Stephen Kee is one cool cat. An author, musician, motivational speaker and avid golfer. Stephen knows how to enjoy life. Rewind just two years ago, however, and that was not the case.
Stephen was working in corporate america. His experience could be categorized as a true success story in the business world, especially when you consider that Stephen left home at the age of fourteen. From the time he left home, Stephen’s mantra was “I’ll prove it to you.” He worked hard, harder than most. His goal was to prove that he was greater than his challenge. Corporate america rewarded his go-getter attitude and encouraged him to prove himself over and over again.
About two years ago, Stephen was setting out to go prove himself to another corporate client when his wife said something that changed his life. She remarked how all the success he had experienced in corporate america hadn’t brought him a moment of joy. Though the remark hit him hard, Stephen knew she was right. He spent his life striving, working hard to ensure that he wasn’t a failure. But was this lack of joy causing him to be a failure to the important people in his life; his family, friends and the woman who chose him?
Stephen decided it was time to reconnect with what made him happy and to be around things he loved. First stop, his backyard waterfall. He sat in his backyard near Atlanta, Georgia and decided to just be, observe and listen for the sound, because the sounds send the message. The sound of the water connected him to the earth. The earth that provides us with knowledge, nourishment, and great golf courses. He even found that the sound of passing traffic brought him joy. The hum of the cars and the occasional honking horn brought back fond memories of New York City where he worked with Broadway greats Nell Carter, Joshua Logan, Albert Hague, and many others. He reflected on his relationship with God and realized that he wanted to center his life around joy and love.
Growing up in faith-based family, Stephen used this foundation to formulate this new love centered life. He knew though that for this to be real for him and others, he needed to declare it. In his book “Declare Something Today!!!,” Stephen writes:
I can tell you all day what I think and believe. You no doubt may find it interesting. However, it is when I tell you what I declare and know that I am held accountable. The fear many have about speaking from a known position is that declarative statements remove your cover. Your truth is your great unveiling.
To help with the unveiling process, Stephen employs the “3 D’s of Life,”
1. Develop – A Thought
2. Define – Its Purpose
3. Declare – Its Place
Success is doing and Stephen knows that when we are brave enough to declare, the plan unfolds. The right people come into your life. What you declare is your choice. So what will you declare today?
SOUL Survey Questions
1. How do you stay focused and motivated?
The truth is I haven’t, as of late, considered either to be necessary. My life choices have changed dramatically over the years. At my core, I love to communicate joy, love, and the collective spiritual condition. These are my default positions. So while it may not sound proper, the truth (my truth) is that on many levels I serve my self. I am going to have my best life. The real question then becomes how do you live your best life? My best life entails wanting everyone around me to live their best life. I stay motivated by knowing what I want out of my life and living in that space. For me maintaining focus is not a variable, it is a fixed position. I am 5’10”, slightly balding (if you stand sideways and squint your eyes), and black. These are facts of life for me. I am love, joy, and a reflection of GOD. These are the facts of my life. These are my declarations. So I can’t say that I ever require of myself, nor do I allow others to require of me, that I stay focused or motivated. I do require that I stay me. And Billy Joel sang….”Don’t go changing, to try and please me. You never let me down before”.
2. How do you deal with naysayers?
I don’t. I am not smart enough to understand why someone’s opinion of my ability, choices, or lifestyle should be something I have to consider. If someone doesn’t believe my approach to living, or how I communicate it, or the practicality of it all, that’s okay. What is not okay is for me to become the one doing it. I think the interesting thing about “naysayers” is that they at least think you have a position worthy of discussion. I appreciate that.
3. How do you blur the lines between work and play?
In my new book entitled “Blurring the Lines between Work and Play”… no, all jokes aside, I have no idea. As much as I would like to say something profound and reflective, I can’t. I decided to look up the definitions for both. Here is what I found. Play- free or unimpeded motion. Work – activity in which one excerpts strength or faculties to do or perform something. I worked for years in business and while I made a rather significant income, having to delineate the work and play component was a challenge. What I know now is that I am blessed to be involved in activities that are freeing and unimpeded, using my faculties, to perform something. The great news is that everyone can do the same. We are purpose, now we just need to be reflective of what we are.