Keto AF! (30 Day Keto Challenge by Perfit)

By now I’m pretty sure you’ve at least heard of the “Keto diet” or heard of someone saying they are doing ‘Keto’ for quick weight loss.  It seems to be gaining some huge traction over the past year or so. The truth is the “Ketogenic diet” was designed as a response to epileptic patients in French hospitals. The original remedy was to have patients fast completely (no food or drink other than water) for up to 30 days. Results were astounding. As research in 1911 continued, they deduced that fasting caused what are called “ketones” to be developed as a natural response to the body being without carbs.

What is Keto?

Keto, short for Ketosis/Ketogenic is a metabolic state that the body enters when it has depleted it’s glygocen/carbohydrate stores.  This happens in around 2-3 days of having less than 50g net carbs(or less).  At this point the body begins developing ketones, and using fat as a primary energy source instead of the quick energy source, carbs.

How did I start a Keto Challenge?

I was wasting my life scrolling through Instagram, and I stumbled on @aroperfit keto challenge, that was to start June 15. Figured I’d try it out see how I respond to it and use the guidance to get through the 30 days.  Simple right? Definitely… not. 😊  Thanks to  Aaron West aka Aro-PerFit (Click here for personal training & Meal plans mention Trent J!)   I was provided with a weekly meal plan and grocery list, and even workouts to accompany the diet and help increase weight loss.  Below I want to provide a few observations of my experience as it relates to the Ketogenic Diet. Also below, check out a few of the foods I enjoyed while working through this diet.

 

Week 1:  

So by far Week 1 just like with any diet is probably the most difficult. You are depriving your body of what it’s used to cold-turkey and the cravings will be real. For this particular challenge it started on a Friday so I jumped right in to going through a weekend with no carbs or alcohol. (not easy in the slightest).  In addition to the diet plan provided, I began my first 3-4 days with intermittent fasting.  I wouldn’t eat until around 11am-12pm and would get in calories within a 8-10 hour period.

I immediately experienced the low energy and being cranky as I felt hungry all the time for the first 72 hours or so. To fight my hunger, I kept lots of healthy fat snacks (peanuts, almonds, meat/cheeses) on hand to keep me on track. The key here is you want to get your body into ketosis as fast as possible, so you HAVE to get through the first 2-3 days.

Week 2:

By the time I reached Week 2, I had a good routine.  Workouts, diet, and everything was pretty much on auto pilot. My first check-in was -5 lbs.  Not bad for 1 week. I told myself it was probably 80% water because that’s a natural reaction of no carbs initially.

During this week I began to notice that I had increased mental clarity, lots of energy, was sleeping a lot longer and deeper, however lower performance. Which I never realized was different until experiencing this diet. See I noticed I was losing some of my strength in the few lifts I did, but throughout the day I had consistent energy from the time I woke up to laying down.

Week 3:

Week 3 I dropped another 4 lbs, so I was motivated at this point. I began to get a little more creative with my diet so did stray away from the original meal plan. And I’m not surprised as I’m always trying to experiment in the kitchen. This is where I began to notice changes in my sleeping. For the better actually, I was sleeping a lot more deeply and longer than normal. Whereas I would sleep only for about 4 or 5 at most hours at night (when scheduled allowed) I was sleeping anywhere from 6 – 8.5 hours. Which is extremely abnormal for me.

This was also the week I started feeling myself and said “oh this little cut of bread won’t hurt, or 1 or 2 drinks won’t hurt.”  Well yea… not recommended.

Week 4:

The home stretch!  Because of the way the days were structured though this was the last week I had roughly 10 days left. The humbling reality about going into Week 4, is I had no weight loss. Yep,  just because I wasn’t eating carbs doesn’t mean that my ‘slip ups’ weren’t going to catch up with me.  Must admit it was a little disappointing, but after reviewing what I had eaten and my drinks it made sense.

So I refocused and got back on track.

Week 5:

The last few days of the challenge I was certainly ready to wrap it up.  It was on this Friday, that I actually finally reached my goal of losing 15 lbs. Roughly 2 days before the challenge was over.  Exciting stuff, had missed no workouts and stay pretty on target with my macros. The cravings for waffles, rice, potatoes, cakes, pasta, toast, etc was at an all time high.

But with all of that being said, I completed the challenge pushed my body and mind beyond a new boundary. Not to mention, learned more about what works for my body and what doesn’t.

Summary:

Do I recommend the KETO diet?  Well sure. But probably no longer than 2-3 weeks. 30 days max. I think it’s most useful to help kick start a new diet (this is not a detox) as it gets the body into a fat burning state. If you follow up this diet with some carb cycling I think you’ll be well on your way to seeing the body you’ve always wanted!

With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,

Trent J ACEO

 

See some of my favorite recipes & even my 30 day results below!


 

 

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Nice for What | GreekNik 2018

 

By now it’s no secret that a large group of young black professionals have literally BROKE the internet with elegant professional photos capturing the experience of mainland Greece and the isles of Santorini and Mykonos. Via the Instagram hashtag #GreekNik2018 they have created a window into a inexplicable experience where  this travel group visited Ancient Greece in mid may.

One of the most amazing realities is the sheer number of individuals that assembled together with the number around 130-140 at any given moment! Professionals in their 20’s and 30’s from all over the United States, and even some that lived abroad. Just like the popular Dubai Flight glitch a few years ago, this likewise started with a flight deal that offered a majority of people a round-trip flight from Newark to Athens for less than $400.  Thanks to the Travel Crew: “We Stay Traveling” (@westaytraveling) they quickly put a ‘Group Me’ room together, and coordinated all facets of the trip in a matter of months.

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Lesson 1:   Book First, ask questions later.

I had missed a few other international trips before. Why you ask?  Because I spent too much time trying to analyze every single minute detail instead of booking first and asking questions later. This time I refused to miss out. Thankfully we caught the deal. Shortly after began working out housing, transportation, and things to do over time. Worked out perfectly. So let that be the first piece of advice…Stay ready, then you won’t have to get ready.

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Lesson 2: Keep that Same Energy

This trip along with the others are not for the faint at heart. There is a level of energy and consistent good vibes that were unanimously agreed upon to maintain throughout the entire time we were abroad. KEEP THAT SAME ENERGY! Being exclaimed all throughout the days and nights as we progressed. But it was more than just sleeping less, and taking more shots, but it an ode to life beyond our vacation. The momentum of good energy was being passed to and through each person to heighten the overall experience. If you are not a believer in energy, this type of experience will certainly change that.

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Lesson 3: Balance is Key

“Find you somebody that can do both”. What does that mean you ask?  Well, when you take a deeper look into the magnificent melanated moguls behind those pictures you’ll find a cavalry of extremely successful individuals in careers that span a wide range.  See the locals may have thought we were just a bunch of kids visiting Greece, but behind the rap lyric quotin’, tenacious twerking, and Iphone portrait mode selfie taking group was a physical manifestation of Dubois’  Talented tenth.  But with a cultural twist… We exuded the made-popular term ‘sophista-ratchet’. Now you may not be familiar with this urban vernacular, so let me try and give you some examples:

It’s the pulling out your devotional first thing in the morning, and still being the life of the party, or maybe it’s a quick shady interchange between a dentist spraying a bottle of Moet and a lawyer getting blown up by clients on a yacht ; or maybe it’s a young black physician that just finished his Orals for Board certification, and buying bottles of Johnny Walker on the beach,  or maybe it’s a restaurant owner that astounds us all buy packing for 10 days with a carry on, or personal trainers that also serve as Instagram models, and just possibly it’s project managers that aren’t afraid to climb on a bar and dance the night away, or possibly an engineer that’s a bounce music hype man, or a pharmacist with a gwara gwara that’s video vixen worthy, or debates about religion and Cardi B lyrics while on a tour of a Mykonos vineyard.  The energy and vibes reverberating from these magnificent melanated moguls was about leaving behind their professional lives to let it all out.  Everybody fed off the energy of the next and leveled up as the days went by. These are no ordinary people: stock brokers, sales reps, trainers, motivational speakers, entrepreneurs, project managers, trainers, nurses, engineers, educators, consultants, actuaries, doctors, brand reps, lawyers, dentists, executive chefs you name it!

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New connections. New relationships. Everlasting memories. No regrets. I hope this story inspires you to do what you’ve always wanted to do no matter your current circumstances. If you love to travel, do it. If you love to write, do it. If you love to speak, do it.  If you love to create art, do it. If you love to cook, do it.  If you love to serve, do it.  Nice for what?  Don’t ALLOW meaningless small barriers drop false fear into your life and have you putting off what you were called to do now.

In closing, the world is waiting on you to let it out. To stop holding back; break out of that shell and live your best life!!!

Follow @westaytraveling and check out the hashtag for some of the awe inspiring views of the Greek isles and the beautiful people who conquered it. Not to mention the next flight deal!

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And remember:  Protect your peace. Live your life. Eat your vegetables. Drink your water. Love hard. Laugh often. Use your Shea butter. Properly moisturize. Get your rest. Meet new people. But most importantly:   Travel the world.

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Live ACEO 

 

. With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,

Trent J ACEO

 

5 Lessons from Disney’s The Lion King

It’s no secret that one of my favorite childhood movies as “The Lion King”.  But what I didn’t realize growing up all of the lessons that Disney hid in the characters, the dialogue, and the locations hidden within the movie.  I was reviewing some of my favorite moments, and decided to reflect on lessons I picked up on and wanted to share.

 

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Scene 1 : “Inheritance” 

In this scene, Mufassa takes Simba away from the pack and speaks to him alone. “Everything the light touches, is our kingdom….. A King’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun, one day the sun will set on my time here and will rise with you as the new king.

This short 45 second scene is a symbol of how us as Fathers and leaders of our own ‘packs’ must speak life and royalty into the lives of our offspring. Showing them the kingdom which awaits their full maturation. It also introduces a hard conversation that we as a people don’t like to have in preparation for death and handing over the torch. The ‘kingdom’ is Simba’s inheritance from His Father and those before him, what kingdom are you leaving your children so that may experience life more abundantly because of your sacrifice?

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Scene 2: “No Worries” 

In this scene(s) of Lion King, Simba meets Timon and Pumba. They help raise Simba from this deep oppressive and depressing state of mind. Introducing him to the concept of ‘Hakuna Matata’ ( a Swahili phrase translating to ‘no trouble, no worries’).

It’s important to have a time like this in our lives that we are focused on discovering ourselves, eating new foods, traveling to new places, and allowing our purpose to take form in whatever capacity that is. Timon and Pumba had one flaw though, they did not recognize Simba for the King that he was. Having people around that don’t recognize when you’re living beyond your calling can be dangerous. And yet they were content with having a friend at the top of the food chain… *

Be careful not to rest in this careless and carefree state for too long, there’s a purpose for you to fulfill and people depending on you to use your gift to transform the world.

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Scene 3 : “You Are More than What You’ve Become…”

Rafiki was trying to teach more than Simba a lesson: “You are more than what you’ve become….” … Remember WHO you are, Acknowledge WHOSE you are… Rafiki literally took him away from his carefree life of Timon and Pumba and reminded him that he had a larger calling on His life to be a King and it was time to grow up and live out his purpose. It’s amazing what being led to WATER and forced to deal with the man/woman in the mirror.

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Scene 4: “The Past Hurts…”

Here Rafiki slams Simba across the head to teach him a lesson about the Past.

Simba after confronting his shortcomings with His father admits he’s spent all this time bug eating and chillin because he was afraid to face his past essentially RUNNING from a lie. *

Truth is the Past can hurt, and facing it head on can be extremely intimdating with lots of doubt. However, how long are you going to run away from the truth? How many ppl will suffer on ‘pride rock’ because you have too much of it…to face the truth and grow? *

Don’t let a moment hold you back from a mountain there are people counting on you in this world.

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Scene 5: “The Right Person, but the Wrong Time”

n the early part of the movie, Zazu told Nala and Simba that they had been “bethrowed” or planned to be married…their reaction in the top of the pic. DISGUSTED.

About 2/3 of the movie they are reunited and share never before affection, reaction in bottom pic.

I believe this is where the idea “The Right Person at the Wrong time” comes into play. Sometimes we’ve known “The One” for a long time in our lives but some maturation has to take place for one another to appreciate and realize that its more than a casual affection for one another. Simba literally had to go away, get out all his foolishness, and be reminded of His calling before He could ever lead Nala and the kingdom. Likewise Nala though much more mature grew up and learned what a Real King is supposed to be, standing up to Scar and not settling since he was the “king” *

Fellas, you can call yourself a King but until you put away childish ways you’ll never get your Queen or Kingdom. Ladies, don’t settle for a man that may look like a king but obviously doesn’t know what one is supposed to do. Live out your purpose and let God direct you !

 

Sweep Streets

 

Each year on or around January 15, we celebrate the tremendous and world transformative life of the legendary Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   There are oratory contests, days of service, parades, and commemorations spread out around the United States to celebrate and lift up the name of justice. And not the least of the memories, is the famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  However, this year, I found myself becoming wrapped in another one of King’s “sermons” if you will.  “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint”, a short speech given by King at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967.  For a quick moment I want to talk about the street sweeper…

See the climate of 1967 was just as rough as any during the civil rights movement, and Dr. King had taken a few moments to go speak to a group of middle school students and empower them beyond their violent climate. Moreover, he called the students to consider their blueprint or plan if for their very own lives. Calling them OUT of the struggles of being a negro during the civil rights movement to be the best at whatever their various commissions may have been.  About 10 minutes into his speech he switches from giving his reasons, and over to the calling.

See Full Speech Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmtOGXreTOU

In King speech he proclaims: “Stay in school, and when you discover what you’re going to be in life, set out to do it like God almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it…” And don’t just setout to do a good “Negro” job, but do a good JOB. That ANYBODY could do […]  And set out to do that job so well, that living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better.  If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

 

Makes you think right? I’ve heard snippets of this speech many times and know the poetic commission of the “Street sweeper” but it wasn’t until I had my first meal of 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana that I saw it manifested for myself.  My friends and I celebrated NYE in NOLA, and concluded our trip with  lunch at Mandina’s Restaurant off of Canal St. As we awaited in the bar area for our table to be made ready, we found ourselves unknowingly staring at one of the bus boys.  We initially began joking and how quickly he would bus down a table, clean it, and have it setup for the next party. He was seemingly doing it in one fell swoop.  We kept watching as he adjusted from bus boy to server, and back to the tables just to keep the flow of traffic and patrons reasonable.  Shortly after that we were seated and began to order, and all throughout the time at the restaurant we found ourselves continuing to be amazed and how he flowed through the rows of tables, around the servers, and barely missing the patrons as the morning and afternoon progressed.  Just like Martin alluded, it truly was like art. He had a subtle smile on his face and was the only bus boy that we noticed in the restaurant.  As we concluded our meal, we requested to see the manager and brag not on our waiter but on the bus boy. That we had never seen anything like that and wanted to make sure he got his due of credit for an enjoyable experience.  The manager mentioned that he loved that job, and he even tried to make him a waiter at one point, but it didn’t work out.  The kid just wanted to be a bus boy…

 

 

It was at that moment that it hit me. Not that this man’s life calling was to be a bus boy, but in that moment, his dedication to that job allowed me to notice a splendor of God that was over him and even my own life. It was in such a way that I realized if you can do a job or vocation so well that it points people to God, you are indeed called in that moment for a reason and a season.  Whatever it may be that you are called to do, do it like the street sweeper Martin talked about, do it so well like the bus boy that you outshine those that may have higher positions than you.  When you are equipped with skill, passion, and joy its no longer work but a commission to transform people, places, or things into a better representation of themselves.  So on this Martin Luther King, Jr’s Day, in addition to your plans you may have, I want you to think about what you’ve been called to do. I want you to consider all the people that are waiting on you to accept your calling and bless their lives. I believe there are blessings God has for people around you, that He’s waiting to speak and demonstrate through you after you submit to obedience. Let today be that day as you embark into the remaining months, weeks, and days of 2018. No matter how low or high the position, do it for the glory.   Happy King Day to all the “Street Sweepers!”

 

. With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,

Trent J ACEO

 

I’ll Make Your Name Great

 Greatness comes from within. Meaningful actions, allow others to witness it.

The enemy of good is great” is how Jim Collins opens one of my favorite books entitled From Good to Great.  All throughout that book he demonstrates how we as people settling for what’s good, or considered all right has too often become the norm.  In fact, I’d argue that there’s more greatness available, because so many have decided that being just a little bit better than the man or woman next to them will suffice.  So many people do not tap into their potential for a variety of reasons by which we must overcome.  Well the concepts that surround how to define, how to uncover, how to live greatness are not just reserved to Collins in his book. In a few events I’ve been paying close attention to, I was reminded that becoming great seems to follow a very unique formula and I wanted to try and unpack what’s been running through the waves of my mind for a few weeks now.

It is no secret that I’m a man of faith, and I enjoy the peace and privilege that my faith has brought me thus far in my life.  I often use the Bible as a reference for my blogs because let’s be honest there’s some pretty good material in there whether you believe in God/Christ or not. The writers of that text were certainly divinely inspired even though the context of the material can be sometimes construed. (Another topic, another blog).  As it relates to greatness, God uses all kinds of people throughout the Bible to prove points, prove His power, solidify his sovereignty, and most importantly demonstrate His Love.  But what many people don’t realize is other than Jesus, He doesn’t use ‘perfect’ or likely people to get these things accomplished.  My pastor shared a quote with me many years ago when I first moved to Houston, “God doesn’t call the perfect, He perfects… the called.” – MDC.   That by far has resonated so powerfully with me, because for one it’s true, and two… I’m not perfect. So it reassured me that I could somehow still be used even though I’m a pretty messed up guy. All of us have our flaws, but I’ve been amazed at how one small thing about us, or one decision made by us can be used to literally redirect and retransform how our lives are shaped up. I keep hold of my faith, because all the examples of the ‘giants’ in the text are all people that were by all accounts just average, and by some orchestrating became leaders, kings, rules, disciples by a means that could only be by a higher power.

First I noticed that what happens first in a make your name great situation is (drum roll please) …. God tells us. As simple as that. Starting with Abram, and further examples with Simon, Joseph, Daniel, Saul and many more He tells or shows them that He will make their names greats for many a generation. Sounds pretty harmless, right? Sure. However, God is not saying I’m going to make you great doing what you already do or are doing. I have another plan lined up that’s beyond anything that you could ever imagine. Now this is where things get ominous. In the examples of above I gave their ‘former’ names before God called them to a higher place. We know that God changes the names of these giants to align with what He has planned for them. He shifts what they will be called by men and women to prophecy what He has called them to do.  Abram to Abraham, and Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul. He had to change their identify before He could use them fully.

Next, I noticed, that God ALWAYS asks or forces us out of our comfortable situation.   Saul a powerful king, Daniel a pretty savvy Shepherd’s boy, Simon a known fisherman. He tells us in order for me to make your name great, you will have to sacrifice some of the vices or pleasures of your current situation.  Just like these giants, we have to trust God that His ways are indeed higher than ours. And that our greatness just may not be in the very things we went to school for, the very things we are known or even not known for, or even in wrongful persecution. What is consistent in how God takes us from Good to Great is He takes us from a situation and sets us on an unimaginable path. These paths most of the time make no sense. They are rough and misleading.  They cause us to be persecuted by those we have always known and love, they cause us to be talked about by those we’ve never met. They sometimes cause us to be thrown in prison like Martin or Malcolm, or Mandela or Joseph, or even most recently… Kalief Browder. They may also cause us to lose our job and be black balled, you know like Colin Kaepernick.  After changing our names, and asking us to leave our day jobs, God has the audacity to grab us by the collar and allow us to be dragged through some extremely hateful, uncomfortable, and quite frankly scary circumstances. Yep that’s Him. In fact, the more I study the stories of Great people, they always seem to follow this unique path.    You have this idea of what you THINK your life will be, God steps in tells you something unimaginable, changes your identity, and many times removes you from what you THOUGHT might be your claim to fame.

I was inspired to write this after two major events occurred in the past weeks.  I watched the full documentary of Kalief Browder, and Kaepernick was named GQ’s citizen of the year.  Now starting off with Kap, I wrote an article earlier in the year stating why I wouldn’t boycott the NFL, although I’ve truly enjoyed watching the league fall apart as they have refused to deal with the issues at hand. I later made a statement on how I believed that Kaepernick would do more good as an ex-NFL player than he ever would coming back out of retirement. I do indeed know that this man LOVES the game of Football, and it gave him the very platform that he has today. But, now Kaepernick is a globally recognizable household name. For being brave enough to risk his own career, because the cause was bigger than the sport that he loved and played all his life.  Reminds me of Simon, now called Peter.   Simon was KNOWN for his skill in his career as a fisherman. He probably even told people that he’d be in the Super Bowl of fishermen if there ever was one.  However, even He was approached with an opportunity that said I’m changing your name to Peter, (Petros) rock. And upon you I’m going to build my entire church. WHEW…  Colin, if you ever read this, I believe that same opportunity has been put on your table.   Football is a cool sport, and there’s NO doubt that you are skilled, and no doubt you may have been a hall of fame great. However, when you mentioned it’s bigger than football you were speaking your own prophecy into fruition.  And because you were brave enough to do that, you brought about a national conversation about not only Police Brutality, but Racism in a larger spectrum, and even uncovered some hidden racist within your own professional league.  This sir took bravery.  Being called everything but a child of God, and because of that your name is on the lips of those who may have never known your football ability, but will know you because of your sacrifice of it to help improve the lives of the least of these.

In another story with Kalief Browder, it’s a little more disheartening as there’s two parts to his story that both inspire and disappoint me. For those that don’t know the story of Kalief Browder, I’d encourage you to go watch the short series on Netflix before continuing with this blog. (Seeing that it’s almost the end you probably won’t do it anyway).

Let me make it short:  Browder was wrongfully accused of stealing a backpack from a man in his neighborhood. He was thrown into prison on Riker’s island and not given a trial for a couple of years. He refused to take a guilty plea as he knew he was innocent (and he was for the record).  During his time there, he was subject to the violence being jumped many times, beat up by corrections officers, and put into solitary confinement. And not just put in there for a few days, but a couple years. With a combined 1,111 days in prison, He eventually was exonerated when the state was unable to produce the witness who had by this time went back to Mexico. But what happens when a 16 year old boy that’s been in solitary confinement is brought back into the world?  Well he can’t function. Family members mentioned they didn’t even recognize him as he came home, not in physical appearance but in his personality and spirit. That many days of no human contact had crushed him mentally in ways that are synonymous with a caged animal.  Of course, his family led a law suit against the state. During this time Browder was attacked and his face sliced, because those in the area thought he now had money when he in fact didn’t.  Shortly after, he woke up one morning spoke to all those in his family and then hung himself outside his bedroom window. And the story ended with the lawsuit never being settled, as his mother died later from a heart attack.

Now I use this man as an example of good to great, because who knew what Kalief may have ever become. But I truly believe he had to have had a strong relationship with God to get through each and every day in that jail being innocent.   I mentioned earlier Nelson and Malcolm and Martin and Joseph all characters from decades on earth that were jailed because of false charges brought up against them BUT it was being strong in those times of wrongful accusations that brought attention to a wider issue.  I’m pretty sure Kalief did not grow up saying I want to lead criminal justice reform, but that’s precisely what his life did.  Not only that, but it brought attention to the larger problem that we do not value black and brown lives in our country.  It brought light to how the love of a mother for her child can help her withstand a heart disease that should have killed her years and months before it did.  This story literally brought me to tears and I had to pause one episode because it was extremely overwhelming.  But I also believe each and everything happens for reason. And I had to ask myself why. Kalief Browder is now added to a list of heroes of mine.  I can’t say for any other reason that I may have known him but for his bravery to not plead guilty and live out his days trusting God and the process.

Well what do all these people have in common, and what does it have to do with you? Well many of us have hit a part in our lives where we are wrestling with our gift or our calling or purpose in this world.  I want to share these stories, to try and identify God’s methods of assisting us to fulfill His purpose for our lives. It’s first prophetic telling and/or showing us what’s to come. Next, it’s reidentification through alchemy. Literally taking our raw, unrefined selves and giving us a new name a new means by which to be known by.  After that, He then calls us away from the very things we have made our idols. It might be our families, our hobbies, our jobs, etc. Now don’t be mistaken, he could very well use the skills and passion you had towards those things, but this will be on a larger stage. Once you get to this point, you truly have to strengthen your faith and trust the process. The road from good to great with God isn’t always a 1 or 2-year process. It might be a lifetime of process, and a moment of greatness that lives beyond your life for many generations. Allow yourself to be used for the greater good outside of your realm of life. Whether you identify with Simon-Peter, or Joseph, or Daniel, or Colin, or Kalief, realize that there’s something bigger in store for you than you could ever imagine.

My theme for 2017 is “Pushing Limits 10X Effort” and it’s aligned to the scripture ‘Eyes have not seen, nor ear heard, nor entered into the heart of man, the good[great] things God has in store for them that love Him.” I Corinthians 6:9.   This tells me that if I can dream it or think it, there’s something even greater than THAT in store for my life.   Growing up I wanted to be a millionaire, but that’s too easy that’s too simple for what’s supposed to be of my life. Be willing to expect more out of God, and not limit him to earthly pleasures as ‘great demonstrations of His power.’   He can blink and give you kingdoms, but molding you into a beacon of light that will make this world brighter even for our God takes time. And it takes time because He loves you, and He loves you because He made you. And because He made you, He’s working to make you all He’s designed you to be. Trust the process. The greatness is IN you, let Him bring it out.

 

. With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,

 

Trent J ACEO

 

Every Knee Shall Bow | To Boycott the NFL or Nah? – August 2017

 

For some time, I’ve contemplated how I was going to articulate my thoughts on this rhetoric of protesting the NFL in response to Quarter back, Colin Kaepernick remaining unsigned by any of the 32 NFL teams in this 17-18 football season. I have seen an outpour of backlash, name-calling, and hatred from individuals polarized on both sides as they express their views or stances on why they will or will not protest the NFL. I’ve read through numerous articles trying to gather some history and feedback on the issue before I comment, and would like to provide a few premises on how I’ve reached my personal decision.

Premise # 1 –  Kap’s goal was to spark conversations around the country about oppressed African Americans and police brutality.

Kap most certainly accomplished this. In no interview that I’ve found did he ever say by kneeling he was going to fix the problem, however he passionately expressed how the stories affected him and how he was going to take his position to stand with those that may not have a voice. All throughout the 2016-2017 season people were talking about police brutality with their families, friends, co-workers, churches, and communities. Hats off to Kap, this was not an easy feat to accomplish as criticism continued to come at every side. Moreover, I commend the work he was already doing and continues to do in local communities serving those in need.

Premise #2 –  Kap was not alone in his protest.

Safety Eric Reid, finally joined Kap after about 4-5 games of kneeling to side with his teammate during the kneeling/sitting during the display of the colors and singing of the National Anthem. It’s extremely important to note that at this point, the protest became bigger than just the QB and would grow to other NFL players, College Players, High School players of many races, teams, and backgrounds.  He literally sparked a national outcry for conversation by sitting down and demanding people to have the “hard conversations” as we call them at work.

Premise # 3 – Kap is not a bad football player.

Despite many individuals using this as an excuse as to why he hasn’t been signed. It’s pretty obvious that Kap does not suck. Is he the best in the league? Not by far. However, his skill is something that is still something that could be valuable to many teams if put with the right programs and coaching staff. However, how many of us can think of someone on our job that is extremely talented, but because of how they act, or their energy have decided not to work with someone because it might disrupt the work environment. These are things we deal with every day.

Premise # 4 – A lack of an inclusive environment and attention to social issues by the NFL Foundation has created a sport tone-deaf to what’s going on in the communities they say they are serving. And pumped fear into the very NFL players that help make them rich.

In an interview with Aaron Rodgers in August of 2016, it was made obvious by one of the leagues most talented and popular quarterbacks at the NFL was not a place to take a stance, comment on social and political issues, simply because they were afraid of backlash from the league. It’s one thing to hear this from popular black players, but very insightful hearing this from Rodgers himself. He too is making it obvious that the ability to bring your whole self to the NFL is not a luxury provided to the players without some kind of backlash. Praising the NBA for how they have created an inclusive atmosphere throughout the league in the interview.

Premise # 5 – Viewership of the NFL has been drastically falling year after year in just about every demographic measured.

This is a hard fact for the NFL.  In this article studying the demographics of viewers of the NFL Viewership in the NFL viewership from women, men, African American, White, Asian, and Hispanic are shown over the past 4 years to be in an overwhelming decline. They attributed this to many theories Kap, domestic violence, and even poor programming (in an attempt to give smaller market teams more airtime). However, the more realistic items noticed is the move from cable to streaming, and the Dallas Cowboys losing to Green Bay. (not really, I’m just still upset about that game…. As a Dallas Native!)

 

OK, so there are some hard facts about this situation that I gathered as I sat back and tried to decide what in the world am I going to do this season while the NFL commences its 2017-2018 season. What do I think about those that have chosen to boycott? So here it is:

Until more of the NFL Players make it their priority to demand the entity they work for and contractually in agreement with to create an inclusive environment protecting their rights to be individuals first and members of a team second, I will not protest.

And reviewing the premises above this is why:

I haven’t seen one article or statement or interview showing Kap has called for a protest against the NFL for his unfair treatment and essentially being blackballed by owners across the league. How can I say the NFL is such a terrible foundation and have treated Kap so unfairly and yet, he’s still a free agent and not retired?  It’s extremely hard for me to care more about someone else’s means of employment than they do. There are those boycotting the NFL, as he’s still actively seeking a means to get back in. As highlighted by Aaron Rodgers, many of the players are there to play football and choose their own methods to fight social injustice, and build up the communities they come from in a myriad of ways. We’ve made very popular the pre-school to prison pipeline for many young men of color, but we also forget there is also a pop-warner to professional pipeline of select individuals that have worked their lives to attain the position they have today in professional sports. Now a recently released article highlighted that Marshawn Lynch, one of the most highly respected players in the league has decided to sit during the National Anthem during this 2017 – 2018 season, all while finding out that Kaepernick (if signed) will stand during the anthem, as well as those that joined him around the league will stand.

Requirement:   the NFL Players would need to unite themselves, before I can unite behind them.

Per all of the national marches, call for boycotts, and civil disobedience that has surfaced more aggressively over the past 2-3 years with Police Brutality coverage at an unprecedented high I’ve noticed a trend: We’re more passionate about protest, than prevention. It is so much more effective to be proactive, than reactive.  The NFL, up until recently a non-profit organization, will not fix the interactions between our communities and police. The thing many people have neglected to mention about boycotts is that they must act in a duality of form. Start and Stop.  It’s simple to say stop watching the NFL, but there has been no agreement on what the ask of the NFL will be, what the new activism will be towards having the conversations that Kap brought forth and the issues our communities are facing.  It’s like a diet, you KNOW what NOT to eat, but you won’t get the results that you’d like if you don’t START engaging in healthy active lifestyle.

Requirement:  the boycott would need to make clear demands of the NFL and a common action should take place in the place of the time and energy spent watching and supporting the NFL. (i.e. some large service projects during NFL games perhaps?)

The NFL is already in a decline of viewership, and despite popular opinion this money is something that’s more on the guaranteed side of their revenue streams and there would need to be a more strategic than a few Facebook posts and not supporting this 16 Week season. In order to make radical demands and change of the NFL, as spectators, it’s going to take intentional allies with groups that are likewise feeling the pain of oppression is a similar light.   Vets, fighting for our country and receiving terrible care by U.S. in all aspects, Women, who are the victims of so many domestic violence cases even by very own players of the NFL (that still end up finding a way to find a job), Hispanics who are in a unique position of being the largest growing supporter demographic and also subjects of black/brown injustice and oppression. Since I’m not seeing that type of protest overhaul, I don’t see it being something we can truly say will be effective in the long run. We have to make clear demands of the organization or they will simply reorganize their structure and continue as planned.  Look how the LGBTQ community made an impact as the NFL was preparing to move the Arizona Super Bowl to Tampa just a couple years ago.

Requirement:  Call for allies including but not limited to White women, Hispanics, and Africa Americans as the most polarizing non-white male viewers of the sport to join in a protest.

Lastly, I want to bring this protest home for some people. And there’s a notion that I’d like to dispel when it comes to the complex scenario.   At some point, we need to realize that just because these players are making substantially more than the average American we cannot expect it them to just up and leave their jobs by which they are contractually bound, and for many taking care of many levels of family by which we may never know.  If the truth be told many of us shop at stores and work for corporations that have demonstrated extreme discrimination and unjust practices for decades and we don’t “up and leave” because one person was treated unfairly in another department. Because we too have made it up in our minds that we are there to “get a check and keep it moving.” And in addition, we don’t trust that others will stand with us. We are afraid that we too will stand alone in trying to change the culture. We have to realize that standing alone has its consequences it’s been that way for decades. As stated earlier, hearing that Kap, if signed, will stand for the anthem as well as the players that joined him in the previous season is kind of a slap in the face. Football players have a very limited time to maximize their earning potential in the sport they have spent their lives playing.  Remember “secure the bag”. Many can do more with the money and influence off the field than they can do on. Similarly, we’re hired on our individual jobs to complete a task or create some type of unique value. Being unique and respected is a right we all have, but we do take the risk of losing that job if we engage in activities that prevent you from doing that job.

As millennials, we have a new outlook on what we want out of life, and for the most part are fueling a relative progressive ideal here in the United States. With collaboration fighting age-old cultures is a breeze, but we cannot for a second think just one group is going to get it done. I know I have not been called to lead a protest against the NFL nor plan to. So, this year I’ll be watching as the reasons provided in the aforementioned paragraphs. Again, I do highly respect those that have taken their stance in their way to show disapproval of the circumstances. Hopefully we can both coexist without spending hours bashing one another, and see the common ground to spark a revolution that truly does make it better for all.

 

I Love My HBCU MONTH!!!

I was contacted earlier in the year by my Alma Mater, Prairie View A&M University, requesting that they spotlight me as a noted Alum and express why I Loved my HBCU! How could I turn that down! DONATE TO PVAMU 

“PVAMU was the place where the plans God had for me(Jeremiah 29:11), were revealed. Not only did I receive a ‘First Class‘ education, but furthermore an unparalleled life-changing experience. In my tenure at MY HBCU, I both was humbled and stretched, educated and refined, challenged and most importantly empowered. This is Why I LOVE My HBCU.”

NOW, I’m asking that YOU JOIN ME in donating $18.76 in commemoration of the establishment of PVAMU to a designation of your choice! That’s less than $20!!!!

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Trent Johnson ’11
Senior Consultant, Accenture

“PVAMU was the place where the plans God had for me,…

Posted by Prairie View A&M University on Friday, March 17, 2017

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