I’m sitting around a table with 7 other players, each wearing sunglasses opaquer than the next.  All you can hear are the chips being stacked constantly by the other players.  No one makes a sound even though the tournament space is bustling with energy.  I know I want to go all-in and I think I’m ahead, so I have to hope the last card doesn’t ruin it all… The dealer places the last card on the table and flips it over…

My name is Benzell Lang, and this is my Crystal Stair.

When you look at me, you may not see my Creole-Panamanian background or my unique Jacksonville upbringing.  You may not see a man who graduated college a semester late with a degree in Computer Information Systems, a musical artist, and definitely not a semi-professional Poker player.  But I am indeed all of these and each quality has contributed to making the dreamer I am today.

I’ve loved making music my entire life.  I was mesmerized at how certain sounds, when placed correctly, could completely change the trajectory of a song.  I loved how the speed of the music could completely change the mood of a song and on top of that…the beauty of lyricism and the complexity of the English language.  I was ready to share this excitement with everyone…Yet no one shared my excitement and I was forced to subdue this love of mine, this dream of mine.  So when you look at me, you don’t see half of what really is.

It wasn’t until I graduated that my dream manifested itself, my motivation rekindled, and I had the financial means (from my exorbitant winnings in Poker) to start my own label and begin my career as a music artist.  With that, I realized one thing…

I no longer had to wait on anyone.

I no longer had to wait on my parent’s approval; I’d gotten a business degree they wanted.  I no longer had to wait for the support of my peers; the only person who was going fully support me…was looking at me in the mirror.  I describe this intrinsic certainty as having a mindset that is so far ahead of my reality.  Entrepreneurialism is such a coveted and revered position to be in because I’m willing to lose everything, because I know I’ll be able to get it back….just like in poker

So we’re back at our poker table, are you putting all you’re chips in to follow your dreams, or will you play it safe and miss out on your jackpot.  The choice is yours.