“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them”.
Control the controllable is one of my favorite sayings. Do not remember where I heard it first, but it has been a way of thinking for many years. Try to leverage this saying when things appear difficult and I need to remind myself to trust the process.
I shared the saying in a LinkedIn post back in April and was pleasantly surprised with the number of views (900+), reactions (20+) and comments the post garnered. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we view normal and it can be easy to get overwhelmed with everything happening around us.
Dictionary.com defines control as the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.
Control the controllable can serve as a positive mantra to help tackle difficult times and situations.
Take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself can be done in many ways. For some this may mean ensuring you make time to exercise. For others this can be done by eating a healthier diet. This combination is a critical aspect of controlling how you function daily. A key component some of us may have forgotten until now is the mental and emotional elements in your life. COVID-19 has made us view life differently and reveals the importance of mental health. The ability to seek and find clarity should be at the forefront of taking care of yourself.
Take care of others
Who are YOUR tree branches? Make sure you reach out to them to help them navigate this new way of life. Most people will tell you they are doing okay but keep checking on them. They will appreciate the effort and it helps you keep your tree growing. You can also reach out to people who are not tree branches; make someone’s day and become a mentor to help move them forward and provide some guidance.
Continue to practice physical distancing
The government and news agencies penned the term social distancing. Believe this connotation has been a problem from day 1. Most people had never heard of this term prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and it may have confused some. I like the term physical distancing because it says right in the title to stay away from others. We have got enamored with social media and everything that comes with it—think a lot of people could not understand what was really being asked of them when told to practice social distancing. Regardless how you address the term, physical distancing is something we have some level of control.
Create personal outlets
Look for personal and creative outlets to leverage the things you can control. The Walk into the Future blog has become a major way for me to express a creative side I really did not know existed. I get excited researching topics and then challenging myself to create an article someone else may want to read. Have no idea if anyone is really reading this stuff but I keep plugging away because it is something I control.
Running and weightlifting are other outlets I utilized to control the controllable for myself. Journaling outside of my work on the Walk into the Future blog has a calming effect for me. Most times when writing in my journal I can generate work and life ideas to implement later. Handwriting content in the journal also makes me slow done a bit and really think through what I want to write down. Always recommend journaling to anyone who will listen to me because it is an excellent outlet to express thoughts—try it! 😊
Reggae and the beach are other outlets I have available to me daily.
Open your eyes and your mind to see your outlets!
“The control center of your life is your attitude”.
Live, love and laugh
Life can be a compilation of good and bad. Let’s focus on the good and leverage the positive energy this mindset brings. Live daily, love often and laugh always! (I just made that up). 😊
What daily things are within your control? How do you maintain this control? Thanks!
“The moment you give up, is the moment you let someone else win.”
I like starting Walk into the Future articles with a quote to inspire my thought process and get me going. Well, the quote above is the best I could find with zoom in it but has nothing really to do with this article. Forgive me but thought it was funny and had the appropriate word (zoom) I needed to move forward.
The last several months have been productive, exciting, and frustrating (COVID-19) but progress has been made daily. The Zoom application has become a popular way for the workforce to keep making positive things happen considering the COVID-19 pandemic. More people are using this platform to ensure daily operations and tasks are completed in this new way to go to work.
My first foray using the Zoom application came back in February when I was introduced to it for a first-round interview. I have used Skype to interview for past positions and to interview candidates for openings on my team. Did not know much about Zoom but found the process a lot more seamless than the Skype application. Simply receive an email with a link, click on the link at the appropriate time and you are meeting with the folks on the distant end. Zoom provides the capability to host multiple people in multiple locations so this appears to make getting a team together to interview candidates a bit easier than Skype. I am sure there are still uses for the Skype platform but thought Zoom took pressure off me as the candidates since I did not have to test my computer/software as in the past.
Zoom team meeting
Leveraged my newfound appreciation for Zoom by hosting my first team meeting with my new team at Indian River State College prior to starting work. Again, COVID-19 has most organizations working remotely to avoid large meetings and practicing physical distancing. I wanted to get a head start on teambuilding prior to moving to Fort Pierce and Zoom was the perfect application. We were able to host 10 people in 5 different locations (physical distancing) and build a team foundation to help us find ways to ensure students, faculty/staff and employers continue to receive world class customer service. I have talked with tree branches who are using Zoom but found it to be an even better platform than described.
Zoom work process (onboarding, team meetings, teambuilding)
Realize there are several who will read this article who have been using Zoom for a while. I am just getting my feet wet and see so many useful ways to use this platform even after we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff on satellite campuses can continue to participate in meetings, workshops, and teambuilding activities without having to drive to the main campus. There will be times when they need/want to be present, but Zoom can save time and driving to and from the main campus. Also, see the benefits of conducting one-on-one sessions with distant students, employers, and staff. Just getting my thoughts together but I am sure I will leverage Zoom to find ways to ensure our students have the best employment opportunities available. Zoom appears to be setting the pace for a new world order! Stay tuned as I will continue to share how I am zooming into the future. 😊
How does your organization use the Zoom platform? Do you have tricks of the trade you can share? Thanks!
NOTE: Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Blackboard Collaborate are three platforms I am actively using at work. The three platforms are easy to navigate and provides similar functionality.
Decided to tackle the subject from my new home, Fort Pierce, Florida earlier than I did from Tallahassee. The Tallahassee post was written when I knew I was leaving the city and realized I never took the time to write about things available there.
Wanted to get an early jump on writing about the Treasure Coast. I am sure I will come back to this topic and provide an updated view when the COVID-19 pandemic is gone. Most things in this area are still closed or I am not confident enough to visit yet. There are a ton of fresh seafood markets and restaurants in the local area but do not see me going in for a meal right now even with proper physical distancing.
A good spot for takeout is 12A Buoy: http://12abuoy.com/. Do not know where the name came from, but they have good shrimp!
My first two attempts to find a place to run in Fort Pierce did not go well. I got my runs in but did not enjoy them very much. There are not many multipurpose trails here so got out for a sidewalk run to stretch my legs. Turns out the sidewalk I was on ended after about a quarter mile and I was relegated to running on the side of the road. Not a huge fan of this process but did discover a nice hill and made the most of it to maintain endurance. Never went back to this route since it had me too close to traffic.
My second attempt at finding a place to run was at my complex. We have a large circular route (.59 miles) and I thought maybe this would get me going. Never been thrilled going in circles but gave it a shot. My initial goal was 5 miles total, but I only got in 3.5 miles before boredom tapped me on the shoulders and I stopped. Not a huge fan of seeing the same things when I run, and this route did not have the feel of being on an adventure—which I need for distance training.
Decided to use Google to find better spots to run. Google identified the George LeStrange Preserve as a place with trails and it was only a 10-minute drive away. Decided to scout the preserve and it provides multiple options with the best route going around the lake. Again, this was a circular route but longer and there’s wildlife, shade, the lake, and people to see while in the preserve. Enjoyed this location so much I make sure to get over there for one of my weekly runs. Completed my Nashville Rock N Roll Half Marathon dedication run there in April to get 13.2 miles in since the actual race was postponed. Posted a decent time considering I had no on-course support, crowds cheering or beer at the finish line.
A work colleague provided his favorite running spot which goes over the large, picturesque Sea Way Drive bridge and leads to Jetty Park. I initially viewed this route as an extremely tough run since the bridge is so big, but it appears my hill training in Tallahassee prepared me well to get up and over the bridge. Enjoy this route because there is so much to see while running and there is always a nice breeze coming off the water to help minimize the heat. I have leveraged this route multiple times for my Tuesday and Thursday runs—leave work and head east to get my 6-mile run in. Used an over and back approach recently to get in a double digit run—nice views each time on the bridge. 😊
The beaches in the local area opened again the last week in April. The county mandate was people could be on the beach just for exercise. This lasted for 4 days before the governor lifted the stay at home order and the beaches opened fully with a mandate for people to maintain physical distancing. I have gone by the beaches to get a look and feel for them but will explore fully when it is safe to be out again. I have visited Jetty Park multiple times and sat in my vehicle to enjoy the views of the water. It is a good place to watch people and the boats floating by.
The Treasure Coast is comprised of Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Port St. Lucie, Jensen Beach and Stuart, FL. These cities are all modest size but when viewed together comprise a large area. My goal is to fully explore them all and then come back and write about the unique features of each. Stay tuned for Part 2!
What areas are you looking forward to exploring when it is safe again? Thanks!
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore”.
FYI—the beaches are closing again for the 4th of July holiday weekend! COVID-19 is not going away.
“Networking is an enrichment program, not an entitlement program”.
My Walk into the Future continues to provide me with opportunities to make a difference daily. It helps that I have opened my eyes and mind to all possibilities and the opportunities keep presenting themselves to me. The journey moves forward!
The title of this blog article references the Wolf of Networking. I have identified myself as a People Builder, running tourist and Inspiration Man in multiple posts. Well, say hello to my next moniker, Wolf of Networking! 😊
I selected this new moniker to have fun with a project that has been years in the making. My past roles in university career services allowed me to build and maintain a network with recruiters who primarily hire recent college graduates. I was responsible to find, network and recruit these recruiters to come on-campus to hire students. My unit put on career fairs, networking events, professional development workshops and scheduled on-campus interviews to connect students and recruiters. So, this put me in a prime position to learn inside information on how different organizations created their on-campus recruiting programs.
The Wolf of Networking had to compete with other schools for recruiters’ attention and resources to ensure our students got opportunities. Happy to say we won more battles than we lost and maintained a robust on-campus recruiting program at multiple schools (UCF and FSU). Shared tricks of the trade with other wolf packs (UF, USF, FAU, FIU) to help them become more successful getting employers on their campuses. Found it was easier to keep employers in Florida if other schools were viewed as attractive options—I am competitive but also practical.
I leveraged the Wolf of Networking status to build my handpicked wolf pack and I am happy to see the great things they are doing around the country at prestigious institutions. We stay in contact to ensure the pack continues to grow.
Went back to my wolf pack mentality recently to help a tree branch network with recruiters for future employment. This tree branch had heard about my contacts but did not fully understand how connected I still am in the college recruiting world. Happy to say they get it now! 😊
I was presented with a list of 9 organizations of interest for future employment. I had professional contacts with 8 of the 9 organizations on the list. Some of these contacts are also personal friends so it was a bit easier to get them to respond to my requests. My tree branch now had people inside the organizations they wanted to work for looking out for them. Nothing was promised but my network was looking out for my tree branch just as I would.
I tell people I work with you are always networking even when you do not know it. Look for ways to benefit others and then when you need a helping hand people will respond to you. Think my tree branch will look at the Wolf of Networking from a different perspective now. The wolf makes positive things happen! 😊
Who can you help reach their goals? What action steps are needed for a successful outcome?
“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives”.
“Don’t wait for people to die to send them flowers”.
(Reverend Simmons, New Bethel AME Church)
It is amazing the things we retain from our childhood. I attended weekly Sunday school and church services at New Bethel AME church while growing up in Jasper, FL. I am sure Reverend Simmons said some other amazing things but the quote above always stuck with me. Never understood it as a kid so maybe that is why it stuck with me all these years.
Thought it was a weird saying until I fully understood his meaning. It can be interpreted multiple ways, but he was reminding us to cherish/celebrate the people in our lives while we have them. Waiting for a tragic incident is a bit late to let people know what you think about them.
I decided to write this post 3 days after Kobe Bryant, his daughter and friends died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles. I am not much of an NBA fan but watched Kobe during his Hall of Fame NBA career and more intently after he retired. He ventured into business, screen writing, venture capital investments and his sports academy as part of his life after basketball. He became successful in these endeavors because he displayed a thirst for knowledge and sought out mentors to learn new things. He continued to look for ways to get better and make a difference in the world. Believe he was on the verge of expanding his portfolio in the entertainment world but never got a chance to complete this portion of his legacy.
I will not dive much further into Kobe’s life, but his unexpected passing brought me back to what Reverend Simmons reminded us EVERY Sunday—Do not wait for people to die to send them flowers.
I use a lot of quotes in my daily Walk into the Future, but I am sure my tree branches have never heard me use this quote with them. May seem weird to share so much with them but not this one aspect of my background. Allow me to provide a bit of clarity and how I leverage the quote in all my interactions.
I take my role as a tree seriously and believe I should model positive things for my tree branches. I also want to continue to make a difference daily. So, I provide theoretical flowers every day to my people!
I make a point to text, call, email, LinkedIn, visit or carrier pigeon (LOL) someone daily to provide them their flowers. May look like:
Go (insert name)!
How are you?
How are your students doing?
How’s the family?
I could add more to the list but believe you get the message. It may be small things but once I understood what Reverend Simmons was telling us I discovered a ton of ways to provide flowers daily. Some of you may prefer real flowers but I cannot afford the daily costs so guess you will have to be happy with my texts, calls, emails, LinkedIn, visits and hopefully those dang pigeons arrive soon! 😊
So, do me a favor, look around and identify who you need to send flowers to and get busy! Thank you!
“It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you—or don’t. So, don’t take it lightly”.
“Live for yourself and you live in vain; live for others and you will live again”.
“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
Really love the words presented by Audre Lorde. The concept of creating your own definition of self is vitality important to truly progress in life. There are people who look in the mirror and automatically see bad examples staring back at them. Please know, the mirror can lie and the bad examples from the past do not have to hinder the present and/or future.
Bad examples can manifest in multiple locations. I will focus on two specific areas to help highlight how bad examples can and should be used to fuel a positive Walk into the Future. The two areas I focus on are leadership and personal development. I’m sure everyone has a story on bad examples in these areas as well. My attempt will be to show how these bad experiences can be leveraged for a positive tomorrow.
Would like to say everyone I’ve worked for has been an outstanding leader but that would not be true. It may not even be realistic to expect EVERY leader to possess the capability to be outstanding. Turns out the leaders who were not the best provided me with enough tough lessons to sharpen my leadership skills. Please note, I’ve had some great leaders/mentors in my life who I lean on even today. Their lessons are with me daily, but the few bad leaders impact my leadership style and methods as well.
I gravitated towards the Authentic Leadership style because I’ve seen organizations destroyed because the so-called leader wasn’t authentic. They profess being a genuine and transparent leader but then their true self comes out and it is the opposite of authentic. Seeing these type leaders in action reinforces why the concepts of authenticity, self-awareness, having a moral compass and relational transparency are so important in my leadership style.
I’ve seen leaders who walk by their direct reports’ multiple times in a day and never say hello. Seems like a small thing but how can you say you care about your people and can’t acknowledge them? Not saying a leader must stop and talk every time they see someone but it’s a lot easier leading people when you are relatable and engaged. Also, only talking with direct reports when something is needed or due signals the leader only cares about the bottom line. Staff will do more within a positive and nurturing work environment.
These are two leadership examples I leverage to help build my authentic leadership platform. I proactively do the opposite of these leadership examples because I’ve seen them in action and how they deflate staff and organizational morale.
That’s my approach, things I don’t like or disagree with from a bad leader, I simply don’t repeat—not rocket science but it works. No need to subject others to these habits—create positive energy and blaze your leadership trail to enhance the work environment.
There are instances where environment can hinder personal development but many more where great outcomes occur almost against all odds. Life is impacted by choices (good or bad) and we have the capability to choose not to mirror bad examples but learn from them.
I love working with college students from South Florida. They routinely tell me they’re the first person in their family to attend college and they want a different outcome for themselves. They don’t want to forget the struggles from home but use them to continue to grow. They also strive not to repeat some of the bad neighborhood examples others succumbed to.
They tell me of proactive actions they took to avoid running with the wrong neighborhood friends. These people may have been well intentioned but set bad examples of how to truly progress in life. They experienced family and community situations that potentially could hinder growth, but they didn’t let these things stop them. These things were used as inspiration to overcome obstacles.
Environment is an important element in personal development but can be overcome—I’ve seen it done. Mentors and positive examples can help with personal development. Self-awareness and learning from bad examples can increase the ability to blaze a personal development trail.
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be”.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
How do you define yourself for you? What does your personal or professional mirror reflect? How can you leverage bad examples to enhance your Walk into the Future?
“Love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort and keep on learning”.
What is holding you back from accomplishing what you want out of life?
This question and subsequent answers can be applied to your personal and professional life. I’m a huge advocate for positive energy helping us meet or exceed our life goals so, begin the process to remove anything that would limit your progress today!
Dictionary.com defines progress as forward or onward movement toward a destination.
Let your daily thoughts, actions and words lead you toward the progress your desire in all areas of your life.
I’m a firm believer we can talk ourselves into or out of anything in life. I’ve started answering the question how’s your day? with the response fantastic. I use this response to trigger the destination I’m seeking and ensure my thoughts match the destination. I know this is a simple explanation but how many people have you heard say the following:
I’m not a morning person…
I want to work out but don’t have time…
Working on this project is going to suck…
They have just created a negative thought pattern for the highlighted activities. Not saying simply putting a positive spin would make everything work better BUT it can’t hurt. Why create these roadblocks for yourself? Positive self-talk can be used here to get better outcomes. It takes time to adjust your mindset but should be worth the attempt.
“There is no elevator to success. You must take the stairs”.
Next, put the necessary actions in place to match your positive thoughts. Identify the things needed to reverse the identified roadblocks. Using the same thoughts listed above can help highlight how actions can help with your thoughts:
I’m not a morning person…
(Action: establish an earlier and consistent bedtime)
I want to work out but don’t have time…
(Action: start small, walk during lunch or after dinner; work out at home)
Working on this project is going to suck…
(Action: research the project, look for ways to influence positive outcomes)
Finally, put the appropriate words in place to ensure your thoughts and actions move you towards the progress you seek. I leverage reggae and specifically Bob Marley songs to get me in an Irie state of mind prior to speaking engagements. This may seem like a small factor, but I’ve found sustained success when I do this. Playing reggae also enhances the mood and mindset of my audience.
I routinely write the following words in my notes prior to speaking: eye contact, speak clearly, move the crowd and have fun.
These words are consistent with the outcomes I want from every presentation. I mentioned in an earlier post I still get nervous prior to speaking even with my experience level. Writing these words prior to an engagement give me the focus needed to ensure a successful presentation. My words in this example influence my thoughts and lead to positive actions. Simple, huh?
This is not an overnight process! It takes time and self-awareness to fully understand how your thoughts, words and actions impact your daily interactions.
What roadblocks have you created that limit your progress? What thoughts, actions and words can you leverage to remove these roadblocks? Thanks!
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right”.