#ValuableDiversity (Interview Series) -Ep. 3 – Wordsmith


Introducing you to interesting people around the world


 

Meet Chinedu Junior Ihekwoaba

– Wordsmith, Poetpreneur, Creative Content Writer (Nigeria) –

If writing never existed, my last breath would have been lost long ago. I started writing for self-relief and, as I go, I understand better each day the power of pen. It’s a medicine to the brain, as well as to the soul. This is how I see it. But I know, for sure, that there are other people around the globe that think alike.

One of the most talented poets I’ve got the honor to come across the work of is my guest for today, Chinedu Junior Ihekwoaba, who uses his talent to send powerful messages, with inspirational tone behind each of them. He could easily become a trend setter, if he wanted, due to his strength and knowledge. Though his gift shines bright, he’s friendly and approachable, even a funny guy.

Keep on reading the below lines to get to know him better and I’m sure you will find value in the words of a young, yet wise, man.

  1. Hi Chinedu, it’s an honor to have you as interviewee. Please, let us know a bit about yourself. How was Chinedu the kid?

Chinedu Junior Ihekwoaba is an introvert. Quite stubborn. I am also playful. Rhymes and storytelling is my hobby. I won the Master of Riddles in my Nursery School days. I am a fan of HBK Shawn Michaels and John Cena. Wrestling and video games were my childhood story.

  1. You’re a very talented writer, who can easily instruct words how to dance. How did you get here?

I listen to rap music a lot. Growing up as a child, artists like Jayz, Eminem, DMX, Mystikal, Dr.Dre, Shyne, Tupac Shakur, Xzibit, Snoop Dogg and many more are my favorites. So I fell in love with creativity and wordsmith. I guess that was just it.

“I believe everyone is special. That keeps me going any time.”

  1. All your writings hide powerful messages between the lines. Were the struggles of your life to “blame”?

Struggles of life in general. What I see and perceive in things around me. I discovered so many people are soaking a lot in life and couldn’t speak. Communication is broken and a major reason I am working with Nonye on the#healtheworld campaign. She wrote a book sharing different communication tips. 

  1. Nigeria is your home. With no innuendo intended, how did you break through the boundaries of prejudgment? Were you (even a tiny bit) afraid when you published your first piece of writing?

One thing I didn’t tell you in your first question, I am fearless. I believe everyone is special. That keeps me going any time. You can’t stop people from judging you, so I always show up irrespective of judgment. It is your view.

 

 “My book #chinspires365days is coming soon and I will also be starting a video series in April.”

  1. Referring to the previous question, was the feedback you received constructive? Or did it put you down for a while? (Definitely not for good, since you’re one of the most influential writers on LinkedIn!)

Influential writer? Ahahaha! That’s a big compliment. Any way, I have my ups and downs. I am human. I almost quit when a troll told me this is not Facebook or twitter. Your writing is crab. I almost deleted my account. Then, Michael Chapman, Marchem Pfeiffer, Susan Case, Brett Brody, Uzoma Agorua, Roland Gilbertson all helped me built my confidence and I kept going. Now I have an emotional coach, Omozua Ameze, that helps me. So, I am as bold as a lion. Back then, I contemplated continuity but not anymore.

  1. What gave you strength in times of struggle? What’s your air?

God, my Mom and The boyhood dream gave me strength. I have one dream, to be a motivational speaker and a writer. To travel around the world and thank God, my writing is doing that now. Those three kept me going.

 

“Back then, I contemplated continuity – but not anymore.”

  1. If people were to ask you for 1 advice that saved your life and turned the tables to your favor, what would that be?

Speak out to be heard, speak out to be understood. Speak out to show the real you. That makes it easier to help you.

  1. It’s obvious that communication is an important aspect of your life. Therefore, in a plastic and individualistic society, how would you guide people towards lifting their heads off their phones and make acquaintance with the world around them?

I will do that with my writing. I have always done that. To guide people in different areas of life. I leverage LinkedIn and channel my energy to reach everybody. My book #chinspires365days is coming soon and I will also be starting a video series in April. I will use some of my connections in different fields. Stay tuned. Lol

  1. I’ve noticed that you are a continuous supporter of personal development and a change advocate. How did all this help you?

It has helped me to become a better version of myself. To have a better world, we need better people and that can only come through personal development.

 

  1. Is there any practice you have as a daily routine? And what would be your message to the world in 1 word?  

I read the Bible as early as 5 am and say my prayers till 6am. I write what comes into my head as a content writer and freelancer. Then I cook and go about my daily activities. One word for the people in the world: believe.

***

Thank you for the time and patience you’ve allotted to answering the questions above. You won’t believe the deja-vu feeling I got while proofing this particular interview! May God bless you always and may your message spread like rainbow colors!

(Chinedu’s e-mail ended like this: “Thanks Andrada for sharing your time with me. I appreciate.” – Isn’t he just a beautiful soul?)

Below you can find an impressive piece of writing, provided with the courtesy of the author, as an introduction to his brilliant mind:


“A dream

Comes real

If only

We believe

 

Keep trying

No relenting

Keep moving

Stop looking

 

Make mistakes

We fail

To prevail

By delay

 

Just learn

Get experience

Be persistent

And consistent

Then content

 

Be relevant

It’s important

 

Find it

Try it

 

Be grateful

And faithful

 

Your labor

Has honor

 

Walk right

All time

 

Don’t lie

To fly

 

Have zeal

Be real

 

Try forgive

It heals

You’re free

That’s it

 

Make peace

Embrace it

 

The unknown

Let go

 

It’s nonsense

No essence

 

Being afraid

It enslaves

Break away

Just sail

Have faith

 

While wait

It wastes

 While haste

You faint

 

Just moderation

With determination

 

You’re god

Sounds odd?

Of course

Get up

March on”

Chinedu Ihekwoaba ©2018


You can follow Chinedu through the below channels:

Amazon:    https://www.amazon.com/Chinedu-Ihekwoaba/e/B073PCRTLF

Blog:           http://www.24hrstrending.co.uk/

LinkedIn:    https://www.linkedin.com/in/chinedujuniorihekwoaba/

Medium:     https://medium.com/@Chinexolorgy

Twitter:       https://twitter.com/Chinexolorgy

* All photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to ©Chinedu Ihekwoaba*

#ValuableDiversity (Interview series) – Ep. 2 – Photography


Introducing you to interesting people around the world


Meet Edin Chavez

– Photographer & Founder at Edin Chavez Studios, Miami, Florida, USA –

 

Arts are part of my life, no doubt about it. Whatever involves creativity, there’s where I’m heading. And there are tons of talented people out there, but they’re – somehow – hard to reach and communicate with. This, however, is NOT the case for my guest for today. What I mean by that is that Edin is an exquisite artist, playing on the fields of photography, yet amazingly easy to approach and very friendly. We’ve been in touch during a harsh event Miami went through last year (Hurricane Irma, September 2017) and he would make sure to answer my messages, though we were miles away and he had no obligation to answer me.

If you take a look (which I warmly recommend, as you have so much to gain) at his work (photos and videos) you will clearly understand the amount of passion this artist puts in there. He describes himself as being “insane”, as he can’t keep himself away, even if he might be put in danger. In front of the camera, Edin is that “what you see, is what you get” kind of guy. He keeps it real and transparent, without being afraid of displaying his humane side (as he did when he lost his home, during the previously mentioned expression of nature’s “wrath” – see the video here).

Enjoy the below interview and I hope you’ll give him your thumbs up and a well-deserved follow 😉

  1. Hi Edin, please tell us a bit about your background. Have you always wanted to become a professional photographer? Or did Edin the kid want something else?

I never thought of photography as a career, in fact far from it. As a child I always wanted to be an actor and when I grew up I became a contractor. I had a large painting business with 50 employees and a full office staff. It was not until I was around 28-29 that I really took an interest in photography.  I had taken a college class in photography but I hated it as it was all theory and not really hands on. One day I went to best buy and purchased my first DSLR. After that everything changed.

Sunrise (123 of 204)

  1. If, for some random reason, you were not able to follow your passion, what would have been your alternative?

I have always wanted to be involved in TV. Not necessarily acting but television production or something behind the scenes. I think to this day I still do. Perhaps have my own talk show some day or even host some fun game show.

  1. Your talent cannot be argued or counterfeit, yet most people believe that skills get polished in time. Is this your view as well?

I believe with enough passion, practice and perseverance you can accomplish anything. I do not believe people are born gifted but I believe people are born passionate it is in that passion where the magic happens.

Sunset (86 of 161)

  1. If yes, would you share with us 1 important tip you used to get where you are today?

Don’t quit, do not follow the rules and keep dreaming. That is the only way to get anything done that fills your soul.

Everglades (542 of 578)

  1. I am sure that your “insanity” is deeply driven by this amazing passion you put into everything you do. However, is passion the only key factor keeping you going through cloudy times?

Passion is the key factor, but passion without hard work is nothing. We need to work hard and do crazy things – at times – that get us out of our comfort zones to get to the top of our game.

edinchavez

  1. You are such a good friend of the camera! Be it that you are in front of it or using it to build magic for our eyes. What’s your secret? Were you ever “camera shy”?

 I have always been comfortable with my skin no matter where I go, to me that camera is just another set of eyes. I really do not pay attention to it.

  1. Did your transparency ever get you in trouble? I mean, you know how people are so quick to judge…

Yes all the time. I’m the kind of person that has no filter and never think about what I say before I say it. Sometimes it can come off as harsh but deep inside I always mean well. People miss read that sometimes and it gets me in trouble from time to time.

Edin

  1. I believe that each artist is attracted to a certain aspect of his activity. What’s your “guilty pleasure” when it comes to your job?

I just love being outside and living life on my terms. I love being with nature and when I’m out there I feel I am part of it. I would hate to be stuck inside somewhere. Being free in the outdoors for sure.

  1. In your work, nature has a special place (few of my favorites here, here and here). Why is this? Is it the taste of freedom you get when you wander under the sky? This one gives me such a feeling of calm and courage to overcome any obstacles…

I think I answered this one on #9…

Sunrise (44 of 82)

  1. I know you lost your home last September and the video you talked about this in is really touching. What was your silver line through this storm? What are the struggles of human Edin?

 I am a very balanced person and everything is always in order. I always have a plan b, c, and d. This time I was totally taken off my feet, however I believe sometimes we need that to shake us up and remind us of what is important. What happened just made me want to work harder to get to where I eventually want be financially and emotionally. That has been really hard for me but nothing I can’t handle.  As my best friends often tells me: “if there is a person in the world that can handle anything it’s you”.

Sunset (139 of 161)

Thank you so much for the time you took for answering my questions and I hope your future will be as bright as the sun you like so much to capture! ☺

#ValuableDiversity

You can follow Edin Chavez through the below channels:

Website:     https://edinchavez.com/
Blog:            http://blog.edinchavez.com/
YouTube:    https://www.youtube.com/user/edinchavez1
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/edinchavezrocks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edinchavez/
Twitter:       https://twitter.com/edinchavez

* All photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to ©EdinChavez. *

 

Love,
A.

#ValuableDiversity (Interview series) – Ep. 01 – Coaching


Introducing you to interesting people around the world


Meet Ivan Hunt

– Transformational Coach, Radio Show Host, Motivational Speaker (Miami, Florida, USA) –

A personal coach can become the perfect guide on the path towards finding yourself. Women are more exposed to the benefits of coaching (as they feel more at ease to open up), yet both my guest and I believe that men could also do this, if society would promote this action, instead of trying to impose men to keep their balls at sight and restrain all their feelings, just because “big boys don’t cry”.

In this extent, I’ve recently connected (via LinkedIn) to an amazing Certified Professional Coach and I would like you all to make his acquaintance. Therefore, below you will find an interesting interview with Mr. Ivan Hunt, whose purpose is to help men (and women alike) look into themselves and break the boundaries of prejudice imprinted by this plastic world.

1 . Mr. Ivan Hunt, please tell us a bit about yourself, so that the readers can get to know you better (e.g: where were you a few years ago and who are you today – how did you get here?).

The past few years have really been about personal growth. Virtually every aspect of my life has been impacted as a result: my marriage, my relationship with my kids, my career both old and new, finances and my relationship with myself. My personal transformation was not something that I set out to do, rather it just evolved. The more I started gaining clarity, the more I wanted to learn and grow.

2. From your perspective, do men go through similar (or even the same) kind of feelings as women do?

Obviously I’m not a woman so I can’t totally speak for women, but the short answer is yes.  I think at times men are not seen as having emotions. The irony of it is that men are human beings too. Men can have hurt feelings, conflicting emotions and insecurities. People are people. Feelings are feelings.

3. Do men seek for ways to build their self-esteem on a conscious level or are they rather led by doctrines only?

I think the level of maturity determines the need of building self-esteem. The more mature the man, the less need for external influences to build up his self-esteem. Maturity – in this context – is about self-acceptance, self-respect and self-love. It’s important to note that the level of maturity is not predicated on age.

“I have a process I call BREAK – 

break free from the old and embrace the new.”

4. How open are men to change, especially if they have failed in the past? Do they criticize themselves harder than women think?

It depends on what type of change we are discussing. If change in a relationship is needed from the man, then more times than not, the changes are made from a place of pain. The stigma I see the most is the perception that men are not human.  Women are typically more open about their needs/wants/desires to change and their own criticism of themselves. A trend I see starting is that men are being encouraged to be more expressive of their needs/wants/desires and their own insecurities. That’s a huge change.

5. How do you see a soft man (that reveals his true feelings and accepts to be crying, at times): weak or strong?

I don’t consider a guy who is expressive and open about his thoughts, feelings and emotions as being soft. Now, when I use the term “weak” or “strong” as a descriptor of a guy, it’s typically in the manner of not having heart or not standing up for himself or his family. I don’t mean physical confrontation. I mean not standing up for his values, morals, and/or principles. What I found in those cases, is that the guy has a low self-esteem. As a Life Transformational Coach, this is common amongst my clients. I partner with this client as we slowly restore his confidence and self-esteem. The results lead to a greater sense of self-worth, clarity and understanding, and a stronger and a healthier relationship with himself, loved ones, and co-workers.

6. I believe that society is trying to build a wall around the concept of “the strong gender” (as men are categorized). Do you see men, somehow, keeping themselves back from revealing their true selves, out of the (unconscious) fear of being judged, criticized or labeled as weak, because of this wall?

As Coach Ivan, Transformational Coach: I would challenge the idea of this existing wall and seek to better clarify my client’s meaning of “the stronger gender”. The reason being, there seems to be an assumption that because a man won’t open up, it is due strictly to this societal wall. This societal wall is merely an in-figment of the client’s imagination. If my client is seeking to be more open in his/her relationship, then my job as a transformational coach is to move my client in that direction; thereby, bursting through that wall.

As Ivan the man: the concept of a stronger gender is not new.  What I do think is new, is the current climate of encouraging men to become more emotionally intelligent. Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs incorporates emotions, but the term “Emotional Intelligence” arose in 1990 by Peter Salovey and John “Jack” Mayer. I think that men have improved greatly in this area, still a way to go, but the old precept of hegemony is greatly being challenged. As it should be. Intellectually, I would argue that this societal wall is not gender specific, but economically specific.

Ivan Hunt - Keep it moving

7. Was this belief of yours the spark that lit the will of helping men?

No. What sparked this journey and mission was from my own understanding of how much destruction I caused to those that I love. I had to ask myself some really simple questions, but come up with some really hard answers. Once I realized the damage I had caused and started to take corrective actions, I became more observant of my past behaviors compared to my current behavior. I’m a transparent person, so I was open about the challenges I had went through. I discovered a common denominator with the guys I interacted with and that was their lack of emotional intelligence and also the presuppositions associated with it.

8. Is your activity designed for men only?

No, it is not. Women, a lot of times, want to better understand their spouse. I can help with that. The big thing for me is that – as human beings, as people – we all have the same types of feelings, emotions, thoughts, mental walls, challenges and the rest of the spectrum. We all have ups and downs. The partnership between coach and client is as a motivator, strategist, an accountability partner and the client’s biggest cheerleader/supporter. The method I use as a transformational coach is universal. I have a process I call, BREAK –  break free from the old and embrace the new.

9. For how long have you been doing this?

I graduated from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC) in 2017. It’s an accredited life coaching program, where I received over 380 hours of hands on training and studying. Going through that program was one of the best decisions I’ve made in life!

10. What kept you going, in times of hardships (on a personal level)? 

Wow, that’s a tough one! I think ignorance. :)) I was too ignorant to understand just how bad things had gotten for me. After my divorce, I found myself sleeping in my car, on the floor of my job, renting motel rooms before renting a room from people’s homes and such. It was a dark and lonely time. I just think I was too ignorant to know that I shouldn’t make it out.

“What sparked this journey and mission was my own understanding of how much destruction I caused to those that I loved.”

11. Do you see an increase in the percentage of men who will ask for help in the upcoming years, as a feasible option to recover after an unfortunate episode of their lives?

Yes, absolutely. That’s what I’m here for. If I can share my story with enough people, some man (or woman) is bound to hear or read my story and find the strength and courage to raise their hand… then my life wasn’t in vain.

12. What is the main reason men to come to you for?

They are broken. They are tired. They want freedom. They have kept it all in for so long that they are ready to explode. Well… I offer them a safe, non-judgmental and confidential environment, where they can just be a human being. There are no pretenses, assumptions, or anything like that. When I see that glimmer of hope in my clients’ eyes… it doesn’t even have to be my clients, I do a lot of volunteer mentoring… But when I see that relief of knowing that they aren’t alone, it’s a feeling that I can’t explain. I get goose bumps right there with them. I love it!

13. Some past experiences (from childhood, for instance) have terrible effects on people and men are no exception. Please tell us… As these issues are amplified as years go by, from your point of view, is a man’s self-esteem harder to re(build) or restore than a woman’s?

I think all men and all women go through periods of low self-esteem. It’s part of life’s journey. How quickly it’s restored is contingent upon the individual, regardless if it’s a man or a woman. The only real difference is that women typically ask for help more or quicker than men do.  Again, that’s changing…

14. Compared to the last 2 years, do you think that men started to loosen up and understand that communication is more important than pride?

First of all… Love has no pride. Most men, at some point, realize that communication is important. This is where the importance of emotional intelligence comes into play. When a man hears the dreaded words of “we need to talk” or “can I ask you a question?” the guy automatically shuts down. It feels intrusive and the guards go up. The words have put him on the defensive. Suddenly, there is this expectation that he is supposed to say something, anything… If there are expectations, disappointment is soon to follow.

Men learn later what role listening plays in communication. As a coach, I teach my clients how to become an active listener. I go in much deeper detail during my coaching sessions, although, I can tell you, there are drastic improvements in their relationships. My marriage improved considerably as I learned how to become an active listener.

15. Can you share at least one successful story with us, as a result of your activity?

I had a male client that came to me shortly after a divorce. He was an entrepreneur and his business was struggling, he was financially distraught and emotionally beat, battered and bruised. He harbored a lot of ill feelings towards his ex-wife… We first worked on forgiveness. He was able to eventually forgive himself and his ex-wife. That was the beginning of his transformation into the man he wanted to be. His relationship with his child was restored, he and his ex-wife had developed a co-parenting plan, he started several more businesses and is generally – overall – happier in his day-to-day life. We still keep in touch to this day!

“If there are expectations,

disappointment is soon to follow.”

***

Thank you for having been willing to share your story with us and I would like to have you as guest on this blog, whenever you may feel comfortable with it! May your activity grow wings and I hope men will start trusting this option, envisioning a brighter future for all of us!

 

To all my beautiful readers, Mr. Ivan Hunt can be followed through the below channels:

Website:
https://www.ivanhunt.com/

Podcast:
ctrnetwork.com/ivanhunt(weekly show)

Video Podcast:
https://keepitmovingwithivanhupodbean.com

YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChycvUCNK3BleQ6IFn3cbsg/featured

LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ivanhunt/

Facebook (Life Coach):
https://www.facebook.com/IFHSS30/

Facebook (Keep It Moving):
https://www.facebook.com/KeepItMovingwithIvanHunt/

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/coach_ivanhunt/?hl=en

 

*The photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Ivan Hunt*

 

Coming up next week: Edin Chavez (Photography)

Action drives reaction – My first Podcast :)

The generally known concept about this is called “Law of Attraction“, right? But I would rather relate more to what I stated above. The syntax “action drives reaction” seems to explain better the consequences of one’s deeds. And I can, without a second thought, clearly confirm (from experience) that this is true, whether we admit it or not.

It may seem weird and you may say “Doh! Is this post for real?”. Or you may just agree. Or pass it by. Remember, choice is always free!

The point of all this is the following: Do you remember @Ivan Hunt, CPC, ELI-MP, from the first #VulneRevolution interview? (yes, the man with those amazing answers! – find it here: https://lnkd.in/g2G3STm) Well, the day I published that, something happened in return – he asked me to be the guest of his podcast, called Keep it Moving! (How big of a deal is that?!?!? – To me? Huge!) If you’ve been following me so far, you know that I tell you everything. I share my good and bad moments with you all. (I just can’t help it, you guys are AMAZING!)

* Also published on Linkedin, here. *

This being said, when you watch the video (link below), please bear with me. I was all nervous and afraid of failing. But I still did it! (Do you sense any indirect advice in my last line?)

Enjoy 🙂

https://keepitmovingwithivanhunt.podbean.com/

Love,
A.

#ValuableDiversity – Interview series coming up

valuable-diversity

By nature, humans are social creatures. As much as I (or you or him or them) would like to believe that we succeed alone, my personal experience managed to change my initial view. I wanted to be independent (I still do, in some extent) and report nothing to anyone; I have hard times taking in imposed rules and freedom is my aim; I am stubborn, but I’m melting that… There were times when I considered myself to be alone against the entire world. But, as time went by, I realized that I was never alone. Maybe my view was (somehow) opaque and I was too shut into myself in order to listen. Yeah, I guess that’s it. I realize this, as I’m writing this piece…

My point is this: there will always be (at least) a person guiding us from behind the curtains and lending us the needed hand of help, even if we fail to accept that. But this person will be even more stubborn than we will ever be. They will not let go, even through the most violent storms of our lives.

And this person can be black or white, Orthodox or Jewish, tall or short, from a far land or from downtown, a woman or a man, gay or straight, poor or excessively rich… When this person cares, these are not boundaries; these are just aspects that will never set the standard of a true bond. Who cares if you work in a corporation or are a freelancer? Who gives a damn if you are a vegetarian or eat meat? Who cares who do you marry?

You see, from this point of view, I’m lucky! I have friends from all over the world. Acquaintances? No, I said friends… From the US, India, Nigeria, Romania (obviously), Belgium, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Greece… you’ve got the point…

I may never meet them in person, but I doubt that a hand shake or a kiss on the cheek can change much of the trust we’ve built. Call me naïve, but I’m going to keep things this way… I trust people and the beauty in them. And this is what I want to show you all. How a person, completely different from you (from any point of view you may consider) can still be beautiful and worthy of your care.

This is the purpose of the upcoming #ValuableDiversity interview series.

Do you want to be part of this and let people know who you are? Let me know in the comments section below. Also, make sure you check this blog weekly, for interesting new stories 😉

In the meantime, let me spoil the surprise a bit…

There’s this brilliant mind I met on LinkedIn, which helped me a lot, especially on a personal (development) level. And the point for what I’m doing this is because you need to reach out to him, no matter what…

By the time I was about to connect to him on LinkedIn, I was – obviously – curious about what his “thing” was. What spoke to me was “Your happiness officer” line on his profile (besides the music producer thing – you all know, from previous posts, that I am a music addict, with no cure 😁). Anyhow, at some point, we started talking and we even had an amazingly fun and full of energy call last week. He helped me out 2 times already and I know he will keep on doing this, every time I need it, no matter the time I text or call. Someone says about him: “a wizard of mind” and that’s exactly what he is! He can turn a blue ball into a pink elephant.

Who is he? If you’re not connected to him, hope my words above will push you to do it. He’s Richard C. Pryor. I call him, simply, “doc”… And he will be one of the guests I’ll have in my #ValuableDiversity series, pretty soon.

Just as a side comment, the poem in the link below will be the hymn of this series (my one and only published poem – hopefully plagiarism will be kept aside):

Let’s

Think outside of the box and see the beauty in this world!

That’s the aim of this series!

(this can also be found – partially, due to lack of space – on LinkedIn, here)

I would also love to learn your opinion on the diversity concept. So, without a fear, leave you comment below and let’s make this world a better place! 😉

Love,
A.

#VulneRevolution (Interview Series) – ep. 01 – Ivan Hunt, CPC, ELI-MP


Understanding Vulnerability

Welcome to #VulneRevolution, people! The “ice breaker” of the series, as promised, is  Mr. Ivan Hunt, CPC, ELI-MP, life coach. If you’d like to find out how an ex-military sees vulnerability, check out his words, below.

***

Thank you very much for being part of our #VulneRevolution series!

We want to explore the topic of vulnerability openly and honestly. No judgement or innuendo should follow your feedback, therefore please do your best to answer the questions below honestly, as your help may mean the world to someone else.

If, at any given time, you may consider that you would like to withdraw yourself from this activity, please send us an email (anitei.andrada@gmail.com orlmccauley254@aol.com) within 2 days from the moment you provided the initial information.

As we would like to make sure the information reaches its purpose, you may consider the option of having images added to our story, as “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. However, if you would like to preserve your privacy and, upon your consent to do so, we can always make use of royalty free images on the internet.

Short Bio: Before answering the questions below, please take a moment to reflect upon the visibility you will have on the platform and if you would like us to use your true identity (preferably) or replace your name with initials or even a name at your convenience.

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1. What is your interpretation of vulnerability?

The first word that comes to mind is “transparency”. If you look up all the synonyms for “vulnerability“, virtually all of the words come from a place of “victim”; whereas, I don’t think of vulnerability with a victim mind state. I view vulnerability as the willingness to be open and honest, not with just others, but with oneself. This willingness implicitly comes with the knowledge and acceptance that the possibility, not probability, but possibility that you may get rejected, criticized, etc. Now, that’s strength!

2. Can you tell us about a time when you were vulnerable in the workplace?

It’s kind of a long story, so I’ll do my best to keep it short…

I was sitting in the COO’s office one day as she and I had a very good rapport and I needed/wanted her advice. My marriage was in shambles, again (2nd marriage) and I didn’t know what to do. I was in tears. The CEO and CFO both heard me crying in her office. The CEO actually walked in and looked at me with a smirk on his face. I was humiliated and I knew that I had “lost” some respect amongst them, but I was at my wits end. I was having a nervous breakdown.

I had been seeing a psychiatrist for the better part of a year, at my wife’s request, nonetheless. I had battled substance abuse for years, which was the main reason for me going to the psychiatrist. I was a few weeks away from finalizing my custody agreement with my ex-wife after an exhausting (mentally, emotionally and financially) four-years custody battle. My wife and I had lived the last four years under the microscope of the family judicial system. It was brutal on me and on my marriage. My dad was in the hospital after having open heart surgery and he was not completely stable yet. I had never seen such a strong man so vulnerable before. Additionally, I had consistently worked 11-12 hour days, plus most Saturdays and some Sundays for the last five to six months. I was spent. I had nothing left. I sat there and cried…

3. What happened?

Needless to say, I was looked at differently from that day forward. I wasn’t part of the “group” anymore. At first, it was really hard on me. I was embarrassed! Here I am, this big ex-military guy, crying his eyes out in the COO’s office! In hindsight, it was the end of a nightmare and the dawn of a new day…

“That day, my mind stopped. That day, I was no longer ashamed or embarrassed about what had happened in the COO’s office. That day, the transition from living in grey to living in color started!”

My wife called my psychiatrist and there was an emergency intervention. My psychiatrist knew I was in a bad place and I had a history of drug relapse, plus a bad temper. I went and saw her (the psychiatrist) that evening. Prior to me leaving her office that night, she gave me a homework assignment that required me to do some research. On a yellow post-it, she wrote down “bipolar and borderline personality disorder”. I started my research the next day and my world changed. That day, my mind stopped. That day, I was no longer ashamed or embarrassed about what had happened in the COO’s office. That day, the transition from living in grey to living in colour started!

4. Do you regret it?

No, I don’t! Would I advise going about it, the way I did? No, I wouldn’t. At first, I regretted it, but not now. I wear that day as a badge of honor. In fact, I started telling people what happened and what I discovered about myself.

Interestingly enough, most of my female counterparts openly admitted to me that they, too, were seeing a therapist, psychiatrist or whatever. I was shocked, because I thought I was the only one…

Oddly, my male counterparts looked at me with more respect. The admiration came from my openness about what all had happened. Like I said, here I was, this ex-military tough guy, that was admitting to have cried in the COO’s office and owning up to having mood disorders.

The mere fact that I was openly discussing it was a clear message to the C-Suite that I didn’t need to be in their group, nor did I need their approval.

5. Nowadays, do you consider that being true to yourself and others is a sign of weakness/ vulnerability or strength? And why?

I don’t think being true to oneself is any of the three.

In my opinion (that’s my caveat), being true to you, or put another way, living in your truth, is a sign of maturity and wisdom. The operative word is “being”. “Being” is living as who you are, “truth”. The truth of myself, are all emotions and feelings to include weakness/vulnerability or strength but also love, joy, peace, happiness, servitude, anger, frustration, anxiety, stress, playfulness, and the list goes on and on. Being true to yourself is life itself.

“There I was, this ex-military tough guy, that was admitting to have cried in the COO’s office and owning up to having mood disorders.”

6. How did your experience with vulnerability influence your current state of mind? Would you recommend others to talk about it?

My experience with vulnerability helped me identify a core value: transparency. Transparency doesn’t always mean that you are going to tell the world every single detail about your life. When I decided that I had to share my story with people, one, I realized I wasn’t alone, two, that I provided others with the knowledge that they weren’t alone.

I most definitely recommend that people talk about it and be willing to share their unique story. I know that there are some people that don’t feel comfortable with sharing their experiences, and that’s perfectly okay but for those that are comfortable, do it. Somebody is always watching and listening and you never know who you may impact in a positive way.

7. If you can sum up in 1 word how you feel about your experience with vulnerability what would it be?

LIBERATED ! I view vulnerability as the willingness to be open and honest, not with just others, but with oneself. Being true to yourself is life itself.

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Ivan Hunt, thank you for being – so openly – part of this and for your amazing answers!

You can contact/ follow Louise Mccauley and Andrada Anitei at any given moment, by following the links below:

Louise:      https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisecc/

Andradahttps://www.linkedin.com/in/andrada-anitei/

*The photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Ivan Hunt*

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