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Stedman Graham Delivers Keys To Success

Sept. 21, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

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Stedman Graham signs books following his presentation as a guest of the President's Speaker Series.

Businessman, author, and educator Stedman Graham talked about the power of information, finding passion and joy in daily tasks, and channeling inner strength to perform at one’s personal best to a full concert hall during the President’s Speaker Series presentation on Sept. 21.

Graham participated in a question and answer format with SHSU President Dana Gibson and began the discussion with talking about the lack of self-esteem he experienced as a youth.

However, he credited his family with laying a foundation, which gave him the strength to get through some of the tough times he has gone through as adult, particularly by how he has been portrayed in the media and tabloids.

“It takes fortitude, determination and perseverance to overcome those things,” he said. “And that comes from family.”

He said he had a life changing moment when he “discovered” education and the power of information.”

“It was the ability to take education and information and make it relevant that changed my life,” he said. “It changed my thinking, then it changed my habits, then it changed the trajectory I was on and the direction I was going so that I could apply the knowledge I had to my personal life. Nobody teaches that,” he said.

“Oprah (Winfrey-Graham’s longtime companion) has been a big part of influencing my life because that’s the way she thinks and why she is so successful,” he said. “It’s because she’s able to understand how to define herself as opposed to being defined based on her race, gender, background, or where she came from.”

Using some of the excerpts from his New York Times bestseller, “You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success,” Graham told the audience, “You can transform from worker to leader when you take the information you learn and make it relevant to your goal,” he said.

“You have the same 24 hours in a day that everyone else has to be successful,” he said. “All the power, the growth, the opportunities are in you.”

He also talked about overcoming the negativity of external forces that pull individuals and keep them from being focused.

“Prepare a framework for development and look for the value inside of you instead of those influences outside of you,” he said.

He encouraged the audience to make a list of things that they loved, saying, “Focusing on those things will make you want to share.”

Graham also told students that when they developed a passion for the things they did, they would stand out.

“You don’t pick mentors; they pick you. Your passion translates to your work habits, your trustworthiness, and your likability,” he said.

He used Martin Luther King Jr.’s tale of the street sweeper to emphasize that people should do their best at any task they do, regardless of their station in life.

He said he personally depends on love to overcome fear.

“The most powerful word in the world is love,” he said. “The ability to achieve success is about love. Love supersedes all barriers — race, color, language. Your success, a lot of times, is based on relationships and how you get along with folks.”

He also talked about the pitfalls of having a vision, but not focusing on the details it takes to achieve a goal.

“The key to success and to motivation is to take small steps based on where you want to go,” he said. “Focus on the moment.”



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