JEROME JONES: GOING UP
“Won’t he do it” That’s a phrase I hear often particularly from folks in reference to the transformative power of God. I mention it because I’m not necessarily a member of a specific church but I come from a religious family (Momma stay in the church) who believe in God and the power of prayer. I’ve always thought this to be true. I knew that if I asked God for something and I genuinely wanted that something I would get it.
I say all that because about a month prior to even knowing a L.I.V.E. Program existed I found myself in a rut. I wanted to be more and do more. I told God I want to be able to use the gifts that he’s blessed me with to help others and I wanted to feel like I’m making a bigger contribution to my community. So I needed help, his help, to figure out how I could make that happen.
Fast forward to July 2018 and a friend of mine and member at FCBC in Harlem mentioned an initiative that was being promoted at the church. A program that wanted to help people with big ideas turn those ideas into something tangible. Apparently that wasn’t gonna be done with just some words of encouragement and a pat on the back. This program, which was to be facilitated at The Dream Center, would provide all kinds of resources to folks to help actualize their idea.
Cool, bet! But wait I didn’t have a specific idea? I tried to think of all kinds of businesses I could create that would make me a millionaire now that I might be getting all this extra help. I thought of a juice bar, a music studio, a delivery service, a sports media company. I was all over the place. To the point where the deadline to submit was rapidly approaching and I still didn’t have a definitive idea I wanted to run with.
Literally on the last day to submit an application to be considered for L.I.V.E., I thought of the name The Elevator Network. The name sparked the idea to create a company that would identify successful black men in all sorts of industries and share their stories of how their jobs work, how their industries work, how they got to the point they’re at and what a teenage Black boy would have to do to get to a similar point. There’s so many things that a person could do as a career that a lot of kids (even adults) have no clue about. Exposing some of these people industries and specific careers to kids could make a difference. It could open doors, it could help elevate their minds and what they thought was possible for themselves! I felt really good about this idea so I finally was able to submit an application! A few days after submitting my app I got an email inviting me to come in for an interview!
Since that 1st day I’ve experienced highs and lows regarding my idea. There have been times when I’ve felt like I’m stuck in mud and other times when I’m really inspired and on cloud 9. I’ve gotten to meet and listen to so many knowledgeable established business professionals and entrepreneurs who have facilitated workshops where they’ve shared their tidbits experiences and expertise. I couldn’t have anticipated how challenging the combination of my responsibilities in my personal life and my responsibilities to my idea and as a member of this program would be. What’s helped me so much to this point is hearing from my fellow cohort about their progresses and challenges. And the overall sense of camaraderie I feel with all of them in going through this process as individuals but still together. I’ve also gotten real tangible ‑ can’t put a price on it ‑ support from my Activation Advisor.
I’ve learned so much in such a short time that I feel I have a real responsibility to use this information and opportunity to put my best foot forward and really try to create something that can have a positive impact. While I understand now that creating my organization will take a lot more time and effort I’m working on creating viewable content for the platform by the time L.I.V.E. concludes. I still tend to feel a little lost sometimes until I remember all the support and resources I have around me and within. So with that I move forward determined humble and thankful. Won’t he do it!
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