Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,
Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. Let's jump right into it....
Giving back is literally one of the most important things you can truly do. It is not just a hope, it is an obligation every human has. Two years ago, I actually wanted to volunteer with one of my old schools I went to growing up because I have always loved community service. Besides, Prince George’s County Public Schools did so much for me, it is literally the least I can do. After some unsuccessful attempts, I was slightly discouraged. At the time, my book was not published either so I felt as though this was God’s way of telling me to be patient and that all good things happen in time. Working at a university for five years is a proud accomplishment I hold but I do think a good guest speaker also does more in his community than just his nine to five position. Having the desire to be a public speaker in a large capacity without having the credibility of some of my present day accomplishments could have ended the disastrous for me.
So nonetheless, I remember watching a Joel Osteen sermon and his message was on timing and seasons, a principle I now apply to my life. The message is simple: there is a season for everything. A season to work, a season to rest, a season to reap, and a season to reflect. Back in 2015 when I had the desire to become a guest speaker, I was still in my working season when I was ready to be in my reaping season. Consequently, that resulted in my desire not working out for me at the moment.
Despite my initial discouragement, I followed through with my goals any and went on to publish my book, start my business, and host my radio show. As I shared in previous blog posts, my career shot off from there. I often share the story that the only two people who attended my first book talk was literally a Hispanic woman new to America and her four year daughter. Mind you my book is titled “Master of Ceremonies: A Male’s Guide for a Successful Life” so hopefully you caught the irony as to why it was funny regarding who showed up to my first book talk. Many people would have complained about the low attendance but the truth is that I was not ready for anything bigger. I had never even been to a book talk, let alone hosted one. If I had an audience bigger than five people, it would have been a complete disaster. However with time, practice, and more opportunities, I got better at planning book talks. God gave me the audiences I could handle despite me overestimating my abilities as a brand new published audience.
I learned through my progression as a speaker that God purposely shielded me from those large speaking roles back in 2015 because I was not ready. I often mention how becoming an author truly changed my confidence, attitude, faith, and my outlook on life. These are all stories and testimonies I would not have been able to give two years ago.
The reason I know all this to be true is because I finally got my wish. I will be the official graduation speaker for Rose Valley Elementary School…my old elementary school. Being a Rose Valley Eagle (the title makes more sense now) was one of the best times of my life. From running the school store to being in the band, I had a great elementary school experience. There is nothing more special than being the keynote speaker for a school you graduated from. In my opinion, it is one of the highest honors you can have. I have been working towards my goal of speaking at a function in my county for two years and it feels great to say I reached it. Looking back, I can honestly admit 2015 would have been too soon and I could have permanently damaged my opportunities if I spoke back then. Remember, some of the best foods take time to cook.
Moral of the story: Timing is everything. It’s not always that the idea was bad, sometimes it was just wrong timing. Don’t be afraid to try, you might be surprised...
Remember, in order to live out your dreams, you have to think it, feel it, live it! Until next time, stay classy...
Jonathan C. Harris is no stranger to leadership, hard work, or success. At the age of ten years old, he earned the right to be a guest weatherman for a day on Fox 5 DC News. He has already received over 100 honors and awards including Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County, MD, TEDx Talk speaker, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Outstanding Men’s Program, high school Valedictorian and the Kiwanis Club Citizenship Award. Raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, he has served in leadership positions his entire life, from being the manager of the school store in elementary school to the president of the Homelessness Awareness Club in middle school to the president of the National Honor Society in high school.