Why Les Brown and The Les Brown Institute Changed My Life

Why Les Brown and The Les Brown Institute Changed My Life 

My life didn’t need a drastic change— I had already done that long ago.

I was born in Galveston, Texas. By the time I was 6, I was homeless and I would stay that way until I was 14. I would eventually age out of being a child of the State of Texas when I was 18.

I spent the bulk of my child hood living in a trash-can-dumpster not too far from where my biological parents lived. Well, did leave, because their drug addictions would leave them homeless, too.

I failed the 5th and the 6th grade— honestly. I failed them both. I was putting myself through school and couldn’t keep up with the homework because every night I would go back to live in this dumpster with no lights, no running water, no food, and tons of bugs. Just imagine that for a moment. I was assigned homework and had no home. Crazy.

In fairness, my teachers didn’t know until I had to repeat the 6th grade and I was picked up by police officers for being homeless. My teachers were just doing their jobs.

Today, I can say I graduated with honors speech and debate honors from Galveston Ball High School because of the Speech and Debate Coach Mr. Michael Merritte. Mr. Merritte saved my life before I ever met Les Brown, you can hear the full story here at a commencement speech I had the honor to give.

Thank you, Mr. Michael Merritte.

I have also graduated with my bachelors as the President of the Theological and Religious Studies Honor Society, and I have graduated with my Masters while being number one in my class. I’m a pretty successful business man, so how did Les Brown change my life?

Well, he did it in 4 different ways.

I Am An Introvert

First, I am an introvert by biological makeup. I have many extroverted skills which I had to develop in order to eat as a kid. If you are wondering if you are an introvert or an extrovert, just simply ask your self this question:

“Am I completely drained after social interactions, even if with just two people, or am I charged up and ready for more after social interactions?”

If you are like me, I fall into the first category. I regularly speak to thousands of people, I take time for each one of them, but when I am finished and I get to my room at night, I am dead. I need to recharge with a book and a beer.

Yet, Les Brown and The Les Brown Institute forces me to open up to the people within it. This is hard for me for two reasons. One, I am an introvert. Two, I’m extremely private. I have to be the weirdest motivational speaker and public figure alive. Yet, both of these are true.

However, Mr. Brown and his friends and co-laborers will allow you to be who you are, but they won’t let you do what you have always done, because they understand that what got you here, won’t get you there.

So, they snatch greatness out of me, whether I am an introvert or not. I think they also understand that introverts are the most successful of people— sorry, I couldn’t resist taking a shot at extroverts. It’s true, however. We run the world 🙂

The First Family of Motivation

Secondly, Mr. Brown has a family! I know, not a mind-blowing concept to you, but it is for me. Let me explained. I HAVE NEVER BEEN RAISED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Never. By the time I started remembering my own memories I was permanently homeless. I never had a childhood. I have never been nurtured in my entire life. I had to deal with this as I grew older.

So, to be in a room with Mr. Brown, his sons, his daughters, and his friends who have become family, a homeless kid like me from a small tourist-driven city, this would stand out in a major way.

I was with Mr. Brown and his family not too long ago. They were all on stage. Some were making sure he drank water, some of his family were telling embarrassing, but hilarious stories about their dad, and every single time they talked, he would stop talking and listen. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Then he would talk, and they would listen. They talked about their ups and downs, and all of their funny stories and all I could think was, “Wow!”

If I die today, I could honestly say, I have lived all of my dreams and got to see a family be much more than a family. They were actually friends. I have been through more than most in my life, I can tell you this for sure,

“Just because you are family, does not mean you are friends.”

He Made Me A Millionaire For My Team

Okay, wait a minute. I am not a millionaire— yet. Though, it is interesting that when I had the opportunity to work with Mr. Brown and partner with him, I immediately said to myself,

“There is no way that a man like this is going to tolerate me leaving my team behind.”

So, I didn’t. I took them all and plan to bring along the few more people we have hired recently. I cannot give this credit to myself. Sure, most people will point out my good character, and they have— and I am grateful. But that is not what happened. My image of Mr. Brown is what happened. And that image will make me a millionaire millions of times over. 

I just figured that Mr. Brown and I have very similar stories. We both were labeled unable to learn in school. I failed two grades because I listened to what they said about me, he struggled because of the same. He was adopted, much younger than me, I think. I was adopted at 14. I simply figured that he and I understood that you don’t leave GOOD your friends behind, for anything. Ever! Emphasis on “good”.

In my mind, Mr. Brown would have been mad at me if I didn’t bring them along with me. How could I live with myself if I did? So, I didn’t.

“Of course, Mr. Brown isn’t judgmental, I just understand he has a high standard for himself and his character. I better have the same. “

He Taught Me How To Tell My Story

Oh, dear reader, if I can’t do anything else today, I know how to tell my story. Mr. Brown taught me how to tell my story in a manner that inspires others to believe that they have their own stories. He taught me that I have greatness in me when I was already living a life that displayed such greatness. It takes a powerful man to look in your greatness and then challenge you to be even greater! Only Mr. Brown and the Les Brown Institute can do that. I am convinced of it.

Today, I meet so many people that said, “Les Brown changed my life.” They come from all walks of life. Every time I hear people say that, I always say the same thing,

“Yeah, he has a habit of changing lives.”

Yes, you do Mr. Brown. Yes. You. Do!

If you want to partner with Les Brown, click LES BROWN INSTITUTE and the greatest institute in the world will be waiting.


Antonio T. Smith, Jr.
A guy willing to die for his dream and live for others to see their own.

Who am I?

Who am I, is the question I would ask myself from time to time and I would either answer vaguely…”I am a nice person” or ponder the question for a bit, shrug my shoulders and say to myself “ I am in the process of finding out”.

What I really was saying “I don’t know” Sure I can list a bunch of qualities about myself that I liked…I am pretty, nice, generous, occasionally funny. I could even list some not so likable things…envious, petty, too tall, indecisive…ok, I think that you get the idea.

I never took the time to actually discover myself.

When I was growing up, I was shy, awkward and not very outgoing. I always watched the other girls (the popular ones). I would copy their hairstyles, only to hate my hair because it wouldn’t curl like theirs did. I would literally stay up late, lock myself in the bathroom and put pink sponge curlers in my hair, creating a vision in my mind of the Farrah Fawcett feather-like hairstyle that my classmates wore. Then, morning would come only to find ½ of the rollers were on my pillow and I was left with frizzy, curly hair in some places and straight hair in the rest. I hated my hair. I hated me.

When it came time to sign up for after school activities, they picked softball. So, I picked softball. I hated softball. I couldn’t throw, the glove was “smelly” and I ducked every time the ball came my way. Needless to say, I was not liked by my teammates. I didn’t like me.

Now, I get it, kids go through stages trying to find where they belong, which groups to hang with, but I was making my decisions based on what other people liked. Not what I liked. I was more concerned about fitting in and being liked, than fitting INTO me, and who I wanted to be. There is a name for this self-destructive condition…..and I was infected by it. I have suffered from it for almost 40 years, and today I am learning to confront and destroy its existence.

It is called: LOW SELF-ESTEEM

What is self-esteem? Self-esteem refers to the overall opinion we have of ourselves and the value as ourselves as people. An opinion is made up of thoughts and feelings, not truth, no facts.
LOW self-esteem means that the tone of this opinion is negative.

I took those feelings of rejection as a young teen and convinced myself that I was rejectable all the way into adulthood. I craved to be liked by others and at the same time, I was convincing myself that I was unlikeable. I found myself not having my own thoughts and relying on other people’s likes and dislikes about almost everything. I wasn’t me, I was whoever you thought I should be. I believed that people wouldn’t reject someone who was exactly who they wanted to be around, right? I know you must be thinking that I must be …pathetic. Well, people do unreasonable, stupid and insane things just to feel accepted and loved.

I was one of them.

For some of you, that may be hard to grasp, but for the ones that have ever felt that hurt, that unexplainable sadness deep down in your core, convincing you that you were unlovable, abandoned, and not worthy of anyone. I understand.

I can list the many situations in my past about how Low self-esteem affected my life and the choices I made, but then this blog wouldn’t be a blog anymore, it would be a book.

I found my relationship with God. I say “found” because I had been lost for a very long time. HE knew who I was but I didn’t know HIM. As my relationship with God grew stronger, the need for me to know me, also did.

I knew that the feeling of love and acceptance had to begin inside of me. In order to do that, I had to replay, in my mind, all those painful memories that silently formed an image of me, that really wasn’t me at all and throw them all away. Not an easy task at the time. As I look back, I can’t even imagine how I managed to carry all that hurt, guilt, abuse, shame and hate. I packed all of that on the inside of me, and it would seep out of my pores every chance it got. I was miserable and I was infecting the people around me. I had to let it all go.

But then what? I needed answers but didn’t know what questions to ask. How do I go about finding who I am without asking for someone else’s opinion? I started making my own choices and decisions and, more importantly trusting those decisions. I trusted the fact that it didn’t matter if I made the wrong or right choice but that God was going to be there with me either way. Soon I started trusting me. Small victories gave me the endeavor to keep trusting myself, which led me to actually like myself.

I couldn’t have reached this level of awareness on my own. I am fortunate to have been introduced to my mentor, someone who overcame low self-esteem himself. I take self-development classes. I have a circle of friends who accept me as I am. They understand and encourage the journey that I am on.

I spend time with myself, and when I do something that makes me smile inside, I do it again. I am constantly giving myself high fives and fist bumps in the air, not caring if someone notices it and thinks I am corny. I am corny. I accept who I am and I love the person I am becoming.

Do I have it all figured out? No. I still get those insecure moments of feeling like I need to impress others, that need for their approval slowly creeps into existence. I pause and ask myself “is this who I am or is this someone’s else’s opinion?”

I do know that, when I walk into a room, I know I belong there, even if I don’t have Farrah Fawcett’s hair.


Michelle Queme

Founder/CEO One Red Shoe

Les Brown Certified Speaker, Trainer, and Coach

Your Mentality Has To Match Your Drive

Have you ever sat down and just actually thought of the process of sowing and reaping? Some call it Karma, some call the golden rule. But for all practical purposes, we are going to call it “sowing and reaping”. We have in one form or another been told of this process whether it’s been in a spiritual setting or in the educational system. We all have heard of sowing and reaping. So, let’s look at this from a few different angles and gain a deeper understanding of this “sowing and reaping” process.

1.) Taming Your Thoughts

You are what you think. Yes, that sounds like a cliche we hear in churches, motivational speaking engagements, talk shows or in self-help books. But have you ever thought about the fact that you are literally the living results of the thoughts in your mind?
Ex: If you think you’re going to have a bad day, you’re going to have a bad day because our thoughts are manifested. It tells our brain to tell our eyes to only see the negative in that day. Even when someone points out something good in the day, we still find something negative in it because we are manifesting the thoughts of having a bad day.

Now on the flip side of that. If you think you’re going to have the greatest day of your life, you will indeed have such a day! But watch this! It’s also controlled by your attitude of gratefulness in which we will touch on in a second. But back to the greatest day of your life.
Ex. You can think today will be the greatest day of your life, stump your toe on the side of your bed railing and still not allow that to mess up your day because your thoughts will tell your brain to find the positive in the situation. You tell yourself, “it hurts but at least it’s not broken.” No matter how bad the problem may seem, you will still find the positive in it. You train to yourself find the silver lining. We have to first understand that in this process of sowing and reaping, we have to tame and train our thoughts to live a life that we enjoy each and every day.

So know that YOU control your day. Look at yourself in the mirror and say I CONTROL MY DAY!!! Once we allow that to sink into our spirits/subconscious then we can stop blaming others for the results of our day.

2.) Your Gratitude is Your Altitude

Having an ungrateful attitude and expecting to manifest positivity is like jumping in the ocean with no protective gear, knowing you can’t swim. It’s nearly impossible to manifest anything positive with an ungrateful attitude. I know you have heard the phrase “your attitude determines your altitude”. This is a very factual statement that we need to keep in mind each and every day. Majority of you wonder why you haven’t received that raise you feel you are more than qualified for. It is because your attitude of ungratefulness won’t allow you to be appreciative of the fact that you have a job period. In this process of releasing your former mentality and growing into your new mentality, the secret is ensuring you have gratitude for even the smallest victory in your life. Having a grateful attitude is like flying in an airplane with fuel. Having an ungrateful attitude is like expecting a fuel-less plane to leave the runway. So, in essence, your gratitude determines your altitude.

In closing, we have to realize that we are in full control of our lives each and every moment each and every day. What we manifest in reality is an exact result of the thoughts that are manifested in our minds. So just like we hear that we can get back good if we give good or vice versus, we must also understand that we live in the situation we live in because we don’t think we are worthy of anything better. So, if you feel or even know that you have the drive the live your life in abundance you will never live it until Your Mentality matches Your Drive!!!!


Bryant A. Johnson

You Are Worthy

You Are Worthy

You Deserve to Have What You Want

I just wanted to talk to you today about you! Let’s have a personal conversation.

You and me. Don’t worry.

I’m going to disclaimer this conversation with “Me too.” Did you know that you are actually worthy of everything that you want? Did you know that you deserve to have everything that you want? I thought so, so this is for you.

Whatever has happened in your past, whatever you are currently going through and whatever you believe your future holds for you is not what you are worthy of. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. I spent my entire life being THERE.

I am no longer there and I am here to tell you that you no longer have to be there either. I have here to give you the ways to do this. I’m doing this because I believe that you can have whatever you want. Is it going to be easy, NO? Why, because you have to completely change how you think. It will be worth it because you are worth it. Let me tell you why you feel how you feel and how to start the process to change that

#1 – Get A Mentor and Change your Circle of Friends

(Benefit – You will have someone to guide you correctly and you will have people around you that will be your positive accountability.)

You can’t do it alone. You need someone that is going to guide you and show you how to change your thought processes from “I can’t” to “I deserve”. This can only happen with someone that is outside of you and your circle of friends because I guarantee you that your circle of friends suffer from the same thing because “THEY ARE YOU”! Don’t be like me though. You won’t believe anything that is said to you because you are still stuck in your unworthy mindset. Be open and listen. If you don’t believe, lean on the belief of those around you and you will soon get there. Your mentor has been there and done that and made it out. If you are a church goer, this would be considered as their testimony that you can make it through the storm. So, don’t be arrogant to their information. (Definition of Arrogant: Not accepting new information.) Your circle of friends is very important. Not everyone will be accepting of your change. With that being said, you need a new circle. Your new circle should consist of people that have a mutual goal of wanting more out of life and will be positive and help you with your walk on your journey to your new life. THIS circle of friends will not let you waiver and if you do, they will direct you back to the path of positivity with love and appreciation for who you are, where you come from and where you are going.

#2 – Change your Model

(Benefit – Changing your model will help you direct your path)

Okay. Let me give you the definition of my meaning of “Model”. Your current guide for what life is “supposed” to be. THIS HAS TO CHANGE. Where you are going, no one in your circle, family or friends, has the model that you need for your change. Their model is the same as yours. Thus, change your circle of friends. Your model has been given to you by your family and your friends and your friend’s families. Yes, all of that has shaped who you are and where you are currently going. In order to understand that you are worthy and you deserve more, you have to change that model that has been put on you. Your current model is going to school, make good grades, go to college, make better grades, get a job, pay off your student loan for the rest of your life, get a husband/wife, have kids and then teach them the same cycle of misery. Now, if this works for you, GREAT! If not, it’s time to change that model. Where you are going, there is no model for it so guess what? You get to create it. I know. Strange concept, right? You get to create your own life. You get to build the life that you’ve always wanted, that you are worthy of, that you deserve. I know, I know. This isn’t for you. This doesn’t work for YOU. That’s why you get a MENTOR. Someone who has been there and done that. They will help you create a new model for your new life. You can’t be arrogant though. Remember, arrogance is not accepting NEW INFORMATION. My life won’t allow for that. My life is too busy for that. I have kids. I have a husband. Yada, Yada. Yeah. I know. Remember when I said, ME TOO! That’s what I mean. I have a child. I have a husband. I had a full-time job. Yes HAD. I retired early. Get that. RETIRED EARLY. I chose me which I didn’t think that I deserved to do and that I was worthy of doing. The thing is, if you are happy with your life, what makes you think your children are going to be happy with theirs. You’re teaching them the same model that has you living a misery, dead life. Think about that for a second.

#3 – You Deserve It / You Are Worthy of It

(Benefit – Believing this will change your life)

As a child, you believed that the world was yours and that you were worthy of becoming that doctor or that veterinarian or that singer or that actor. The best in their fields are only there because they never stopped believing that they deserved it and they were worthy of it. Did you know that you still deserve that life you dream of and you are worthy of it because it is YOUR DREAM? I didn’t think that I was worthy of anything greater than the job that I had and I didn’t deserve anything greater than the life I was living. Don’t get me wrong. It was a great life because it was a life that I created. Yes, you create your own life. I wanted more and that was what I didn’t believe I deserved or was even worthy of because no one else in my family did that. No one else in my family was living their dreams. No one else in my family even acted like they wanted more. What would they think if I went outside of “our model”? Would they support me if I went after my dreams? Would they like me if I moved past where they currently were in life? Yes, I asked myself all of those questions, but it all led to my happiness. Would I be happy if I went after my dreams? Yes! Would I be happier living outside of “our model”? Yes! Am I worthy of my dreams and do I deserve them? YES, because they are MINE?

My friend… You are worthy because you are awesome. You deserve it because it is already yours. No one has your dreams. No one has your desires. Choose you and go for it.

~Behind The Lens~
Deaunna Mithchell
CEO of the D. Marie Group
D Marie Group

3 Steps To Not Be Embarrassed About Your Finances

3 Steps To Not Be Embarrassed About Your Finances

As a kid, when I began to get an allowance, I learned how much I liked money, so I did very well at saving it.

Even while I was in college, I had a part-time job on campus and saved a lot of money (to me anyway). Then, something happened. I graduated during the 2001-2002 school year when 9/11 happened.

Jobs were scarce then, so finding one was a bit difficult. It was a year before I found a job, and within that time, I became discouraged. I remembered I had signed up for a credit card in college, so I decided to go on a little shopping spree. From then on, I liked spending more than I did saving.

When I did land a job, I had credit card bills and student loan payments that were due. There was always more month at the end of the money. This went on for some years. Finally, I decided it was time for me to get some help to manage my finances.

I found someone who was good at that sort of thing and sat down with him. He took a look at my finances, told me what my problem was, and gave me all the steps I needed to take in order to get back on the right track. The only problem was, I wasn’t ready to receive the information he gave me, so I didn’t listen. As a result, I continued to have more month at the end of the money for 2 more years.

After that long period of time of things not changing, I grew tired of things remaining the same and not being able to enjoy life like I wanted to. So I want to give you the steps I took that changed my finances as well as my life:

Step #1 – Make a decision.

As I stated earlier, I was unhappy with only having enough money to pay bills and not enough to enjoy life. So, I made a decision, and this time I stuck with it. I had made up my mind that I was going to get my finances in order so that I can save money, pay my bills, and enjoy my life. I was determined not to earn income just to pay bills and die. If you are serious about managing your finances, you must decide to do whatever it takes to get back on track. Have you ever noticed that all the words that have “cide” part of them deal with something or someone being killed (homicide, suicide, pesticide)? The same is true with the word “decide.” When you decide on something, you kill all other options that do not serve you.

Step #2 – Find a mentor.

Remember when I said I found someone who was good at managing finances and was going to help me? That person was Antonio T. Smith, Jr., and he is my mentor. A mentor is someone who’s been where you are, decided to change for the better, are now where you want to be in life, and can teach you how to get there. Antonio retired at the age of 29, never needing a job again for income, and was 33 years old when I sat down with him the 2nd time. Mentors will always steer you in the right direction, as well as push you when needed. You won’t always understand what they’re telling you to do, but if you listen to and trust them, your life will be made the better.

Step #3 – Be open to receiving the help.

Antonio told me everything I needed to do 2 years ago, but I refused to listen. The one thing that made me not take his advice was him telling me that I needed to pay myself before I paid any bill. At the time, I couldn’t understand how I could pay myself when I barely had enough money to pay all my bills. I was grateful that when I was ready to listen for real, he agreed to sit down with me again. I was ready to receive the information that he was explaining to me, and I am so glad that I did! I did and am continuing to do everything he suggested. Since taking Antonio’s advice, I have saved more money than I have my entire life, and I don’t just pay bills. I still seek his advice when it comes to my finances. When you are not open to taking in new information, that’s called being arrogant, and that’s what I was 2 years ago. Being arrogant will keep you in the dark and in poverty. You must be open to new information, especially from someone who is where you’re attempting to get to.

To avoid taking the road I did, follow these steps the first time. My mentor always says that there are 2 roads: the road to poverty and the road to prosperity. You can’t take be on both roads at the same time because neither road is going in the same direction. The more you travel on the road to poverty, the further away you are from the road of prosperity, and vice versa.

Grace Sandles
Sr. Account Manager

Malnourished Christians

Malnourished Christians

I’ve been quiet on this blog out of fear. A fear that I have, or will eventually push the wrong button, on the wrong person, and be blacklisted from important circles. But then God kept sending quiet, gut punching messages through my close circle. Messages that were consistently backed up with scriptures…yet I didn’t write a blog. I let my fear of “Who does she think she is?”, creep in my head and cripple my hands. Day after day, week after week, hearing God tell me to move forward, but I was too afraid of the “what ifs” to trust him. And then I saw…

Not that blogging is my dream but helping people is, and how can I help people while being quiet and afraid? So if the bullets come, I pray you have good aim.

Recently, I’ve been introduced to, and have fallen in love with, the Message Bible. Very few teach and preach from it, but for me, its words and cadence flow easily and speak to me in ways only the English Standard Version does. A friend of mine came in and read the following and a piece of this has been echoing ever since…

“You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you —keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.”
2 Timothy 4:3-5 MSG

People have no stomach for solid teaching but will fill up on spiritual junk food…and here we arrive at malnourished Christians. So full of junk, the truth couldn’t possibly fit. So full of tradition and religion, Jesus can’t even sit next to us on a pew. So full of hell, the world doubts that heaven exists.

What are you feeding yourself? Is it full of “something is wrong with you” if you’re a single young woman while watching others praise the church pimp? Are you full of God’s love or too busy stuffing yourself with the latest gossip about the young woman struggling, yet striving? Are you too full of multiple men and/or women outside of your marriage and wouldn’t be able to recognize Jesus if He showed you the holes in His hands?

I’m bold enough to tell you that I’ve outgrown circles that no longer serve my growth. I’ve outgrown pastors who were too concerned with what was in the pews and not reaching the people we need to save. I don’t want to sit under leaders who only feel powerful when they are yelling obscenities instead of showing the love of Christ.

We’re so malnourished we don’t recognize God in our churches anymore. If our favorite preacher isn’t jumping over pews, then he or she didn’t do a good job. If a preacher has a vagina she isn’t “called to preach” and she can’t lead men. Yet in the book of Judges, Deborah (Judges 4) was called by God to lead the people (both men and women) and the people obeyed and were delivered by God through her (both men and women). When you’re dying of hunger and dying of thirst you become discombobulated and can’t focus on the necessity. So you choose to get distracted by things that do not matter and head down a path of confusion and poverty while praying for miracles of growth and abundance.

So, I urge you to take account of what you are digesting. Just because mess is presented to you does not mean you need to inhale it. Just because someone chooses to preach their personal commentary and not what thus says the Lord, doesn’t mean those seeds should go on your fertile soil. Food journals are popular amongst many people who are serious about losing weight and monitoring their health, so maybe it’s time to keep track of how much good food God you puts in you.

If chips, cookies, candy, and sodas aren’t good for your physical health, mess, drama, ignorance, back stabbing, confusion, and division aren’t good for your spiritual health either. Take inventory of what you’re digesting and stop producing malnourished Christians because it’s easier and more popular than pumping the love of Christ inside of them.


Your Sister In Abundance

Tempestt S. Smith