Becoming the Greatest…

Happy February 1st! Happy Black History Month! And Happy Monday! Wow, January is over already and we are shifting into the second month of 2016. Black History Month is always a great time to reflect on past accomplishments African American’s made to the history of our country. African American’s have been very instrumental in the development and advancement of commerce, business and growth in the United States since its inception.

So while we must remember, we must always never forget the shoulders of those we stand on as we continue to progress.  One set of broad shoulders we stand on are Muhammad Ali’s or the fighter formerly known as Cassius Clay. I had the pleasure of traveling to Louisville, KY this past weekend which happens to be the birthplace and hometown of The Champ. In fact, Louisville is home to two other great institutions that claim to be the greatest in regards to their specific sports: Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby [the Run for the Roses] and Louisville Slugger [some of the best bats made for Major League Baseball].

I had the chance to tour all three with of course the Muhammad Ali Center standing out because of who it was for. We call him the Champ or simply, “The Greatest.” But to become “The Greatest”, he had to endure a lot and overcome so many obstacles. Loved for his witty banter, charming personality and work ethic, during the Vietnam War he was vilified for not wanting to participate in the draft. He went from Champ to stripped of his titles. However, once he was restored back into professional boxing, he went on to reclaim his title in the ring and in our hearts as “The Greatest.” Ups. Downs. Up again. “The Greatest.”

Just like Ali, we have dreams of being great too. One of the reasons you’ve started your small business or nonprofit is so you can be great. You did not start this endeavor to be average. So how do you get from good to great? You have to work. And work hard. You have to endure through the bad times and expect to take a few hits. To be great, you must motivate yourself through the down times. But also motivating yourself through the good times.

Ali lost 5 times during his career. We do not remember the losses when we tout and call him “The Greatest.” No one will remember your losses either. What they will remember is how many times you got up off the mat and kept fighting. Think about where your business model is and are you fighting hard enough for it. Are you doing everything you can, each day to move from good to great? If not, you’ve got some work to do. If you need help with your journey, please contact us @ JSW Media (

Have an awesome day!


Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]


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