Allow me to share some inspiration for us all. Allow me to tell you about 12 hours I spent in a level-2 max security prison.
Do you think people deserve a second chance? No matter what? Cat Hoke of Defy Ventures does. She welcomes inmates with horrible past actions/mistakes to embrace the regret and remorse as catalysts of change, but to shed shame. Shame has no place in a productive today and tomorrow. Shed shame, forgive and accept yourself, and then do the hard, hard work of improvement and preparation. Good lessons for us all I think.
I spent a day with people who were in prison for some abhorrent past actions, including murder. I spent a day with people who were vibrant, positive, engaged, optimistic, warm, kind, hopeful, scared, and hesitant. Many of them do not believe themselves worthy of a second chance. But Cat Hoke helps them see that they do.
Imagine being one of these inmates. Imagine being locked in a level-2 security prison with a few thousand other inmates – many of whom, needless to say, are not all remorseful regretful and looking for positive change. Imagine the intimidation of wondering how to figure out your worklife after lockup. Imagine how hard it must be to figure out how to apply to jobs, to present yourself and interview, or to give an entrepreneurial pitch to a panel of Venture Capitalist sharks, or to simply converse freely with people who have been active in business and life for the 15 years you spent locked in a cell. Now, imagine not just overcoming the fear and intimidation but also actually doing the hard work to succeed in all these challenges. Staggering challenges. And yet, the men with whom I had the pleasure to spend a day with at Valley State Prison did just that. Wow! Respect.
I judged a business pitch competition along with some Vc’s and other volunteers from Silicon Valley. We didn’t just judge. We bared souls too. And there was even some dancing. But mostly we humanized each other.
And they did great. They stood in front of a table of professionals waiting to judge them and they stated their business value prop, their competitive edge, sales/marketing plans, financial numbers, and asked (always remember the ask!) for what they needed – mentoring, investment, etc. They took questions well. They took feedback even better. In short, they impressed. Despite all the anchors to their past, all the challenges of the present and all the intimidation of the future, they impressed. I am so excited for those that get released and how they will succeed (graduates of Cat’s program have just 3% recidivism rate!).
SO HERES THE THING. The future of work is hard for everyone – everyone. But those who take control of their own worklife, keep up with new training, education and skills, and self advocates for better work – Those people WILL succeed. To be in this successful group, you need to let go of emotional anchors from the past, find the energy to do the work in the present and push through any fear and intimidation of the future. If felons with horrible past mistakes can find the path to self-forgiveness, can’t we all? If convicts with no freedom and resources can figure out new skills, can’t we all? If people who don’t interact in free society at all can push through intimidation and fear of the future – and of rejection, cant we all?
Yes, we can!
Yes, I am inspired to do more in my own life on all three aspects – forgive self, find time today, less fear of tmw. So, yes, I do believe in second chances, Cat. And I am inspired by a group of men who all wish they could go back in time and change things. But they cannot. So they don’t waste any more time looking back or dragging shame forward. They focus on being better today. They do the hard work. They don’t get discouraged. That’s a pretty good formula for us all.
I went to prison to help others. I came out of prison being the person who was most helped.
POSTSCRIPT FOR EMPLOYERS: Our society rightly demands punishment for crimes. But, parole is meant to be parole – not another phase of a life sentence. These aren’t just felons and convicts – they are people. And people change. If you do not consider people with past convictions in your hiring process, please consider changing. Not because it helps the 22 million Americans who have past convictions – but because these men and women are an overlooked valuable resource for your talent acquisition strategy. Think of the stamina, strength and passion to overcome these challenges. Now think of harnessing that for your business…
I will win. Why? I'll tell you why- because I have faith, courage and enthusiasm. Today, I'll meet the right people in the right place at the right time for the betterment of all. I see opportunity in every challenge. I'm terrific at remembering names! When I fail, I look at what I did right, not at what I did wrong. I have clearly defined goals. I never take advice from anyone more messed up than I am. I am a Winner, a contributor, an achiever. I believe in me.
I am not sure who needs to hear this BUT i am a woman of many beliefs, I wish for you to put your best foot from here on out, drown out all negativity and keep going, keep your head up because i promise you, whatever you are working towards will be worth it in the end! If you do not have faith you will not succeed, if you do not try hard and be unflappable you will not survive, stop digging yourself a deeper hole of sadness, life goes on and you will be alright despite ANYTHING that may happen to you or a loved one, life is all about having FAITH in ones self and BELIEVING even when there is NO sign that things will get better but everything is temporary so please DO NOT stop now, dont let yourself down! you have the power, you have the strength and knowledge to uplift your spirit and hold yourself up!! #motivation #inspiration #wordsofadvice #determination #advice #inspirational #1
In my last company there was a challenge put forward by one of our clients. The name of the game was to provide the most economic and viable solution. We priced out some options but I was driven to form a new option myself. I 3D modeled and 3D printed on my own machine over 1000 unit of this creation which were sent to the field. That's my optimization of creativity, making the solution come to life.
WE are a few hours away from the 2019 Citywide Jobfair and YOU GOT THIS!.
Be Confident! This is going to be great for 4 reasons.
1) YOU ROCK! In all of human history there is no one like you. You have a lot to offer employers to help them achieve their goals. You know this. You have already shown how motivated you are by signing up and showing up. Focus on the best aspects of you when you talk to them today and be sure to translate why that is good for them. (i.e. I'm really good with people, so when I work retail customers tend to come back all the time increasing your floor traffic). etc. Point is - be confident - and dont be afraid to brag a bit. You deserve it and they want to know it.
2) EMPLOYERS NEED YOU. 100 employers are here to hire people. They dont want to turn people down, they want to get people in. This is your game to lose. Its a tight labor market and they need hires. And they want great hires. You are a great hire.
3) CUL and JOBCASE GOT YOUR BACK! We will be all over this fair to help answer questions, give support and advice, and make sure you have a good time.
4) ICE CREAM! In addition to professional head shot photos that you can get and other resources inside the job fair - we have ice cream trucks for after. (everything better with ice cream!).
So, Dress for success today. Dont forget to wear a smile. And please say Hi! I can't wait to meet Chicago Jobcasers in person and the rest of the team feels the same.
Get psyched. this is gonna be a GREAT DAY! And Good Luck!
Your friend, Fred
Let us not forget, on this Memorial Day, the many men & women who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy, prosper and live in free society. Always remember the following. It is the soldier, not the reporter who calls himself a journalist, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the university/college campus organizer, who has given us the right to demonstrate. It is the soldier, not the ambulance chasing lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trail. It is the all those men & women in uniform, not the priest/pastor, who has given us the right to worship as we deem fit. It is the soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote. It is those in uniform who salute and honor our flag, serves under the flag, writes a blank check for their life and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives the protestor the right to burn our flag. Always remember life without honor is no life at all you merely exist but you do not live. IN VALOR THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.
In the end it will okay. If it isn't okay then it isn't the end. Just keep moving foward. Strive to be a better person. No matter how much life knocks you down just know that you are strong enough to pick youself up.