Taking a Loss

Yesterday, a divided nation decided that it would, in part, continue to go down a path that leads toward its demise. But, just because you’re going down the wrong path doesn’t mean you can’t pause, reflect, and commit to bettering yourself.

It’s time for us to demand more of our leaders. As I continue to prepare myself for elevated levels of leadership by taking on more roles and remaining a lifelong learner, I am adding more best practices to my arsenal. Today, as I was reading some of John Maxwell’s work, I was reminded that “(l)eaders lose the right to be selfish.”

We have to start holding our leaders, elected and otherwise, to a higher standard. Sometimes that means turning down campaign dollars from sources that lack integrity. Other times, it means foregoing a raise or rejecting a bonus so your support staff maintains its morale. Paying bills and engaging in self-care are not selfish. Shoot, even getting a bonus when everyone’s doing well is ok. But when, as a leader, you look out for yourself at the expense of those around you, you’re doing damage to the culture and community you’re suppose to be protecting.

Think of it like this: As a leader, if you do something selfish and stupid that jeopardizes your community’s reputation, you’re not only risking your job but also the jobs of everyone that supports you. Let’s look at all the companies that have gone down the drain because of poor leadership. The leaders were not the only ones affected. Their employees weren’t only affected. The employees’ families were affected. The generations that follow that employee are affected. Our decisions, as leaders, will have everlasting impacts on the world.

Yesterday’s election results, though some positive change took place, disappointed me on a large scale. The battle may be a wash but the war is far from over. Over the next two years (and long after that), let us, as follower-leaders, pledge to change the culture across political, economic, and social arenas. We have to get to a point where we can disagree without being mean-spirited and that starts with requiring our leaders to model that. We influence them by demanding more of them so that they can influence us. It’s a simple cycle.

 

Make selfless leadership a requirement.

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But Did You Vote?

Tomorrow is it. It’s our opportunity to correct a tremendous blemish on this nation’s record. Whether we’re looking at legislative powers or impeachment and removal, tomorrow can be a turning point for America or it can continue down the same path it’s been on for centuries: One seeped in bigotry, hatred, and white patriarchy that is masked as progressive freedom.

Have you voted? If not, it’s ok. You still have a chance. If so, have you encouraged anyone else to? Cool. Well, encourage someone else.

Do I believe the process is flawed? Yes. But will not participating fix it? No. Participate and then, when it fails you, fight.

 

Make voting a priority.

You Aren’t In Kansas Anymore

While I am far from happy with the state of American race relations, specifically when it comes to the injustice system, at least I know it. No, I’m not an attorney and I never formally studied the law past certain elective courses that touched on certain legal subjects. What I am, however, is a citizen of my country who knows that, though black men and women are often disenfranchised when it comes to the court system, there are rights we are supposed to have and, if those rights are violated, we can appeal for quite some time (unless, of course, we are murdered by the police, which is also a very real possibility in America).

I digress. I am writing this because, as a learned black man who travels internationally frequently with his black wife, I do my best to keep up with stories across the world. I subscribe to an array of publications from Blavity to Valet Magazine to the New York Times and, in keeping up with articles, both domestic and international, I’ve read about American citizens who have been detained/imprisoned abroad. While it doesn’t happen frequently enough to hit national headlines (unless the offender is one of the Ball boys), Americans are often detained for doing stupid things. And, though I do believe in law and order, I know that 1) punishment should be doled out in an unbiased manner and 2) the punishment should match the crime. But, in some nations, that’s just not the case. Take the case of Wendell Brown, for example. Wendell is a black man whose only crime was defending himself against a Chinese citizen by shoving him. There is a video that completely supports this statement. Now, he is serving a four-year sentence in a Chinese prison. President Trump and his staff have refused to come to this American citizen’s aid. Click here to read more.

As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Have fun, but do so with an awareness that the person who hits you may possess rights that you don’t. Because laws are dynamic, it is impossible to know every law in every nation that you want to visit but know that ignorance of the law is not a defense in most cases. Stay smart. Stay safe.

 

Make staying safe a priority.

 

A Big Game of Chess

I’m a chess player. Not great but I’m good. And, after this first full week of Donald Trump’s presidency, I see that we, as American citizens who oppose this president’s points of view, are playing chess. We must take actions that are not only decisive and intentional but also strategic. I tweeted it last night and I strongly believe that “There are things that every , or , or , or , or , should agree on.” Failing to see things this way makes me question one’s intentions for all of humanity. As a young professional who cares more about the future of the next generation than the future of his own pockets, I must say that I reject any presidency that starts on the same note that Hitler’s reign did and you should too. There are certain components that have historically come together to create the ideal conditions for genocide and those initial components are present right now in America. I don’t know about you but, as a young professional who has an affinity for world history, I know that a war that would lead to another depression like that of the 1930s will not be good for my professional aspirations. We have an obligation to keep the world around us stable so that the next generation has a foundation to stand on. So let’s reject the oppression and discrimination of this Trump Administration and, instead, stand on those explicit truths that we hold to be self evident.

 

Make social justice a priority.

Neither the Place Nor the Time

I do not subscribe to the old fashioned school of thought that politics are not to be discussed. There is certainly a time and a place for those discussions: anywhere but work. I am a firm believer that, unless of course politics is your field, you should keep it out of the workplace. And that includes professional spaces that are not necessarily in your place of employment.

This morning, I was on LinkedIn and one of my followers had liked a post about Donald Trump so his liking it caused it to show up on my feed. Now, I understand there are Trump supporters in the world and that is their business. And broadcasting your support (or disdain) for a certain candidate on your personal profiles are fine. But a professional networking site just isn’t the place folks. There are people who will respond, disputing your point of view and, if you are one to get into an online debate, you both end up looking terrible. Some people who are in control of hiring may associate what you do in a professional online setting with what you will do in a professional in person setting. And then, guess what? You’ve lost yourself a job. So it’s better to save your political points of view for another (actually any other) setting than a professional one.

Just my three cents.

 

Make professional development a priority.

The World Keeps Spinning

First and foremostHAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY LOVELY MOTHER AND MY AMAZING AUNT!

Secondly, happy 8th Alpha anniversary to my line brothers. Couple years from a decade, LBs. #Fall0gr8

Thirdly, folks, whether you supported Hillary or not, the world keeps spinning. Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I going to not go to work anymore because of my disappointment? No. I can’t afford to let this keep me from working hard and neither can you. So let’s not look to one man to make America great. Let’s make this world great in our own individual way.

 

Make making the world a better place a priority.