Hope is the engine that drives humanity…

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Image by Renegade98 via Flickr

I’m sure there has been plenty said about the impending Obama presidency but I’m going to say my $.02.

Its really hard to describe what this means to me, to many many people for that matter.  Its not the end all be all, but its a milestone that seemed impossible two years ago.  Barack Obama, a black American, taking the head of the most powerful office in the free world.  Its not coincidence that the world looked at this as an instantaneous moral and morale boost – we just, as a collective nation – looked past everything and did what the majority of citizens (majority by popular vote) thought would be best for this country and that happen to mean putting a minority into the oval office.

A country that can do that should be able to speak rationally with other cultures and religious states, shouldn’t it?  Should be able to be open to listening to all sides of a debate and making a good decision shouldn’t it?  Clearly should be able to give the minority voice of other nations the ear they want when all they want is an ear to listen to them to restore their dignity, shouldn’t it?

Thats called hope.  Instantaneous, street credentialed hope.  For that I’m incredibly pumped for this country.  I don’t feel like cringing when I think about my president going and speaking to other nations.  I don’t have that feeling that I have a loud, obnoxious friend with me in a fancy restaurant who I love dearly but I just know he/she’s doesn’t belong in an environment that people want to be civilized and not sloppy drunk.  That is all gone today.

For me personally, I guess even expecting him to win I wasn’t expecting alot of feelings I had to bubble to the surface.  My father is my hero and he taught me basically if you’re at a disadvantage, well then too bad, you just have to work harder than the others.  Energy you waste complaining could be energy that could be putting you ahead.  Something I took to heart never complaining about the disadvantages of being black in America because I’m pretty confident in my abilities.  But even so, there is a bit of an unspoken limit to what could be accomplished.  Or at least there was one.  That hit me yesterday.  How can there be a limit?  Even with people trying to hold you back or not giving you the same chance, Obama is the president, anything can happen.  Truly.

Thinking about the people who died just on the faith that this day would come if they marched, took beatings in non-violent protest, and even lost their lives so that I could see this day and my kids would be in a different world.  Lost their LIVES on faith in this country’s ability to adjust and the hope that their efforts would make this time possible…that hit me yesterday.

My kids…I hugged my daughter (she’s been sick).  And I did cry a little.  She doesn’t have to know that limit.  She’ll never know that limit.  I’ve always thought racism was so ignorant that it was comical; something just ripe for satire.  I truly appreciated things like The Chappelle Show and Wayans Brothers productions (like Hollywood Shuffle) because they used comedy to highlight the absurdity of racism.  I love that.  But the racism takes on a whole new level of rediculousness when the leader of the most powerful nation in the world is a black man.  My daughter is 3 years old.  I have a sincere hope that could come true now – that she really won’t understand how people could be seriously racist.  That hit me yesterday too.

I think thats how I look at it.  The people that I struggle with now will be long dead and buried by the time my girls are my age.  And while it feels good for me now to see all this worldwide credibility restored and faith in our own democracy’s ability to adjust restored, its really when I think about the things my daughters will never know is when I can find the energy and enthusiasm for life.  I often think about how technology will change things, in fact I think about it constantly.  Think about how my daughters will never wake up at 6am on a Saturday to watch their favorite Saturday Morning cartoon because they can just pull it up.  In fact, my 3 year old has a hard time understanding why if “Dora” can play in her room, why can’t she continue watching it downstairs on the TV (yeah, DirecTV DVR, why the f*** not?).

Today I can think about more significant things that I didn’t really think about because I didn’t see this happening and I didn’t know when it would.  Not knowing that limit or perception of limit.  Dealing with racism (as its clearly not gone) but having a very different perspective as the racism shouldn’t be a limit on what she can do anymore than any other corporate political situation.  No more excuses – yes, “the man” might be holding you back but YOU are the only one limiting yourself because being black isn’t even an excuse for not being the f***ing President of the United States anymore!!

No more excuses for not achieving.

To me personally, it inspires me further to understand the wine industry because the lack of minorities (not women obviously) still puzzles me.  I mean, I get the demographic thing and the “snooty” thing but thats changing with social media, folks like Gary V, new generations coming in, etc…yet for some reason this industry is simply monochromatic.

No more excuses…

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Still alive and kicking…

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Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

As a fugitive of the cubicle nation I’ve learned a few interesting things.  Some about myself and some about actually jumping ship and really trying to get things going.  In fact, I don’t have much time today but this blog is an important part of my life and I don’t want it to go dark for too long.

So its about three months since I was officially “jumped” and the main thing I’ve learned is this – have your shit together, ducks in a row, and get ready because having little visibility into where the money is going to come from is a scary thing.  Don’t let all these entrepreneurs tell you “oh yeah, just do it; shit or get off the pot; blah blah blah”.  All crap.  There is NOTHING impulsive about jumping ship and going it alone.

If you’re part of the cubicle nation you’ve most likely gotten extremely good at your job and that gives you confidence to “give it a try”.  Recognize this – while you may be a genius in your field, you do NOT know everything you should to go it alone.  Go into it with your eyes open and allow yourself to “know what you don’t know”.  Business development, marketing, networking, tech services, administrative assistant, bookkeeper, customer support, legal secretary, etc…

Its not that you CAN’T do all this stuff, but just know that you’ll need to plan some time where you don’t have money (or assume you don’t) figure out how you’ll pull that off – assuming no income – and then when you’re OK with that you can go for it.  Because what will happen is things will take longer then you think and you need to make sure you’re not rushed into bad decisions for your business just because of the uneasy feeling that “no visibility” gives you.  In fact, you want to figure out everything I mentioned in the previous paragraph as a way to give yourself visibility into your business and the more visibility you have the better you’ll feel about the jump.

Next – you can’t get away from politics.  Now granted, there are no office politics unless you want to count arguments over why the dogs haven’t been walked in a week and the potential of withholding of certain marital obligations as politics.  But the politics that I’m talking about are around meeting new people, making a name for yourself, and building your business.  I’m not big on politics and generally as a consultant, even early in building the business, I tell it like it is, turn down business that while I’m perfectly capable of doing the work, it doesn’t add to my “portfolio” if you will.  Its a tricky thing breaking into new markets and its clear that there are “circles” everywhere you go.  I’ve always known that and I’ve been ready for it.  But its more important to understand that going into it then I would’ve thought before making the leap.  So I think its important to communicate that out – You are not getting away from politics by escaping from the cubicle nation; you are just dealing with a different type of politics.  So “how to gain friends and influence people” is still an important skill!!

OK, I have to run but I think I’ll be doing more and more around communicating my Cubicle Nation Fugitive experiences as they seem to be coming fast and furious and they are actually interesting as I learn from this.

Cheers!

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