Economic Empowerment

[dropcap type="2"]C[/dropcap]hapter 1 of Alien Aesop is now LIVE. This week I'm going to share some details about my "day job" and some projects I'm currently working on because it's not only instructive, but relevant to everything else I'm doing.

Today's topic of "economic empowerment" is so appropriate given my goal to have $50,000 in the bank by this time next year.Without further ado...

My Work

I currently work in the Economic Empowerment division of Rubicon Programs. Our job is to help folks transform from struggling economically to being economically empowered. What is 'economic empowerment'? Let's define both terms using the dictionary.

Economy:

economy |iˈkänəmē|

noun ( pl. economies )

1 the wealth and resources of a country or region, esp. in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services.

• a particular system or stage of an economy: a free-market economy | the less-developed economies.

2 careful management of available resources: even heat distribution and fuel economy.

ORIGIN late 15th cent. (in the sense ‘management of material resources’): from French économie, or via Latin from Greek oikonomia ‘household management,’ based on oikos ‘house’ + nemein ‘manage.’ Current senses date from the 17th cent.

Empowerment:

empower |emˈpou(-ə)r|

verb [ with obj. and infinitive ]

give (someone) the authority or power to do something: nobody was empowered to sign checks on her behalf.

• [ with obj. ] make (someone) stronger and more confident, esp. in controlling their life and claiming their rights: movements to empower the poor.

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Taking those two definitions and creatively merging them together I now define Economic Empowerment as:

Having the authority, power, and confidence to manage your resources to live life the way YOU choose.

Do you want to live life on your terms? Then you must learn to take control of your resources (finances, assets, health, and time) and manage them in a way that produces results and supports your goals. Doing this WELL is being economically empowered.

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How does Rubicon help someone become economically empowered? By offering a variety of services designed to get a participant on the road back to economic stability, and eventually to economic empowerment. These services include career coaching, housing coaching, legal services, financial coaching, and substance abuse services.

Career coaches help people discover their value and market that value to potential employers. Once work has been established, and someone has an income, then the housing and financial coaches get involved. If there are legal issues or drug problems that get in the way of reaching goals, then those services are rendered to participants.

Every coach and service provided at Rubicon is designed to help an individual eliminate any and all barriers to the ultimate goal of economic empowerment.

The most common barriers are:

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  • Mindset - The assumptions and beliefs that people have to approaching relationships, work, money, and health are NOT getting them the results they say they want. A new perspective and approach is warranted.
  • Attitude - If you have a bad attitude, then it can be very difficult for anyone to work with you. Whom would you rather deal with? A person with a bad attitude or a good one?
  • Legal Issues - Do you realize how difficult it is to find work with a criminal record? You may have the attitude that someone who commits crimes doesn't deserve to work, but do you see how that kind of thinking leads to more crime? People who are creating value in the world for others will decrease crime rates. People need to work.
  • Skills - Low or no skills is not something that can be fixed right away. It takes time, planning, and concentration to grow the right skill-set that is valuable to others.
  • Housing - This is obvious. If you don't have a place to call home, you think it's going to be easy to find and sustain work? How about the stress that this creates? People need housing.
  • Habits - We first make our habits, then our habits make us. Habits are behaviors that re-occur without consciously thinking about them. The only problem is that behaviors ALWAYS lead to results. If your current results are the opposite of what you're wanting, then you'd better train some new habits NOW or it's going to be a long, difficult life.
  • Transportation - If you don't have money or resources, how do you get to that job you want to apply for? How do you get to work? Transportation is a huge barrier for someone that have very little resources to spare.
  • Clothing - Ok, you got the interview, you have the job, and now they need you to look a certain way. You need the proper attire so you don't make a bad impression or sent home from the job.
  • Bad Credit - How do you get into an apartment with bad credit? How do you buy a car with budget-friendly financing options? Your purchasing choices diminish for every point you don't have on your credit score AND increases the likelihood of you paying more money in the end.

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This is a sample of some of the issues that many of our participants face. Some have a few of these barriers, and some have all of them. Whatever obstacles they face, our job is to help them eliminate them one by one.

This is goal setting & getting 101. You set a goal, and every goal has barriers to overcome. The more difficult the goal is, the more barriers that person will have to overcome. Climbing Mt. Everest is significantly more difficult than running up a hill. Running up a hill requires less preparation, less planning, less training, etc.

You're much more likely to accomplish your goals with a competent team behind you versus doing it on your own. Strategy, hustle, and accountability is what Rubicon offers to individuals. That's the difference.

Workshops

The Financial Opportunity Center (F.O.C.) Workshop is offered to eligible participants once a month. It's a two week workshop that addresses many of the barriers people will face on their path to economic empowerment. Sample workshop modules include personal branding, crafting a resume that gets you interviews, building assets with your current income, dressing for success, communication and empathy, consumer law, and so much more.

The idea is to arm them with the tools, resources, and information that will increase their odds of finding work, getting housing, job retention, and building a strong financial foundation.

Risk & Growth

I've been working at Rubicon for just over 9 weeks, and it's been an incredible learning experience. I don't know if I've ever experienced work that's been challenging, enjoyable, and where no two days are EVER alike. But the time has come to throw my ideas out there, and see if I can outdo my success in Seattle.

I'm currently working as a Re-Entry Career Coach. My job is to work with the formerly incarcerated and help them find and retain work. I'm also to facilitate certain parts of the workshops we conduct.

Recently it was decided to have two workshops running concurrently, the regular F.O.C. Workshop and a workshop geared towards the re-entry population. The Re-entry Workshop has the same goal of economic empowerment, but sprinkled with additional niche specific modules. It's also a little more intensive and in depth on certain topics.

Since I will be facilitating parts of the new workshop, there's opportunity to develop curriculum and improve the existing one. Thinking about this gets me excited, and I'm reminded of when I was researching Rubicon before I started working there and came across their values list. Innovation was on that list, and it's one of the reasons I felt good about continuing the process of working with them.

When ever I see the word INNOVATION, I envision a company or organization that is at least OPEN to improving and growing. I'm glad to report that they're doing more than just giving lip service. The place is constantly bustling with changes and improvements. So if I see a way to improve the existing curriculum or deliver it, then I'm encouraged to organize and present my ideas.

Presenting ideas is a personal/professional challenge. If I don't make myself vulnerable to criticism and rejection, then I can never reach my full potential in work and in life. Risk is necessary for growth, and it's my own security that's always at risk whether it's the security of my comfort zone, economic security, or my reputation. When I decide to grow, I'm deciding to risk something.

This trek into the unknown requires vulnerability, and the unknown is where my best self resides - not the known. It's like that for you, too. Your best self is not known to you. You don't know her (or him), yet.

So it's time to take risks and put my best ideas out there. Sure, I use this blog to make myself vulnerable, but like anything, there are new levels of vulnerability that I will have to pass through to experience the fullness of life.

The Economic Empowerment Equation

I woke up the other day, out of a dream with three big ideas that will lead anyone to economic empowerment. For some time, I've been thinking about the context of the workshop and how to better articulate this to participants. The problem of economic empowerment and how people get there must've been lodged in my subconscious, and it finally presented a solution.

Anyway, this is what came to me...

EE EquationPersonal Power

Personal Power is the result of understanding who and what you are, and HOW you make things happen in the world. This is important because everything starts with you. It's about responsibility, integrity, keeping agreements, staying healthy, using your mind properly, and actualizing your full potential. It's about having vision and allowing that vision to inspire you each day.

If you don't understand who you are, how YOU operate, and how the world works, then it'll be an extremely difficult ride through life.

Get to know yourself and find out how to build your self-esteem FIRST. Learn your idiosyncrasies and put yourself in the best position to win. Rely on your strengths and develop your talents.

You were designed to actualize your potential because a half grown tree that bears no fruit is of no use to anyone.

Creating Value

Creating Value happens when you help someone change how people FEEL and that's why the symbol for creating value is the HEART. You can change how someone feels when you offer to CONNECT, ENTERTAIN, ORGANIZE, and SUPPORT. I recently wrote an article titled "How to be the MVP of your world" (the link will take you to the article). It's about how people create value for one another and was recently picked up by Google News.

If you become a master at creating value, you would never go without and EVERYONE creates value to some degree, but we can ALL improve, scale, or increase the quality of the value we deliver to one another.

I got this concept beat into my head over and over again by Jay Abraham. I first began reading and listening to him back in the late 90's and his ideas have deeply influenced my life and work.

Here's a short video of Jay giving a seminar in Japan. One woman took the advice from this one segment and earned $1.3 million dollars. Notice one word that comes up over and over again as he's explaining: CONNECT.

Building Assets

If you're exercising your Personal Power and Creating Value in the world, then the next step in economic empowerment is Building Assets. If you spend away everything you earn OR connect with someone one day and never follow-up with them OR you don't use your mind/body to its fullest potential then the process of building your assets and becoming wealthy cannot be achieved.

There are two types of assets: Tangible and Intangible. Tangible Assets (TA) are material resources, property, real estate, savings, stocks, bonds, businesses, art, collections and other investments. Intangible Assets (IA) are things like your health, special qualities about you, it could be a special skill or talent, specialized knowledge, your network, or a unique perspective or approach to life/business/relationships that no one else has.

(IA) creates (TA), then (TA) helps reinforce and develop more (IA).

As you're building assets, you will begin to accumulate wealth. Wealth is more than (TA) obviously. You could have billions of dollars worth of assets, but what good is all that if you're 40 years old and on your deathbed? Your health will always be your biggest asset and is one of the biggest indicators of how truly wealthy you are.

Updates

As I develop more ideas around my presentation for the workshops at work, I'll share them here. The concepts I'm working on are applicable to many people, not just a select few.

A couple of months ago I would've never written about economic empowerment, so the career path I've chosen for myself is having the effect on my life that was originally intended. I am also developing skills and strengths that will benefit me for decades to come, so I couldn't be happier about how this is all working out.

I've begun work on chapter 2 of Alien Aesop, so expect that in a week or two. Chapter 2 is gonna be a doozy :)

Here's to everyone's economic empowerment...

Paul "Poverty Killa" Campillo


Have Faith

Imagine...

You're a gardener and you live in a small village. A group of foreigners stroll into town one day to trade and barter with the locals.

As you walk from tent to tent, examining the merchants' offerings, a strange looking old man captures your attention. He's sitting in front of a table with small pouches of what appears to be seeds.

You walk over and ask him what he's got in the small pouches.

"These are magical seeds that will produce the toughest, strongest, most durable trees in the world. You can use these trees to build bridges and roads, heal physical ailments, make clothes, craft furniture, create cooking utensils, and construct musical instruments."

Then he adds, "But these seeds require you to have meditation master's level of concentration and the patience of a tortoise traveling thousands of miles."

"Many have bought seeds from me, but few have seen them come to fruition. You must follow my instructions exactly as I have told you. Only then will you realize the benefits of this wonderful tree."

Curious and full of ambition, you buy a pouch from the old man, and ask him for the instructions.

He pulls out a piece of paper and writes hastily the following words:

"Plant seeds. Water everyday. Have faith."

Sounds simple enough, but with an intriguing final instruction. Have faith? What does that mean exactly? You notice a few other villagers have bought his seeds, too.

Eager to get started, you go to open land to plant the seeds. After all, if these trees are everything the man says they will be, they must be a tremendous asset to the entire village.

And so everyday, you tend to the seeds you planted. One week passes. Then another. Then a month passes, then another and another.

And soon, it is the end of the year. And nothing has happened.

But you keep in mind that final instruction. "Have faith."

So you continue to water it on the days it doesn't rain.

Weeks pass. Months pass. Still nothing. Year two is done.

The neighbors who also bought seeds come to you. "You're still taking care of those seeds? The old man is tricking you. It's all a con."

You think about what they say, and consider it carefully.

What if he was just deceiving me? What if I'm just fooling myself and wasting my time?

But you remember this statement from him:

"But these seeds require you to have meditation master's level of concentration and the patience of a tortoise traveling thousands of miles."

So you decide to stick with it. And everyday, no matter what, you go to where you planted the seeds and continue to water it. Some people snicker, especially the people who have stopped tending to theirs. Others praise you for your commitment and dedication, but deep down they doubt anything will happen.

But regardless of what they think, good or bad, you will continue to water those seeds. Even if it's until your very last breath.

Two years have passed. Still nothing.

Now three years have gone by, not a thing.

Year four comes and goes without a hint, but you still persist. You've made it a part of your daily practice and it's a ritual now.

And in the fourth month of the fifth year something happens. A tiny sprout. A perceptible green leaf.

You wonder if your eyes are playing tricks on you, and if someone put it there to get you excited. You touch it and it feels so real. You are ecstatic but decide not to tell anyone...yet.

The next day, more leaves spring from the ground. And then you know that it's really happening. And then you think, even if it takes another five or even ten years to watch these trees grow, it will have been worth my efforts.

But then something so unexpected happens. You just can't believe it. One month after seeing the first, tiny green leaf, an abundance of stalks have grown to fifteen feet.

It's miraculous. They are growing so fast. The entire village is now in disbelief.

Two months later they are at fifty feet.

Three months after the first leaf sprouted and now the trees are nearly one-hundred feet into the sky, towering over the small village.

Soon the trees reached their peak, and the villagers celebrated and honored the one gardener who persisted, demonstrated faith, and never, ever gave up.

Oh, and the name of that tree? It's called Chinese Bamboo.

chinese bamboo


Inspiration, Risk, And Selling Out

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 5 is complete. I thought this week would be quick and painless, but I just couldn't stop writing. It's also arriving a day late, so let's get to it. SCOREBOARD:

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Total Earnings

Driving: $551.72

Value Detectives: $250.00

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Bank Account

$832.33

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Bank Account 9-5-2012
Bank Account 9-5-2012

What's Your Brand?

This past week, I asked myself two primary questions. How do I want to position myself in the market, given my knowledge & skills? And -- what problem do I want to solve for others, which also translates to, "What am I offering the market?"

Tuesday, I met with a friend to talk about these questions, and we ended up discussing this for a few hours. At times it was frustrating and felt like we were forcing the issue, and other times we produced just "ok" ideas.

Ideas were shut down if they weren't bold enough. Wordy taglines and oft used phrases were dismissed.

The criteria was simple. Be bold. Be unique. Be simple. Be clear.

Then SOMETHING happened. Something odd, but familiar.

A good idea trickled out, which led to a stream of MORE good ideas. Then a great idea surfaced...

And then the dam BURST.

And you wouldn't believe the INSANITY that came out of our mouths. It was utterly ridiculous. Silly even. But now we were cracking up, and the creative climate changed.

We were suddenly energized, and our discussion became much more inspired from that point on. But now a more important question confronted me and could possibly determine the future of my brand...

"What would happen if I actually implemented these CRAZY IDEAS?"

And not just for this ONE project, but to MY ENTIRE LIFE?

To Risk Or Not To Risk

As time passes and deadlines approach (like my pending foreclosure), it can be difficult to decide what to focus on RIGHT NOW.

Is this a good time to take a chance? To really take a risk and put myself out there in ways that I'm not even used to? In a way that could make many people scratch their heads and say to themselves, "WTF is Paul doing?!"

Maybe, maybe not, but I realized that the path I'm currently on is not FULLY ME, and I am still holding back way too much of myself.

That brainstorming/strategy session demonstrated a few very important things to me.

Being Yourself Is A Risk.

I'm learning that it's difficult to really express my deepest core self to a broad audience. Dealing with people on a one-to-one basis is easy, and I've got that one nailed. Plus, I'm already pretty open and honest, and usually have no problem saying what I feel and being direct with others.

But expressing the way I REALLY feel to readers and visitors (whom I may or may not know), and the stuff I really want to say to them (speaking or writing), I've noticed that I withhold and filter way too much.

Because being myself, and being really true to how I feel and expressing myself to the FULLEST is not always easy to do. Why? Because I'm concerned with how my friends, family, colleagues, associates, the market, and others will perceive me? Maybe that's a part of it. But how do you talk to a crowd of people from different backgrounds, and please them all in some way?

And why should I care whether they ALL get something or not? Why should anyone care what others think of them?

But the fact is most of us do care. And the benefits that come from caring about what others think about us is clear.

By filtering and tailoring my message for others, I'm assured of acceptance. Security and stability are guaranteed. Ease and comfort are all mine. These are the things everybody silently considers when deciding if they should tell people what they REALLY THINK.

But this is foolishness. By compromising my message in any way, by tapering it and editing it so that it's acceptable to others is just making me more invisible. It's mediocrity at its best, and a yawner at its worst. There is no impact on others when your own mind is dull.

It's takes more courage to rock the boat. It's tougher to be controversial. It's more difficult to stir conflict and debate. It's harder to go against the grain. And why go against the grain? Why stir the pot?

Part of the reason is that we're wired this way. We're hardwired, biologically, to stick with groups and tribes and not go against them, because our physical survival depends on it. To go against the tribe and your own culture is to struggle and perish. It's been this way probably since humans have existed.

So why take the risk and say what no one else is saying when it could separate yourself from the crowd? Why tell your husband or wife that you're just not into IT anymore, and you're thinking about moving on, and potentially lose EVERYTHING? Why ask the doctor to help you uncover the REAL REASONS why you're depressed, when it's just easier to take a pill, rather than really doing the work necessary to have a healthy body?

Why bother when it's easier not to?

Selling Out

Because in the end, it's just easier to sell out for safety and security, that's why.

It's been easier to take the job, and not fight for the life I want.

It's easier to settle on money and comfort, because I've tried things and they just didn't work, so why take another chance when I can be MORE certain?

I can hear the rebuttals. You have to eat. You have to survive. Yeah, I agree, and interestingly enough, I HAVE BEEN MORE THAN SURVIVING (I am actually HEALTHIER than I've been). I'm still HERE. I've found a way. And granted, if you have a family, it's much more complicated to make these tough decisions, but in the end, you still have to LIVE with yourself.

It's definitely easier to go with the dominant culture, and be a little LESS of myself to maintain security, because who wants to become an outcast within your own family or tribe?

The truth is, I have sold out and settled for many things. Yes, I've taken my risks, and have lived a very different life. Yes, I've taken a non-conformist path, and remain on the fringe in many ways, but...

But why am I not speaking? Why am I not sitting in front of a video camera and sharing these ideas with you? Why have I only written one book, knowing I have the capacity and ability to write five more? Why have I not fully committed to my personal relationships, to my businesses, to my own future to the very best of my ability? Why am I not out there, and really DOING IT?

And what happens if I do? What happens if I GO ALL OUT? What happens if I do COMMIT ALL THE WAY? What happens if I do MY ART, and SING MY OWN SONG and actually SHARE it with the world? What happens if I really take the fringe of my imagination, and express it unconditionally on the canvas of LIFE?

What would happen if WE ALL DID THAT?

Because NOT GOING ALL OUT is SELLING OUT.

Inspiration

And that's what Tuesday's brainstorming session stirred in me. It awoke a side of me that's more daring, more bold, and more FUN. And it's definitely more ME. It's just not the "me" people are used to seeing, unless of course, you have spent some quality time with me.

True, I have a goal, but this really isn't about money. Wait till you see what I do with that $50,000 (that's another story altogether). But this journey is about being my best possible self. It's about unleashing my talents, personality, service, perspective, value, and all my love onto some unsuspecting human.

Because I can't SPEND my time away on things that don't bring out the best ME. I can't do things just for money without it being meaningful to me. Most can, but I cannot. Check that. I WILL NOT.

And I believe we're all here to do the same. To be the best human being you can be. To keep reaching for your full potential (because you'll never reach it) and NEVER STOP. Because the more we go, the more we grow. And the more we grow, the more ALIVE we feel, and the more others are inspired by our example.

What makes you feel ALIVE? And why would you not FILL YOUR DAY WITH THIS ACTIVITY AS MUCH AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE???

Wait A Minute! Hold Up!

You may be asking, "What the heck came out of this brainstorm session?!"

I'm saving that for another day, because I want to let this whole new paradigm marinate just a bit to see if it really sticks in my consciousness. It's been two days after our mastermind, and it seems to be sticking.

And I promise to share with you, but I'll probably share more through demonstration than any other means.

It's going to be a ton of work to get this off the ground, but if my initial vibe is any indication, then I'll have more than enough energy to get all this done.

More on all of this soon.

Next Steps

If you noticed from my income statement, I've picked up a web design contract for Value Detectives. Since I know him, he's getting the "homie" discount at a flat rate of $500. I'll post updates on this project, in case anyone is interested, but they'll be brief.

Here's what I'm focused on next:

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  • Map strategy for Project X by September 12, 2012 (I will reveal this soon)
  • Prepare outline for the "Manifesto" by September 10, 2012
  • Figure out the Kindle platform and get Butt-Naked Abundance on Amazon by September 17, 2012 (Still need to learn the platform)
  • Discuss foreclosure options with my "Secret Weapon" (I will reveal WHO this is at a later date, but he's ridiculously AWESOME at dealing with banks and contract law)

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Thanks for hanging in there, see you next week.