The Agony of Defeat…

Good Monday Afternoon and I hope your week is starting off well! So, the Superbowl is over. The final game of the 2015-16 football season. There are clear winners, congrats to the Champion Denver Broncos and runner-ups, the Carolina Panthers. In sports, there cannot always be two winners nor a declared tie. In this case, the trophy will end up in the Mile High City and the soon to be announced parade will be just as packed as all of the recently released Beyoncé Formation World Tour Dates [get your tickets people!]. LOL

With that said, opposite the wining side, there is a team and players that did not win the Lombardi Trophy and will have to think about defeat for the next few months. While the Carolina Panthers had an outstanding season, they did not come up big in the final moments and will not wear the crown this year. However, they should still be commended for all they accomplished.  But commendations and kudos aside, there still is the agony of defeat. The feeling you could have done more. Could have pushed a little harder. Made a certain play but did not. The second guessing can play tricks with your mind.

I have no doubt that members of the Panthers are beating themselves up today as they probably were last night. This part is human. So it is expected. Defeat is not easy to digest for competitors. It definitely is not easy to swallow for those used to winning. So the moments after are key. The response. The attitude. The ability to cope.

In the coming days, we will see smiles return to the faces of those that lost the game. It is a reminder that while the agony of defeat hurts, it is not permanent. For such things are a moment in time. A soon to be historical footnote in the journey we call life. And for business owners the same lessons apply…

In life, such as in business, we will take some losses. We may not perform up to our expectations. Hell, we may not even make it into the room to present our grand ideas. The agony of defeat. So what do we do? We embrace the feeling for a minute and then prepare to move on. We get our swagger back and understand that losing is a part of the game. You cannot win or lose, if you do not play the game. Having a solid business plan and strategic plan help guard against consistent losses and show you what not to do when it looks like you may lose again.

If you do not have a business plan, I suggest you start preparing one. If you are tired of losing, find a new way to win. Finally, if the agony of defeat is too much to bear, make a promise to never feel that way again. If you need help developing a business plan or internal strategic plan, please contact us at JSW Media Group. We are here to help!

Have an awesome day.


Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]



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]

A Winning Attitude…

Welp! The Carolina Panthers are heading to Superbowl 50. And living here in Charlotte, while I am not the most ardent fan of football, the excitement of the fans and winning ways of the team have provided many weeks of positive vibes. To the Panthers and Panther fans, I say…Flourish. Or, Dab on em. Or #keeppounding.

In the midst of all that winning, giving footballs away and dabbing on folk, there were plenty of life and business lessons embedded in there. One of those is a “Winning Attitude.” Each week, the team and it’s unquestionable leader Cam Newton took the field with positivity and a mind-state that said they will not lose. They constructed a wall of purpose and kept the negativity on the other side. When others said they couldn’t, they proved they could.

“Your attitude determines your altitude…” 

In business, as leaders or the owner have to project the same confidence and come with an attitude that says, I am here to win. Our staff, employees and clients feed off of our energy. So if we are negative and feel defeated, expect the same from them! We have to have an attitude that allows for us to soar and want to accomplish great things. The truth is, everything won’t be easy and you will have setbacks. However, your attitude can determine how fast and how well you bounce back from those setbacks. Creating a “can-do” mindset can ultimately be the deciding factor in making it past year one of your business or giving it all up.

The Carolina Panthers struggled for a few years prior to 2015-16. They went through a few quarterbacks as well. Fans even thought about selling their PSLs. Not a great feeling. But the young QB with the great attitude and winning smile has changed all that. He knew. His coach believed. His team hopped on. All because of attitude. A ‘Winning Attitude.” And now they are off to the Big Game.

Do you have the right attitude? Does it project confidence or calamity? Are people willing to follow you because of your attitude? Success has a few variables, and having a “Winning Attitude” is one of them. Need help with developing a winning mindset or business plan? Reach out to us at JSW Media and get started.

Have an awesome day.


Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]

The Process…

Afternoon All and I hope you had a great #MLKDay Weekend celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as some great NFL playoff football. Here in Charlotte, NC, everyone enjoyed both given the Annual MLK Day Parade and  Carolina Panthers won [and dabbed on em’…]!

Last week, I wrote briefly about the NCAA Football Championship and the two coaches that were on the sidelines for each team. Alabama ultimately won that grudge match 45-40 giving their coach Nick Saban his 5th National Championship. Winning 1 championship is cool but five? Now that’s just awesome. But how did he get there? And how does he keep winning?

Well, let me [and the latest issue of Sports Illustrated] clue you in on a little secret. Nick Saban is a believer in getting his players to buy into a collective unity called “The Process.” When you have a roster full of players/coaches/staff that are essentially individuals, the key is getting everyone on the same page that will lead them to success.  “The Process” relegates each person to focus on everyday goals or simple tasks. It eliminates the macro-big picture goals.

“When I first started this, I probably had the same approach with everybody and thought everybody should buy into that approach. Now it’s more the individual and what makes it happen for him, because success is always tied to action, but action is always tied to your thoughts.” Nick Saban

As nonprofit or small business owners, many of us fall into these or different thought patterns. How do we get our employees to partners to join us in the success frame of mind? Well, we need to find a “process.” We have to start with ourselves and determine if we are focused on the right things. The things that we can build success on and then transfer that to other people. For example, if we do not show up on time for meetings, how we can expect others to follow with different results? The “process” we determine for our business should be one that is personal and transferable. This evolution will involve some trial and error but that is how success is born.

Think about your current “process.” Does it scream success? Are you seeing the positive outcomes? Can those that follow replicate your steps? If the answer to all of those or any of those is no, you may need to reevaluate your “process” and the steps you are taking towards success. And as always, if you need help in establishing a process, please feel free to reach out to us here @ JSW Media.

Have an awesome day!


Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]


Growth Requires Mentorship…

Tonight is the night for the big NCAA football championship game between Clemson and Alabama. The night should be packed with intense football, skillful plays and tons of commercials! However, I do not want to focus on the game as much as I want to focus on the coaches.  Before writing this post, I watched a short video featuring both coaches [Nick Saban & Dabo Swinney] and their thoughts on tonight’s matchup. While both had great insight on the sport and the game, it was their relationship with each other that stood out the most for me. Let me explain…

Dabo Swinney, coach for Clemson, is much younger than Nick Saban, the coach for Alabama. Both of them talked about the relationship they have with each other on and off the football field. In the offseason, they fish, vacation and play golf together. It is in these candid moments that Swinney admitted to being mentored by Saban. Saban has 4 championship trophies under his belt. Swinney is seeking his first. So Swinney knows where to find success and who to ask! Swinney understands that his success and growth as a coach is predicated on being mentored by those who have achieved the very same goals he is seeking after.

So the question is, as a nonprofit or small business owner, are you being mentored by those that have ascertained success in the same arena you are in? And the other very real question is, do you even have a mentor? With mentorship comes advice, wisdom, resources and growth. We cannot expect to be great overnight and not without sacrifice and hard-work. We also must learn and seek continual opportunities to educate ourselves on and about the business we say we are in.

If you do not have a mentor, I highly suggest you find one. If you do have one, do not waste valuable time by not using him/her and not scheduling monthly meetings to pick their brain. Swinney has been picking Saban’s brain for the last 7 years. And now in 2016, he’s coaching in a championship game. You do the math…

Have an awesome day and remember, JSW Media Group ( is here to help you with your business needs. Please feel free to reach out to us so we can develop a plan to help you.


Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]


Travel Plans…

Happy New Year and welcome to the first post of the NPP for January 2016! As I look back on 2015, I want to thank you all for reading, sharing and commenting on the blog during the past 12 months. While it has not always been easy to post in a timely fashion, it has been an honor to pour information and advice into your nonprofit/small businesses. So as we move into the first quarter of the year, my hope is that the JSW Media Group can continue to be a valuable resource for all of your business needs.

I want to start the blog off this year by sharing a short story. I am recently back from Panama City, Panama, where I spent my birthday and New Years Eve/Day. The trip itself was awesome and the food/culture was just terrific.  However, there were some small hiccups during the first days there. Sharing this trip with me were two friends from Atlanta that decided to fly in and celebrate as well. Well, while my flights were unimpeded and worry free, their flights and travel plans were not. Let me explain…

The flights from ATL were late, delayed and cancelled. To top if off, they also had their luggage delayed in from MIA. So when you talk about “travel plans”, this was the definition of having alternate plans! However, they made the adjustments, became flexible to the obstacles and came to Panama with great spirits. The issues that preceded them were not enough to completely hinder the week that was laid out before them.

Well, such in life it is with business. We will have “TRAVEL PLANS” for our nonprofit/business. These plans can include a smooth ride to success, great employees, unlimited donations and grand expansion blueprints. But we all know it is not that easy. There will be delays, lost income, bad employees and at times, reasons to scale back. Given this, we need to make sure in 2016, we have our nonprofit/business “TRAVEL PLANS” ready but also knowing that we need to be flexible. Things are going to happen that we may not like but that should not be the determinant in how we feel or the success that is coming!

Stay committed to your plan in 2016. If you made it through 2015, that’s an awesome sign that you can do it again. Remember, if you need help developing a strategic plan, please contact us @ JSW Media. Do not let the year go by without addressing the issues that plagued you last year.

Have a great start to your day and your year!


Keith Cradle (@mrcradle on IG/Twitter)



Rushing to Red Lights…

Good Morning and I hope you are having a wonderful start to your Tuesday. It’s raining here in Charlotte but the sun is supposed to come out a bit later. We are 16 days away from the start of a new year!

Today’s blog title comes from a small phenomena that I witness [and I am quite sure you see it as well] from time to time as I am driving. It starts off with a person behind you in traffic. You may be doing the speed limit or slightly above but in no particular rush. The person behind you gets impatient and looks for ways to speed you up. Either they get close to your bumper or begin to switch lanes in hopes the person in the other lane will be a speed demon or get the hint and go faster. However it happens, they finally get past you only to get caught at the impending red light! All of that lane switching and impatience led them to the exact same place you were headed as well. LOL The red light. They just got there faster. And then you look at them just to see what all the fuss was about!

It’s very interesting to me to see people “rush to the red light.” As if getting to a designated area of stagnation is a true achievement. Myself, I have learned to enjoy the journey. The time spent getting to my arrival point. The red lights will be there. No need to rush to them! And I will not have others in traffic push me to them faster. I will decide how fast or slow I want to drive. But what’s even more interesting is when I drive slower and take my time, the lights seem to change as I get there, helping me avoid the long waiting time at the red light.

Take from that what you will. But in life as in business, we will have plenty of anxious moments, times we speed and many times where we get caught at red lights. The message is to not rush and be pushed to points of stagnation. You need to dictate the tempo and flow of your business. If it needs to be sped up, you control that. If you need to slow it down, do that instead. Only you know what’s best for your business. So let the others go around you and rush to the red lights. The funny thing is, by taking your time, you will be right beside them in no time and arrive as the light changes so you can keep on moving.

As always, if you need help with your business development, you can reach out to us @ JSW Media (

Have an awesome day!


Keith Cradle (@mrcradle on IG/Twitter)