I have officially signed with Xlibris Publishing (The same Publisher I used for my 1st book, Crematory.) My new book is called:
The Best Version of You
Although the book is in the (publishing) production phase, it still could be 1-3 months before it is available. This process usually takes some time, due to the attention to detail aspect.
Note: The official cover will be released at a later date.
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, out of focus, wanting to make changes in their life, or simply wanting to update themselves. We update our phones, our computers, and software but honestly—when is the last time we updated ourselves?
Be honest: how many times have you thought to yourself, I look like a fool right now and people are laughing at me? If you’re anything like most of the people on this planet, this has probably happened to you at least 5-6 times. As much as we don’t like to admit, we are way too hard on ourselves (Negative Self Image) and we put words in other people’s mouths. (Mind Reading)
“They’re laughing at my shirt.”
“My coworkers think I’m an idiot.”
“The panel probably noticed when I accidentally used the wrong word during my interview.”
“Nobody trips over their own feet while working.”
These are just some of the examples of things people say to themselves. For some reason, people have a tendency to gravitate toward negative aspects of themselves. At least, what they believe to be negative.
Focus on what matters.
The truth is, 80% of the things you’re stressing or worrying about, other people don’t even notice. Why? Because they’re too busy stressing and worrying about themselves. People are not perfect. They’ve never been perfect and they never will be. Yet, our comparison trap leads us to believe they’re perfect and we’re insufficient. In fact, everything about us is subpar.
[Read more about the comparison trap in my upcoming book:The Best Version of You.]
“Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.” — Les Brown
Here are 3 things to help calibrate your thinking:
Stop stressing. People honestly don’t notice when you say something wrong or trip over your own feet. If they do, that’s ok — they’ll eventually do the same thing.
Stop overthinking and mind reading. Unless you have evidence to support your concern, stop overthinking and mind reading. For example: “John, I heard what you said and you sounded ridiculous.” Did they actually say that or do you think they said it? Information changes the situation. Ask yourself: What information do I have and what am I missing? Assumptionsdo not = reality.
Focus on what matters. What people think of you should have no impact on your goals, daily activities, beliefs, and life in general. Worrying about other people is a waste of your valuable time. It serves no purpose and will simply elevate your stress. (You will catastrophize.) Focusing on what will create winning streaks is how you will take your life to the next level. Small things are the secret. Do the little things every single day.
No matter how hard it gets, you have to keep moving forward. People are not thinking about you as much as you think — they’re honestly not. The more time you spend on trying to please them, the less time you’ll have to work on yourself.
Self Discipline vs Self Destruction
Self Discipline: Focus on yourself and ignore external noise.
Self Destruction: Focus on other people and listen/accept external and internal noise.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month
Every year the LGBT community is faced with difficult questions and comments, such as:
“Why don’t we have a heterosexual Pride Month?”
“Why is this even a thing?”
“Why do I always have to see this stuff?”
“This is ruining social media and television.”
“Why do they have to remind me of this, every year?”
“These people are annoying…”
“Why don’t we have a heterosexual Pride Month?”
Although everyone has the right to ask questions and express their opinion — it is still important to think before you ask or comment.
Information changes the situation. As discussed in the About – LGBT link, everything has a meaning. Plus, regardless of what people think or believe, everyone deserves something to celebrate and be happy about.
As a sexual assault victim advocate, a man, a father, a husband, a human, an ally, and someone that values basic human rights: supporting LGBT rights are extremely important to me. This community holds a very special place in my heart. For that reason, I am a proud member of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community uses the rainbow flag
(commonly known as the gay flag or pride flag), which has different colors to represent the diversity of the community. Here are a few examples:
At the end of the day, LGBT Pride Month is about the celebration of people loving other people. Even if you don’t believe in this, due to religious or personal beliefs, it doesn’t matter because everything can’t always be about you. There are 7 billion unique people on this planet and it would be a tragedy if we were all the same.
Seeing people happy or in love, regardless if they’re heterosexual or LGBT, should bring a smile to your face. That is what life is all about. No, it is not teaching children something bad. Judging, labeling, or even committing a hate crime because you disagree with someone’s sexual orientation is what’s teaching children bad things. Personally, I would prefer having my children grow up in an environment where everyone is happy in their own unique way, then have them grow up in an environment filled with hate or worse — the fear of them self-identifying as LGBT. To me, this world has no place for that. After all, it is 2019, not 1419.
Regardless if people disagree with your lifestyle, your hobbies, your likes, your dislikes, your character, and even if your personality — don’t you dare apologize for your originality. It doesn’t matter if you’re: a man, a woman, weird, popular, religious, an atheist, white, black, straight, LGBTQ, a hard worker, a lazy individual, short, or tall — you are unique.
Not a single human on this planet has the exact same thumbprint as you. They might be close but they’ll never be exactly like you.
That means you’re incredibly special. Yes, there will be days where you might question yourself and your purpose. You might have to make necessary changes and updates, depending on where you’re at in your life. However, those are usually just external things.
Stop letting the world stick a finger in your face and determine your value. You are a brilliant creation. This is your story and you need to be the only one that continues to write it.
Yesterday I had the honor of co-hosting our 3rd annual Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month(SAAPM) 5k Color Run/Walk Event at Rickenbacker (Columbus), Ohio. This was a joint operation that involved four branches of services.
Reference my post: SAAPM 2018 for additional information about Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month.
This event was designed to bring awareness to sexual assault survivors, sexual harassment, and prevention/bystander intervention. I want to personally thank the victim advocates, chain of command, volunteers, the participants (100+), and most importantly, my friend and mentor, Captain J. Green (121 ARW SARC).
I can honestly say, the entire month was a huge success. The In Their Honor event on the 20th was truly unique, we had tons of participation for National Denim Day on the 25th. The culminating event was the 5k Color Run/Walk Event on the 27th of April.
Again, I want to thank everyone for this amazing journey and I am positive the 2019 events will be even better.
“We are the force behind the fight to achieve culture change.”
Note: The photo used for the cover is from the 2017 5k Color/Walk Run Event. The official photos have not been published, yet.
As a long-time Victim Advocate (VA) and Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), I cannot begin to express how important this month is to the advocacy community. This is our opportunity to honor survivors and co-survivors of sexual assault, as well as victims of sexual harassment.
This field is extremely challenging due to the ongoing shift in our culture. But no matter what, we will not take our focus off the goal: eradicating sexual assault and sexual harassment. Yes, we realize this is an uphill battle. However, the obstacle is the path.
What are some obstacles?
Misconceptions or lack of education in dealing with consent. No, does not mean yes. Consent is ongoing. A “yes” five minutes ago does not translate to a “yes,” now.
Objectification of women and men, primarily in movies, music, and all social media platforms. (Sex sells…)
Stereotypes, to include ones that jeopardize the welfare of the LGBTQI community.
I will not lie, the fact that I’m a male Victim Advocate motivates me, daily. It motivates me to keep moving forward, every time I hear:
“But you’re a guy, why do you care?”
“Men don’t care about this issue.”
“All men are the same.”
“People will not take you serious.”
Although I respect people when they ask me these types of questions, I do remind them:
I care about people, regardless of their gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, and beliefs. People are people and their story matters to me.
Men do in fact, care. So do women. People always have the capacity to love.
No, not all men are the same. There are some incredible men and women on this planet. We must not blame an entire gender, based on the negative actions of the bad ones. My mentors are both men and women.
“I don’t take you serious,” is an opinion, not your reality. The best way to demonstrate your authenticity is to show people. Talking about what you’re capable and willing to do, is not enough.
At the end of the day, the focus must always be on empowering survivors. The recovery process is a long road and they do not deserve to take that journey without the right resources. I hope you can participate in a SAAPM event. (Color run, In Their Honor, Denim Day, etc.)
I want to begin by thanking you for contributing to all of my experiences that have led me to this point in my life. Most importantly, I forgive you. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have said that. In fact, I would have cursed you. Why? Because I didn’t understand, nor did I grasp this magical thing called: gratitude.
Did I have a tough childhood? Absolutely. At the time, it was miserable. Everything is always perceived as bad, when you’re going through that storm. But, everything is just temporary.
“In life, you’re either headed to a storm, going through a storm, or you’re coming out of one. We all have problems.”
– Eric Thomas
Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s was very difficult because there were a lot of racial issues (LA riots, O.J. Simpson trial, etc.), hatred toward the LGBTQ community (Ellen DeGeneres), sexual harassment issues (Clarence Thomas), murder on the streets of Las Vegas (2-Pac), the Branch Davidians tragedy in Waco, Texas (David Koresh), the Oklahoma City tragedy (Timothy McVeigh, which is tied to David Koresh), and other miscellaneous incidents. All of these things shaped me into the person that I am today.
Those negative experiences were the training that I needed. You read that right; I used the word training. That’s how our younger experiences should be categorized. These events and circumstances are what I needed in order to grow.
When I failed at something, that put me one step closer to succeeding. Every time a girl laughed at me and told me “No,” that prepared me for what I needed to do on my quest to meet my beautiful wife. Every time the bigger boy/man tried (or did) to bully me, that trained my mind how to utilize offensive and defensive postures, aka situational awareness. I needed that training.
When you’re younger, you don’t realize that events and experiences are giving you an advantage. Now, at age 39, I don’t worry about those things because I recognize:
Failure doesn’t define me.
If it takes 8 attempts, so be it.
Patience and consistent action are required with everything that I do.
If I can survive those things, I can survive whatever life throws at me.
I’m not afraid of embarrassing myself.
I can use my voice to help people that are too afraid to speak for themselves.
I’m comfortable in my own skin.
I don’t fall for the man card trap.
Those exeperiences contributed to me becoming:
A Service Member of 20+ years
A Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and Victim Advocate
Someone that is against racial violence, domestic violence, sexual violence, and violence toward the LGBTQ community.
Someone that fights for equality.
In conclusion: No, I don’t regret anything from my childhood. I am thankful that I experienced those things. Adversity – you didn’t win; I’m still standing. You made me a better person and I can’t thank you enough. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
I challenge you to try this exercise. This is an excellent way for you to forgive yourself, exercise gratitude, and to finally realize that your story is powerful and important. Every single person is a piece of the puzzle. From the janitor clear up the CEO. I can’t wait to hear about your journey.
How long will it take for you to realize your potential?
When will you finally act on those dreams of yours?
What if you would have applied for that job? What if you said “yes,” to that date? What if you got back up when things got difficult? What if you had stayed committed to your fitness plan?
“What if,” doesn’t exist because you never moved when it was required. “Oh but it’s not that easy.” I hate to break it to you but yes, it is that easy. All you have to do is decide.
Apply for that job even if you don’t believe you’re qualified. No one gets hired for not showing up.
Go on that date. She/he might but what you’ve been looking for. You’ll never find out if you’re hiding in your safe place.
Get back up and try again.
Push through your workout plan when you want to quit. You’re already in pain so you might as well get a reward for it.
If you’re going to ask “What if,” questions, make sure they are setting you up to win. You can ask this question constructively. For instance, What if you never read this? Would you still want to change the way you think?
The choice is up to. What are you going to do with the time you have left?
Are you serious about getting to the next chapter in your life? If so, what steps are you taking to ensure it happens? Here’s a tip: If you’re truly serious about your future, you need to start investing in the following things:
You have to use all available resources to keep yourself moving forward! If you don’t prepare yourself for the next level, how are you ever going to get there? Plus, it’s better to prepare for an opportunity and not have one then to have an opportunity and not be prepared.
“People don’t become successful just by accident.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger
“But it’s too hard,” is an excuse that will not get you to the next level. It is impossible for you to invest in yourself and not face adversity. It is part of the process.
Bottom line: Investing in yourself requires a new version of you, almost every day. You must learn to adapt to your environment. What’s your future worth to you?