Preparation is Key

We’re three weeks from 2019. WTH? This year has flown by. It could’ve been a little better or it could’ve been a lot worse.

As we get ready for Jan. 1, I implore you to really take an honest inventory of what 2018 looked like for you. What goals did you hit? Which ones did you miss? How far off are you? Can you still accomplish these goals in the next three weeks?

Now, as you plan for next year, adjust accordingly. If you didn’t finish something you still want to finish, reset the goal and give yourself a realistic time frame.

On this Monday, let’s start getting the vision for next year together. Sure, everything we plan for won’t happen the way we expect it to but we can at least prepare for what we can, right? Build that vision board. Set a defined list of goals and steps that will help you reach them along with a timeline. Schedule the difficult review or meeting now so that you know how to move going forward.

Do the hard work now to help offset the additional amount of work next year will bring. Make 2019 your year by putting pen to paper in December of 2018. Let’s get it.

By the way, I’ve got some 🔥 coming next week to help you start 2019 off the right way. Follow @DanDailyReader on IG to be apart (and win some cool stuff).

Make proper planning a priority.

Advertisements

Never Give Up Your Peace

As we figure out this thing called life (which will never truly be figured out), we have to remember never to let go of our peace. Peace is the place where we find hope. Without the former, we cannot have the latter. Not only must you never give it up; your peace must be protected. I love storytelling, be it with a pen or a lens. While writing and photographing are business endeavors for me, there are pieces, both written and visual, that will not be seen during my lifetime. Those pieces are my protected peace.

Where is your solitude? What space do you keep sacred? Don’t lose it to work or family or money. Keep something that leads you to hope in your most challenging times. It can be running or sketching or singing in the shower or writing a book that only you plan to read. And it can change form over time. The point is, wherever you find peace*, make time to go there.

 

Make protecting your peace a priority.

 

*Peace isn’t always that thing that makes you feel “good.” It has to be healthy to be true peace.

It’s Time to Grow (Paraphrased)

Let me get in front of this and say I took this title from my pastor’s sermon this morning (I’m writing this on Sunday night). Really, I’m just going to paraphrase what he preached on today. To get the full scope, click and watch/listen the link below and begin at 30:30.

As my friend and pastor Dr. Byron L. Benton prepares to transition into his new role as Pastor of Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, SC, he spoke to the fact that, if there is no movement, there is no growth. Now, whether you’re religious or not, you can’t refute that. Though it may be challenging to let go of your comfort zone, you have to do it. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Serve the purpose you’re meant to serve for the season you’re meant to serve it in. But do yourself a favor and move when it’s time.

I hope you start this week with this message and contemplating how you need to prepare to move to the next place in your life. It’s imperative that you grow not only for yourself but for others. It’ll be painful at first, just like all growth is, but it is a part of our human experience.

Dr. B said a lot more during that his sermon about what to do during your sedentary seasons. Check out the sermon here. You can start at the 30:30 mark if you’re not looking to capture the worship side of things.

 

Make growth a priority.

Create 🤬 You’d Pay For

Today, I was at the Triangle’s dopest barbershop, Rock’s. Not only do I get a consistently phenomenal haircut from Jennifer but I also get a craft beer with every cut. Today, I chose a Founder’s IPA and, right under the can’s rim were the words, “BREWED FOR US.” I thought that was great. They brew the kind of beer they want to drink.

Some people say you should make products or provide services that your customers would like. While I agree with that, I also think that you should never create something that you, yourself, don’t consider dope enough to pay for. In the case of barbers, yes, there are people who want really weird cuts and stuff. But that’s ok. Just think of it this way: if I was that kind of person, would I pay me for this caliber of cut?

If it’s not quality, don’t do it. Every photo I give clients is a photograph I would love to put in my portfolio. Every rĂ©sumĂ© and cover letter I craft is one that I would provide an employer with myself.

Be proud enough of your work to never give anything that isn’t good enough for you. And, if they want something that you wouldn’t be proud to tell others you did, turn down the business. It’s not worth it.

 

Make creating 🤬 you like a priority.

Fear of the Three C’s

Yesterday, after getting a great night’s rest, I woke up to my go to morning newsletter to find out that Amazon passed up on RDU for HQ2. With 20 finalist locations, Amazon opted to split the wealth between two finalists: Northern VA and Long Island, NY. That’s all well and good but, once again, North Carolina missed out on a major bid. Now, let’s talk about why.

Southern comfort is a thing. No, I’m not talking about the whiskey. I’m talking about the twang when (some) Carolinians talk and our hospitably sweet diabe-tea when you visit. But it’s cool, right? Folks come from up north and think our slower lifestyles and “fast” moving traffic is neat. Well, so do we. In fact, we love it so much that it’s become a hinderance.

According to a poll, only 43% of local citizens strongly supported Amazon HQ2 being located in the Raleigh area. So, you mean to tell me that you’re not in favor of 25,000 new jobs with an average salary of $150,000? Why is that? Sounds crazy to me. No, excuse me. It’s not crazy. It’s fear.

News flash Carolinians: A large number of us are afraid of the 3 C’s. You’ve never heard of them so you don’t know what they are. That’s ok. I just realized it this morning but I’ve known it my entire life (which is why, as much as I love home and will be back, I’m getting the hell out of here for a while so I can be around some less fearful people). The three 3’s are *drumroll* change, commute, and competition.

I’ll start with the most obvious, which is change. In the south, people fear the unknown because, it’s unknown. This is why Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp can run an openly racist campaign advertisement saying he’ll take the role of ICE into his own hands and still (almost) win an election. Non-white immigrants represent change and the south likes things slow, steady, and at it’s own pace. This is why they fought so hard to keep slavery, Jim Crow, and mandatory minimums that look like everything they have always known. Change is scary. Amazon represents progress that non-Southerners will bring and that progress will require North Carolinian culture to change. That’s C1.

C2 is the commute. In North Carolina, we like our cars. We like our trucks and our sedans and our sports cars and our nice cars (say it with a thick southern accent and you’ll see where that speedway in Charlotte got its name). Automobiles are status symbols. ‘Round here *Memphis Bleek voice*, we drive by people who stand at bus stops with our noses up in the sky. In more developed cities, that doesn’t happen. I’ve been on the subway in New York and LA and seen A- or B-list celebrities on there too. It’s normal. But, for some reason, N.C. would rather continue fixing our messed up, pothole-filled roads and destroying the atmosphere with gas guzzlers instead of figuring out a sustainable and reliable transit system.

Therefore, you know what another reason of those who weren’t strongly for Amazon being located here is? They say we don’t have the infrastructure to handle it. That’s code for they don’t want to deal with the traffic. I have family members in central NJ who catch a train to NYC daily for work and then back. We’ve been spoiled when it comes to our commutes and now we don’t want to forego that.

C3 is competition. For some reason, we don’t feel like competing with the outside world. We don’t want Amazon flying in their “foreign” (from other states but still American citizens) team to take jobs that North Carolinians should have. What sense does that make? Now the “foreigners” aren’t here and neither are the jobs, which means neither is the growth. When companies like Amazon come to places like Raleigh, multiple industries boom. But, when they over look us, professionals who would’ve come here and started new business go elsewhere. Students who would’ve come to one of the Triangle’s over ten colleges and universities will now look elsewhere to get their education. Homes that should be built by our construction workers are going to be built in Northern VA and on Long Island. When we don’t want to compete, what we’re really saying is that we don’t want to win. We don’t want to be the best. We just want to be left alone to live with our Southern comfort.

Folks, Carolinian or not, take this as a lesson. You don’t want to be like present-day North Carolina. Hopefully, losing this bid isn’t what wakes us up. Let’s be honest with ourselves: we probably would’ve lost to a bigger city either way. What should wake us up is our attitude to even being considered for the bid.

Oh, and since we’re talking about Amazon, go grab my long-time friend Joe‘s new book, #ClosingSZN. It just went live last week. I got mine in the mail from Amazon today (I’m a hardcopy kind of guy but you can get the digital version and dive in right now if you want).

 

Make embracing the 3 C’s a priority.

Choose Depth

Today, I was reading a piece by a conservative political blogger who concluded that a candidate’s age combined with a non-threatening biological issue were good reasons for exclusion from the political process. No point of issues or integrity were made, simply the candidates rumored lack of bowel control.

A few minutes before, as I was working on my rĂ©sumĂ©, from which I had previously removed my home address because, at this point in time, it serves no functional purpose on a rĂ©sumĂ© (as it did in decades past). Actually, I am wrong. It does serve a function – It makes the reader comfortable with the fact that I do not live in abstract poverty, a shelter or under a bridge (which speaks to the point that we are more afraid of homelessness and poverty than of a megalomaniac running the USA but that is another topic for another day).

Now, whether running for office while supposedly wearing adult diapers or failing to put a place of residency on a rĂ©sumĂ©, my point is as follows: How many highly qualified individuals does our society toss by the wayside because they don’t live up to our superficial expectations of what success is? Because their body doesn’t function normally (but not in a way that will prevent them from performing exceptionally)? Because they don’t want you to Google the fact that they live in the “hood” (or wherever they live because it is inconsequential)? I vividly recall sitting on a university’s panel with an HR professional who said she Googles the addresses of job candidates because, if they cannot keep a home that looks respectable on the outside, chances are they cannot run a department. What message does this send to the first generation college student whose address on his rĂ©sumĂ© doesn’t reflect the wealth that he knows some of his peers’ do?

Whose standards of success are we, as Americans, subscribing to? Such schools of thought perpetuate the fallacy that you must look and live in accordance within a predetermined set of norms that were established by men and women who look nothing like me and whose culture worked violently to eradicate mine. So, in order to get ahead, I should make sure my body looks, functions, and operates like theirs? To succeed, my home, yard, and family should be mirror images of theirs?

There are some cultural concessions I choose to make for the sake of my family. Other things, I am working to actively unlearn and reprogram. I don’t want my spirit to model that of murderers, slavers, and rapists like America’s forefathers, no matter how much of an impact they had on the world. I am content with the peace that comes from knowing that my ancestors equipped me with the emotional, physical, and cultural fortitude to be myself and to offer depth over shallowness.

How about, at this moment in history, we begin to look past the superficial in order to find the substance? I am certain that it will take more time but, in the end, it will be worth it.

 

Make choosing depth a priority.

How Did We Get Here?

I’m sitting here catching up with a friend from high school about where we are in life right now and she said she’s still working on finding herself. We both are at the point where the world thinks we have our s*** together but we’re still figuring things out. Too many of us majored in things we don’t care about to get jobs we don’t want so we can buy cars and houses that don’t matter and raise kids who will continue that cycle. What the 🤬 for? So we can share it on Instagram? So our parents can brag on our superficial happiness at church once a week? I’d rather give my family something to be proud of than something to brag on. We have to begin to differentiate the two.

How did we get to the point, as a society, where we were expected to fake so much? We pretend to be someone when we’re dating, interviewing, parenting, and, sometimes, even reflecting, we make an attempt to seem perfect. Even in our imperfections, we want to seem like we’ve overcome whatever we were struggling with. Then we hit 30 and wonder why we only have surface level things together, if that. Or maybe America has always been like this and we’re just now realizing it. Either way, this has to change. It’s pointless to play the game.

Young folks, I implore you to start with honesty. First of all, be honest with yourselves. You spend 100% of your time with yourself. You can’t run from you and feel fulfilled. Secondly, be honest with those who you think you may one day care about. You’ll invest a lot of emotion in them (as you should). They deserve to know who they’re getting from the beginning as opposed to after a decade. And, lastly, be honest about your job. 4/9 of your waking weekday hours will occur there. Who wants to have to lie to get into a room that wouldn’t want the real them?

Be who you love. Be with someone who loves (the real) you. Do something that makes you feel like your existence matters. All of this is rooted in being honest from the beginning. Acting does nothing but get you awards that don’t give you true fulfillment (unless your passion in life is theatre).

As the great Curtis Cotton, III often said to my brothers of D.E.A.R. WINtE.R. that fateful Fall ten years ago, “Take an honest inventory of yourself.”

 

Make being honest in the process of discovering yourself a priority.