Great Day in Federal Prison
An investment banker in New York scheduled a call with me on Friday. A couple of minutes into our call, I learned that he would be surrendering to Fort Dix Federal Prison Camp.
“I saw your website, read your book and read some of your reviews. I’m impressed with your work and would have interest in working with you. I have millions of questions about prison. Can you help me?” he asked.
“Yes. What’s your most pressing question?” I asked.
“Your books make it seem like you had great days in federal prison. I never thought you could have great days in prison but I guess it’s possible. What did you specifically do that made federal prison so great for you?” he asked.
“May I ask when you’re happiest in life?”
“Yes, when I’m with my family and contributing to my community and business. Even now as I deal with my case, I’ve been working and many people are reliant on me. I take that responsibility very seriously. I’d like to continue to build on this momentum while I’m in federal prison,” he said.
“Well, you just summed up how you have a great day in federal prison. It is no different than having a great day in society. You have great days in federal prison by doing great things. It’s really that simple.”
I went on.
“In federal prison I finally identified my values. Specifically, family, character, education, fitness and contribution. I spent all day every day in federal prison developing those values and holding myself accountable to them.
Too many prisoners focus on what is outside of their control. Becoming self-reliant and feeling gratitude for all that was remaining in my life, enabled me to focus on what was most important.
Frequently people ask me if I am glad I went to federal prison. No, I’m not stupid. I’m not glad I went to federal prison. Still, I am proud of myself for using the experience productively and in a way that would demonstrate that we could be better than bad past decisions.
Greatness for me was no longer measured in money or showing off items I had. Greatness for me in federal prison was measured by following my values.
You’re already doing great things each and every day. You’ve identified what’s most important to you, and despite the many obstacles going on in your life, you continue to pursue them daily. If you identify your new values in federal prison, and pursue them as you do now, each day will be great for you on the inside, as it was for me. Your further ahead than you think. I would be happy to help you, presuming you still have interest.”
“Yes, I have interest. I am ready to get to work, he said.
I love my job and am so thankful to be in a position to help wonderful people make the most out of a hard experience.