On Thursday, May 19, I was among the 40 Houstonians honored at the Houston Business Journal’s Annual 40 Under 40 Awards Ceremony at the House of Blues. Honestly, when I got the initial congratulatory email over a month ago I thought it was spam. You all know about those frequent emails that come through saying “you’ve just won $1,000,000 Euros because your email won a lottery.” LOL!
Well I’m glad I didn’t delete this one! Someone saw fit to nominate me for this award and out of the reportedly 240+ nominations submitted, I was blessed to be selected along with 39 other people doing big things in our city. I thank the staff at the Houston Business Journal. [See other honorees]
The keynote address at the ceremony was delivered by Jeff Sandefer, founder of the Austin-based Acton School of Business. His message centered on living a meaningful life beyond the pursuit of fame and money. A few quotes his talk stood out to me: “Winning the rat race will not bring you happiness, satisfaction or fulfillment. The winner of the rat race is still a rat", and the 3 most important questions we have to answer: "Have I contributed something meaningful?, Was I a good person, and Who did I love/loved me?"
It all did not truly hit me on the significance of this award until I heard them announce “Jesse Muhammad, The Final Call Newspaper” for me to step from behind the curtain to receive my (our) award.
Yes, I said OUR award.
I’m taught to do nothing seeking gain or favor but rather do things for service and the glorification of The One who has blessed me with all of my gifts and talents. I re-route all of the praise to Allah (God) for this opportunity.
I’m not foolish or arrogant to think that I have accomplished anything by myself. Truthfully nobody has. I dedicate this award to my sacrificing and strong wife, our mind-blowing daughter, my mother and mother-in-law, my sister and three brothers, aunts, new found uncles, cousins, childhood friends, close associates, my role models (known and unknown), loving members of Muhammad Mosque No. 45 and the Nation of Islam family, the hardworking Final Call Newspaper team, blog supporters, Twitter followers, Facebook friends and even the naysayers.
I dedicate this award also to Joe McCray, Jr.—the man that I discovered in 2009 is my real biological father. I was backstage wishing he was there to see his son striving to do something positive with his life. Everything happens for a reason.
Lastly, thank you to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the founder/publisher of The Final Call Newspaper who has not only blessed me with an opportunity to be a part of his FCN staff but has served as a spiritual father for me and millions across the globe. He told me on the phone once, “Keep doing what you’re doing. Take it to the next level and then take it to the max!”
I’m nowhere near the next level or the max….back to work! Make service your first priority, not success, and success will follow. That’s the formula.
What will we do next? Let’s see.