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Convinced the title should be “Jailbreak” now, I was ready to move forward. I put the speech together and was ready to deliver.
After passing through the guard gates and then through security I entered this small room. There were twenty inmates anxiously awaiting the presentation. We set the room for the meeting and were ready to start. The President of the club walked to the front of the room and made the announcement to begin. He announced the purpose of the meeting and then said, “Our speaker today, is Rob Commodari and the title of his speech is “Jailbreak”. With that, you could see the curiosity rising in the room. Eyebrows were raised! Jailbreak it was!
I looked out over the audience and in a whisper I began, “I am planning a jailbreak! Are you in or are you out? It’s a simple question. All I need is a simple answer. Are you in or are you out?” I paused for what seemed an eternity and then in a loud voice I said, “I’m not talking about the jailbreak where you climb over the fence and run for your freedom. I’m not talking about breaking through the walls and digging under the fence to gain your freedom. I’m talking about breaking down the walls that you, and I and everyone in this room have inside our own heads. I am talking about breaking down the walls of fear, hate, jealousy, and anger! Now, I am going to ask you one more time; are you or are you out?” With that, all twenty of the guys jumped out of their seats signaling they were ready to hear the plan.
Throughout the speech I made reference to the movie “Shaw Shank Redemption.” I talked about how we were going to break those walls down using HOPE as our tool. I referenced just as inmates rely on fear on the inside of prison to get through their days, we on the outside rely on fear to motivate us to get through our days. Ultimately, my goal was to give them a message of hope. I concluded with the vision of the guys getting out of jail the next morning and walking toward the entrance for their freedom. I had them think about taking the last step out of jail and as they did they were to look up to the heavens, take a deep breathe and ask themselves one final question. “Do I get busy living or do I get busy dying?”
I ended the speech right there. All twenty guys jumped out of their seats hooting and hollering! It was a total success! I connected with these guys and I could feel it.
The meeting continued and we went on with the planned evaluations. As the last contestant stood to give his evaluation, he looked at me and said, “Mr. Rob, thank you for coming here today! Thank you so much for making us feel comfortable and thank you for looking like you were comfortable as well. Please don’t get mad at me for what I am about to say, but if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought you were one of us!” With that, all the inmates broke out in laughter as did I, however, I knew in my heart it was a success. I looked at the gentleman and said, “Thank you for that compliment. All you are telling me is, I connected with you and that’s what I came to do.”
When I left the prison, I knew I left the guys with a feeling hope. Hope that one day when they get out of prison they could possibly live a life free of fear, hate, jealousy, and anger. As I pulled out of the parking lot I looked in the rear view mirror at the large fence with all the razor wire around it. I knew something magical had just occurred. I could feel the spirit with me. I connected with those guys!
That would not have happened if I didn’t move forward with the title. The entire dynamic of the speech would have changed. I listened to that voice and from the response from those men, I gained a confidence and the knowledge that when your instincts are talking to you, follow them. Good things will come of it.
Until next time my friends…