5 Questions With… Michael Taylor

What seems to be missing in people, in terms of their lack of success, tends to border along the lines of not being motivated enough, especially when you have the intellect and/or talent that says otherwise. This is where someone like Coach Michael Taylor fits in as a motivational speaker. He is also an entrepreneur, author of six books and radio show host, so he understands how to keep himself motivated as well.

The author of ‘Shattering Black Male Stereotypes’ took some time to interact with The Industry Cosign to let us know how his path led him to where he is now, the purpose of his latest book and to share some jewels that helped propel him to success.

What made you choose to write ‘Shattering Black Male Stereotypes’ and how do you feel the book will shape the conversation pertaining to the myths of the stereotypical black male according to how society sees us?

I have been writing (6 books) and speaking about the changing roles of manhood for more than 20 years. I fervently believe the greatest challenge facing our world today is to redefine masculinity, which empowers men to embrace new ways of being and relating as men.

During this time I have been a featured speaker/panelist/expert on a series of webinars, online summits and radio interviews. In the majority of cases I was the only man of color featured on the panel. As I engaged in these dialogs I recognized that masculinity transcends race and has nothing to do with the color of a man’s skin. However, as a man who happens to be black, I acknowledge that men of color have to deal with some unique emotional, psychological and spiritual challenges that other men do not have to deal with.

Therefore, it was important for me to focus my attention on books and programs that spoke directly to the issues facing black men. My intention was to engage men of color in a dialog that allows them to speak openly and honestly about the challenges of being a black male in America (and around the globe) and to provide resources for them to address said challenges.

The primary reason I wrote Shattering Black Male Stereotypes is because I believe it is possible for any black man to live an extraordinary life if he chooses. Contrary to negative media generated stereotypes; I truly believe black men are positioned to experience unprecedented levels of success in the future. In order to do so, they must be willing to recognize what may be holding them back has nothing to do with race or discrimination, but their own mindset about what is possible for them. So the intention of the book is to change their mindset from being a victim to a mindset of being a victor.

In addition, the book has been an eye opening experience for readers who aren’t black. It sheds light on how the negative media generated perceptions about black men have shaped their viewpoints and the book has provided some much needed optimism about the status of black men in American culture.

In summary, the book is written to dispel the negative media generated stereotypes about black men and to empower them to recognize that living an extraordinary life is within their grasp. The goal is to change our “inner narrative” about ourselves so we are not impacted by the “external narrative” of the negative dominant media.

How has the ‘negative’ situations in your life help or did it help, you become successful in terms of what some consider successful and what motivated you to not allow anything to hamper the successful parts of your life?

As I look back in retrospect, I can see that every “negative” experience actually brought me a gift to help me understand myself better. Although my divorce was one of the most painful experiences of my life, I now know without question it was the best thing that ever happened to me. My divorce challenged me to “wake up” and acknowledge that I had been living a lie. I had been trapped on the societal roller coaster that said I was supposed to have the wife, the house, the 2.5 kids, the vacations and 401K’s and I would be happy. I had all of those things and truth be told I was miserable. My divorce was my wake up call to something greater, something grander, something divine!

After my failed marriage, I initially decided that I would never get married again. But as a result of doing some deep self-introspection and emotional healing I decided that I truly did want to find a spiritual partner. It took some effort but I did find her and I have been blissfully married for approximately 16 years now.

During my 25-year journey of transformation (which I’m still on today), I unpacked a lot of baggage that was keeping me from being happy and content with my life and myself. As a result of this journey, I discovered the things that I’m passionate about and I also discovered my unique gifts and talents that I use to try to make the world just a little bit better. By sharing my gifts with the world my life is rewarding, fulfilling and meaningful and brings me great joy and if I had to do my life all over again I wouldn’t change a thing. All of the challenges, pain and disappointments I experienced were actually preparing me to be the man I am today and if I changed any part of it I wouldn’t be the same. So I embrace all of it with gratitude and grace.

What specific and general advice would you give to anyone who is at the point of their lives where they are not necessarily ready to give up, but, are at the crossroads of their lives and/or they need something to keep them motivated not to give up?

I typically do not give advice, but I will share this fuel for contemplation. During the darkest period of my life I received a miracle. I was sitting up late one night because I was so depressed that I couldn’t sleep. I was sitting at the edge of my bed staring at my bookshelf when I noticed that all of the books had something to do with getting rich or making money. As I sat there, a question popped into my mind. The question was this; “Michael, what if you took all the energy and effort you’ve used in trying to get rich and simply figure out how to be happy?” It was a question that literally changed my life in an instant. As a result of asking that question I stopped reading books on getting rich and making money and I started reading books on psychology, philosophy, spirituality and personal development. I became obsessed with finding out how to be happy. As a result of asking myself that one simple question I ended up figuring out how to become happy and as I am writing this right now I can say without reservation that I am happier in this very moment than I’ve ever been in my life. Was it easy? Absolutely not! Was it worth it? Unequivocally YES!

So the first thing I would say is to figure out how to be happy. To do so, you must embrace this quote: “If you don’t go within, you will always go without.” Happiness is an inside job! In other words you must learn to listen to that still small voice within you that can guide you to your ultimate happiness. Some people call this voice your intuition but rest assured you have access to it if you choose to listen.

The next thing you must be willing to do is to invest in your own personal growth and development. This is the difficult part. You must be willing to do things like read books, go to seminars, listen to audio programs, go to therapy, whatever it takes to find your joy. This means you will have to get out of your comfort zone and do some things you’ve never done before.

Last, but definitely not least; you must put together a support network of like-minded people to support you on your journey. No man is an island and it is absolutely imperative that you have a support network to support you along your journey. This can take the form of a support group, online group, therapy group, church group or a host of other support systems that you can join that will encourage and empower you to grow. That is the key! Commit to your own growth and you can overcome any challenge you may be dealing with right now.

Rest assured that you are never alone and if I can overcome being a high school dropout, a divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, depression and living in a car for two years, I’m absolutely certain you can overcome any challenge you have in your life.

Good luck!

In the current national political climate, how can people rise above the fray in order to not get caught up in the mud that we read, see and watch every day in the news?

The key is to minimize or eliminate the amount of negative news you allow in your consciousness. Remember the acronym, GIGO, Garbage In, Garbage Out. Every human being is completely responsible for the information they allow in their minds. It’s important to understand that the media only shows approximately 6% of what’s going on in the world. Of that 6%, 80% of the stories they showcase are going to be negative. Do not buy in to the negative media!

With the over proliferation of negative news stories the overwhelming majority of people will argue that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. But what if there was another way to view the world? What if the world is actually getting better not worse? One of our greatest gifts as human beings is the power to choose. You get to choose what you see and what you experience. While most people see a world that is falling apart, I happen to see a world that’s coming together. As a matter of fact I believe there has never been a better time to be alive on the planet than right now. I am so optimistic about the future I can barely contain myself.

Yet most people will see me as a pie in the sky bleeding heart liberal that is out of touch with reality. But guess what? That’s my choice! That is how I choose to see the world.

Here is something to think about. “People don’t see the world as it is, they see the world as they are.” Put another way; If you change the way you look at things the things you look at will change.

Simply change the way you look at things!

What is next for Coach Michael Taylor?

My intention is to spread a message of optimism and possibilities that empower men of color to live extraordinary lives. I want to positively impact the lives of at least one million men of color around the globe.

I am launching a series of online summits designed specifically around the Shattering Black Male Stereotypes message. I recently released the first empowerment summit in January, which was a huge success. You can find it here: www.shatteringblackmalestereotypes.com

I’m looking forward to creating a new movement that encourages men of color to recognize that we have unlimited potential and can accomplish anything we set our minds to. I want to change the negative media generated narrative about black men into a powerful positive narrative that shatters the stereotypes and encourages all men of color to live rewarding and fulfilling lives.