Tribe Member: We are Diverse

Dear Roxanne Shante (aka tribe member),

Pray your week is going well. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about our tribe. Yes, I wrote our because I do believe you are a missing tribe member. It is a diverse group. Admittedly, it’s primarily women. However, it is multi-generational, multi-racial, varied socio-economic levels. This week I want to share about one of my Pastors, Pastor Jami McCain

Pastor Jami McCain

Most people refer to her as Ms. Jami. To me she is Pastor Jami. “Ms.” just doesn’t capture who she is and all she does. I joined Church on the Hill in 2015. This is only the second time I’ve sat under a woman Pastor. In my culture and community, women are referred to as “First Lady”. And that title pretty much defines the role and expectations.

Like our other tribe members (Tina and Shawnda), Pastor Jami uses all of her gifts and talents to fulfill her mission. She is currently the owner and founder of Majestic Maine Coons, a cattery in Cedar Hill, TX, as well as the Executive Pastor at Church on the Hill. She has enjoyed a host of other adventures including being a City Council Member, horse trainer, concrete artist, etc. Hopefully, it’s doesn’t surprise you that she has varied interests and pursues all of them.

At the beginning of 2020, we went out for coffee. At that time, I was considering becoming a political data analyst for a national Democratic campaign. She had just completed her campaign as a Republican candidate for the Mayor of Cedar Hill. Although she did not win, she was still busy serving the city she loved and supporting the candidates who won if she could. Over coffee, she shared her tactics, her expertise, and her network.

Pastor Jami along with her husband Pastor Adam is growing a multi-generational, multi-racial, multi-??? church that is completely outside of the box. We build disciples. Church on the Hill will equip you for your ministry. We will connect you to organizations and people. However, we do not build the ministry for you. Basically, if you are looking for a Ministry to the Homeless, Ministry to the Prisons, Ministry to the Hungry, then we will help you build your ministry. That is our call and purpose.

How I support

According to the VOPS Assessment, I am a Visionary and a Processor. Visionaries are out of the box creatives. They have an abundance of ideas and solutions. Processors create the systems and policies to implement the vision. I’ve been told it is a rare combination. I believe it is why our tribe is comprised of individuals with varied passions, talents, and purposes.

This time I’ll share a recent example. When the COVID-19 quarantine was instituted in March 2020, we were planning for our 5th annual Miracle Weekend which included a city-wide Easter Egg hunt. We expected over 5000 families. In our new reality, we had to figure out how to we could help households to be able to do Easter Egg hunts at their homes.

  • Monday – Pastors approved format to 1) Create 3000 Easter Egg Hunt kits from 60,000 candy-filled plastic eggs and 2) COTH Members distribute kits to 300 families
  • Tuesday – I set up 6 stations that adhered to COVID-19 ordinances. Two volunteers helped me test the process. 350 Easter Egg Hunt kits completed
  • Wednesday – 11 volunteers refined the process. At the end of the day, 1100 Easter Egg Hunt kits completed.
  • Thursday – 5 volunteers refined, recruited, and setup. By the end of the day 1475 kits completed
  • Friday – 12 volunteers. By the end of the day, 3000 Easter Egg Hunt kits created.
Picture of 3000 Easter Egg Hunt Kits. Divided into 200 packets for pickup.

The following week COTH members picked up the kits via contact less pickup and distributed to their neighbors and family members.

My promise to you

First, just like with Pastor Jami I am here to put hands and feet to your ideas. You are a tribe member. And second, if you know that you need some additional support, call me. Okay? Or text me 682-237-9891


Tribe Member: How is it going?

Dear Roxanne Shante (aka tribe member),

Pray your week is going well. I checked out your Instagram and Facebook posts. Seems like those teenagers and their online courses are turning your hair gray. Let me know if I can help. In a former life, I taught developmental courses at a community college and tutored as well.

Dr. Shawnda Floyd

It wasn’t my desire to teach developmental classes but it worked out. At the time, I was supporting one of my tribe members Dr. Shawnda Floyd Today she is the Provost of Dallas College. Then she was the Executive Dean of Liberal Arts at North Lake College. I was her Associate Dean from 2014 -2017.

One of our responsibilities was to schedule courses each semester. When there were unexpected enrollment spikes, we would hire from our adjunct pool. During a couple of semesters, the adjunct pool was dry. Hence, I ended up teaching 2-3 classes. Don’t get me wrong the pay was nice. Because of the pay we quickly eliminated a good portion of debt. However, it was not the plan.

Similar to Tina Brown, Shawnda used all of her gifts to serve and accomplish her goals. Half the time I didn’t know if she was coming or going. She took action and prisoners. She was the first external hire to an executive leadership position at NLC in about 20 years. Within 2 years, she was promoted to Vice-President of Academic Affairs at NLC.

The four other Executive Deans had decades of experience and relationships at NLC. Yet, Shawnda was promoted to Vice-President of Academic Affairs. Shawnda was straight out of Jersey. Not even born in Texas. Yet, there she was. Thanks in no small part to my support.

How I support

I applied for the Executive Dean position but didn’t get it. Truthfully, didn’t even make it to the second round. Initially, I couldn’t understand why. After reflecting, I realized the interview committee couldn’t tell where my skills ended and Shawnda’s began.

During the interview, I shared who I was and my why. I did not highlight my knowledge and skills. I couldn’t figure out how to tout my skills and shine a light on her skills too. Truth is we complemented each other. There were some aspects of her job that she leaned on me heavily. Others not so much.

In the end, its a good thing I didn’t get the position. Because standing on my own as Executive Dean would have required a shift in our relationship. Although a shift was necessary, that one would have been less than ideal.

My promise to you

Two things before I end the letter. First, just like with Shawnda I am here to protect and look out for you. You are a tribe member. And second, if you know that you need some additional support, call me. Okay? Or text me 682-237-9891


Tribe Member: Why I’m excited this week

Dear Roxanne Shante,

Pray you are having an awesome week.  I promised to introduce you to tribe members each week. And I will. I promise.  But this week I want to digress.  Hope you enjoyed last week’s letter about Ms. Tina Brown. For the past seven days, I’ve experienced an excitement that frankly hasn’t happened for a while.

For about two months, as I have counseled, consoled, and advised tribe members I’ve been preaching to myself as well.  I’ve challenged them to pivot, to evaluate their efforts.  The point was to make sure they were intentionally pursuing a life that invigorated and excited them every morning.  I want all of us to be Lifeonaires, you know like a millionaire. A life where the mere thought of getting to do it propelled them out of bed.  

I wasn’t being disingenuous when I counselled them.  The problem was that I had lost my joy and I couldn’t seem to hold on to it.  It was fleeting.  One day the same burdens would seem light. The next day the same burdens would make me want to hide under my covers.  Each day I learned, grew, and make mistakes.  Then this past week for five consecutive days I was excited to get started.  Now, I don’t know how long this sweet spot will last.  But while it is here I will revel in it a little.

What is sweet about this season are the people and relationships.  Each week I get to spend multiple days face-to-face pouring in to my nieces.  Each week on multiple days I get to meet and draft innovative solutions for small business owners. I am experiencing the presence of GOD in new ways.  There are connections and opportunities that are clearly GOD orchestrated.  I mean out of the blue phone calls from people hundreds and thousands of miles away. I’m meeting and supporting more tribe members.

I’d love to tell you that I have the secret that will get you to this sweet spot quickly.  The truth is I don’t know how quickly you’ll find your sweet spot.  I don’t know how long you will stay in your sweet spot.  What I can tell you is that I am passionate about and committed to making sure each and every one of our tribe members experience that sweet spot regularly and consistently.

Well, I don’t want to take up too much of your time.  If you want to know the details, feel free to shoot me a text.  By the way, did you check out my latest podcast episode. I think you would find a conversation with Ms. Raquel Masco to be refreshing and inspiring. Let me know if you want me to connect you.

Ghosting: Dropped the ball

Ghosting is typically used when talking about romantic relationships. It also fits with how I handled the past 14 days or so. Up until mid August, I was pretty active on my business social media accounts. I posted a minimum of 3 posts on each every day in addition to a short video for Mindful Nightfalls or Mindful Mornings. Then I just couldn’t.

I was overwhelmed but not depressed. Tired of pushing but not disgusted. I just couldn’t muster the interest or the energy for the processes. Even though I knew I was the best version of myself when I did. Even though my impact had a greater reach when I did. I just couldn’t. So, I didn’t instead for about two weeks I recouped by ghosting.

Initially, I carried guilt for not explaining or planning the hiatus. It was rather abrupt and did seem rather unprofessional. It was not at all aligned with the reputation I wanted in the market place. So even though I was on a hiatus for a short time it was more unbearable than just doing whatevs.

It was what I needed. During my brief hiatus, I prioritized my Mom’s shower remodel, visiting with my nieces 3 days a week, sitting and watching TV with my hubby. During my brief hiatus, I didn’t go on 5 mile treks with a 15-lb weighted vest. My eating habits sucked. If I wanted I ate it which resulted in lots of heart burn.

Then one day last week “it” just lifted. I was excited about the possibilities and the opportunities first. Since COVID-19 started there have been moments, when I had to intentionally shift my perspective from “I have to” to “I get to”. I had to remind myself of all my blessings. Somewhere in July, making that shift became an everyday, multiple times a day occurrence.

Can’t exactly pinpoint when it happened. I just realized I was carrying a weight everyday. So, I hunkered down in my processes and – continued – committed to serving more, to learning more. And then somewhere around mid August like I said I just couldn’t.

It’s my fault. Because I didn’t schedule or hold to my routine for rest and relaxation. There wasn’t a set time for a a weekday just for me once a month. I need a trip to disconnect once a quarter. These are thoughts and prescriptions that I have yet to implement. Hence, the abrupt hiatus in August. Ghosting.

As a result, my business took a hit as well. I lost momentum with my higher paying services, lost a client or two.

2020 Business Analytics

Way Too Much

It’s been a year since I signed my first Master Lease.  A Master Lease is basically a long-term lease on a property with permission to sublease and stipulations for repairs.  The lease on my Vacation Rental in Alamo Heights started on November 1st.  It is for 18 months on a small home that was built in 1946.

In 12 months, I have not signed another Master Lease. I have not purchased a vacation rental. Don’t get me wrong a lot has happened.  In May 2017, I left my job in Academia for freedom as an entrepreneur.  I completed all of my classes to take the realtors exam.  I’ve delved deep in to social media marketing and social network analytics.  I tried my hand at being a private money broker, an assistant for traditional property management company, and thought about flipping.  All to no avail.  None sparked my passion or interest enough for significant change or new habits.

In hopes to find out what I was missing I revisited my journal entries, my planners, and some of my FB posts from a year ago.  Initially, I thought it was the planners. So, I began tracking and planning.  Then I discovered I had lost my why.  I was moving my wheels but the passion had left me.  Initially, it was to honor my Bigmama to make sure her lessons were ingrained in my day-to-day.  I’ve moved through the grieving process.  Although I still cry, I carry her with me and I see evidence of her impact where I didn’t before.

My new why – I need my freedom for my family.  I’m also here to set the captives free in my family, my circle, and my community.  Freedom for me means that I can take a vacation for 3 months. I can work from any location, at any time of the day (preferably early).  So, I abstracted my process from last year and came up with the Power of the Fist, a 5 point framework.  I’ve created printables based on the framework.  I’ll link them here later.  But that is not enough.

We have a limited amount of will power.  Each morning it is renewed.  So, we need to focus if we are to establish new habits, new processes, new support systems.  Before the printables will work, we have to do the pre-work. So, I revisited the books that led to my shift in May 2017 – the One Thing by Gary Keller and the 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch.  Gary Keller in the One Thing proposes one focusing question to guide decision and plans “What is the one thing such that by doing it everything else becomes easier or unnecessary?”

I’m focusing on walking that out personally and dragging my sister along as a client.  If she does the work, she will leave her full-time in June.

My 5 Point Framework

A few months ago, I started a new Facebook page and Instagram account titled Re-envisioning Black Wall Street. It is not black capitalism as defined and promoted by President Nixon.  Re-envisioning Black Wall Street is focused on doing life in community at the grass roots level with other businesses. In Texas, most black-owned businesses are small business. Hence, the focus is on connecting with and supporting small businesses in a specific industry, which ever industry that may be.

What I have found as an entrepreneur, as an educator, and as an Christian is that most often I am suppose to focus on the process, not the results. Andy Stanley does a great job of outlining this concept in ‘The Principle of the Path’.  Hence, I’ve created a five point framework to help me in my journey to re-envision Black Wall Street in my industry.

To connect with and support small businesses, you must be purposefully and strategic.  In our society, it is easier and more convenient to connect with the big corporate owned giants.  Hence, the 5 parts of my personal framework, help me connect and grow my business and my community.

  1. Find a professional group to attend weekly. #doinlifetogether
  2. Listen and proactively serve 1-2 experts in that group for free. See a need meet a need. #servantfirst
  3. Add learning to a daily routine (podcast during commute) #growdaily
  4. Find one strategy you like and start #makemovesnotexcuses
  5. Share your start and progress with your group and anyone remotely interested. #shareyourstory

Step 1. Find a professional group to attend weekly. It is true that “iron sharpens iron”. This only happens when iron comes in regular contact with iron.  The topic covered at the weekly meeting may or may not be beneficial to you personally.  Remember, you are there for the relationships as well as knowledge.  So, choose a professional group that has members you respect, enjoy talking to, and genuinely want to help.  Meaning, even if you fail, you are willing to help them and genuinely want them to succeed. #doinlifetogether

My personal journey

When my Bigmama died in July 2017, I was already searching for something. Professionally, my tasks were no longer fulfilling or challenging. I dreaded every day and I was unable to support those most important to me. I missed school performances, homework, lots of bed time kisses and hugs.  Some tried to tell me that this was just the pains of parenting in a two parent, two income household. When Bigmama died, that answer was no longer a reasonable explanation.

My first exploration led me to real estate investment. So, I tried to connect online, attended a few meetings, went to a few classes, etc.  Most felt more like sales pitches than training sessions.  It was like the gave me a little teaser in hopes that I would pay for more.  And then I found my group.

At my first DFW REI Club meeting, I paid $20. Afterwards, I asked the host and teacher for the day, Robin Carringer, about subject-to. His response was “Well, I was just about to answer a few questions from one of our Platinum members why don’t you sit down and listen”.  For $20, he was willing to give me platinum status. I joined the next week and have attended faithfully ever since.

If you want help finding your people, send me an email I’ll send you a few questions and will do this together.

The clenched fist is one of many hand symbols that are prevalent in our culture. Some of the most popular are the peace “V”, thumbs up, and fingers-crossed. Since it is a prevalent sign that has crossed cultures, countries, and time, I’ve decided to use at as a symbol for “re-envisioning Black Wall Street”, where each finger represents one part of the framework.


Mapping Out the Plan

My use of time DOES NOT reflect my priorities.  Well, that’s slightly true.  According to my use of time, I value my spiritual health, my physical health, my client, and my family, not necessarily in that order.  Unfortunately, according to my current use of time, I do not value my freedom because I’m not spending enough time working for it. I am not spending enough time working “on”, rather than “in” my business; working “in” my business is akin to working a job.  So, it’s impossible to walk out my freedom.

For me freedom is working from any location, from any device, when I decide.  This allows me to love my family.  I can babysit my great-nephew while my niece goes on an interview.  I can take my nieces to and fro while my sister and her hubby take an anniversary trip.  I can sit at my mom’s beck and call while she nurses an injured knee.  In my current set up, I’m free to do that on Monday’s.  While this is definitely an improvement, it is also definitely not freedom.

Although I know it is not freedom, in five months I have gotten comfortable.  I am no longer pressing for my next break. My intensity has dwindled. It is as-if pseudo-freedom has lulled me in to a stupefied coma.  So, what’s the plan. Here is the set up

I used to map out my sales funnel,  I’ve identified three ways to generate income.  I’m looking for three more.  This week I will focus on adding those methods to my Facebook page

Summer is Over

Well, I can’t use my children’s summer schedule as an excuse anymore. Walking out truth and authenticity.

My children have been back in school for about a week.  Their new schedule is both a God-send and a curse. God-send in that I can get back to my professional rhythm. Curse in that I can get back to my professional rhythm.

I love this season of life. The freedom of walking in the truth that I understand without apology, without censoring myself to make my presence more palatable to the masses. Professionally this means I can define my relationships and tasks with clients without fear. I can be your number two without knowing the intimate parts of your life and without sharing the intimate parts of mine. I can not answer the phone after 6 PM because I’m busy or just because I choose not to. This is a God-send. This is also frightening.

I know this approach is appropriate, aligned with my vision, my purpose, my wiring. I don’t know what this means for my family’s well-being. Historically, for my family I’ve been the one to make a dollar out of fifteen cents. My hubby can say “I need $$$ this week for a bill, a trip to visit family, to repair something broken, etc.” I’d find the funds, finance the endeavor. There was savings, items to pawn, ways to hustle, etc. In this season, I’m concerned that my freedom is impacting my hustle. The curse.

For two months, my excuse was my kids, their needs, their summer schedule. I know. It was a lame excuse but it was there. Now, it’s gone. Trusting that GOD’s plan for my freedom will provide and cover.

30 days In

This month has been exciting and disappointing. I left my W2 to concentrate on my own business only to find out I did not know what that meant.  I didn’t know how to grow a business and not grow a job.  I didn’t know how to balance me, family, friends, clients, and the business.   I didn’t know how to establish boundaries with clients without carrying feelings of guilt.

Slowly I’m figuring it out how to grow a business.  As this unfolds, I’m loving it. I love the challenge, the new discovery. I love the seemingly disparate ideas coming together. I love GOD confirming ideas or perspectives he’s revealed to me in seemingly chance encounters.  I do not love the impact on my family.

I expected to have a more stable footing so that who I am, my finances, our resources would have a more constant and direct path.  The first month was 30 days of discovery.  Change is inevitably a part of the process and fabric of owning a business.  I can not control other people.  However, the foundation needs to be solid. Otherwise, I’m building on quicksand.  Here is my foundation

  • My business currency is service, not servitude. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)
  • Calibrating my mindset daily is a critical necessity rather than a nice thought. Your enemy isn’t flesh and blood at all. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)
  • Freedom comes through lending to others. The LORD your God will bless you as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they will not rule over you. (Deuteronomy 15:6 NLV)

Going on the Offense

This week has been great. There were definite challenges and set backs. Overall, it has been great. This is saying a lot since Sunday started and ended with overwhelming emotions and the need to cry.

My Bigmama died in July 2017. We moved next door to her when I was 3 years old. So, she has always been a presence in my life. I was not prepared for Mother’s Day without her. In typical fashion, I looked at my circle and tried to determine who would need me and how I could help. Turns out, it was me, myself, and I.

The day ended and started the same. At church in the morning, a hug and a prayer from a friend who noticed I was “yet holding on” sent me to the bathroom to cry. At the end of the day after a brief trip to Bigmams’s grave site, I found myself in the bathroom crying, regrouped, and then in my hubby’s arms sobbing. I mean body-moving sobs. This is not me. I pride myself on being aware of my emotions but controlling them.

As a result of Sunday and last week, I realized I needed to tweak my ‘Rise and Grind’ (NOTE: Check Out Daymond John aka thesharkdaymond for more info on this idea). Here’s my new Rise and Grind

  • 4:30 AM Do not hit snooze. Get out of bed
  • 4:40 AM 15 minutes of guided mediation. I use the Headspace App by Andy Puddicombe
  • 5:00 AM – 6:30 AM My business – content, review and update calendar, research, etc.
  • 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM Get my two littles up, fed, and to school
  • 7:45 AM – 8:30 AM Go on the Offense. THIS HAS MADE THE DIFFERENCE!

For me ‘Go on the Offense’ means, I attack whatever maybe preparing to harm or hinder me or my family this day.  I do this by turning up the worship music or listening to scriptures as soon as I drop the kids off and praying constantly. I pray as I drive and as I exercise. I am easily distracted so I often have to bring my mind back to praying.  In this season, I recognize my distracted thinking quicker.  I attribute this to the practice of guided meditation which I started in Dec 2017.

What has going on the offense done for me.  It has changed my approach and my emotions when I am in situations or not following the plan.  In the past, this could send me to reflect and if I could not reflect I would stop being present which means I would withdraw.  This is not always good.  It is more akin to a deer in headlights.  I still have no control over how or when my “Ruths”, my widows, or my orphans will need me.  This week, at least, it has been less disconcerting and less draining when their needs interrupt the plan.  I’ve been more present which makes it more enjoyable to serve.