Seventeen days have passed since my last journal entry on August 20, 2023. To achieve my goals, I sometimes have to shift my attention to new responsibilities. I know that participants in prison will have to do the same.
While serving my sentence, changing circumstances frequently required adjusting my schedule. For example, in the early 1990s, an administrator blocked my access to a word processor. His interference challenged my mental health. That seems strange now. But at the time, I considered that word processor an essential tool. It would help me carve my way through the crisis and into liberty.
- By writing, I could learn to communicate more effectively.
- By communicating more effectively, I could earn university degrees.
- By earning university degrees, I could develop skills that would allow me to contribute to society,
- By contributing to society, I could persuade more people to join my support network.
- By building a more influential support network, I could advance prospects for liberty or open opportunities to succeed upon release.
I couldn’t control the administrator’s decision. But I could always control how I would respond. I had to adjust my schedule to continue progressing toward my goals.
Those lessons of learning to adjust schedules and priorities helped me through prison, and they helped me since I got out.
External circumstances are constantly changing. People make decisions that threaten our progress. When circumstances change, we have to adjust or make excuses for the reasons we’re falling behind.
For the past few weeks, I’ve had to adjust. A lawyer who represents my nonprofit gave me disappointing news. With the Prison Professors Talent website, I intended to help people and business organizations understand the importance of providing resources to justice-impacted people. My small company, Earning Freedom, would fund the initial build of the website. Then, as we gained momentum, we could show how those resources would lead to lower recidivism rates. By improving outcomes for justice-impacted people, we could show the impact we were having.
Unfortunately, the attorney advised that laws would require me to go through many administrative hurdles. The fees associated with those hurdles would require me to invest more than $50,000. If I didn’t invest the $50,000, my nonprofit could not solicit donations from businesses or individuals to support the mission.
I had to adjust. Rather than invest $50,000 to register as a “fund raiser” for the nonprofit, I removed any association between Prison Professors Talent and our nonprofit, the Prison Professors Charitable Corporation. The change would require my for-profit company, Earning Freedom, to cover all costs of maintaining the Prison Professors Talent website.
Besides having to rewrite content on the Prison Professors Talent website, I had to restructure our business and build a new platform to help us grow. We had to create an entirely new platform to offer resources at a lower cost. By offering lower-cost resources, we could reach a broader market. Resources from the new entity would fund further development of Prison Professors Talent and our advocacy efforts.
The salient lesson in today’s journal is that each person bears responsibility for engineering a pathway to success. Regardless of what stage of the journey you’re in, always work toward making progress toward success as you define success. When circumstances change, make adjustments rather than excuses.