Personal Development


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Chapter VIII – How Ya Living?

I am Jude. Life. Many accept that it is something that happens to us and not through us. I believe the opposite. I believe it is through our families, friends, and personal relationships that we actually create a meaningful life. 

Our connections can generate happiness and fulfillment. They can provide us with joy and inspire us to do amazing things. However, in many instances that still is not enough. It feels as though something is missing and we are reminded that we should be doing, and being more.

Sadly, we ignore these feelings. We become complacent and convince ourselves that life is overwhelming and inevitable. Because sometimes life is just hard. 

Our lives are moving faster than they have ever been. We have more obligations, distractions and unfiltered access to the world. We get lost in our jobs and, for many of us, our professional objectives devolve into survival and retirement. We distract ourselves with sunny vacations and material possessions. 

Well I want more. 

A truly good life is one that is purposeful, deliberate and aligned with our interests and passions. Anything less, limits our greatness and denies the world the full extent of our gifts. In short, we need to live more proactively.

A reactive perspective is characterized by feelings of powerlessness.The individual attributes all of their feelings and reactions to circumstances outside of their control. They become a victim and embrace helplessness. They blame and possess a fatalistic view of the world. There is little planning and considerable complaining. 

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On the other hand, living proactively requires that you take full responsibility for all of your emotions and behaviours. They are yours and yours alone. It posits that, in spite of your circumstances, you still have complete control over your attitude and how you respond. No one can dictate or impose meaning in your life but you!

A proactive mindset is the product of living intentionally. It involves effective daily habits that promote optimism and personal development. There is curiosity, a clear sense of purpose and an unwavering belief that your thoughts and actions have the power to shape your reality.

Do not resign yourself to the vagaries of life. You have the ability to Break Free and Be Better. Take ownership of your mind, develop tools that allow you to live with intention and impose your will on the world. 

Side Hustle Update – Unshackled Solutions Coaching and Consulting

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I am still trying to find a life coaching program that meets my needs and can accommodate my busy schedule. I have also begun seeking my own life coach. It is important for me to understand this relationship from a client’s perspective. How can I ask someone to make a financial investment in Unshackled Solutions, if I don’t see the value in obtaining support for myself? Quite frankly, I could personally benefit from someone helping me eliminate resistance and determine my next moves. 

Your Next Best Read – The Richest Man in Babylon

This short, easy read uses the backdrop of ancient Babylon to describe financial principles and provide practical advice that remains relevant in 2021. It also provides some noteworthy facts about the ancient city of Babylon. I was transported back to Sunday school and The Bible Stories series that many of us grew up with.

Positive Reflections – What’s Good?

My wife just updated her passport. Although we have no current plans to leave the country, it’s left me reflecting about travel. It’s been just over two years since our last trip abroad – and let me tell you, we were just finding our groove! 

Prior to Covid and our aforementioned personal calamities, my wife and I were travelling through the American South regularly. Our most recent vacation in 2019 was one of my favorites. Our daughter, newborn grandson and some other close family members accompanied us to Atlanta for the first part of our road trip.

Photo by Tayshawn Royster on Unsplash

We were able to introduce them to everything we love about Chocolate City. We received a guided tour of three Historic Black Colleges and Universities(HBCU’s) from a Spellman College professor with ties to Nova Scotia. We also had the opportunity to visit the MLK memorial and the National Civil Rights Museum. Most importantly, we just enjoyed being in a space where you felt completely comfortable in your skin. 

After four days together, they returned to Canada and we rented a car. We drove on to stops in Montgomery Al, Birmingham Al, Jackson Miss and Baton Rouge La before flying out of New Orleans, La. Each city left a lasting impression on us. 

Montgomery is recognized for its cultural and historical landmarks. The city is rich in history. However, one of the most powerful places that I have ever been is the Legacy Memorial for Justice and Peace. It is a monument to commemorate lyching and racial terrorism throughout the US. I have pledged to ultimately return there with my grandchildren and I will. It is hallowed ground. 

The Bedford CitizenTraveling: Alabama’s Legacy Museum Brings Slavery To Life – The Bedford Citizen

I didn’t like Birmingham. We only stayed one night but I would never purposely go back again. It was clean and quiet but it just didn’t feel right. 

Interestingly, before I left Nova Scotia I wrote to a number of criminology professors from various universities along our travel route. I requested meetings to discuss culturally specific interventions and the overrepresentation of Black offenders in prisons. 

While I was in Atlanta, a Department Head from Jackson State University responded to my email and invited me to meet with her. She also asked a former student to join us, who was a Mississippi Regional Parole Supervisor. It resulted in great dialogue, a personal tour of the campus and a new friendship. 

Baton Rouge was one of the prettiest places I have been. The people, the buildings and the city were all very well kept. Everything was draped in the yellow and purple of LSU and it felt like a university town. I would definitely return there during football season and spend a couple more days exploring the area.

Another one of the highlights of our pilgrimage was visiting the Whitney Plantation during the short drive to New Orleans. It is promoted as the only plantation in Louisiana with an exclusive focus on the lives of the slaves and it is a truly memorable experience.

Whitney Plantation -

The temperature was 30+C and we were required to take water and use an umbrella anytime we were outside to protect ourselves from the sun. The ancestors didn’t have those luxuries…..

New Orleans was our final destination. It was our second time in the Big Easy and thankfully it was a much more low-key and pedestrian experience. We mostly avoided Bourbon Street and got more familiar with the city outside of the French quarter.

We have already planned our next trip a thousand different times. At this point, it matters less where we are going than when. However, driving from Atlanta, to Charlotte, staying in Virginia Beach and visiting D.C has my vote right now. That could change tomorrow….

Photo by Nina Hill on Unsplash

Public Service Announcement

The older I get, the more I appreciate growing up in a traditional African Nova Scotian community. I was gifted with phenomenal role models, an idyllic childhood and a strong sense of belonging. It has shaped all that I have become and continues to influence how I move through the world. It defines me. 

Over the past number of months, I have had the privilege of working alongside, and in the service of, Afrikan people. I have engaged in productive professional collaborations through my workplace and have participated in some meaningful discussions through an informal mental wellness group and its related Black Men Read Book Club. I have also been providing some informal mentorship to several young brothers in the community and encouraging them to realize their limitless potential. I have been so blessed!

These meaningful experiences are a reminder of our collective responsibility to one another. They have strengthened my commitment to my community and have affirmed my efforts to inspire others to Break Free and Be Better. What a gift!!!! I am Jude. 

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Wow!! Finally took the time to read all chapters, truly inspiring Jude, excellent read and very relatable for me. We must link up soon.8

Hey Jude, I just realized you had written more chapters and I read them all. Who knew you were so good at putting words to paper. I enjoyed every chapter and look forward to reading more and to see where your journey takes you. I wish you much success with your business, I know you will do great things.

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