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Faithfulness Is Perseverance in Purpose: An Interview With Roland Martin

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Years ago, when I was an instructional supervisor in the Houston Independent School District, I frequently visited Jack Yates Senior High School in Houston, where Roland Martin, now host of Washington Watch and a CNN contributor attended. Martin's success continues to provide inspiration and hope to many of the school's students, and I have witnessed firsthand the positive influence that Martin's success has had on many students in the Houston area. As a journalist and author, he is candid and meticulous, and faith plays a major part in his success at making the most of his God-given time.

Roland's thoughts on Faithfulness

What definition of "faith" best describes the concept to you?

There are some people that look at faith as a part of their life and there are those like me that look at faith as the essence of their life. I look at all things through my faith. Some people will say that they can put faith aside so that they can focus on some other things. And that to me is the big difference between having faith as just a part of your life and having faith as the essence of your life. So for me faith is the essence of my life, I see all things through faith.

You wrote a book on faith called, "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith." What inspired that book?

Like I mentioned before, faith is the essence of my life, and my faith inspires me to do a number of things. I've always used my various platforms to talk about faith. When I had my syndicated column I wrote about various contemporary topics through the faith prism. So whether or not it was a column dealing with a baseball player who made a decision not to play a particular game because it was a Jewish holiday. To talking about the YWCA diminishing the Christian aspect of their name. Faith is the essence of my life. When I ran blackamericaweb.com, Tom Joyner's site, there was no faith channel. I said there is no way you can have a website targeting black people and there's no faith channel. So I added that. I've always integrated my faith perspective in those lights. I think faith is vitally important to your day, your seconds in each day. Faith helps to get you through the day. The 50 perspectives that I talk about in my book are timeless. You can look at them as 50 distinct pieces. They don't have to go in any particular order, they can speak to you in many different ways.

Why do you think it's important to be conscious of our 86400?

If you are not conscious of it, you will allow it to get away from you and you're left asking yourself what did I achieve. I really believe in maximizing every moment, all of my 86400. People always ask me how do you do all that you do? How do you write columns, host radio shows, television shows, give speeches, etc. It is because I am fully a where of the time, my time, my 86400. I'm fully a where of what is in front of me and what I have to get accomplished.

Can you give an example of how faithfulness in difficult situations has helped you move forward and live a better life?

So, when I'm in a difficult situation my faith in God allows me to look to him for discernment. Discernment is vitally important.. It is the most critical as far as I'm concerned. People make a genuine mistake all the time, that is they will say, hey I hope this works out for the better, I hope this happens and that happens as opposed to really asking themselves a very vital and important question and that is, is this really God's intent for me, is this God's purpose for what I'm trying to do. You have to ask yourself is this God's will. And also my faith provides me comfort. When you are in prayer and you are taking something to God, asking for the proper direction for what it is that you are doing, then you have comfort in knowing full well that you can handle what is ahead of you. In difficult times my faith helps me to look for discernment and ask God what his will is for me.

What piece of encouragement or advice would you give people who are lost or struggling?

I'm often asked, how do you have such clarity. We all have our own ideas of what it is that we want to do. Want to achieve. We never really ask where does God want to use me, where does God want me to flourish. My advice to people is to sit still and ask God. People are so afraid to sit still and allow God to speak to their minds and their hearts and soul to gain the direction that they actually need. They mope around or talk to a friend, do all this stuff, and God is sitting there and saying hey, I'm trying to let you know right now. So I tell everybody that there is a process.

I found that quiet place in my home that is my place of refuge. I don't care if you got kids or if you are married. You got to find that one place that is your everybody off limit place, unless this place is on fire or you need to go to the emergency room, don't disturb me. You can go to this place and cleanse, meditate, let God speak to you. When I go into a situation I always ask God to speak to me, speak to my mind, remove me from the situations and allow his words to come forward.

What tool has been most beneficial in your success?

My BlackBerry. I utilize technology to be more efficient. A women was upset because I used my BlackBerry in church. She said I should not type up my sermon notes into my BlackBerry because people will think I'm texting in church. Well, first of all, people should mind their own business. I type my sermon notes into my BlackBerry, then I upload my sermon notes to my blog, my Facebook page and some of the information to my Twitter account. That's 100,000 people I'm sharing the Gospel with by the virtue of typing it into my BlackBerry as opposed to writing it down. That is being efficient with my time. By the time we are into the benediction I'm blessing 100,000 plus people who may not have gone to church or who have missed it. I use technology to my advantage, my BlackBerry is the tool that helps me be successful.

A second tool that has helped me to be successful is I have honed and developed a concept taken from attorneys. That concept is having a billable hour mentality. What that means is my time is money. Time is valuable. The way I look at it is that I'm a $750 an hour person. I value even an hour of doing nothing, that is my time to think, to be creative. As you go about your 86400 ask yourself, did I just give somebody two hours of my time when I could have been generating $1,500 worth of income in those two hours. I get a number of things done via e-mail and texting. It's about putting people on your schedule and not allowing people to dominate your schedule. That makes me more efficient and most effective.

If there is such a thing, what's a typical day like for you? How do you start each day?

I'm on the Tom Joyner morning show every day. I have a ISDN line in my house. I wake up at 6 a.m. I've done the research and I'm prepared, so I walk across to the living room and do my segment that starts at bout 6:15 central, for 10 minutes. I might workout with my trainer at 6:30 a.m. or 7:30 a.m., then I come back and I get some work done. I might go back to sleep or take a nap. As the day progresses I might get phone calls, e-mails that I have to handle. CNN may call and request me to go on the air. I might work on my column or any number of things. But it depends on where I am. My schedule changes, it is not always the same, I might have a speaking engagement out of town. So I might be on a plane right after the morning show. I got a whole lot of stuff packed in a day, but again it ebbs and flows. I'm in total command of the schedule at all times. I will tell folks what I can and cannot do. I'm very efficient. I take those things that are standard and locked in and build my schedule completely around that.

Lavaille Lavette is an author, educator, inspirational speaker with time management expertise, a former special advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education (2001-2005) and an advocate for various charitable causes. Lavaille has combined two of her passions with the creation of the 86400 Seconds Movement and Tour, "Making a Difference, Being The Difference." (86400movement.com) The movement is the instigator for a renewed life of intention and relevance. Her book, '86400, Manage Your Purpose to Make Every Second of Each Day Count,' offers guidance and examples on how to live every second of each day purposefully and with renewed life.

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