Pillar II: Believe You Have the Skills and the Talent to Serve

Last month in our weekly blog posts we focused on Pillar I: Know That You’re Blessed. We explored the value of introspective inventory in our lives. Living by Pillar I is just the first step to living a heartfelt engaged life. The next step in heartfelt living concerns self-confidence and service to others:

“Believe that you have the skills and the talents to serve”

We live in a society that often focuses on scarcity. You may think there is not enough: not enough financial resources to pursue your dreams, not enough creativity to offer an idea, not enough education to lead a group. However, we all have the capacity to serve. Make no mistake, there are unlimited opportunities to help others and we should use our own skills and talents to be the very best versions of ourselves.

Many unique and wonderful ideas fall victim to low self-esteem. We may believe if we cannot accomplish something on a national platform it is not worth doing. Many communities go without inspirational gatherings, otherwise helpful books and magazines go unpublished, creative teaching methodologies never get used and the list goes on! If we are to be great in anything we must first begin to employ our skills and talents in service to others. The truth is you do have what it takes to serve and live a heartfelt life. When we become aware of the greatness inside each and everyone one of us, heartfelt living becomes the standard of living. Believe in yourself, reach for that dream and begin serving others. If you think your idea is useless or too difficult to accomplish, share them with loved ones, your family, your close friends, and others. You will soon find that there is a need for your service and the only way to meet that need is for you to use the skills and talents you already have to serve. When you begin to help others great things will start to happen in your life.

Black History Month Highlight

This month the world pauses to celebrate the resilience and strength of African-Americans. Many trailblazing men and women have gone before us and blazed a beautiful path in medicine. This month we will include a Black History Month Highlight in all of our posts. I encourage everyone to read these small posts and embrace the beautiful history of truly inspirational individuals.

Has anyone ever told you no? You don’t have what it takes? Well to James McCune Smith, the word no simply meant try harder. James McCune Smith was the first African American to earn a medical degree and practice medicine in the United States. He was also the first to own and operate a pharmacy, in New York City. Smith was born on April 18, 1813 in New York City to parents who were former slaves. New York’s Emancipation Act freed his father and his mother worked her way out of bondage. Smith began his education at the African Free School in New York City, but soon found he could go no further in U.S. education due to racial discrimination.

So Smith crossed the Atlantic and studied instead at the University of Glasgow, in Scotland, where racial prejudice was less oppressive. There, he received a bachelor’s degree in 1835, a master’s degree in 1836, and his medical degree in 1837.

When he returned to the United States, Smith received a hero’s welcome from New York’s black community. He told the gathering, “I have striven to obtain education, at every sacrifice and every hazard, and to apply such education to the good of our common country.” Soon after that, he gave a speech at the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society, where he described abolitionist activities in Europe. Dr. James McCune Smith went on to practice medicine for 25 years.



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