D.A.W.N. of a New Day!

Let’s be real folks…at the beginning of each morning, some of us seek to refuel our lethargic minds with fresh baked information of the day. All too often, we switch the television on or dial our favorite radio station in the car to gain information. These mediums are generally about everything that is wrong in the world. You can assume that the “A” block of news in the morning will discuss the following things:

• Political indifferences
• Social indifferences
• Natural Disasters
• Out-of-this World or Bazaar news
• People in crisis

As I write this, I’m beginning not to feel too good (SMH).

How can you eliminate those morning stressors? Many would tell you to:

1) Drink a cup of fresh brewed coffee
2) Spend time to Meditate/Pray
3) Relaxing Exercises or Stretches
4) Listen to soft-easy soundscape music

That’s all good, but how to maintain a positive start throughout the day you might ask? Well, consider the following:

D = Discover the benefits of your Passion

Yes, whatever you want to do in life, daily challenge yourself to seek the benefits of your Passion. For example, if you believe you are gifted in music and you’d like to play the piano, think about the reason why you want to play the violin. Is it to relax yourself, or would you think it will benefit the elderly in a nursing home? Is playing the piano a way to add extra income, or should it be your chance to perform with a world renowned symphony orchestra? Is it for the benefit to become the next great Liberace, or do you want to be a blessing by playing with your child at his/her Christmas pageant? Spend some time each morning to discover what would be those benefits.

A = Act out your Passion

From the provoking questions above, all you have to do is just ‘act’ out on them. Start today and practice those Christmas songs – it’s now July! In five months, you’ll be ready to present a musical concert of songs for the kids. What better time of the day is to use the morning to review those holiday song sheets!

W = Seek the Wisdom of those living their Passion

You can either self-teach yourself to play the piano or hire someone who ‘teaches’ others to play the piano. I’ve always felt to have someone to mentor or coach me in things that I don’t know. The wisdom of others will make it easier to reach your Passion faster versus going it alone.

N = Your Passion is Natural to you

You immediately feel something once you place your fingers on the piano. That feeling isn’t nervousness, it isn’t frustration, it’s a soothing natural easiness – you feel free. As you play out the holiday songs on the piano, it takes you:

• back to your childhood singing Christmas carols at school.
• to a moment to feel the warmth of a home in winter and the smell of fresh baked gingerbread cookies
• to a time when you stood around the family piano and saw your own grandmother play Christmas songs as everyone else sang the verses!

The D.A.W.N. of each new morning can put you into a pleasurable feeling and give you a sense of emotional balance that carries you through the day! Make it your mission to fulfill your passion so that others may benefit from it!

Let go people and do some good!

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Heavenly Moments in Haiti

By reading the subject of this recent blog, you might disagree with the lexiconic statement. How could “anyone” experience heavenly moments in Haiti? Well, I recently did…

I traveled to Haiti last month on my second mission trip of the year – my year-long mission expedition for www.lifewalkmission.org. Once there, I met other mission-minded travelers who all were enlisted by a U.S. based organization called Adventures in Missions. Unlike other mission travels, I would not know any of my team members before I took that first step onto to the third largest Caribbean nation. Looking back on it now, I’m so grateful to have new relationships with the most incredible individuals who came from all parts of the United States – even one who traveled all the way from London!

Four several hours at the airport, we patiently waited for everyone to arrive on different flights – yours truly was the fourth of eleven travelers appearing through international customs that day. When our last member arrived, we then boarded a bus for Carrefour, Haiti. This hillside hamlet community awaited our presence; a town that is said to be near the epicenter of Haiti’s catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake four years ago.

Our first night was filled with high excitement and group learning activities. As the navy blue skies darkened and the flicker of universal stars began to illuminate ever so brightly above us, our team leader wanted to begin bible study on top of the flat-roof where we slept.

Mission work to me is all about serving and of the many years of mission work, never had I experienced what was to take place that night. It was from the bible passage of John 13 where Jesus performed the most humbled act to his disciples – the washing of their feet! Our humbled and passionate team leader Jonathan M. performed this gentle act to each of us on the cool breezy night on the roof-top.

Jesus’ simple act of foot-washing teaches us the kind of humility God wants us to have. For the rest of the week, the spirit of team unity was so profound and prevalent. No one balked, complained, refused, nor murmured during our time in Haiti. And though our walking travels throughout the town was physically rough and challenging, we were commitment to find the lost, the least and the left.

Each day our team weathered the sweltering heat of Haiti; their perspiration of passion was evident as we played, laughed, and encouraged young kids during Vacation Bible School on the open soccer field in the community. We divided into small teams to canvass the hillside village to speak with those who did or didn’t know Abba father. Toward the end of the week, we put on a skit for the community that displayed how God can be ‘your’ EVERYTHING – a five minute moving exhibit of a person going through the evil temptations on Earth and eventually displaying how God is still there with you through it all.

Our work wasn’t done just yet! Of our last day together, we went to the local public beach to enjoy the quality of time in Haiti. The team realized that one of our members had never been baptized. God was giving us one more instruction – to officiate a candidate for baptism! As we surrounded our sister and prayed together, the waters near the shore grew calm; and the heavenly clouds opened to present the glowing sun above. It felt as if we were in the Jordan River! The angels looking over the balcony of heaven rejoiced that day!

The international community may never show or discuss the positive side of the country – yes, it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. How strange that one of the richest countries lies at a distance of 90 minutes in flight! Someone said to me years ago, “The world doesn’t have a wealth problem, but a distribution problem!”

While Haiti may be a country with wide-spread poverty, YOU can encounter heavenly moments there!

Let go people and do some good!

Be Real

Keeping it Real” – a slogan often heard by television entertainers and comedians. Urban dictionary.com defines it as “a reaction stated by individuals claiming to deny pop culture and sticking with their own thing.” For me, I find that most individuals are REAL if they are truly passionate about the things they do in life!

The “Realness” in you speaks for itself. You will often receive compliments and praises when “Realness” is presence. While people tend to gravitate to a real person, people repel from bogus individuals.

Here’s a permanent formula to remain “Real” to others:

Harbor yourself with real people [to] do real things [to] make real impact!

Harbor yourself with real people

Like [positive] minds tend to thrive and produce. We find that evident in Toastmaster clubs throughout the world. We find that evident in social clubs. We find that evident in churches. We even find that evident in some of our circle of friends! Real people edify and challenge each other – good or bad. Real people accept criticism or hurtful comments and turn that feedback into positive outcomes.

Do real things

The former South African leader and renowned world-leader Nelson Mandela said “Real Leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

Can you imagine the tumultuous life Mandela endured for decades in jail? Can you imagine the emotions he had to manage while separated from his family? Yet, he stayed faithful to the cause in doing the real thing – to see that his people would one day be free from Apartheid. The thirst within his veins kept him hungry for that quenchable taste of justice.

Make real impact

Here’s the benefit for those who gravitate to Real People:

  • Real People have something to give that will make others change or improve
  • The wisdom of Real People can leave a profound legacy
  • Real People duplicate greatness throughout his or her community
  • Real People are purposed to demonstrate and model servanthood

This formula can and will keep you passionate and purposeful!

Let go people and do some good!

 

The Intersection of Passion and Vision

Last month, I delivered a speech entitled “Visionary Leader” at my local Toastmaster club. The purpose of the speech was to challenge the members to assess their vision barometer. Here are some engaging questions I asked the audience – can you see greatness in the future of your professional career; can you imagine the possibility of doing better; or could you develop ways to plan your destiny?

 

I began the speech by defining the word ‘vision’ – the ability or an instance of great perception, especially of future development. The act or power of sensing with the eyes.

 

Next, I illustrated what Visionary Leaders are – and are not! Let’s start with the qualities that are not becoming of a Visionary Leader:

 

  • Lovers of preserving the ‘Status Quo”
  • Individuals who are stuck in the past or have a “we’ve always done it this way” mindset
  • Generation excluders
  • Present day Managers

 

Now let’s look at the qualities of a Visionary Leader:

 

  • Individuals who pushes the envelope or address new creative ideas
  • Advocators who see it, say it, and show it
  • Those who see invisible futures
  • Futuristic builders

 

Days after the speech I took a moment to examine the intersection of vision and passion. Passion of course is defined as any powerful or compelling emotion of feeling. Hhmmm, the two words seems to connect with a common word – “power.” Such an interesting way to view the two words:

 

Passion – the power to thirst

Vision – the power to grasp

 

Do you possess a sensible appetite to thirst for something (passion)? Do you possess a sensible appetite to grasp for greatness (vision)? If you answer yes to both questions and find a need (or power) to do so, then your passion and vision intersects! Take a moment to view the illustration below.

 

Let go people and do some good!

Image

 

 

The Anatomy of Your Actions

Every day, we find ways to move about and get things done. Ordinary things like waking up to go to work in the morning, to helping your child with homework in the evening – we carefully calculate each step of our actions. When we attempt to link our true God-given purpose and mundane actions, the balancing of the two can be challenging. I believe there is an occasional need to examine the skeletal anatomy of one’s action. Let’s take a closer look shall we…

The Head of your Action
The late CBS news correspondent Andy Rooney said this and I quote, “The easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am” – end quote. I’ve often heard that ‘if you surround yourself with a crowd, behave like the crowd, talk like the crowd, you get no further from crowd!’ Advancing yourself to grow requires a head-strong decision to pursue higher learning. Until you expose yourself to something better or different, your current actions will always be kept caged in the current life you live today.

The Shoulders of your Action
“Responsibilities gravitate to the man who can shoulder them and the power to him who knows how” – Elbert Hubbard (20th Century American editor, publisher, and writer). As a mentor to a several young men and an uncle of many nieces and nephews, I often think about my decisions. These self-made decisions I make for my life can and will have some impact on their lives! This philosophy holds true to parents, grandparents and adult guardians. Workplace managers too will have to make decisions for the direction of the company – their decisions will also have an impact to motivate other workers.

The Spine of your Action
Country Star Singer and Actress Reba McEntire said this and I quote, “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone! – end quote.” Making solid decisions has direct ties to your ethics/character profile.

The Legs of your Action
“If God breaks your leg, He’ll teach you how to limp.” African [Ghana] Proverb. This is where you carry forth your decisions and moving them into action. For example: To lead a lethargic horse, a racing jockey has to influence the behavior of the horse by the motion and movement of their legs. Here are some theories for the race jockey:

1) Leg actions are to create impulsion – when to firmly squeeze/un-squeeze onto the abdomen and flank of the horse
2) Leg actions are to lead the horse – how to slightly bend your legs on the girth to balance for speed of the horse
3) Leg actions are to ask for specific task – developing a personal code between you and the horse
4) Leg actions are to frame and reassure the horse – like how a guitar is strum, the jockey’s repetitious pattern onto the frame of the horse gives directions to go left, right, slow or fast

So by connecting all of these progressive skeletal parts, we can provide a greater sense of becoming more purposeful in our actions.

Let’s go people and do some good!

Secret Ingredients to Launch Your Life’s Purpose!

Some people throughout their life on Earth will discover various tactical ways to bring their life’s purpose into reality. Everyday thousands of upstart businesses are birthed or commissioned for business. The first days/weeks/or months of operating in your ‘purpose’ may feel like a ‘honeymoon’ phase. Everybody will join in the celebration of your achievement, recognition and praise will soon follow, and people from unknown places will come to lend support. Then all of a sudden the strong winds of reality will set in – this is the ‘marriage’ phase of the vision. You’ll have ups and downs – yea-players versus naysayers – highs and lows – increase in revenue and decrease in sales.

Whatever you are purposed to do, these homemade ingredients will help you become an achiever!

     1.   Life Purpose Ingredient #1 – Learn from the Experts!

One movie [I believe] that perfectly demonstrates how to learn from an expert is the 1984 filming of “The Karate Kid.” This movie depicts a teenager who has a desire to become a professional martial artist. It took a level of tolerance and patience for the young teenager to achieve great results and self-fulfillment. Today, I’m going through an apprenticeship training with my mission director – learning all what I can to lead small teams on international mission tours each year. 

  1. Life Purpose Ingredient #2 – Conduct Self Assessments

From time-to-time it’s good to evaluate yourself or look inward and assess your on-going strategies. This process may prompt you to re-calibrate your goals and review the methods by which you hope to gain measurable satisfaction. Ideally, pray and ask for guidance so that your motives should always be genuine and not self-centered. 

  1. Life Purpose Ingredient #3 – Have a Preparedness Plan

At all times, be prepared to face various obstacles along the way. Stephen King, an American author of contemporary horror/science fiction was quoted saying “there’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.” In all business affairs that I invest into, I try to look beyond ‘today’ and ask myself ‘what if.’ In the final report of the National Commission on 9/11 Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, the committee was quoted saying that our very own intelligence agencies ‘lacked imagination.’ Who could’ve imaged such a terrible plot that unfolded the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001? I didn’t mean too negative on this ingredient, but you get the point…  

  1. Life Purpose Ingredient #4 – Focus on the People

Be a great listener – Move away from focusing on ‘self’ and draw closer to the interest of ‘people.’ Successful businesses constantly read through individual market studies, consumer behaviors and buying trends, and focus groups. This vital assessment is compiled to deliver the best product or service to a targeted audience.  

  1. Life Purpose Ingredient #5 – Become a Servant Leader

A person who has a vision or purpose to do something requires constructive responses and reaction from others. Relationship building is necessary for your life’s purpose to flourish. The benefit of leadership growth comes from serving others. One of the best examples of this comes from Super Storm Sandy that occurred in the fall of 2012. After many New England communities suffered tremendous storm damage, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie led the way in making sure adequate life-saving resources reached his constituents. He was able to orchestrate and implement the local and state emergency management teams to provide relief and medical assistance to those in need. He also requested help from the Federal government and large-based corporations to participate by donating, sending in-kind items, and mobilizing heavy transport equipment and machinery to clear and correct thoroughfares within effected communities. He was fully interlaced within the purpose of his life to do well by his fellow man.

So by using these ingredients, you too can see your life’s purpose expand beyond your own dreams!

Let’s go people and do some good!

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!