Cornell Thomas, author of Extraordinary, was raised on the adage that everything happens for a reason. His mom taught him through her example that in difficult times, you look for a solution, you don’t quit. He joins Kevin Monroe to talk about finding his purpose and living an extraordinary life.
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In Finding Your Purpose, Even Baby Steps Are Steps
We’ve all had moments where we think we discovered our purpose in life. Cornell says that happened twice before he found his true purpose. He shares how his purpose changed from basketball player to coach, then to writer. Purpose is a journey, not a destination, Kevin says. Cornell agrees that it’s a journey because it’s never-ending. A destination means that you get there at some point, so it becomes a race to the finish line. There’s no finish line to what I do, he says, because my purpose is evolving every single day. The reason so many people don’t discover their purpose is because they either get discouraged or they think there’s nothing else they could do. There’s always another step, Cornell emphasizes. You have to fight for your purpose. Kevin adds that you just have to take one step, then another, and don’t quit. Even baby steps are steps, says Cornell.
You Are Extraordinary
You are extraordinary because there’s no one else like you or ever will be. So how can you not treat yourself as priceless? The difference between extraordinary and ordinary is that extra that you put in. What you do determines if your legacy becomes special. He asks listeners, who are the top three people who have influenced you in your life? Who would name you in their top three? If you’ve made someone’s top three, you’ve made a lasting impact on their life. That impact will last long after you’re gone, and they in turn may pass it on to their children. That’s legacy for Cornell. Legacy is not changing the world by yourself.
Who’s Your Mahalia?
We’ve bought into a fantasy that one person by themselves changes the world, Kevin comments. The reality is that no one does it alone. The sooner you figure out who your people are, the bigger the impact you will make together with them. He relates how it was Mahalia Jackson’s prompting Martin Luther King, Jr to tell the crowd about the dream, that led to his greatest speech. Who’s your Mahalia? Who is the person who sees your dream and helps you articulate it in a way you’ve never done before?
Getting Through Adversity
Kevin asks: what’s one thing that awakens an ordinary person to believe that life can be extraordinary? Cornell answers that for him, it has been adversity. After you’ve been through a difficult experience, you often ask yourself how you got through it. It awakens you and inspires you to make a change. If you’re in the middle of adversity, he advises you not to go it alone. Use your support network. First, ask yourself, Is this life or death? Then, what do I immediately have to start doing to slowly change my mindset? The third question to ask yourself is, Who can I bring along with me to hold me accountable for these action steps? There are going to be storms in life, Cornell says. But they are transitory and you can get through it.