Thursday, February 6, 2020

Watching The Light Flicker On (One Of My Favorite Things In Defy Ventures Washington!)   by    Ruth Utnage

Have you ever watched someone's face light up when you give them a present they never thought was possible? You know that impossibly expensive thing they drop in the list? When they get it as a surprise their eyes get bigger and glossy, they lean in, a smile cracks across their face and you can see that their energy is about to leak out like electricity finding a ground? Like watching a light flicker on.

I got to see that last Wednesday night at Defy...

We've reached the part of the curriculum where resumes and cover letters have to be done, a notoriously difficult section. Most guys have never had a job outside of illegal and illicit activities, furthermore, they believe they have no marketable skills. I remember going through this part. I took the course already prepared to use my prison experience to leverage as an asset and this is where I started connecting to my peers because I showed them how to frame their experiences too. It felt good to see this happening again.

Watching peoples face light up with hope. I could watch that all day. I think there should be a channel that just shows peoples faces lighting up with hope 24/7. I would keep it there. It brings me so much joy.

Something occurred to me late last night. A life lesson, if you will. Before going to Defy I was going over my checklist of "todo's", which, is extensive and has people's livelihoods and hopes on the line. I was thinking "I really need to get this stuff done, people are counting on me." I was also thinking "I could really use a good week of no obligations." In the midst of that I have a duty to my friends and community. Also of importance is my sense of gratitude to those who show up, as sponsors. I know how challenging it is to have to fight through bureaucracy just to bring a little hope. What occurred to me last night, as I layed in bed, I'm glad I went.

We cannot experience life if we don't participate, if we don't bring ourselves to the arena. Last night I sat in the arena with other gladiatorial candidates fighting for their second chances (and some their first) in life and I got to see that certain something flicker on. Hope. I helped give hope. You know what else? It was so easy. I listened. I thought. I spoke. I gave each person I could feedback on how to turn their mistakes into leveragable strengths.

How wonderful.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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Behind every lie is an insecurity. Behind every insecurity is a fear. Behind every fear is an excuse. Behind every excuse is a self-imposed limit. Behind every self-imposed limit is a reason why you shouldn't show up.

With one short electronic application you could be sitting across the table from me enjoying a cup of coffee and eating the best vending machine food this great country offers getting to know me for real. I'd love it. Let's laugh, a lot, together.

But you have to show up...

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