Values and Goals: Part 3 

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Looking back, I see how my lack of preparation before sentencing hurt me. Instead of responding
deliberately, with an intentional strategy during a pivotal moment, I abdicated all responsibility to prepare. 
I effectively gave up by allowing myself to succumb to guidance from others. Rather than
being intentional about my decisions, I hoped that someone else could solve problems spawned by my previous

Frederick Douglas took a different approach. He didn’t only think about what he wanted or what would
benefit his life. He thought about society and figured out ways he could influence the making of a better
community for all. Then, he embarked upon a methodical, deliberate plan. To abolish slavery, he understood
that he would have to:

  • Define success as the abolition of slavery,
  • Put a plan together that would advance prospects of abolishing slavery,
  • Put priorities in place, 
  • Execute the plan, and
  • Hold himself accountable.

Preparing for success at any phase in life requires that we begin by defining success. Then, we must set
clear and SMART goals that align with our definition of success. If we value success, we need to take the
incremental steps that will lead to success.

Whether we like it or not, we must live in the world as it exists and not as we want it to be.
Frederick Douglass understood that slavery existed. He couldn’t wish it out of existence. Instead, he had
to take a series of systematic steps that moved closer to success as he wanted to experience success—living in a
world that did not allow anyone to enslave another person. He had already solved his problem by escaping from
slavery. But he also wanted to solve problems that were far bigger than his own.

I didn’t have that presence of mind when I began serving my sentence. I simply wanted to get out of
detention and avoid prison. I didn’t think about anything other than what I wanted. 
That mindset would not work out so well for me. 

I would have been far better off thinking about stakeholders in the system. As Zig Zigler, an influential
sales leader, is famous for having said:
“If we can help others get what they want, we can get everything we want.”
I didn’t learn those lessons until long after a judge sentenced me. Reflecting on those months before
sentencing, I see that I made many mistakes by not thinking about stakeholders. Had I considered the questions
below, I would have used these strategies to prepare before sentencing.

Write responses to the following questions in approximately ten minutes. If participating in a class setting,
discuss verbally.
1-7: What motivates a prosecutor?
1-8: What motivates a judge?
1-9: What motivates the people who will influence prospects for liberty going forward?

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