5 Strategies to Persevere in the Face of Bullying
Have you ever been bullied as a kid in school, in the work setting or even by friends who don’t mean it?
Soul Trotters was born from my love of sports but also from learning to persevere in the face of difficulty or when the future looked bleak. And so here is my BaselineBrad’s Blog.
This is the first in a series of stories where I learned to persevere and also learned that the Lord had gifted me with the ability to connect with people from all walks of life and to have a positive influence on many of them.
Connecting with positive people and not dwelling on negative people. When I think back to my childhood, I recall some instances where I had to persevere because of my academic challenges due to cognitive issues from my childhood disease of Bacteria Spinal Meningitis.
I recall waiting for the school bus in third and fourth grade and one of my classmates, a particularly smart kid, would grill me nearly every morning on academic problems from math, English or some other subject he had mastered. He would put me down because I didn’t know the answer or couldn’t come up with it as fast as other kids. I wouldn’t add fire to fire, but concentrate on other friends around me.
Connecting with people using innate gifts (mine being humor, friendliness and athletic ability). I learned to persevere through these difficult challenges and mental bullying by connecting with other kids also waiting for the bus and putting them at ease with my friendly approach and my humor. This would serve me well the rest of my life because, although I later became a very strong athlete, I still have had to endure the mental bullying from others. (Those who bully others are insecure and have a need to feel good about themselves by putting others down.) Although others were impatient with my slower ability to process technical information or large amount of information, my humor and smile helped many situations.
I also found out that I could be good at basketball This is one of the way I have coped with the stress and also could feel good about excelling at something, since the academics wasn’t a strength.
Connecting with people who have something in common with you helps us to not feel alone. I have learned from others who have survived bacteria spinal meningitis on social media meningitis pages that they have experience these same slower processing skills due to the effects from the disease. It encourages me and I have a chance to encourage others.
Connecting and drawing people together through persuasion. In the early years of playing basketball, the Lord further developed my ability to connect with people and influence them. In junior high I would call my friends on Friday evening or Saturday morning who played basketball and ask them if they wanted to play at the school that day. I would say so and so is coming and we need you to come to make it 4 on 4 or 5 on 5 to run full court. This is where I started to develop the art of persuasion.
Connecting by just being genuinely interested in them and starting conversation. When I think back to when I first started putting my God given gift of connecting with people and my ability to be persuasive together, the experience I recall most was in my early twenties. I just got back from playing professional basketball in Europe and just turned 23. At this point I did not have an AA yet or much later a BS degree since I opted to play basketball overseas in what would have been my fourth year of college.
I really had no skills that I could point to at this point, but knew I was physically strong. I started applying for jobs locally in the coastal area of the South Bay in California. One company CEO was so impressed that I came in just off the streets that he called the President of an in- bond- freight company near LAX. (In- bond- freight is cargo that had been imported by wealthy clients, stores or brokers that needs to be signed off by US Customs in order to be released to the individual, broker or retail outlet.) The president of this company was impressed with my communications skills enough to hire me to work in the warehouse and to start sending me over to international airlines to pick up this in-bond air cargo. Before picking this freight up, I would first have to meet with the airline rep in receiving and also with the US Customs Inspector assigned to that airline that day. Well, very early on, I started building relationships with all these US Customs Inspectors as they rotated around to the various international airlines located at LAX. Before long, the US Customs Inspectors started seeing me through the window, would call me back to talk to me, and clear my paperwork ahead of other brokers and folks picking up airline containers of in-bond air freight.
They trusted me. I was respectful and not demanding like some others were on why I needed my shipment to clear customs. They just recognized my integrity and enjoyed talking with this “young man.”
The only bad part of this was, that it created a little bit of tension with some of my coworkers. Because what use to take them 5 hours of their day waiting for shipments to clear customs and load up the bobtail truck, or airline container on the roller flatbed truck was taking me less than 2 hours in many cases.
This made for more time for them to unload the truck and work in the warehouse doing manual lifting as we unloaded the airline containers before they returned to the airline. And because I would get shipments cleared faster, management recognized this and would send me more often than some of the experienced reps of our company. I couldn’t help this, I was just doing what came naturally to me, connecting with people, building trust and influencing them to work with me first because I didn’t bring them any aggravation.
I learned early on to treat others the way I wanted to be treated, with honesty, integrity and fairly.
Look for more tips and stories on persevering in future blogs.