The revelation of my adoption was less a wound and more a pivotal juncture. Suddenly, life felt like a puzzle, and I embarked on a journey to find where my piece fit. This desire for understanding and rebellion intertwined, sculpting the path that eventually led to the ideation of the REFRAME framework.
Recognizing My Choices
Understanding my adoption was a whirlwind of emotions—neither wholly negative nor entirely positive. It marked the beginning of a rebellious phase, where I grappled with my identity and made choices that placed me on society's fringes. My choices, not my adoption, set my life's trajectory. Recognizing that was the first step.
Leadership Insight: This phase taught me the power of self-awareness and decision-making, leading me to value autonomy in my team members.
Embracing My Mistakes
Rebellion, youthful indiscretions, and that hunger to defy boundaries landed me in the courts and, eventually, on the wrong side of the bars. These were not mere happenstances; they were direct outcomes of my actions. I was but a child when I stepped into the bleak, intimidating confines of Guilford County jail. Yet, I wasn't treated or stored as one.
I can still recall my first entrance into that joint cell block, the intimidating gaze of inmates as I was walked by one of them to my resting spot—since guards rarely ventured in. The resonating clang of the metal door as it slammed shut behind me is a sound that's forever imprinted in my mind. I found myself on a cold, hard metal shelf, mockingly termed a bunk, draped with a worn-out, ratty mattress. There I was, just a kid, for using my parents' credit card, and my cellmate, a stark contrast, was a man staring down the abyss of life imprisonment.
But with every stumble, every chilling night on that metal shelf, every new face with a tale of woe, I learned. I learned to embrace my fallibility, seeking growth in every mistake and every harrowing experience.
Leadership Insight: Embracing mistakes in business is crucial. I now lead with empathy, knowing that errors are growth opportunities, not just setbacks.