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The saying is that “You have to be in it to win it” but we seldom hear people say, “This is how you play the game”. What game is this that I’m speaking of…? The game of life. The action and steps that are necessary to secure a career that provides the quality of life that you desire. How does one change their circumstances or change their station in life? How do you achieve the “American Dream” when the deck is stacked against you? Low income, failing school, high crime community, single family household and the list continues. These factors constrain many from ever achieving their full potential; and that’s before you add a dash of institutionalized racism, a pinch of the old boys network and don’t forget a generous portion of the self-inflicted mistakes we all make along the way. The gravitational pull of these socioeconomic factors often makes success a six-sigma event for those simply dealt some version of this hand at birth.

The game is rigged—stacked against you—but it is not unwinnable. There are numerous examples of people that “made it out”—individuals that have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and overcome the inherent obstacles that overwhelm many. These individuals did not simply play the game better—they changed the game. If you look at the commonality of those that come from difficult circumstances and how they overcame there are clues that highlight the secret to their success. Beyond the individuals that were pivotal in their development as mentors and advisors, a caring adult, it was a deliberate incremental climb toward their goals—they played a long-term game that started very early in life.

To change the game you cannot be the victim of circumstance or expect to be the beneficiary of happenstance—you need a deliberate approach, a strategy that leads to success. You have to follow the formula. We can reverse engineer any career so the adage, “you can be anything you want to be” is true—but we add onto that slogan that it takes hard work. You have to put your vision in motion by working diligently to acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities you will need for your chosen profession and it is critical to minimize the types of mistakes that can prove catastrophic to the probability of success—incarceration, teenage pregnancy, drugs and the like.

Living a “KP Life”, where you maximize your potential, is built on a strong education and reinforcing this with the right extracurricular activities will lead to success—it’s a proven formula and I’m truly a witness sitting on testimony that it’s possible. I’m committed to helping individuals—young and old—live a self-actualized and fulfilled life by putting in the work to incrementally improve themselves, particularly those that need support and guidance on how to navigate the inherent landmines they find in front of them. Each day I work on strategies, technology and with partners to achieve this goal—and collectively we are changing the game. #changethegame.