Blog Article 

 2—Document the Strategy 

Michael Santos

Michael Santos

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When we’re in a problem, we must navigate our way to success. By studying leaders, we learn techniques they use to overcome challenges. The same strategies that worked for other leaders can also work for us. It’s a technique anyone can use to grow. Become the CEO of your life by documenting a strategy you designed to succeed.

I hated being in jail. Yet my dislike for circumstances that followed terrible decisions I made didn’t matter. The onus would be on me to make a change.

Reading that story about Socrates helped me to understand that—as an American citizen—I had duties, responsibilities, and obligations. Some people go to jail or prison because of social injustices or mistakes. That wasn’t the situation with me. Rather than making a mistake by selling cocaine, I made a series of bad decisions.

Socrates taught that if we trained ourselves to ask the right questions, we could work toward better solutions. As human beings, all of us face many struggles. All of us face challenges. The choices we make when facing challenges will define who we are and what we become.

I could not change the bad decisions I made during the reckless years of my youth. Yet by learning the art of Socratic questioning, I could project myself into the future. I could look toward the best possible outcomes.

The judge presiding over my case sentenced me to 45 years. If authorities awarded the maximum amount of good-time credits, I could satisfy that term in 26 years. I hadn’t been alive that long. Still, I could begin projecting into the future.

I wanted to walk out of prison unscathed, capable of walking into any room without the social stigma of incarceration. If I succeeded, I would confidently walk into any room, knowing that no one would dismiss me with the assumption that I’d been in prison for a quarter-century. 

I believed I’d have to prove worthy of a second chance. I needed a strategy. That strategy began by thinking about the people I wanted to meet in the future. I intended to meet leaders and understood that they would assess every aspect of my life. Those projections helped me to establish a three-part strategy that would help me succeed:

  • I would work to earn academic credentials, believing those credentials would lead to new opportunities.
  • I would work to contribute to society in meaningful, measurable ways.
  • I would work to build a strong support network.

By documenting this strategy, I could invite others to hold me accountable. In time, I hoped the plan would help me triumph over mass incarceration’s injustices and ancillary consequences.

  • What strategy have you engineered to work toward success, as you’ve defined success?
  • In what ways does your strategy differentiate your approach to success from other similarly situated people?
  • How do you anticipate your future employer would respond to the strategy you engineered?
  • In what ways does your strategy show that you’re acting with a CEO mindset?

Word of the day: onus / Define onus:

Use onus in a sentence:

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