Hoda Kotb & Lionel Richie Make the Dream Stage Look Like a Place Where They Belong


The stage has been set with the return of American Idol’s rollout. A new slate of judges hit the road for the audition tour. Lionel Richie joins Katy Perry and Luke Bryan to give their two cents on making it in the music business. Richie as the elder of the bunch seems happy to share a hug with the contestants.

The Today Show studio was also set for the return of Hoda Kotb from the Winter Olympics. While doing the show from South Korea the studio got a makeover as they moved on from headline-making changes. Kotb got the nod as co-anchor, rising up the ranks from correspondent to guest-hosting duties.

Kotb and Richie make the dream stage look like a place where they belong. These days it’s where they’ve landed as they keep getting better at their game. It’s a kind of coming together of fate and focus that has helped to make them a force. Kotb even has things falling in place for her as a new mother.

The dream stage is where passion and style can leave us speechless for a while. The stories of Idol contestants create room for Richie to show some love. Plus, the performances are often reminders that it’s not just how they sing it or wing it but also how they bring it. Kotb can relate even for Olympic athletes.


Some industry watchers weren’t sure if Idol still had cred in the marketplace. Others weren’t sure if the Today Show would have staying power after the shake-up. But Richie and Kotb are showing young and old otherwise. Their stories of longevity and bounce-back-ability in the business are a case of turning:

  1. Talent into a unique identity

Richie first gained popularity as one of the Commodores. The group became a smash with R&B audiences. He later left the group for a solo career. He knows bringing it in your game means turning talent into a unique identity. In biz they call it USP – Unique Selling Point. My own USP is about ‘bringing more flow to life, putting more life in flow.’

  1. Timing into seizing opportunity

Kotb might not have been expecting to be named new Today Show co-host. She already had a hosting role in the ten o’clock hour where she’d be seen sipping on wine. But when the door came open she was ready to seize the opportunity. Timing isn’t just about the clock but also about delivering the right stock.

  1. Talk into more life-learning ability

Some Idol contestants show up ready to seize the opportunity. Some may be there to checkoff a bucket list item. Others are just there to get 15-seconds of buzz. But in any effort for going to the next level, the ones who move from unknown to making it on the dream stage are those who up their life-learning ability.

  1. Test into rising star-quality

When you hear the backstory of these contestants you get a sense of them taking-on life’s tests. It’s as if life was trying to separate the ‘men from the boys or the women from the girls.’ Making it on the dream stage is about using those tests to shape your unique identity and rising star-quality.

The numbers are in and Idol’s season opener pulled 10 million+ viewers. It seems the Today Show is also keeping its numbers strong. Most people start the dream journey unaware or less learned in some area of the game. But they push, pull or tear as they stretch their sail towards good times that never felt so good.

Tip: Making it on the dream stage is about how we push, pull or tear in stretching our sails towards good times that never felt so good.

Talkback: Which Singing Competition Show has created some of the best rising-star moments?

Tracks: Commodores – Sail On – https://youtu.be/Bt95h5yKyYE

Allen Stone – Unaware – https://youtu.be/o4uYo7lRgqA


Jordan Peele & Iyanla Vanzant Take Audiences on a ‘Sharp Turn, Best Life’ Ride that’s Filled with Ooh’s and Aah’s


The countdown is underway for the next big events on the pop culture calendar. Some fans can’t wait for the NCAA March Madness team selection. Others are looking forward to the iHeartRadio Music Awards. But in the meantime there’s Jordan Peele and Iyanla Vanzant taking fans on a ‘sharp turn, best life’ ride.

For Peele it’s in the success of his movie Get Out which won at the Oscars for Best Original Screenplay. It’s the first time that’s happened for an African-American. The movie is part horror, part thriller and part comedy. It starts out with a car making a sharp turn on a local street as the plot unfolds.


It was a different kind of March Madness in the season opener for Iyanla’s ‘reinvention show’ on OWN. Things didn’t work out the normal way where the guest accepts the chance to find a path towards their best life. Peele and Vanzant generally put their gifts to work on their first audience.. which is themselves.

They know the road to redemption or achieving aspirations usually starts on ‘Self Street.’ Oftentimes how we reach higher is an extension of our comfort with self. Peele and Vanzant turned what appeals/reveals to self as a formula for a successful movie or unscripted TV show that could have been counted out.

In a recent ‘Oprah at the Apollo’ interview Peele gave an inside look into the steps he took in moving his dreams in the right direction. Vanzant often shares hers by saying that she had to do the work to achieve the healing before her place of shining. Their first audience of success started out by taking:

  1. Preparation Steps

Before celebration there’s always preparation. That’s true whether planning a party or going after your dreams. Before becoming a computer engineer I took preparations steps in college. Before going after my dreams in business I took preparation steps as a novice-in-training. These steps help put us in the game.

  1. Production Steps

It’s been said that people can have beginners luck when playing a game for the first time. Things kinda come your way even without trying hard. Where beginners luck ends is where production steps begin. It can be a surprise to do things well the first time. But you build production value doing it again and again.

  1. Breakout Steps

We expect to eventually have breakout steps along the way. The ‘Get Out’ movie is a sort of breakout step for Peele after leaving his Comedy Central gig. Vanzant had her breakout step when she first hosted a daytime talk show. They’ve used breakout steps in taking a risk or setting out as a trailblazer.

  1. Comeback Steps

They’ve also shown they can turn setbacks into comebacks. It’s something we’re teaching our daughter who’s been dealing with a leg (hamstring) injury. Each time it seemed like she was ready to return to her sport she’s had to pull back. Comeback steps help us with raising our game and elevating our dreams.

The journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step. Whether we choose to walk, run or drive there can be lots of oohs and aahs on the ride. Steve Harvey reminds us that things might go south or get rough as part of God’s plan. But those who get back up keep things moving because they have dreams to celebrate.

Tip: The dream journey of a 1000 miles starts with preparation steps that might set us on a path as trailblazers taking breakout steps.

Talkback: Is it drama or trauma that makes things come alive in Get Out or on Vanzant’s TV show?

Tracks: Drake – God’s Plan – https://youtu.be/xpVfcZ0ZcFM

T.I. ft Chris Brown – Get Back Up – https://youtu.be/B9qZz-m6BL4

Michael B Jordan & Chloe Kim Have Fans Under a Spell of Excitement from Seeing Their Dreams Go Big


This year’s Sports Illustrated cover model has been named and guess who’s smiling? Yes, Danielle Herrington is smiling from the beach to the bank. She’s not the only one with a wide grin. So is Michael B. Jordan who got the chance to congratulate Herrington. So is Chloe Kim who won gold at the Olympics.

Jordan is also smiling as he gears up for the grand release of the Black Panther movie. He and his acting cohorts are excited that the movie is already breaking pre-sales box office records. Kim is getting her smiles on for being the first ever female American winner in the Olympic event of Snowboarding.

Jordan and Kim seem to have fans under a spell of excitement from seeing their dreams go big. Everywhere you go people are talking about the movie and about Kim’s performance. Not to mention that Jordan put on muscle-mass for the role and Kim’s achievement celebrates the American Dream.

Their success reminds us of how dreams can go big with a fresh sense of purpose and a refreshed surge of passion. Jordan has been steadily building his cred with acting roles in Fruitvale Station and Creed. Kim waited four years at representing the U.S. since she was too young to make the last Olympic team.


They’ve got us feeling like a nation under a dream that comes with its own storyline. Maybe that’s one reason why so many are looking forward to seeing the movie. Whether it’s about the story of rising to power or the power in their stories fans want to keep a winning feeling going or find their own groove.

The movie buzz isn’t just about action spots but also about the Black Panther Challenge. Celebrities and everyday people are pulling together to get as many kids to see the movie. They hope something rubs off that’s more than a spell. We learn from Jordan and Kim that going from small roles to tall goals means:

  1. Leaving something behind.

The story behind their success is one of focus and perseverance. They kept at it even when things took a hit. But it’s also one of leaving something behind. Jordan left his hometown of Newark for the Tinseltown of Hollywood. Kim’s parents left South Korea so that she’d have opportunities beyond her wildest dreams.

  1. Preparing for something ahead.

In leaving something behind, they were also preparing for something ahead. It’s sometimes said that luck is where preparation meets-up with opportunity. Sure they might have had some lucky breaks along the way. But preparing helped them leave their comfort zone in order to experience their mojo zone.

  1. Taking skills to the next level.

During the waiting period between Olympics, Kim kept working on her game. She worked on some things to get her performance moving closer to perfection. Jordan has also been working on his skills as a Director through his own production company. Taking skills to the next level helps make us built to last.

  1. Making the dream yours.

The Black Panther character first appeared in comic books in 1966. Kim first appeared on the Olympics radar in 2014. Here we are in 2018 and there’s a movie built around the character and an Olympic feat tied to Kim. Things take longer for some compared to others but making the dream yours is real.

These days some folks have more reasons to smile. Some are smiling about Sports Illustrated’s cover and inside pages. For Jordan it’s in upcoming roles already lined-up. Kim has lots of Olympic years ahead of her. When things get stressful they help us turn-up the happy seeing their dreams go big or go legend.

Tip: When things get stressful, successful people turn-up the happy with fresh purpose, refreshed passion and seeing dreams go big or go legend.

Talkback: Which character in the Black Panther movie could have its own spinoff some day?

Tracks: Ashanti ft Ja Rule – Happy – https://youtu.be/MrCsubL_OSQ

American Authors – Go Big or Go Home – https://youtu.be/dUZoK20_KYQ

Cardi B & Simone Biles Explain How Their Dreams Came Together Even Through Stormy Weather


Superbowl LII is in the bag and the Philly parade is set. The game might be over but it seems Cardi B and Simone Biles are just getting started. It’s hard to say which one’s the bigger pop culture icon right now. One’s getting ready to tour with Bruno Mars, the other’s back to training for the 2020 Olympic team.

Both have adoring fans who just can’t get enough of their style and story. For Cardi B it’s a case of “don’t judge a book by its backside until you get the backstory.” For Biles it’s a case of “when a dream is in you it’s gotta find a way to come through.” Then again maybe we can say the same thing for both.

Their journeys are somewhat similar in skipping out on college. Cardi B made it through two semesters and had enough. Biles chose to skip out on a UCLA scholarship and instead go pro to fulfill her dreams. Fast-forward their stories and you find them becoming their best by having a ‘no limit’ mindset.

Both did some ‘firsts’ in their game. Cardi B as the first rapper to have her first three singles in the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100s. At the Rio Olympics Biles became the first female gymnast to win four gold medals in the same games. Now they’re both working on not being a one-time wonder or passing fancy.


Biles’ weakness is the uneven bars. She’s much better at gymnastic routines that use the power in her legs. But her electric personality fits well with her performance stick-ability. Cardi B turned her weakest times into breakout moments. Now her music career seems to be on a path of going all the way up.

Their road to glory also came with some ‘stormy weather.’ Biles had to bounce around in foster care until she was adopted by her grand-parents. Cardi B dealt with the separation of her parents and the challenge of finding it hard to get by. They showed courage to stay the course and soar by how they would:

  1. List the dream and make the hit list.

One year after barely missing out on making the National Team, Biles decided to regroup to do whatever it took to bounceback. She soon became a hit on the gymnastic circuit and went on to become three-time world champion. Then she decided to list the dream of making the Rio Olympics and the rest is history.

  1. Learn the ropes and trust the process.

Cardi B didn’t initially set out to be a rapper. But to move past her show-girl days, she began paying attention to some of the big stars in the game. She remembers thinking that she could do that by bringing her own swag and then some. Things went from there, after starting from the bottom and now she’s here.

  1. Bring the funk and raise the roof.

The funk for Biles is how she became a force on the floor. She’d find the zone where passion was just rolling towards perfection. The funk is that feeling of being in a good groove. It’s something fans can sense when it happens. The funk for Cardi B has her becoming a force where she gets to raise the roof.

  1. Spread the love and live the life.

Recently Biles shared that she was also the victim of sexual abuse. She kept those feelings repressed for years but now her healing comes from being able to tell her story and spread the love. Beyond a new boyfriend to talk about and fiancé to have and hold, these ladies are in a good place to live the life.

When you look at their life, your life or my life you see what you see. But after a while things seem to turn out fine. Biles and Cardi B’s stories remind us that even if you’ve had some downside, you can still reach the upside. These ladies are doing it big, making their mark and owning their place in the showbiz game.

Tip: When you have a dream in you it finds a way to come through by learning the ropes and trusting the process.

Talkback: Does Cardi B have it in her to be more than a one-time wonder?

Tracks: Usher ft Young Thug – No limit – https://youtu.be/3w0yqAdJ1iY

Mary J Blige – My Life – https://youtu.be/6DLZc97nWf0

Chadwick Boseman and Beyoncé: Their Personal Expressions for How Hopes and Dreams Can Find the Path to Greatness

2018 Theme
The Year of ‘Got Shine?’
Where The Things You Know and How You Flow Bring More Star Power for Sure


The anticipation is building for the next release from MCU – Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s the latest Super Hero character known as the Black Panther. Lots of celebs got to see the first screening in person. The reviews have been filled with superlatives as if it’s a preview for going from block to blockbuster.

Then of-course there’s Beyoncé and her Grammy-chic appearance. She wasn’t up for any awards but as usual made an iconic fashion statement. Boseman plays the role of king in the upcoming movie. Beyoncé rocks the title of queen in pop culture. But it’s their personal expressions that deliver creative excellence.

The Black Panther storyline has themes that make each character’s greatness come alive. Whether it’s in action-moves of a super hero, amazing plays in the Superbowl or breakthroughs on the field of dreams, the path to greatness comes alive in two success modes, Lifestyle and Lifetrack. They make things pop.

Boseman and Beyoncé have used these on the path to greatness. For Boseman it’s taken a few roles that weren’t crossover but were a stepping stone. For Beyoncé, it’s in her creative relevance and how she goes from ‘nothing to something’ artistically. Their amazing work sends chills or makes you wanna chill.


Who they are, what they do and how they flow are the sum total of how they express themselves. It’s the combination of their creative excellence and creative relevance that make them special. When things come together it’s like magic which might explain how their success keeps rising to the ceiling.

Over the years my dream has gone through a few climbs from sun-up to sun-down. Feedback from others has helped to tighten things up. The magic for writing this blog has gone from good to better. But the playbook that Boseman & Beyoncé have used on becoming their best seems to go something like this:

  1. Conceive and go from zero to breakout move.

Boseman and Beyoncé have different stories for how they’ve built their movie/music careers. One thing common to both is first seeing themselves doing what they’re doing now. They conceived it in their minds-eye and visualized it in their imaginations. Then after a while, things went from zero to breakout move.

  1. Believe and go from a ‘nobody’ to a rising ‘somebody.’

The space between what they visualized and what they delivered is in how they believed in themselves and in what’s possible. This helped Beyoncé go from singing in her living room to performing on the world stage. Not every dream goes that big. But dreams take you from a ‘nobody’ to a rising ‘somebody.’

  1. Achieve and go from bottom-stack to top-rack.

Every time you achieve something there’s usually a lesson and a lift. The lesson comes from looking at the ups and downs to get there. The lift comes from seeing where you are compared to where you once were. Maybe that’s why Boseman’s big screen roles and Beyoncé’s showbiz journey are so exciting.

  1. Receive and go from nomination to coronation.

Beyond the obvious star power, some think the movie should get nominations for the creative costumes, special effects or music soundtrack. Well just like in the movies, character development and creative genius have meant a lot to Boseman and Beyoncé. It’s taken them from nomination to coronation.

We celebrate them for making us want to sing, dance or feel like kings and queens. We emulate them in striving to better our game or biggup our name. Their hopes and dreams have found the path to greatness not by chance but by a playbook for creative brilliance that has helped make them famous.

Tip: Creative brilliance in your career grind and life dreams needs creative excellence to make you awesome and creative relevance to make you special.

Talkback: How will Boseman’s new role in Black Panther help better his game or biggup his name?

Tracks: Kanye West – Amazing – https://youtu.be/PH4JPgVD2SM

French Montana – Famous – https://youtu.be/LNHkxOU7zz8

Sterling K. Brown & Mary J Blige on What it Means to Think Like the Best, Stay on a Roll and See What The Next Level Shall Be

2018 Theme
The Year of ‘Got Shine?’: Where The Things You Know and How You Flow Bring More Star Power for Sure


Things on the East Coast these days might be a little topsy-turvy with political back and forth. Things on the West Coast were a little nerve-wracking after the Tsunami warning. But Hollywood kept the lights on to make this year’s Oscar nominations. Awards season is in full swing and Sterling K. Brown is on a roll.

He made history in winning a SAG award as the first black male actor in a category. He pulled-off a similar feat earlier in winning an Emmy. He’s not the only one on a roll as Mary J Blige got her Hollywood Star recently. She’s also getting Oscar buzz with her nomination and showing us how to bounce back.

Just ask Steve Harvey about being on a roll. His revamped talk show was renewed for a second season. They remind us to act like a success, think like the best and see what the next level shall be. It’s doing what you love and loving what you do. But it’s really how they tap-in to the five success groups of life.


Everybody shows up with talents and gifts. These and other asset groups are like bread slices. They feed our success which feeds our family. Books have a table of contents. Food items have a nutrition table of contents. Well it’s the five success groups that help them stay on a roll in order to reach their goal.

The saying goes “You get out what you put in.” Not only do they tap-in, they also put-in to stay on point. It’s not always easy or a slam dunk. How that’s done differs from one job role to the next. They know that when you act like a success and think like the best, sooner or later you get to beat-on your chest.

So whether it’s to keep that 2018 resolution on track, make that career move or put that dream project in breakout mode, here’s what stars like them do to get more out of life’s success groups. Before they can beat on their chest the key is in answering four questions for how they might:

  1. Think like the best poker player and ask what’s in your hand?

Every card player gets dealt a hand. It’s the starting point for how they play the game. Every breakout star turns the talents and gifts they were dealt into something that’s widely felt. Plus, what’s in your hand isn’t just about the cards you can play but about handling your business when your number gets dealt.

  1. Think like the best game-changer and ask what’s in your hustle?

There’re stats that players use to get a sense for their averages. Every sport has its main stats that help determine performance. No two stats are the same but one thing’s certain is that hustle can change the game. Athletes who’re able to stay on a roll or go to the next level bring extra hustle beyond the muscle.

  1. Think like the best song-writer and ask what’s in your hook?

There’s the hook and there’s the chorus that keep us humming our favorite song. The chorus gets repeated two or three times. The hook is the vibe-line that gives the track more playback. It’s what keeps a business, brand or relationship on a roll. It’s the hook that keeps the folks coming for more playback.

  1. Think like the best stage performer or social leader and ask what’s in your hope?

Nobody gets up on stage and hopes to be a flop. You expect to do your best and leave an impression or excitement with fans in the audience. Moreover, most social leaders pursue an agenda where there is some worthy objective. The things you hope for are those for which you feel worthy or feel are worth it.

Years ago someone helped me see what’s ‘in my hand.’ It’s an asset sometimes delivered through ideas, insights and maybe a dose of inspiration. Music adds to how I bring a hook or extra hustle beyond my writing muscle. This way I’m putting my talents and gifts to work to meet life’s situations with finesse.

Tip: The things that keep you on a roll involve using what’s in your hand to bring hustle to your passion and the hook to your brand playback.

Talkback: What’s the hook to your favorite song that keeps it on playback?

Tracks: Mary J Blige – Bounce Back 2.0 – https://soundcloud.com/officialmaryjblige/bounce-back-20


Bruno Mars ft Cardi B – Finesse – https://youtu.be/LsoLEjrDogU

Oprah Winfrey Speaks Out and Usain Bolt Jumps In With Their New Year’s Resolutions to Make a Run

2018 Theme
The Year of ‘Got Shine?’:
Where The Things You Know and How You Flow Bring More Star Power for Sure


Looks like Red Carpet watchers and sports fans got a back-to-back treat in primetime. At the 75th Golden Globes, celebs came out in force to honor great movie productions. As if right on cue 24 hours later, the College Football Championship game between Georgia & Alabama had its share of great performances.

For the Globes, this year brought a new dose of social activism to the festivities. Oprah had her standout moment of course. While for football fans there was biting suspense as the game went down to the wire. And scrolling on the bottom of the TV screen during the game was news of Usain Bolt doing soccer.

The after-show buzz was if Oprah would run for President in 2020. Plus it seems Bolt wants to make a run at playing soccer on the big stage. It’s not clear if Oprah will seek higher office as a next chapter. But she’s down for the women’s cause. At least they’re open to taking their shine to a new level or new grind.

Oprah’s decision to speak out and Bolt’s decision to jump-in give clues for making the most of our new year’s resolutions. Whether it’s about a new level or new grind, their success shows us that to breakout from a slump, breakthrough from a setback or break barriers like the glass ceiling, it helps to:

  1. Know Your Game

Oprah spent 25 years on TV hosting her talk show. She then went from daytime queen to cable network mogul. Now she’s on Forbes’ Billionaires list. No one can question if she knows her game. A key to her brilliance from one game to the next is in how she builds-on her skill and grit during the learning curve.

  1. Know Your Groove

Knowing your professional game can sometimes feel boring, monotonous or be on auto-pilot. Oprah and Bolt saw how it can feel like not much of an effort or like you’ve lost your groove. Well, keeping your mojo or getting your groove back means keeping your results ‘on point’ around more passion and purpose.

  1. Know Your Grow

I can remember as a child on those days travelling with my dad to his farm. There were different types of crops which meant different techniques to help them grow. With different types of games professionally, it’s good to know what makes you grow to get your best stuff to flow at work, play or in the marketplace.

  1. Know Your Goal

Bolt wants to play in Europe for die-hard fans. Oprah wants to give young girls hope for tomorrow and the tools to achieve. A goal gives our dreams legs to stand on and a path to becoming the best we can be. And in the words of Oprah, “the biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.”


Oprah and Bolt have already reached great heights in their careers. They really don’t have to prove anything more to be secure. Their dreams have taken them east, west, north and south as if travelling the four corners of success. They give us a kind of GPS roadmap for making something of ourselves.

The new-year can be a good time to look at starting over. It seems Bolt’s doing that as an athlete. It’s also a good time for kicking things into higher gear. That’s what Oprah’s speech did for many who posted messages on social media. They’ve already shown us what it takes to ‘shine on’ and become legendary.

Tip: Taking your professional shine to a new level of brilliance or new grind means knowing how to work your game and hit your groove so that how you grow helps to push your goal.

Talkback: What’s it gonna take for Oprah make a run or for Bolt to become soccer’s new son?

Tracks: Welshly Arms – Legendary – https://youtu.be/Z2CZn966cUg

Jussie Smollette ft Bre-Z – Shine on Me – https://youtu.be/FAA4AdxEm34