8/13/21-“Improving myself with Nate”

I was reading a chapter in “Thinking Again” and it talked about not trying to prove yourself but rather improving yourself. For the first 30 years of my life I was trying to prove myself and the results were always less than expected. It wasn’t till about the 2nd or 3rd year of being in business that I realized if I was going to get better I needed to start improving myself. At that point, alongside several co-workers, we decided to improve. We created a mentor group of our peers, We would travel to different roofing companies across the country and learn, we created training programs within the company and implemented other things to make us better. We did not care about proving ourselves to anyone anymore, we were ok with not being as good as these other companies for the time being. We just wanted to be successful and finally realized what it would take. It was so relieving to know that I didn’t need to be right anymore. Every time I was wrong I knew I had now learned something and had improved that much more.Yesterday I was talking to another inmate “Nate” about his sentence and what he did to get in the system. He told me about his story of selling drugs. I asked him what he was going to do when he got out. He started to think about it hard and I could tell it really bothered him. I felt awful that I even asked the question afterwards. He proceeded to tell me of a few options all of which he knew could land him right back in prison, all of which were him trying to prove himself again. He did not want to go that route but he needed to take care of himself and his mother. I explained to him there would only be one way to be able to take care of him and his mother without ending up back in prison and that would be improving himself. Its not an easy path but its one that will be consistent and still lucrative.
Being that I am in construction I went over what a career in construction looks like. We discussed the racism topic a bit because he was worried about his opportunities. I am by no means an expert on the topic but I figured I would share a story with him. When I first got into business there were all types of struggles. One of them was my young age, and the culture that came with my age group. I am in commercial roofing and many of the roofs can be quite costly, which means I really had to earn my customers trust. I was determined to do WHATEVER I had to do. I started to dress like them, talk like them, think like them, look like them, heck I even still have a comb over. I had to be them. Did I enjoy any of it? NO! But it fed my family and gave me a comfortable living. I don’t know what its like to be a black man in this country and I know its many times more difficult. What I did tell Nate is I would help him prepare for the outside. He did not have the opportunities I grew up with. I would like to help him with a resume and create a list of books that when he reads will be helpful on future opportunities. Help me with this list please and add anything I forgot. He is from Mobile, Alabama. He should be out of prison within the next year, if we could help him find a job before he got out that would be very helpful! I know our community loves a challenge.BooksBasic construction but narrow it down to a trade once we find something we like.Microsoft word and excelMicrosoft windowsProject manager booksPersonal budget and personal money managementCustomer Service
Ill get his full name so we can send the books right to him. I got in trouble this week because we are only aloud to have 5 books at a time and you guys have sent me over 25 books so far lol.
Thanks guys! Still love and miss everyone. I’m doing my thing in here and enjoying it.