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Real Talk with Judge Dawson

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of September 3, 2014

Cycle Breaker Leadership Principle number nine is “Getting in Position.” The concept of getting in position is you recognizing and connecting to the people, places and things that will help you achieve the success you seek. A major barrier to accomplishment and achieving goals is not being in the position to get what you claim you want. Some people want to be a Broadway dancer but won't move to New York. Some dream of a happy marriage but continue to date people below their standards. Some dream of staying out of the legal system but drive without a license or commit other seemingly insignificant crimes, however there are no insignificant crimes.
There was a person in my court who spoke of their financial issues and problems with child support. After deeply exploring the issue, I learned that this person rarely left the house to even complete job applications. Additionally, he never filed for visitation rights to see the child. How will this person ever overcome his lack of visitation, child support issues and financial problems if doesn’t put himself in the right position? The first set of positions for him would be to get out of the house and look for a job, then seek to establish child visitation rights. Three ways to get in position for success:

  1. Get up, get out and work There was a popular hip hop song that said “get up, get out and get something.” The song was really positive in that it promoted people spending more time pursuing their goals and less time getting high. I have updated that song for this message because getting up (waking up) getting out (putting down the PlayStation and turning off the TV) are important steps to positioning yourself for success, but more important than those two is the third element, going to work. Too many people are getting out in the community with their mind set on the hustle mentality. The mentality that says they will do “whatever it takes” to get money and achieve. Understand that this mentality will keep you bumping your head against the legal system and headed to jail. Instead, seek to get a good job, one that will at least keep money in your pocket and keep you away from illegal activities.

  2. Plan The only way to properly position yourself for success is to identify what success means to you and then plan on how you will achieve that success. I always ask defendants in my court, “What do you have planned for your life?” When a defendant has a clear vision for their life, I’m confident that his or her interaction with the legal system will be mostly positive. However, those without a plan are the ones I see returning to my court room, somehow finding new and innovative ways to break the law.

  3. Connect Connect with people, places and things that will move you closer to the goals you want to achieve. Stop hanging out with people who make you “feel” good. These are the people who say the things you want to hear, go the places you are comfortable going and do the things you’ve always done. Start spending time with people whose drive make you uncomfortable. Start connecting with people who are doing the things that you want to accomplish, who are moving in the same direction as your goals or people who can help you get there.

Though I make it sound easy, I know its not. If you want to learn more about Cycle breaker Leadership Principle number nine, “Getting in Position” join Judge Dawson’s Cycle Breaker/Finish First program on Monday nights at 5:30pm at the East Cleveland Municipal Court. East Cleveland Municipal Court’s Judge William L. Dawson is on a mission to help people to Finish First, live their best lives and be Cycle Breakers!

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