Meet Sylvester Long of Out of Pain, Into Purpose
Born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, I was always the kind of person who was optimistic and liked to encourage my friends, family, classmates, etc. Everyone wondered why I was always so positive and smiled a lot. I told people that despite any negative situations that happen in my life, I do my absolute best to smile through it because those situations were not going to define me at all.
My grandfather was a local pastor, and every time I saw him, it made me smile because of how much he cared for the people. He was such a true humanitarian. He was one of my main role models growing up, and he still is even though he passed five years ago. I find comfort in knowing that although he passed away, I gained a guardian angel in him. My grandfather passing way was probably one of the hardest times of my life.
At that time, that is when my journey to motivational speaking began. I wanted to continue his legacy in my way, and make sure that it still lives on through me. Ever since I started this journey, I enjoy every minute of being able to share my story with others while motivating others to be the best that they can be in God.
Man, I am not going to lie to you. It truly has been a long and tedious road for me. I’ve battled depression, lack of self-confidence and self-love, bullying, isolation and loneliness, and a host of other issues. I’ve encountered lots of setbacks in my life. It was so bad that I eventually was afraid of failure. At that point, I created this zone of comfort that I considered a safe haven for me. I felt that if I didn’t leave that zone of comfort, then I would not have to deal with failure or setbacks.
That mindset I had at the time was detrimental to my life physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It took a long time for me to fully understand that I was not going to let my circumstances define me. Instead, I would define myself by my ability to learn from my mistakes and failures, my resilience during difficult times, my optimism and faith in God, the possibilities and dreams, my contribution to the world, my problem-solving skills, and mu understanding of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness.
I had to learn that even though I needed to be strong and push through, it was ok to be vulnerable sometimes. I had to learn that as a man, it is ok to cry sometimes. I focused so much on what others thought of me that it completely affected my way of thinking. I finally made the decision to not let what others think of me or say about me dictate my own abilities and who I am in God.
The idea behind “Out of Pain, Into Purpose” is to help others turn their pain into the purpose that God has for them. It will also be the name of the book I am currently writing. Whenever I look back over my life and think about all of the situations I experienced, God showed me that there was a purpose behind the pain.
As a motivational speaker, I talk about a variety of different topics, specifically about purpose in life, your vision, and the power of our mindsets. For me, I am proud of the fact that I make it my mission to make a huge impact on people, one life at a time. My thought is: if I can impact at least one person today, then I must be doing my job right”. It’s more than just job and a hobby for me. It is my vocation. It is what God called me to do. It is what He has purposed me to do. And I intend on fulfilling that purpose to my fullest capability.
Success can be defined in many different ways by different people. We each have our own definition of success. For me, success is defined as enjoying what I do each and every day and being able to make a difference in someone’s life. I want to be able to help others reach their potential and shine. As I am able to succeed, I look to pull others up with me. There’s a quote by Jim Rohn that says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. Who do you surround yourself with?
Iron sharpens iron. I choose to surround myself with positive vibes and go-getters. I want to be around people who are just as hungry as, if not hungrier than, me. I look out for people who not only have the potential, but they are working to reach their full potential. Let’s elevate and grow together. In ways, I consider myself a humanitarian, just like my grandfather was. The vision and purpose that I have for my life, as well as what God has in store for me, is going to come into fruition, and I believe that with all of my heart and soul.