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Emotional Intelligence: an interview with author D.B. Bedford

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by JR Valrey, The Minister of Information

D.B. Bedford is an Oakland street legend that I had been hearing about for years, before I had met him. People in the streets were amazed and inspired by how he was able to turn his life in the streets into one of community service. I personally met him for the first time when I was a speaker inside of juvenile hall, where he was working, in San Leandro in 2015. Since that time he has authored a series of books that deal with emotional intelligence, which is a seldom talked about topic in the Black community. If the Black community had a heightened sense of emotional intelligence, we would not over react as much and perhaps the murder rate would be much lower. Having emotional intelligence is a part of having good mental health so I wanted D.B. Bedford to share his expertise and brand with our readers, so that someone out there who may need his services will be aware that he is out here, and local. Check him out in his own words.  

JR Valrey: What is the story behind how the “I Never Worry” brand got started? What void is it serving in the community? 

D.B. Bedford: The story behind iNeverWorry actually started way back in 1995. The original version of the brand was called “NeverWorry” without the lowercase “i”, and I came up with it, while I was basically hustling in the streets. I used to stand on the street corner hustling out of one hand, and slanging shirts off my shoulder with the other. I got inspired by another guy that was selling shirts back then. He used to come to the turf and we all would buy shirts from him. One day as he was pulling off and I started tripping off how he was coming and making money off of everybody and leaving. It just clicked to me that he was basically doing the same thing that we were doing, but he was doing it without the penitentiary chances and that inspired me to come up with my own brand. 

Shortly after, I was with the rapper Richie Rich, and we went up to Phunky Phat Graphics because he was working on his album. This is where I got a look behind the scenes where all of these album covers from around the Bay Area were getting printed. As I was walking through their facility, I noticed the guy that I was telling you about t-shirts getting printed. So, I hollered at the owner and asked him about doing my own shirts. I was like, “Man, if I wanted to do a shirt, could you do one for me?” And he was like, “Yup, for sure.” So, after that, I just started brainstorming and I came up with NeverWorry.

As time went on, and I evolved from the streets and start turning my life around but I never let go of the brand. I got it trademarked and tattooed on my arm because I knew it had so much potential. It became a part of me, so I just lived that motto everyday, NeverWorry and being stress-free. At one point I opened up a couple of stores under the name. Eventually, I moved into criminal justice and I started working with young people to help them turn their lives around and I started facilitating professional development trainings. Once I started training and discovered emotional intelligence, I just blended the two together, adding the lowercase “i” and renamed the brand “iNeverWorry, and from there it’s been history.

JR Valrey: What void is it serving in the community? 

D.B. Bedford: Well essentially what it does is it gives people insightful information. My brand creates opportunities for people to never let emotions overpower their intelligence. It gives people permission to think twice and react once. I keep the community loaded with insightful strategies that help them be better versions of themselves. I would say that the biggest void that it’s filling, is that empty space between where people overreact, make poor decisions, and strain their relationships, both personally and professionally. With me teaching emotional intelligence, it is helping bridge that gap. 

Emotional intelligence in its simplest form is understanding your level of self-awareness at all times, which includes your mood, attitude, and your energy, then being able to manage how you respond to emotional situations that you encounter throughout the day.

JR Valrey: What do you see lacking in our inner cities, as well as juvenile halls and prisons? 

D.B. Bedford: I used to work for the Probation Department for 16 years, so I would say that the thing that’s lacking inside the juvenile halls and prisons is a lack of understanding. It’s extremely easy for those in authority to lose compassion and become numb to the human element of those that are incarcerated. The next thing is probably the lack of tangible and relatable resources to meet individuals where they are at, and not where everyone thinks they should be at the time of their incarceration. I think most importantly just simply caring enough to do what you can to help those that are willing to help themselves. When folks are locked up in those detention facilities, they have a lot going on. It’s a lot of stress and a lot of pressure, and we need people who work in those spaces, that’s going to be resourceful for them, that’s going to look out for them, and is going to try to give them an opportunity to bounce back from their difficult situation and not make their time any harder. It boils down to hiring the right chief, or the right warden, that has a vision of bringing the best out of individuals when possible without judgment. 

JR Valrey: What inspired you to become an author? 

D.B. Bedford: Well, I became an author on a fluke. Back in 2015, I had put on an event with Tony Gaskin. I brought him to Oakland to do a seminar that I hosted. It was a successful event with a nice turnout, and one thing I peeped was how he was selling a bunch of books and how much people admired his work. It really boiled down to when he and I had a meeting, after the event and I was looking to do some more events with him. Tony encouraged me to focus on my own path with emotional intelligence. He juiced me up, by saying that I was on to something, if I just stuck with it. He told me the fastest way to establish authority in this space was to write a book on Emotional Intelligence. That’s what inspired me to write my first book, which is titled, iNeverWorry: Emotional Intelligence.

I have a total of three books. The first one, is my very first book, my introduction into the game, which is titled “iNeverWorry”. My second book, it’s called, “30 Days to Emotional Wellness”, which is about taking anybody from where they are now and moving them into the space of practicing emotional intelligence every day while expanding their emotional wellness. My latest book is called “Black Intelligence”, and I wrote that book particularly, for our culture. You can consider it to be the soulful version of Emotional Intelligence from a cultural lens. It has a ton of strategies on how to handle everyday situations that come your way without allowing emotions to overpower your intelligence. 

I took the time to interview about 20 different folks from the community, from different professions, different age brackets, different generations, and got their perspective on the importance of emotional intelligence. Black intelligence is about understanding, we have to have a different spark because we are governed by a different set of rules. 

JR Valrey: Can you talk a little bit about the trainings that you offer?

D.B. Bedford: I mainly do Emotional Intelligence training for organizations and companies. I also put on seminars directly for the community. I train leadership, management and front line staff on how to do their work, through the lens of emotional intelligence. In addition to that I have an online learning platform. 

JR Valrey: Can you talk a little bit about your podcast?  

D.B. Bedford: The podcast it’s not active right now. But when it was, I mainly was bringing everyday people, to discuss everyday situations. Because emotions are definitely going to have an impact on how you take in information, how you engage with people and how you process things as they come your way. I would interview everyday people from the community, and get their perspective on how they’re handling things at work and at home. 

JR Valrey: What inspired you to get on this quest?

D.B. Bedford: I learned about emotional intelligence about 10 years ago and it was fascinating to me that nobody I knew had ever even heard of it. Once I realized that, I began to take a deeper dive and studying it every single day. I wanted to be the first in our community to teach this, because I know as a culture we can be very emotional at times and make mistakes that are hard to bounce back from like what Will Smith recently did to Chris Rock. That was all emotions and no logic. Whether you agree with it or not, I strongly believe that there is a huge benefit knowing how to manage your emotions in tough situations. 

So, my goal is, 100 years from now, when I’m not here, my footprint on this earth, there’s thousands of people’s lives that are better, because they govern themselves with emotional intelligence and they understood the assignment, because they learned it from me.

JR Valrey: Where do you see you taking emotional intelligence, moving in the next five years?

D.B. Bedford: In the next five years I want to have a real big footprint in the Healthcare Industry. I want to be traveling around the country doing Emotional Intelligence seminars for under-served communities. I want to train as many people as possible to become Ei consultants so that the legacy lives on, long after either I’m gone, or I decide that I’m not going to do it anymore. Most recently, I’ve added a financial aspect with my new community called the EI Day Traders where I teach people how to day trade in the stock market using logic and not emotions. I can show anyone how to do it in less than five days. So, I’m excited about that. 

Everything I mentioned is going to be available on my new app that’s launching within the next 30 days. 

JR Valrey: Where can people get more info on the iNeverWorry brand, and then Emotional Intelligence Movement? 

D.B. Bedford: So, the easiest way to find me, you can either go to my website, which is, iNeverWorry.com or on all social media platforms under iNeverWorry.

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