Random Thoughts

Episode 127: What does justice look like to you?

It is literally the last week in October. I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait until this election is over! I’m so tired of hearing from politicians lying about how they are going to help Americans. I’m tired of seeing the get out the vote campaign commercials. I’m just tired of all the lies. Mainly, because neither candidate represents my values. I’m literally stuck voting for the less of the evils. 

It’s like the picture that Jim Carrey painted not too long ago (if you want to see the photo, check out my website). There’s a guy who is blindfolded holding two cans. One is red and labeled blatant corruption (which clearly represents Trump) and the other is blue labeled corruption lite (which represents Joe Biden). The description says, “…Red is dead. Choose Blue instead.” 

Just in case you’re wondering, spoiler alert, I’m not voting for the idiot that clearly wants to be in charge of the KKK because he’s hell bent on starting a race war. Trump can’t even say the word Black without it sounding like a swear word. The sad thing is, I bet you he’s concentrating really hard to say Black instead of saying the word that he really wants to say. I’ll let you use your imagination on what that word would be…

I know I sound incredibly jaded and pessimistic but when it comes to the American justice system I am. As far as I am concerned, American justice is an oxymoron. In today’s episode, I guarantee some of you may feel uncomfortable, but I truly hope you hang in there because then you’ll learn something new. 

Be sure to check out the website for more details about the stories that I’m going to share with you. My goal for today’s episode to be the CliffsNotes version about aspects of American history that are either glossed over, reimagines or simply aren’t taught in school. Instead of learning from past mistakes, as a nation, we’re content with repeating them.

One of the reasons I decided to discuss this topic is because I was watching a PBS documentary called Ball of Confusion: The 1968 Election which prompted me to think about some of the conversations I have had over the past couple of months. Chaos has been happening within our nation the past couple of years, but especially this year. I recognized so many parallels to situations taking place during 1968 that have led to the chaos that we are currently experiencing today especially in regards to racism.

While I was watching this documentary, I thought back to all the protests that took place right after George Floyd’s death. I remember a white person said to me that they believed that this was going to be a defining moment in our history and that things were going to change. My response was, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” 

Guess who was right? Sadly me. You have no idea how badly I wanted to be wrong too. Here we are several months later and nothing has changed. In fact, the Karens, Beckys, Kevins, and Tanners of the world are more empowered to be bolder with their racism. 

You have idiots like Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who actually had the audacity to insinuate that Black people don’t want to be successful. This comment is especially ironic, seeing that he was born rich, never worked a day in his life, and is literally working in a position that his idiot father-in-law, Trump gave to him. Needless to say, Kushner has never had to overcome barriers of systemic racism and ignorant comments like this indicate he won’t be a part of the solution to fight against it. By the way, Blacks and Latinos are incredibly hard workers. Many work more than one job even if they have a  9 to 5 job. The majority of us don’t have generational wealth to rely on so we learn at an early age you better diversify your income.  

Another reason why we haven’t made progress is because there have been even more police shootings of unarmed Black people. I guarantee there will be even more if this idiot continues to remain in office. Trump already told the Proud Boys, a well known hate group, to “Stand back and stand by.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to decipher what he meant by that statement. If that’s not a dog whistle, I don’t know what it… In fact, there has been an increase in white supremacists groups conducting paramilitary exercises and showing up at protests causing trouble that often gets blamed on Black Lives Matter or Antifa.

One of the reasons I already knew nothing was going to change is because many white people in America truly believe that racism no longer exists. Therefore, they don’t have any incentive to work towards implementing long-lasting changes that could actually serve as an attempt to acknowledge and help repair the damage that they continue to benefit from due to the over 400-year headstart slavery and systemic racism has provided them. 

What’s even crazier is that there is even a push in the education system to revamp the definition of slavery. I’m totally not joking. In some text books instead of using the word slaves they say laborers or people from Africa who came to help people do chores. The last time I checked taking people against their will, forcing them to work without pay is called slavery. Anyway, let me get back to the subject…

Let’s take the police for example. When you’re a child you’re often taught that the police are there to help protect and serve. However, when you get older it becomes incredibly apparent who the police work for in America. Spoiler alert, they do not work for  anyone of color, especially Black people. Here’s the thing, this is by design. Many schools fail to teach that the police organizations you see today stem from slavery. Yep, that’s right boys and girls, slavery. The police were literally created to track down runaway slaves, prevent slave uprisings, and enforce rules to segregate freed slaves. 

Now, I know that some people may be like, “Wait a minute, even if that’s true, that doesn’t apply today.” Sadly, this faulty thinking is why we are in this mess. Regardless of whether white people want to admit it, the majority of the police force is composed of people who share this same slave mentality. It’s deeply ingrained in today’s modern police departments.  

The police are often assigned to “patrol” areas where they are whiter than the community and don’t even live in the areas that they are supposed to protect and serve. The police are more apt to be heavily armed and use force when they are assigned to patrol communities of color. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a shocker that there is a higher amount of police brutality incidents dealing with Black people. 

This video premiered two years ago! The foreshadowing in this video is insane…Check out the links below to catch the symbolisms and hidden meanings.

What’s even more frustrating is that the laws in place are not fairly applied to white and Black people. White people are given way more chances to avoid jail time and sometimes even choose where they want to serve their jail sentence which is not an opportunity afforded to Black people. I’ve never done drugs and believe that drug use is wrong. However, the whole war on drugs campaign during the 80’s was really another attempt to further disenfranchise Black people via mass incarceration. 

The current opioid crisis is affecting more white people than Black people. The approach being used to help white people  is way more compassionate and lenient than Black people who were caught with cocaine back in the 1980’s. Yet, sadly, the effects of the War on Drugs campaign can still be seen today. 

For example, Black people have or continued to be put in jail for having or selling weed. Black people started to bring attention to the fact that white people were not being punished with the heavy jail time sentences and fines that Black people were receiving. This is why all of a sudden you magically saw the push to legalize marijuana.  The white people who wished to use marijuana didn’t want to bring attention to the unfair application of the laws nor suffer the consequences for violating the rules

The crazy thing is that even though marijuana is legal many Black people are still sitting in jail for something that is not illegal anymore. Even when they get out of jail, they can’t get jobs because they have a record, based on what state they are in they can’t vote, and to add insult to injury they can’t own a marijuana shop. Which by the way, is yet another industry primarily owned by white people, despite the fact this industry profited from and then incarcerated numerous Black people.  

White people have also benefited from the mass incarceration of Black people because it’s literally the new modern day slave trade. When incarceration rates soared to record highs in the 1980s due to the War on Drugs campaign, corporations viewed this as a business opportunity to privatize the prison system.

Take a guess at who runs the facilities and who is stuck working for free? You guessed it. Black people are working for free yet again to help companies get rich but this time they can do it legally. Can you imagine being pulled over or thrown in jail indefinitely for a minor offense that you may or may not have committed simply because you can’t afford bail, then sentenced to jail to work for free for a large corporation? It’s in the police, prison system and many corporations best interest to keep the prison pipeline filled prisoners so they can act as modern day slaves. 

This is why when you see people protesting that you may hear chants to defund the police. It’s abundantly clear that the police can’t be expected to “police” themselves. In many cities, let’s take my hometown Chicago, the majority of the budget is allocated towards the police department. Chicago raises taxes what seems to feel like every five minutes, but can’t allocate  funds to West and South side schools so the Black and Latino students can receive the same education opportunities that students on the Northside of Chicago receive; yet, they somehow found $95 million to allocate for  “police and fire academy training?” 

Are you kidding me? Why in the world would you spend that amount of money when you could have used it for resources like after school programs, workforce initiatives, to help the community? I’m not condoning criminal activity but much of the crime you see in these neighborhoods stem from a lack of hope and resources. Sadly, it literally took a pandemic for white people to see what Black people have been talking about for years. 

The police should NOT be able to get away with their behavior. Yet,regardless of how blatant the crime may be,  it’s almost impossible for a police officer to be found guilty. Police officers have numerous laws like qualified immunity that prevent them from being punished for their crimes. 

People love to use the analogy that there are only a couple of bad apples within the police, but this simply isn’t true. Plus, could you imagine using this analogy when you decide whether to have confidence in your pilot? Like Chris Rock said, “”Some jobs, everybody gotta be good. Like … pilots. Ya know, American Airlines can’t be like, ‘Most of our pilots like to land. We just got a few bad apples that like to crash into mountains. Please bear with us.” Some professions simply cannot afford to have ANY bad apples. We all know that if the roles were reversed there would not be any bad apples and if they were there they would be immediately punished. 

In an attempt to right so many wrongs, Black people have been conditioned into thinking that voting is the only way change will occur. All throughout history a variety of barriers have been enacted to keep Black people from voting.  After the civil war, years of Jim Crow laws led to violence, bloodshed, and the rise of the KKK.

In order to keep Black people from voting rules like implementing a fee to vote aka poll tax, literacy tests that even many lawyers wouldn’t be able to pass, and other laws that would prevent you from voting like not having a job, and the list goes on. Now I understand why people have been conditioned into thinking that voting is important because this is how laws get changed. This is true if you have people willing to do the right thing. I’m sad to say we don’t have this and that is by design as well.

If you take a closer look, you will notice that when it comes to voting for the President of the United States, the popular vote doesn’t matter. It’s the electoral college that elects the president, not the people. Do you know who represents your state for the electoral college? I certainly don’t and I bet you don’t either. This part of the voting process is hardly ever discussed. 

In fact, I was watching a documentary called Electoral Dysfunction and this reporter exposed the electoral college system. The electoral college does NOT represent the current demographics of the U.S. This probably will not be a shocker, but the electoral college demographics are white men. Also, what I found incredibly surprising in this documentary was that there was a young white man who literally “inherited” the electoral role from his dad. 

There’s no rhyme or reason why these people were chosen. I can guarantee you that if more Blacks and Latinos inquired about joining the electoral college that the rules would change. By the way, I’m so sick of people bringing up the fact that Barack Obama was able to become president. Appearances don’t bring about lasting change. Plus, if the electoral college didn’t go along with the popular vote that would have been way too obvious which would have brought too much attention to their ability to continue to run in secrecy. 

However, you gotta love the irony because Trump being in office is starting to bring more attention back to the electoral college. After all this is how he was able to steal the presidency back in 2016.

By the way, once Barack was in office, the majority of the white people in the south went to work immediately and started demolishing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This law was in place to protect everyone’s right to vote. In particular, southern states that have a history of voter suppression literally had to go to the Federal government in order to receive clearance for any changes that they wished to make that dealt with voting  (poll locations). This major piece of legislation was removed back in 2013.

Ever since 2013, starting with the Southern states and slowly working up to the Northern states (especially in Wisconsin and Indiana), the number of polling places in predominantly African American and Latino communities have closed, now there’s a push for people to verify who they are with additional specific documentation that many of those communities may not possess, and there’s even some people who have been vocal about not seeing anything wrong with taking a literacy test. 

In many areas around the country, but especially the south, it’s not uncommon for Blacks and Latinos to have to drive to towns far outside of their communities, only to stand in line for hours clinging to the hope that their vote will count and matter. I’m in awe of these people, especially the folks in the South. I definitely wouldn’t even bother voting if the poll was located in one of those sundown towns. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the term sundown towns, these are towns located all throughout the United States that have the unspoken rule that Black people are allowed to be in these towns during the day to work or shop but you better be gone by nightfall. If you’re Black caught in one of these towns at night time, you can risk being arrested, beaten and yes there have been incidents of lynchings as well, but these towns go above and beyond to silence those stories from getting out into the media. However,  those that live in the Black communities surrounding these areas make sure to warn each other.

Thank goodness for social media because I definitely don’t want to make the mistake in going to one of these towns. I belong to a couple Black travel groups which is fantastic because it’s one of the major methods we use in exchanging information. It’s a helpful shortcut that many of us use to share stories to gain information to help us  determine the amount of racism we can expect to receive in whatever city or country we are thinking about visiting. 

The mere fact that these sundown towns still exist is one of the main reasons why I will never go on a road trip in this country, especially in today’s racial climate. I already know that I’m on my own if something goes down so I prefer to stay in states and areas where the racism is at least less blatant. I venture to say that the majority of the folks listening to this podcast already know which states I’m referring to and it should probably go without saying that you won’t see me visiting those states anytime soon.

Do you see what’s happening here? The United States can’t move forward if people don’t learn from the past. This is what happens when there aren’t any consequences in place or haphazardly enforced. Therefore, history continues to repeat itself. 

This is one of the main reasons why I love the phrase, “I work down here, but live upstairs.” If I focused on receiving justice from man, I would be one miserable person. However, I know better. We all have free will but I know that Christ is in charge. 

So regardless of what new hurdles this country attempts to put in place next, I’ll sail right over them. It will be easy to do. All I have to do is look at history’s rearview mirror to anticipate what’s coming up next.


Love this song!

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. If you enjoy listening to Hustle in Faith and would like to support the show, please consider sharing it with your friends, leaving a review, donating or making a purchase at  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!

Did you enjoy this episode? Feel free to buy me a ☕️ ❤️

Check out these articles

Episode 124: How do you change your perspective about your job?

One of my friends was sharing some of the issues that she was experiencing on her job. I listened. I let her vent because she was where I used to be. She wanted to do a good job, but she was surrounded by idiots that just wouldn’t let her be great! I explained to her that it’s good to have passion for your work, but that passion is misplaced at most 9 to 5  jobs. 

You can’t expect a job to bring you the happiness you seek. You need to view that job as a means to an end. It funds your life, but it is not your life.  In other words, it helps fund your real purpose in life. Many times, we confuse our job with our purpose in life. Oftentimes, that simply is not the case. So, I helped guide my friend towards various avenues that could be her purpose and gave her advice about how she could go about accomplishing them outside of her 9 to 5 job. 

I am happy to report that by the end of our conversation, her entire demeanor changed. At the beginning of our conversation, she was upset and felt defeated. Towards the end, she was so happy and couldn’t stop thanking me! It was like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

Our conversation got me thinking, how easy it is for us to misplace our passion. For example, many people put their faith in corporations who most times are being led by idiots. They get to the top by nepotism, through their connections or their willingness to lie, cheat, and steal. Yet, these people still manage to acquire leadership roles even though they aren’t qualified to run a business. This is why businesses close or get acquired.  I have seen this time and time again,  in my own life as well as others. Placing our faith in a corporation will bring nothing but disappointment. Corporations don’t have our best interest at heart. Our job can literally be here today and gone tomorrow. This is why I will never work myself to death for a company. 

Now, let me be clear, I am in no way shape, or form advocating that you should be a slacker. What I’m saying is that you have to have a balance in life. I work hard and I play hard. Regardless of what I’m doing whether it be my 9 to 5 job, one of my many side hustles, playing sports, etc. I give 100%. I’m a really hard worker and competitive.  I hate slackers and procrastinators.

If you give me a project, I’ll have it done 3 days before it’s due. I’ve always been this way because this is how I was raised. I was raised to take pride and ownership in my work. My mom would always remind us, “You’re working for God, not people. Christ has your reward, not the idiots who think they are your boss.” (Col 3:23-24).

Early on in my career, I was incredibly naive and forgot the aforementioned advice my mom shared with me. I was expecting praise from my bosses and was left feeling confused when I didn’t get the promotion nor the raise I expected. Here’s the thing, I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of working for managers that were a couple of fries short of a Happy Meal.

Instead of motivating you to succeed, they would do everything in their power to keep you down. They enjoyed placing additional mental or physical obstacles in your path. I learned the hard way to focus on pleasing Christ, not the idiot who thinks he/she is my boss. So much of our time is spent trying to please someone who doesn’t like themselves or who are as dumb as a box of rocks.  

I remember talking to my mom about this same issue I talked to my friend about. Again, being naive, I did not understand what my mom meant when she said that we set ourselves up for failure when we try to please someone who doesn’t like themselves. That person has seriously deep-rooted personal problems. When you work for someone like this, the only thing you can do is watch your back and do your job to the best of your ability. In this situation, the praises and raises will definitely have to come from Christ. I’m here to testify that they definitely did for me.

My conversation with my friend also got me thinking about how insecure and dumb people can be. I later learned that some of those managers that caused me so much unnecessary grief were jealous of me. Despite the fact that I was reporting to them and they were making way more money than me (quite frankly more than what they deserved), they were still jealous of me. It turned out that they feared me surpassing them.

Thanks to my mom’s guidance and constantly pushing me, this is exactly what I did. I surpassed all of those worthless managers. They tried everything in their power to hold me back. They had become complacent and wanted me to do the same. They took their frustration out on me when I refused to behave like them. Oftentimes, my achievements served as a reminder of that person’s shortcomings in life. 

Remember, you may be working in a less than ideal environment physically, but that shouldn’t be the case mentally. Take time out to take classes to learn new skills, listening to others who created their own opportunities. Shameless plug, check out my other podcast called Starengu which is where I provide career and business advice, and interview inspiring entrepreneurs/side hustlers that will without a doubt motivate you to do the same. 

Even if you’re not able to demonstrate them on your 9 to 5 job, take comfort in knowing that you’re working for Christ. Once you discover your talents, if you stay in faith and consistently work towards developing your talent you will eventually get the opportunity to shoot your shot.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to take the How Well Rounded Are  You in Life quiz and check out  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating, purchasing a  Hustle in Faith journal  or an  item from StarenguCrew in order to help offset the cost of producing this show.
Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!

Episode 122: How has Germany handled the Coronavirus?

How Germany Won Corona.

This has nothing to do with COVID….And everything to do with Government.

Posted by Nas Daily on Monday, September 21, 2020

Many of you already know this, but I teach English online in my spare time and I’m so blessed to have met so many amazing people online. 

I’m thrilled to have one of those amazing folks in today’s episode I’m speaking with Chris who is a protein scientist from Germany. Discover the difference in how the United States handled the Coronavirs compared to Germany.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to take the How Well Rounded Are  You in Life quiz and check out  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating, purchasing a  Hustle in Faith journal  or an  item from StarenguCrew in order to help offset the cost of producing this show.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!

Episode 120: What will your dash look like? Part 2

Sidenote: I never intended for this to be a two part series. However, his death got me thinking about my “dash” and figured that these episodes really belonged together (hence, the gap in the timeframe). Here is part one, but you don’t have to listen to that one first in order to understand this episode. 🙂 https://hustleinfaith.com/what-will-your-dash-look-like/

Before I jump into today’s episode, I want to take a moment to thank you for your support. I actually did something that I hardly ever do…I took a look at the analytics for this podcast. It’s crazy how much this podcast has grown. Oftentimes, it felt like I was talking to myself, but clearly I’m not.

I started this podcast solely out of trying to inspire and motivate people to never give up and to keep going, so it’s really humbling to see how much this podcast has grown despite the fact that I’ve NEVER spent money on advertising. It’s been purely by word of mouth. So if you’re enjoying this content, if you don’t mind, I would really appreciate it if you can pay it forward by leaving a rating and a review on iTunes because it will help other people to discover this podcast as well. I’d truly appreciate it and thanks again for your support.

All right. Whew. Where do I even begin with how to describe this past week…Yet, more protests have been happening. Athletes literally said enough is enough and did not play any of their games in hopes to draw more attention to the obviously clear double standards that exist in this country, by the way, more power to every last one of those athletes for using their platform. 

They are in a unique situation to drive change. These billionaire owners literally can’t do a single thing without the players. More power to these athletes in forcing the owners to pay attention by messing with their bottom line. I have always felt this way and loved it when I saw Jemele Hill’s article called, “ Why should a country that doesn’t value black lives get to be entertained by black athletes?” Team owners shouldn’t continue to benefit from your talent if they aren’t willing to fight for your right to exist in peace. 

Then on Friday, as if all of what I mentioned wasn’t enough we lost actor Chadwick Boseman at age 43 to colon cancer.

Learning about the news of his death really felt like a kick in the gut. He was the exact same age and had the exact same cancer my dad died from. He portrayed Jackie Robinson in the film 42 and literally the day of Chadwick’s death coincided with the day that Major League Baseball commemorated legend Jackie Robinson.

The thing that struck me the most was that this man filmed Civil War, Marshall, Black Panther, Infinity War, Endgame, 21 Bridges and Da 5 Bloods, that’s 7 films all while he was fighting stage 3 cancer. Chadwick truly was a real-life superhero. How he was able to film all those movies is truly remarkable. I remember accompanying my dad for the surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments. Everything that I just named leaves your body feeling incredibly exhausted and it takes every ounce of strength that hasn’t been zapped from you physically to keep you mentally sane.

I haven’t seen all of those movies that I listed, but you better believe the one film that I, like every Black person has seen Black Panther. I remember being so excited because I love comic book movies and when I heard that they were doing Black Panther I could hardly contain myself. 

I know a lot of people who are not Black may not understand this, but to see an all Black cast not in playing the token role of a sidekick, a slave, or any of the other demeaning stereotype roles we’re normally relegated to and incredibly tired of seeing reflected on the big screen was just so refreshing. I genuinely felt like a child watching that movie. 

I know many people held watch parties, people dressed up as their favorite characters, and everyone under the sun would jokingly greet each other the way they did in the film. When I was watching the film, I and countless other Black people that I would talk to about the film kept wishing that a place like this existed. Seeing a place like Wakanda on the big screen, allowed me for a short period of time to actually feel seen and represented.

Needless to say, Black Panther went on to make more than a billion dollars and proved to the movie industry something that we already knew…we can produce box office hits if given the opportunity and resources to do so. 

We have been fortunate enough to witness how talented and kind Chadwick was on and offscreen. He was visiting terminally ill children while he was fighting for his own life. Chadwick did more in his 43 years of life than some have with 100 years.

One of the stories that really touched me is Chadwick’s acceptance speech at AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Denzel Washington on the TNT thanking Denzel Washington for paying his tuition to attend the British Academy of Dramatic Acting in Oxford. Phylicia Rashad told Denzel that she had a couple of students that were accepted into the program but they didn’t have the money to pay the tuition. Denzel Washington anonymously paid all of the students’ tuition and years later Chadwick found out it was Denzel Washington who paid his tuition.

Chadwick’s death, hearing this story about how Denzel paid for Chadwick’s tuition, all of the chaos currently happening in this nation got me thinking about how we can be here today and gone tomorrow, that phrase, by the way, is also one of my favorite songs by Aloe Blacc.

Here Today Gone Tomorrow

The Bible also says in James 4:14 states that our life is like a vapor. I’m well aware that tomorrow isn’t promised, which is why I’m constantly asking myself, “What will your dash look like?” Many times when we look at an obituary or headstone, we look at their birthdate and date of death, but what about the dash?

That dash is more than just a line between our birthday and date of death it’s our life. Now, in case you want to learn more about how I shifted my mindset so I could position myself to get on the right path to achieving my dash check out episode 58: What will your dash look like?

Honestly, if your goal is to live an extraordinary life you’ve got to do the things that mention in Episode 58, but then after that, you’ve got to be willing to put in the work by addressing the following:

Time

People ask me all the time, “T or Tosha how can you find the time to do all the stuff that you do? When do you sleep? Here’s the thing, I’ve always been very protective of my time, but when my dad passed away even more so. Time is a scarce resource. Everything in life has an opportunity cost.You can’t get it back. This is why I’m fiercely protective of my time. If I spend my time with toxic people or working on projects/activities that do not add value to my life, I just wasted my time.  Everyone that is currently in my life and the activities that I choose to participate in are there for a reason. 

If you want your dash to matter then you’re going to have to carve out time to determine what it is you want out of life. I know many so many people stuck in dead end jobs. I totally get that feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day where you just want to go home and watch TV, but how is that TV show contributing to your future? It’s not. 

I’m not saying, you gotta work, work, work, work, but carve out at least an hour to teach yourself a new skill that you think will allow you to create an opportunity for you to experience success. Throughout my entire career, I have always carved out at least an hour for myself to learn something new and/or continue developing a skill set. My background is marketing, but I’m a techie at heart. I pick up software pretty quickly and decided to develop this skill. This is literally how I taught myself to build websites and create and edit audio and videos which enabled me to create a nice little side hustle doing something that I love. 

Successful people don’t watch a lot of TV and aren’t super active on social media. Why? Both of those activities are huge time sucks. This is precious time that you can spend networking with other like minded people who share your vision and may be in a position to help you achieve your goal. I make sure to donate my time to share the knowledge that I’ve acquired with others less fortunate than me.

Knowledge 

I’m a firm believer in acquiring knowledge that is going to enable me to create my own opportunities and not solely rely on a 9 to 5  to provide for me. I then go out of my way to share this knowledge with other people. Life is hard. We have enough hurdles as it is in life that we have to clear. My goal is to help you reduce the time that you spend doing so by offering solid advice. It brings me joy to be the shortcut someone needs to help them succeed. This is why I’m so passionate about education. Whenever I volunteer in the schools,  I make it a special point to connect with the Black and Latino students.

Many times, these students are dismissed, forgotten or worse forced into accepting society’s standard of what success looks like for them. Let me tell you…it ain’t pretty. School conditions many students to be worker bees. You can only achieve success if you have a 9 to 5 and climb the corporate ladder for the rest of your life. If you dare even attempt to fly away from this mindset then you’ve got to fight through an angry mob of bees that don’t want to see you succeed.

 I want these students to see that they can flip the script just like those NBA athletes. Stop playing someone else’s game. If people refuse to listen then take that as a cue to go create your own opportunity because people will not fight for your best interest.

(White people) need to be coached up and they need to be educated about what the heck is going on in the world,” Carroll said. “Black people can’t scream anymore, they can’t march any more, they can’t bear their souls anymore to what they’ve lived with for hundreds of years because white guys came over from Europe and started a new country with a great idea and great ideals and wrote down great writings and laws and all of that about democracy and freedom and equality for all. And then that’s not what happened, because we went down this road here and followed economics—rich white guys making money—and they put together a system of slavery, and we’ve never left it, really. It has never gone away.

“And Black people know the truth, they know exactly what’s going on. It’s white people who don’t know. It’s not that they’re not telling us; they’ve been telling us the stories. We know what’s right and what’s wrong, we just have not been open to listen to it. We’ve been unwilling to accept the real history. We’ve been taught a false history of what happened in this country, we’ve been basing things on false premises, and it has not been about equality for all, it has not been about freedom for all, it has not been opportunity for all, and it needs to be. This is a humanity issue we’re dealing with. This is a white people’s issue to get over and learn what’s going on and to figure it out and start loving everybody that is part of our country, and that want to our country, wherever they want to come from.”

Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks Head Coach https://sports.yahoo.com/pete-carroll-seahawks-white-people-real-history-racism-speech-nfl-032543213.html

The only thing that the corporate world has to offer is a mentorship program that are nothing more than an illusion to make someone like me *think* that I have a shot at making it to the top of the ladder, but I really don’t. In every company that I’ve worked at that had a mentorship program not a single one of them had anyone of color in senior management. It’s been this way throughout my entire career.

Why is this the case? If we’re being completely honest oftentimes many of the business deals that are made are made in places that are not frequented by people who look like me (i.e. golf courses, country clubs, etc). 

I’m not trying to say this to be malicious or desire pity, trust me I don’t need or want it, I’m simply stating this because it is a fact. I figured out fairly early on in my career that I wasn’t going to continue climbing a ladder that wasn’t meant for me and nor  did I want to find out that my ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. 

So I simply view my job as a means to an end—to fund the projects that I’m most passionate about in life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and the folks I work with have been pretty cool so far, but again my motto is  I work to live, not live to work. I channel my energy and time by sharing my knowledge so other people don’t feel like they have to play the game.

Strategy

You can’t create your own game if you don’t have a strategy. After all a goal without a plan is just a wish. What does success look like to you? Does your idea of success enable you to be a conduit? Meaning, are other people going to be blessed by you achieving your goals. 

So for example, one of my goals is to create an afterschool workshop to help Black and Latino kids get the business skills they need to create their own opportunities. My definition of success is to help out as many people as I can to achieve their dreams. I know for a fact that my time and knowledge is going to help out future generations. 

Phylicia Rashad and Denzel Washington had no idea that their willingness to go above and beyond in donating their time, expertise and generosity was going to produce a future king that would be admired throughout the ages.

I’ve been truly blessed. It’s an honor for me to be in a situation to help as many people as I can but especially those within my community. 

If you’re like me and you want your dash to matter it starts with making sure that you reclaim your time, gain knowledge to help you create opportunities and determine ways in how you can be a conduit in sharing your gifts and talents with others. When people see my dash I want them to know that my life represented Proverbs 11:25 “The generous soul will be made rich,

And he who waters will also be watered himself.” 

I already know that I’ve already watered quite a few souls and if you can’t say the same it’s not too late. Don’t overthink it and take the shot.

I want to end this episode by sharing two poems with you. With all the chaos in this world it seems like they both can be a good reminder to never lose focus on our dash.

Both of these poems were included in my dad’s obituary. 

Medieval Times

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

By Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

You’re the Cats

By  LaTosha Johnson 

You have always been there for me, and now it is my turn to be here for you, 

because you need someone to care for you too.

When I was small, you were always there to help me, 

Whether it was homework (I am past the “Alligator” situation), problems, and questions.

You are always there to give me advice, 

And since I am stubborn, I always need it twice.

You are the epitome of what a REAL father is and should be, 

I hope you realize how very special you are to me.

Please do not hesitate to ask me for help,

There is nothing too big that with prayer cannot be dealt.

You are always providing for us and our needs above your own,

With your love and guidance I wan to show you how much I have grown.

We are always buddies, and buddies help each other out, 

Especially when they are dealing with a troublesome bout.

You will be fine rest assured because we’re here to help you, 

And we will be with you through and through.

I wish I could repay you for everything you have and continue to do for me,

But there is nothing in the world that would amount to this you see.

I love you so much that my feelings cannot be expressed, 

I am so proud of you and appreciate everything you do which is why you are such a success.

You have accomplished so many things that many people only dream

But what separates you from them is that you made your dreams a reality.

You work hard and deserve to have us take care of you, 

So please relax and get some rest, 

Your love selflessness is what makes you Daddy the absolute best.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to take the How Well Rounded Are  You in Life quiz and check out  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating, purchasing a  Hustle in Faith journal  or an  item from StarenguCrew in order to help offset the cost of producing this show.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!

Episode 119: Working from home and mask pet peeves

Welcome to Hustle in Faith. This podcast is dedicated to helping you find your trail to a happier healthier you by discussing topics regarding Christianity, health & wellness, beauty & so much more! I’m your host Tosha Johnson.

Episode 119: Random Thoughts: Working from home and my mask pet peeves

We’re approaching month 7 of living in this pandemic world. During this time, my company along with many other companies has made the decision to allow their employees to work from home until next year. Companies have noticed they are saving a lot of money and seeing an increase in productivity. Honestly, my company has not lost a beat with everyone working from home.

I find it interesting reading articles that have been talking about the issues working from home causes for employees. Working from home is nothing new to me. I’ve been working from home for years. In fact, I was working from home before the Coronavirus hit, so nothing changed in my routine. Out of all the companies that I’ve ever worked, hands down, this place, so far has been one of the BEST. Honestly, working from home has allowed me to live my best life! If you want to learn more why check Episode 116 It’s My Birthday.

In any case, I have to laugh when I come across articles talking about the “issues” working from home causes for employees. Surely, this was not written by a real employee. Most likely these articles are written by executives who want to get away from their family environment. Considering the fact that they are trying to get back to the office and away from their “family” proves that these individuals are living a checklist life. Their family or “loved ones” are just items they can check off their list so that they can appear that they are worth imitating. 

Also, when I come across articles that discuss the issues that working from home poses for employees, I often picture a lonely micromanager who lacks the self-discipline they need to work from home. Instead of dealing with their personal problems (i.e. being lonely, needing to be surrounded by other people to feed their ego, etc.), this lonely micromanager insists on projecting their personal problems onto everyone else (aka their subordinates). Again, I’ve been working from home for years.

Here’s the thing, the majority of the folks that I know, obviously myself included, absolutely love working from home. Where you work should NOT dictate how effective you are at your job. If you have a corporate job and you had to work late on a project, you would most likely do so from your house. Therefore, there is NO difference than when you work from home all day everyday. Those people that want people to come back into the office are dealing with personal issues that they want to project onto others (i.e. their subordinates or  co worker).

I know lonely micromanagers are the same fools that voted for offices to embrace an open layout. OK, sorry just had a bad flashback to the days when I had to sit in that ridiculous layout… Anyway moving forward, working from home is a win-win for everyone involved (the company and employees). Since everyone has been working from home, companies are seeing a thrive in Productivity. Again, working from home is a win -win for everyone; especially the employees. A home environment gives employees the Creativity outlet they need and last but not least, working from home enables employees to keep a Work/Life Balance.

For example, let’s take the increase in productivity. 

Productivity

I cannot stress how much more work I get done at home than when I’m in the office. Working in the office is incredibly distracting. In time past, I was stuck working in an uncomfortable cubicle. In addition to this, it seemed that my cubicle was located in the busiest aisle known to mankind. You know that one aisle everyone takes to get back to their own cubicle, but before they make it back to their desk, they stop in front of my cubicle to have the world’s longest conversation with another co-worker.

Then there’s what I refer to as the drive-bys. When you’re trying to meet a deadline and then someone drops by to talk to you. You don’t want to be rude, so you stop what you’re doing and chat for a bit, and then try to give cues that you’re busy but the other person doesn’t seem to pick up on the cues. Finally, I just have to be the bad guy and end the conversation. The same thing happens when you stop by the water cooler. Again, working in the office is incredibly distracting.

I know this is going to sound cold, but I’m just not big on the chit chat conversations. Especially when it’s with people that I have nothing in common with. It’s nothing personal, but there’s only so many hours in a day. As I get older, I just don’t have the time and energy to engage in fake conversations. Utilizing my time for fake conversations, means that I have to work overtime. I am a person who properly utilizes her time during working hours. Mainly, because I am not into working overtime. Working overtime interferes with my “I work to live, not live to work” mentality!

Working from home allows us to avoid all the aforementioned scenarios. Unlike some people, I prefer to finish my work during working hours.  Plus, after hours, I have a ton of fulfilling projects that I like to work on like teaching English, dance, working on my fitness apparel stores, doing voiceovers, etc. These projects are my passion. They are fun for me and the extra cash I make is icing on the cake.

If you think about it, who in their right mind does not want to work from the comfort of their own home? I will take the home office that I have built for myself ANY DAY over an office cubicle. Besides, why wouldn’t you want to work from home? Home is where the heart is right? It’s been interesting reading studies and articles about how men are more willing to go back to the office than women. To me, it seems like many of these men are going back into the office as a means to escape from their home life.

I have to work really hard NOT to roll my eyes when I hear people complain about working from home and being anxious to get back into the office. These fools would rather sit in an office all day wearing a mask (which by the way I will NEVER do) when they could be working from the comfort of their own home.  That makes no sense! I know the essential workers trapped in retail jobs would love to be able to work from home. These essential workers (especially those who work in retail) would love to switch places with these fools who insist on coming into the office.

What I have noticed is – many of the folks complaining about working from home have never truly worked in jobs that are considered essential.  I worked retail in high school. It was one of the main reasons why I knew I needed to get that piece of paper (aka degree). The way my personality is set up, I know I could not deal with the Karens, Beckys, Chads and Tanners of the world and maintain my sanity.

Many of you who know me, know I don’t have a poker face. Therefore, you can immediately see the irritation on my face when I have to listen to someone say, they cannot wait to get back into the office. I automatically think about how selfish or lonely this person is. They are leaving their spouse at home to take care of the kids all by herself (I said herself because most of the time it is women that end up with the kids) and/or they are just lonely people that are forcing their subordinates or co-worker to be their friend,  and/or they need to be surrounded by other people to feed their ego during working hours.

Another thing, the folks that “enjoy” going to the office oftentimes have their own office. They don’t have to sit in cubicles or worst the ridiculous open layout format. They can retreat back to their office while the rest of us are stuck trying to book a conference room so we can make a simple client call because we’re sitting on top of each other…

Again, working from home is a win-win for everyone involved. It highlights the folks that are producing results as well as demonstrates to employers those who are barely doing enough to get a paycheck. Working in the office, folks who “fake” working have always been able to get away with their behavior.  Mainly because they’re good at talking and running around playing the office politics games. At home, communication must be scheduled, concise, and direct. Outside the office environment, that “fake” stuff does not work.

Working from home exposes these people for the fakes they are and employees like me finally get a chance to shine. Working from home does not diminish our productivity. On the contrary, it enhances our productivity by taking away the stress and giving employees back their time. This is valuable time that can be spent developing our creativity.

Creativity

The time and energy we waste getting ready for work, fighting traffic to get to work, and once we get there, we need time to decompress from the hassle it took to get to work. This daily 2 or 3 hours a day can be better spent on developing our God given creativity.

Working from home takes away the stress and mismanagement of time.  The mere fact that I don’t have to deal with all the above put me in a win- win situation. My home office is super calming. Since I’m more relaxed I can think of more ideas on how to create more revenue opportunities to increase my 9 to 5 business as well as my own.

 I hope this doesn’t come across as arrogant, but I’m one of the most creative people you will ever meet. When someone tells me their talent, I can come up with all sorts of ideas on how they can make money with their God-given talent. I am just wired this way as to why my mom strongly suggested that I pursue a career in marketing. Needless to say, she was correct in helping me choose my path in life. I try to do the same so others can experience some of what I have.

From a corporate perspective, it’s unfortunate that many employers may not get to reap the benefits of their employees’ creativity. Many companies fail to realize that a lot of those ideas that employees wish to share are being trapped by those that they report into…their managers. I’ve had managers either never share my idea or flat out attempt to steal my idea. Emphasis on attempt because I would never allow someone to take credit for my idea. I’ve also had coworkers attempt to do the same thing without being reprimanded by their manager. 

If you call me impromptu, please do not be offended if I don’t use my video.
When I say, “I’m not camera ready,” that means I’m looking like the photo on the left. 😉

I’ll never forget the first time this happened to me. I created a brand new report but I needed one piece of data that I needed to include in the report. I was going on vacation somewhere I wouldn’t have Wifi, so I asked my coworker if they could include the data and then send it to my client. My coworker decided to put his name on the report and act like he created the report and took the compliments on my behalf. I found out only because the department head complimented this person. Now I could care less about the accolades. The thing that upset me was this dude had the audacity to steal my idea like  I was someone he could walk all over. 

So I called a meeting with my manager and this thief and expressed my frustration.  Since this thief was on the other side of the situation (receiving compliments for my work), he didn’t understand why I was so upset. Of course, my worthless manager just wanted me to get past this without “reprimanding the thief”. Mainly because the thief performed one of the best White tears performances I had ever seen (guys this was before the Amy Cooper and the Black bird watcher video). So anyway, when we left the conference room the thief was visibly upset. Everyone was looking at me like I was the bad person despite the fact that this person had flat out stolen my idea and lied.. 

Honestly, it was moments like this and others that followed that caused me to seriously question how much of my energy I wanted to spend climbing that corporate ladder only to find out later that my ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.  My hope during this pandemic is that companies that aren’t thriving in the innovation area need to take inventory of their company’s leadership staff. Due to bottlenecks, companies could be missing out on great ideas that can generate more revenue.

As I stated before working from home is a win-win for everyone. The company and I both get to save money. The company saves money because they no longer have to pay for travel and expenses. They can save even more money because they don’t have to pay for company infrastructure. If it is a reputable company, then hopefully those savings will be redistributed to the employees. Even if the aforementioned never happens, an employee can still save money because he/she no longer has to pay for transportation costs and/or work clothes.

In addition to all these benefits, working from home gives employees a great work/like balance.

Work/Life Balance

Just sitting back thinking about my work/life balance, can be attributed to me working from home. The two hours I used to spend getting dressed and commuting to work can now be spent on exercising. I love exercising in the morning. The only way I can exercise during this time is because I don’t have to waste my time and energy going into the office.

There’s no way in the world I could exercise in the morning if I had to go into the office. The time it would take for me to get dressed, do my makeup and hair, I’ve got natural hair so that will take forever to style (scroll down to see the video I created to learn more about natural hair) I would never get out the door. Of course, I’ve got to leave time to commute. I’m exhausted just thinking about that schedule…

There are so many positive aspects to employees working from home. As I have stated before, this pandemic has not been all bad.  Working from home is definitely an approach that more companies will continue to embrace. 

My Mask Wearing Pet Peeves

On the other hand, I will never embrace how people treat wearing masks like Linus wore his blanket. Some people’s approach to wearing a mask demonstrates that common sense is not all that common for everyone.

I’m not going to get into all of my thoughts regarding the Coronavirus and the mask. In case you’re interested checkout Episode 108.  Anyway, I feel this whole mask-wearing thing is getting out of hand. It’s driving me insane to see these advertisements that state that wearing masks is saving lives. It’s not true! You can still get sick if you’re wearing a cloth mask.Unless you’re wearing the N95 mask you’re not saving anything.

I have seen so many instances of cross contamination.  I’ve seen people wearing masks on their chin, underneath their nose, on their ears or wrist then they touch different surfaces only to put back on their Linus blanket (aka their mask). The thing that I’ve seen that’s puzzled me the most is when I see kids at the playground with a mask on, playing on equipment that is not disinfected but then touching all over their face to keep their mask on. It doesn’t make sense. You might as well take the mask off… You will have a better chance of not getting contaminated.

Here’s the thing, if you want me to wear a mask in the store; that’s cool! But I will never wear one outside when social distancing is clearly possible. There is no reason in the world that you shouldn’t be able to social distance outside. I value my health and safety so trust me, I was a social distancing champ before the pandemic.

The bottom line, it is NOT good to wear a mask all day and especially if you’re exercising. You’re literally breathing in your own carbon dioxide and trapping bacteria in your mask. You’re increasing your chances of getting dizzy and fainting. Wearing a mask while exercising is one of the main reasons why I and many other fitness instructors opted not to return back to the studio to teach our classes. We KNOW how dangerous it is to teach a fitness class with a mask on.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know there are those who are teaching under duress under this condition, because they really need the money. I am not talking about them. I am simply pointing out that mask wearing in the great outdoors is an overkill.  I feel like people are just blindly following rules without questioning their validity. 

Maintaining a social distancing environment is all we need. I love to run and bike by myself. Therefore, maintaining a social distance is not a problem for people like me. I have been doing this way before the pandemic came into existence and I have been in very good health before and during this pandemic.

My whole pet peeve is those people who are buying into this whole “I’m saving lives when they wear a mask.” You’re really not saving lives! Seeing people wearing a mask when they are literally sitting on their own porch away from people is silly. This is equally disturbing when I see people wearing masks to mow the grass without a single soul near them. If the media believes in fair play, they should report on the folks that are getting sick from wearing their mask.

The mask-wearing that thoroughly confuses me is when I see people wearing a mask alone in their car or the majority of the family members are wearing a mask and one of the members is not. This is silly! You all are going home together. If the one without the mask gets sick, he/she is going to spread it to everyone in the family. So, you might as well stand in solidarity as a family by everyone wearing the mask or everyone not wearing the mask. Another rule that drives me insane is with the restaurant situation. You walk into a restaurant with the mask on only to take it off when you get to your table. It doesn’t make any sense! 🤷‍♀️

There’s just way too much fear going around. For example, when I’m running or biking on the trail I make a point to leaving plenty of room when I go past people. Yet, I see fearful people freaking out trying to hurry up and put a mask after I have already approached them. I’m literally long gone before they accomplish putting on their mask.

My point is, if you’re going to wear a mask outside, make it make sense people. I can’t wait to share an interview with one of English students who works in the science field in Germany. The way they are doing things over there makes WAY more sense to me than the mess we have going on over here in America.

I truly do believe that the Coronavirus is going to end up being like the flu. As a result, the thing that makes the most sense is to teach people how to focus on building up their immune system. Pharmaceutical companies focus on treating symptoms because it’s more lucrative than creating a cure. Instead of giving people information about building up their immune system, the media has been trying to brainwash people into getting a vaccination. Vaccination isn’t going to be effective because this virus strain mutates way too fast. By the way, for those folks who think that they need to get a flu shot vaccination, the CDC doesn’t heavily advertise the fact that the effectiveness rate is only 40% so there’s no point in getting one of these either.

The bottom line is everyone needs to do their research and make sure that they don’t forget common sense in their quest to stay healthy. There’s just way too much fear going around. I understand people are getting sick, but we still have to find a balance of maintaining some semblance of sanity and being sociable.

Articles/videos referenced in this Natural Hair video:

Black Women with Natural Hairstyles Are Perceived as Less Professional: Black people can’t catch a break…LOL This is not news to any of us, but this is yet another type of discrimination faced on a daily basis.

Hair Relaxer Use and Risk of Uterine Leiomyomata in African-American Women: In an attempt to reduce our curl pattern, many of us (myself included) used to use relaxers. Of course, no one told us about the dangerous chemicals that these relaxers contained nor the fact that they cause an increase in fibroids or cause cancer. Hence, why many Black women STOPPED getting relaxers. No one wants to die over their hair.

The Crown Act: A law that is supposed to address the issue of hair discrimination in the workplace. By the way, super insane this is even needed because if you have an issue with our hair… that’s a personal problem. Take it up with God…🤷‍♀️

Sharmen J Beauty: I LOVE her headwraps. They are super stylish and comfortable. I would buy the entire store if I could. They make fantastic gifts!

Grace Eleyae (Slap): There’s no way I would ever go to bed and/or outside during the wintertime without wearing these satin-lined slaps (aka beanies) that she makes. They have a satin lining on the inside that help keep your hair moisturized. Another fantastic gift for your favorite curlfriend.

YouGoNatural: Beautiful African satin lined headwraps.

Unan Import (site coming soon): If you’re in Chicago, stop by this store. He sells headscarves along with beautiful African art, skincare products (African Black soap, Mango butter, Shea butter), earrings, etc.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to take the How Well Rounded Are  You in Life quiz and check out  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating, purchasing a  Hustle in Faith journal  or an  item from StarenguCrew in order to help offset the cost of producing this show.Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!