How bold d you have to be to show up in Washington D.C. holding a hanging rope for the Vice President of the United States of America?

C’mon, who really believes they can walk right in front of the National Guard, Secret Service, Capitol Police, and pretty much every media outlet in the world and espouse intent to hunt down and do harm to the second and third persons necessary to ensure continuity of the US government?

How ridiculous would it be to ignore the fact that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people with similar sensibilities, ideological affinities, and violent tendencies?

The January 6, 2021 insurrection was a rude awakening… for some. The National Guard wasn’t going to end up with any more egg on its face. Anybody in their ranks with even a hint of fondness for or affiliation with Q Anon, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, etc. couldn’t be deployed to help secure the Capitol on Inauguration Day.

Since then, the military decided to take a closer look at to whom they are giving guns and uniforms. Might not be a good idea to keep turning a blind eye away from the potential enemy within. All those people with a ridiculous sense of entitlement are angry as hell. Why? They are convinced that you just sat there are let “those people” jack their now eternally venerable homeboy.

It’s a trip how quick all that hateful rhetoric began to matter when the intent to harm was insurrection rather than racism.

The problem is, the military isn’t the only institution empowering these bold, racist, insurrection-supporting extremists. I’m surrounded by a whole bunch of them each and every day. The state gives them the power and authority to write and enforce policy; practice, investigate, and justify the use of force; assess the level of risk we present to public safety; manage our case files; narrate our chronological behavioral record; and control the conditions of our confinement.

I wasn’t surprised by what happened on January 6th. Prior to the election, it was a common thing to hear Correctional Officers and Sergeants screaming “four more years!” Blue Lives Matter flag-adorned face masks and other political accessories embellished the uniforms of plenty facility personnel.

There were, and are, thriving communities of bold and proud “patriots” in this place. Individuals and groups of ideologues, who believe this pandemic is a hoax, won’t trust anything on mainstream media, and would re-elect Donald Trump over and over just to watch him walk on water one more time.

It has always been bad on the inside. This is an extremely polarized, toxic, and politicized environment. Yet, the state has consistently turned a blind eye to the fact that this is the perfect place for the bold, hate-filled extremists to hold the most power and to do the most harm. As prison guards, correctional staff, and para-military professionals, these positionally-powerful oppressors have complete control over the people they generally hate the most.

The incarcerated populace, disproportionately minorities, has historically written grievances, filed law suits, and informally complained about the hateful rhetoric and actions of correctional officers and staff that have had free reign to enact vigilante justice in a multitude of ways. But the popular narrative is one of us as monstrous and violent convicted felons.

I just want to encourage the public to dig a little deeper. These people are bold! The evidence is out there. Department of Corrections employees have social media profiles. You can easily access a list of people working at a prison. It’s all a matter of public record.

The whole world say what these people’s intentions, and their willingness to act in broad daylight against some of the most powerful political figures in America. Dig a little bit and you’ll find out what they’re posting on social media. Whatever you find offensive, make a record of it.

Do you trust them to make a safer Colorado for today and tomorrow when those are the things they openly espouse in public forums? Can you imagine what they get away with behind these razor wire fences and mechanically closed steel doors?

In the interest of justice, in the interest of abolition, or even if you’re just bored and kind of nosey; participate in our research project. Let’s find out how many haters are holding the keys, and demand that prisons stop being run like plantations.

People often ask me what it was that made me want to do this work.

For me, the journey began when a friend I call “Famo” was in desperate need of help. Things were going bad for Famo and I wasn’t too fond of what I was going through at that point in my life either. The struggle was real, and we both needed a reason to keep going. We wee both feeling like “survival” wasn’t a good enough result.

We couldn’t exactly define what winning was at that point, but we definitely weren’t going to tolerate things the way they were. I’m sure some of you out there have felt the same way. The fact is: people do not change what they are willing to tolerate. Famo and I were no longer willing to tolerate existing in a world where the best we could expect was another day of work in the survival factory.

Caring about someone else and wanting to give that person a legitimate first chance at creating a life worth living was the first reason I began doing what I do. I discovered the second reason about eight months later.

In June of 2011 I was reading a book called The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. In that book there’s a formula: E + R = O. It’s a really simple concept. What it says is “Events plus Response equals Outcomes.” That was the day I stopped feeling like life was happening to me. That’s when I realized that I could influence what life was going to ultimately look like for me and possibly many others tomorrow.

Events are going to occur in life that we have absolutely no control over, but that’s not the only variable producing our life experience. We can’t control the event, but as human beings, we can always choose what we do in response to what has happened.

From that point on, I chose to live my life on purpose. I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than what I truly wanted in life. I didn’t care how hard or how seemingly impossible it would be to achieve my dreams. I wanted to be free, I wanted to be happy, and I wanted a home, complete with kids and a beautiful wife. I wanted to live in a way that would assure that when it was all said and done, I would have every reason to expect to receive God’s affirmation for what I did with my time, talent, character, and will. All of those things were worth changing everything for.

I took a few days to envision my ideal life. I actually wrote down everything I wanted, down to the details of the color of the drapes in my dream home and the specific moments I desired to someday share with the women I love and the family we would be raising together. Connecting to those ideals was life-transforming for me.

Loving someone else enough to change was the start of my journey. The reasons why I continue to give my all each and every day. And the reason why I am committed to making a real difference in this world is because I found a way to connect with everything I truly love that is still left inside of me. Most of what I desire cannot exist in the world as it currently is. Therefore, I cannot rest until we create a world where those ideas, ideals, and dreams can become real.

Thanks for reading my blog. Here is what you can look forward to in my next few posts:

  1. The things I desire most and why.
  2. The external struggle that drives my journey of accomplishment
  3. The internal struggles I deal with.

Please let me know what you need to hear or want to know. Feel free to suggest future blog topics by sending me a message on the Connect page.

  1. It’s Not Luck by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Why: Thinking tools. Game given in the form of story. Provides processes to help make your thinking explicit. Mastering these thinking tools gives me confidence that I can completely transform the insights I have into a workable solution in just about any situation I’ll ever be faced with personally and professionally.

Favorite excerpt: “If you don’t understand something, it’s not that it doesn’t make sense. There must be something you are not aware of. Obtain more information or find someone with more insight on the situation.”

  • The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge

Why: Leverage. This book helped me see the world from a systems perspective and helped me structure my learning in ways that I could create the leverage necessary to achieve desired results.

Favorite excerpt: “Avoid the by-products of static thinking. You can have you cake and eat it too, just not at the same time. Things only appear as rigid “either-or” choices because we think of what is possible at a fixed point in time. Real leverage lies in seeing how both can improve over time.”

  • Leadership: The Inner Side of Greatness, a Philosophy for Leaders by Peter Koestenbaum

Why: Greatness. The Leadership Diamong and the Four Strategies for Greatness are life-changers. All too often people say “knowledge is power.” I don’t agree. My belief is that knowledge only represents potential. Knowledge properly applied is power! This books makes a promise to you and overdelivers on its responsibility. If you want to at least double the measurable success of your performance as a leader, simply learn and apply the knowledge found in this staple of my library.

Favorite excerpt: “You are free. And we mean by this that you possess free will, not necessarily political freedom. Political freedom can be taken away from you, but your free will cannot. That freedom is a philosophic and theological “fact,” not a scientific fact. But your freedom is constrained by two opposing facts. For one, you are not free to give up your freedom, that is, you are not free to “choose to choose.” Only death can deprive you of that last sliver of free will. The second is that freedom is confronted with the fixed alternatives of the real world.”

  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

Why: “Conscientização!” The conscious competence learning model describes the stages a learner goes through when learning a new skill. The first of those four stages is called Unconscious Incompetence, which basically means you’re at the stage where you don’t know what you don’t know. It took reading this book for me to realize and then admit that I was “afraid of freedom.”

Conscientização is the term used to refer to the learning I began after being inspired by Mr. Freire. It refers to learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and to take action against the oppressive elements of reality, a cause I am absolutely dedicated to creatively progressing.

Favorite excerpt: “Human existence cannot be Silent, nor can it be nourished by

false words, but only by true words, with which men and women transform the world. To exist, humanly, is to name the world, to change it. Once named, the world in its turn reappears to the namers as a problem and requires of them a new naming. Human beings are not built in silence, but in word, in work, in action-reflection.”

  • The Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life by Robert Fritz

Why: Love. Robert Fritz is a genius! The way he breaks down the creative process is brilliant. This book is important to me because it helped me understand and articulate the reason why I do the work I do in the way I choose to do it. The motivation I hold to as a creator stems from a core desire for the future I am creating to exist. Mr. Friz says it beautifully: “the reason you would create anything is because you love it enough to see it exist.”

This book helped me understand the principles behind how I got where I am and how to utilize that understanding to get where I truly desire to be. In doing so, I’ve developed skills and tools to help others do the same with much less pain and other unnecessary costs.

Favorite excerpt: “As you begin to consider what you want to create in your life, it is good for you to know that the circumstances that presently exist are not the determining factor of the results you desire to create. You are not limited by them, even though it may seem you are entrenched in them.”

The purpose of this blog is to benefit anyone who wants to learn who I am. This platform allows me to add my voice to the existing narrative about my life and to share my truth.

I fully intend to create a space for transparency that invites people to experience or engage in the journey as I develop into the person I have the potential to become.

The idea is to post weekly content relative to the following evergreen topics:

  1. When I’m Not Changing the World: interests, hobbies, and how I unplug/unwind
  2. Music for Misfits: sharing music for the moment, playlists for productivity, and the soundtracks for our stories.
  3. Reading is Fundamental: essential reading for change makers and future leaders
  4. Productivity Tips: Advice for making your un-impossible work profitable
  5. Innovation Ideations: sharing ideas and brainstorming ways to achieve new and better outcomes in more places more often

What Motivates Me

It seems like what I want for all of us can only happen in an impossible future… and that gives me three choices:

  1. Change what I want
  2. Tolerate compromise; or
  3. Do the impossible

The problems are…

  1. I can clearly see a future for all of us that is transformatively better for our personal, public, and professional lives. Plus, I’m convinced that vision can be achieved in our lifetime . (So, I’m not changing what I want!)
  2. My strategy and motivation for living does not allow for compromise; and
  3. I still haven’t found a good enough reason not to do the “impossible.”

This is why, in spite of my current life conditions, I consistently show up in this world as a life-long learner, a strategist, a leader, change agent, and dedicated child of God. A critical factor for success in each of these roles is the growing capacity and capability to both inspire and be inspired by others.

What I want, and who I am, are shaping this journey to first (1) redefine, then (2) achieve what’s “possible.”

Welcome to life and adventure with Rhidale Dotson.

The way I live, love, work, and learn matter because…

• What I live for (to live free, grow creatively, and leave empty) has the potential to change the world.
• Who I love (God, Family, Friends, and Community) should consistently benefit from a value­-adding relationship where my commitment is one of unlimited liability.
• The results of my work (even if I’m working on myself) must always improve the client’s
condition; otherwise my work isn’t done yet.
• The reasons I keep learning are to develop our collective capacity and capability to expand boundaries, overcome obstacles, and effectively solve problems that would continue to remain impossible if we chose not to elevate our thinking or change our behaviors.

The Real – Thinking Outside the Box

A problem exists when there is a difference between the real and the ideal.

I tend to view the “real” as a box, and there are two very important things to remember about that box:

  1. The box is given substance by our beliefs, and
  2. That box is never built alone.

We’ve all got problems, but for more reasons than I can explain here… I’ve had to become great at outside-the-box problem-solving; and that’s my secret sauce. The reason I get such great results from my innovations is because I recognized and leveraged the difference between inside-the-box problems and outside-the-box problems. The difference is where you choose to place your ideals.

I’ve personally chosen to no longer accept an existence inside the possibilities of the current box I’m in. This box is cold, dark, restrictive and way too small to contain my ambitions and creativity. Nearly two decades ago I was sentenced to “Life without Parole” inside of a box. As hard as it is to admit, for more than a decade, I and the majority of my loved ones were giving the box I’m currently in much more substance than we should have.

On June 12, 2011, I suspended my belief in that box long enough to see through all the labels, walls, seemingly insurmountable challenges and obstacles I perceived to be limiting me. Once the confines of this box felt less substantial, I gave myself permission to envision a future better than the one I have inside the box. Now, clearly seeing past the current predicament, I began to visualize a life so beautiful and compelling that I could no longer settle for anything else inside of that box.

From that point on, ALL of my ideals exist outside of the current box I’m in.

I remember reading a quote somewhere that said, “There’ s no such thing as a lazy person, just people with impotent goals.” If anyone out there ever feels the need to change their life, I’d highly recommend that you begin by envisioning an ideal future… a  future  that  you  simply  cannot  live  without.  Give yourself permission to set goals with outcomes so good you’d be willing to trade your life for them. Then decide to give that future some substance (and remember that you don’t have to give it substance on your own).

Deciding not to settle for an existence within the confines of  what has been declared  as “possible”  for me inside-of-the box means that solving all of my outside-the -box problems is a MUST! People work much differently when they transform their “shoulds” into “MUSTS!” The reason our tomorrow will be better than today is because I’m making it a MUST to help like-minded people become greater than myself at solving outside-the-box problems.

Simply put, the “real” is what we choose to believe and give substance to. Trust me, the future we can share together is a beautiful one. Making it real is a choice. I already made my choice. What’s yours?