Steadman Graham wears a few hats; best-selling author, motivational speaker, educator and entrepreneur, to name a few. On Thursday he added another — Fellow, in the Center for Applied Leadership and Community Development at Johnson C. Smith University.

The announcement was made by JCSU President Ronald Carter during Graham’s inauguration lecture in the university’s Sarah Belk Gambrell Auditorium in Biddle Hall.

Prior to Graham’s lecture, Qcitymetro was given exclusive access to his one-on-one discussion with Freedom Readers, a JCSU student book club. The students are reading none other than Graham’s best-seller “You Can Make It Happen: A Nine Step Plan for Success.”

“I loved it. The book was great,” said Aramith Trimiar a senior from Long Beach, N.J., who is president of the book club and senior class president. Camille Troutman, a sophomore from Long Island, N.Y., agreed. “The book helped me realize my goals,” she said.

Moving swiftly from this event to the school’s auditorium, Graham opened his lecture speaking on the importance of leadership.

“Leadership is everything,” he said, referencing the university’s new leadership center and the new direction Carter has brought to the historically black college in West Charlotte. Graham said the United States would be in trouble if the leadership in the White House remained unchanged.

“Can you imagine what we’d go through in this country based on a bad leader?” he said.

He also talked about:

Slavery – Graham compared how slavery (of the mind), coupled with fear, prevents people from achieving their goals.

Boxes – He said although it took him 30 years to realize this, people forget to think for themselves, and therefore are put in boxes based on race, gender, job, cars, religion, money and relationships. “I define myself,” he said.

Oprah Winfrey – Graham joked briefly about his relationship with the media mogul adding “I’ve figured out how to survive and move beyond what others think.”

Graham concluded by outlining his nine steps to success:

Step 1: Find your passion — Write down all the things you love.

Step 2: Find strength in your identity/vision — This allows you to organize life’s destination.

Step 3: Have a plan — and work that plan 24 hours per day.

Step 4: Keep a positive attitude — Don’t quit, no matter what.

Step 5: Overcome your fear — Your life will change once you do.

Step 6: Be willing to change — Change helps you grow.

Step 7: Build Your Dream Team — Your team is only as strong as you are.

Step 8: Read — Knowledge is power.

Step 9: Commit to Your Vision — You can improve your life every single day.

“My passion is so strong for my work that you have to take me out before I quit,” he said.

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