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Kareem Taylor, acclaimed voiceover actor, creative entrepreneur and now author, is equipping all of us with the tools we need to succeed in his new book, Get Your Life! It's an intimate and timely guide on personal power. Something I believe all millennials have in common is ambition. But just because we dream big doesn’t mean we always have the means or tenacity to back it up. This book will get you there. Through his popular weekly newsletters like Biscuits and Honey and Resignation Letter, Taylor inspires a global audience of young mavericks to not only pursue their dreams, but to conquer them. Get Your Life is the culmination of these newsletters with his inquisitions of self-discovery and motivation. As revealing as the book is, Taylor fought through great moments of vulnerability to produce the content he knew was needed and wasn't seeing anywhere else. I spoke with my fellow Clark Atlanta University alumnus this past week when he opened up candidly about his powerful new leadership manifesto and how it came to be. Photo: GetYourLifeBook.com Taylor wrote this book to fill an access gap. He believes that even in this digital age with enormous access, those resource points are a privilege not afforded to all. “I was at this dinner the other night with a bunch of colleagues of mine," Taylor said, "And I was only two people of color of 15 people. And they talked about how social media hasn’t changed anything. They were saying that people have always connected in different ways. "And I’m like, it’s not different when you’re a white male living in a really nice neighborhood. You’re able to read the kind of newspapers that you read. You’re able to get the kind of news that you get. You surround yourself with a certain kind of person that is informed. And that’s privilege. Not many people realize that that is privilege.” Taylor speaks from the vantage point of growing up in Brownsville houses in Brooklyn where the concept of resources were basketball courts and community centers. He didn't necessarily have the privilege/access to “meeting people that become catalysts to launch your career.” So, part of his purpose in this book is using lessons he’s learned to inspire others to find opportunities that will launch them on their respective “creative journeys.” He wants everyone to see opportunity in his or her situation regardless of their background or financial standing. The book comes from Taylor heeding his own advice about chasing passions. For the past 10 years he says he’s been diligently making more conscious efforts to take initiative, something he’s extracted from a moment in his youth. One night around three or four o'clock in the morning, his mother came home from a 16-hour workday as a bus operator. She banged on his door to wake him and his brother up because someone had left a fork in the sink. She demanded it be cleaned immediately, but Taylor and his brother were more focused on identifying who was at fault — it had to be one of them or their sisters. But Taylor learned more from this moment beyond the fact that his mother demanded a spotless kitchen. “I think the takeaway from that is sometimes we're always looking to the left and the right of us for someone to make a decision, for someone to do something other than us," Taylor said, "We don’t want to take on that responsibility. "So I feel like the last 10 years of my life have been about that. Going to Clark Atlanta, making that decision. Being the first in my family to go away to college and graduate. Being able to go into voiceover.” Taking initiative is something Taylor holds close to his heart because he acknowledges that most of his successes come from him stepping up and raising his hand to take opportunities that allowed him to get to where he is today. Although Taylor is now able to eloquently boil down his life experiences into sound advice, he admits the road wasn’t always easy. He admits to failing sometimes, but has two checkpoints he sets to make sure he stays motivated and unbothered by setbacks. “I always ask myself two questions," Taylor shared, "One: Are you doing what you are capable of? And two: Would you be inspired by your own actions? Every single day, I ask myself those two questions. And don’t get it twisted. I quit almost every day. But I’m always asking myself those questions.” Taylor encourages people of our generation to tap into the things they’re good at doing. There are so many ways to be successful in what he calls the "a la carte economy," where we aren't limited to one career or one source of income. But he advises to always lead with passion. “We have nothing to lose," he said, "There’s nothing to lose by testing the water, testing the edges. I think now is the time to see what’s possible. And there are a lot of us in our generation who are doing that.” Through his work and personal testimony, Taylor continues to take the initiative and find his purpose, and he hopes for others to do the same in this day in age. Make sure you grab your copy of Get Your Life! available on Amazon.com and B&N.com starting Tuesday, October 13. Autographed copies are available at GetYourLifeBook.com. You can connect with Kareem Taylor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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