Vol 1. Issue 1 April, 2018
Celebrating Black Achievement 6 Interviews That Explore Diverse Topics With Emerging African-American Leaders
History of the Kola Nut The Rich History Behind Coca-Colaâ€™s Connection To West Africa
BOARD ROOM PHOTO
2 Dynamic Leaders Discuss How Awareness and Reflection Can Bring More Value To Our Careers
TA B L E O F CO N T E N T S Throughout our companyâ€™s very long and proud history, Coca-Cola has been a leader in producing advertising featuring positive images of African-American life and culture. To further celebrate Black Achievement, we feature several vintage Coca-Cola advertisements throughout the pages of this magazine.
AABRG Year in Review pg. 3 Interview with AABRG West Region President, Nicole Atkins pg. 4 Feature Story: Celebrating Black Achievement pg. 7 History of the Kola Nut pg. 20 Feature Story: Diverse Leadership pg. 21 Special Thanks pg. 27 2
THE YEAR IN
2017 REVIEW 2017 was a stellar year for AABRGâ€™s West Region! In 2017, through Ronald McDonald House charities, we helped more than100 individuals. We also invited guest speakers from across the world to engage with us and lead us through exercises to improve our work productivity. We look forward to continuing with our volunteer efforts and learning more in 2018.
INTERVIEW WITH AABRG WEST REGION PRESIDENT NICOLE ATKINS It Takes A Village AABRG President Nicole Atkins shares perspective about putting Black leaders in a position to move forward, giving back, and small steps we can take to enhance our lives and our careers. In a recent interview, Nicole shares her thoughts. Here are excerpts. Interviewer: How did you get involved with AABRG? Nicole: Believe it or not, I actually was put into this position. And it’s been quite an honor! A few years ago, there was no AABRG on the West Coast. I was already involved with several affinity groups in our division in California. Originally, I held a leadership role as a board member in Women’s LINK . As the event coordinator for the group, I helped organize events at local churches and partnered with charities such as Dress for Success, Boys and Girls Club and Ronald McDonald House. As I continued in this role, the AABRG was formed on the West Coast, I was asked to take on the role as a board member and eventually President. Interviewer: How do you feel that the activities and events you all have done have contributed to the betterment of Coca-Cola employees in your region? Nicole: It’s been amazing, we continued our relationship with Ronald McDonald House Charities where we contributed to the lives of over 100 families. We took on a project to support homeless veterans where we package hygiene kits for them. We also hosted several events at our Orange County DC that exposed our teams to various forms of meditation and stress management—including breath work and by incorporating neuroscience. The demand for the volunteer events 4
and events hosted at by the AABRG has continued to be overwhelming. People have truly loved giving back to our community and they’ve been quite receptive to our meditation series. At our most recent event in September, our West Region President Bill O’Brien was in attendance. We were honored. The events we’ve had were aimed to improve employee morale, help lower stress and help with focus and productivity. It’s been a great addition. Interviewer: Let’s talk more about the theme for this magazine: Celebrating Black Achievement. What inspiredyou to lead with this theme? Nicole: The thought came to me during Black History month. During Black History Month, we study black leaders of the past and I also believe it is important to highlight those paving the way right now. The achievements of our Black leaders are not limited to impact in the Black community. These achievements impact everybody regardless of race, ethnicity or gender. The African-Americans we highlighted in our Feature Story bring it to light along with their achievements. We interviewed six African-Americans representing various genders and backgrounds. I thought it was important to not only reflect on our past, but honor people making a difference now.
Celebrating Black Achievement
6 African-American Leaders Stories of Todayâ€™s
Caliph Assagai Motivational Speaker Caliph Speaks
In our feature story, we share interview excerpts from six emerging leaders from across the U.S. who are making a stamp in history in their own way. They are leading not only African-Americans, but other women, men, and minorities to their hopes and dreams.
Dr. Charles Archer CEO The THRIVE Network
Sonja Crystal Williams Co-Founder Go Getter Marketing Group
Nisan Stewart Pastor, Musician & Producer
Ashley Jones Founder Ashley Ann Events 7
Ceata Lash Founder & Inventor The PuffCuff
Motivational Speaker & Life Coach Caliph Speaks www.caliphassagai.com
“I had to change the person I was to reach the level I needed to reach to serve those people to the best of my ability. In that process, I fell into personal development.” Caliph Assagai is a motivational speaker and Life Coach residing in San Diego, California. In this interview excerpt, Caliph shares what inspired him to leave his lobbying firm in Sacramento and launch into public speaking. Caliph: I founded a lobbying firm here in Sacramento, California called Public Interest Advocacy. And in that firm, I represent non-profit organizations before the California state legislature. I’ve always had a really strong desire to help people. In the process of starting
my lobbying firm, I realized I had to become a certain type of person to be successful in business. And that was the best version of myself that I can be.
development. I started thinking like, “How do you change yourself? How do you improve yourself? How do you get better?”
And frankly, I was scared. I had never been in business before, I’d only worked for non-profits and suddenly, I’m representing six major non-profits before the Californian legislature. It was serious business. And I had to change the person I was to reach the level I needed to reach to serve those people to the best of my ability. In that process, I fell into personal
I started trying to figure out, you know, how do I get bigger and better and step up to the level I need to be at? And through that, I found a lot of motivational speaking videos on YouTube that were keeping me going when I was sitting for 14 hours a day at my desk trying to figure out how to get clients, how to make this work, how to be a businessman and a how to be a
better person. And then I realized that the guys I was watching on TV, guys and ladies I was watching on my YouTube, they all have that same gift. They were able to communicate effectively, and make you feel like you knew them. After seeing how people I had never met and didn’t know influenced my life just by having their speeches recorded and shared on YouTube, I was like, “You know what? I wanna do that.”
“...communication and connection is great for anybody, whether you’re in sales or whether you’re leading a team...” Nicole: What does a day in the life look like for you?
Nicole: You talked about communication and connectivity. How does someone even begin if they’re looking to develop themselves? How do we execute that in our careers?
Caliph: I wake up about 4 or 4:30 in the morning. I roll out of bed. I get down on my knees and I pray. In my prayer... what I call my prayer chair and I just show gratitude for everything that I have in my life. There’s so much more to my story but what I can say is that it’s miraculous that I’m here right now.
Caliph: I think communication and connection is great for anybody, whether you’re in sales or whether you’re leading a team or even if you’re just trying to work effectively within a team. I think the true skill is understanding what you want people to get in an interaction with you. I want people to leave their interaction with me, feeling positive, feeling light, feeling good about themselves.
And then from there, I turn around and I do my priming exercises which is Tony Robbins thing. Then I think of more things I’m grateful for and I just try and see myself living the life that I truly want to live. After that, I hit the gym hard and then I come home and the first thing I do is look at my to-do list for the day, make as many phone calls as I can for the first few hours. I connect with the clients that I currently
“...the true skill is understanding what you want people to get in an interaction with you.”
have on either coaching or follow-up on speaking engagements that I’m looking to book. And so that generally is what my day looks like. I spend a lot of time at home and then after I work at home, I generally go out to like a networking event, connect with some people, go visit my family. I wish it was super exciting, but it’s a very routine life. I found that that’s one of keys to success is that I have a pattern that I keep.
Here’s a snapshot of our live interview with Caliph.
DR. CHARLES ARCHER
Chief Executive Officer The THRIVE Network www.thethrivenetwork.org
In this interview, Nicole sits down with Dr. Charles Archer – founder of The Thrive Network, a community-based not-for-profit in New York. Watch Dr. Archer’s full video interview after reading this excerpt. Nicole: For those of you who do not know Charles, can you tell them Dr. Archer: We provide programs and services to people to help our community live with dignity, respect, and independence. We do things like residential services, day school, after school, social work, family support, and respite for over 1,500 people a year with a staff of over 600. We’ve been very fortunate to touch people’s lives on a daily basis. Community-based organizations really are kind of like the engine for employment and the engine of community sustainability, and those are the types of things that we do at Thrive. Nicole: When did you get started?
“How am I gonna do this? What if people aren’t responsive?” Dr. Archer: The start of the organization was about 27 years ago, I needed a job during college so I started working for a social service agency in Queens, New York. And in doing so, we began to kind of reach different areas and reach under-served and under-accessed communities. A lot of minorities were looking for support and minority communities were looking for representation and leadership that reflected their experiences. And that was something that I was able to give at this organization. Sonja: You mentioned you have 600 people working for this organization in some way, shape or form. When it comes to leadership, that’s quite a 10
chunk to manage. If you were to bottle up, just from a leadership standpoint, things that you’ve learned along the way? Dr. Archer: That question haunted me for a while. How am I gonna do this? What if people aren’t responsive? I had to lead people who are at my age, below my age and older than me. Then you have male-female issues that you deal with as far as responsiveness and engagement. And, you know, they got me to the point where I wrote “Everybody Paddles: A Leader’s Blueprint for Creating a Unified Team” and what I did in the book is put six principles that I felt were important. In the book I talk about unity. Unity stabilizes the boat, or the captain leads the ship and everyone else follows, and communication is all about solutions and not about problems—the principle in the book that I do find to be the most important is that everybody paddles. Nicole: What are some of the key secrets or strategies that you have and
“...with leadership, you do not have the opportunity to take a day off.” the standard that you set for yourself and your employees? Dr. Archer: The one thing I also realized as a CEO, but then also as a young African-American male is that I am a leader all the time. And with leadership, you do not have the opportunity to take a day off. You don’t have an opportunity to slack and do things that other people might consider appropriate or inappropriate. You really have to take your leadership very seriously. And for me, that is all about the customer, all about the participant, all about the people with disabilities that we serve. Sonja: What’s next for the Thrive Network or just even you individually with where you’re going? Where are you taking yourself next?
Dr. Archer: For me, I love community work, I love social justice issues. Having Thrive be the provider of choice in New York City for social services, but also provide a choice for people looking for support would be great. People with disabilities are really no different than anyone else. There are so many social causes that people with disabilities are connected to in various forms do I can continue to add my voice to things like criminal justice reform, or healthcare, or education, or affordable housing, or housing discrimination that we know happens with people with disabilities, and other elements, you know, economic disparities. If I could, I would add my voice to that space coupled with all of the community work that I’ve done for the last 27 years.
Here’s a snapshot of our live interview with Dr. Archer.
Co-Founder Go Getter Marketing Group www.gogettergroup.com
Sonja Crystal Williams runs a boutique digital marketing agency based in Atlanta, Georgia. In excerpts from her interview, Sonja talks about her transition from being in a sales career to launching an agency. Nicole: Let’s get a visual for the beginning stages of this new life. How did you start getting clients? We’re a sales company. I love hearing sales stories. Can you walk us through how you started? Sonja: So, here are the visuals. I gave up the company car, had to buy a new one. It took about a year for me to get used to lifestyle adjustments. But it wasn’t terrible. I made small shifts…. For example, you don’t shop at Whole Foods anymore. You need to go Kroger or Ralph’s. You need to be at the Dollar Tree deciding what kind of things you’re gonna get there that you
don’t need to get in the fancy places anymore. I still took trips, but it wasn’t the exotic vacation I had taken the year before to Thailand for 14 days. From a sales standpoint, I had to get out and network. I was probably networking three to four nights a week and some nights I was going to two to three events in one evening. I also found other women that I could say, “Hey. You wanna go to some of these events together?” So, that helped me feel a little more comfortable when I would get to these events with meeting people because now I had two or three other women with me. After I called and emailed every single person I met, invited them out to coffee or tea—instead of lunch. I invited them for tea because you could spend under $2 and that adds up! I did that in the beginning and over time that created a referral network 12
for me. People started passing me business. I also did a lot of speaking engagements which were free, but I shared my knowledge as much as I could to help people. Nicole: What do you do in your day to day life now that keeps your business growing?
“I gave up the company car, had to buy a new one. It took about a year for me to get used to lifestyle adjustments.”
“I set that intention no matter who we are working with—start ups or corporate clients. We want every client to feel empowered.” Sonja: We practice what we preach. We’re a digital marketing agency. So, we maintain a strong digital presence whether that’s me through some of my personal accounts or through our company accounts. And that delivers us leads and we’re able to build and grow relationships with people that way, too. Nicole: Do you have certain clients you like to work with? I ask that because you made our company feel like family. How do you do that?
tagline. Our company tagline is, “We empower. We lead. We connect. That’s a Go Getter.” I developed that tagline at the time our company started because our goal was to make our clients feel empowered, to lead them to the right resources and to connect them. With that tagline, I set that intention no matter who we are working with—startups or corporate clients. We want every client to feel empowered. We want to lead them and we want to connect them with the right resources. So, that’s really our approach on how we do what we do.
Here’s a snapshot of our live interview with Sonja.
Sonja: Let me share with you my
Wedding & Event Designer Events by AshleyAnn www.eventsbyashleyann.com
“No company can succeed, no leader can succeed without their team.” Ashley Ann is the founder and CEO of Ashley Ann’s Events. In excerpts from her video interview, Ashley shares how she manages to balance being the CEO of multiple companies and puts her customers first. Ashley: I actually own five companies. There’s MK Biz Builders, there is NSGA, there’s ashleyannspeaks.com, which is the company that I use to train and consult with as far as digital media, social media, strategy, conversion, sales funnels, that kind of fun stuff. Then, of course, Events by Ashley Ann, the event design and production company which has been running for about 12 years now. I am involved in a non-profit, and I don’t know how,
but I find time to sit in with the Junior League, too. So, basically, I’m a worker bee. Sonja: You have a lot of different lines of business you’re in. How do you grow your businesses? And is it one in particular you focus on at a time or how do you keep the ball rolling? Ashley: I know that you can’t be so systematic and regimented about everything inside of your life, but I actually subscribe to scheduling and I compartmentalize things by day. Then I’ll break my day down into time segments. I give myself so many hours I’m allowed to sit in front of the computer on an email. Whenever I’m going with clients to do consultations or check-ins or site visits, I try to pad in an extra 15 to 20 minutes before or after. So if something runs over, I never want a client or customer to feel like I’m rushing them or they’re not important to me.
Nicole: You also add value amazingly, and that’s actually one of the things that we do at Coca-Cola, too. Can you also tell us about how you add value and how you demonstrate that and communicate that to your team? Ashley: Yeah. I don’t think that you can separate relationship building and adding value. I think they go hand in hand. So if you want a strong relationship with anyone that you’re doing business with, whether it’s a vendor, a consumer or a long time account you’ve had, it’s all about adding value. And I think we always have to remember you sell by listening. Everyone wants to be heard. It’s not my job to come and shove, you know, a bazillion products down your throat. It is my job to come and find out what are your concerns, how quickly do you want to complete some of the projects with a task or, you know, how quickly you need whatever it is that you’re requesting from me.
I’m really big into teaching the team on listening. It’s all about listening to what people need, and if you’re a tremendous salesperson and if you’re adding value to people’s lives, the person who’s really in control of the conversation is the person who listens the most, not the person who speaks the most.
“I know that you can’t be so sys t e m at i c and regimented about everything inside of your life, but I actually subscribe to scheduling and I compartmentalize things by day.”
Nicole: What do you look for in a teammate or an employee? Ashley: No company can succeed, no leader can succeed without their team. Whenever you have or even down personality disputes, it comes out in your work and it gives a really negative experience for your customers and for the clients. Even if you think that you’re hiding things, it’s spilling out and people can feel it.
Here’s a snapshot of our live interview with Ashley.
Pastor Greater Emmanuel Temple Church Musician & Producer
“Try not to overextend yourself, it’s okay to say “No” to something that you can’t do.” In this interview, Nicole talks to Nisan Stewart. Nisan is the Pastor of Greater Emmanuel Temple Church in Lynwood, California and a world-renown musician and producer. Read below for excerpts from Nisan’s video, then click the video to watch! Nisan: My father was the founder of the church. When my father got to a place where he was ready to retire, he was considering people. He came back sometime later and said he was led to having me be the pastor. So I accepted the responsibility and the challenge, and here we are today. Nicole: You mentioned that you are in the music business. Would it be fair to say that you are one of the world’s most televised drummers? Nisan: That’s what some people say. I’ve been for the last almost 20 years working with many artists from various genres and doing pretty much every television show that’s out there that showcases music. Nicole: So you do write, too? Nisan: I do write. I’ve written a number of songs. I’ve worked and written for
Beyonce, Nelly Furtado, Tweet, Missy Elliot, a lot of different people.
One thing my father and mother taught me and my siblings was how to be a great business person. Being a great business person is really not just based on the knowledge you have, but the relationships you have. I decided to put myself in a position where I could take advantage of great opportunities. I’ve been fortunate to partner with some of the best companies in music and endorse them. Nicole: You travel quite a bit. What are some of the things that you do to stay organized and how do you stay so disciplined? Nisan: Thank God we live in 2017. We have our devices just like I’m on my device right now doing this interview. You have to really manage your calendar. I’m the type of person I need to remind myself of what I have going on. I don’t have an assistant because I wouldn’t want to put them through dealing with me. I think Siri and my phone can handle me well and I can deal with it well. Try not to overextend yourself. And one 16
of the most important things is that it’s okay to say “No” to something that you can’t do. But if you’re gonna do it, you know, always put yourself in a position to do the best.
Nicole: In a sale’s rep life, in a company like this, we move constantly, because offices never close, and I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen people that are completely organized to people I’ve picked up off of the floor crying in the parking lot. So this is to really help people understand the importance and the snowball effect of your humble spirit. Nisan: Yes. Well, one thing for me and my remedy is that I’ve been fortunate
“Being a great business person is really not just based on the knowledge you have, but the relationships you have.”
and blessed to travel around the world and see a lot of people. I’ve seen the wealthiest of the wealthiest to the poorest of the poorest in many of the Third World countries. So I begin to put myself in the perspective of gratefulness wherever I am. I’m grateful because what I have today isn’t promised tomorrow.
Here’s a snapshot of our live interview with Nisan.
C E ATA L A S H
Founder & Inventor The PuffCuff www.thepuffcuff.com
Ceata Lash is the Founder and Inventor of the PuffCuff, a hair accessory designed for men and women with curly hair. Read the excerpts from Ceata’s interview as she shares how she patented her invention, launched it into a company, and lessons she’s learned along the way. Ceata: After deciding to stop chemically relaxing and straightening my hair about 10 years ago—the curly hair movement isn’t what it is now. So, it was a weird transition period for me, and I wanted to be able to find a
hair tool that would allow me to pull my hair up into more of, like, a puff or a bun, that I felt that I could be confident in my own skin, as well as, have it be representable in a business atmosphere. I looked all over and couldn’t really find anything that would allow me to pull my hair up or style it. There just wasn’t anything out there readily available. Sonja: You had to go through a process of creating and inventing this product. What did you have to go through? Did you find a lot of challenges along the 18
or anything that personally challenged you? Ceata: I would have to say that the beginning of the process was very smooth. Smoother than I would’ve imagined. I had the idea of what the hair accessory should look like, and at the time I was working at a community college right outside of Chicago. At that time, I also had access to all of the adjunct professors. I actually stalked their emails through the directory and found out who was in the engineering department, and just went there one
“I had the idea for the PuffCuff probably about five years before I was actually brave enough to execute it.” Ceata: I had the idea for the PuffCuff probably about five years before I was brave enough to execute it. I had played around with it in my head, I just didn’t have the vision. The ‘aha’ moment came when we adopted my last son and when decided it was best for my 99-year-old grandma to move in with me—all in the same weekend. As I spent a lot of time with my grandma I thought, I can see that with all the 99 years she had, she was very satisfied, and knows that she did all that she was supposed to do. So with that, reflecting on myself, and because this idea was just right here, but I was too afraid to run with it, it was like, you know what, I want to be able to be like her. If it wasn’t a success, at least I didn’t say I regret it, because I never tried it. day and said, “You know, this my idea. I work on campus with you. Can you spare 10 minutes to just tell me what you think of this idea?” Nicole: From the time that you decided there was nothing available to you, and you made the decision that you’re gonna do this, how long did it take from you making that decision to you actually executing and having the PuffCuff? And then, from that time to having your first customer?
like mine without my permission. A utility patent means that no one can make a clamp that functions the way mine does without permission from me. Nicole: Gotcha. We at Coca-Cola are in the sales business. Do you have any sales tips that you could, that you’d like to share, that have helped you expand and grow your PuffCuff? Ceata: Social media. Everybody says there is six degrees of separation, well, social media is like one and a half degrees of separation. It doesn’t break the bank in terms of being able to reach the audience that you, on a large scale, want to reach.
It was 2013 when we established the business and I had a working prototype. I received my first patent, on the product in 2014. 2014 is also when we sold our first PuffCuff on Amazon. I just received my utility patent this past January. Nicole: What’s a utility patent for those of us that don’t know? Ceata: There are two different patents. A design patent pretty much says that no one can make a clamp that looks
“I wanted to be able to find a hair tool that would allow me to pull my hair up into more of, like, a puff or a bun, that I felt that I could be confident in my own skin” 19
Here’s a snapshot of our live interview with Caliph
KOLA NUT! DR. GIAVANNI WASHINGTON is an intuitive percussive healer with a special knack for recognizing the best version of you. She not only fervently believes you can reach the next level, she stands at the threshold gently supporting your migration from one plane to the next with Ease, Delight, and Grace! Through her coaching and healing programs, she helps her clients multiply their income and client load while enjoying their lives more! Originally, Coca-Cola was created as an over-the-counter medicine with its healing properties derived from two stimulants: the South American Coca plant and the West African Kola nut. The Kola Nut lends a caffeinated punch and its flavor to many cola drinks around the world. Native to West African rain forests, the now-famous Kola nut can also be found in agricultural pockets in Brazil and the West Indies, where it traveled as a result of the transatlantic trade of enslaved Africans. In addition to a high caffeine content, the Kola nut also boasts a number of phytochemical compounds with useful medicinal applications, which include being used: as a digestive aid; to fight fatigue; to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and whooping cough; to reduce dental pain; staunch diarrhea; and it is even effective in the treatment of malaria! Considered a sacred nut, the Kola Nut is an integral part of the cultural ceremonies such as weddings,
naming ceremonies, and funerals. For example, during one frequently practiced tradition, the bride, groom and both sets of in-laws partake of a Kola nut during a wedding to symbolize a spiritual and physical connection in their newly connected lives! On a daily basis, the Kola Nut is presented upon the arrival of guests. This presentation usually involving a Kola but being cut open with a knife, a prayer for the guest’s mission, and the Kola being shared with and eaten by all participants is so crucial that visitors are not permitted to pursue their mission until the Kola Nut has been properly presented and accepted. The completed welcome ritual grants safety, peace, and friendship to all visitors, who are then under the protection of their host. When you offer someone a Coke, a drink that has its origins in the Kola Nut, you are not only extending a gracious welcome to your guest, but you are carrying on ancient West African tradition conferring friendship, peace, and protection! 20
“When you offer someone a Coke, a drink that has its origins in the Kola Nut, you are not only extending a gracious welcome to your guest.”
Diverse Leadership Hereâ€™s How
Diverse Leaders Are Making An Impact
Around The World By Sharing Their Gifts and Teaching People How To Empower Themselves
N I C H O L E S Y LV E S T E R Awakening Mentor Nichole Sylvester International www.nicholesylvester.com
Nichole Sylvester is an Awakening Mentor. In this interview excerpt, Nichole shares how her work with individuals around the world can help them move past stressful situations and into a more fulfilled life in work and at home. Nichole: My work allows me to help all human beings understand that we have so much available to us that we don’t even realize. There’s our physical and what we can see with our senses but then there’s so much beyond that. So I take men and women inward to explore, beyond thinking, into feeling and really creating new patterns for themselves, and awakening to that power that’s always here, right? Nicole: You’re talking about creating new patterns. One of the themes that we used to have at Coca-Cola was Open Happiness. Our happiness is defined by three things, giving, gratitude, and growth. What key factors can you tell us about giving, gratitude, and growth? Nichole: I’m just obsessed with growth. We know we can always grow, so why would we settle? I’m in the business
of settling for more and it’s not out of greed but it’s being grateful for the fact that—think about all of the Americans or people in the world who don’t work out. But then there are people in the hospital that are wishing that they could just be well enough to walk, wishing that they could stand up and do something. And it’s like we shift that perspective and start having that gratitude and then when we live from that place, we can give more, because we realize we have that much. In those moments, we grow, right? We’re living from an overflow that we already have so much. Sonja: As you’re saying that, it makes me think about sometimes when we’re on the job, how we just kind of get caught up or bogged down with day-to-day activities and we lose sight of that gratitude piece. How do we bring that back into our daily frame of reference to really think, “Hey, we’re in a wonderful country. We have a great job.” Nichole: Well, really, it just comes down to the growth. My belief is that when we have a nagging feeling that something is not working, it probably 22
isn’t. So we’re being called to examine the way that we’re showing up, the way that we’re looking at something. But in this moment, we have so much. I’m breathing. I’m talking. I can hear. I can see. I can walk. And if I can’t do something, that’s okay, right? But how can we just stop and remember everything we have right now and the richness of that? We can also think of what is working for us and what the possibilities
“...no matter how well you know your customers, can you put yourself in their position to connect with their needs and know that they’re just like you? ”
are, and that the fact is that there are incalculable possibilities in this moment, that anything can change, everything can change, and it could be so beautiful. But we tend to be in these patterns of thinking where we’re used to thinking, “Oh it’s Monday. Oh, I have to do this. Oh, I have to do that.” And it creates this cycle and this pattern that we just run on subconsciously. When we wake up, we realize, “Wow, I could change a lot. I could go on to work today and I could smile at everyone I see and that would create this ripple effect of, you know, kindness and gratitude and life would mirror back different things to me.” Nicole: In my sales role, how would you suggest I connect better with my clients?
“...we tend to be in these patterns where we’re used to thinking, ‘Oh it’s Monday. Oh, I have to do this. Oh, I have to do that.’ When we wake up, we realize, wow, I could change a lot.” Here’s a snapshot of our live interview with Nichole.
Nichole: I used to help people in sales in my business and that’s what I do. But I always say, “You have to really care about them, right?” So that’s the number one, no matter how well you know your customers, can you put yourself in their position to connect with their needs and know that they’re just like you? 23
A N I L G U P TA
HAPPINESS HOW WE CAN LIVE MORE FULFILLED LIVES
IN OUR HOMES AND CAREERS
“The greatest gift you can give your children is this: Give them the ability to handle life and that’s what happens in nature.” In this interview excerpt, Anil Gupta shares tips that can lead us to a more fulfilled life. Watch his full interview to hear more about how we can increase our focus and awareness on our jobs and in our lives. Anil: We were never given a manual as human beings. When we buy a car we
get a manual, when we buy a toaster, we get a manual. But as humans, we were never given a manual, so we have to work things out. My book is really a manual on how human beings behave. Why we do what we do? Why we get upset? Why we feel the way that we do? What makes us tick? Living in the past, living in the present, living in the future. The meaning that we put behind things. Awareness is the master discipline. Awareness gives you clarity, clarity gives you focus, focus gives you action, action gives you results, and results gives you momentum, which gives you the end-product which is fulfillment, joy and bliss. Everything starts from awareness. Sonja: So how do we start on that path? When we’re immediately frustrated over these things that don’t 24
go our way, where do we even begin with that? Anil: The first question is, how do you gain awareness? So you could have something in your pocket. Every time you’re aware of it in your pocket, you say, ‘’Oh yes. I remember. I need to be aware.’’ You can have a post-it note on your computer with the word awareness. And then a beautiful thing happens, you become aware of being aware. Nicole: Let’s talk about life skills. Can you give us some tips on how to be a great parent? Anil: Yeah. The number one question I have to ask you is, what’s the greatest gift you can give your children? In my opinion, the greatest gift you can give your children is this: Give them the ability to handle life and that’s what happens in nature. When a baby is
born in nature, the parent will always try make that child self-sufficient, to care for itself. But as human beings we do the opposite. We nurture our kids. We protect them. But that’s probably the worst thing you can do because they become dependent. Now if you compare a child, a two-year-old child in the US, compared to India, you know that the two-year-old in India is going to be so much more street savvy because they have to get on well in their environment. This is the greatest gift you can give them. And you have to throw adversity at your children that they can reasonably handle. I had the privilege of spending time with Sir Richard Branson on his Island in the Caribbean. And when he was five, he was put in a middle of a field and told to get home by himself. I wanted to emulate that with my kids, but my wife said, “Are you crazy? Are you nuts?” And I thought, ‘’maybe.’’ But we did the best next thing in my opinion. We took my son and daughter, who were seven and five at the time into Central London and told them to get home by themselves. Now we didn’t just dump them there. We were 10 or 15 feet behind them, but we told them, you could only get contact with us if it’s a real emergency. If there is a problem, you gotta handle it. So that’s the adversity we can serve our kids so that they grow. Adversity is your friend.
“This is gonna be the most powerful thing around money you’ll ever hear.” Sonja: Have you always felt like, hey, I’ve had that awareness throughout my whole life or did you have an awakening moment that started you down this path that you’re on today? Anil: Most of my life I have been unaware that I have been unaware. And 2008 was the pivotal point. I was on the verge of suicide and I was fortunate to have befriended Tony Robbins. He did an intervention on me, his wife did an intervention on me, his wife’s brother did an intervention on me and then my wife stepped in. In the moment you give authentically, there is no pain and suffering. I started to give and all over sudden the pain disappeared. So I started to give more. The first act you need to do is to give. Once you give, magical things start to happen. Sonja: When you say give, I want you to define what that means. Is that physically giving something or is it more of what you’re truly giving as a person?
Nicole: I want to talk about wealth consciousness. For the people at Coca-Cola that are reading, we have drivers, we have VPs, what can you tell us about money and wealth?
Anil: Give kind thoughts. Give good wishes, beautiful thoughts. Tell someone you love them. Tell someone I’m grateful that you’re in my life. Help someone open the door for them, cross the street. Pick up some paper, anything. Give someone a complement. Say, ‘’Hey. I like your hair. I love your smile. Nicole: What tips can you give us as employees, as people working together? Anil: Well, you have to remember what business you’re in. People think you’re in the beverage business, but you’re not. You’re in the happiness business. You create magical moments. You’re in the business of creating magical moments so that people can leave at a greater level of happiness and joy and integrity and as a family unit and create magical moments. That’s the business you’re in. Nicole: What about to the decision makers of a big company like CocaCola? What advice would you have for them? Anil: The number one advice is this: Look after your employees first because they’re the most important people. They’re the people who get you the results. They’re the people who have to handle difficult situations. They’re the people who represents you. If you look after them, they will look after you. And it creates the magical area and workforce to be with, so everybody benefits. It’s a win-win for everybody. Nicole: What does growth look like for someone that is seeking fulfillment and happiness?
Anil: This is gonna be the most powerful thing around money you’ll ever hear.
Anil: There are four areas of growth: one is emotional, one is physical, one is spiritual, one is mental. And the biggest normally is emotional and physical. You know, people aren’t physically healthy or they don’t work out. And that’s an area if they stop working on, it impacts the entire life. Again, talking to Richard Branson, we asked him. What are the most important things in his life and he said two things? One is relationships and one is health. That he’ll get up every morning. He’ll play tennis at
How I measure a man’s wealth is this, what he has left when you take away all their possessions. How kind are they? How generous are they? How loving? How giving? How patient? How sincere? How authentic? How beautiful? How present are they? That’s how you measure a man’s wealth, and that’s the day I became a billionaire because I realized I had all of these qualities. 25
“In the moment you give authentically, there is no pain and suffering.” 7:00. He’s get up at 5:00 in the morning, every morning, no matter he is. That’s the secret. You have to work on your health. So that’s important. And you have to work on your emotions. And the way to work on your emotions is write down how you feel during the day, and then just observe them and see what’s the common pattern. What do you keep saying to yourself? I call them incantations. But you could replace those to positive ones like I am strong, I am powerful, I make a difference, I am here as a special invitation to make a difference to server others.
Here’s a snapshot of our live interview with Anil.
SPECIAL THANKS &
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Nicole Atkins President AABRG West Region
Harlem Boy Media Design www.harlemboydesign.com Magazine Graphic Design
Vice President AABRG West Region
Sonja Crystal Williams
Go Getter Marketing Group Magazine Editing, Project Support & Magazine Interviews 27