Tyler Perry, Leadership, and Generational Forgiveness 


Summary: Role models come from many walks of life. What really matters is how those you respect handle difficult situations. That is a gold standard for all leadership coaching programs. Here is one leader who stands out.

Dear Dr. Sylvia, 

I know in your leadership coaching program you have a process called Sankofa Mapping. I would like more information about why I should go back in time, as you suggest, to make today’s life better at work and at home.  

Thus, you will have to convince me that, as you say, it is important we all “heal the past to free the present.” 

Do Leadership coaching programs that include self-awareness training have long lasting impact? 

Here is my dilemma, most of the coaches I follow say to stop looking at the past and focus on where you want to go, not where you have been. 

Accordingly, that seems an easier, less time-consuming route.  

Therefore, why do you say you need to go back before you go forward? 

I tend to be a doubter. Thanks for honoring my need for clarity. 


Need to Know 

The more we know about generational ties, both family and culture, the more we can design a more positive present. 

Dear Need to Know, 

Good question. I think it is always best to ask important questions, not follow anyone blindly, and make your own choice. 

That is to say, I spend time each week checking to see who today’s leaders and influencers are who make a positive difference.  

I also consider those who create havoc and chaos. I also look at the impact both the optimists and the “naysayers” have on others.  

Many business and personal growth coaching programs instruct on how to change behavior by changing present mindset.  

None the less, few, if any leadership coaching programs emphasize the importance of investigating the personal and familial roots of work behavior. 

This isn’t surprising. The business world is not oriented toward looking at history, especially past personal history. 

In the same vein, think of how much time you devote to developing strategic plans for today moving into the future. 

By contrast, how much time do you spend wanting to understand the history of your career, where you came from, or rethink how this impacts future direction. 

Generational and cultural backgrounds absolutely impact present behavior 

In my book, “Don’t Bring It to Work” chapter five gives great examples of how the past impacts decisions in the present. 

There are so many celebrities and influencers who look good on paper yet have huge messes in their own lives. You can read about some of them in the book. 

“The past is never dead, it’s not even past”—William Faulkner 

The above quote from the esteemed author, William Faulkner, reminds us that the past is not locked away; not dead, gone or buried.  

The past is always with us.  

Indeed, it resonates and remains present all around us. It makes us who we are and continues to shape us until our end arrives.  

We are connected to generations past, present, and future. 

In short, I have done years of research and conclude that, doing one’s Sankofa Map can be both comforting and informative to know we are part of a larger picture of life.  

Thinking about who influences your life is a valid and vital leadership exercise 

Look, into every life there will be times of challenge as well as triumph. 

Think about someone from history or from your own life you admire and want to emulate. 

Why does that person stand out for you? 

For me, it is someone who, as a leader, wants to connect individuals in a positive way rather than condemn them and cause disruption. 

Most importantly, right now, for me, Queen Elizbeth, at age 96 is a model of strength and decorum. 

For instance, in our Total Leadership Connections Program there is a section where leaders and emerging leaders are asked to think about those they admire and the reasons for choosing that person. 

Often, I can predict some names that will show up time after time. Included among others are Jesus, Buddha, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln.  

Who would you add to the list? 

Then there are relatives or teachers known for specific attributes of caring and consideration. 

Who would you add to the list? 

Historical exploration, personal and professional, answers many unanswered personal questions. 

Finally, I want to add someone I was just reading about who has quietly healed a relationship that was festering for years. 

Tyler Perry, a 52-year-old actor and producer whose comic character, Madea has brought delight to so many. 

Moreover, his talent is obvious, and his success is palpable. 

In addition, here is what struck a deep chord in me as I read the article in a recent AARP Magazine. 

Perry talked about growing up with an abusive, alcoholic father, an environment filled with poverty and depression.  

Look, we all know we have work to do to make the world a place where we can understand that “no one wins unless we all do.” 

Learning your family story can help you solve many present professional issues. 

This is a new way of thinking about leadership, self-awareness, and success. Here is an example of why I have put Sankofa Mapping in our leadership coaching program and why I’m impressed with Tyler Perry. 

In the interview he was asked about his relationship with his father. His response: 

“What helped me get to a place where I could forgive him 

for all the abuses is that I found his life story. It made me 

understand that we all arrive at a place from somewhere. 

His childhood was full of abuse. I had an opportunity to either 

carry that on into another generation or dig it up and cut it 

at its root. The thing that allows you to get to the root, to really get  

down in there to pull that up, is forgiveness.” 

Tyler Perry said it all. That is one major reason for doing your own Sankofa Map. 

Above all, Sankofa Mapping is the process to get down there and find the missing or frustrating puzzle pieces to explain your present life.  

Once the hidden puzzle pieces are put on the table, you have the advantage to put together you own present life story is by knowing your history. 

I believe this model for leadership coaching programs will become the standard as time goes on. 

Here’s to your success, 


P.S. For example, check out Total leadership Connection (TLC) our Leadership Coaching Program. You learn about how your original organization, the family, impacts your present organization, at work.  

Creative Energy Options

Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options