As I’ve traveled through life, there has been a real fight between my intentions and results. The biggest lesson learned from the ongoing battle has been to make lemonade out of unmet intentions (lemons). I set small goals from early childhood forward that I fully intended to accomplish.
Sometimes the way forward involved getting others to cooperate and help make things happen. Since I had zero control of others, the likelihood of success was seriously reduced. So, I had to develop ways to get others thinking along the same lines as me. I did not know it early on, but I began to use the power of persuasion by planting my ideas in others.
Some of my best intentions backfired and caused my parents, teachers, and school principal to react negatively. For example, I decided on a strategy to keep the tougher boys from harassing (now called bullying) me. So when someone shot me in the back of my head with a pea shooter, I attacked the top guy in my class by hitting him below his eye with a bookbinder. It achieved excellent results as far as anyone messing with me after that, but our principal paddled me. Fortunately, the word did not get home to my parents.
In about seventh grade, I came up with a way to impress teachers and move forward academically. I began reading through my new textbooks upon receipt. It worked marvelously because my teachers knew they could call on me for correct interpretations. It was like brown-nosing without brown-nosing.
At age fourteen, I met a girl through my younger sister, Glenda, that I thought was the most intelligent person I’d ever met. So I told members of my dad’s construction crew when we passed by her house, “I’m going to marry the girl in the house with pink trim because she is the smartest girl I’ve ever met; with her smarts and my strategy, we can have brilliant kids.” So we got married and had two very smart kids.
After college, my first job as the first Black ground systems engineer for Boeing at the NASA Mississippi Test Facility in Bay St. Louis, MS, where we test-fired the first stage of the Apollo rocket, was naturally very challenging. However, I exceeded my intention to succeed by learning from the top engineers down to the janitors and receiving a 17.5 percent raise my first year. My boss’s boss apologized because they could not give me a better raise.
Next came the big boo-boo; I thought that the NASA-approved way of writing instructions for changing parts on lines going into the Rocket was inefficient. So, I mentioned it to my supervisor, who told me to put my ideas into suggestions then seek NASA’s approval. I did what he suggested, and NASA approved it. I did not know that the extensive instructions were intentionally used to create more overtime hours and pay!
My suggestion eliminated overtime, and Boeing shipped me to Seattle to do structural design on 727 aircraft so fast that we woke up one morning not knowing that our furniture would be on a truck headed for Seattle before 2 PM. So I still say that my intent was good, smile.
One of my best-met intentions was getting my kids ready to be outstanding academically. So we used everything, from learning games, exposure to other cultures & languages, interviewing outstanding achieving students & families, and being on impactful committees at all of the public schools our kids attended in Florida and South Carolina. Our involvement in the school committees By serving on the committees, our kids received private school-level educations in public schools.
Later, I went into financial services to learn in and out of personal and family finance and then teach to our people. The learning and teaching went very well, but the problem was that many of my learners chose to do business with the people they trusted, white people. Many of my clients told me that their fellow workers were never contacted by their white 401k Rollover advisors after the transaction!
Intentions, to me, are similar to having strategies. We need to think them through and organize the reaching of SUCCESS!
Thanks for listening!
William Leroy Kennedy
Former Financial Services Professional at Kennedy Group, Ltd. – Financial/Motivation
Studied Architectural Engineering at Prairie View A&M University “Giving a strong recommendation: Khan Academy for educational success”