August 24th, 2011
Two weeks after the debut success of my Staying Positive in a Negative World program, I found myself in a major funk. I was coming off an all-time high and was like “Now What?” Unexpectedly I got a phone call from The Illinois Department of Corrections. They heard about my positive thinking talk and wanted me to deliver it at Crossroads Transitional Center in Chicago. At first, I hesitated and told them I’d get back to them. After-all I’m just some kid from the suburbs I thought. My audience at the library was primarily middle-aged suburban housewives. How am I going to connect with 300 men in prison!?
I didn’t know what to do, so I prayed. That night at Sole Seekers Walking Club one of my regulars, Pam, told me, “Tom you need to do this. These guys aren’t who you think they are. Most of them just took a wrong turn in life, got into drugs and started selling them to make money. They want to turn their lives around and will listen to what you have to say.” She was right! The only difference between me and these guys was that I chose alcohol as my release (legal) and they chose drugs (illegal).
That Saturday I agreed to give the talk. At first, it would be to the staff of 80. This was by design I later discovered. The first reason was to change the attitude in the prison, we needed to change the attitude of the staff. The second reason was to find out if I was any good. 🙂 If I couldn’t inspire the staff how could I inspire the residents. The only thing left to do was practice and find 80 solar dancing flowers. I was going to need some major backup if I was going to pull this off!