Add value. The purpose of life is to love, give, serve and add value to someone or something. These are the only reasons God has put you here. That's your mission. When you find your purpose, you will do it with excitement, passion, excellence and add value. So do what you love, add value, learn from it and move on.
By George Fraser as told to Monique Greenwood