As we head into Father’s Day, I wanted to do a special episode for all of our Black men out there. I know 2020 has already been a year of changes and challenges, and I want to give all of you listening hope as I speak to what you might be experiencing.
To help me do this, I’ve invited Jeff Johnson, founder of Men Thrive – a digital platform dedicated to helping Black men of all ages show up whole, as they operate with joy and live with power. From creating, producing and hosting BET’s Mancave to launching the Men Thrive community, Jeff is intentionally curating experiences for Black men, and believes in providing spaces committed to men becoming their best selves.
As Jeff explains on today’s episode, Black men suffer from the highest levels of toxic stress, anxiety and depression. And in America, Black men have the lowest life expectancy of any other demographic.
But what might be more shocking than that is knowing Black men are suffering from a cultural norm that says they aren’t supposed to feel anything – nothing. No pain, no sorrow, no hurt.
“Feeling,” Jeff says, “is our greatest strength and in turn our greatest power.” For this reason, Jeff believes when we acknowledge our feelings without being controlled by them, when we embrace our feelings and go inward to examine them, and when we use our feelings to manifest our purpose, then, and only then, can we find our power.
Join us as we go further into this conversation and look at how history has contributed to this idea of feeling and to the space Black men (and women) find themselves in today.
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Jeff Johnson Takeaways
- The slave trade was an economy, and for white people to buy into it, they had to believe the narrative they were sold – that Black people weren’t human. – Jeff Johnson
- Black men wear a mask because they can’t show themselves as human because white people can’t handle their humanity. – Jeff Johnson (paraphrasing Paul Laurence Dunbar)
- Our greatest strength and greatest opportunity as Black men is to show up whole to operate in joy and to live in power. – Jeff Johnson
- If I can be transparent with you about the small things, then we’ve got a track record of trust and can build on it. – Jeff Johnson
What are your biggest takeaways from this episode? If you were to imagine a world where Black men showed up whole, in joy and in power, what would it look like? What would our families, our businesses and our communities look like? Let us know in the comments below.
Redefining Wealth Rapid Wisdom Questions
And with that, let’s dig into Jeff’s responses to our Redefining Wealth Rapid Wisdom Questions.
“Greatness. I hate the word success because I think it’s driven by what the world says you have to do in order to be recognized, but you can be great when nobody is watching. Success for me is the quest for mastery.”
Define Wealth in 3 Words or Less:
“Thank you, Daddy.” (i.e., When your children say thank you in the truest sense of the word for giving them what they needed, not what you told them they needed.)
One Book that Has Redefined How You See Wealth:
Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? by Reginald Lewis
Fill-in the Blanks … “My name is ___ and the truth about wealth is ___”:
“My name is Jeff Johnson and the truth about wealth is that it is a multi-generational journey. In other words, it’s a relay race where my job is to have my family collectively in a better place when I hand over the baton then when I got the baton.”
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