Learn how to receive feedback

A couple of weeks ago, my brother Devon and I met two women at Due South over Yards Park. We had a discussion that related to one of my blogs, I’m usually proud about my blogs so I asked them to read it. They looked at the blog on their phones and within seconds, both agreed to read it later. Then after a feeling out period they told me how they really felt about the blog.

“Well, most if not all your blogs are too long,” they said, “you’re going to lose your audience because they’re not going to read this.” What’s even more ironic, one or both of them were editors of some sort…great. My punctuation was commented on too. Jeesh.

After receiving their feedback I’d like to give advice about feedback.

When someone gives you feedback;

  • Don’t get mad.
  • Close your mouth and listen.
  • They are not hating on you, they are helping you to become better.
  • Understand what you need to do differently and apply their feedback.
  • Thank them for the feedback, even if you don’t like it.

Lastly, not all feedback is supportive, constructive or helpful. People have their own motives for giving advice. The more you listen to feedback, the quicker you’ll recognize feedback that is well intended, and genuine.

So, thank you Michanda and Iris!

I tried to keep this blog short and will continue to keep shorter formats. If you disagree and I should keep the longer blogs, please let me know.


I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.  Elon Musk

Leave a comment

Filed under Career

YOUR attitude will shape YOUR destiny.

I wanted to publish this blog so badly but it’s taken me forty something years to understand the importance of attitude. I feel comfortable discussing it now because I needed to learn and understand the effects of my attitude.

My friend Keisha would always tell me, “…you gotta kill them with kindness”. I believed her but I didn’t think I was capable and I did not want to be a “punk”.

If you’re kind, it doesn’t mean you’re a punk.

In my militant Morgan State mind, I always thought it was weak to be kind. Let me explain where that originates. Black males are always dealt a higher level of criticism, our ideas are never good enough, we’re always expected to fail because most of the time, we are set up to fail. I call it the “Obama Syndrome”, no President Obama wasn’t the first black male to experience a blanket scrutiny but in the highest position in the country, it’s easier to see a bias during his term unlike we’ve witnessed in the past. Black males don’t get the benefit of a doubt, another chance or an adequate level of support or fair consideration of the circumstances. We aren’t a part of the good ole boy club and don’t have any relatives that can get us access. We may be able to get a reference but for the most part, anytime you start of job, you’re starting from the bottom of the hill with no shortcuts to the top. Thinking back, it was hard for me to react with kind intentions, with that culture of bias. Let me say, kind is not the right word to convey what I mean. Being professional, positive, less sensitive or a little less confrontational, may be what I mean.

Over the last two years I have been working in a position that was inherently contentious. I was dealing with rigid personalities and negatively reactive support. I’m not complaining, I’m use to it, it was the typical scenario I faced and you will face. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.

The only difference in the past two years was how I reacted to it. In the past, those circumstances always invited a frustration or impatience that exuded in attitude and actions, but in the last two years I didn’t carry that frustration with me. I just did my job and helped everyone as much as I could. I tried to always be pleasant, positive and a team player. I’m not tap dancing and smiling all the time,  I just do the job, get my money and be bigger and better than any nonsense. There were some significant challenges, small people testing me but I just kept focusing on my goal.   I always just kept my attitude positive and it was reflected in my actions. When a shady email came across my screen, I had the reservation to just not respond. I would respond only a few times with a strategic email but nothing like I did before. In the past, I would respond and embarrass myself and my team. I would find myself in my managers office trying to justify my actions. Well…I didn’t have to visit my manager in the past two years and most times, someone else was defending my actions. Over time in this role, I found people supportive because I wasn’t the angry black dude. I was the team player with the great attitude. I had never been him before and I liked it. Well…I’m leaving this position because someone from another division sought me out. They heard I had a “Great attitude” and would be an asset to the team. ME?! (Looking side to side) The two years of being positive paid off. Both of my managers came to me and said, “I support you moving on, you’ll do great.” I was blown away, one manager said, “If it doesn’t work out just call me and I’ll find a position here for you.”  WHAT?! …that has never happened in my life. I’m not saying that I can’t return to any of my positions but my value was never made so clear to me.

So I’m sharing this because I wasn’t kind, I was positive, stayed away from gossip and did the best I could without falling into the angry black man stereotype. Don’t be angry. I mean why?!…you have a job, you can buy nice things, take care of your family and enjoy life. Why fight with people, black or white, that are unhappy in their lives, why give their misery company. Being positive doesn’t mean being a punk or a sell out. You can avoid drama and reinvent your reputation and be seen as a person that wants to succeed.

There’s a few sayings that are relevant here;

“Life is 10% something happening to you and 90% how you handle it”

” Watch your thoughts, they become words, watch you words, they become your actions”

For the first time in my life I can control…as I’m typing this another statement rings in my head;

“He who angers you, controls you”

That’s what I mean, when you don’t respond to the nonsense and you stay above the pettiness, things come easier.


“A bad attitude is like a flat tire, if you don’t change it you’ll never go anywhere.”

“Your attitude is like a price tag, it shows how valuable you are.”

Ps. The instagram photo is of my goodbye card, my old manager signed it saying, “Robert, I’d wish you luck but you’ll be successful wherever you go.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Career, Leadership Profiles, Life Skills

Black Lives Don’t Matter?!

This was originally published on July 16th, 2016. I’ve modified the original version because it was an angry vomit of facts and I wanted to remove some profanity and provide a little more level headed blogging. The original text was to instigate a discussion for some sort of resolution, but I think we’re past talks. Anyway, angry blogging is never good. Please enjoy and discuss.

Starting again…

There’s been a lot going on so I’m going to just put it out there.

I just paid money to watch another movie where black people sacrificed themselves for white people. Then I started thinking…we, everyone is conditioned, brainwashed, desensitized into thinking Black Lives Don’t Matter.

Black men are dying for the stupidest reasons imaginable, Air Jordans, jealousy, cars, gold chains, North Face Jackets, gang affiliation, wear a wrong color and you get a bullet in the head. Black rappers make music about murder like it’s cool, like it’s a way of life and we dance to it! It’s all for show all for bragging rights but at some point this entertainment business went too far. We rap about dying like it’s a sport, like dying is not real. That’s just dumb. You face death every day, really?!…in your Ferrari for real?! Give me a f#$%@ break. When you start making money your tone will change and you’ll start taking pictures with cops cause your agent said it’s a good idea. Yeah but I remember that thug rapper from Cali that influenced an entire generation of young black boys to smoke weed and kill other black kids on his way to the top. After his first album, “Ready to Die” The Notorious Biggie Smalls said it best, “I ain’t ready to die no more”. This statement was quoted by the rapper right before he was shot and killed. Curtis Jackson’s album titled, “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” speaks to a destructive survival mentality.  Marvin Gaye said it best, “What’s going on?!” Whatever is going on is on purpose, it’s no mistake that black people fill up the prisons, it’s no mistake that our public schools are failing, that our food is s#!&, that we’re underpaid, overtaxed, our water is poison, and doctors experiment on us.   This corporate, political, economic system wasn’t built for us, it depends on us.

These killings at the hands of cops is not only because cops fear us but because they too have been conditioned to believe black lives don’t matter.

Do you remember March 3, 1991, Rodney King was resisting arrest for about 8:09 minutes while he got beat, almost to death, by about 6 cops…this was  BEFORE Facebook, before streaming, some of you weren’t even born yet, twenty something years ago.

What happened to those four cops…acquitted on most charges, which started the 1992 LA riots.

Feddie Grays died from a broken neck while in custody of the Baltimore police, all officers acquitted, it’s 2016 people. This also started a riot in Baltimore last year.

So…what does that tell you, that police have escalated their mistreatment of blacks, you get shot now, you don’t just get beat up.Whatever the method, you could end up dead.

Cops kill us over license tags, selling cigarettes, arguing, Amadou Diallo and Philando Castile, were BOTH killed for reaching for their wallets, this is not the first time that mistake has happened. They shot at Amadou 41 times hitting him 19 times…you think that’s a little excessive? He was 23 years old. Philando had a child in the car, you’re not supposed to take that shot with someone in the background, that’s not a safe shot. You can even hear in video where the officers yells, “F$%#” because he knows he made a mistake. My thinking is, “If you’re that scared, take that badge off and go be another civil servant, like a sanitation worker or something, any position that’s unarmed. Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW cops are on edge, you’re risking your life to protect and serve and this black bastard is talking smack about his rights, smelling like weed and driving on a suspended license…yeah he’s an idiot, but he still doesn’t deserve to die cause he’s going through a bad patch in his life. I get it but some of y’all are out of control and this s#!& has to stop.

The cop in South Carolina video taped a cop placing a stun gun in place so he can justify killing an unarmed black man running AWAY from him. The cop in Cincinnati was lying about being almost run over by the guy with a hanging license tag and the other cop drove up and started lying with him immediate saying, “Yep, I saw that”…the black unarmed driver was shot for a hanging license tag are you f$%#*# kidding me?! These people are not pit bulls or  video game characters, they’re human beings you’re killing.  Oh and for you white people who haven’t been paying attention, this s#!& ain’t just start happening, it’s just now being video taped.

I heard the a quote by Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, Fisk University Class of 1888,

“A system cannot fail those it was never built to protect.”

I read this when I attended an HBCU, Morgan State University. Ever since reading it, I’ve been unsuccessful in trying to deny it. WEB Du Bois graduate college in 1888! So what am I supposed to tell college grads, that things are going to be different?! If my grandfather’s grandfather warned him about white cops then this s#!& has been going on for years, decades and for that long cops black AND white have been getting away with murder, theft, bribery, you name it.

So then what…more community rallies, more marches, more We shall over comes, neighborhoods in mourning, stacks of roses and teddy bears, sensitivity training…how many more vigils, not guiltys, apologies, lawsuits can a race take…but it going to happen again. SOMEONE, whether it’s black on black crime or a cop or armed neighborhood watcher following a kid home, another black life is not going to matter.

So how do I twist this into a mentoring moment you ask?! Well…I see it as a choice. If you want to stay a nigger you want to stay ignorant, uneducated, in and out of jail, fine. Choose a life that doesn’t matter, that’s your choice, but don’t make excuses. Don’t blame your parents, just say, “I was scared to live, I was scared to fail.” There’s enough positive examples to use to make yourself better but you can’t be a coward. Cowards stay home wasting their life away on the couch comfortable playing their video games, drinking and smoking weed into ignorant nigger bliss and not leaving his neighborhood. The real black men step out of their comfort zone and make a difference with what little they have. The raise good children, they educate themselves, they pay their bills, they have white friends over, they present themselves in a positive light and constantly fight the negative stereotypes that the media, community and cinema perpetuate. So…take your pick and whatever side you choose don’t make excuses, own it.

Either your life is going to matter or it’s not, no slogan is going to make your life matter if you don’t make it matter first.



“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” James Baldwin
“You know, it’s not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.” James Baldwin
The power of the white world is threatened whenever a black man refuses to accept the white world’s definitions. James Baldwin

Leave a comment

Filed under Life Skills

March Madness!!!

When you hear the term, “March Madness” usually people think of the tournaments, basketball, band battles and buzzer beaters. I went to Morgan State University which is affiliated with the Middle Eastern Athletic Conference(MEAC). In addition to the NCAA conference there are other tournaments that happen around or before march like the Center Intercollegiate Athletic Association(CIAA). If you ask me they’re all fun and all something you should not experience. So when I think of the madness of march, I think of those unsupervised days of road tripping to a college to cheer for my school team, mascot fights, and of course “Aiiiiirrr  Baaaaallll”. I think of meeting new friends from other colleges, arguing over gas money, sneaking into the female dorms and the parties OMG the parties!

If you ask anyone that attended and graduated college they will say attending college was the funnest time of their lives. For those that didn’t graduate, you may get a slightly different answer, maybe they went too far being unsupervised.

I was in school full time, about twenty something and slowly marching towards manhood with responsibilities involving; credit awareness, young women, buying dress clothes for work, time management, tuition and all those things that accompany being a man. It sounds intimidation but college is that next, possibly, final step to becoming a man or woman. College is that last testing ground during adulthood.

Please understand the possibilities that present themselves during or right after college; you could meet your wife, design your first patent, get you first corporate job, meeting your life long line brothers, start your own million dollar business, or buy your first house.

College or this time period is where you are basically designing what you are going to do with the rest of your life.

Whether it’s college, military, or starting a job, you are embarking on becoming a man. You are getting from under the supervision of your parents, you’re “on your own”.

Yes…that’s what I think about March Madness, not cutting the net, running on the court after a win or painting my face but the experience of college.

So yeah this blog was nothing about basketball. It’s everything about life. So get off that couch, stop playing xbox or playstation and begin to live life. Be eager to make a mistake to learn and keep moving forward and upward. You have youth on your side to go make mistakes and get better. Life is waiting for you. So…go to college, military or start your business but by all means, just GO!



“I’ve learned one thing, and that’s to quit worrying about stupid things. You have four years to be irresponsible here, relax. Work is for people with jobs. You’ll never remember class time, but you’ll remember the time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So stay out late. Go out with your friends on a Tuesday when you have a paper due on Wednesday. Spend money you don’t have. Drink ’til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does…”  – Tom Petty

Leave a comment

Filed under Career