What Are You Talking About?

When is the last time you had a thought-provoking conversation? These days, I find life happening so rapidly that I don’t know when my next good convo is coming nor who it will be with. I can usually count on between four and five a month (outside of home or work), between chatting with Sean, Maul, Vince, C.B.3, Juju, and Barry. While that’s more than many people I know have,  I miss undergrad and the think tank known as UNCG. I vividly recall going to the basements of Reynolds and Phillips-Hawkins to talk with other students from the wee hours of the morning until the sun came up. Or there were the countless times that the long hand on the clock hit the same spot two or three times as I sat in the cafeteria chatting with Devon or Jakiya.

Ideas flowed freely in college. We had time to think without the burdens that we would come to find accompany adulthood. We didn’t have to worry about bills. The only consequence to quitting jobs at that point for many was having to mooch for more hooch, a favor that would eventually be repaid when our generous friend quit his/her job and we were reemployed.

We have to create that free thought as (true) adults. Some people say childhood is the best time of lifetimes but I challenge that; College, for those of us who are privileged enough to go, is the best era. It is when we can be idealistic while having some semblance of control over our lives. No one can tell us when to go to bed, when to come home, or who to hang out with. We go into classrooms with people of all backgrounds and debate issues that actually matter but have been written off by the world because too much of the world doesn’t believe in happiness and change anymore. Life in college is inspiring.

My challenge to you is to make time to grab coffee or a drink with a friend who brings the best out of you sometime before the end of July. If you can’t get together because of distance, hop on the phone. Either way, without forcing it, make an effort to have an organic conversation with someone that you know feels comfortable challenging you and vice versa. Share what books you’re reading. Talk about politics, socioeconomics, and current events (without dwelling too long on the depressing state of affairs unless you’re figuring out a way to positively impact them). Discuss a business idea and have your friend shoot holes through it.

One of the many true things I learned from my fraternity is that, “college days swiftly pass, imbued with memories fond.” How can we keep those memories coming for years after?

Make free thought that stems from conversations a priority.

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What’s The Game Plan?

Almost all of my blog posts are spur of the moment. While they have been effective thus far, developing content off the top of my head all the time can be taxing. Sometimes, I wish I had a game plan. So, going forward, I’m going to do some series of posts. It will serve two purposes 1) to keep readers engaged and 2) to allow my mind to rest a bit more when trying to determine what topics affect this community of readers. So, bear with me as I enter this season of series. And feel free to suggest some topics you’d like to read up on.

Make professional development a priority.

Enjoy the 68°

“There’s always a choice.” — Charlie Cunningham

I’m at a stage in life where I don’t care enough to allow anyone to make me grossly unhappy. Thankfully, I’m in a position where I have the autonomy to come and go pretty much as I please. If the day is nice and I don’t need to be inside, I won’t be inside. If I don’t feel like wearing a tie and don’t have to wear a tie, I’m not wearing a tie. Conversely, if I feel like sitting in my office in a restful state with the lights dimmed, I’ll dim the lights. If I want to rock a tie, it’ll be a tie that I rock.  Long story short, if it’s impractical and causing me undue stress, right now is the time I can let it go. I don’t have any dependents. One day, I may. So right now, I’m here in a polo, chinos, and chucks with the sky as my ceiling, my earphones playing a pretty cool Spotify playlist, and my lap as my desk, working on projects and loving this 68° cloudy day. Why? Because I don’t have any meetings today and I work well in different settings that allow for me to be inspired in different ways, so why not?

For too long, people were told that work had to be a stressor and that you shouldn’t be able to relax at work and I just don’t believe that. These are the same people whose parents and grandparents worked in sweatshop conditions without a department of labor regulating unfair practices. I believe in working hard but that doesn’t have to result in high blood pressure and health issues. Once your health is gone, it’s gone. And, to be honest, these companies and organizations will keep moving with or without you. So take that mental health day when you know you need it. Use your sick days for a check up at your physician and your dentist. I’m not saying abuse the system. I’m saying don’t be afraid to take care of you because these corporations and institutions will take care of themselves.

Break’s over. Back to work… from this park bench. 😁

 

 

Make working outside from time to time a priority (if that’s your thing).

It’s Been Real

Well, folks. It’s been real. I’m done writing in the Daniels Daily Reader… for the rest of 2017.

Fear not. I will be back with great content (and maybe a new design if I feel so inclined) during the first week of 2018. I need to take an extended break and really put a dent in this book that I’ve been “writing” for over a year now, along with a few other projects that I want to put together. Plus, I just need to develop a new strategy for this blog and where I see it going in years to come. Will it keep being daily? Will I bring on more guest writers? Will Batman and Robin make it out of the Batmobile as it sinks slowly to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean? Find out next time on The Daniels Daily Reader. (Sorry. I think my thirties will be my most eccentric decade thus far.)

Thanks to all of you readers for being an instrumental part of my first 30 years. And, don’t stop thumbing through the archives of the site. There’s a ton of great stuff that can be found on my search bar. Plus, I’ll still be posting to @DanDailyReader on Instagram throughout the week, so make sure you’re following.

Make taking time to refocus a priority.

Five Years In

Today, I am honored to say that I’ve been building this blog for five years.

That’s half a decade!

In that time, I’ve had a number of professional successes and learning opportunities. I’ve gained life experience, gotten married, and taken chances. I’ve moved from minimum wage to straight commission to salary to better salary. I’ve been an entrepreneur and an employee, sometimes exclusively, currently simultaneously. I’ve gone from having little to having an overflow. I went from looking for an exit to being at a place where I’m looking for a step up.

Early

The Daniels Daily Reader has gone from one consistent reader who now has a blog of her own (and, in an attempt to slightly embarrass Mrs. Daniels, a new last name since five years ago) to hundreds of subscribers, followers, and readers daily. It went from being a free blog to a sizable investment in my business goals. And, possibly most importantly to me, I’ve inspired others to begin writing about their passions. You don’t have to be a writer to write, but, once you begin writing, at that moment, you become a writer.

Thank you all for reading, engaging, critiquing, subscribing, and for just being a part of my journey in professional development. You may not know it but every comment, every hit, every like and share lets me know that my writing is impactful. This has been a great five years and I look forward to sharing many more with you all.

Since it’s the fifth year, here are links to the top five posts of all time:

The Art of the Pocket Square
Where to Shop: The 10 Best Stores for Finding Affordable Men’s Style
Italian, English, or Modern Cut?
How To: The Job Seeker’s Attention-Getting Email Signature
How To: Tie an Eldredge Knot

Though the content and format of The Reader has evolved, the message remains consistent: Make professional development a priority.

Purpose or Placeholder? Know The Difference 

I hate to say it now but why lie, right? My current job is a placeholder. I’m good at fundraising but fundraising is not the primary (or even secondary) thing I was brought to this earth to do. I may be doing it the next two years or the next two decades. But I’m here for something greater.

Ignoring your purpose is a true slap in the face of the Creator. Do your job now and pay your bills but know that you’re here to make a positive impact on the world. So make it.
Make your purpose a priority.

I’m Your Pusher

 

Yes. I admit it. I’m guilty. I am a pusher. Not a pusher of illicit substances but of an unpopular point of view. I am a pusher of black positivity. I believe that, historically, barriers have been set up that force Americans of all races, black and otherwise, to look at people of African descent through less than favorable lenses. Negative or less-than-sophisticated images of black folks are spread across the world, affecting the global views of us. Often, at worst, we are stereotyped as violent, undisciplined deviants. At best, entertainers. Though portrayals have changed thanks to shows like Grey’s Anatomy, the black doctor, lawyer, and professional are still viewed as anomalies while the black prisoner or athlete is seen as the status quo.

There is nothing wrong with being a rapper, singer, or ball player. Nothing at all. I have respect for anyone who does these things and uses their talent to uplift the community. But there are other options. As a professional, it is sometimes challenging to walk into room after room after room and meeting after meeting after meeting where I don’t see anyone who looks like me. So I have to change the narrative. I have a responsibility to myself, my family, my community, and my nation to provide true facts of the positive impact that blacks have every day on America, as opposed to the alternative facts that we are all murderers, drug users, and dependents of the welfare system.

Yesterday, I went out of my way to make the point of associating positive image of with the hashtag #OmegaPsiPhi on each of my social media accounts. I didn’t do it because I have great friends that are Ques or because my football coach from high school is a Que or to go viral. I did it because they, like  Alpha Phi Alpha (my fraternity), are focused on doing positive things across this nation, specifically in the black community, and anyone feeding positivity into my life deserves to have me do the same.  Secondly, negativity associated with any historically black fraternity is not good for any of us. Hiring managers probably do not know Alpha Phi Alpha from Omega Psi Phi from Iota Phi Theta. They just know that Steve Stephens was apart of one of those black step groups and his organization got bad publicity as a result.

People of all races, we must change the narratives surrounding non-whites in America. All blacks are not here to either rob or entertain you. All Jewish people aren’t here to be your lawyers or manage your money. All Latinos aren’t here illegally and looking for migrant work. All Middle Easterners aren’t looking for an opportunity to commit acts of violence. This is the point in history where we have the most access to the most information but we are regressing as a society. So, just as all white domestic terrorists are categorized as either mentally unstable or “lone wolves”, let’s start placing the same designation on non-white individuals whose actions are not a depiction of love for all humankind. And, when we see a group being negatively stereotyped, whether members of that group or not, we have a responsibility as good individuals to say “Not all people from group x commit the act of y. John Doe was acting as an individual and not as a representative.”

You have a sphere of influence. Change the narrative.

As a starting point, type #BlackMenSmile in on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. As J. Cole said, “There’s beauty in the struggle.”

 

Make peace and love priorities.