Great leaders, titans of industry, artists, athletes, and world changers have figured out how to stay connected to the source of their inspiration and in the “zone” as some put it; and when they fall off the beam they realize it and know how to get back on.
As an inspirational author, cutting-edge teacher, and international speaker, Kit Cummings delivers a timely message of unlimited human power and potential. With a personal and professional pursuit of coaching and developing people for over twenty-five years, Kit has created a unique approach to address the most pressing and fundamental issues surrounding personal and collective achievement in a program he calls Attitude Science. Combining this with his captivating gift for entertaining and engaging his audience, Kit dynamically imparts the most thought-provoking and profound truths of the human experience, with incredible takeaways. Kit’s message is timely and relevant, transcending the mundane day-to-day grind and offering cutting-edge perspectives and tools that motivate and empower teams and organizations to greater heights.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Kit has been involved in the field of personal development and leadership for over two decades. He earned a BBA in marketing from the Terry School of Business at the University of Georgia, and he also holds a Master of Theology. Kit is the president and founder of Power of Peace Project, Inc. and brings his experience working in some of the most dangerous areas in the world to bring about organizational change. Kit has inspired people to aim higher in places as far away as Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe, and recently completed speaking tours in South Africa, Mexico, Honduras, and Ukraine. Kit has negotiated peace between rival gang leaders in dangerous prisons and has spoken at the Gandhi Global Peace Summit in Durban, South Africa. Having taught in some of the toughest environments in the world and to some of the roughest audiences, he now brings his dynamic message to corporate conferences, seminars, and workshops
Where did the idea for the Power of Peace Project come from?
I was speaking to a large crowd at an event in Philadelphia. As I finished, they put up Dr. King’s picture and challenged everyone to go back to their communities and do something in his honor for his birthday/national holiday. I started writing on the plane back to Atlanta and decided to try the very first “40 Days of Peace” in Georgia’s most dangerous and violent prison—and it worked. Twelve principles for forty days, along with daily quotes, action challenges, and weekly small group discussions among rivals—and that prison won institution of the year that year. Now it is being implemented in prisons and schools around the country as an anti-bullying campaign.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I begin the day by blogging and getting my own mind, body and spirit aligned. Then I begin working on my day/week plan. Most days I have appointments with individuals and organizations who are involved, interested, or requesting the POPP programs. I have speaking engagements weekly, and regular appointments with parents, teens, or corporate clients who are trying to break free of the things that hold them back. Every day I am working to promote my new book Peace Behind the Wire, the new radio show, Power of Peace Radio, and our new app and product line, Hope is the New Dope, for the Power of Peace Project. Every month I am also on the road continuing the peace projects around the country that are under way in schools and prisons, or speaking at corporate events.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It all begins with a single thought. Creation is about focus. If you stay on a thought long enough, it gives birth to an idea. Hold your focus on an idea long enough, especially with imagination involved, and a vision comes to life. Vision brings emotion with it, and emotion evokes action. If it is a noble purpose and an idea whose time has come, then the vision becomes a dream, and everything which you will need to bring it to manifestation begins to be drawn to you. Just pay attention and begin searching for what you need in order to bring your dream to life, and you will understand that you find what you look for. In my book I call this twelve step process “Attitude Science: how to create something out of nothing.”
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The way this young generation is learning to use social media and technology to connect to one another and change the world. Right now many of them are using technology recklessly and in an unhealthy way, but they have the potential to change that trend and learn to create a new world through their ability to connect and take ideas viral. They just need to be inspired and unified—and they can be the generation who changes the world. Bullying could be eradicated if we taught them to use their influence for peace and simply to change what “cool looks like” in their schools and communities. The same with teen overdose, and suicide…That is what the Power of Peace Project is all about—interrupting and redirecting the next generation and inspiring them to change their world because they are the future.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My curiosity. As Einstein said: “I am passionately curious.” I am fascinated with people and the entire human experience. I love to learn what the “other’s” journey is like. I have not lost my sense of wonder, amazement, or the ability to be surprised; and I am passionate about my mission. I go where I am invited without judgment, but with a child-like curiosity, and that has made all the difference. That mindset has become a habit and I now unconsciously take that perspective into every conversation, meeting, and everywhere I go. I am eager and unashamed to say “I don’t know, please teach me.”
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I had a series of jobs in mid-life that I did because I needed to support my family. I had gone through a rough stretch as a result of some poor choices and bad decisions and I lost some things. Because of failure I was forced to do what I had to do rather than what I was born to do. I tried banking, insurance and real estate, until I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was good at it when I applied myself, but I was dying inside. So I made a decision that changed my life. I bricked up the “back door” cut away the “safety nets” and took the plunge. I went back to my passion: speaking, writing and teaching. I came alive again. The lesson: do that which makes you come alive, and find your passion. The rest will take care of itself. Passion springs from purpose and money follows passion.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would not take myself so seriously, and I would take more risks. I lived a large portion of my life very concerned about what others thought of me, and in turn I played it safe. I was afraid to fail and avoided situations where I did not feel confident or competent. If I had it to do all over again, I would live every day as I strive to do now: laugh loud, dance funny, risk it all, and try anything and everything that life has to offer—with no fear—that is, the things which make you come alive. We basically live life from one of two places, and only two—love or fear. I would live life from a place of love. Love always wins and drives out fear and darkness.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Take the time to still your mind, quiet the voices, and connect to the source of your inspiration. There are many ways to do that. Some meditate, some pray, some exercise, some enjoy nature, others prefer music or art, or writing—whatever takes you to a peaceful place where you can reset, recharge and renew the mind and body, and that is a personal thing that you do by yourself and for yourself. Great leaders, titans of industry, artists, athletes, and world changers have figured out how to stay connected to the source of their inspiration and in the “zone” as some put it; and when they fall off the beam they realize it and know how to get back on. That is the place where the genius inside everyone of us resides.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Simply respect people. Return their calls and emails promptly; choose face to face meetings if possible, or phone calls if you can’t meet face to face. Too many have chosen to go the lazy route of emails, texts, and social media and have lost the art of communication. People will not remember for very long what you did, but they will remember forever how you made them feel. People follow passion, and it is hard to see passion from a distance—it is up close and personal. Sales is about persuasion and a transfer of belief. Love what you do, and if you can’t then do something else. Let others see the love you have and the passion you possess, and they will buy whatever you are selling. You can’t fake passion.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I went through a period in my life where I had no true mentors. I had people around me but I wasn’t in a place where I was being open and authentic. I learned that you cannot be a great leader if you are not first a great follower. All great leaders have mentors who have shaped and guided their journey. So I became a student again and actively began to find the people in my line of work who had been wildly successful and began to learn and imitate their principles and strategies. Eventually those things became a part of my teaching and they became a part of me—I’m not even sure exactly when that transformation happened, but I know that it changed me and thus changed my message. Then I began to pass those principles along to those who were following me. I always want to have mentors in my life, as well as those who are coming behind me to carry on the torch. You cannot keep what you do not give away.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
An app that creates social change in high schools. Teens can connect to like-minded peers and share quotes, videos, pics, and music to support anti-bullying campaigns. They commit to social community guidelines: only positive posts which build up rather than tear down; bring together rather than divide; encourage rather than discourage; and where the strong defend the weak. These campaigns will spread through the schools and eventually hit the tipping point where the bully is no longer cool; the peacemaker is. Girls will now be attracted to the peacemakers, and boys will be attracted to “kind girls.” Unlimited possibilities as to how to build/develop the app.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
We sponsored a family who is going to Guatemala this month to serve at an orphanage—we invested in a child who has no family and very little hope. I cannot think of a better investment.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I am definitely not the “techy” guy, but luckily I have some people in my corner who are. I love social media and the ability to “touch” thousands, and even more, with a single post or tweet; and I use it every day to encourage, build up, inspire and motivate—always. If it doesn’t help, or if it harms anyone, I will not post it, period. I’m an Apple guy—because I loved Steve Jobs. I use Facebook most productively, but I am also a fan of LinkedIn and Twitter (working on Instagram!). I believe we can change the world with it—look what happened with one Facebook post and what came from it in Egypt. The possibilities are endless.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
Peace Behind the Wire: A Nonviolent Resolution. Because it WORKS. I’ve seen Crips and Bloods come together; Christians and Muslims work together for peace; white, black and brown brothers break bread together in unity. These timeless and universal laws and principles work wherever they are practiced—try it in your school or community, I dare you.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Steve Jobs, Anthony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela.
Power of Peace Project on Facebook:
Power of Peace Project on Twitter: @PowerofPeace88
Kit Cumming on LinkedIn:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.