What if you were defined by your biggest mistake?
Last night I went to prison.
Before last night, I've never been in a jail. I'm so clueless, I couldn't even tell you how many prisons are in Omaha. At lunch, a group asked me which one I was going to. My thought? "There's more than one?" It's not part of my daily experience. So why did I go?
Jeremy Bouman invited me. He is a director at Defy Ventures, a development program for prisoners that uses entrepreneurial training to prepare them for employment and entrepreneurship. From a sales and marketing FIT standpoint, overcoming the hurdle of time in prison is a challenge. Think about it. If your biggest mistake was public record, how would you interview? How would you overcome that objection?
My role was simple. Offer feedback. I've hired hundreds of people and looked at thousands of resumes. I've marketed and sold hundreds of products and services.
Here's the thing I learned. None of that mattered. To sit knee to knee with a peer, 10 years into a 12 year sentence, working to change his future, is humbling. Who is going to give him a chance? As you know, I'm biased toward improving the weakest link, but even those who are biased toward MVPs will appreciate Defy's approach. Admit your mistakes, become the person you want to become, and get to work. As one of the executives in the workshop said, "if my employees took half as much responsibility for their actions [as you], our company would be a better place."
Take a minute and learn more about this program. Consider giving some time to a local chapter. Their success at keeping released prisoners from returning to prison is mind blowing. Defy Ventures.