Tag Archives: education

How A Recharge is SO CRUCIAL!

I just got back from Washington D.C., initially for a conference (where I learned a lot and became reinvigorated in economic development) but stayed a couple of days to enjoy the city, reflect, and recharge before the consistent grind I will have in Dallas this fall.  It’s probably one of the best choices I made this year.  I was starting to flame out, and was starting to get discouraged.  Though I couldn’t afford a vacation (timing’s bad), I was able to hang out with friends and see new sights in a different land, where I’m just one of many, so I can refuel for Dallas.

I want to share a few points I thought of on my flight home:

It’s important to have a different environment for reflection/reset

I’ve tried to have stay-cations, or relax in Dallas, but it doesn’t work for me.  I’m involved in too many things that can pull my attention from resting, therefore not being productive.  For me, I have to physically remove myself from my day-to-day tasks in order to disconnect from it entirely.  This doesn’t have to be the case for everyone, as people can lock themselves in their house and watch Netflix, or turn off their phone to do the same thing.  Me going to another city (or somewhere that’s not Dallas) is very therapeutic; I’m able to hit the “reset” button while observing things that may be able to work in Dallas to improve the city.

Enjoy where you are fully; let go of stresses/burdens from other situations

The one thing I tried not to do, was to take Dallas with me during my R and R time.  I was responsive during the conference, as I was working, but during the weekend, it was my time.  I didn’t respond to emails, I didn’t worry about what was going on in Dallas, I just enjoyed DC.  By doing this, I was able to feel good about where I was Sunday night, and was able to work Monday morning (I was still in DC, but letting everything go for two days showed me a couple of opportunities I can do up there).

Once your back in your normal environment, GO HARD!

This morning, I woke up, and started SPRINTING!  There’s a lot of things I need to catch up on, and new stresses that appeared, but I’m able to have a fresh perspective and rejuvenated spirit to take them on.  I advise people to go all in when you first arrive from vacation so you can set a tone of intensity and purpose.

The one thing that’s starting to sink in from advice numerous people have told me in the past is to take time for myself…  I get it now. I’m not taking weeks off, or going to the moon, it was an extra two days after a conference I attended, but those two days positively affected me!  I’m ready to take on the World!!!

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It’s Important to Process, but don’t miss the moment of impact (That’s B.S…. I’m Talking About Privilege)

I started doing it again…  Sitting/thinking/processing….  entering “Paralysis by Analysis” stages in certain aspects of my life.

I was reminded last week that I shouldn’t do that because too much analysis will bring in a culture of “political correctness” and uninteresting commentary, but later on there was an incident that reinforced my character-flaw:

That evening, I was enjoying time after a long day of work with my friends (of different races, profession, and relationship statues) at North Park before going to AMC to watch Marvels Ant-Man.  Our last conversation was concerning race and the table next to us (two white young women) told us to “Shut the fuck up”… Maybe it was the saki bomb I just had, but I noticed most tables on the patio were monolithic- blacks were with blacks, whites with whites, and so on…  As I looked at them, both my friend I was arguing with (who is white) and I were in sock; he was pissed, I was scarred (not of what they said, or what I wanted to tell them, but the effects/ramifications of my actions in Preston Hollow) that after all of the subjects we’ve talked about in 2 hours, they decide to comment (destructively) on race in America; this has another blog post that I’m working on… don’t want to go too far on this road for this post.

I have to continually think about my thoughts and actions:  As an African-American man in America, 6 feet tall, larger than an average white person (as this is relevant to this discussion because our society is still controlled by white males and their influences), voicetrous, and can (and will) state my opinion on matters, so I can have an OPPORTUNITY to accomplish what I want.  In this society, if I falter, I can easily be oust from the main population as a convict, trouble-maker, or even die.  I’m sorry, but all of this goes through my head every time I make an opinion of something in public, or when I accidentally bump into someone I don’t know, or write a post that can ruffle feathers.  In effect, this can cause me (and others like me) to error on the side of caution, or not even acknowledge it-which both are detrimental not only to my ego, but the healing of America.  Do you have to go through these thoughts?  If not, then you are privileged.

Back to the “topic” of this blog:  Before you judge anyone, please be sure to walk in their shoes first.  We all have things to improve on, meaning no one is perfect, and EVERYONE is flawed… So friends, If you don’t see anything new on my website, please feel free to reach out to me; it’s not because I don’t have anything to write, I may be processing things so much that I won’t express my thoughts.  Shake me out of that, please?  That’s how we all improve in this society.

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Surround Yourself w/ Purposeful People

It’s around 11 p.m. and I’m on my laptop wrapping up some work.  In the mist of completing my tasks, I reflect on my day… It was a GREAT day.  Like, I’m still smiling type of day….  Like, I  KNOW I need to get ready for bed because I have long day tomorrow but can’t because I have so much energy day.  No, my stock didn’t spike at the right time, nor did I find a bag of money or hit the lottery, but the interactions I’ve had with people (my peers) really felt like a million bucks.

This normally doesn’t call for an extraordinary message post; I interact with people all the time (I’m an extrovert, this is what I do)…  Today, however, was different because I’m not thinking solely on my interactions with the public, but am recognizing HOW I have people in my life; remembering where I was (and how I met them), knowing where I am currently (and how I can retain such great people), and planning on where I want to me in the future (and having the appropriate people mold me).

I had several observations in my interactions with people who positively influence me:

  •  They are from backgrounds that are FAR DIFFERENT than mine:  I want to make this point because normally I’d like to go and find comfort in an environment that I have similar connections with…  However, the more I expose myself to not only different people, but different places, cultures, ideas, etc., the more I see and appreciate things that are “not traditionally” my source of comfort.   This is not always the case, but I’ve learned to open-my eyes to see the similarities we have w/ people instead of the differences.
  • They had something that I can help them with:  The assistance was a two-way street.  I didn’t feel like I was wrongfully indebted, nor did they treat me like a charity case because they were able to help me, and I was able to help them.
  • Their mission and goals involved improving society in one way or another:  Though not the exact goal, most of the people I interacted with today wanted to help other people or systems.

I had at least a dozen interactions with people like this today.  I’m so blessed to be in a position where I can learn from people that can positively motivate and inspire me.  The moral of the story is to surround yourself with purposeful people.  There will be plenty of people who wan to drain your energy, goals, and aspirations like a leech.  They exist in your family, amongst your friends, and in strangers who haven’t met yet.  Try to avoid paralysis at all cost; you don’t need to avoid them per se (we are in this world to influence others), but avoid their attempts to drag you down, and don’t stay in a prolonged period of time with them in their poisonous state.

Just as there are bad people, there are also good people who just need a good word or attitude to turn their attitude around.  A constant interaction with people with a plan, goal, or aspiration will result in you improving your life. If you hang with purposeful people, influence them, allow them to inspire you, and evangelize to all people to become great, then we will make this a better place.

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A New Day in Dallas Leadership: Let’s Make The Most of It!

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Yesterday morning, I was honored to attend the City of Dallas Council Inauguration ceremony at the Meyerson Symphony Center.  Yes, it was a grandiose occasion where dignitaries, civic leaders, role models, even our future (shout out to the Parks and Rec Department for sending a couple of summer camps to witness this event) were in attendance, but that’s not why I was excited.  Yes, it’s believed to be one of the youngest councils in Dallas’ history, speaking volumes based on the historical decision makers of the city and how this affects young intellectuals views of Dallas proper, but THAT didn’t even excite me, either.  For the first time, I had several friends (and one former teacher-she taught me AP Government) who were starting their career as a city policy maker, and I felt very proud of them.  I’m witnessing people who I’ve learned from and worked with in “the movement” achieve one of their goals, and  I’m extremely happy for them.  They have all worked hard the last several months (and years) to get to this point, and they deserve to enjoy this time….

This entry isn’t designed to be a very long message, I just want to thank the 15 people who will be doing the work of the people of Dallas; from enduring hours long of council meetings, becoming target practice at town hall meetings, not feeling appreciated for the daily decisions made to better the city, and sacrificing their time, energy, and talents from their families to help the greater good.  You are true leaders who will be admired, acknowledged, and appreciated for the work you will do to help your constituents.

With that, I trust you all are doing this for the right reason; to make ALL of Dallas a better city.  You all are the city’s highest ranking officials; the realization that, if different people from different backgrounds can work together and create a solution for the greater good, then ALL of the city will benefit.  Do you notice I’m emphasizing ALL, lol.

Everyone on that stage motivated me.  I was able to see the bigger picture, and want to make sure I’m able to do what I need in order to make your job effective at the horseshoe.  We need both policy makers and the citizens to pull their weight in order make this work, and I’m willing to do just that.

Let’s make Dallas Great!

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Life long learning

Thank you Phillip for writing this blog!  It was great catching up with you and I love what you are doing w/ your family, your community, and uplifting people ensuring their financial stability.  Keep up the GREAT work!

To look at his message, click on the link below:

Life long learning.

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It’s the First of the Month!!! A GREAT Time to Build a New Habit!

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”

-Aristotle

I woke up this morning refreshed (mainly because there have been no nightly NBA Playoff games in the past couple of days, lol); I had a restful weekend, was able to do some yard work, admired the long-awaited sun after the weeks of rain, was comforted my mother arrived home from her travels, effectively planned/prepared for the following week, but most importantly, realized the next day was the 1st of the month!  No, not because I was picking up a check to chill (90’s rap humor), but because it gives me a chance to build a positive habit!  A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary (thanks http://www.dictionary.com).  Habits can be both beneficial or detrimental to your way of life. Habits also are always formed, whether you like it or not; you determine if you want to have a positive or negative routine.

habits-wordle1

Again, I really appreciate the first of the month falling on a Monday because it helps my mind establish a goal and track my progress; with most people’s work week starting on a Monday, it’s natural for us to get the shenanigans out of our system during our personal time and start fresh when it’s time to perform at the beginning of the work week.

Studying this word cloud above, I notice the words that are most associated with habits: life, control, positive, habitual, free. Theses terms are synonymous with my future aspirations, but in order to add or enhance these traits, habits must be formed to create consistency, which builds character, which in effect creates/perpectuates a positive reputation.

I’m challenging myself (and would like to challenge my friends and the world) to build on my brand by creating one more positive habit this month.  There are numerous aspects of your life where you can create positive habits; your health and well-being, professional, social, intellectual, technological, relational, etc.  You must put in the work to appreciate your value (this is your personal investment-hmmmm… sounds like another blog topic).  Studies show that habits are formed between 21-30 days, so use the month of June to kick-start your perfomance for the 2nd half of the year!

HAVE A GREAT MONTH!

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TCU Commercial of EMBA Program

A special thanks to the Neely School of Business Executive MBA Program for highlighting me on one of their promotional commercials!

I really learned A LOT from the program and suggest any Transformational Leader to participate!

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News clip: WFAA Daybreak: 4-20-12

My Little, Da’Lon Reynolds, and I were on WFAA TV (Channel 8 in Dallas) for a news segment promoting Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS).  BBBS is a great organization to join!

WFAA Ch. 8 Daybreak

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He Needs More Seasoning…

As I watch the race for the Dallas Independent School District Board of Trustee seat in District 9, I am enthralled (and disappointed) at the race between incumbent Bernadette Nuttal and her opponent, Damarcus Offord.

I’m drawn to this race in particular because Mr. Offord is taking a stance for what he believes in (something that I love to see in Young African American men).  Damarcus is a man (not a boy) who wants to make an impact in his community and make a name for him.  He has a goal, a mission, direction to do something positive in South Dallas and does not mind illuminating that to the mainstream; something that needs to be done to show that not all black men are negative contributors to society.  This excites me because these are the precursors to a great leader, not just in his South Dallas community, but potentially in America.

His energy and enthusiasm, however, is over shattered by his naiveté.  He lacks preparation in debates, knowledge in district matters (inside and out of District 9), and the ability to clearly articulate his ideas (an area where I feel WE failed him).  It’s one thing to be a voice of an unheard population, but once you have the microphone, you need to be able to say something.  That’s when prior proper studying, preparation, review, and counsel from mentors are very important.

I remember times in high school and college when my parents would either attend a performance or hear me speak at a function, my father (greatest critic) would say, “Matt, you need more seasoning.”  This would frustrate me and irritate me until I realized of what he meant years later.  He didn’t tell me to quit because I was no good, he just noticed I wasn’t at a point of proficiency and instructed me to increase my ceiling of learning so I can study more, refine, and improve on a product so it can be the best.

I like Damarcus Offord’s energy and enthusiasm to make an impact in his community.  Those are characteristics that are needed to serve people.  However, I feel that he needs more time to sharpen some skills in order to be a more effective leader.  He needs people in his camp to push him academically as well as politically and civically.  Like me after a performance in high school or college, Damarcus is doing the right things, he just needs to get better, and be willing to work on those skills.  I’m willing to assist him with what he needs.

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Intangible Solutions For A Tangible Problem

Recently, the state of education in America has been a hot topic (and rightfully so).  With growing competition abroad, the reauthorization of education policy, and the state of the economy, people all over the country are panicking for solutions.  Though there are large, policy-changing answers we can find to improve the system, there are also small, intangible solutions every day Americans can do in order to enhance the education of our young people.

For the past five years, I’ve worked in an organization that supports and supplements the instruction of the teacher.  In doing so, I’ve been able to experience the problems faced by the teacher.  I realize teachers have a lot of things they need to do in order to educate kids.  With overcrowded classrooms, lack of supplies, and long processes, it’s very difficult for teachers to educate students alone.  What my company is able to do is provide assistance, bringing in people to confirm everything the teacher just instructed.  By doing this, students start making connections; they realize teachers are not instructing for their own health, and when the same thing is said from another person who has “swag” or they can relate to the student, then a connection is made.  The education system is starting to improve.

I wonder, is there a connection with establishing a positive relationship with America’s future and the improvement of education?  Is our society built on nourishing tomorrow or is it worried about what we can get today?  We love to talk about our posterity and how we need to invest in the future today, but do we practice what we preach?  It is evident that we are lacking in compassion for our youth (automatic rejection of their music, ignoring their viewpoint, disengagement of their actions).  THIS IS STUPID ON OUR PART!!!!

One thing these young people have that we didn’t is the instant access to information.  They can Google on their phone and broadcast whatever they find to the whole world in seconds.  As adults, our responsibility is to:

  • Develop a good report/relationship with our children
  • Listen to their ideas/thoughts
  • Advise/Teach/Discipline them the appropriate plans of actions (based from experience)
  • Developing an environment for nurturing, learning and loving

Is this easy: no.   The hardest stage in any process is implementation.  It takes energy, effort, and patience.  There are some stupid brats who don’t want to listen.  We can’t save everyone.  Our job is to make ourselves available so we can be in a position to teach/help someone who wants to improve.  It takes a village to raise a child.  Let’s not leave our children behind.

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