Not long ago, when I worked in investment banking, at exactly 7:30pm on Sundays, I would get serious anxiety just thinking about the workweek ahead. I didn’t like my job. Actually, I hated it. My anxiety was so bad that my body would cramp and my attitude always turned crappy. It got to the point where I couldn’t enjoy Sunday dinner with my family. It was terrible.
If you want your situation to change, YOU have to change. The most effective strategy we can use to create lasting change is to actively surround ourselves with people who inspire us.
I want you to promise me that in 2013, you will spend more time with people who motivate you to be better. Promise me!
Reporter: You had such an incredible year, I would imagine the best of your life, right?
Me: Hmmm (I thought long and hard about the question).
Reporter: Wow, you have to think about it? Shouldn’t your answer be an automatic YES? You starred in 2 new shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network, released a bestselling book, became nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and also your industry’s Best Matchmaker and Relationship Coach of the year nomination! Come on man, what more could you want?
Me: No, it actually WAS NOT the best year of my life. In fact, I wasn’t very happy this year.
Dear Frustrated Entrepreneur – A year ago today, I was on a flight to Los Angeles (as I am now writing this) but my situation was much different. 12 months ago I was a recent business guy turned matchmaker. Many of my friends and former business partners laughed, mocked, and more damaging to me personally, doubted me. I recall a family friend visiting me at my house and saying “look, you have a son now, stop playing around and get a REAL career.”
The following is an excerpt from the Introduction of my book It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have To Be):
She followed all the “rules,” and he did exactly what his father told him to do. Even though those rules and his father’s advice were all colored by the experiences of others’ failures, of their disappointment in learning society’s love myths weren’t true, then imposing their jaded perspective on you. The contradictions pile up like a freeway accident.
Everyday I schedule time to respond to questions on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a very interesting part of my day because I never know what I’ll be asked. The questions range from what you would imagine is typical: “Do all men cheat?” While some are more outrageous and crazy: “Paul, what do you do with your clipped toe nails?” (Answers: 1) the most extensive studies on infidelity and marriage suggest the majority of men do not cheat. 2) I collect my nails in a silk satchel and put them under my pillow at night… just kidding!)
Recently, something stood out in the questions. Several people asked, “How can I meet someone new?” I found this interesting because normally I get the question of “Where can I meet someone new?” Typically it’s not “how.” For the record, I like “how” much better because there’s not one spot where you can absolutely find a partner.
The key to meeting “the one” is in the expansion of your social circle. It’s important to remember that the number one way, over the last 100 years, that women and men meet for marriage has been through family and friends. And, while you can’t expand your family, you can expand your friendship circles.
This is a terribly tragic and profound story about the cousin of a good friend of mine. Yesterday morning, a pregnant mother, who was leaving her baby shower, after just getting married 30 days ago, lost her life in a car crash. The driver of the car was her 15 year-old son. In the backseat, her 5 year-old daughter. Her children survived the crash and her unborn baby was delivered alive.
This family needs our prayer. Let us uplift them in prayer. Let us also be reminded that we must embrace today, for tomorrow is not promised. Friends, I ask you to allow this story to remind you that we must make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again…
I have a secret to tell you — I’m a voyeur. Not a “sit outside your house and watch you get dressed” type of voyeur, but the type that is obsessed with how you interact with new people… especially romantic interests. It is partly because of this trait that I created flow dating — speed dating meets dance-off meets pop culture and political trivia.
Flow dating is not only designed for good people to connect, it’s also my human fishbowl — to watch how people interact, see what is effective, and what’s not working.
In just 2 years time, I have facilitated over 10,000 speed dates and successfully matched nearly 3,000 people on first dates. While I’m happy with those numbers, what has been most rewarding for me personally has been analyzing the interactions of those men and women. I’ve had all ethnicities participate, they’ve come from all walks of life (religion, education, career, etc.), and despite that diversity, nearly 100% of attendees have agreed to one simple theory: confidence equals sex appeal which equals the fastest driver to attraction!
One thing I pride myself on is listening. And since I started blogging for ESSENCE, I’ve had a lot to listen to because… well, y’all have had a lot to say. What stood out the most is that no matter the forum (Twitter, Facebook, ESSENCE Community, etc.), a common theme has been, “Paul, we love your articles and advice but when are you going to give the Men some straight talk (no chaser)?”