45 Things That You Don’t Know About Me

Richard Shola Smiling And Wearing a Red Smiley Face T-Shirt While Standing In Front of Large Plant
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If you ever wanted to learn more about me, it’s all right here in this post.

You might already know this, but this past Saturday (November 2nd) was my 45th birthday!

For the past five years on November 2nd–and, in what’s become a bit of a tradition on my birthday, I wanted to share with you 45 random things about me that you probably don’t know about me.

Don’t get confused though, even though this post might seem like it’s about me–as always, this is about us.

Specifically, it’s about creating an even deeper connection with you by sharing how much we have in common–and I’m willing to bet that it’s more than you thought before reading this post.

So, without further ado, here they are in no particular order. Enjoy! 

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Why I’ll Never Walk Alone

Shola Richards Walking His Dog With His Daughter

Twice a day, I walk my dog Ace around my neighborhood with one, or both, of my girls. I know that doesn’t seem noteworthy, but here’s something that I must admit:  I would be scared to death to take these walks without my girls and/or my dog. In fact, in the four years living in … Read more

Addition By Subtraction

Man Walking Away On a Dirt Road Through Forest
Addition by Subtraction
Sometimes, it’s best to walk away.

Have you ever dealt with an incredibly difficult person before?

I know, I know. Ridiculous question, right? Of course you have.

I bet that it was a miserable experience, wasn’t it?

I believe that one of the hardest things that we have to endure in our lives is dealing with difficult people. In fact, it’s so tough that I even wrote a free guide to help you navigate through the challenges of it (if interested, you can get it instantly by subscribing to The Positivity Solution.)

In this post, I’m going to take it a step further.

Specifically, I’m going to talk about the people who are, without a doubt, the worst of the worst. While it’s true that difficult people are fairly common, the people that I’m about to mention, thankfully, are very rare.

I’m talking about toxic people.

You probably know who I’m talking about. They’re the people who are emotionally draining, constantly negative, manipulative, selfish, passive-aggressive, judgmental, emotionally (and possibly, physically) abusive, and/or narcissistic. And no, that’s not an exhaustive list.

Needless to say, these folks are dangerous and have the power to destroy your life if they are not dealt with swiftly.

The only way to deal with these people is to fully embrace the “addition by subtraction” philosophy.

I can promise you that using this technique when it comes to dealing with toxic people will positively change your life in ways that you wouldn’t even imagine.

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The Pain That You Should Be Thankful For

Man With Head Buried in His Lap Sitting on a Railroad Track
Do you feel his pain? I do.

I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving.

Food, family, friends, football, fun (did I get all of the “F’s”?), make this the one holiday that I look forward to the most every year.

In addition to all of the F’s, what I also love about this time of year is that we get to mindfully reflect on what is really important in our lives, and simply be in gratitude, at least for a day.

I urge you to consistently remember what it is that you’re thankful for, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day of your lives.

But that’s not what this article is about.

Let’s be real–chances are that if you’re choosing to read The Positivity Solution, you are already aware of the importance of being thankful for your health, your spouse, your kids, your home, your friends, your family and your job.

So, let’s raise the stakes a little.

This Thursday before we slip into our yearly blissful tryptophanic food coma, my goal is to add a new and very important thing to the many things that you are the most thankful for.

Truthfully, it could save your life.

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Silencing the Haters

Man in Black and White With Red Tape in an "X" Over His Mouth
How to deal with haters
To the haters out there: Shhh…

“I could never do what you do.”

We were sitting in a coffee shop next door to my office when my friend said those words to me.

My friend is brilliant, funny, and an exceptional writer, but when I asked him what is stopping him from launching his own blog (something that he has talked about doing for months), that was his response.

He had more to say too:

“People are so cruel and judgmental. I don’t think that I have what it takes to put my writing out there for the world to rip apart and judge. There are so many haters out there.”

Sadly, he’s absolutely right. There are so many haters out there.

Some of you already know this, but it took me three long years to find the guts to publish my first ever blog post here on this site.

The reason for the ridiculously long delay, you might be wondering?

Fear of dealing with criticism from the haters.

Yep, that’s it. That fear almost stopped me from ever hitting “Publish” on my very first blog post.

Almost.

It took me a while to completely overcome this fear, but now with almost a year of blogging under my belt, I can say with 100% confidence that haters do not need to be feared.

They do need to be dealt with, though.

The problem is that when it comes to dealing with haters, most people give the same tired advice that you have probably heard before:

Ignore them.

Get a thicker skin.

Fight fire with fire.

There are definitely much better ways to silence the haters, so without further ado, let’s get on with the business of zipping their lips once and for all.

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Why I’m An Optimist (And Not a Realist)

Glass Of Water Which Is Half-full
Glass of water which is half-full stands on a wooden table which stands on the sand beach by the sea
Is the glass half full or half empty? I’ll let you answer this one.

Last week, I struck up a conversation with a woman while we waited in the checkout line in the grocery store. And as usual on the weekend, I was rocking one of my smiley face shirts.

After chatting for a minute or so, she looked down at my shirt and then asked me flatly, “wow, you do like to smile a lot, don’t you?”

Admittedly, I was a little taken aback by the question, but I replied by saying, “Yeah, I do. I’m a happy guy and I view the world optimistically–it’s just who I am.”

She looked at me suspiciously and then condescendingly replied, “Hmm…okay. No offense, but optimism and smiling all the time isn’t a healthy mindset. It’s far healthier for your sanity to be a realist.” Then she paid for her groceries and shuffled out of the store.

Sadly, I’ve had a variation of this conversation hundreds of times since I’ve started this work years ago. Sometimes it frustrates me, sometimes it amuses me, but it always confuses me.

It’s time to set the record straight.

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Stop Complaining

Word "Complaining" On a Chalkboard Crossed out
Stop complaining
Stop complaining.

If you’re anything like me, there are probably certain traits that you see in other people that drive you crazy.

For example, here are a few less-than-pleasant traits that most well-adjusted people can’t stand: rudeness, selfishness, thoughtlessness, laziness, arrogance, intolerance, dishonesty, and apathy, just to name a few.

But there’s one more trait that’s not on the list above that truly drives me insane.

I think that the reason why it annoys the hell out of me so much is because I used to be the living, breathing poster child for this miserable trait on a daily basis.

I was a chronic complainer. Yup, yours truly.

There used to be a time in the not-so-distant past where I would complain about anything and everything to anyone who had the misfortune of being stuck listening to my constant whining.

It didn’t matter if it was about my job, the weather, the pain in my knee, my sorry bank account, my girlfriend drama, how busy I was, how tired I was (you get the picture). If something ever went wrong in my life, please trust that I would instantly put a negative spin on it, and then spend the rest of the day (or longer) complaining about it.

To this day, I am so thankful that I had a friend years ago who was willing to snap me out of my funk by giving me some much-needed tough love.

  • He told me that my personal relationships would eventually suffer if I continued to constantly suck the energy out of every room with my complaining (he was right).
  • He told me that my professional career would eventually stall out if I constantly repelled the people who I worked with by complaining instead of taking action (again, he was right).
  • He told me that my mental, emotional, and even physical health would eventually decline if I didn’t make a decision to stop complaining and wallowing in negativity everyday (he was still right).

Thankfully, his tough love completely transformed my life. More accurately, it saved my life.

I have never looked at complaining in the same way ever since, and if you engage in chronic complaining like I did, then hopefully I can help you to break the cycle too.

All it takes is a little tough love. That’s why I’m here.

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Overcoming the Need to be Liked

Man Holding Crossed Fingers Up By His Face
Need to be liked
Please like me, please like me…

I know a four-word sentence that has the power to get a negative response out of almost anyone who hears it.

Are you ready for it? Brace yourself, because it might sting a little:

“I don’t like you.”

Ouch.

See? It hurts, doesn’t it?

For years and years, I did anything humanly possible to avoid having those four words directed at me. Believe me, I’m still a work in progress, but I’ve come a long way from being the guy who desperately needed to be liked in order to be happy.

If you’re currently someone who has a desperate need to be liked by others, get comfortable because this blog post is for you.

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Bullied No More: The End of Workplace Bullying

Businessman Yelling and Pointing - Workplace bullying
Workplace bullying
This is NOT the guy who you want to spend 40 hours a week with.

Shola’s Note: October is National Bullying Awareness month, and I am ready to shine as bright of a light as I can on this hideous epidemic this month, and beyond. Workplace bullying is destroying lives, and it’s time for us to put a stop to it. If you don’t think that Workplace Bullying is “a thing,” just read the comments below for a serious wake-up call. And because of this, I’m taking the next step to bringing attention to (and ideally, ending) this soul-destroying issue, with my debut book, Making Work Work. For more info about the book and the workplace movement we’re creating, read this post.

I know, I know…”hate” isn’t the most positive word in the world, and it’s not one that I throw around loosely, but I can’t think of a word that describes my feelings for bullies more accurately than hate. “Extreme dislike” is too weak for me.

Keep reading and I’ll explain exactly why.

Bullying in any form is unquestionably terrible, but I want to focus on a form of bullying that doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves.

Specifically, I’m talking about workplace bullies.

Bullying in the workplace has reached near-epidemic status, and it’s time that we put an end to this behavior once and for all. This may sound ambitious, but my goal is that this post will mark the beginning of the end of bullying in the workplace.

I’m dead serious about making this happen. People have suffered for far too long at the hands of these sociopaths, and I’m calling for it to end now.

And just like anything, it all begins with you.

The future of the workplace as we know it depends on all of us taking control of our work lives and eradicating workplace bullies starting today.

In other words, it’s time for us to be the heroes in our own workplace story.

Fair warning, this isn’t going to be easy–but then again, this isn’t about doing what’s “easy.”

This is about doing what’s necessary.

There’s a lot to dive into, so let’s get to it.

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Hi! I am Shola

Pink Gradient Shadow

Over a decade ago, I was drowning in the despondency of yet another workday. My success as the top regional performer had been numbed by a culture of incessant workplace bullying. And, I’d recently made the situation worse by filing a formal complaint. In short, I was collateral damage in a company without the process or intention to address my experience.

Exhausted from the drama, with an unrecognizable version of myself at the wheel, I intentionally swerved off the interstate in an attempt to take my own life. But in that half-second, my reflexes responded, and I yanked the wheel away from disaster. As I clipped the guardrail on I 405, something changed...

I uncovered a power within myself

...a burning desire to reverse a trend that happens daily to sixty-five million people in this country alone. This catalyst has since become Go Together™ Movement - a transformational roadmap of mindset, behaviors, and tools that transform workplace cultures and drive results.

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