Keynote Speaker Feature: Overcoming Adversity by Entrepreneur & Runner-Up of NBC’s The Apprentice, Kwame Jackson

Posted by Alexis Washington

Kwame-Jackson-1In his 1963 book “Strength to Love” Martin Luther King said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” I think we can all agree that lends itself to many aspects of our lives … including Business! After all, the word livelihood represents the fundamental intersection of business and one’s life.

In this modern world, for better or for worse, those lines have become blurred. Business is pervasive and how we choose to conduct ourselves in this all-encompassing endeavor makes all the difference in the world. People often forget that the first and most important ingredient for business success is simply showing up with the right attitude and being present in the moment! Along that journey, we will stumble and fall, but what remains critical is one’s outlook and attitude. As my Country Preacher use to so wisely say, “The setback, ain’t nothing but the setup, for the comeback!”… Just stay positive and persevere!

Ask yourself: If our ancestors could tote hundreds of pounds of troubles, worries, and disappointments, how come we seem struggle with just ten? We need to always take time to put our troubles in perspective, because life is not what happens to you, but how you react to it. The writer Kipling was right when he said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Great things lie within us all. We have our whole lives to be ordinary, and only a few fleeting moments to be extraordinary! We all have challenges, obstacles, and hurdles. One of my roadblocks was making peace with my greatest personal tragedy—my Mom passing away due to cancer when I was only 15.

Then there was my professional and all too public disappointment of not winning season 1 of a well-known reality show. I had to turn that around and focus on the fact that I finished second out of 216,000 applicants. It’s easy to make excuses when things go wrong, but a wise person once said, “excuses are tools of incompetence which build bridges to nowhere and monuments to nothingness, and those who use them are seldom capable of anything else.”

Finally, recognize that we all have it within us to rise above our circumstances, but nothing truly great can be achieved alone. Business is about partnerships and we must all surround ourselves with the best and the brightest, making it that much easier to persevere and remain positive in the most difficult of times. As the ancient African Proverb says, “If you want to go QUICKLY, go ALONE” “But if you want to go FAR, go TOGETHER!”

Keep pushing!


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Posted by Alexis Washington
Alexis Washington writes about expert keynote speakers and Motivational Speakers, as well as tips and tricks for corporate meeting planners. If you need a guest professional speaker or corporate entertainer for your next convention or conference, you can visit

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