18 April 2012

HRJR's Daily Diamond

"Do you know want to know where people go wrong? They always want to compare things in terms of better or worse. How can something be better or worse if there are people on both sides who believe they are better than the other. Sometimes you just have accept things just being different and keep it moving." ~ HRJR.

17 April 2012

Something NEW! ... HRJR's Daily Diamond

How successful do you see yourself becoming? Most people tell you that success is not worth venturing after are unsuccessful themselves. Misery loves company, but so does prosperity & good times. The only difference is that more people are unsuccessful because it takes no effort at all. There's a reason why the "VIP" section is only a small section of the club.

16 April 2012

I Really Need to Begin Counting the Epiphanies in My Life

HRJR & Jim Hernandez

It was Sunday night, about 11:45pm. I was in bed reading a book recommended to me by my trusted friend and colleague, Jim Hernandez. Now often I don't mind sharing what books I'm reading, but I gave Jim my word that I would not share the title of this book because when he shared it with me he told me it was in part very instrumental to his success as a speaker (hey ... "insider sharing" isn't illegal). Anyway, I copped the book earlier in the day and figured I'd crack it open before going to bed because one of the two times when the mind is most receptive to stimuli is before going to sleep (the other time is immediately upon waking up).

So, I wasn't even five pages into this book. In fact, I hadn't even hit Chapter One yet ... I was still in the introduction when I came across a quote that floored me! This one quote moved me so much that it was like the original speaker of the statement flipped a switch in my mind and got the wheels that were simmering down in preparation for sleep all fired up. It was all I could do to finish reading the introduction so I could get to my computer and write this article. What happened was I had an epiphany. An epiphany is a discovery that comes upon you as a total surprise, but is usually something that was in front of you all along ... you just happened to open your eyes - or rather - open your mind to what was obvious, and now it is obvious to you. Being that I am on a journey of personal development and honest self-discovery, Over the past several years, I have had many epiphanies, or as Oprah Winfrey calls them, "Ah-HA! moments." I was so moved by this one that I felt the urge to share it with you.

I now know why I make people uncomfortable. I now know why people perceive me as arrogant.

You see, I believe in the saying, "wherever you go, there you are;" so wherever I am, that's my environment for however long I'm there. In my former profession as a police officer, it was paramount to control my environment as much as possible - and there were ways to do this covertly as well as overtly. So there have been and are times that I may give off a certain vibe that will attract some, but may push away others. Those who are attracted prove themselves to be quality people. Those who are pushed away are people I never really needed anyway ... Yet I digress.

Steve Jobs
The source of this revelation became crystalized to me in the words of Steve Jobs ... "Some people are not used to an environment where excellence is expected." I have always said that I hold myself to a high standard, and I hold those with whom I associate to an equally high standard. I have changed the positions of many of the people in my life, adding some while purging myself of others. When I read that statement by the late Mr. Jobs, it was as if he was also telling me that there are more people who have to go. Either that or they will have to truly step their games up if they are to have a place in my environment, because in my environment, "excellence IS expected."

Now if you're reading this, you may or may not know where you stand in my life. Know this ... I may not be happy where I am, but I'm happier than I was before I got here, and when I get to where I'm going I'll be even more happier than I am today. When I'm joking, I'm joking - but when I'm serious, I'm serious. The only way I'll be able to someday play as hard as I want to will be because I worked harder than I wanted to. If you can't hang with that, you might as well cut yourself loose right now and save whatever kind of friendship we may have.

04 April 2012

How Do You Define Your Personal Brand?

When people hear the word "entrepreneur" their minds go off into God only knows how many different directions, and most of them will more than likely fall under the category of "not me." However, I want you to understand something.

Everyone is an entrepreneur. We all have a product to sell and a service to provide. You are your product, and whatever you do with your life is the service you provide. However, when you sell your product and provide your services to the benefit of others more so than yourself, you then become an employee. Now, there's nothing wrong with being an employee, there's a job and a place for everyone. Better stated, somebody has to do the work that not everyone wants to do. That's not to say that those who do the work that other people don't want to do are at the bottom. In fact, such people exist on every rung on the vocational ladder. There are people who are happy at the bottom, in the middle, at the top, and at every level in between. And then there are people who are unhappy where they are, but won't do anything to better their situation. These are the people who give stink to the words "employee" and "entrepreneur" alike. Where you fit in the vocational spectrum is based on how you feel about yourself and the work you do. How you do that work and the conduct you display go to define your brand.

"Branding" in this sense is new to no one. It's just the modern day verbiage for developing and exhibiting your reputation. Simply put, your brand is your reputation and it extends far beyond your vocation. When you think of yourself as an entrepreneur, imagine yourself as a company. As was stated earlier, you are your product. How do you want people to see you? How do you want people to receive you? What qualities do you want people to be thinking of when they're thinking of you? All of these things make up the definition of your personal brand.

Establishing and maintaining a positive and productive brand is something that could very well take a lifetime; however, all it takes is one discretion ... all it takes is one second to decide to go left or right when you know you should be staying on the straight and narrow, and your brand could be irreparably damaged. When Chris Brown assaulted Rihanna, he damaged his brand. When Tiger Woods' infidelity became public knowledge, he damaged his brand. Even when Michael Jackson's inability to let go of his childhood to where he genuinely thought in his mind that it was fine for a man his age to share a bed with children who were not his own ... he damaged his brand.

The same way you think about your favorite snack, soda, and restaurant ... even your favorite toilet paper ... you want people to think as favorably about you as you think of those things. And why do you think so favorably of those things? Because they make you feel good. Because they have proven themselves. If you want to have a brand that is desired and admired by others, then it's up to you.

It's up to you to present and carry yourself in a dignified manner. When you go to work; whatever it is you do, do your job and do it well. If you do just enough to get by, don't think that just because your superiors aren't saying anything to you that they aren't saying things about you. If you actually are an entrepreneur and you provide a product or service, then you must certainly be cognizant of how you present who you are and what you do.

You have to realize that in the minds of the people around you, perception is reality, but you are the only one responsible for creating and exhibiting the perception that makes up that reality. How you do this goes to define your personal brand.

03 April 2012


One thing that really amazes me is how people function on what they think they know more so than on what they actually know. A lot of times; dare I say more than 90% of the time we learn new words by hearing them around us. We'll hear a new word on television, on the radio, overhearing someone else's conversation; or in direct conversation, and we may not know the literal definition of the word, but we get a feel for the word based on the context of the conversation. If the word resonates with us, we will add it into our vocabulary and we will go on using it, and often without ever looking up the word. Now, a good portion of the time people get away with this, but then there are those occasional times when a person throws a word out there that they have absolutely no business using. This is a prime example of ignorance.

As a matter of fact, the word "ignorance" in and of itself is an even better example of what I am saying. One sure fire way to insult someone is to call him or her "ignorant." However, if the context in which the word is being used is factual; it's not an insult, it's a simple fact. Contrary to popular belief, "ignorance" does not mean an absence of intelligence. It means an absence of knowledge. The difference may be subtle, but then to better solidify the difference we'll have to examine the difference between intelligence and knowledge. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, intelligence means, "the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations; also, the skilled use of reason." The word knowledge means "the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association." Therefore to be ignorant simply means not knowing about something ... NOT not knowing anything.

The fact of the matter is that there are a great many things of which people are ignorant, but because they misunderstand the true meaning of the word, you will not likely come across someone who's readily willing to acknowledge their ignorance. However, this is yet another reason why so many people fail to reach new levels of success. If you do not admit or acknowledge that a problem exists, how can you go about solving or correcting it? 

Something I always say is that when people make mistakes and suffer self-caused setbacks, it's basically because either they made a mistake of ignorance or they made a mistake of arrogance. When you make a mistake of ignorance, you simply didn't know any better. However, a mistake of arrogance occurs when you actually do know better than to follow a particular course of action, but act anyway. This is the cause of most people's failures in life. Just ask any convict who has accepted accountability for his or her present condition behind bars.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." The value of ignorance is in seeing it for what it is ... a lack of knowledge. Once you find yourself lacking in knowledge, you can go about filling that void and improving your life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging your ignorance. In fact, the acknowledgement of one's ignorance is the dawn of one's intelligence.