When we set big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAG), we must apply ourselves with a 100% commitment. Jim Collins, the author of the book Good to Great, inspired me to develop a lesson around that concept for our course, Preparing for Success after Prison (PSAP). The course is available through the Reentry Coordinators or Supervisors of Education in all North Central Region federal prisons.
The PSAP course is an integral component of a BHAG that drove me as I worked through the final years of a 45-year sentence I served in federal prison.
BHAG: I advocate for legislative reforms that will empower prison administrators to incentivize the pursuit of excellence. They need tools to motivate people to work toward gradually increasing levels of freedom.
To succeed, I must follow the path I try to teach through our PSAP course.
- I define success as persuading legislators to pass laws that will incentivize people in prison to pursue excellence,
- My plan includes creating courses that I can spread to more than 100,000 people in federal prisons and more than 1 million people in state prisons,
- My priorities include creating courses that scale, opening relationships with administrators, hiring researchers to collect data, and building platforms to inform taxpayers of the need for incentives, including work-release programs, furloughs, access to compassionate release, and commutations.
- I must think creatively to develop tools, tactics, and resources to advance these goals.
- I must hold myself accountable, measuring daily progress.
As other people serve sentences, I encourage them to set their BHAGs. I encourage them to participate if they have access to the PSAP course.
The sooner a person starts to prepare for success after prison, the more effective the person becomes. Once they set their goals, they should work toward them every day.
A commitment to working toward daily goals carried me through 9,500 days in prison. I finished serving my sentence in 2013 but still follow this commitment to daily accountability. Making daily progress toward the goals we set opens new opportunities.
Prison Professors Talent:
The latest project I’m building is a new platform to help people in prison memorialize their commitment to preparing for success after prison. For several months, I’ve been working to develop our new website:
People who have access to the TruLinks/Corrlinks system can access this platform by sending an invite to our team of university interns:
Those who participate will receive daily lessons through the TruLinks system. Those lessons will prompt participants to memorialize how they use the time inside to prepare for success upon release. If they respond to the lessons, our interns will copy their responses and publish them to their profiles. We encourage them to write book reports for the books they read, to write their biographies, and to journal daily.
By writing, participants develop skills while simultaneously positioning themselves for more opportunities upon release. Those who’ve read Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Prison Term know I used this strategy throughout my term. They opened income opportunities and higher levels of liberty upon my release. For that reason, I encourage others to follow this strategy of memorializing their preparations for success.
I continue using these strategies today. This article will appear on the website as my July 3, 2023, journal entry. I never ask anyone to do anything that I would not do. And just as I’m encouraging others to participate in the Prison Professors Talent platform, I’m building my profile and responding to the same questions.
Our technology team launched the website on July 1, though we’re still developing. Working toward a BHAG always requires iterative steps.
Since I don’t want people in prison to pay anything to access this site, I’m using Prison Professors Talent as a tool that will build sponsorship. We need businesses and citizens to support this initiative. By building a community measured in the tens of thousands, we will collect more data showing how incentives benefit society, helping to create good neighbors rather than good inmates.
It’s an incremental step toward my BHAG. Ask your family to visit PrisonProfessorsTalent.com and see if it’s right for you. By working to generate corporate sponsorship, I hope to make this asset free for all people in prison. I cannot control the price people must pay to send emails, but I will do my best to make it free for people to receive daily lessons and build their profiles on the website.
Lots of work ahead, and lots of daily progress.