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Identity Development: Helping Youth Navigate the Identity Crisis

Tips for Youth Practitioners and Program Directors

Identity Development- Helping Youth Navigate the Identity Crisis

The question, “Who am I?” is especially pertinent during adolescence. The combination of physical, cognitive, and social changes that occur during that time, plus the serious life choices to be faced (occupation, life partner) spur what Erik Erikson famously called an identity crisis. He used the term, “crisis,” to mean a turning point rather than a period of profound or debilitating uncertainty. Erikson acknowledged that identity issues could arise throughout the life course, but saw identity formation as the critical “developmental task” of adolescence.

Our identity is how we see ourself. Understanding the many aspects of how youth have to view themselves and their place in the world. They are responsible for making decisions as to where to attend college, their sexual orientation, their future career, what culture they resonate with, the company they’re keeping and their racial identity.

As youth practitioners our role is instrumental in helping youth assess, understand, and development positive identities. In doing so we provide security in youth knowing who they are, what they stand for, and how to navigate life through this lense.

Here are some questions you can ask to help youth either in a questionnaire or through small group discussions to discover and answer the question “Who Am I?”

  1. What are my strengths?
  2. What am I really horrible at doing?
  3. When am I most happy?
  4. Who are the most important people in my life?
  5. Who am I attracted to?
  6. What types of activities am I drawn to?
  7. What types of media am I drawn to?
  8. What is most important to me?
  9. What do I see myself doing later this year?
  10. What do I see myself doing in five years?

You can also add in reflective questions that you ask yourself when you’re self examining. Identity isn’t something that can be discovered by the end of the questionnaire, it’s developed overtime. Stressing that with our youth is vital in them knowing they aren’t going to find themselves in middle school, high school or even college because we are constantly growing and learning new things about ourselves.

The strength lies in the solidity of the foundation of who we are and the principles on which we stand. The strength of identity lies in knowing that there are certain people, places, and circumstances in which we never hope to find ourselves and there are certain people, places, and causes in which we stand up and speak out for because we believe wholeheartedly in them and they are a part of us.

Our identities guide our actions, our friendship and relationship circles, our decisions, our affiliations and assimilation. Let’s be sure to incorporate aspects in our programs that will allow youth to constantly question themselves and why they do what they do. We want this to be a reflective skill they carry into adulthood and one that will continue to make them lifelong learners and thinkers.

Question: How are you challenging youth to develop a positive identity?

An Open Letter to Veterans 

Dear Veterans, 

Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for humbly working hard, taking orders from your higher ups, training, and retraining, challenging yourself all for the sake of our country. Thank you for leaving or moving your family around the country and travelling at a moments notice. Thank you for risking your life for each of us. 

Thank you for being so brave, courageous, fearless, valiant, heroic and daring. I understand that it’s not easy but in life ever is? 

You are a shining example of what we should be everyday as we approach loves challenges. Your example of discipline and structure defines amplifies success. The very fiber of who you are is what we should infuse ourselves to be. 

As a youth advocate our youth have so much many life lessons they can glean from you and skills that transcend their current experiences and knowledge. You’ve seen places their eyes may never see, you’ve heard things their ears may never know. They need to know their history, they need to hear your truths, and they need to know your names and faces I vow to do what I can to connect or shall I say reconnect the generations and bring things back full circle. You are not forgotten, I see you!!! 

Your audacious attitude should be celebrated today and everyday,but today is for you. I honor you, I applaud you and thank you. 



How Will I Make A Difference?

 You may be asking yourself this question. I know I surely did when I was in high school and again when I was in college. I really wondered to myself what I could do to make a difference in this world or to change the course of someone else’s life. I’ve always felt powerful but overtime talked myself out of some of my greatest gifts because I was full of fear and doubt. But I knew I had something to contribute!

Speaker at “On The Heels of Greatness Conference” hosted by 3D Girls, Inc. at the Georgia International Convention Center .

Date: October 3, 2015
Time: 12:30 pm
Event: Speaker at On The Heels of Greatness
Topic: Real Vs. Reality: Social Media
Public: Private

Living your Exceptional Identity

Who we are determines the way we live. It affects what we do, who we hang around, how we spend our time, where we go, and why we do things they way we do. But what happens to the person who isn’t sure of themselves and questions who they are?

In this day and age we have men who want to be women, women who want to date women, black girls who want to go natural because it’s the thing to do but don’t understand why, white girls lying about being black, and they’re confused. Life is confusing and confusion creates chaos. 

Wouldn’t it great to know WHO and WHOSE you are? Wouldn’t it be comforting to know that your are wonderfully made, you have a purpose and a high calling? Wouldn’t it also be amazing to know that YOU (yea you) are not made to live a mediocre life but life abundantly? And wouldn’t it be even great to know that you are truly remarkable; one of God’s finest masterpieces?! 

Can I tell you something? You are all these things and more! Coming from the Creator I know that I was mandated to create a space where people like you and me could come together and be reminded daily that we are exceptional and loved. So I created Exceptional  University. 

Exceptional University is a new membership site where we remind and restore YOUR remarkable. October 1st launched day one of the 31 Days to Restore Remarkable Challenge which is 100% free. Over the 31 days you’ll get a daily inspirational email loaded with the stuff you need to activate your exceptional life and be in the running to win weekly goodies! 

You have the opportunity to join the private Facebook group and join in with other people who genuinely care for you and want the best for you! Life gets tough and you’ve got to be able to combat fears  with faith, resistance with resilience, and sorrows with strength. 

Come and build your soul and strength back up to the levels that God intended. It’s time to live your Exceptional Life! 

Register for the FREE challenge over at 

What Viola Davis Taught All Black Girls


As you know our girl Viola Davis recently won her very first Emmy. It’s been well over six decades since a black woman has won an Emmy. This wasn’t just an accomplishment for Viola but an accomplishment for us all.

Her win taught us that there is still hope in that there are still women who are paving the way for others to follow.

Her win taught us that there is still power and authenticity in a genuine spirit.  Her win taught us that you can be a chocolate girl with natural hair and create a platform and a powerful voice for yourself. Through that the world can stand, listen, and take note.

Her win taught us that we have to stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us and use that as a catalyst to propel into our own dreams, goals, and desires. We cannot allow their struggle, scarifice, and success go to waste.

The thing that I found most amazing about her win was the look on her face when she won because she wasn’t expecting to win. How many times do we do things with such power and might but still don’t expect to win in life?

How often do we still question our abilities because we know we weren’t meant to stand out in the current world? We have to continue to be the change we want to see by creating opportunities and building the doors we want so desperatly to open.

We must expect to be winners and what we will expect will eventually become what we see. There is still hope for the black girl please don’t give up on your winning power or your dreams. There is no appropriate length of time on your success.

Embrace the natural beautiful and powerful you!  The world is waiting.

Those Who Show Up, Go Up

Unlocking the Power of Commitment

Have you ever felt the disappointment from someone who didn’t show up for you like you thought they would? The inability to be and stay committed leads to not only disappointments, but missed appointments. Today’s  topic is the power of commitments and showing up. Enjoy today’s audio!



11 Traits of A Memorable Mentor

For the People Who Desire to be Remarkable

In this day of instant information there is no doubt that you can perform an internet search and find everything you need to know about mentoring. However when I consult my heart about what the core of mentoring truly is there are several qualities that come to mind. When I mentor I have the goal in mind to have a lifelong effect on those whose lives I am impacting. If that resonates with you then check out these five traits of a memorable mentor.

1. Leadership. Mentors know the way and show others the way; this is true leadership at it’s core, and an essential trait of an effective mentor. Mentors also understand that it’s about serving others and equipping them with the tools and training needed to flourish both personally and professionally. As a leader mentors should set high expectations and walk alongside their mentees until they reach their new level.

2. Purposeful. Mentors who enter the relationship with a clear cut direction and a plan have the most effect. Every interaction, assignment, and meeting has an objective. But the difference between great mentors and exceptional mentors, is the greater understanding of pushing beyond the written goals and objectives they may have planned, to seeing that they can achieve anything they can conceive.

3. Anticipative. Great mentors are able to anticipate the needs of their mentees. Their gift of foresight is what’s needed for a mentee to truly grow in areas that they’re unaware of.

4. Empathetic. Empathy is the ability to see the world as another person, to share and understand another person’s feelings, needs, concerns and/or emotional state. Be able to identify your mentees way of thinking, feelings and attitude and how those affect his/her overall goals.

5. Orderly. When you are well disciplined it’s creates a model for self-discipline in others. Self-discipline is one of the hardest traits to develop but seeing how others model this will at the least give your mentees a positive example to simulate.

6. Passionate. Memorable mentors are passionate about their work. Passion drives excellent habits.

7. Principled. Operating with integrity is essential as a mentor. Everything that you do is built on the foundation of your principles and is a reflection of your principles; showcase them proudly.

8. Selfless. Memorable mentors show that success is not about fame, position or money. They are devoted to the cause and find ways to be helpful  and loving. A famous saying says “I may not remember what you said but I will always remember how you made me feel.” Your mentee will never forget how they felt as a result of your selflessness.

9. Wise. Memorable mentors understand that it’s not about sharing knowledge but it’s about sharing wisdom. Wisdom comes from understanding and understanding comes from experience.

10. Authentic. Mentors have to possess a genuine love and spirit for people. They have to have a certain level of realness and relatability. Mentees want to have mentors who not only want to share their successes but their failures. Being authentic isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being real with yourself and sharing that with others.

11. Great Listener. Mentors have the blessed ability to listen and hear the needs, complaints, frustrations, and joys of their mentees. Through listening we truly learn about others and have a perspective into their world. Exceptional mentors are able to effectively tap into their mentees unspoken needs and guide them through meaningful conversations.