BE Modern Man: Rahshib Thomas
Leadership coach, author, human resources professional, 44, CEO of RT Consulting
Twitter: @rahshib; Instagram: @rahshib
I’ve been blessed to coach professionals of color around the globe in having better relationships with their bosses and colleagues at work, networking through what I call “Make Love to the Crowd.” As a leadership coach, I get to show up on Facebook Live and host workshops that provide tips, tools, and strategies from one professional of color to another. I have an upcoming Men’s Bout That Life Leadership Conference that will focus on leadership, spirituality, and sex-positive conversations.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?
I am most proud of growing into the responsible, spiritual, son, brother, uncle, professional, servant leader, student, and friend my mother raised me to be. I am also proud I connected my head and my heart and stepped into authenticity in my life, and learned the world was waiting for the authentic me to show up the entire time. Not the me in the mask that ‘thought’ there would be consequences for being myself; the self that is some days boardroom corporate, some days all “block,” other days country, other days bourgeoisie and sophisticated, and some days awkward.
HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?
The hardest thing I’ve done in life thus far is accept my father into my heart. My father was absent from my life from age five until 23. When we did connect, I treated him as a distant relative who I once heard of despite his urgent and committed attempts to reconnect. From 23 until 37, my father reached out, called, attended milestones, told me how proud he was of me, and apologized for being absent. He even shared his story of manhood with me. All of which my heart was closed to and I just listened, smiled, and pretended I got over the hurt and the shame of being a single-parent kid from a one-income household and limited resources. I pretended I stopped questioning how different my life would be had he been in it to protect me, guide me, love me, and teach me. It wasn’t until I attended transformational trainings that I acknowledged the hurt and pain I buried deep within, forgave myself for all the stories I made up about myself and the shame I felt, and acknowledged that since he returned to my life, he was committed to building a relationship. It took me from 23 to 37 to stop crucifying him and start building a father and son relationship with him as two men.
WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST ROLE MODEL?
My greatest male role model has been my Godfather (Parrain) Keithen. He modeled for me black male values of integrity, responsibility, perseverance and authenticity. Because of his support and coaching I graduated from college and have lead a responsible life. He was my ‘coming of age’ coach and his love, faith, guidance, generosity, and authenticity created a ‘rites of passage’ for me. If it had not been for him, at the time I needed him, I may not have known my life meant more than what I saw on TV.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
The best advice I’ve been given has from my master coach Sylvia High: “Balance the life you have” and “Look to be interested versus interesting.” Balancing the life I have ended the ‘work life balance’ conversations. As a leadership coach, I’ve been blessed and fortunate to serve and lead in many spaces. Often times that service and that leadership is beyond the 9-to-5, requires nights and weekends and on most days is definitely outside of my comfort zone. Balancing the life I have causes me to be intentional about self-care, rest, self-filling activities and personal pleasures such as travel and networking. Balancing the life I have as a leadership coach shifts my paradigm from being “busy” to being “in-demand.”
Being interested vs. interesting is a mental reminder to learn about people I’m with and listen more than talk.
DO YOU HAVE ANY DAILY MOTIVATIONAL RITUALS?
My daily motivational rituals include a 20-minute Morning Prime practice:
3 minutes of gratitude
3 minutes of envisioning six-to-12-month outcomes
3 minutes of “How do I Love More?”
3 minutes of journaling about whatever comes to mind
3 minutes of “focusing up”: reading, checking my calendar, news
5-10 minutes of stretching/exercise
Outside of the exercise, I find the best time to do this is right after I wake up. I immediately sit up in the bed and get it done. I truly find that joy and opportunity is created during that time.
WHAT TOOLS, BOOKS, AND PRACTICES DO YOU RELY ON FOR SUCCESS?
I believe music and mantras motivate! If I hear something that motivates me, I write it down and have it as a resource to go back to. I have playlists of music that are loving, empowering, and healing. I study “A Course In Miracles” and am currently doing the Manual for Teachers.
I also utilize my calendar, reminders, and cloud-based drives and documents to keep integrity with my word, be where i say I’m going to be, do what I say I’m going to do, and follow up the way I say I’m going to as a leadership coach. Early on in my career, I attended Franklin Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’s three-day workshop that ignited my understanding of how to identify my roles and use my time. I’ve since then expanded my heart work through attending and coaching in transformational trainings. I also meditate, pray, and seek feedback from others.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?
I love being a black man because we embody world history. I and my brothers are conquerors in action on a daily basis. I love that I belong to a a group of men that have been chosen for such a time like this. I love being a black man because it’s second lines and crawfish boils in New Orleans; and sitting on the stoop, going to church, brunching, taking in Ailey, or a friend’s art show in Harlem; or having meet-ups with friends in London, Amsterdam, Lisbon, and Barcelona.
BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (dev.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://dev.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.