Tag: Success

It’s the Final Test. Don’t Get it Wrong!

Reflecting on my adventure –

As I near – The Promised Land – I can see it. I see the difference and I can see why its hard. I see why it’s counterintuitive. Don’t get it wrong.

First, let’s see what you think.

In the Books of Exodus and Numbers, we read about journeys. They are strikingly similar and hard to tear apart. In both books, the people of Israel are on the journey which ends in sin and then, destruction. In Exodus, its the golden calf and in Numbers, the story of the spies. In both, God threatens to destroy them and restart the journey with Moses. And in both, Moses pleads for Israel.

Now, the difference. According to Rabbi Sacks, in Exodus, the people are departing while in Numbers, they are arriving. They have left Egypt far behind. Unlike in Exodus, in Numbers, the people are not looking back or thinking of the danger they are fleeing from (Egyptians chasing them at the Red Sea, Amorites etc.). Instead, they are thinking of the destination they are traveling towards, The Promised Land they are about to enter.

One would have thought that as they approached the promised land after escaping many dangers, they would be more relaxed, happy, fruitful, and less demanding. On the contrary., they become more rebellious. Moses becomes more tired, telling God to end his misery (Numbers 11:6) and is now easily prone to anger and despair. He becomes less likely to listen to God, acting on his emotions instead of swiftly obeying the Lord’s command to “Speak to the rock,” INSTEAD OF striking it.

And reading through it now seems like God is calling me out on it (ouch).

Contrasting both stories reveal that –

There are two journeys – The Journey from and the Journey to. The journey to is much harder than the journey from

Often, knowing where you are traveling from is not helpful but still doesn’t hinder your progress. At least, during the emotional moments of the adventure with God, its something you hold onto. It becomes the benchmark for what you are going through. The reason for your anger at God.

It becomes our “In Egypt, we had cucumbers, meat and much to eat. Why did you bring us out here to starve” type of complaint. In the final stretch, the uncertainty of your journey into the destination becomes hard to ignore. The mere thought of it may leave you overwhelmed and unfocused.

In Israel’s case, they made mistakes, had “Too much fear and too little faith.” They focused on the Journey From instead of the Journey To. The forgot to remember the destination. This honest, simple, emotional, and momentary error single-handedly cost them their chance to enter the destination the walked 40 years for. That error costs them the intuition they needed to pass the final test to enter the blessing.

And that test was the ability –

To distinguish between an opportunity to be seized and a temptation to be resisted.

On the Journey From, there are often not a lot of opportunities to turn to. One has to depend solely on the Lord. But, in the final stretch, on the Journey To, far many options and opportunities appear.

In fact, the opportunities are so obvious, so clear, and line up so well that if you are still wondering about your Journey From and wishing your present reality felt a little like it, you may miss the subtleties that distinguish opportunity from temptation.

Times like this can be hard. But, I have been thinking. Perhaps the one thought that can help us catch those subtleties and discern the best choice is to ask –

Which option does NOT require any faith?

For without faith, it is impossible to please God… (Hebrew 11:6 – paraphase)

Nuff’ said.

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One Love, One Spirit


 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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


Discovering the Vehicle for your Calling

Let’s go back to – Catalina Islands…for a sec

One of the most fascinating creatures on God’s green earth that I met was Jesse.

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Meet Jesse – (So cool)

 

Jesse is an epiphany. She redefines coolness. She had that cool, colorful, Malibu groove going on. She is graceful, calm, charming, lovely, wise, intuitive, respectful and one fine sister who really loves Jesus. Don’t judge. Just bragging about Jesse is all.

While facing the beach we engaged in a conversation to inquire why we were each glowing. And no…it wasn’t love at first sight or last sight (though if Jesus made it possible…okay…I should stop now). Just kidding.

We swapped stories and compliments. Then, Jesse shared her dilemma. She didn’t know what her calling was. She wanted to know what it is God was inspiring her to do and how to do it. She was a sophomore in college but wasn’t sure what to chose for a major. I listened and we just talked and swapped experiences. Then, our talk went something like this  – Continue reading “Discovering the Vehicle for your Calling”

Sharp Leadership: Influence vs. Movement

Leadership is not just about influence: it is a movement.

If you move and influence people, alone, then that’s it – you influence them. If you want to create real impact, carry your people with you. If you carry your people with you,

1) you won’t be alone, 2) you will get support, and 3) the sound of all y’all’s feet will cause an earthquake of positive influence…

…which will impact people behind you, beside you, in front of you, and generations down the line. Bonus – you will be happier.

In my class, our professor, a former U.S Ambassador, brought in a speaker – Carl Sharperson, a former Marine Corp Pilot and a top Leadership Innovation Strategist, to speak to us. He authored Sharp Leadership. His book is transforming the way I lead my life and interactions.

– Below is my Sharp Leadership project (how did I do?)

You can use Carl’s Five key principles below to – carry yourself & your people with excellence. These principles are –

1) Tell the truth: how important is this? E.g. – If as an engineer, you tell your marine pilot his plane is half-full when its not, because you are scared, you may have just cost the pilot his life if he goes flying far thinking his fuel tank is full. Let your responses be – no, yes, or I will find out.

2) Be accountable: Be a man/woman of your word. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Do what you say when you say you will do it and how you say you will do it.

3) Take care of your people: If you take care of your people, your people will take care of you.

4) Give and receive feedback: Use a sandwich model – compliment, offer criticism, then compliment. Or use the Bringles Model – Ask for feedback first and then give feedback after.

5) Be fair: From speaker LeRoy Crooks, an industrial genius – “Don’t do something for one person if you can’t do it for everyone.”

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Keep it 100

One love, One Spirit


 

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”

Power Introductions

God’s greatest gifts are people and He sends his gifts to you when you are about to enter a new level of your mission here on earth. People connect and complete the circle of your destiny.

Whatever it is you are asking God for, it is in other people, in the hands of other people, in the hearts and minds of other people who may very well be right next to you.

But here’s the thing.

God can touch hearts, inspire people to think and favor you. What He won’t do is do the loving and talking for you. God will send you his gifts, his people, his friends. But –

If you don’t pick up the scent of God’s favor through the people he sends who may very well be unconventional; if you don’t love and respect them, they will leave you: they will walk away. And yes, your blessings will too

God said he’d help you. But don’t get it twisted.

If you act like a jerk…you’ll lose them.

Power introductions have an influence on your destiny and here’s why and some examples you can use and build on – Continue reading “Power Introductions”