Are You a Pioneer or Settler?

Several years ago this question sparked instant reaction during an evening church revival in suburban Atlanta.  The emotionally stirred inquiry was in fact the sermon topic prepared by Minister Ben Lang of Cornerstone Baptist Church.  Minister Lang with a thunderously pitch defined the word “pioneers” as a group of adventurous trailblazers who’ll discover a new region to enjoy and make a way for others.  He then downplayed the word “settlers” in a dull-monotone voice… a group of people simply occupying a new country or specific area.  That’s IT for the settlers…to simply occupy a specific area.

The main point of the sermon was to motivate and ignite the audience to use their God-given abilities.  Years later, I still remember key elements of that sermon.  Here goes…

A Settler’s Mentality

We were made in His image – His creative design was for us to serve and worship Him.  He has given us unique gifting abilities to use.  And these explorative gifts propel us to create constructive ideas and innovation that could be beneficial for others.  Sadly, some of our dear friends may never launch their pioneer-game planning ideas.  Instead, they remain comfortable where they are; never having the desire to launch out on their ideas and thus becoming a settler.  Just the other day, I passed through an apartment complex that probably contains – let say – 30 units.  What struck me was the image of multiple satellite dishes mounted at each apartment unit – appearing to look like a string of humongous grey ornamented Christmas lights perfectly aligned near the roof of each unit.  I began to methodically calculate the hours each home would spend watching television.  After coming up with my own hypothesis, I then said to myself…”if one had all that time to watch television, could that same amount of time be spent doing something more productive?”  This could also be said of those watching television in suburban homes too!

South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and former politician Nelson Mandela said “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

A Pioneer’s Mentality

As I said early, God made us in His image and has gifted us with ability to further empower ourselves and those around us.  Pioneers know just how to get the job done even if their goals resulted in success or failure.  The qualities of these individuals are striking:

1)      They are continuous learners and are very creative

2)      They are interested in human development and studying psychosocial theories

3)      They often challenge and critique themselves

4)      They quest for resolutions and achievements

5)      They enjoy new opportunities and study different cultures

Individuals with a desire to ‘change the way we live’ spend an enormous amount of time in isolation.  That isolation prevents them from becoming too settled in their ways.

The late three-time Formula One World Champion Ayrton Senna said this: “I continuously go further and further learning about my own limitations, my body limitation, psychological limitations.  It’s a way of life for me.”

So often these days, I question myself – Am I a Pioneer or Settler?  Do I find myself like a pool of stagnated water with no signs of rippled movement in my life?  Or do I need to re-evaluate the things I’m gifted to do in life?  Whatever the case, the road to your purpose in life requires some investigating.

Let’s go people and do some good!

Advertisements

Reconstructing Your Wound to Find Your Wholeness

For some folks, finding and discovering the purpose in your life may be easy and self-rewarding. With effective child rearing and reinforced support systems, a young person could set their goals beyond the stratosphere of success!

But for those who haven’t discovered their purpose just yet, life situations from the past could keep individuals from moving into their true destination. Those life situations may stem from unwanted hurts, broken promises, unforgiving people, etc. Without professional counseling or family intervention, some wounds left untreated may haunt a person for a lifetime. And the reoccurring scabs of those wounds can prevent a person from become whole once more.

Fortunately there are people who are determined to become whole again. I believe being whole again gives you a sense of rejuvenation. Once you find the center of being whole, the navigation and directional compass for your life becomes clearer and the challenge of developing your purpose becomes even stronger.

I recently watched a video clip that features a well-known urban rapper called DMX. Now in his 40s, this very troubled/complex individual was looking to ‘fix’ his life with the help of an acclaimed empowerment legend – Iyanla Vanzart. The entire video clip is 90 minutes long – shocking, powerful, uncut and very intense. I encourage you to watch this without any distractions! The ending of it is disturbing for the rapper, BUT for his eldest child Xavier played throughout the video, he will eventually find his wholeness.

After you watched the clip, do a self-examination of yourself. Do you have relationships that need mending? Are you ready to examine that wound you left untreated and plan for surgery to remove the anger, hurt, and outrage still embedded in the wound? Are you ready to unlock the door of heartbreak so that you can walk into your life’s purpose? If so, be ready to become whole again! Start now!

Let’s go people and do some good!

Moving from the “Talk of Doing” to the “Action of Doing”

The brain is the most integral organ of the body.  Without the brain, I can imagine us being mindless creatures with no purpose – just like the apocalyptic zombie characters wandering around in AMC’s cable television epic thriller “The Walking Dead.”  Weighing between 2.87 and 3.1 lbs., the adult brain physiologically functions to exert control over the other organs of the body.  The sensory of “thought” rouses our intelligence to react or perform, especially when we want to execute on a set personal values.

Our creator masterfully designed us with the ability to think and feel; His design was and is for us to have dominion over the creatures of the Earth (Genesis 1:26) – this of course carried a huge level of responsibility.  We were created with a desire to take care of ourselves and those around us.  We were gifted with the ability to articulate to one another.  We were intelligently built to produce and exchange tangible commodities or consumer durable goods to satisfy our lifestyle.  Lastly, we were given the chance to prove our well-being to make a difference for others.

It is a great opportunity to live in a democratic society where you have the freedom to talk and express the things manifesting in your heart.  Your heart has been aching for a long time to do something purposeful, now it’s time to program the brain to move on that very thing!  Now is the time to transform what you’ve been talking about and put it into ACTION.  The city of Rome wasn’t built in a day, but what you build now could eventually outlive you and/or grow beyond your wildest imagination!

Take A.C.T.I.O.N!

A = Active the Brain

  • Stimulate your thoughts.  Carve out some time each day to brainstorm the idea you have.  For me, the best setting is usually early mornings.
  • Read, research, and review.  Spend quality time to gain knowledge from books, workshops/conferences, leading experts, or even your place of work!

C = Challenge Yourself Daily

  • Do something that you’ve never done before.  If you have developed a homemade product to sell and want to share it with your friends, be willing to use the product on yourself first for a period of time.  You are your best customer.
  • Dare to be different; take on a new hobby that connects with your idea or vision.

T = Tell Your Story

  • Showcase the idea to those you feel will help you win the track lap of victory!
  • Be prepared to disclose your formula to a respectable venture capitalist as in ABC’s television show – “Shark Tank.”  On this particular show, entrepreneurs who dare to enter the “Shark Tank” must try to convince the tough, self-made, multi-millionaire/billionaire tycoons to part with their own hard-earned cash and give them the funding they desperately need to jumpstart their business ideas.  You might say to yourself, “My chances to meet a successful business millionaire is slim to none.”  I say, don’t undermine the prospects of meeting a person of wealth.  It could happen!

I = Initiate the Idea

  • A solid business plan will solidify your future wealth-plan.
  • Create SMART Goals: Are your goals Specific?  Are your goals Measurable?  Are your goals Attainable?  Are your goals Realistic? Are your goals Timely?

O = Outline the Benefits

  • List the benefits/awards of your Idea.  Your idea should: uplift someone, empower the un-inspired, raise a person’s esteem, enhance an individual’s lifestyle, or compliment a customer’s well-being.
  • List out the people who will benefit from your Idea.
  • Surround your idea with positive-encouraging words.

N = Network and Negotiate

  • The word network as defined by Merriam-Webster means interconnect with group or system.  Nearly all ideas need some level of work between groups of idealist and pragmatist.  Before you every launch an idea, you should carefully select individuals who possess pragmatic thinking skills.  A pragmatist leans on grounded/sound logic above anything else – whether the answer is pleasant or not, while idealist has the hope that all things yield a positive end result, even in the face of chaos or defeat.  In this process, balancing the two actions are essential to ensure your idea has been tested thoroughly.

Now are you ready? Great!

Let’s go people and do some good!

The Purpose Equation: Idea + Implementation = Impact!

I get excited when I hear the wonderful ideas people dream up – especially if the idea develops into something that could impact the lives of others.  But once the conversations are over and days/weeks/years go by, I wonder why people don’t move into the next phase to implement their ideas.  Thomas Kuczmarski (Kuczmarski and Associates – http://www.kuczmarski.com), a Chicago consultant specializing in innovation, wrote a contributing article in Fortune Magazine several years ago.  He stated “Only one of every 20 or 25 ideas ever become a successful product – and of every 10 or 15 new products, only one becomes a hit.”

Those whose product becomes a “hit” mostly likely followed the “Purpose Equation”

Idea  +  Implementation  =  Impact

Idea

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word idea: any conception existing in the mind / thought or notion.

We conjure up ideas all the time…at work, at home, watching the news, reading a book, over lunch with friends, from an overnight dream, etc.  Ideas can: (1) make you money, (2) change an existing process by making work easier for you and those around you; (3) satisfy other people; or (4) create a movement.  Probably 90% of us (including myself) have dreamt lots of ideas at some point in time, but do we act on them? Do we have the courage to implement those ideas?

Implementation

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word implementation:  to carry out / execution, or practice of a plan, or method.

Out of that 90% Idealist group, few of us will embark on the journey to implement the idea by first evaluating the cost.  “The Cost” mean: (1) how much will it take to finance this concept; (2) how much allocation of time will I need to promote this concept; (3) how much will the idea consume my everyday life – will it cause me to be away from family and friends; and (4) how many people will this idea benefit?  You might even evaluate the pros and cons of your idea.  Probably a brave 8% of us will venture into this level.

Impact

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word impact: to influence; effect.

Few have reached this level because they strongly believe their idea will make money, change a process in their professional work, satisfy other people or create a movement.  At this point, you have to erased all doubts in your mind and simple embrace the “No Fear Zone Attitude.”  You have to weigh the cost and seek good counsel.  You also have to forecast the possibilities on how your idea will make an impact to your inner circle, where you live and eventually to the world!  You have studied those in the business on where you want to do well.  The more you get people to be convinced by your idea, the more passionate you become. Probably 2% of those will reach this status level.

I recently watched a local news report of a young father whose 1 year old son died of heart failure.  It was an un-expectant event and the parents had no idea why their son died.  Through their own health examination, the wife had some kind of rare heart condition that she was not aware of.  Months later, the young father heard the plight of another married couple who lost their teenage son of an apparent heart ailment while playing on a football practice field.  This led the young father to do something about this and he created an organization to help young kids get proper heart check-ups.  During the recent 2013 Final Four Collegiant Basketball Tournament in Atlanta, his organization along with a team of physician registered 350 young kids to get a ‘free’ heart examination with another 100 on the waiting list to be examined later this month!

The young father converted his sadness into success.  He is a great example of the Purpose Equation!

So in summary:

 

Are you ready to innovate   your IDEA?

Ask yourself: Is it supposed to make money? Will it make a   difference in the workplace? Will my idea satisfy other people? Will it cause   a positive movement to change my local surrounding, neighborhood, country or   world?  If you answered “yes” to one or   more of the following questions, then go to the next stage.

Have you weighed the   cost to IMPLEMENT your idea?

Ask yourself: How much would it financially cost to invest in my   idea?  Do I have enough time in my week   to spend on my idea?  Can I balance my   life where I can still spend time with family and friends? What are the true   benefits of my idea and would people buy into it?  

Are you ready to make an   IMPACT?

Ask yourself: As it relates to my idea, have I changed my   mindset to erase all levels of fear and doubt?  Am I good at selling my idea to those   who’ll benefit from it?  Am I prepared   to receive slow or instant results   of my idea?  Have I done enough to   research my target audience, spend time with wise counsel, prayer, and   prepare for IMPACT?

The Purpose Equation formula becomes evident by constantly working on your idea 90% of the time plus implementing the idea 8% of the time which will result in 100% impact!

Let’s go people and do some good!

Succeeding Through a Time of Sorrow!

As always, my weekly goal was to write about how one could bridge their passion with purpose, but I suddenly learned of an unexpected event that forced me to express my thoughts concerning the loss of a dear friend back in Michigan.

Most people will agree with me that we can’t be certain of our longevity here on Earth.  While some individuals may experience an unplanned shorten life, others are fortunate to live a long healthy life.  To me it doesn’t feel right that the imbalance act of death is favorable for some but not for others.  It seems that we all should be given an opportunity to live a long/healthy life.

I so appreciate seeing the many Facebook comments and references about John L. – our friend, father, brother and confidant.  Its time like this when we need to comfort each other as instructed in the Bible – “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” (1 Corinthians 1:3-5)

A good friend of mine John L. passed away this week and tried to find solace in his passing.  I can go as far back in time when he, another schoolmate Tony R. and I were creatively talented in art class.  Mr. Woods (the Art Teacher) always complimented us on our adolescent drawings and made us feel that we were the Renaissance trio of Filippo Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo (Simoni) of our times!

When most boys discover bondable friendships through sports, my friendship bond with John started through the work of art.  I don’t believe we ever attempted to single out one or another in art class; there was a sincere respect on our parts to draw comparisons and contrasts to the uniqueness of our finished art production.

We continued a friendship throughout the entire school years at Walter F. White Elementary School and later at River Rouge High School.  In all occasions, John took every advantage to perform the solo act of setting the comedic tone when it was time to have a good time.  When in high school, John went on to become more involved in sports while I focused my direction on academic pursuits.

After high school graduation, we would only see each other occasionally when I came to Detroit to spend time with my family.  It was extremely comforting to me when I learned that he desired to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  While maintaining his witty attitude, he was sincere about gravitating toward a meaningful life to know Christ and wanted to devoted more time to study the Bible.

Two years ago would mark the last time I would sit down with John along with other friends.  Oddly at that very moment now locked in my mind, he reminded me about the days of Mr. Wood’s art class.

How do I succeed through this period of sorrow?  First – knowing that God still remains on the throne and His plans are designed in mystical ways to deposit a lesson for us all.  Second – I usually find a way to honor loved ones who leave us so soon.  I believe you can always find metallic luster of precious diamond qualities lying beneath the soul of an individual.  For John, I felt he had a gift of making people feel better about themselves [especially after a good laugh]!  Prayerfully I’ll plan to share my stories of John through courses of mentorship programs, donate to charities [in honor of him] that brings joy to various children hospitals, my speaking events, future international mission trips and maybe join with other high-school alumns and create a foundation in his name.  I’m sure he’ll be please to know we’re doing something good versus nothing at all.  What about you?

Let’s go people and do some good!