Journal Entry 

 July 18, 2023-Gratitude 

Michael Santos

Michael Santos

What can you appreciate today?

Our course, Preparing for Success after Prison, features an entire module on living in gratitude. By showing appreciation for the blessings around us, we open more opportunities. I learned that while serving a lengthy sentence. Further, that mindset has influenced my success in building businesses since my release.

Yesterday, opportunities opened for me to show appreciation to several people—including people serving lengthy sentences. Today’s journal entry will describe that interaction with a person spending his 26th year in prison and with a person who was homeless after her release from prison; she now works to open job opportunities for formerly incarcerated people.

I send these daily journals through prison email systems. Those systems do not allow me to attach voice recordings. I’ll prepare a video recording where I read this journal entry and offer commentary. The video will include an audio recording of a phone call from a correctional facility.

Phone Call from Prison:

After accepting the call, I spoke with Toby Davis. He is serving his 26th year in the Thumb Correctional Facility. Toby told me he called to express his gratitude for the video files I routinely distribute. Those lessons and courses, he said, gives him hope. They show him that even though he is in prison, he can always work to develop skills that will advance his prospects for success upon release.

I asked Toby how I could send him self-directed workbooks. He gave me his address:

Toby R. Davis / Number 234179 / Thumb Correctional Institution / 3225 John Conley Drive, Lapeer, MI 48446.

I am grateful for every I have to contribute to the lives of incarcerated people. They need hope and examples. They need resources to persevere and maintain strength while going through the confinement challenge.

I needed that hope while I served my sentence, and people like Nelson Mandela and Viktor Frankl gave me the hope I needed. If they could succeed after their challenges, I knew I could succeed. 

Those leaders taught me the importance of preparing. To show my gratitude, I work to share lessons with hundreds of thousands of people in prison. We’ve always got to sow seeds for the success we want to experience in the future.

Following my call with Toby, I had a call with a young woman who struggled with addiction. She served time but faced even greater struggles after she got out. She was homeless, living in a van, and found enormous challenges in her quest for stability.

After listening to a podcast that profiled Harley Blakeman, he served time in prison and faced enormous challenges after getting out. Instead of claiming, he created a solution. Harley launched a platform called Honest Jobs. It connects with employers and helps justice-impacted people break into the job market. When the young woman reached out to Harley, he hired her. Now she serves as the chief of staff for Honest Jobs.

I am grateful for every opportunity to play a small role in helping justice-impacted people rebuild. The more a person prepares, the stronger a person becomes.

What seeds can you sow to prepare for success after a crisis?

Our community at PrisonProfessorsTalent.com opens opportunities to memorialize your preparations. If you’d like to publish your profile, email our team:

[email protected].

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