Daily Archives: August 15, 2011

“I See Greatness In You”

The Textbook. Quite simply one of the greatest motivational ideas in today’s mobile and technological driven world. Terrence Burney, a 6’9” Motivational speaker from Detroit is spreading positivity and greatness through his motivational text messages that he sends to over 3,000+ contacts. Having known Terrence personally for almost 5 years I can tell you he is as genuine in person as he is through the Textbook. Below is an article written by John Horn from Real Detroit Weekly.com  FOLLOW THE MOVEMENT ————————————————————->

ARTICLE:  Written By John Horn, Real Detroit Weekly.com

“Terrance Burney sees in people what they often have a difficult time seeing in themselves: greatness. And, with much success, he is using a somewhat unconventional — yet popular — medium by which to convey the sentiment.

The 28-year-old Lake Orion motivator uses the text-messaging component of his Blackberry mobile phone to thrice weekly send inspirational and motivational missives to everyone on his contacts list. The messages are fewer than 138 characters and are sent out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

So, some guy is sending out motivational messages to his phone contacts. Big deal, right? It is becoming a significant deal, actually, when one considers that Burney’s contact list includes local and national celebrities, including several current and former Pistons and Lions players, as well as members of their coaching staffs. The Rev. Jesse Jackson pulled him on stage when he was last in Detroit, and Burney has been contacted by the creators of Detroit 1-8-7 for a cameo in an episode next season, where he will portray a motivational speaker.

His phone list contains the names of professional athletes anyone would recognize, right alongside the names of strangers Burney has never met, living in states and other countries Burney has never visited.

His list contains more than 3,000 phone numbers and each one receives a text. A recent one read: “The longer you wait, the longer you go without. When we procrastinate, we just waste our time. Get your GREATNESS.” Come in contact with Burney and you won’t leave without him saying, “I see greatness in you.” Talk may be cheap, but Burney lives and breathes his belief.

“No matter what you are going through, or who you are, I see greatness in you. You really can achieve what you want to achieve,” Burney says.

His life’s work is called The TexTBook. The unique capitalization highlights Burney’s initials: TB. In some phone systems, when a string of Burney’s messages run together, it reads like a book, hence the name. According to Burney, the book is designed to be the first ever read, written and received via text.

Burney calls it “mobile mentoring,” and is using his phone to help uplift anyone willing to read it.

And that would sound incredibly corny if Burney was on your TV screen at three in the morning trying to get you to call an 888 phone number, or if he were trying to rope you into a Ponzi scheme.

But he’s not. Burney works 30 hours a week as a restaurant server. The rest of the time he is working on The TexTBook. He wears the only suit he owns everywhere he goes. He mentions the economic recession this region continues to try to crawl out of and says, “It seems like it has been a recession since I was born.” He shucks and jives financially, and when he does get a couple of bucks he shares. Eight months ago, he was living out of his car.

Burney tells a story of a trip to Dallas for a network marketing convention. The day before he left Texas to head back to Michigan, he was a little light on cash, so a good friend flipped him $50 for the return trip. En route to a convenience store, Burney saw what looked like a small homeless community beneath a freeway. At an additional glance, these guys were actually living in a sewer system below the freeway. Down goes Burney, all 6 feet 9 inches of him, dressed in his only suit. He wants to talk to them and tell them he sees greatness in them. Firm, to the point of being intractable, in his belief of giving 10 percent of his monetary possessions to those less fortunate, after engaging the guys in conversation, Burney ascended to the surface, only to return with five bucks worth of purified water in gallon jugs. Instead of having $50 to get back to Detroit, he has $45. He doesn’t flinch.

He says he sees greatness everywhere. Burney grew up in the Linwood-Puritan area of Detroit’s west side. A kid growing up in that neighborhood sees more than he really should. Burney, however, remains unfazed. “There is greatness in that area, it’s just not being exploited,” he says.

Tom Gendich is the co-owner of Rochester Media, who is working with Burney to publish a book containing 30 of Burney’s most popular motivational texts. They are currently in the initial draft stage. Gendich says he heard about Burney while having lunch with former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Luther Elliss.

“We were talking about publishing a friend of Luther’s and he said, ‘I need to get you in touch with this guy called The TexTBook,” Gendich says. “Later that day, I called Terrance and we met a few days later.

“He is the same whether he is talking to Jesse Jackson or spending an hour with some homeless guys living down in a sewer. The message is the same regardless of who he is talking to. This guy is not out to make a million dollars. He is not out for self-promotion or running for office. He is literally out to change the world through inspiration.”

Where does the motivator go to seek inspiration? Burney looks to his own mentors, family and the composition of friends working with him on TexTBook, a group he calls “the team.”

Burney is initially reluctant to drop names. After some time, he proudly mentions his brothers Roland and Brandon; his sisters Sabrina and Kelly; his mom, Denise and his father, Ceci; and grandmother, Lelia. He respectfully mentions his 102-year-old great-grandmother who recently passed away.

His TexTBook team is strong. Burney is quick to mention Mike Laperre and Dave Thomas, working in sales and marketing capacities, respectively. Sonja Murphy Gors provides support to the project, as does Burney’s best friend, Marcus Evans. Cousins Rudy and Amyre, he says, are also critical to the TexTBook’s support system. Burney is especially grateful to Facebook followers and everyone else online who has supported his mission. “I see greatness in all of them,” he says.

A quick glance of his phone shows the names of NBA players Chucky Atkins and Kwame Brown. MC Hammer receives text messages from TexTBook. Burney identifies Bill Peterson, a Rochester Hills real estate company owner, who has been a mentor to him.”Terrance keeps searching for ways to help mentor and inspire people,” Peterson says. Peterson isn’t the only one recognizing Burney’s work:

“I believe that as much as possible, we have to find things that inspire us. If the inspiration happens to find you, then that’s great.” — Burney’s aunt and retired iconic Detroit newscaster Amyre Makupson.

“It’s like a god-sent message. We all need inspiration and something positive. I am thankful for the TexTBook. I read it whenever it comes to my phone,” — former Lions tackle Lomas Brown.

“The TexTBook provides powerful, clever and uplifting motivational messages to improve our daily performance. I see greatness in Terrance.” — former NBA player Tim McCormick.

“I have never had an experience with this type of motivation. It is a great thing. I am on my way back to Germany and I will recommend this to the players to use the TexTBook and to spread the message.” — Wiebke Redlin, high performance sports coach working with Euroleague athletes in Germany.

“The TexTBook really inspires me, especially when I really need it on those tough work days in the classroom and on the field. Thinking about my greatness really pulls me through.” — University of Michigan starting nose tackle Mike Martin.

“The messages that I receive from The TexTBook are informative, inspiring and very on point, relating to my life.” — Coco, radio host on 97.9-FM WJLB.

“Each day, I look forward to the enlightening, encouraging, often oh-so-timely, positive, motivating messages I receive from The TexTBook.” — Durand “Speedy” Walker, a Detroit Pistons coach.

In the short term, Burney will continue to message inspiration to those who want it, and will continue to tell strangers he sees greatness in them. Some inroads are being made with the people at Guinness Book with respect to the record for most text messages sent in both a day and a month.

And it probably won’t be long before Oprah is on the other end of the line, as well. | RDW

Want some inspiration? Text the word “greatness” to Burney at 313.585.9518. Visit Rochester Media at rochestermedia.com

More information on The TexTBook, including a way to make a donation, can be found at textbook.biz