Walking into the Future with no backup plan

Make Things Happen

(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

“There’s no reason to have a plan B because it distracts from plan A”.

(Will Smith)

I routinely listen to the Fox Sports 1 (FS1) daily show, The Herd with Colin Cowherd to get caught up on sports commentary and for a few laughs.  Dude can be hilarious with some of his takes on sporting events, teams, and individual players.  Some people do not like him because he has a dry sense of humor, but he does a good job researching topics before introducing them on his show.

He recently started discussing the concept of successful people not having a plan B which routinely led them to success.  He leverages examples of athletes, business people, and sports personalities who took a risk on themselves without having an escape clause (plan B).  He asks in his high pitch voice:  you think Bill Gates had a plan B?  What about Steve Jobs?  You think I (Colin Cowherd) had a plan B before I picked up and moved from New York to Los Angeles?  No, no and no!

His point being is creating a plan B allows for less than max efforts towards plan A.  Never thought of this process in a similar way but believe my Walk into the Future mirrors his words in several ways.

One of my overarching goals on this walk was to never compromise my principles when it comes to work.  There were times I could have gone to a plan B and took another role that did not fit where I wanted to be, but I created the Walk into the Future mindset for a reason.  Some people could not understand why I would not rush back into the traditional world of work but had to stick to the plan–find things so I could make a difference in life daily.

I kept my focus on areas where I knew I could thrive, make a difference, and enjoy the process daily.  Discovered additional talents I had because of the focus on plan A only.  Research, writing blog articles, mentoring, and conducting speaking engagements served as my professional development incubator over the past two years.

While some people thought I was hanging out I was working on my craft to find additional ways to make a difference.  No limitations were present because I was free to create what Walk into the Future meant to me.  I look back at my first blog articles and can see the progression I have made over the past two years.  My research and writing process have improved and continue to get better daily

I put unlimited time, effort and thoughts into this plan and refused to get distracted.  I understand everyone cannot just walk away from their professional lives but being an Air Force retiree provides me with income to continue to do things like being a running tourist.

Please note I am not comparing myself to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Colin Cowherd—they all have a lot more money than me, but the no plan B mindset is similar.

Saw an opportunity in Fort Pierce, Florida and decided to go all in—no plan B.  The excitement and potential for the new role was vetted without an emotional approach and launched me forward.  Never looked back or sideways once committed to this new chapter.  My plan A continues to work for me!

Moving forward and Walking into the Future! 😊

What is your plan A?  How do you ensure your focus remains on plan A?

“There is no plan B for passion”.

(Chris Gardner)

 Great article from Jeff Haden:  https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/why-remarkably-successful-people-dont-make-backup-plans.html

Poetic Fridays

Poetic Fridays

(Image by Christine Sponchia from Pixabay)

 Motivated?

What motivates you?

I would guess things quite different from what motivates me

The drive I seek comes from things I have seen

Some good, some bad

Some fair, some foul

The secret here is to use them all

Never let the opinion of others sway your desire

To reach the pinnacle you aspire

Continue to work to meet and exceed your goals

Remind the doubters that you are in control

Dreams will become reality soon enough

Got to keep working because life can be rough

Find your motivation, live your dreams

A motivated life is a wonderful sight to be seen

 

Knowledge

The series of daily challenges presented

Provides a template to view

How to conquer the challenges?

It is all up to you

Life provides many opportunities to grow

The direction you chose, only you will know

Continue to strive through the growing process

Knowing that you hold the key to it all

The knowledge you gain

Helps to move your journey forward

And makes the challenges easier to maintain

Note:  All original verses by the author.

Why Black Lives Matter (BLM) matters today!

BLM

(Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay)

“Human rights are something you were born with.  Human rights are your God-given rights. Human rights are the rights recognized by all nations on earth.  And any time anyone violates your human rights, you can take them to court”.

(Malcolm X.)

Dictionary.com defines human rights as a right that is believed to belong justifiably to every person.

Interesting to hear politicians, everyday Americans and TV news programs talk about the Constitution but most only cite the Amendments that fit a small segment of society.  A lot of folks will scream for their Second Amendment rights even though it was written when the country did not have an Army and militias were needed to defend the country.  These same folks do not make a peep when the Fourteenth Amendment is brought up.

14th Amendment cliff notes version:  No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person in its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Fourteenth amendment seems clearer to me in today’s climate than arming a militia we do not need because we have professional armed services (Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, Guard and Reserves).  Imagine if all Americans were treated equally as described in the Fourteenth amendment.  The world would be a better place right now.

Had a fantastic conversation with an older gentleman last week about all the things (protests, marches, etc.) going on after the death of George Floyd.  The gentleman is a retiree and he drives the customer shuttle part time for a local car dealership.  He was giving me a ride home after I dropped my vehicle off for repairs and wanted to discuss current events.  He let me know he wanted to talk with someone but did not know how to start.  He asked if I would be willing to talk with him so he would have a better understanding of current events.  Guess I made him feel comfortable because I had only been around him 10 minutes before he decided I was the chosen one to enlighten him.

He asked me two questions:

  • Why are people saying Black Lives Matter (BLM), shouldn’t all live matter?
  • Why are the confederate statues coming down so important today?

Explained to him the BLM movement is needed to highlight the injustices black people continue to face with no end in sight.  No one ever said all lives do not matter but BLM is a way to focus on people who have been marginalized, forgotten, abused, and brutalized since being brought to America.  The BLM movement keeps the continued injustices against black people in America at the forefront and signals we will not be quiet anymore.  Anyone who says All Lives Matter, White Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter have not been subjected to the same level of systemic racism, policing, sentencing, violence, government oversight and oppression as the people who need you to understand Black Live Matter!

https://blacklivesmatter.com/

I let my new friend know the confederate statues were routinely placed as racial dog whistles to a past that honored men who fought to continue slavery.  Most people do not know but a lot of these statues were put in place throughout the 1900’s.  The state of Arizona built a confederate monument in 2010.  Let me repeat that—the state of Arizona commissioned and placed a confederate monument in 2010!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Confederate_monuments_and_memorials

Placing these monuments in public places is a slap in the face of all Americans but is reprehensible for anyone who was subjected to slavery, cruelty and death at the hands of the men others are trying to honor with a heritage claim.  Does Germany or Japan have statues of American Generals who fought against their countries?  What would they think having to walk by statues of these people daily?

The confederates who are depicted by the statues fought against America!  They would be considered enemies if they were from a different country or race.  They were traitors against the American government and fought to keep black people as slaves, but some people want to hide behind a heritage claim for why these statues should remain.  They are a part of history but should not be given a higher regard than true American heroes who did not become traitors against their country.  Confederate generals, soldiers, sympathizers, and apologists are traitors to the American way of life.  Who would claim being a traitor as a heritage to be proud of?

My new friend and I departed after having a great conversation.  I am happy he felt comfortable enough to want to talk with me.  He let me know he would talk with his grand kids later that day to help them understand everything happening around them and become a better BLM ally.  Smalls steps on this journey!

Who can you help understand the BLM movement?  What support do you need to keep the conversation moving forward?

 “It’s a privilege to educate yourself about racism instead of experiencing it”.

(Sir John)

Pivot into the Future

Pivot butterfly

(Image by GLady from Pixabay)

 “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be”.

(Maya Angelou)

The Walk into the Future blog and my parallel journey began on May 21, 2018.

Did not know how much my mindset and writing style had changed over the past two years until I started looking back at the archive articles.  Happy to see improvement in my article design, verbiage, visual appearance, and storytelling abilities.  Never want to think I am in the same place when I started especially with Walk into the Future as the blog title.  Still got more things to learn to ensure my content grabs a reader’s attention and attracts new readers to the blog.  Will leverage new techniques, visual presentations, guest bloggers and concepts to stay fresh in the blog world.

Five examples I highlighted for a Walk into the Future were:

  • Take that vacation you have been putting off
  • Decide to create your own blog to document your walk into the future
  • Make time for family and friends (again)
  • Discover new talents you may have or wanted to explore
  • Live life the way you want to

Did not keep a running tab of how well I was doing in these areas but happy to report I have repeatedly checked off each item listed above, multiple times.  My initial vision for my Walk into the Future was basic but I have been able to grow through personal development and gravitating to things I enjoy.

Sounds simple enough but the concept of generating content for the blog has been a life course on:  continuous learning, networking, research, leadership development, mentoring, storytelling, public speaking, traveling, training, running, marketing, cold calling, selling, patience, blogging, blog design, Word Press, podcasts and the art of pivoting.

I identified everyone should be prepared to pivot as needed in a previous post about overcoming fears.  There are times a fundamental change in approach is needed to get what you want (quoting myself here).

Throwback article:

2020 Pivot

The Walk into the Future blog has been a fantastic incubator for my time, thoughts, and actions.

I was presented with multiple opportunities to join forces with others based on the growth mindset I have gained from Walking into the Future.  I have been extremely selective on who I work with and what projects I decide to add to my portfolio.  No more Big Gulps for me!

Happy to report my Walk into the Future has relocated to Fort Pierce, Florida.  I will create new tree branches as the Director of Career and Transfer Services at Indian River State College.  I was able to leverage my past work experiences AND my Walk into the Future topics, adventures, and growth during the interview process.  The ability to relay real-world examples on how I interact with others, my mission to make a positive impact and desire to be a People Builder were leveraged to show impact I will have at Indian River State College.

This pivot creates a larger audience for Inspiration Man and allows me to keep my Walk into the Future moving forward.  Excited for the new adventures, location, beaches, tree branches, thoughts, actions, energy, and blog articles.

The Walk into the Future journey continues, just from a new location.  I am sure I will write most of my future articles from the beach with an ice-cold drink close by. 😊

The Walk into the Future production process has generated a roadmap for two new projects I am working on in 2020.  The first project will be to develop several Walk into the Future leadership articles into a concise eBook titled, The Voice of a Leader.

The second project will be to develop an on-line Authentic Leadership course to help learners understand the leadership model and the variables needed to become an authentic leader (self-awareness, internalized moral perspective, relational transparency, and balanced processing).

These projects are exciting to me since I will get to learn how to create an eBook and build/design an on-line course people would be interested in.  More to come as I get smart on both platforms.  The eBook will come first since I have got the content at my fingertips, just need to organize, and reformat—sounds easy enough, huh?

Interesting fact (to me)

I view life as a daily adventure and continue to seek ways to make a difference in this world.

One area I explored was teaching psychology courses since I do have a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.  Seemed simple enough but a funny thing happened on my Walk into the Future.  I applied to the local community college to teach General Psychology as an adjunct professor.  Repeat, an adjunct professor! Never heard back from them even after reaching out to people in the department via LinkedIn and direct email.  Ironically, if they had leveraged my talents in the classroom, I may have missed this amazing pivot opportunity.  Things happen for a reason—Irie!

Tree branches will still receive text messages, emails, and LinkedIn articles from me. You have all been a major part of my journey and look forward to expanding our reach—just from another location.  Walking, smiling and inspiring into the future!

 “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity”.

(Amelia Earhart)

irsc project wall

(Summer 2020 project wall)

Walking and being black in America!

Candles

(Image by Pexels from Pixabay)

“To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage”.

(James Baldwin)

“I’m a black man in America so I always feel there’s a target on me”.

(Wale)

The Walk into the Future blog has provided me with a creative outlet where I can share my thoughts, leadership philosophy and life adventures.  It puts a smile on my face when I look back at this journey and see the quality of my writing and content improve daily.  Never thought an electronic journal would become such a huge part of my daily life.  I smile every time someone follows the blog or sends me a comment.

Well, I did not smile so much today!

The battle we fight daily as black men in America has been playing out on every major TV network first with Ahmaud Arbery (killed jogging), then Breonna Taylor (killed sleeping) and now George Floyd (killed while handcuffed).  Think about that last sentence for a minute!

I know there are others out there who have faced the wrath of America but there was not video evidence of what happened to them.  Black America has been hoping and praying these incidents would stop and we can fully engage in the American dream—good thing I am not holding my breath—this never seems to end!  Why not?  I know this is not a simple question to answer but it needs to get answered soon.

Got several text messages from my friends to check on me to see how I am doing with all of this.  Thank you for thinking of me and reaching out!

Think it hits closer to home with my friends because they know how much I am out and about with my running program.  Seeing a black man get killed while out for a run highlighted our plight to my friends—yes, that could have been me.  I have had to reassure my mom, brothers, and friends that I am doing everything I can to stay safe when I am out for a run.  Sad to say I must think about being able to make it home safely when I go out for a run.  How many who read my blog have these thoughts when you go for a run?  Life is weird, huh?

My running outfits are selected to provide me with the most visibility as possible.  The extreme bright, loud, and sometimes fluorescent colors are used so everyone will know I am not hiding anything or trying to blend in.  I want to be visible and remembered by everyone who sees me running through their neighborhood.  I also make a point to speak, wave, and smile at everyone I encounter because I do not want them to feel threatened.  Surprisingly, most do not wave back but that is not the point of my actions.  I smile and wave whenever I see a police car drive by too.  Cannot be seen as a threat while exercising!

(Do I look like a runner?)

I also make a point to carry my retired Air Force identification card when I am on my runs in case I encounter police.  I have found police are less threatened when they realize they are talking with someone who has served the country.

When driving I always show my military identification if I get pulled over for any reason first, then I provide whatever identification is requested.  Please know both hands remain on the steering wheel and then I explain in a clear, distinct voice what I am doing if ordered to produce anything else.  I am sure most black people follow this same process to avoid misunderstandings that leads to…you know!

Being a black man in America is exhausting!  I have a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, a Master’s degree in Counseling/Human Relations, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Air Force retiree identification and recognized nationally for authentic leadership development.

Now, imagine what black men without my credentials must do to survive in America.  The insanity must stop!

NOTE:  I will get back to my normal tone next week—thanks for allowing me to vent.

 

“I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color”.

(Malcolm X.)

“Usually, when people are sad, they don’t do anything.  They just cry over their condition.  But when they are angry, they bring about change”.

(Malcolm X.)

Time for change—let’s get out and vote, remain vigilant and demand change—we must do better!

How can you help?

Great article:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/05/29/george-floyd-ahmaud-arbery-killings-make-hard-blacks-breathe-column/5278108002/

The mirror can lie! Blaze your own trail

round leaning mirror with white frame
Photo by Emre Can on Pexels.com

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”

(Audre Lorde)

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.

Leadership

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.

Personal development

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?

Stop limiting your progress—remove personal roadblocks

Road Block image

(Image by Manfred Antranias Zimmer from Pixabay)

“Love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort and keep on learning”.

(Carol Dweck)

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”.

(Unknown)

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”.

(Henry Ford)

Open Road

(Image by Rohan S from Pixabay)