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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Profiles of Two Faces Made From Paper, One Black and One White, Facing Each Other and Beginning to Catch on Fire

Three days ago, I posted an article titled, Why I’ll Never Walk Alone, and I have been blown away by the incredibly kind and heartwarming responses that I have received. This has been a rough week (for, hopefully obvious reasons), but many of your words have strengthened my faith in the goodness of humanity. I cannot … Read more

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

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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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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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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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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