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Free To Speak

March 17, 2017 — 3 Comments

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On a Friday morning I had a chance to go to the barbershop while I was out of town in Oklahoma City.

You know the experience especially if you’ve ever ventured into a predominantly black barbershop. Their’s that familiar sound of electric clippers humming in the background, boisterous conversations over the current affairs of the day and sometimes you get a hint of background noise from the TV or radio.

I normally don’t go to the barbershop, but this time, I had a chance to experience this very familiar moment once again. The discussion between the barbers and the people in the shop turned from who was the best quarterback in football to the president and the congress and finally to race and culture.

As I sat there, I quietly listened. It reminded me of the times I was a little boy. I would sit and listen to this adults go back and forth until they were blue in the face. But then it hit me…I am free to speak now! I actually have a voice! I am an adult with the privilege to share my views and analysis.

One gentlemen said a few things I both agreed and disagreed with. I listened intently to the man’s take on race, prejudice, life, women, politics and much more. My arms and legs were crossed and my eyes slowly wandered as to avoid staring.

As I was getting my haircut, I felt this deep, bottom of my stomach urge to speak up. I really, really, didn’t want too. Seriously, I didn’t!

I mean, what could I possibly contribute to this conversation? What would happen if I did say something? Who would care? Why would it matter? Who on earth needs to even hear it? I don’t have the background, experience or anything to back up what comes out?

The conversation was finally over! I realized I just about lost my opportunity to speak up. I felt like such a loser at that moment. A really deep part of me demanded to speak out and I kept silent.

But just as I was about to give up, the conversation started back up.

I added my two cents! A consensus was made with a very understandable group of men who heard what I had to say. In fact, they even demanded more depth from me, which I might add was pretty cool! Here I am, a young guy being asked to expand on my analysis in front of men who were several years older than me.

Deep down, this very real, masculine, powerful and vocal part of me wanted to speak out and I almost missed out.

Why!? Because we short change ourselves! We doubt if we really have what it takes. We doubt if we could make a difference. We sit back and allow things to unfold and cower in the back.

The experience at the barbershop moved me from being the boy who sat back and watched to a real man with real perspective and real insight.

Making Investments

August 23, 2016

making investments

I love talking with my friend and mentor. He’s much older than me and is full of wisdom.

He has been like a Father to me, encouraging me and sharing with me wisdom that he hopes that will make me go further ahead than what I dream and even further than him.

In one of our most recent discussions, he spoke to me about making sure I keep making investments in my life. He was pretty blunt with me!

“I had to change!” he said. “I couldn’t wait on my circumstances to change.”

Something boyish rose up within me. Something unsettlingly immature. A lot of men know what I’m talking about here…the feeling of the inner boy exclaiming, “no…I shouldn’t change! Why should I! Shouldn’t things just work the way they should! This is unfair! Why should I put in extra work!? I paid my dues!”

Looking back, it was the condition of my head and heart. But my mentor, with grace and mercy, let me know what the reality of it all is. We we have talked for years about the old thoughts and mindsets I used to have…the woundings from my boyhood and the responsibilities of manhood…everything that I needed to understand to be all that God created me to be! That helped…believe me!

Now, I was in advanced classes as I sat with my mentor and gained insight that years ago when we met I wouldn’t have been ready for.

If I want change in my life…real change…changes in my life spiritually, mentally, physically, financially….I would need to make investments. I would have to make the time. I would have to make…(gulps the inner boy)…sacrifices!

I had to let go of the notion that I “paid my dues” and that I was owed something. That was hard, because it seemed like I was waving the white flag to those who claim that others are “entitled” when in fact some claim it under the guise of self-proclaimed humility.

I also had to let go of the idea that “it was too much!” My friend told me, “you have everything you need!” He was right. It was time to simply grow up. It was time to make investments…and double up into the ones I have already made…into what mattered to me the most.

Faith.

Relationships.

Career.

Finance.

Entrepreneurship.

Writing

Cartooning.

I could only imagine what your list might be!

When you sacrifice and decide to change, from the way you think to the way you act and react, you began to approach things from a different perspective.