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 SAG-5-Get Into Action 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

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My name is Taylor Evans and I work on the team with Prison Professors.

We are now on the fourth step in the Straight-A Guide and this topic is what makes or breaks your mitigation strategy, getting into action.

In the previous videos, we discussed defining success for yourself as making values, creating S.M.A.R.T goals, developing a mindset with 100 percent commitment to achieving success, and aspiring to make a mitigation strategy that aligns with values. None of these prior steps matter if you neglect getting into action. It is important to understand that there are only so many facets of your trial and investigation that you can control. We can’t take back the event or incident that initially got us into this predicament so we must focus on the present and future. Once you determine what areas you can control, maximize your efforts into illustrating the person you really are, not the person the judge reads about in your case paperwork.

From my personal experience with the criminal justice system, there is always some sort of action you can take to help yourself out. During your investigation and trial, you can write a personal narrative and get personal and professional references from your network. While in custody you can further your education or set up a business. Once you are out on parole or probation you can volunteer or develop a cause or non-profit related to your offense to show atonement for your mistakes.

The number of action items you can apply to your case is endless, they are determined by your attitude, level of creativity, and efforts.

In this video, Michael referenced Stephen Covey’s Seven Characteristics of Highly Successful People. He focused on three of the seven points Covey shares with his audience and talks about how they can be applied to this action step.

  1. Begin with the end in mind
  2. Take first steps first
  3. Seek first to understand rather than to be understood

Whatever action step you are taking you should be asking yourself, does this align with my values and get me closer to the outcome I am trying to achieve? That is how you begin with the end in mind.

Society has endless metaphors or examples that demonstrate the Covey’s second characteristic,
take first steps first. Rome was not built in a day, you must crawl before you walk, you have to build a sturdy foundation before you build the front door. I can give you cheesy metaphors from my coach’s mouths all day long. But there are so many of these cheesy expressions because it is true. In order for you to attain ten personal references, you need to identify at least twenty people you think could help you out. You get one reference before you get ten. Remember the R in the
S.M.A.R.T. goals, realistic. It is important to set realistic expectations with your action steps as well.

Covey’s third characteristic, seek first to understand rather than to be understood, is directly applicable to what we discussed in the last paper about authenticity. If you can see things from another person’s perspective, you may have a higher chance of truly understanding the magnitude of the situation and how to move forward properly.

Utilize the YouTube videos and other resources Prison Professors offers, and I strongly recommend reading Michael Santos’s book Earning Freedom to see all of the different ways Michael implemented action steps through his 26-year prison sentence to not only survive but really thrive through his time in incarceration.

Ask yourself, what action steps am I taking today to help achieve my definition of success?

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