Logical Tradition or Traditional Logic?

I’m at a point in my life where I simply don’t want to do illogical things in relation to my professional life. Pointless tradition in families is entertained for nostalgia’s sake. In work settings, it can often be little more than an irritant.

Do we really need to wear elitist, cumbersome suits on days that are spent solely in the office? Are trousers and ties necessary on 90-degree summer days or are they simply decorative? Wouldn’t you want your employees to think more about how to improve the systems they work on than how pointlessly uncomfortable they are?

I believe there is a time and a place for business dress but, unless in an industry where you interact with external entities or individuals every day, the day of everyday business dress has passed. During the summer, if nothing else, casual Fridays should be the rule. A new generation is coming and it is a generation that is not only unimpressed by pretentious dress; it is one that is turned off by it when out of place. And that generation doesn’t want to work in those settings. A tie is no longer an indicator of success. You could just be a slave to a system that requires it.

I’m not advocating for complete dress code anarchy. Graphic tees and baseball caps aren’t for every environment. But a pair of khaki shorts during the summer is not going to offend any sensible person in this day and age.

Make professional development a priority.


In The Mix

How often do you hear stories of black kids robbing stores? Or getting into trouble at school? Or participating in gang violence? For me, it’s too often, especially when there are more instances of black kids succeeding and working hard and dreaming the impossible.


Desirée listening attentively as Michael and Madison explain why TheGifted Arts is such a necessity.

This weekend, I got to see the often overlooked personified by young people like Michael and Madison, pictured above advocating for the support of TheGifted Arts. The Mix, an event hosted at the Google Fiber location in Raleigh, NC, was a powerful display of discipline, dedication, and a genuine joy that many adults have to rediscover if we’re going to get back to loving life like we ought to.


Brandon Foster sharing his gifted voice with us.

TheGifted Arts, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that aims to influence academic outcomes and help build confidence with our students, by utilizing character building techniques and arts access, such as through: dance, music, fashion and drama, as a means of both creative expression


Michael letting the music move through him.

outlets and social personal development. Though it is not restricted to minority children, it was refreshing to see a group of kids who were undeniably of African descent expressing themselves freely through the arts, especially with so much negativity and desensitizing going on. When you see, without reservation, the bodies of black people, be they youth or adults being either placed in restraints like those from chattel slavery or, possibly worse, left to lie cold in the streets, you may become cold to the stories behind the negative pictures. These children and teenagers, through their various forms of art, brought back the positive warmth that I associate with my blackness. Their love and passion spoke to me like I didn’t know young people could.

On April 8th, TheGifted Arts is putting on “Anthem: Fashion with Purpose.” This is its fourth annual fashion show and is a major fundraiser for the participants of TheGifted Arts. We got a taste of these artists’ talent at The Mix and, if that’s any indication of how awesome Anthem will be, you are going to be in for a treat. So, if you’re in North Carolina on the second weekend

There’s very little that’s more important to a performer than an engaged crowd.

of April, I strongly suggest you invest your time (and dollars) in these kids. Make a night of it. Go to dinner before, catch the fashion show, and then catch some live music after. Support these young people and their intentional effort to use their energies to add hope and expression to a world and a media system that, more often than not, does not give us hope.

To buy Tickets to “Anthem: Fashion with Purpose,” click here.

Or, to learn more about TheGifted Arts, click here. And, whether you can make the fashion show or not, please donate. Even if it’s only $5, give to these students’ and their dreams.



Make community engagement a priority.

Don’t Believe The Hype

Contrary to popular belief, everyone isn’t an urban hipster. Everyone doesn’t live in a loft, have a wild sex life, and drink lattes every morning. Everyone isn’t a creative nor an entrepreneur nor a photographer nor a Crossfit enthusiast. Everyone doesn’t dress like a model every day. Everyone doesn’t do everything. Everyone doesn’t do anything.

It’s alright to pick Budweiser over a rare local craft beer. There’s nothing wrong with spending your Sunday mornings in a church instead of hiking a trail. You can work an 8-5 with hopes of climbing up the corporate ladder as opposed to blazing your own trail. Sure, sometimes, try some of that “hipster” stuff, just to see if you like it. You never know, you just might. But what you cannot be is average. Whatever you do, whether marketing guru, blogger, or a stock team member at the local grocery store, you must work to be the best at it.  There’s no hype in that. Only hard work.


Make professional development a priority.

Wear Dreams

“I don’t wear clothes. I wear dreams.” — D. A. Daniels, Jr.

Develop a style. A style of your own. A style that, though cognizant of contemporary fashion norms, is nowhere near restricted to them. Allow your style to be timeless, not just timely.

I see people I work with every week outside of work settings. They shop at my grocery store. We go to the same park. They’re members at the same Costco. And, whether they see me at the gym or the movies or out on the town for a night, though my clothes may change, my style is proprietary. It is a part of my brand. It can be imitated but I have yet to see it replicated. Can the same be said about you?


Make professional development a priority.

Shaking It Up: A Call For Content and Contributors.

Success is a process.  You find what does work and what doesn’t.  Some things work 47% of the time, kind of work 32%, and, the other 21%, they flop.  That’s how this blogging thing is.  I started off with themed topics daily (Motivational Monday, Tech Tuesday, Well-Dressed Wednesday, Trending Thursday, and Financial Friday) for the first 2-ish years.  And that did well for quite some time.  But I wanted more creative control over my content so I shifted my model and opened it up to writing on any and everything on any given day.  Then, since I enjoy working out, I tried to fit in a Fitness Friday every week but I didn’t realize that liking to workout doesn’t equate to being able to write about working out.  So, once again, I’m shifting.  Sure, if I’m inspired to write about lifting, cool.  But I’m going to get Friday back on the same page as the other four days of the week: young professional development and lifestyle.

But I’m opening Fridays up.  Success isn’t one person’s journey.  So this is my solicitation for contributors.  I would love to have you write for The Reader.  Yes, you…  The young professional who is reading this.  What’s your thing?  Music?  Fitness?  Education?  Finance?  Travel (personal or business)?  Fashion?  Art?  Entrepreneurship?  Law?  Grooming?  Health?  Sales?  Do you have a great book you read last month and think that it would benefit millennials?  Or do you just have a great/interesting/motivational story that folks need to here?  Whatever it is, please share.  Every Friday, I would love to have a different young professional/entrepreneur/creative/millennial use this platform to expand their reach, increase their exposure, and develop their brand.

So, if you would like to contribute to The Reader, here are the guidelines for submission:

– 300 – 2000 words (I prefer quality over quantity but I don’t want to restrict you from telling a great story)

– Must include a personal anecdote (I did x)

– Include takeaways (because I did x, I learned/gained/developed y)

– Include a headshot and 2-5 sentence bio with any required links (will be on the guest writers page indefinitely along w/ link{s} to your article{s})

-Feel free to attach any photos you would like posted as well.

That’s it! To submit, simply email your article in word format to DanielsDailyReader@gmail.com with the subject line “[ARTICLE SUBMISSION] xyz”

Thanks in advance for the great content.


Make professional development a priority.

Find a Great Barber/Hairstylist

I’m so fortunate.  Since college, I’ve had some awesome barbers.  But, with each relocation, it takes me getting through the not so awesome ones to get to the ones I need.

Over the past decade, I’ve made four moves within North Carolina: Durham > Greensboro > Charlotte > Durham.  Growing up, I went to the neighborhood barber.  There wasn’t a decision to be made.  That’s just what was.  Then, when I got to college, I didn’t have a car so I went to this barbershop that was near campus and it was like the one back home.  But I wasn’t satisfied.  I saw guys on campus with sharper lines than I had.  So I asked a few of them where they went and, my sophomore year, I switched to a different barbershop.  In between cuts, I would get shape ups from this guy in the dorm who was trying to develop his barbering skills.  He got so good (and was so cost effective) that he took the spot of the actual barbershop.  That guy from the dorm turned out to be Vince Jamel of Adrian Fanus Grooming in Brooklyn, New York.  Now, one of my best friends, I was lucky to have him cut my wedding party and me last October.

Soon after graduating from UNCG, I moved to Charlotte and only heard the name of one barbershop: No Grease.  Everyone I asked who had a nice haircut (with the exception of my financial advisor George Acheampong) said the same thing.  So No Grease it was.  I tried two barbers there.  The first did a good job but I didn’t communicate the cut I wanted well enough.  So I tried one more and I hit the nail on the head.  Currently in North Carolina, Tim Doe holds the crown for cuts in my opinion.  Great customer service.  Accommodating.  And he gets to know who he’s cutting so that he can give good suggestions on what would best fit your style and industry.  See, a barber/groomer/hairstylist shouldn’t just be there to do the job.  (S)he is a friend and consultant.  Shoot, half the time, a good barber is your unofficial therapist as well.  When I had friends move to town, I pointed them to No Grease.  “Everyone in there can cut well,” I always said, “but see if you can get on Tim’s schedule.”  I even had a frat brother come down for a wedding and his barber in DC was out of town when he left but he really needed a cut.  I took him to Tim and got him squeezed in.  As always, an immaculate cut was given.

You can imagine how hard it was for me to move back to Durham and know that, as much as I wanted to go to No Grease like usual, a 3 hour drive would turn that into a $50-$60 haircut every two weeks, including gas (or, as I like to think of it, at least $1,300/year).  So I started the process all over again back home.  My old barber was no longer around.  At the time, I worked at Nordstrom and one of my assistant managers heard me say I was looking for a new shop so he recommended his, Rock’s Bar and Hair Shop.  Now, cutting straight hair and curly hair are two different processes, so I figured “I may check it out but I need someone who knows how to cut black hair.”  And I found someone there who does it very well.  The customer service there is exceptional and the environment is super cool.  Plus you get a free beer with your haircut!

As I said in the first sentence, I’m fortunate to have been blessed with great barbers over the past decade.  If you find a good one who knows you, your professional aspriations, and your style, keep him/her.  Do I have a favorite over all of them?  Of course.  But, since they’re all in different locations, you should just try each brand out when you’re in their respective cities.


Photo credit: Suave Visions


Make professional development a priority.

The men’s white button up…really necessary? (Response)

Yesterday, I ended up reading my brother Marcus Hawley’s, owner of Natty Neckware, blog post, “The men’s white button up…really necessary?”  I’m telling you, this guy hit the nail on the head.  Marcus’s specialty is neckwear but how often do you see a bow or necktie without a collared shirt?  (Don’t worry.  I’ll wait.)  Therefore, he not only needs to have an eye for designing ties, he also needs to know what they would be well-paired with, just in case he is ever asked by a customer “Hey, I have shirts in colors x, y, and z.  What ties do you have that would go well with 2 of 3?”

In the post, found on his blog Notably Natty, he briefly examines the origin of the white button up and moves into the contemporary uses of it, from formal to causal wear.  And, I must say, he is right.  Last weekend, I wore a white button up untucked with some Levis and Chucks.  This morning, I’m in another white with a navy suit with British Tan Cole Hanns and no tie.  Tomorrow, I could do a light sweater over a white button up, some chinos, and a pair of Clarks.  As Marcus so perfectly put in his introductory paragraph, “(t)he versatility of the white button up does something for an ensemble that most other colored shirts cannot do which is remain both timeless and always on trend.”

Take a minute to check out his blog, as well as his neckwear, and leave some feedback.  The brother put me in my best piece of neckwear, which I also paired with a white shirt, and, now, the combination sits as my headshot on LinkedIn.



Make professional development a priority.