Today we’re sharing insight from guest blogger Ron Kitchens, CEO of Birmingham Business Alliance and member of the Gibson Board of Advisors. We hope you enjoy Ron’s wisdom and perspective.
Sure, there are problems; yes, there are obstacles; but the future is bright and with hard work, we can accomplish some great things. - Jim Tressel
These days, it seems that not a day goes by that someone does not ask me for my opinion on the future and what it is going to take to achieve greatness. I am reminded of something Kathy Caulton once said, "When you are looking into the future, it's important to know which questions to ask. You don't need to ask, 'Do I have what it takes to be successful?' The answer to that is a resounding 'YES!' The key question is, 'Am I willing to pay the price for the success I desire?'"
I believe we all have a choice. We can either languish in the past or use the past to spring into the future; but you cannot do both. As Ms. Caulton said, we must choose and we must be willing to pay the price for our choices.
The first choice that MUST be made is to choose hope over fear. Even more so, we must reject those that prey on the potential of fear. There is nothing new about fear mongers. More than 450 years ago during the Renaissance, Michel Eyquem De Montaigne reminded us that: "life has been filled with terrible misfortunes; most of which never happened."
With fear out the window and hope as our partner, we next must have expectation. And I do not mean low expectation; I mean the kind of expectation of greatness is by Marianne Williamson who tells us, "Our deepest fear is no that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you."
Williamson continues, "We were born to make and manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
We have hope. We have expectation. Now we need to throw off the bindings of the past and execute on destiny. These days, it is too easy to be defined by the baby elephant syndrome, which is to say we do not push our boundaries.
Ever wonder why when you go to the circus the elephants have relatively small ropes around their legs attached to an equally small stake? Well, it starts when they are babies. Their trainers tie the baby elephants to stakes with ropes that they cannot break as hard as they may try. So, they give up. As the elephant grows, he assumes that he cannot break free. He quits trying even though as a full-size adult he could easily break the bindings that hold him.
What strings are holding you back from executing your destiny?
The future, if you asked me, it is in your hands.
This content was written and shared by guest blogger, Ron Kitchens. It was originally published on ronkitchens.com.
Ron serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Birmingham Business Alliance. Driven by the belief that “the Greatest Force for Change is a Job,” Ron works collaboratively with partners and stakeholders across the Birmingham region to grow jobs and build a competitive and diverse economy. He has built a career in economic development centered around passion, leadership and work towards transforming and growing organizations and communities, one job at a time.
Along with being a bestselling author, in-demand speaker and podcaster, Ron is a true entrepreneur, founding and leading eight companies including Catalyst University, Consultant Connect and his first company, the Gas Shack, at age 19. Through his work as the General Partner of one of the nation’s largest community-based venture funds, Ron’s team invested more than $85 million in life science companies.
Prior to arriving at the Birmingham Business Alliance in February 2021, Ron served organizations in Michigan, Texas, and Missouri. His teams have been recognized by Outside, Inc. and The Wall Street Journal as one of the Best Places to Work in America. Both Fast Company and CoreNet Global recognized Ron’s team as global innovators.
A former City Councilman at age 21 for the City of Ozark, Missouri, Ron has also served on dozens of boards including the Board of Trustees of Western Michigan University and the Board of Gibson Insurance (South Bend, Indiana) and the Board of the International Economic Development Council, where he serves on the Race and Diversity Committee. He is a member of the Birmingham Rotary Club and joined the boards of Citizens Supervisory Commission, Newcomen Society, Alabama Germany Partnership and the Coalition for Regional Transportation.
Ron and his wife Lyn celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2021 and are the parents of Kelsey, an advertising executive in New York City. When not working, Ron enjoys quail hunting, boating, exploring new restaurants and his Labrador Retriever Finley.