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Sabotage can derail your personal development, if you let it

Sabotage can derail your personal development, if you let it

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By: Edward Ball

I left prison in the summer of 2012 and was transferred to a work release center. A few weeks later I was entering the same prison I left co-facilitating a class for a state university with a friend of mine. I knew that returning to the prison I just left would show the guys that keeping your head down, working hard and staying out of trouble pays off. In addition, I felt that my return would help my own personal development by helping others learn, acting as an example and being involved in public speaking.

I had two goals once I left prison, not including staying out of prison. The first goal was to become involved in the re-entry process to help guys successfully matriculate back into society. The second goal was to prevent kids from having to worry about a re-entry process by keeping them from entering into the criminal justice system. While I was in prison I was a re-entry clerk and did work for a staff member who was the volunteer coordinator at the last facility I was housed in. Whenever he needed guys to give tours to University students, speak to similar groups, and interact with volunteers coming into the facility I was in the group of guys he could count on.

The class I was co-facilitating inside the prison came to an end. I got the green light to return to the prison to co-facilitate another class because the first class went very well. That’s when everything went downhill.

The prison’s volunteer coordinator, the guy who I helped many times, sabotaged all that I was trying to do and attempted to get me sent back to prison. Long story short; he came to the work release center where I was being held. When he left I was under investigation and wasn’t allowed to leave the facility, not even to go to work. If the investigation turned up any truth in whatever he told them it was likely that I would be sent back to prison to finish out the remainder of my sentence.

After a week of confinement, nearly losing my job, and almost being sent back to prison the investigation proved that I had been doing everything I was supposed to. I went back to work, however, I did not return to co-facilitate any more classes in that prison. I also lost the drive to pursue my goals. During the week I was confined to the work release center I wasn’t able to go to a job interview. The job was for a re-entry coordinator position. Once they got wind of why I wasn’t able to make it to the interview they marked me off the list as a potential hire. This one person through sabotage derailed my personal development efforts. I didn’t want to have anything to do with prisons and people involved with the criminal justice system; especially not people who claimed to be there to help, but capable of lying, deceiving and abusing their power.

After sitting down and thinking about all that transpired I realized that I had to keep pushing forward. I could not let the sabotage or the turned backs keep me from becoming better by helping others. Sabotage can knock the gas out of you, that gas that drives your personal development efforts. Sabotage can slow you momentum; that momentum that propels you closer and closer to the best person you can be. If you aren’t diligent you will stop; Stop helping, stop developing, stop trying and stop doing.

If someone sabotages your efforts that means you are doing something right. Even though I wasn’t able to return to the prison and engage in service learning with my peers, nor was I able to get the job helping those coming home from prison, I was able to write a book, start a business, keep my job and stay out of prison. I must have done something right.

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