Tag: Motivation

No…You’ve Got to Be Kidding!!!

That’s it.

I can’t figure HIM out. He is somethin’ else. Our heavenly dad’s ways can be frustrating at times, won’t you agree Making us wait when “It don’t make no sense.” I mean who does that? Doesn’t it bother you how sometimes He seems to be talking with you about something trivial like He didn’t see the elephant in the room?

Like “Duh” Jesus, hello…challenges here. What’s up with that?

But, He will be who He will be. The meaning of I AM THAT I AM (Not hating Jesus, just saying). Anywho!

So, something happened last week. But first,

For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city – Acts 18:10

(Listen while you read the rest of the post).

 

God surprised me.

Remember Eli?

Eli asked me to consider meeting Nick, a young Brit, who was briefly visiting the U.S. Nick seemed humble. Honestly, he looked unassuming. He was dressed in jeans, a white shirt, a jacket with a snapback hat to top it off.

We connected over coffee. We swap stories and…gosh…was I surprised. Our stories drew interesting parallels. I went to the same places he had gone to as the Spirit had individually led us. Our personal stories, adventures with Jesus, and challenges were echoes.

Nick was born in Ghana. He had an unfortunate upbringing. Its safe to say he raised himself. Nick was talented and was given a full scholarship to study in the U.S. But, God! Nuff’ said. Nick ended up studying with a missionary organization in South Africa. He interned in England where he was invited to serve again. Cool right? Well, there is more.

I found out later that Nick was actually hired by the Church of England. He is considered an Evangelist/Anglican Priest and loves developing Youth Programs and working with youth. But, here’s the twister.

You may have heard of The House of Lords and The House of Commons which are branches of parliament. But, there is a covert third which is The Synod Church of England which deals with matters of law regarding moral issues.

Well, shocker! Young Nick is the Synod Presentative in Parliament. A few years back, his coworkers nominated him. He didn’t like it. But, God did! And when have we ever won an argument with the divine? Though voting was involved, Nick was essentially drafted in. Haaa…!

Yes, the man has met the Queen of England and works with members in all three branches wherever he (pardon me – God) wants him to influence a positive change with wisdom from heaven.

God is amazing!!!

So, where do I REALLY come in?

I’ll tell you. As Nick and I were wrapped up in conversation, Nick threw his hands up, leaned back with eyes open and exclaimed,

It all makes sense now.”

Well, he lost me. What made sense, I wondered. Nick then explained.

He had a dream before he came to the U.S. In this dream, he was going to meet a close friend he had known who was from Bamenda, Cameroon. According to the dream, he walked right into it. In prayer, he asked God several times what it meant and how it is that he would be meeting an old friend from Bamenda, Cameroon.

And…there I was.

He walked right into me at Starbucks and we immediately connected over coffee as Sons of God and as Sons of the motherland, Africa.

What blows my mind is that I had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with this.

It was ALL God. 

I don’t know what God is planning, but I am grateful for the friendship of a humble and faithful man who has been battle-tested by hardships, trials, and temptations.

Did I mention that this was only one of many such divine connections I had last week? Yep, God is up to something.

So, wherever you are on this journey with Jesus, whether in need of divine connection, in need of a significant other, or some miracle, hold onto your horses. As you do everything you can, don’t forget to wait on the Lord for your strength to be renewed. Don’t forget to recenter tell Him all your troubles and recenter your straying mind on I AM.

He knows what and who you need. He’ll bring you people. He’ll bring you a tribe.

Just keep developing the destiny He’s called you to, one baby step at a time.

As you take each baby step, divine provision will be unlocked and downloaded to you from the heavenly icloud for the assignment you were born for.

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One Love, One Spirit


 

Motown Sister: Musical Analysis of her Leadership Style

Sometimes, you meet people who just light you up. Following mother’s day, I thought I’d share about a woman whom I met and listened to last week. She reminded me so much of my mom.

Speaking of Mrs. Mom, I called and read Thank You Mrs. Mom as a gift for Mother’s Day since she is so far away. Well – she sobbed. Scary stuff. But, it made her happy. Oh…and the defense? I think I did alright. Presentation was good. But, I could have done better on one or two questions.

Back to our Motown Sister.

I shared a leadership framework which I use to analyze different leadership styles called Sharp Leadership which you can use to carry a vision, your people, and their conversation. Speaking of the Sharp Leadership rubric, it includes five core principles which are:

(i)- Tell the truth, (ii) Be accountable, (iii) take care of your people, (iv) give/receive feedback, and (v) be fair

Based on that rubric I want now to talk about a Soul Sister.

Say hello to an achievement model and a conflict resolution legend. This role model embraces her roots and culture and colorfully champions BET’s “Black is Gold” and “Black Girls Rock” theme in her person like a hashtag representing ethnic pride on different social media frequencies. Quite simply, she is – A Rockstar – whose passion keeps her forever young.

Ms. Avis Ridley-Thomas is that Rockstar. In my observations from dealing with people, I find that the type of music one listens to says a lot about them and about what moves them. Like a Celt, I was curiously searching for the reason for Ms. Avis glow throughout her lecture in order to musically explain her inclined leadership style.

Though she listens to all kinds of music which explains her love for diversity, I may have been sidetracked in my attempt by her preferred love for Motown which compelled me to express a hint of pleasure during her lecture class. I wonder if my reaction was childish. But, I can explain my engagement as delightfully professional.

So, why does she listen to all types of music?

In the words of the Rockstar herself, she said, “It is because I can hear all the talents that people have.” This was music to my ears. Though her statement may sound like “Old Skool” slang, as a fellow Motown lover, also nicknamed Motown for the love the genre, I am certified to translate her wisdom as –

she can understand what drives people, their talents, their strengths, their weakness, and use it to understand the wavelengths of people’s emotions andRaison de Vivre.”

For instance, Motown beats and rhythms resonate with the soul and the feet, emoting a certain degree of pleasure for life and work. Ms. Avis embodied these. Her disposition was unusually calm, engaging, charismatic, pleasurable, colorful, conversational, and often centered on health, wholeness, and focused on beauty.

Add her second preferred music genre, classical, and one can accurately assume this to be the backbone of another trait she effortlessly displayed which was – a sense of royalty and class. To appreciate the power of her charisma and presence, one only needed to hear the reason for her inspiration.

While working for the police, she worked with victims of crime and noticed after reading police reports that the pattern in assault in minority communities was the result of people in difficult neighborhoods escalating conflicts in order to be heard. She tamed this inspiration into a mission and crafted an organizational vehicle to establish a few successful non-for profits to drive this mission. These organizations include:

·        The future of Policing

·        Days of Dialogue, and

·        Institute of Non-Violence for Los Angeles

Becoming obsessed with serving the needs of people is the distinct mark of one who harbors a spirit of enterprise. This makes our visiting Rockstar a Social Entrepreneur. She is a true servant leader with a mission to fulfill and a legacy to leave behind. One could tell because she kept speaking, thinking, and focusing conversations around ideas and generations, which is the mark of a legend.

To effectively qualify her leadership style, I use Sharperson’s leadership principles to explain her style as follows.

Be accountable: Ms. Avis shared the following foundational principle – “Mediator, know thyself.” She spoke of The Mood Meter App which tracks and analyzes a person’s emotions. Using this App, she checks herself to assess and help her understand how she is doing emotionally.

Knowing how she feels helps her keep her wits about herself and her emotions under surveillance. It helps her remain aware and conscious of how to mediate as well as communicate with her team. What’s even more interesting is how she uses this App and the knowledge she acquires from it to lead her people.

Tell the truth/Give and receive feedback: Because she is often aware of what is going on in her and around her, she is able to tell the truth and use that to anticipate possible actions and reactions. Once, when she was dealing with a dying family member, her emotions were heavily swayed.

Knowing that it would negatively impact her team if not addressed, she told them the truth, discussing in detail what she felt they would see and what to expect in her delivery of feedback, and invited them to proactively request help and feedback while she was still in better shape. Otherwise, she often has a pleasant disposition and is open to receiving feedback from anyone.

Take care of your people: Because she told the truth and explained what was happening and what could happen because of her pained emotions, her team thanked her for being honest. In many ways, they felt invested in her process and proactively prepared and protected from any unusual displays of emotions. She noted that she works with a diverse team of wellness experts.

And she ensures that she verbally appreciates their work, connects with them, shares the full experience of their work on her, and follows up on any pending requests that might inspire and empower them. She told us of a therapist she returned to days after an appointment to meet up and answer two questions on a survey she had forgotten to complete. That put a smile on the therapist’s expression.

Be fair: In her presentation, she talked about the Kolbe Index which categorizes people’s approach to conflict in Modes and Zones. Based on that I deduced that what each person considered fair could be different, posing a problem. But, she confidently explained that giving everyone in mediation an equal access to a process ensured that they perceived the outcomes of any negotiation or mediation as fair. ITUNA is the acronym she shared for her process which was short for

(i)                 introduction

(ii)                talking about the issues

(iii)              understanding the issues,

(iv)              negotiating the issues, and

(v)                agreement. She did admit that when it comes to family, throw process out the door because family is a completely different animal.

When asked to describe her leadership style, she concluded by saying –

“Uniquely mine.”

What a Soul Sister.

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I wish you all a week full of good health and prosperity.


 

Miraculously Lost in Music

Phew! Last week was rough.

So, I forgot to write something in time today. My bad! I was writing a defense for my Masters and briefly stopped to write about what God is doing.

First off, thank you all for reading my posts. A special thanks to Maurice for sending encouraging words and prayers. God bless you. I just figured if I am ever given a chance to tell my story, I would need to be deeply vulnerable. So, “Why not start here?” Isn’t that what a blog is for anyway?

Anywho!

Last weekend, I found solace keeping it real with big brother J.C (Jesus). As it says in Hebrews 10:22, “Draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings.” I did and this past weekend, I found comfort and peace. But, that’s not the surprise I want to tell you about.

img_3044
I feel like Groot right now

See, while I was vacationing on the wild side of Catalina Islands, I discerned the Holy Spirit leading me to write a short book for diplomats, leaders, visionaries…in Africa. Of course, I questioned my ability to do that. But, I wrote down the idea.

Since, I returned, in the midst of the pressures and trials, somehow, I finished it in three weeks. I realized that even though I didn’t know much, the more I wrote down or typed what came to me, the more the words came forth. It was beautiful.

Then, I started drawing and came up with illustrations for theories that just blew my mind. I was in awe of what God can do when you just let go and let God. When you just swiftly and completely obey.

But, this is not the surprise.

During the weekend, I was just thanking God in the midst of the tasty challenges comprising of disappointments, loss, betrayal, and criticism…when I got a phone call. It was from Mike, a former Hollywood actor, entrepreneur, cyber security buff..whom a friend had recommended me to months ago.

Apparently, Mike had been working on a project and while praying discerned the Spirit leading him to call me and discuss ideas, find out what I was doing etc. When he first reached out, I was at a loss. I didn’t know who in the world he was. He had to remind me.

Anyway – we talked and he told me about things he was doing in Africa and how he was working with this CEO from Africa and how they agreed they need ideas, a framework etc. to help diplomats engage communities, entrepreneurs etc.

Well! How about that?

I just cracked up and explained that all the questions he just asked was what I just wrote about. I told him of the sense of urgency from the Holy Spirit to do it. I’m glad I obeyed. Then I told him of some other stuff and it just blew his mind.

He’d just been reading the scripture which I used to create these frameworks for gold medal peak performance for business and leadership. Halo! And what did I have to do with it? Absolutely, “rien du tout” (nothing at all). God is good, ain’t he?

Wait! There is more. 

People of stature – Marine Captain, Innovation Strategist, Ambassador, City Inspector… – are accepting my request to review it. How is this happening? Man, God is good. Oh…and there is this Pastor whom I met who is reading it to. He was so kind to me. Our meeting was a kind of divine appointment. Unplanned people, unplanned!

Wow! This is bigger than I expected. God is good. Consider keeping me in your prayers.

I write to encourage you and me to keep being faithful, pressing on, and never –

“Become weary of doing good for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” – Galatians 6:9

That said, you need to hear this Old school jam remixed by Dmitri from Paris. Listen! Its got your boy #Motown here sliding to the goodness of God and looking up, trusting His process, and looking ahead with faith.

God throwing this surprise at me as well as me finding this jam is no coincidence. I  think its God inspiring me to become miraculously lost in the music of His unconventional ways and in the music that is life.

Enjoy folks! Y’all have a marvelous week.

 

Pack it! On Your Mission

Yeah! Just add some specific set of skills to it and viola!!!
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So, obviously, I am talking about the conversation I had with Jesse about tracing your calling. In discovering the vehicle for your calling (which you can follow the link to re-read the conversation) a major, job, title, invention is just a tool, a vehicle, with which to carry your calling.

Once you discover your calling and turn it into a mission, you can easily decide what vehicle you wish to use. You can decide what vehicle is capable supporting, empowering, inspiring, and wholly transporting your calling. In my conversation with Jesse, after sharing this thought about a vehicle, these followed.

Me to Jesse

Now that you know and are living your mission, a good question to ask is –

What specific set of skills would you like to add to that mission to help you build on, develop, and accomplish your mission? What type of courses and perhaps college major can help you build on that mission? Can you take a few courses here and there or go into the industry and learn hands on as an apprentice? 

Lastly, ask yourself –

Who are you hoping to help? What type/category of people – college students? Diplomats? families? Communities? Artists? Citizens? What type of people?

If you could start now, what age group would you like to give your first talk, speech, seminar, or meet up with first? With this, can you determine what sought of training and skills you need to add for developing your mission?

Tracing our calling, turning it into a mission, deciding what skills to pack for the journey to destiny, and deciding what people/age group to begin serving with this, is not as hard as we may think. Introspective questions really help.

On the other hand, those with big dreams often have wild imaginations and often dream of doing many things. And it is good. So, here is the tip, if you are confused because you have many things you want to do and don’t know how and where to start, that’s okay.

Pick one and start with it. Your other dreams will fall into place as you grow, make connections, and establish the first one you picked.

Yes!

Dream big, but have a FOCUSED dream


What You Do vs. What You are Called to Do – the difference

In my previous post, Clues to Your Calling, I referred to an article, The Call, written by Rabbi Sacks in which he shared the four characteristics to discovering your calling.

Click here to read the full (short) post.

I often had questions. How do I differentiate between what I am good at, what I do, and what I am called to do?

That was a hard question for me to answer. I love stories and in his talk, Rabbi Sacks told shared a personal revelation which resonated with me. He said –

I have known great judges who were also brilliant pianists.

Wittgenstein trained as an aeronautical engineer but eventually dedicated his life to philosophy.

Ronald Heifetz qualified as a doctor and a musician but instead became the founder of the School of Public Leadership at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

We can be good at many things, but what gives a life direction and meaning is a sense of mission, of something we are called on to do.”

And what is the real test for a calling?

“The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves” ~ Logan Pearsall

Finally,

All real achievement requires back-breaking preparation. The most common estimate is 10,000 hours of deep practice.

Are you willing to pay this price?

~ Rabbi Sacks

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Keep it 100

One love, One Spirit


  1. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Call (Vayikra 5778), Rabbisacks.org 

Clues to Your Calling & Destiny

How does one find out what their calling, their vocation, or their destiny is?

This is a question I battled with and sometimes still battle with.

It is quite a journey and for me it has been hard and it has taken me over 8 years to put – some of it – together. In the beginning, it was blurry. I just knew what page God was on in my book of life and destiny and where in the future he was calling from.

But, like Father Abraham, I had no idea what to do, where to go, or how to go about it. It was a cold call – cold turkey.

My journey has been about learning the nuances of “God’s call to us” and sharing the process. It has involved stepping out of myself to see the work and the hand of the divine working on myself while doing life myself.

It now involves sharing what I have experienced to be the MOST IMPORTANT pieces to keep in mind or work with in order to help friends, family, and others make that practical shift and take action not on their own, but as a community.

That’s why I started this blog.

Recently, while listening to Rabbi Sacks discussing a weekly bible portion on Leviticus, he shared some thoughts and clues to identifying your vocation which I thought was awesome. I saw myself in the process. In his article, he quoted the late Michael Novak in, Business as a Calling: work and the examined life, shared these four characteristics to identifying your calling: Continue reading “Clues to Your Calling & Destiny”

First, Improve the World before Perfecting Yourself – here’s why

And…Its all about timing

I know, I know…sounds like marlarkey – meaningless talk, nonsense…! But, I assure you, it isn’t it.

In the previous post, Your Calling vs. Your Mission, I shared the following quote:

Improving the world around us comes before perfecting our own inner world ~ Mendel Kalmenson

Then I asked the question –

Did you notice the twist in that quote? Well, did you?

Its true. Transformation begins on the inside before it can be expressed on the outside. It only makes sense to work on yourself first before you work on the world. One must blow the flames of God’s word and God’s call in their souls first so that the heat of their fire can bring warmth to those around them.

But,

Do you have to “perfect” yourself first to before improving the world around you? When a house is on fire, anyone who can carry a bucket of water to put out the flame is required to. Continue reading “First, Improve the World before Perfecting Yourself – here’s why”

Your Calling vs. Your Mission

A calling is a vocation, something other, from your day job or what you do everyday. A calling is God’s call to you from the future. He is already there, sees you as He knows you are capable of becoming if you say – yes – to his ultimate adventure.

It means in your “book of destiny”, God is on Page 898 and seeing you at page 127 is saying to at Page 127,

Hey there! I know you don’t know me or know what will happen in your life. But, if you focus on this mighty task which I would like for you to consider pursuing in additional to all your other responsibilities and life in general, and if you calibrate your compass to follow this divine map, you’ll meet me on page 898 in the future. Along the way, you will experience me, meet or get to know my Son, and receive help from my Spirit. Are you in?”

When God calls you, it means you are not there yet. You are not that person yet. You are not “it” yet. It means you have a ways to go. But, here’s the sad thing – Continue reading “Your Calling vs. Your Mission”

The Four Way Test

Listen! You are light and you are life. You cannot be hidden. Bloom! Shine!

Jesus said that “You are the light of the world” and “A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

If the light of the world lives in you, that makes you light too. If the one called wonderful dwells in you, that makes you wonderful too. But –

So what? How does it help your people and the community that you are life, light, and wonderful?

Continue reading “The Four Way Test”

BIG DECISIONS

Making decisions is a humbling process, especially if they’re are BIG. Great leaders (Churchill, MLK, Gandhi, Mandela) all had to do it. For it’s in the moment of decision that our destiny is shaped!

You are a great leader. But you have to make big decisions to become great ~ Ish’mael (Destiny Class)

1.) Interestingly, BIG decisions come with equal part sense of EXCITEMENT and TERROR. Like making a big investment, proposing to a loved one, moving to a new city or starting a new venture.

It’s hard to be INDIFFERENT when making these big decisions. If you are truly indifferent, then the decision is probably not big enough. Continue reading “BIG DECISIONS”