In order for this year to be the year you max out every potential and see those dreams come to pass, a shift in mind must take place. Now I get it, to actively switch your mindset without seeing one before you who has done it before or even a coach can be quite difficult. But believe me, when I say, you can truly achieve like never before this year. It just takes connecting with the right person. “And who might that person be”, you ask. Simple! Someone who understands possibilities is not your options but your rights. It is your right to see the possibility in the impossible. It is your right to change the narrative. You know someone who is better to speak on this topic than me? Mr. I’m Possible Keith Brown, himself! (Cool name right? You’ll learn more about it momentarily.)
Keith L. Brown is an empowerment speaker, specialist, and coach (emphasis mine) that advocates for personal growth while coaching individuals to be the best they can be by becoming empowered through training and more. Presidential Lifetime Achievement award winner, Brown, shares in the interview below the importance of being mindful of labels, his book, and more.
Mr. I’m Possible! I love that, first of all. Can you share how that name came about?
First off- Happy New year and Your year! I earned the name “Mr. I’m Possible” from youth at a conference sponsored by the sickle cell foundation of Georgia years ago. I volunteered for years at “Camp New Hope,” which is a camp for children and youth who have sickle cell. They were so resilient, and I always talked about how “impossible was not in our vocabulary.” So they began saying, “I’m Possible,” and I became “Mr. I’m Possible.” So I now have two monikers, as children, youth, and young adults nationally and globally now also call me “Uncle Keith,” as they say, I’m like everybody’s hyped uncle, hahaha.
I like that! I saw an interview of you on Sister Circle and you mentioned that you were labeled sped or special ed for most of your life due to being talkative. What are your thoughts on mislabeling and how it affects a person’s maturity and development and how they show up in the world?
Mislabeling can be very detrimental if those who are mislabeled internalize the labels placed upon them. We often hear of and see individuals with low self-esteem or self-worth. The root cause is often mislabeling during childhood or adolescence, which is why I always caution parents not to label their children negatively or talk down to them. I had a village that applauded my “talkative nature,” and my parents placed me in extracurricular activities like “Black Spectrum Theatre” and youth groups at Springfield Gardens United Methodist Church in Queens, NY( where I grew up), which both enriched me as a speaker. Even though I was labeled “special ed,” I recall doing speeches at assemblies in elementary, middle, and high school. Did I know I was in smaller class-size environments? Yes. Was it demeaning at times? Yes. However, I still showed up positively due to a supportive village. Those who don’t have a village to counter the labels with positive reinforcement are disadvantaged in their development, as they are hampered by the labels placed upon them. One of the greatest systems is the belief system. Individuals who believe they are what they’ve been labeled with, often have low expectations for themselves, which is detrimental overall. This mislabeling can also lead to mental health issues and an inferiority complex, where individuals appear defeated in society.
Your focus is for individuals to become empowered and not devoured, what are some paths you see taken at the beginning of the year that can cause one to be devoured? And how can they shift to live an empowered life for the entire year?
“Be empowered, not devoured” is very near and dear to my heart. I encourage individuals to avoid making “New year’s Resolutions” and instead focus on “New Year’s Solutions.” Resolutions traditionally have people emotionally and externally excited but not internally committed. Many fail at resolutions due to the fact many resolutions are “quick fix” methods instead of long-term solutions. For example, I venture to say “weight loss” is the number one resolution; however, people don’t realize they can’t lose it all overnight. New Year’s solutions, on the other hand, are steps taken toward a long-term goal. And you have to be committed. It has been said, “Commitment is doing what you said you would do, long after the mood you said it in has left you.” Therefore, long after the high of January has worn off, individuals must have a plan to manifest those “solutions.” When you are empowered, you have the authority to excel and soar in your purpose. Individuals can avoid being “devoured” by not falling into the annual trap of “resolutions.” So I encourage individuals to focus on solutions, give themselves a realistic time period to complete their goals, and be committed to reaching them.
You have an institute and a program that you have implemented and gone on to change countless lives, when one comes to the “I’m Possible Institute” or the “Fathers not Farther” program, what can they expect to receive?
When individuals invest in our coaching program at the “I’m Possible Institute,” they can expect to see an increase in their impact, influence, and income( in that order). Impact drives influence and income. We show individuals, primarily emerging speakers and entrepreneurs, how to use their gifts to inspire and empower others. Furthermore, we teach and train individuals on the power of focusing on a target market. Many of our clients/scholars desire to work with youth and school districts. Therefore, at the Institute, we model how to use the “language” of education to be relevant to prospective clients. Many programs tell individuals they can speak to students and teachers; however, we train individuals on how to differentiate, be knowledgeable about educational pedagogy, social-emotional learning, college and career readiness, and so forth. The I’m Possible Institute prepares you to excel long-term in your target market and how to become an expert in that market! My “Fathers, not farther” program has inspired, educated, and empowered thousands of fathers since 2019, primarily in school districts and family advocacy agencies. We operate from the following principles: Reflecting, Protecting, Respecting, and not Neglecting our Children. The program also provides a safe space for dads to open up and show emotions, which is frowned upon in the black community and among black men. We encourage men to cry, feel, and express their pain, all of which are enemies of toxic masculinity. While society often teaches dads to dehumanize their sons and themselves ( teaching their sons that real men don’t cry, for example), we teach that crying is human and that doing so will result in fathers being more humane once they’re free to express their genuine feelings openly. In addition, we provide career readiness training and sessions on effective communication. We are incredibly proud of our impact on younger dads, who often lack tangible tools to support their children positively.
You’re also an author, and if you had to choose or if you were to assign your books for the year, how would you place them in reading order? And why do you suggest that?
If I had to assign my books in order for the new year, “Talk Is Expensive” would be at the top. This book teaches the power of communication. It has been said, “actions speak louder than words.” However, it’s the Words that move people to action. Talk Is Expensive also has powerful chapters on reclaiming the family through the power of positive communication. In the Black Community, we often embrace negative talk as a “normal” way of life. Negative talk and negative self-talk are detrimental and abnormal at their core. Moreover, the book teaches individuals to stop seeing effective communication as “talking white.” This dynamic is very dangerous for our children, for if they see communicating effectively as “talking white,” what then is “talking black?” The book challenges any notion that defines blackness as being inferior. In addition, it teaches how to deal with opposition and not fall prey to stereotypes as it relates to communication. It is a must-read for those seeking to communicate effectively to enhance many areas of their lives. I would then suggest the “Not impossible/I’m Possible” curriculum, which features a book and student portfolio. This literary duo focuses on academic excellence, social-emotional learning, character, and leadership, all of which are relevant in building children and youth who excel and thrive in society. The portfolio allows readers to write down their thoughts and summarize much of their reading.
And for those who want to stay connected, please share how they can stay in touch with you.
Thank you for this opportunity to share with your readers, who can connect with me via keithlbrown_ on Instagram and TikTok, keithlbrown1911 on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and keithlbrown.com or send inquiries to [email protected].
It’s an exciting time to know that it is possible to achieve!