I told a hardened man in here that he would make a great project manager. He handles high stress situations with ease, knows how to keep others calm and he presents a confidence that he can handle any situation. Just one problem, he’s a gangster. He has always secured money by walking calmly into any place he wanted and taking it. 

Be didn’t say much at that moment, he asked what a project manager was. He was even leery and suspicious of me. He began giving me a wide girth when he walked past me and would keep an eye on me as he did so, as if waiting for me to strike. This went on for a few weeks without any mention of our conversation.

I was very intimidated by him because he is a rather large black man and wherever he is there is a large crowd of other large black men who have mean stares and large muscles. So I interacted politely and only when he initiated it, even then I kept it short and limited, guarded. It was clear he was doing the same thing. Then one afternoon its just me and him in the kitchen area we worked in, he pulls me up and says “What was that job you said I’d be good at again?” 

It took me by surprise, “Project manager, but its a good thing, I didn’t mean any harm by it” I felt the need to defend because he was rigid and nervous.

He shot me a confused look “I was talking to my brother about that, do you think he would be able to help, he’s smart like you, not like me” 

This took me by surprise and I realized he had been thinking about what I had said.
“I don’t know your brother” I figured honesty was best.
“He’s my cellie, you two should talk…”

He was child-like in his facial expressions. He was excited and I could see his brain light up. I had to ask this next question “What did you want to do growing up?” 

“Gangster” he smiled proudly and flexed his chest proudly “But, no ones ever told me or my brother we could do anything else.” he looked down at his feet and suddenly he appeared small, frail and very quietly he said “your the first person to ever tell me I would be good at something else”

I have talked about this before, just not in detail. The emotion it brings up is palpable for me because this man is nearly 40 and he is Fortune 500 material and no ones ever bothered to point out a single good quality in him. As a result, he stopped dreaming. His imagination got stifled and boxed, he was given parameters to follow, guidelines which he followed perfectly btw. Is this you?

Have you been given guidelines to follow? Has someone in your life told you that this is what you’ll do and who you’ll be? Or has no one pointed out good qualities in you? Do you know what your strong areas are? 
Try something, real quick. Take a piece of paper and draw a line right down the middle. On one side write “Good” at the top and on the other write “Bad” below each write the good things people have pointed out to you about yourself and under “Bad” write the bad things people have pointed out. Which one is bigger for you? If your “bad” list is longer then perhaps its time to surround yourself with more positive people? Perhaps its time you took initiative and began pointing out their positive traits first. You reap what you sow…

You are special and you are worth it. Your worth my time and your worth somebody else’s time. If you begin pointing out the positive in others then someone will be impacted by it. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage