This past week has been one of those weeks in which my spirit was craving for everything great! Greatness was so much in the air I could breathe it everywhere around me. Talk about the confirmation of the first black woman to become a Supreme Court Justice. Wow! I know the history books are currently back in the printing press for an urgent update. I had a chance to speak with so many people in my immigrant community and circle this week and at the front and center of my conversations was the fact that there seems to be a glass ceiling that immigrants need to break through. I have seen most of us do well, academically, socially and in entrepreneurial facets but there is a level of excellence that is still not common to us. Before you jump at me for this comment, just take an inventory of the African immigrants around you and ask yourself, how many of us are sitting and walking in our high places?

We are very hardworking people, committed and dedicated. Some of us have the best ideas in the world that should have catapulted us into global phenomena but yet, only a handful have been able to strike that mark. Yet, this mark is available and attainable for us all. Did I tell you how God deals with me? Anytime there is a wallowing in my thoughts, He will bring it into a visual effect and make it tangible for me. So I was perusing my Linkedin professional page and responding to some messages when I saw a post from Forbes about Tope Awotana, the Founder and CEO of Calendly, a Tech startup. I graciously use that software for scheduling my appointments but I had no idea it was my ‘homie’, a Nigerian immigrant based in Atlanta that started it. This company is now worth billions in just 10 years. I was reading about how he put all his savings (home and abroad) of about $200,000 into starting this business and now seeing what it has manifested into in just 10 years. It was humbling and I am so happy for him. His vision, his ideologies and goals and how he even runs this business is just remarkable. Check out his story on Forbes: Tope Awotana.

There are so many Tope Awotanas out there including myself and I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to ‘give it your all’ when you embark on any journey. A mediocre mindset will not make it across the global line. Small-mindedness is an evil spirit. It deprives you of your destiny and I can assure you that most of us African immigrants especially suffer from it. We like to play it safe or live in our hermitvilles. We desire greatness yet we shy away from the process. We start a business by halves and somehow still expect it to flourish. One of the things that was so profound about Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson was that everyone talked about how excellent and stellar her career has been. No one can contend with excellence or reject you based on that. If they do, then you know they are not excellent people.

I become very restless around mediocres. I set out at a very early age in life that wherever I find myself, even if it’s in the Amazonian forest, I will live it with an excellent mind and spirit. The older I get, the worse it becomes for me. I cannot engage with small-minded people and people who just want to do enough to get by. I will not sign my name to anything that is not ‘done right’. The bible did not leave us in darkness when it says that, “Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men”. Colossians 3:23 AMP. The God we serve and are emulating is a God of excellence. He is perfect so we need to strive for perfection in everything we do. When Apostle John tries to describe his vision of heaven in the book of revelations, I couldn’t even fathom in my human mind how perfect and glorious God is and so is His dwelling place.

There’s one person in the bible that I am so fixated on. I pray for his spirit into my spirit. DANIEL. “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm”, Daniel 6:3 KJV. Daniel served under at least Four (4) Kings; Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus. Daniel, even though he lived, served and worked in an ungodly culture, surrounded by unbelievers and idol worshippers, still maintained an unflinching faith in God in spite of where he was. To be needed by Four (4) kings, you have to be extraordinary and the bible says he was so exceptional. He had wisdom and knowledge like none and he did everything with excellence. Only God can give you that spirit of excellence and I contend for it daily.

I am giving you the same charge I have given myself, my friends and my loved ones – do EVERYTHING in excellence. If you cannot give it your ALL, don’t even start it until you are able to. We have to impart this into our children and descendants. Watch how the heavens will respond to your pursuit for excellence. AMEN!


Lady Abena.