Speed of trust

Not too long ago, a White man asked me what I was mad about. Honestly, it was one of the best things that has happened to me over the last five years. The question forced me to pause. It forced me to think. The question showed he was paying attention to me. The answer was important to him. 

The feeling of acknowledgement is important to some people. It shows they are not being ignored or lack value.

Even the Bible says it’s alright to be angry, but not to sin:

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” — ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

As a Black man, I oftentimes get mad because I don’t feel I get the same treatment than my White male counterparts, especially when I’m trying to make things happen in Atlanta.

Along with my wife, Kelli, I lead two businesses. Our for-profit business, Diamond Directors, provides the blueprint of success for diamond sports athletes, while our non-profit organization, L.E.A.D. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct), partners with Atlanta Public Schools to empower an at-risk generation to lead and transform their city of Atlanta.

In my dealings with other people, I seek three things: benefit of the doubt, respect and trust.

No. 1 — Benefit of the doubt

The Urban Dictionary defines “benefit of the doubt” as defaulting to the belief that your intentions are honest, and not assume malice when there is uncertainty or doubt surrounding the circumstances.

We all stereotype each other. I believe that it’s impossible to stop and is healthy to do.

It scares people at times, but early on in conversations with people, I share the stereotypes that I have of them so that they can debunk them immediately. This helps us connect, which leads to respect.

While I’m not a mind reader, my spiritual gift is discernment. I can feel when people doubt me. If you don’t have the courage to tell me the stereotype you have of me, give me the benefit of the doubt so that I can earn your respect.

No. 2 — Respect

Respect is the ability to treat people in a positive manner—a way that acknowledges them for who they are and/or what they are doing.

An important part of respect is simply acknowledging the other person in a positive manner. You don’t have to like me when you first meet me, but you should respect me until I’ve given you a reason not to.

No. 3 — Trust

Trust is the confident expectation of something; hope.

Things getting done move at the speed of trust. For some, trust takes time, which usually translates into a lot of time. For me, trust moves at the speed of your willingness and ability to make and keep promises.

Making and keeping promises means that I deem you as important. It means I will trust you.

Finding out what you deem important is about asking what’s valuable to you.

As a Black leader in Atlanta, I want the benefit of the doubt, respect and trust, in that order. Having all three enables me to deliver on promises that I make to hundreds of young Black men every year.

Under my leadership and the support of our L.E.A.D. staff and executive board of directors, our L.E.A.D. Impact Stats are as follows:

  • 100 percent of our Ambassadors graduate from high school
  • 95 percent attend college
  • 5 percent enroll in the military
  • 92 percent attend college with scholarship opportunities
  • 15 percent graduate from college

These are numbers that we are proud to share. They represent the hallmarks of our success and represent the foundation for efforts to help build the next generation of Black leaders.