Skip to content

Sheldonbarrocks.com Posts

What Real Hero Work Looks Like

We love superhero movies. There’s something about them that we can relate to. Good overcoming evil. The afflicted getting the justice they deserve. Peace being restored. All narratives that resonate with us. There’s no better example of this than last year’s box office hit Avengers Endgame.

Released in Spring 2019 to much fanfare, Endgame went on to shatter box office records becoming the highest-grossing movie in history on July 21, 2019, after 89 days of release. It was the climatic ending we all have been wait for after a decade of Marvel films building the anticipation.

One of my favourite scenes in the film comes near the end. Steve Rogers aka Captain America stands alone in the battle field as thousands of enemy soldiers, aircrafts and beasts begin to approach him. Looking at the overwhelming task in front of him, Captain America, in true Cap form, grits his teeth and tightens his iconic battle shield strap preparing to seemingly die honourably in battle.

We can sometimes allow the fantasy of superhero life clash with our reality and influence how we approach issues on a global scale. To clarify, we all have a small inherent desire to be ‘superheroes’ to save the world and the problems it’s currently facing.

At first glance this idea doesn’t seem problematic. Having a desire to do good is the essence of humanity. The problem lies in the area of how we scale what real effective problem solving looks like. One against a thousand is a romantic idea, but is often not practical or provides meaningful impact. As well the idea that the only means of achieving something significant is to approach large scale issues head on can lead to missing more optimal opportunities for progress.

If personal circumstances won’t allow you to participate in a march for racial inequality, donating to organizations that have been in this fight for sometime may prove to be more beneficial. Signing petitions, sharing legitimate information on social media and participating in progressive conversations aren’t massive undertakings but can lead to positive change.

Don’t be fooled by society’s perception of what real ‘hero’ work looks like. Simple, unassuming actions done consistently over a period of time build a stronger foundation to the ultimate goal. Recognition will be hard to come by, but is that the real reason we desire the hero status?

Leave a Comment

Easily Upgrade Your Skills

I’m not the best negotiator, possibly because it’s never been a large part of the career roles I’ve occupied.

So when I accepted a new role at a company that involved negotiating at a larger capacity, I immediately looked for training and tools to improve that skill set.

I gained some insight on negotiating from a free online Ivy League course, but most of the knowledge I collected came from the popular book: Getting to Yes. Through Amazon i purchased the book for only $11 with shipping. $11 to upgrade a skill that led to me being more effective and valuable in my role.

We shouldn’t avoid situations or opportunities because we lack the appropriate skills. It’s those skills we need to spend the most time upgrading and practicing so we’re more effective in our businesses, workplaces and communities.

Most soft skills can be learned or improved with minimal financial commitment. We just need to be up to the task of seeing it though to the end.

Leave a Comment

Record it, Always

A few years ago I read probably one of the most epic bedtime stories ever told to my four kids (their words, not mine). But it didn’t come from a book.

The story took several days to finish from beginning to end and it all came creatively from the top of my head at that very moment. The entire storyline, character development, scene depiction, plot twists and story action never existed previously on a written sheet of paper or electrical document.

To say the least my kids were entertained each night and often refer to the story of ‘Prince Edward’ as the best story I’ve ever read.

Too bad I no longer have any idea in what the story was about. I made the mistake of not recording or writing down any details of the story. Nothing. Not even jot notes. At the time I was just trying to get my kids to sleep not realizing a literary master piece was being created. Any chance of passing the story to my grandkids was now zero to none.

Ideas, thoughts, plans, names of new network contacts and where you met them, and yes stories you tell you kids – write/type/record it all down. Trust the capacity of your mobile phone note app over the capacity of your mind in remembering hundreds of hours of creative thought in detail.

Leave a Comment

Share Your Ideas to the World

I’m here sitting on my living room couch thinking of what to write while watching the Sonic the Hedgehog movie with my young kids.

It dawned on me that the Sonic brand has been around for over 30 years. A single video game concept idea ended up creating dozens more video game titles, for major consoles and mobile phones, several TV series, books, toys, other random merchandise and now a full length feature film.

It’s not unusual to think that the original idea of Sonic was probably rejected a few times or shunned as being ridiculous. But once given the chance to flourish, the character Sonic has been infectious for at least 2 generations of fans.

If a blue, wise-talking, cartoon like hedgehog with blazing speed can evolve into multimillion dollar merchandise empire, then our ideas shouldn’t seem so outrageous that we’re afraid to share them with the world.

Leave a Comment

Welcome Complex Ideas

The other day my teenage son was sitting in our living room with his portable gaming device, fully engaged in the application he was playing.

I glanced over to quickly see what was so fascinating. The game was a simulation of a surgical procedure. A voice would give critical directions on the next step and he, acting as a surgeon, had to execute it virtually with his gaming stylus on the screen.

I was intrigued and continued watching him for a few more minutes. The game seemed complex and the fact that he used his leisure time to partake in what looked to be a stressful endeavour was pleasantly surprising.

Sometimes we avoid complex ideas or tasks because they come cloaked in stress. Stress because we can’t figure it out or we don’t hold any pre-existing knowledge of what we’re about to do.

That stress is actually our fear of failure. But we should always run towards complex ideas because it’s the only way we achieve personal growth. When we stick to only concepts that are ‘black and white’ and don’t entertain layered or more complex ideas, not only will our personal growth suffer, but our impact on a much larger scale will be minimal.

That’s assuming you want to have a greater impact in the personal and professional circles you frequent in. If that’s not the case then you will continually avoid the difficult, uncomfortable and complex discussions/actions that we sometimes need to take.

.

Leave a Comment

Restoring Creative Energy

Being creative is an unknown and sometimes an unspoken energy that arrives on us at moments notice and at other times is nowhere to be seen when we need it most.

When we experience creative motivation everything in life is good. Our person expression through our work or art can be felt my others. But what happens when we don’t ‘feel’ creative?

How do we re-energize that part of us so we can continue to manifest the ideas and thoughts that come to us?

Of course there’s no one answer to that question and that may be the point. Re-energizing creativity will take you through multiple trial and error activities. Reading books, watching documentaries, scrolling through social media and talking with friends.

Writing, drawing, building, updating your creative space at home will all lead to taking action for the creative staleness instead of wishing you were more creative.

So the simple answer to restoring creative energy is to just do something, anything. I know it sounds too simplistic but sometimes the simplest ideas and actions are the ones that drive the best results.

Leave a Comment

Take Time to Be Meticulous

When great ideas come we tend to put our focus on the end results. The idea of what we want to see. The picture perfect manifestation of what it should look like.

As is the case since the beginning the 21st century, how fast we can complete something seems to be just as important as completing the project itself.

Our preoccupation with being the ‘first‘ almost always leads us to skipping important details along the way. Or wanting a title because it assumes a specific social status (entrepreneur or CEO) but not being meticulous enough to understand all the prerequisites required.

But that’s just it. As much as we aim to avoid the rat race we still subconsciously compete with one another and over look some of the most important life details that need to be considered.

As I’m writing this I’m 2 months into a new role with a new company. In an effort to prove myself to my new colleagues, jumping into projects and issues before understanding all the specific nuances and inner workings of the company is something I’ve fallen prey to.

Luckily I’ve had support from multiple executive level associates, including my manager, tell me to take time to learn and don’t feel pressured to jump right in, right away.

It’s not just in business or your professional career. In the many facets of life, taking the meticulous approach in all things will provide you with the insight to make better decisions and ones that ultimately will last longer.

Leave a Comment

Venturing into the Unknown

Advancement and promotion comes to those willing to venture into uncharted territory.

Taking such a step displays a willingness to fail. To look weak. To feel inadequate and ill prepared to face what’s coming.

It’s also a confirmation to the important decision makers that you’re committed to growing and increasing your value to the organization.

At a deeper more social level, venturing to the unknown can look like being open to objective conversations with those who hold an opposing point of view.

When we continually open ourselves to learn, understand and discover the world beyond the knowledge we currently have, we are saying yes to a richer life experience. Tangibly and metaphorically.

Leave a Comment

Some Extremes Are Good Us

“Too much of a good thing can be bad for you”.

Really? Is that really true 100% of the time? Or does it relate to what exactly that ‘good’ thing is?

An over indulgence of menial or trivial pleasures can lead to serious heath problems. Pizza is ‘good’ and ‘enjoyable’ but high cholesterol isn’t.

You know what we can never get enough of? Justice, equality, human rights, anti-racism, love. Too much of this can and never will be bad for us as individuals or collectively as a community.

As a matter of fact ‘too much’ of the things we need might just solve a plethora of the social issues we’ve been dealing with for decades. So no, not all extremes are bad. Especially the ones that tend to be less self focused.

Leave a Comment

Get Comfortable with being Uncomfortable

As I write this humanity is going through a phase of uncomfortable growth. The realization of systematic anti-black racism and how deep it flows in society today is only now being recognized by many.

That realization is coming at the expense of our comfort zones, regardless of who you are. If you’re a non-person of colour, having to unlearn some ideologies that you once assumed isn’t easy. And you shouldn’t assume otherwise.

As a person of colour, understanding that getting the attention of the ‘the powers that be’ is only the first step. Staying the course to see real lasting action and change take place is the real work.

Both mindsets require a level of pain tolerance through the process. Change and growth in anything is uncomfortable because it takes humility to learn what you do not know and endurance to keep the pace when you feel like quitting.

Whether in business, education or standing for social issues it’s all the same. We have to fall in love with being uncomfortable in order to accomplish something of significance. Pain and gain aren’t mutually exclusive of each other.

Leave a Comment
%d bloggers like this: