G.O. For Change

Changing people, places, and things one blog at a time…

Posts Tagged ‘help

I Want to Be: A Barber

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There are many occupations that people would love to be involved with –bloggers, hairstylists, trainers, coaches, as well as a host of other dream jobs/careers/hobbies.

Here is the thing-the occupation that you may have daydreamed about CAN BE A REALITY! There are people (some you may know), that are in the fields that they have stopped dreamed about, and started making it happen. To bring home this fact, this series, “I Want To Be” will be highlighting people already IN these positions, so that 1- you see that it IS doable, and 2-learn from the tips that they have generously offered. The bottom line is, there are MILLIONS of people living the lives they have envisioned. Why can’t YOU?

Mr. Rauf Smith has been cutting hair since the age of 9. Now, Rauf is now the owner of The International, a barbershop located in the Waverly area of Northeast Baltimore. Have you desired to be a barber, or to just  the art of cutting hair? Rauf has offered the following tips:

  1. Be an apprentice/Enroll in a barber school: By being an apprentice (learning under the tutelage of a Master Barber), or by attending classes at a barber school, they will equip you with the knowledge to equip you to be a barber.
  1. Know your tools: Knowing how to effectively use guards, clippers, shears, combs, and other equipment, as well the proper way to sanitize your tools, is critical in keeping you and your clients safe.
  1. Study & Practice: Although Rauf has been cutting since he was a kid, he says his STILL studies new styles, and different techniques.

If you have ever desired to become a barber, here you go!

As always, thank you for reading.


Rauf Smith is the owner and of The International, where they believe that “EVERY MAN NEEDS A HOBBY. EVERY GENTLEMAN STAYS WELL GROOMED.” 


3122 Greenmount Ave 

Baltimore, MD 21218


 Hours of Operation

10am to 10pm Monday through Friday

8:30am to 5pm Saturday

10am to 4pm Sunday


Dating 301: Categories

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Behold, the final installment of the dating advice I have laid out to you! Hopefully, we have survived the  gambit which was winter, and now spring should be peering around the corner. With the birds chirping, and the flowers in bloom, most people will start dating again. Before you take that leap and jump back in the dating pool, please make sure you are caught up on “Relationship 101” , “Dating 102“, and “The 3 C’s“. Trust me, after reading those, you will ensure you don’t waste your time!


According to weather.com, there are 5 categories of hurricanes, ranging from category 1 (minimal) (74 – 95 mph winds, damage primarily restricted to shrubbery, trees, and unanchored mobile homes; no substantial damage to other structures) to category 5 (CATASTROPHIC!) (winds  greater than 155 mph, complete failure on many roofs of residences and industrial buildings; extensive shattering of glass in windows and doors; complete buildings destroyed; small building overturned or blown away; mobile homes demolished).


Now, I know you are wondering what hurricanes have to do with dating. The reason they are placed in categories,, is to inform you of what you may  experience, and how you should treat them. In dating/relationships, it is also vital to place people in their proper categories,  that way, you can know what to expect, and act accordingly. There have been too many instances where people have NOT properly categorized their relationship with an individual, and disaster has occurred. Imagine if your local weatherperson told you that there was a category 1 hurricane, coming tomorrow, when really, it was a category 5! Imagine the chaos!  So, to help you avoid catastrophes in your life, below is a list of categories for you to review.  I challenge to place the people in your life in the correct categories, or problems may occur!


Acquaintances: here are a group of people who you may know superficially. They may be someone you just met, a colleague at work, or even a social event. Bottom line, YOU DO NOT KNOW this person. You could get to know this person, which could lead to-


Dating: (a form of courtship, consisting of social activities done by two people with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship, or as a spouse.) In this stage, you may share common interests, be attracted to each other, and are looking to see where going out may lead you. In this stage, you should be going out more, and spending more time with each other. This person may be more than an acquaintance, but at this point they are less than a friend because–


Friends: Friends are defined as “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection”. “Friends” has been a title tossed around too easily. Not everyone you meet is your friend. Just because you work at the same place, see them at a nightclub, praise the same deity, or even liked a similar post on social media, you are not friends. You may have a lot of “friends” on social media, but in the event of an emergency, could you call on all of them? Carefully choose whom you refer to as friend.

In reference to dating, if you are going out, and engaging in social activities with someone, for all intents and purposes, you are not friends, you are just dating. Hopefully it leads to something more serious, like being–


Exclusive: (defined as:restricted or limited to the person, group, or area concerned”) As a former gamer (I am married, with 2 kids, I couldn’t find the time even if I wanted), there would be one game that is partnered with one console, and only one console- which means, that a game like “God of War” would only be available for PlayStation 3—if you owned an Xbox, or another gaming console, you wouldn’t be able to play the game, outside of purchasing the PlayStation 3. When you are exclusive, there are no other game systems you can be played on. It is just you, and that person. While this is the blossoming stage of a relationship, I would highly suggest that you define what “exclusive” means between the 2 of you, and what that entails.


Relationship: (an emotional or other connection between people) In reference to dating, this is where you want to be. This is the last stage, before the ultimate level (marriage). Sometimes, people may confuse being in a relationship with dating. You may have feelings with someone while you are dating them, but being in a relationship with this person is more than just casually going out, it is a strong connection about that person that can bloom into a long-lasting relationship.

You should have no doubt that you are in a relationship, based upon your discussions. Do NOT assume when it comes to dating and relationships.  You may think that you are on the same page, but you may find, you are not even in the same book, get it?


When you add someone to a category, naturally you associate feelings and actions within that category. It is critical to place them in the correct category based upon their actions and statements. Often, people incorrectly categorize individuals; if a person you meet is just an acquaintance, it would not be fair to you, or that person to put them in any other category. A person’s placement in a category should be based upon their actions, not just statements, or the category in which you WANT them to be.

These categories are here to protect your time, effort, and feelings. They are too valuable to be wasted…right? If you are creating your own list of categories, please share.


As always, thanks for reading.



P.S. There was one category that I left out- the ole’ “Friends with benefits” category. Friends with benefits, or FWB, are commonly associated with people being sexually involved, with no attachments. Look-we are all adults, and if FWB is for you, than what consenting adults do is their business. I would highly suggest that you let your intentions known. It may be for that person, it may not—bottom line, tell them immediately, so they can decide if that is the category they want to be in. There is nothing worse than a person being robbed of making their own decisions.

How to Deal with Issues (and Shoveling Snow!)

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Here in Maryland, we just got trampled by a snowstorm. I just got finished shoveling my sidewalk and surrounding area, and it looks awesome! (If I do say so myself) As I am finishing my hot chocolate and relish at the awesomeness which is a completed sidewalk (if I do say so myself), I wanted to share my thoughts of shoveling and in true Life Coach fashion, how they relate to dealing with issues.

  1.  Be prepared! SHOVELING.IS.WAR! It is man versus Mother Nature! When it is time to shovel, it is best to have your equipment ready—salt, shovels, cups of hot chocolate- make sure that when you are ready to work, you are ready to work.
  2. Map it out! Sometimes, mapping out what you need to do can be pretty easy; for instance, I started with the porch and the steps, down the walkway, and removed the snow off of the cars. Other things, however, may require a little more patience and planning. Remember the adage, “poor planning leads to poor performance”? It is true.
  3. Deal with issues, before they deal with you! Today, there was a lot of snow, and later tonight, it will be more snow, this time, it will be mixed with rain, causing a slush and ice mixture. If I had waited until tomorrow to deal with the snow that was outside now, I would have had a worse time trying to deal with not only heavy snow, but ice.It is better to deal with issues that are emerging now, then to wait and it proves to be more difficult to deal with.
  4. Get some help! It was great to see neighborhood kids capitalizing on the snow, offering to shovel sidewalks, and get cars out of their wintery prison. If you need help with completing goals, utilize your resources! Get friends, or professional help. You don’t have to tackle issue alone. 
  5. Heal! Right now, I don’t feel any pain, and I am feeling pretty good. I may feel some aches and pains tomorrow. Make sure that when you deal with your issue, you take some time to heal. Taking the time for you charges those proverbial batteries that we rely on.
  6. Reflect! It felt good to finish shoveling. Even as I was shoveling, I still took time to have a little fun and throw snowballs at my son. When you deal with an issue, take time and give yourself credit for the hard work you put in. You deserve it!

As always, thank you for reading.


P.S. If you are in an area where there is snow, throw a snowball, do a snow angel, grab a sleigh, and smile.

Stone Soup: A Letter of Thanks

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Months ago, I was online, and saw a great idea that would help out the community. They were called “blessing bags”, and they provided essential items (soap, snacks, toiletries etc.) to our homeless brothers and sisters.  So as I did previously, I put the word out, and again, the response was awesome! We were able to not only meet our expectations of the amount of “blessing bags”, but we exceeded it! We even had other various items to donate.  Again, here I am, simply saying thank you.

When I received the donations from some of you,  I often heard, “I wish I could donate more”. This reminds me of an awesome story, titled “Stone Soup”:

There once was a traveler who came to a small village, tired and weary from his long journey. The traveler did not have anything to eat and hoped that a friendly villager would be able to feed him. He came to the first house and knocked on the door. He asked the woman who answered if she could spare just a small bit of food as he had traveled a long journey and was very hungry. The woman replied, “I’m sorry I have nothing to give you. I can barely feed my own family.”

So the traveler went to another door and asked again. The answer was the same: “I have nothing to give you.” He went from door to door and each time was turned away. Undaunted, the traveler went to the village square, took a small tin cooking pot from his bag, filled it with water, started a fire and dropped a stone in the pot.

As he boiled the water, a passing villager stopped and asked him what he was doing. The traveler replied, “I’m making stone soup. Would you like to join me?” The villager said yes, and he asked if carrots were good in stone soup. “Sure,” said the traveler. The villager went home and returned with carrots from his garden to add to the boiling water.

Soon, another curious villager came by and was invited to join them. She went home and returned with some potatoes. A young boy passed by and soon joined the group, bringing his mother and dinner plates from their home.

In time, a crowd gathered with everyone offering their own favorite ingredient: mushrooms, onions, salt, black pepper, acorn, and squash. Everyone wanted to be part of the creation. Finally, the traveler removed the stone and declared, “The stone soup is ready!” And the whole community joined in a feast where there was none before.

While it may prove difficult for one person to take on a task, when the entire community gets involved, anything is possible. Any donation, whether big or small, is a blessing. I sincerely thank you for your donations, and adding to the pot.


Garry O’Neal


P.S Here is the picture of the completed bags! We donated the female blessing bags to the House of Ruth, and the men blessing bags to the Helping Up Mission, both here in Baltimore, Maryland. You can also check out my Facebook page, CommUnity Action of Baltimore for upcoming community projects!

Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

December 13, 2013 at 10:38 am

Breakdowns (And how they can lead to BreakTHROUGHS)

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Recently, my check engine light came on. My wife and I were on our way to the airport to start our vacation when it happened. My car would jerk and hesitate, and even refused to start at times, which needless to say, was very frustrating. It was frustrating, but I still put it off- I went out with my friends, even when I realized that my warranty covered it, I STILL didn’t act with the urgency and respect that my main mode of transportation required. It was only when my car cut off at a red light that I got it repaired. Now, I am fortunate to say that my car is back to its optimum level, as well as my confidence to speed take a casual drive through the city. While my car was the center of a breakdown, I offer you a reflection of breakdowns, and how they can lead to breakTHROUGHS:

  • Recognize that there is a problem: In breakdown, SOMETHING is wrong. In vehicles, we have lights, buzzers and indicators. In life, it may not be a light or a buzzer, but there are indicators. If you feel that you are “stuck” or you seem disgruntled at work, in relationships, and other areas, then take that as a sign that there is a problem (i.e. breakdown).
  • Identify the problem: When my check engine light came on, I went to get it checked; I stopped by my local auto parts store to diagnose the problem. A computer was hooked up to my car, and my car told the computer what the problem was. We also have that capability! Right now, take a piece a paper, and write down areas that you wish to improve. See- pretty easy!
  • Act with Urgency and Respect:  As I wrote earlier, I had problems with my car, but I blew it off, even when I knew it HAD to be done. I paid for my neglect when my car stalled when I needed to meet with a client. When there is a breakdown, make sure you treat it as soon as possible, and with the urgency and respect it deserves. Remember: “When you’re dying of thirst, it’s too late to think about digging a well”-Chinese Proverb
  • Seek support: My mechanic Perry has been my trusted mechanic for all of the cars that I have owned. He no longer works in a shop, but he still fixes cars. When I went to him with my problem, he was able to fix it, and send me on my way. When breakdowns happen, it is critical to get support from trusted individuals who have your best interest. It seems that more people air their personal issues on social media, which doesn’t really do anything except people know your affairs (reread that).
  • Breaking Through: I felt bad that I neglected something that was important to me. While we have more than one car, my wife, son and I often take trips in my car. How would I have felt if my car broke down while only my wife and son were in the car? What if there was an emergency and my car was in breakdown? My resolution for dealing with the car resonates to other areas as well. From this experience, I learned these valuable points, and I have made a resolution to not procrastinate. When breaking through a situation, it restores your confidence, happiness, and other positive feelings. It is easy to look at a situation and only view the negative, but what about the lesson? “The biggest problem in the world could have been solved when it was small”–Wittier Bynner.

As always, thanks for reading,





Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

September 5, 2012 at 11:55 am

Superman Returns: The Superhero in YOU

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As a child (even now), I LOVED superheroes; I loved how they had cool powers, nifty gadgets, and great catch phrases: Batman had the batmobile, Superman had heat vision and could fly, Spiderman had his webbing, and Aquaman, well, could talk to fish ( I always thought he got the short end of the stick hero-wise). The fact is, the superheroes had unique abilities and traits that allowed them to be a credit for humanity.

Of all the superheroes, Superman was my favorite. I felt that he had it all; he could fly, had heat vision, super strength, and even icy breath. He was super fast, and strong, and who DIDN’T want to have a cape after watching Superman the movie?

The fact is, all the superheroes have the same attributes to make them heroes, and when you think about it, we ALL possess the ability to be a superhero (minus the heat vision). Here are the things that make a mild-mannered (insert your job here) transform into (insert your superhero name here):

1: A Call to Action: When you look at a superhero, something happened to make them take action; Batman had his parents murdered by criminals, so he dedicated his life to fighting crime, Superman wanted to help humankind, so instead of robbing banks, or committing crimes (which I’m pretty sure some people would do if they had the same powers), he decides to fight injustice. Find out what you are PASSIONATE about: homelessness, poverty, spousal abuse, education–whatever it is, find your issue, and start doing something about it.

2. Realizing the tools that you possess:  In terms of tools, Batman clearly wins in this department (followed by Iron Man, and Wonder Woman,  who had a friggin’ invisible jet!). Batman had the batmobile, the batarangs, the batcomputer- you name it, and Batman put a “bat” in front of it. Captain America had one item–shield, and he absolutely crushed people! Both heroes used what they had, and both were very effective. By realizing the tools that you have in your arsenal, you can achieve virtually anything you want to. Use the skills that you possess; for example, if you are a “people person”, use those relationships that you possess to help your cause, if you are an innovator, then work to figure out a plan to make things happen.

The Utility Belt: A must have for the Dark Knight….and handyman!

This is a difficult task for people; often we feel as though we are not able to do things that we assume are out of our control, when, in actuality, most things are IN our control! Issues at work?  In a relationship? On a housing project? People usually know what the issues are, and what would be a good solution, but they don’t feel as thought they are properly equipped to do something about it. Here’s a simple project: jot down the things you do well. Chances are, you are equipped with the tools to handle any situation. No utility belt needed!

3. Making it Happen!: Unfortunately, we live in a society where we sometimes look for others to do things ourselves: trash in your community? Instead of starting a trash removal committee, we may call the city to complain. Crime in your area? Have you started a neighborhood watch? We have various social platforms to express our dismay about things that are happening in our state, community, and even our homes, but do we often act on our issues? The truth of the matter is, the big organizations, companies, or politicians are not going to help you: What I mean is, the issues and concerns that YOU hold valid and true, may not be on the radar as far as what THEY feel as important. It is OUR responsibility to make things happen. There is no bat signal, or web crawler swinging through your neighborhoods, or a man in his underwear and tights flying around the night sky, but regular people, who can make changes. One day, as I was driving to work. I saw a man and son on a median strip, needing help. The family needed help in getting school supplies for school.  I felt so overwhelmed with the want to help, that I sped to work, and grabbed supplies and donations. I got online, and emailed my friends, who emailed their friends for help. When all was said and done, the youth had EVERYTHING he needed for this year, and even the next. I felt humbled to see people jump to action like that; we saw a need, and helped in abundance. The overwhelming support conformed what I already believed: if you want to find a hero, look in the mirror. Thanks for reading.

Ps. I wonder what Batman pays in insurance for the Batmobile? Sheesh!

Lets see if I can save 15% with THIS bad boy!

Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

September 21, 2010 at 11:00 am

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