The Best Version of You | My new book is available

I am very excited about finally having this book in my hands. Hard work is always worth it, regardless of how long it takes.

The Best Version of You is a self-help book designed to introduce new skills and concepts for anyone to use when they’re facing adversity, feeling lost and out of focus, wanting to make changes in their lives, or simply wanting to update themselves.

We update our phones, our computers, and our software, but honestly, when was the last time we updated ourselves?

The book is available on Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle:

Xlibris Publishing:

Are you in the driver or passenger seat of your RAS?

What you think about the most, will consume you. It will activate your Reticular Activating System (RAS).

The reticular activating system is a short, pencil-sized piece of the brain located just above where the spinal cord is attached to the brain. It acts as the gatekeeper of information between most sensory systems and the conscious mind.

Examples:

  1. You purchase new shoes for the gym. You honestly believe they are unique but over the next couple of days, you start noticing other people have the same shoes. Did they buy them because you did? No, obviously not. They’ve always had them but now these shoes are in your awareness. Therefore, you notice them. It turns out, these must be great shoes because other people are buying them, too.
  2. You start believing that people always get hurt in the gym, regardless of their skill set. Therefore, you take notice every time someone gets dinged up or seriously injured. It is all you can focus on. Do people get injured in the gym? Of course, that’s part of Murphy’s Law. However, because injuries are in your awareness, you notice them more than usual. Because of this mindset, you hold back in the gym because you don’t want to be the next person to get hurt. This is also your confirmation bias working against you.

These examples demonstrate how you need to be careful about what you’re thinking. If it upsets you, disappoints you, or goes against your values–why are you wasting your time with it? What is the:

  • Purpose
  • Goal
  • Objective
  • Benefit
  • Value

If it doesn’t support any of these things, eliminate it from your life.

“Where focus goes, energy flows.” -Tony Robbins

My dislike for video games does not consume me.

I don’t care for video games. But I won’t make the mistake of constantly thinking (or talking) about why I don’t like them. It serves no purpose and takes valuable time away from things that I value. I would rather reallocate my time to focus on things that help me win at life.

I love people that are focused on maximizing their potential. They don’t spend their day focusing on what they don’t like. Instead, they focus on what they do like and how they can multiply it. Because my filter is calibrated on this mindset, I notice people that are like this. If I didn’t like these kind of people, I would never notice them even if they were all around me.

Driver seat: You focus on positivity, it is in your awareness, and you set yourself up to win.

Passenger seat: You focus on things you don’t like, you hunt them down because they’re in your awareness, and you fuel disappointment.

The Challenges of being a Male Advocate

I have been a sexual assault victim advocate for 9 years and a proud supporter of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Helping people cultivate change is very important to me. However, being a male advocate in this field is very challenging. Therefore, I wanted to write this blog to help current and future male advocates. Please feel free to share this information.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month training – 2013

Congratulations on your decision to become a volunteer advocate. Advocacy is an instrument for change. As a volunteer, you will help facilitate the ambivalent and recovery phases of victims (survivors) of sexual assault.

Your commitment is a representation of the (Your Agency Name) and supporting agencies. Meaning, you are the face of multiple agencies that share one common goal: serve survivors of sexual assault without allowing any of your biases to interfere.

Whenever I am facilitating training, I always ask this question: “What is the number one thing you notice about me?” [Which is the best answer]

  1. You are committed to helping people.
  2. You’re a male advocate.
  3. You are just going through the motions and do not really care about this topic. (check-the-block mentality)
  4. You facilitate this training way too much.

If you answered 2, you are correct. Although answer 1 is valid, it is not a major factor. Wanting to help people and actually doing it are not always the same thing. I usually get a few laughs and an occasional shoulder shrug. “Why does that even matter?” With the way society is today—thanks to television shows, movies, magazines, music videos, advertisements, and social media—it matters a lot.

Being a male advocate in a female-dominated field can be incredibly challenging and exhausting if you are not prepared. Preparation is the key. Here are some examples of the stereotypes you might be up against:

  • “Wait—why are you here? You’re a male…”
  • “You’re an advocate? Why?”
  • “I’m sorry but—she is not going to want to see you because you’re a guy.”
  • “I appreciate you doing what you do. However, we normally recommend that a woman responds to these types of events. I’m sure you understand, right?”
  • “Are you trained for this?”
  • “Wait—you volunteered to be an advocate? But, you’re a guy!”

These are just a small sample of the obstacles you can face as an advocate. They might sound like the worst-case scenarios because they are. The reason why you need to consider the worst-case scenarios is because you need to prepare yourself to hear things that you’re not expecting. Keep in mind, these are comments that you might hear before you even see the survivor. When you’re talking to the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or hospital staff, you are in a safe environment. Meaning, your body language and emotional reactions to these comments should not impact the survivor. However, once you receive permission to enter the survivor’s room—there is no room for you to demonstrate how uncomfortable you are with these types of comments.

Not everything is about you. Leave your ego (h-ego) out in the waiting room.

The fact is, if you are not willing or prepared to take criticism——due to the fact you are a male—then this is not for you. That might sound very harsh but it is true. Allowing your pride and ego to get in your way does not serve survivors. If anything, it insults them. It is not always about you.

How do you get better at handling these types of situations? I highly recommend you incorporate Push Back scenarios into your training. This will help condition you to handle real-time resiliency.

What will using Push Back scenarios and exercises do for you as a male advocate?

  • It will condition you to handle circumstances that you are not expecting.
  • You will become a better advocate.
  • You will become a better facilitator and leader.
  • It will help you understand how other people feel about this topic, to include how they feel about male advocates.

Resources:

Ohio Men’s Action Network (OHMAN): https://ohman-ohio.org/

A Call to Men: http://www.acalltomen.org/

The Next Generation of Manhood (A Call to Men): https://youtu.be/GG9fefzuFWs

Are You Proactive or Reactive?

How you start your day will determine if you’re going to be proactive or reactive. It is the difference between winning or losing.

Reactive: You wait until things happen and when they don’t, you allow your confirmation bias to manifest them. External circumstances are your master.

External circumstances control your emotions and day.

If you check social media, emails, or focus on what’s stressing you–prior to doing anything else–you will condition your mind to be reactive. This mindset will run your day.

Proactive: You don’t wait for things to happen, you make them happen. Everything you do is focused on helping you win.

You plan your day around your priorities, not external circumstances.

If you train your mind to have an attitude for gratitude, you will own the day instead of the day owning you. Being grateful and cognizant of the things that matter will not leave any room for your mind to drift.

Social media and emails can be important, depending on what you do for a living. However, just like stress in general, they don’t run your day–you do.

Being reactive does not serve your future.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I proactive?
  2. Am I reactive?
  3. Does my behavior impact my day?
  4. Does my behavior serve my goals and vision?
  5. What is my plan of action? [If necessary]

Additional tips to help you win: Take Control of Your Morning

Recognize What You Love | An Attitude For Gratitude

The world would be a better place if we focused on things that we love, instead of what hate or dislike. That is why I highly recommend you develop an attitude for gratitude. Here are just a few things to consider:

  • I love people regardless of their gender.
  • I love people regardless of their age.
  • I love people regardless of the color of their skin.
  • I love people regardless of their sexual orientation.
  • I love people regardless of their political affiliation.
  • I love people regardless of their abilities and disabilities.
  • I love people regardless of their looks.
  • I love people that have a different opinion as me.
  • I love people for their uniqueness.
  • I love people for their originality.
  • I love people that challenge me and other people.
  • I love people that are obsessed with success.
  • I love people that are comfortable in their own skin.
  • I love people that value doing what’s right.
  • I love people that understand and practice selfless service.
  • I love people that choose not to conform to society.
  • I love people that support equality.
  • I love people that take ownership of the failures and success.
  • I love people that don’t settle for their comfort zones.
  • I love people that crave self-development and self-improvement.
  • I love people that understand when love is not always the answer.
  • I love people that recognize when something is not for them.
  • I love people that welcome the next chapter in their life.
  • I love people that are not afraid to take a stand.
  • I love people that challenge themselves.
  • I love people that can control their confirmation bias.
  • I love people that can identify their thinking traps.
  • I love people that own their happiness.
  • I love people that can fight off the comparison trap.
  • I love people.
Love, happiness, and positivity create winning streaks.

This list could go on and on because once you recognize what you love or what you’re grateful for, you will begin to notice more and more things. Love, happiness, and positivity create winning streaks. Set yourself up to win.