“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.” My coach said this to me as I sat in her office to turn in my resignation from our team.

But, she was never one to let us quit. Never one to let us give up on ourselves. Never one to let us say something was too difficult.

Our training was hard, and traveling was grueling for me. I was competitive in both my education and on our athletic dance squad. Yet, I put much more emphasis on my education. I just couldn’t see how I could continue and graduate on time.

That day in her office, she taught me a great lesson. She taught me the difference between being a pessimist and an optimist. And during our conversation I learned the meaning of the saying, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, and an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

And if you know me, you know I am an optimist.

Long before I ever built a luxury cosmetics brand that was sold along side names like Estee Lauder, MAC, and Fashion Fair, I dreamed it as a little girl flipping through the pages of magazines and watching Ms. America pageants on televison. 

Everyone I met while trying to get the brand off the ground told me what a foolish idea I had. That I could never compete with the likes of Estee Lauder or even Fashion Fair.

And long before I entered the world of public service to help save the lives of the disenfranchised, marginalized and underprivileged, I dreamed and thought about what my purpose was in life.

I am a firm believer that our thoughts precede our actions and our prayers precede our dreams.   I have and am living my dreams.  But, I wasn’t always such an optimist and I certainly didn’t understand how optimism was the thing good to great leadership is made of.

At Tennessee State University an HBCU, where the lessons of optimism, never giving up, and the pursuit of purpose was steeped rich in history, I learned to keep my head to the sky.

No, positive thinking isn’t the magic potion to get us through hard and challenging times, but you are defeated even before you can begin to find solutions, if you believe it is to hard or to dificult to overcome.

As leaders, how we look at any situation will ultimately determine how long we are in the situation. And it will help determine the results for those we serve alongside (our staff) during the situation.

Bad things do happen in life. But they are temporary. We ultimately have solutions in our minds, that truly can become reality, if we don’t give in to the belief that we don’t have control or that it’s someone else’s fault.

Here’s to Mrs. Gentry, who taught me that day in her office to approach life with a sense of the possible, to expect the best and to know that all things are possible to him (or her) who believe.

The whole point of being an optimist is the outcome. The outcome of what is possible for not only ourselves, but for others a well.

Everything is created twice. First in the mind and then in reality. I don’t know about you, but I’m already believing that on the other side of today, lies a greater tomorrow.

And, I am willing to bet that all things ARE possible. “And That’s A Brilliant Glimpse of Insight!”™


  • Yolanda is a businesswoman, photographer and executive leader.  Starting and running a successful entrepreneurial business for many years in the beauty space, she has also worked in the non-profit, public and human service sectors. Author, adovcate and philanthropist she has created the Brilliant Glimpse of Insight™ or B.G.I™ initiative. This initiative is to motivate and encourage leaders from all walks of life to lead with strength, courage, wisdom and emotional intelligence to help transform the lives of the people they serve.