Walking with a face mask

“Wear a mask, it saves lives”!

(Calvin Williams)

Decided to tackle the concept of people not wearing face masks or coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Hoped the concept of Americans doing the right thing to help minimize the pandemic would eventually kick in but it appears to be hopeless.

I searched for a clever quote I could use to start this post but did not find what I was looking for.  Thought about it for a bit and then just created my own quote to signify my thoughts on this subject.  Wear a mask, it saves lives!!!

It is beyond weird to hear and see Americans on TV exclaim how it is their right to not comply with a health initiative during a PANDEMIC.  They seem to think wearing a mask to protect themselves and others is an infringement on their freedom.  I do not get this mindset and honestly think the world is doomed with adults saying these things out loud.  Even worse, these folks are not joking when they state it is their right to not wear a face mask. Not wearing a mask to protect themselves and people around them is the right they are demanding!  What a great country!

Fairly sure most of the people saying these things have NEVER served in the armed forces to fight for the rights they want to hide behind—just venting, thanks!

We are seeing a trend where younger people are diagnosed with COVID-19 at a faster pace than some experts expected.  This appears to be because people in the 20 – 35-year-old range do not have a fear of the virus.  They are more likely to continue to hang out in large groups without physical distancing and of course, no masks.  I will not disparage everyone in this group because I know my tree branches are following proper protocols.  My point for this group is they are getting each other sick and then bringing the virus home to parents, grandparents, and roommates.

This cycle ensures the virus continues to spread and endangers more lives.  Wearing a mask may not save everyone from contracting the virus but it can help slow the spread.  I watch Dr. Fauci on TV almost beg people to follow the CDC guidelines because he knows this thing is getting out of control fast.  Hopefully, we will come to our senses as a nation and get back to basics to eliminate the spread of COVID-19.  Oh yeah, masks can help with this! A simple two-week period of masks and physical distancing may save thousands of lives.  Never imagined this pandemic would be worse in September than it was in April when I was terrified to move to Fort Pierce.  It is almost like the virus is just a normal part of life now—sad!

I am doing my part to keep the face mask industry growing.  I visit ETSY.com on a regular basis looking for new face mask styles to add to my growing collection.  Never thought of face masks as an accessory but I keep finding new and fun ways to express myself with face coverings.  This process feels like dressing up to me and I have joked about having a bandito look when I have my face masks on.  Maybe we should tell the people who get upset when asked to wear a face mask to visit ETSY.com and find a mask to express their frustration WHILE wearing a mask.  I am sure they can find a way to express themselves and still comply by wearing a mask.  Guess I do not understand why wearing a mask is such a hassle for these people.  Masks are light weight, easy to wear and can be worn to accessorize your daily outfits.  😊

Help me spread the word—masks can save lives and get us back closer to normal!

“If you do not like wearing a face mask, you are really not going to like a ventilator”.

(Anonymous work colleague)

Track Florida’s daily numbers here:  https://fdoh.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/8d0de33f260d444c852a615dc7837c86

Hire character, train skill

Hire Character

(Image by Ziglar.com)

“Good character improves every aspect of a person’s life”.

(John C. Maxwell)

Inspirations for Walk into the Future articles come to me from multiple sources.  I generate most of the topics based on things I am doing or interested in.  I continually ask my friends and tree branches to send me suggestions then work to develop their input into an article for others to learn from.

This post is unique because it has taken years to get to a place where I can develop this topic.  My extra inspiration came from one of my closet friends when she texted me a picture that said Hire character, train skill.  Believe it or not but I have been saying and using these words over the years when I need to hire someone to join my team.  Just never developed it out to highlight the importance of this concept.

The hiring processing is an ongoing concept for me.  I learned a long time ago to anticipate future openings and have adequate bench players (basketball term) available.  My first action is to create a professional development program to enhance current team members’ knowledge, so they are promotion ready.  A lot of organizations state they hire from within, but this is impossible if you are not actively training your staff.  My goal has always been to prepare staff to take over for me if I am not there.  This has led to staff being attractive to other organizations and I am thrilled to serve as a professional reference for my folks if they need it.  Happy to report 5 out of 11 members from my Florida State University Employer Relations team held Director or Associate Director titles for the 2019 – 2020 academic year.  Immensely proud of my crew and the great things they are getting done.  They are all high character people and wanted to learn daily.  They were also quick to apply their new knowledge within the work environment.

My second action is to build relationships with people in my industry through networking and conference attendance.  This allows me to identify people who will fit within my team structure if I have an opening.  I offer direct mentorship to these folks to help them grow their careers at their current locations.  I make a point to let a select few know I would like them to work on my team if an opening exists.  Please note, some of these people may not be looking or interested in the current location but it helps to put out feelers before there is a need to hire someone. Again, character is a major part of this outreach effort.

My third action is to never eliminate someone simply because their background and experiences may not line up perfectly with the job description.  Nothing I have done professionally is rocket science and someone with the right character can be trained for the work I perform.  The character of the hire should enhance the overall performance of the team and bring some unique talents to make us better.  It helps to bring in someone who has diverse thoughts, background, and experiences so we can learn from them as well.  Maintaining a solid organizational training program provides the foundation needed to bring someone in with less on paper experience and gets them up to speed on the operational pace needed for success.  I would rather invest the time to train someone with the character needed for success than bring in someone with paper skills, no integrity, teamwork, or ability to make the team better.  I have seen these folks destroy the team dynamic and it takes a long time to recover. Energy vampires!

I cannot say I have gotten this process right 100% of the time but I have more successful character hires than not.  I continue to learn and evolve my hiring practices but hire for character, train for skill remains the foundation for me.

Look at the current national leadership model to understand the importance of character in the work environment!  The lack of character can destroy organizations from within.

What is your hiring philosophy?  How has it evolved over the years?  Thanks!

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow.  The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing”.

(Abraham Lincoln)

Poetic Fridays

Life is great

(Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay)

 

Hope

Hope springs eternal as

I search the distant landscape

The path I choose will determine my fate

The goal is to win the daily grind

Which path will I take?

Determination sets the course as the search continues

Multiple options, multiple venues

Working towards the important things in life

Without trying the only thing left is strife

Life could be so nice

Eliminate the hunger and take away all wars,

Break down all color barriers and bring equal rights to all.

People living in unison, all getting along.

This would make the world a better place for you and for me.

Maybe one day kids can play together and have some fun.

No war, no hunger, no racial wall.

Life could be so nice.

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.

Irie vibes–control the controllable

Control

(Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay)

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them”.

(Maya Angelou)

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”.

(Anonymous)

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.”

(Kobe Bryant)

 

The true anniversary date

anniversary image

(Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay) 

“A year from now, you will wish you had started today”.

(Karen Lamb)

Dictionary.com defines an anniversary as the yearly recurrence of the date of a past event and the celebration or commemoration of such a date.

The first Walk into the Future article was posted on this site on 6/18/2018.  The true anniversary date for me is 4/14/2018—let me explain why I say this.

I sat on the beach at St. George Island (SGI) on 4/14/2018 with the idea of deciding which direction I wanted to pursue moving forward.  The Walk into the Future concept was not on my radar but needed the beach atmosphere to help with a huge decision.

So, I sat on the beach on this prophetic day with my beach towel, cooler of beer, reggae, pen, and paper to figure this thing called life out (Prince reference).

I have used the concept of a pros/cons list in the past to help with major decisions and my goal on this day was to identify pro/con items to inform the decision I needed to make.  Dr. Henry Cloud identifies successful people do not hang on to bad stuff for long in his book 9 Things you Simply Must do in Love and Life.  The only way to label something as bad is to take a true look at it without emotion, hence the pros/cons list for me.

I finally admitted I spent too much time determining if I should stay in my old role.  The interactions I had with students, employers, faculty, staff, and community members still appealed to me but there was always something daily to eliminate my joy.  Turns out it was too much negative workplace energy.  This is not a complaint just a stated fact from my perspective—negative energy can and will wear you down over time.

Fast forward to the list and the decision was obvious!  There were  5 pros and 15 cons.  I tried to manufacture some additional pros just to see if I could even this process out a bit, but this was the final tally.  The 15 cons were present EVERY day and only 3 pros were daily items.  I was amused when I saw the disparity of my two lists.  I subconsciously knew this to be true but never wrote it out to examine more in-depth.  Sadly, none of the cons listed were fixable—not one.

I laughed when I was able to view the list for the insight in front of me.  So, on 4/14/2018 the Walk into the Future journey began after I made the decision it was time to move on from what I was doing.  The work and making a difference daily were not the problem it was the negative energy—the opposite of the Irie mindset I seek in life.  Dr. Cloud has another principle he calls Pull the Tooth.  I decided to pull the tooth and Walk into the Future after I finished my beer and listened to a few more Bob Marley songs.

I decided to write this post after looking in my journal and coming across the page with my pros/cons list.  Just happened to be 2 years to the date I wrote the items and wanted to share with my readers I just had an anniversary.

So, happy anniversary to the Walk into the Future blog. Here is to a few more years of writing, sharing adventures and making a difference in the world.  Thanks for walking with me!

What tooth do YOU need to pull?  How could the pros/cons list help with your decision?

 

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”.

(Walt Disney)

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)

Walking into the Future and making money moves!

Money moves

(Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay)

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”.

(Benjamin Franklin)

Urban Dictionary defines money moves as:  a term used to describe a bad individual on the grind.  This person works hard to make moves to elevate their financial success, fame, or status.  Simple enough, huh?

It is normally associated with financial success but does not have to be limited to obtaining a financial payout to be considered a money move.

I have referred to several opportunities associated with my Walk into the Future as money moves.  Never attempted to associate them with a financial outlook but always saw them as leading to future goals and outcomes.  Money moves came up again in a conversation with a friend and we agreed I should detail how I am making money moves.

Mentoring and people building daily is the money move with the most impact for me.  Enjoy sharing wisdom and helping my tree branches grow in their daily endeavors.  Making a difference daily remains a goal for me and I look for additional ways to make this happen.  Turns out helping others allows me to stretch my skills and continue to grow right along with them.  I get to increase my knowledge while researching topics to leverage during my mentoring sessions.  The money move centers around limitless growth for me and the tree branch and keeps us both moving forward.

Blogging weekly is the money move that provides me with a creative outlet.  Never shared my thoughts or aspirations in a public platform before but turns out writing my ideas for others to read forces me to act.  Sounds simple but there is not a way for me to back out of a process once I have written it down and shared on the Walk into the Future blog.  My tree branches hold me accountable for the things I write, and I want to make positive things happen.  A lot of things I have accomplished over the past two years are related to me generating content for the blog.  Amazing how the written word bounds you to commit to the things you write.  Turns out I had a lot to say but never really said anything—now you cannot get me to be quiet! 😊

Participating as a guest on multiple podcasts has been an unexpected money move but enjoy the process now.  I am not a huge follower of podcasts but know the format continues to grow and is extremely popular.  View my time on podcasts as another way to inspire people and grow new tree branches.  People reach out to me on LinkedIn to let me know they enjoyed my work on the Mastering College to Career and Intern Whisperer podcasts.  I have done multiple episodes with both podcast partners and look forward to shooting more soon.  My friend, Daniel Botero keeps pushing me to start my own podcast.  Never say never but I have not committed to this as a new money move project yet.  It may be something I seriously consider for a 2021 project—we will see.

Being a running tourist is the money move with the most transformational impact for me.  Never set out to lose a specific amount of weight but running more and longer distances has allowed me to shed pounds and keep them off.  I sleep better and have a ton of energy to tackle my daily activities.  Running also provides me with a platform to clear my mind and generate content for the Walk into the Future blog.  A lot of blog topic ideas are generated during one of my weekly runs—I should take a voice recorder with me but luckily, I am able to remember most of the ideas that pop into my head while out running.  Running also provides me a mechanism to remain competitive as I compete with myself to beat a previous race or training time.  I also compete with my tree branches as we share personal best race times.  I am chasing one of you (Kume) right now to improve my 10k time—getting closer! 😊

My speaking platform is the final money move for me to highlight.  I find this to be an effective way for me to reach new tree branches.  Always looking for additional speaking opportunities (pre COVID-19) to share my knowledge with others.  I have been able to adjust speaking topics into blog articles and vice versa.  The spoken and written word remains a powerful combination and will continue to leverage them moving forward.  Plan to get back into the lab and generate new speaking topics because I anticipate being back on the speaking circuit once the COVID-19 outlook gets better.  May look for ways to leverage the virtual platforms like Zoom to engage people with technology.  Got a lot of new ideas to try out just need to remain patient and then unleash on the world.

So, as you can see, money moves can be anything you want them to be.  You do not have to receive a financial windfall to get fulfillment and make a difference.  Think Biggie says it well!  (see below).

“Don’t chase the paper, chase the dream”.

(Biggie Smalls)

What money moves are you making right now?

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/