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We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Acie McMillan a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.

Hi Acie , really happy you were able to join us today and we’re looking forward to sharing your story and insights with our readers. Let’s start with the heart of it all – purpose. How did you find your purpose?
Being accepted to and attending Michigan State is an accomplishment on its own but what is more amazing is the journey it took to get there. By the time I was 18, I had lived the life of someone 3 times my age. Outside of normal 90’s working class living, I had been in a gang, sold drugs, and been incarcerated several times. I could literally tell you some stories that would have you on the edge of your seat but also wanting more.

Business had always fascinated me and I considered myself to be a business man. My idol was Jay-Z so I knew I wanted to go to school for business. Once I got there I had connected with a guy named Walt. Walt was a student at MSU but also a mentor to young college students and a profound speaker. He was always impressed with my growth and how much I had over come as well as the continued elevation since the time he met me. Fast forward, Walt and a group of guys were heading to Detroit to talk to a group of students at a school called Osborn. Osborn is in a really rough area in Detroit filled with violence and drugs so it was a group that could really use some guidance. Walt felt that because of my background I could relate to the students and help them so he invited me to come speak to the students with him.

It was an amazing experience. The students were really excited to have someone that looked like them and come from a similar situation come back and give them pointers and motivate them. I could remember assemblies in school where successful people would come into the auditorium and tell us that we could do anything but none of them looked like me and they certainly didn’t grow up where I did or been through the things I been through so I completely understood the students point of few. It made me feel good. As time went on, I would start to be invited more and more places to speak. It came so natural to me. At that point I knew what I was called to do. After years of freelance kind of speaking, December of 2019 gave me the opportunity to take it serious and thus The Elite Standard was born.

Appreciate the insights and wisdom. Before we dig deeper and ask you about the skills that matter and more, maybe you can tell our readers about yourself?
The Elite Standard is a dynamic personal/professional development company geared towards helping people become ELITE! One side focuses on operational and leadership development training. I help leaders become better leaders; especially in the operations setting. The other side focuses on helping people become the best version of themselves by helping them realize they can do things they didn’t think were possible. I’m a mentor, motivational speaker, and life coach.

The best part of what I do is help people. We all should inspire to help someone else. If we all did, the world would be an even better place. I’m also really excited to announce that I am getting ready to publish my first book! It’s a children’s motivational book and I can’t wait to share it with the world! I hope to inspire the kid that will change the world; or at least a kid that will help the person. At the very least, I want every kid reading to know that there is no limit to what he or she can do!

There is so much advice out there about all the different skills and qualities folks need to develop in order to succeed in today’s highly competitive environment and often it can feel overwhelming. So, if we had to break it down to just the three that matter most, which three skills or qualities would you focus on?
Resilience, discipline, and determination. The resiliency to withstand life’s toughest challenges. The discipline to do the things that I may have not “felt” like doing, but knowing that I had to if I wanted to change my circumstances. The determination to not let ANYTHING get in the way of where I wanted/want to go.

Life is hard. Remaining happy is hard, but so is being sad and depressed. Making/keeping money is hard, but so is being poor. Eating healthy is hard, but so is being unhealthy and out of shape. No matter the scenario you come up with, both sides of the coin is going to be “hard”. For as long as you live life will be hard. My advice is pick a struggle. Which hard do you prefer to deal with? Once you’ve decided, make decisions that will land you where you want to be.

Before we go, maybe you can tell us a bit about your parents and what you feel was the most impactful thing they did for you?
The most impactful thing my mom did for me was teach me how to grind. She helped me understand that the world didn’t owe me anything and I would have to work for any and everything I wanted. I’m no stranger to working hard. As intelligent as I am and have always been, I know I’m not the smartest person on the planet but I have yet to meet another human being that I will let outwork me! Success takes time. It rarely happens by chance. There are no shortcuts. You have to put in the work. When I was young I watched my mom work multiple jobs at a time to be able to provide for me and my siblings. I have goals that I’m aiming to reach and I know I will get there because I know what I’m willing to do and sacrifice to make my dreams my reality.

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