No Angel

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When I was about eight years old, there was big drama in small town Missouri. The Hell’s Angels were moving through Missouri on their way to a rally in Washington, D.C. The Mexico Ledger, the only paper covering that part of the world, showed bearded, burly guys on gigantic motorcycles riding two abreast down the road, trails of bikes as far as the camera could shoot.
All my kid-self knew of the Hell’s Angels was that they were big, bad and scary. And they had really loud motorcycles. The skulls and death images scared me enough that I spent a couple nights wondering if motorcycle men in their cuts would be breaking into my house.

That image of the Hell’s Angels has always stuck with me. I met several of them while working at a Texaco service station along I-70 when I was a teenager. No real impression-they were kind of an improvement on some of the townspeople.

So, just started reading “No Angel” by Jay Dobyns. Dobyns was an ATF agent who went undercover and infiltrated the Hell’s Angels circa 2004. The crime, gun smuggling, drug use, culture and rituals of the Hell’s Angels are painted so, so well in “No Angel.”

Before their first ride with the Angels, Dobyns and the other undercover agents are nervous. Wouldn’t you be? They met in a parking lot and tried to put on their game faces; tough, rough and gutsy. Yet, that true fear was hard to shake.

Finally, one of the agents repeated a phrase that stuck: JHAP.

This acronym was tattooed on their bodies, on their patches, bikes-everywhere. What’s it stand for? I’m not repeating it here, but suffice to say it’s a phrase that basically says: man up.

I totally dig this. Not the phrase, per sey, but just the idea they have a rallying quote that they say outloud and silently when they need to get a job done. I’ve adopted this phrase into my own internal repotoire.

Whatever your phrase is, internal or something you share, it’s really powerful to have a saying that helps you move forward. Your own personalized slogan…what is yours?

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  • Ron Graham

    Mine goes back several years. When I had to travel to Huntsville for promotion boards, I had an hour and a half drive. I used the first 45 minutes to work on my closing statement to the board. Then, on the last half of the drive, I’d tune into some classical music and get into my head, to psyche myself up into a purely positive state. My phrase was “Carpe Diem.” I’d almost have a chant of “Carpe diem, sieze the day.” to get myself on purely positive energy, fully believing in myself and my abilities. After all, when seeking promotion, I was asking my interviewers to believe in me, and how could do that if I din’t fully believe in myself.

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