Empowerment Speaker Keith L. Brown Provides 8 Affirmations to Teach Young Children
Empowerment speaker, author, and wellness ambassador Keith L. Brown has a unique appreciation and understanding of words. He is also the Director of External Affairs in the Georgia Senate. His talents have allowed him to help countless people across the United States and beyond. As an advocate for mental wellness, he uses his gifts to uplift and support children, families and underprivileged communities. With a focus on Black men, in particular, he champions the cause of reaffirming their value, wellbeing and place in society.
In a conversation with QG, he discusses how he discovered his life's calling, mentoring emerging speakers and entrepreneurs and more.
Despite being negatively categorized in school for talking too much, Brown would later discover that his words had the power to change lives. From 1994-1999, he worked as a high school English and speech teacher and adjunct faculty member at a technical college in Middle Georgia. Then a moment of realization led him down a different path, one that would become his life's calling.
"I stepped out on faith to walk boldly in my purpose to educate and empower globally as an empowerment speaker," he explained. "This leap of faith was the 'alignment of my assignment,' meaning I was divinely called to do this. Also, after seeing so many Black men living oppressed, suppressed, repressed, and depressed in terms of expressing their emotions, I decided to be a wellness ambassador primarily focused on 'Self-I-Care,' which is a term I coined.' Self-I Care' is the intentional act of individuals talking to themselves daily, promising themselves they will take care of themselves without feelings of guilt or shame."
His goal is to address Black men's mental health challenges and the effects of toxic masculinity.
“As Black men, we are especially vulnerable in areas of emotional and mental wellness due to a long history of being dehumanized in the Black community as a whole and America on a systemic level," Brown said. " We've been trained to believe, 'Real men don't cry,’ so we suppress that and other emotions that keep us in bondage and damage us as well as our families. I'm on a mission to change that paradigm for people in general and Black men in particular.”
Between 2000-2014, he considered himself an unofficial coach and trainer as he mentored emerging speakers and entrepreneurs. During the fall of 2015, he was approached by a colleague about receiving training to become a professional speaker. After having success in a boot camp for speakers, the "I’m Possible Institute” came to fruition out of the experience.
“For the past five and a half years, we’ve coached and trained thousands in person, online, and via multimedia,” he said. “We’ve helped the masses expand their impact, influence, and income in the areas of speaking, coaching, training, content development, entrepreneurship, and much more. When adults now ask if I will mentor them, I let them know the following: I mentor children and youth, but I coach adults, meaning there is an investment for coaching. When people invest in their purpose and vision- they are more serious and focused.”
Over time he became associated with the phrase “Mr. I’m Possible” and embraced the title wholeheartedly.
"I earned the name, 'Mr. I’m Possible' from youth I worked with at the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, as well as from youth across the nation," he recalls. "In 2006, I incorporated the term 'Not Impossible-I’m Possible' in my many presentations, and youth began calling me 'Mr. I’m Possible,' and it stuck."
Working with young people who didn't have fathers actively involved in their lives inspired Brown to create the "Fathers not Farther" program. The program was officially founded in 2017 as a part of his consulting work for school districts and Head Start programs nationally and globally.
"While this program inspires and empowers fathers universally, much of our work has been done with Black fathers and men of color," he said. "It should be noted [that] research shows Black men are more actively engaged in the lives of their children than any other race of men. Our goal is to transform the lives of those who have not been actively involved for whatever reason."
Aside from public speaking, mentoring, and community engagement efforts, Brown is also an accomplished author. His book, Talk is Expensive: Communicating Effectively to Expand Your Impact, Influence, and Income, reevaluates the value of conversation and offers everyday lessons to help navigate through life.
"It has been said, 'actions speak louder than words,' ” he states. "This book proves it's the words that move people to action. Anyone who desires to advance personally and professionally should read this book."
Amid the global pandemic and the recent racial trauma that has rocked our nation to the core, Brown offers encouragement and a sense of clarity. He believes Black men can welcome the new year with fresh optimism despite "covid fatigue" and past tragedies through discovering how much more meaningful their lives are during these difficult times. He also advises connecting and having conversations in safe havens such as barbershops, faith-based institutions, and basketball courts.
"We should be hopeful this new administration will implement policies that will improve Black men's quality of life," he said. " We must begin to individually and collectively work to strengthen our communities and our quality of life by encouraging each other to make better choices to improve our health and wellness. We must encourage each other to go to the doctor and get physicals. I’m inspired as I see more programs in our communities giving Black men exposure and access to resources to improve our way of life. The image of George Floyd and many others being murdered is etched in our psyche as Black men- and those images are haunting and daunting. While we still have a long way to go to be healed from the racial trauma passed down through the generations, we can at least continue to strive to make a better way for ourselves in all areas of our lives. "
When considering all that has transpired during this year and the effects it had on children, Brown said, “It goes back to the 'Fathers not Farther' principles of fathers reflecting, protecting, respecting, and not neglecting their children. Fathers must speak life and hope into their children and have high expectations for their children while teaching their children to dream big and pursue those dreams by being prepared and focused. I offer eight affirmations we often teach children and youth in general and children and youth of color in particular, as they are the ones most likely to be victimized by a lack of equity and high expectations in America:
I love myself!
I believe in myself!
I’m proud of myself!
I’m a genius!
I got this!"
As 2020 draws to an end, Brown believes men can successfully prepare for the new year in their personal and professional lives by implementing the eight affirmations he previously mentioned in conjunction with writing goals on sticky notes. He also recommends placing sticky notes throughout the home with the phrase, "Not Impossible -I'm Possible" written along with each goal. He advises for every goal to be accompanied by a start and end date. Brown feels this will help a person stay on task and remain accountable.
"As men, we must begin to pursue those goals by researching what it will take to achieve those goals," he comments. "We can also get an accountability partner or partners, which means we connect with other men who will support us and hold us accountable by checking in to make sure we are moving towards our personal and professional goals. Our collective brotherhood must be about expanding our personal and professional worth, rather than complaining about why we can’t achieve. When we grow our outlook, we will expand our output, and when we expand our output, we will expand our outcome."
Despite the countless lives claimed by covid-19 and other reasons, Brown encourages other men to embrace an "attitude of victory" by realizing that they remain safe and healthy. He believes people make their dreams a reality by speaking positively and having a good work ethic.
In 2021, he plans to continue using his influence and expertise to benefit the lives of children, families, and underserved communities.
"I plan to expand the “Fathers not Farther” program and create more coaching programs for speakers and entrepreneurs," he mentions. "I will continue to be on the front lines of education and social justice and may even dabble some in one of my original passions, which is acting. Whatever I embark upon, I will do so with a spirit of 'Not Impossible-I’m Possible.' "