Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]

 
Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]

 
Seth Godin Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]

 
Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]

 
Norman Lear Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]

 
Leilani Münter Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]

 
Sophie Chiche Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]

 
Liz Phair Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]

 
Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]

 
Kia Miller Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]

 
Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]

 
Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com

 

leap of faith

Melvin Robert Melvin Robert street dancer. teenager inspirer. brave decider.

Always the consummate student, Melvin Roberts is committed to the quest for knowledge and human uplift. He's making his dreams come true with the debut of his one-man show in Hollywood. [www.plays411.com/secondact]

Just the right time
To step out on faith
To live
To love
To journey
To discover
To dance
To be
To learn
what is me.

When I wrote that poem, I’d just made one of the toughest decisions of my life. After eight years as a high school teacher, I’d decided to quit my job and pursue my lifelong dream of being a musical theatre performer.

After college, I became a high school educator. It’s a great privilege to be present as someone navigates his or her way through adolescence. My students taught me more about the skills we all need to exist in this world: kindness, boldness, silliness, patience, mutual respect, presence, and unconditional love.

But, one day, I woke up and realized it was time to stop being afraid of going for my bigger dream that still bubbled within. It was time to give up the security I had and pursue a career in musical theatre. Making that decision was the hardest and scariest thing I’ve done in my life.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved to sing, dance, and perform. I’ve always heard music in my head and imagined musical numbers – with solos and grand choreography. I don’t hesitate to act them out as often as I can in real life – sometimes even singing and dancing as I go down the street! Singing and dancing is who I am. It’s my calling. But it’s taken me a long time to accept that.

So many times I wanted to run back to the validation, security, and comfort of my old job. I didn’t. Instead, I found validation, security, and comfort within. I worked on the most important person in my life: me. I prayed. I learned the incredible value of gratitude. I learned to have faith and to trust myself and my process.

Deciding to embarking on this journey was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve enjoyed success and played some of my dream roles, roles I previously only played in my head as I sang and danced my way along the sidewalk. I’ve even had the opportunity to work with the legendary Debbie Allen.

Dr. Robin L. Smith said, “Courageous people are intimate with fear. Go to the place that scares you the most, your power is waiting for you there.” The hardest thing to do is to step out. Faith and trust go a long way. And you never know what’s waiting on the other side.

Melvin Robert

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