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Friday, December 31, 2010

My Journey to my wedding

Where do I start? I don't really know. As I am waiting for my flight at Kigali airport, with tears in my eyes, I am thinking about the last few days. There are no words that can explain what I have experienced in this month of December 2010. As Phil Collins said, it's another day in paradise.

The person who said that words are powerful was so right. It took a few words from my then girlfriend, now wife (are you kidding me!!!!), to start a series of events that led me to this moment. She just said: “Honey, this long distance thing is killing me”. Having been in a couple of long distance relationships, I knew what she meant. This time, it was different. I had to do something, otherwise, this relationship would end up like the other ones. I had promised myself to do whatever it took to make this one work.

As I hung up the phone, I thought I had to move mountains. I had to find a way to meet her. Originally, my intention was to visit her in July 2011, however, this felt like a century away. I picked up the phone and called her to let her know that I was going to come visit her in the month of May instead of July (now, there was progress).

As I was sharing this story with Paul, my business partner (who knows a thing or two about long distance relationships), he just said to me: Why wait for May? Why not this Christmas? I was like, are you out of your mind? There is no way I can go because it was not something for which I had planned. It was out of the question or so I thought).

As Paul left, I thought: why not? I have learned that with God all things are possible. Why not put this project in His hands and let Him do His thing? Did he deliver? Big time!!! Things went so fast that I did not even have time to call close friends of mine. I hope they will understand.

I learned from Napoleon Hill that if we want to succeed in anything, we have to burn the bridges behind us. By so doing, the only way to go is forward. There is no turning back. How did I do it? I told my girlfriend that I was coming for Christmas. Now there was no way for me not to go. I gave her my word and I did not want to look bad. Did I mention that I had previously booked my flight to New York? The plan was to fly to New York, spend three days there, then return to Toronto to take my flight to Kigali to see my girlfriend. What about the means to do all of this? I will let you figure it out, but you need to know that even then I had no idea how all of this would play itself out.

The first thing I did was to request some time off at work. I got them right away. Not too long after a friend of mine suggested that I should use this opportunity to get married? I thought he was from another planet. Are you serious? No way. The flight alone is crazy enough, now you are talking about getting married? You must be out of your mind. As my friend was leaving, I thought: why not? I have nothing to lose. A quick phone call to my girlfriend and the deal was sealed (crazy, eh?). In fact, both her parents and mine were also on board with the idea.

With all the minute by minute developments I needed a place to stay. I am happy to tell you that my best friend in Montreal was of tremendous support. His sister, who lived in Kigali, was willing to host me (what a house! I thought I was in a palace). Also, by just spending a few minutes online I was able to figure out how to get a visa to Rwanda.

I called another friend who told me he could get me a good deal for the flight and needless to say I purchased the ticket. All these things I have told you happened in the space of two days after my decision to fly to Kigali. TWO days!!!! And I was not done yet.

I made a quick phone call to a great friend of mine in Calgary to let her know about the news. She was very excited and told me that she was sending me a package by Fedex and that it should arrive the next day at noon. Of course, I was home at noon. I opened the package. Guess what? She sent me, as a gift, the engagement and wedding rings, as well as my girlfriend shoes for the ceremony. Are you serious!!!! The surprises did not stop there. When I called to thank her, she said: My aunt has a business back home where she sells wedding dresses. I called her and there is one, already paid for, when you get there. She also sent me some cash as well. Yes, I know that this time you are all thinking that I am making this all up. She paid for everything!!!!

I made a quick phone call to my friend Richard, who had all the necessary connections to make the wedding happen. I told him that it would be a simple ceremony because this wedding was not initially planned. He told me not to worry about anything.

Check this out. Before flying to Kigali, I met on Facebook a longtime friend of mine who happened to be living in Kigali. What are the odds? He told me that he was on vacation and was more than willing to give me all of his time and to drive me everywhere.

After two amazing days in Kigali where I met my future family in law (these people are out of this world!!! Talk about a divine connection. I am simply blessed to have them in my life now), I took the bus with my fiancé (we were now engaged) to Burundi where both my mom and my friend Richard were waiting for us. Richard had found a hotel room for us. As we were checking in, Richard told me the name of the owner of the hotel. He was a close friend of our family.

On the day of the wedding, I woke up early, as I had to go out with Richard. At the hotel lobby, I met with the hotel owner who was so glad to see me after so many years. I told him I was getting married and he was happy for me.

The wedding? That is another blog

As I was returning to my hotel room after the wedding, the receptionist told me that the hotel owner wanted to talk to me. He left his phone number. Guess what? He told me that my stay at the hotel was free. No charge at all (at the expense of the Boss). I was speechless! Leaving the whole thing in God's hands was the best idea I had ever had. This was too much!!!

Do you want me to continue? The blessings did not stop there. Stay tuned.

Moral of the story? Do you want to get married? Start a long distance relationship and you will fly to Kigali.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Journey to Kigali

As I am writing, I am sitting in a luxurious living room in a nice villa, after a few minute walk in the garden. All I can hear are the birds singing and a few cars passing by. It was just yesterday that I landed in this beautiful country of Rwanda. What a week! Friday afternoon, I flew to New York, Sunday night I flew back to Toronto, the next day I was at the airport to catch my flight to Kigali via Brussels.

Wait a minute. They are calling me for breakfast. I will get back to you in a second.

What a delight! Where was I? Oh yes. My flight.

I landed at Kigali airport eager to be there. More than anything, this trip has been a confidence boost for me. I wanted to prove to myself that what I have been learning all these years works. I can do anything if I put my mind into it. The last few days have been surreal. What was I waiting for?

In a few moments, I will be with my childhood friends Jeff and Pacome. It's like a dream. I can't believe it. And tonight I will meet for the first time my future family in law (for many of you, this is a scoop). Stay tune for the upcoming attraction in a Theatre near you.

As I couldn't sleep last night, I found myself listening to audios by John Assaraf, a very successful business man and coach. Last month, I subscribed to his coaching programme, and the results are simply amazing. What I have learned is that the best investment that one can ever make, is the investment in ourselves. The outside world is just a reflection of what is going on inside of us. And if we want to change the circumstances of our lives, all we have to do is change on the inside. It is as simple as that. It may sounds too good to be true, but it is the truth. The beauty of all this is the peace of mind that you get. It is priceless

As my goal here is to relax, I won't take so much time to write. All I can say to you is that if you have a goal, go for it. It may seem impossible at the beginning, but a simple plan and and unwavering faith will get you there. Starting from next year (which is in a few days), I will share with you the action steps I took to make things happen, if that may help. It is a plan that I am going to use from now on, and the goals I want to achieve for next year are way over my comfort zone. Do I know how I am going to get there? Not at all. All I know is that I have a system that works. The proof? I am in Kigali, a trip that I made happen using the system I am talking about. For most of you, a trip is something simple. But for me, it is about how it happened. That is another story.

Moral of the story? Do you want to make things happen, take a trip to Kigali and you will enjoy a nice breakfast.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Journey to a new commitment

As the year 2010 is slowly but surely ending (is it really slowly?), for most of us, it is the time to reflect on what we have accomplished and what we would like to see happening in the year 2011

As far as I am concerned, 2010 was THE year. I learned so much, but I was also challenged a lot (thus the learning part). During this year, I finished writing my first book (the editing process is almost over), and I shared my stories with you blog fans with passion and sincerity . In the process, my Facebook friends went from 300 to over 1600 in just over a few months. Now I am always walking with my pen in my pocket just in case someone asks me for my autograph.

By the time you start reading this blog, I will already be in the sky flying to my motherland, after spending an amazing week-end in New York.I wanted to surprise my mom on her birthday, and to also spend Christmas with her.

Many of you will be surprised (maybe even mad at me) that I am flying to Burundi and did not even tell you. The truth of the matter is that I am more surprised than you are (how can that be?)

I have been coaching people, and some of them are experiencing great success in their lives that have left me speechless. I found myself asking this question: Did I really contribute to this person's success? Of course, I am very proud of this accomplishment, but it also made me reflect on my own life as another question came into my mind: Why am I not getting these kinds of results?

So, I decided to take my own coaching and make things happen. I made a decision that I will go back home for Christmas. As this trip was not originally planed, it was a kind of stretch for me. Using my own coaching, I made it happen in just four days!!!! How did that happen? Well, that's a story for another day.

In the process, I kept asking myself this question: How wise and effective is it to share one's goals with others? My response is that, unless we share our goals with others, we won't make them happen. It is that simple.

Therefore, my commitment for the next year is to share my goals with you. I will open my heart to all of you and at the same time allow myself to be vulnerable. In the last few days, I went way beyond my comfort zone and did things that, according to the norm, would be considered crazy, but I am glad I did. A hint? My trip is not only for my mom's birthday! That makes you wonder, eh?

Stay tune. I will share the rest of this story with you in the next year.

Moral of the story? Do you want to make a new commitment? Make sure you walk with your pen in your pocket because you may need to sign a few autographs.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Journey to the next step

Where do I start? I don't even know. It's been crazy the last few days. Now it's almost 1.30 am and I can't sleep. Do I know why? I don't think so.

Do you remember reading my blog “My journey to an amazing feeling”? If not, please read it before you proceed with this one (this is my plug for you to read my entire blog posts). Okay, are you ready now? Do you mean you did not read all of them? Come on! Go back and read. I have all my time. I can wait for you.

All right. I am glad you did.

There is something I said in my keynote presentation few weeks ago that keeps coming back to my mind. I said that all we need to know is where we're going, the rest is to figure out what will be our next step from where we are right now. It is a great concept, except that I was not using my own coaching. It is fun when you tell others to do something whereas you are not doing it yourself (I guess it came from the years I spent coaching basketball)

The last few weeks were almost boring for me. I felt I was going through the motion without any excitement. I didn't know why, until Paul my business partner challenged me to start a crazy project that is way outside my comfort zone (I won't tell you what it is, but stay tune, I will let you know few weeks from now...).

At first, I thought Paul was crazy. Then when he went home, I thought: “why not?. I have nothing to lose. All I have to do is to take the next step and see where it goes”.

All of sudden, I became alive! The energy went up (no wonder I can't sleep now). I took on this “next step” thing, and life became fun. Every time I go to sleep, I am just excited because I know that the next day will be full of surprises about what would be the next step of my project. Sure enough, the next step shows up (sometimes in an unconventional way). It is so cool. People often come out of nowhere to give me a hand (could it be a contact, an idea or just a few words of encouragement)

The project that I started just few days ago is about to be successfully completed (I can't wait to share it with you, and it will be free of charge). It is true. All we need is to live in the moment, just waiting for the next step to show up. And when it does. Just act and leave the rest to the Big Guy Upstairs. He knows where he is leading you. And the secret? I just let one of my mentors Mike Dooley (even though he doesn't know that he is my mentor) express it himself. He said: “Be careful of what you wish for, Patrick, not just because you might get it, but because in the wishing, you may reinforce its absence in your life. Better to give a great, BIG "Yeehaa! Thank you! Whoohooo!" in advance for having already received it, and act as if you already have. Whoohoooo!”

Moral of the story? Do you want to know what your next step is? Read my entire blog posts before you read this one. Too late, you just read it.

Always a pleasure


The Journeyman

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Journey to two stories

I participated in a communication's course last week-end. Talk about being at the right place at the right time. It was unbelievable! Do you know what was the emphasis in the course? Guess! It was communication in relationships! No comment! Lol

During the course, I reflected on two stories that I would like to share with you (free of charge of course). Here they are:

There was an old guy who was sleeping in his couch. His grandkids came over while he was sleeping and placed a piece of cheese under his nose. Soon after, the guy woke up and exclaimed: “this room stinks!” He went into the kitchen and said again: “This kitchen stinks as well, maybe I should go outside”. He went outside, but still the same smell was around. Finally, in disgust he shouted: “The whole world stinks”. Little did he realize that the scent came from the cheese that was under his nose.

Did you like that story? If not, I won’t share the next one. ..........Okay, okay, seeing that you insist, I will tell you the story.

There was a guy who had a dog that he liked a lot. One day, the dog was crying and making a lot of noise. Despite the dog's obvious discomfort the dog's master did nothing to calm the dog down. Not too long after a friend of the dog's owner came over and asked him why the dog was making so much noise. The dog master replied: “Oh, it’s nothing. My dog is just sitting on a nail”. His friend was shocked. He couldn’t believe it; so he asked the dog master: “why doesn’t your dog move away rom the nail then?” The dog master simply said: “Because it obviously doesn’t hurt badly enough”.

Let me guess, you're probably wondering why was I thinking about these two stories? Do you really want to know why? Well, because there have been some areas of my life that continually seemed to be not going the way I would have liked and because of this I blamed the entire world (like the guy with the cheese). The truth is that I needed to make certain changes in my life in order to see positive results in these areas. (unlike the dog sitting on the nail).

So I did, and one of the results was my change of status on Facebook. Did you see it? Lol

Moral of the story? Do you want to make significant changes in your life? Make sure there is no cheese under your nose when you wake up.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Journey to an amazing feeling

As I search to find the right words to express what I am feeling, one song comes to mind. Do you know which song? Take a guess! No, it’s not that one. Try harder! OK, it's Bob Marley’s song “Is this love” on auto replay in my mind. Stay tuned for the upcoming attraction in a theatre near you.

This week has been one of the busiest yet most productive weeks in a long time. Things that historically never moved are now moving. I had a meeting with Paul my business partner where I pointed out to him that we’ve been thinking about doing a lot of things instead of just doing them. This statement cracked him up but we both knew that it was true. So, since then I have been in action.

Last week I delivered a keynote presentation to an organization that provides assistance to new immigrants to Canada. This was my third time presenting at this organization, and I have to tell you that each time I am always amazed at the work they are doing. As I was doing my thing, I couldn’t help but think about the movie “The Ultimate Gift” (great movie by the way). There is this part in the movie where someone says, “I don’t know what my dream is, but I know that I can definitely help others achieve theirs” (I am paraphrasing here).

During the presentation I almost came to tears as people shared their dreams with me. As they opened up about their dreams I could tell that they were mentally ready to do great things for their community and for the world. It’s a great privilege for me to do what I do. Thanks to them, I am living my dream as well.

My two business partners were in the audience, and I couldn’t wait to receive their feedback at the end of the presentation. It wasn’t long before I got to hear what they thought about the presentation. “I’ve heard good things about you, but tonight you blew me away”, were the words expressed by our newest business partner, someone whose opinion I respect immensely. She made my day!

It is a great feeling to do the things you love. The good part about it is that, the more you do the things you love, the more excited you get and if you give it time the results always follow.

Now I will ask you the same question I asked the participants at my presentation: If you had all the money you ever needed and did not have to worry about working to pay bills and if you had all the time you ever needed, what would you do? If you find the answer to this question, you have found your dream. It is something you would be willing to do for free and still enjoy.

Now, I went from “Is this love” to Michael Jackson’s “This is it” lol.

Moral of the story? Do you want to feel great all the time? Keep reading my blog and I will keep you posted on my relationship status.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Journey to an amazing week

Have you ever felt like you are living in a dream where every moment seems to be perfect? You meet the right people at the right time, you get the answer to your questions effortlessly, your work is getting done, and doors that were locked for a long time are now opening for you. I am hooked to Louis Armstrong’s tune “It’s a wonderful world” (or so it seems).

That was me last week. I didn’t want to wake up from my “dream” because it felt so ideally perfect. What a feeling!

The “aha” moment came a few weeks back when I was late for a meeting. I am rarely late for anything. Although I said I was late, I arrived for the meeting 15 minutes before it started. But for some odd reason I managed to get IN the room late. I had to explain why I was late. I had stepped out of the room help someone I knew not realizing how long it would take. I rushed back into the meeting’s room, and found everybody waiting for me (talk about an embarrassing moment).

Then came the coaching! It was a tough pill to swallow. Through the conversation with my coach, I realized I was late for the meeting because I chose to be nice. I had to step outside my comfort zone to lend a hand to someone, but doing so jeopardized my commitment to attend my meeting on time. The coach asked a question that made me reflect on my life as a whole. He asked “where else do you see the same thing happening in your life?” It was a slap in the face to me. I saw a clear picture of my entire life. So many times, I have chosen to be nice rather than committed to my goals. And so many times I was left wondering why I wasn’t attaining many of them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to be nice but at the same time it also needs to be put into perspective. I had to think in terms of priority. Everything has its place and time.

Yesterday, I heard a great entrepreneur say “If you are interested, you will do what is convenient, but if you are committed, you will do whatever it takes”. There is so much truth in this statement.

So I chose to be committed. All of a sudden, there was more time for action. Now I am delegating some of my work. It’s unbelievable! And it feels good. There are other areas of my life in which I am getting HUGE returns (stay tuned for the press conference). If you can read between the lines, the “I” will soon translate to “we” (please restrain from calling the paparazzi! My privacy is precious lol)

Moral of the story? Do you want to spend a utopian week? Just be late for your meeting, but only once.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Journey to great and not so great moments

One of the things I enjoy about my trips to New York is coming home from New York (I am not even sure if I understand what I just said). Maybe I can explain.

For me, going to New York is like a car going to the gas station with an empty tank. It comes out topped up with energy, ready to hit the road with more power. That’s how I felt on Monday when I returned home to Toronto. I was ready to take on the world. There are so many projects on which I am working and I am super excited about all of them. My friend, Mike, and I would like to launch an online TV show (a long time dream of mine). What else? I would like to see and help my friend “Summertime” achieve her dream of building a hospital back in Burundi (her longtime dream). And together with another guy I met a few weeks back, I would like to build the first African Cultural Centre in Toronto. Isn’t that awesome? The funny part is that I have no idea as to how all of these things will work out. But I am excited regardless.

This is what my days have been like lately after my trip to New York. Meetings after meetings. When I get home, I am both exhausted and excited.

Yesterday was one of those days where you ask yourself “what in the world just happened”. I had a meeting at work that went until 4:30 pm while my best friend and his wife were waiting for me outside. We were supposed to go out shopping for suits (I know I am good looking but there is always room for improvement).

So off we went. When I laid my eyes on “my suit” it was love at first sight (maybe I need more of that in other areas of my life, if you know what I mean lol). But for my friend, he needed more time to pick the right suit. We did enjoy the “outing” and we had a great deal of fun laughing and joking. After that, my friend dropped me off at the location of my next meeting (yes, I know, I could use some rest). We said our goodbyes and promised to meet up today to pick up our suits.

My meeting was great and productive. Then it was time for my coaching call (yes I do that too). The call was great, however, a short time after I received another call. It was my best friend’s wife on the other line (remember the couple with whom I went shopping). She was in tears. She just said to me: Can you come over please? My husband’s mom just died. I was caught off guard and all I could think was “are you serious?”. A few hours ago, we were joking and laughing, and now we get hit by this kind of news? I couldn’t believe it.
Needless to say that I stopped all that I was doing and headed to their place to be with my friend. There was not much I could say when I got there. I ended up crying the entire time.

What did I learn? Life is precious. Let’s enjoy the most of it, living the present moment like there is no other. Let’s share our passions with the world like our lives depended on it. Let’s make this world a better place to live with our loved ones and cherish every moment we spend with them; because they may not be here tomorrow.

Moral of the story? I think I made a good point. Don’t you think?

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Journey back to the Big Apple

This is one of those blogs where I am going to use my time travel machine. I am writing it on Wednesday, you will read it on Monday, and I am talking about a trip I am going to take on Thursday (go figure).

Another week-end back to New York, I am very excited about it. I will have the entire day of Friday for myself, and frankly I don’t know what I am going to do with all the extra time (how about an NBA game at the Garden? That would be nice).

This week my friend Motivatorman is celebrating his 400th blog. What an accomplishment! He has been my friend and mentor for a while now. He is the one who introduced me to the world of blogging and now I am a self proclaimed Superstar (round of applause please). Do you know what he says about my blog?

In his own words: “Ever since I have known Patrick he has told stories that have astounded and inspired me deeply. His are stories of real-life successes that helped me see that I could overcome my own challenges and achieve my dreams. Patrick is a powerful storyteller and his superhero name is Journeyman!”

Quite frankly, I never thought this blog would last this long. I didn’t know I would have stories to tell every week. And here I am, a year later, and I have never missed a week. I think I can retire now and return eighteen months from now (why not? Just like Michael Jordan). Don’t worry, I am here to stay (yes, I kind of sensed your disappointment).

What have I learned this week? A lot of things, but one thing sure stayed on my mind. I was watching a video about healthy eating habits (and I was hungry while I was watching it). Two guys were discussing about a diet program and why people don’t commit to keeping the discipline of eating healthy and exercising (and they were pointing at me while saying it).

At the end of the video, one challenged the other to eating healthy for 90 straight days. According to him when we do something for 90 days we create a habit that we won’t lose easily. During the course of the challenge, if he fails one day he will have to start from scratch. And for every time he misses his goal, he will give $5000 to charity. Do you think he can afford to miss a day? I don’t think so.

After watching the video, I asked myself this question. How committed am I to my goals? I can outline whatever I want to accomplish, but until there is enough actions behind it, it will still be a wish. Am I willing to pay $5000 every time I don’t do what I said I would do? First of all, my goal is to have that kind of money available anytime lol. It really takes commitment. To tell the truth, I am not at that level yet. But I am willing to try. I learned that until we have something to lose, it is hard to commit at a high level.

Now I am thinking about something I can give when I miss a thing on my to-do list. Any suggestions?

Moral of the story? Do you want to eat healthy? Just watch a video when you are starving and you will commit to your goals at a high level.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Journey to the top

I just met an amazing person. This man is almost 76 years old and his name is Jack. He is such a funny character and above all he is an incredible performer. He climbed the CN Tour in less than 33 minutes and 23 seconds. Why do I mention this specific time? Simply because that was the time it took me to climb the Tower (in other words, Jack was faster than me!!!). This thing is HUGE. It’s 1776 steps, over 150 floors. What a challenge!

This is my forth time climbing the Tower as a fund raising event for the United Way. For the second year I was the team captain (I guess I was not chosen based on performance). This year was the year of all the records. We had a record breaking 22 members on the team, we raised over $2000 (for the first time) and the fastest member of our team made it to the top in 15 minutes and 6 seconds (another team record, obviously not my record). To top it all off, we had Jack as a team member, 76 years old! We thought he was the oldest guy in the entire event until he met an 83 year old man at the top of the tower. That was incredible. Jack’s secret? In his own words:”It was nice seeing all these young ladies passing me while I was climbing. But please don’t tell my wife” (I hope his wife is not a fan of my blog).

After the climb we took pictures and had fun together. As we got close to end the day, I took a moment to chat with Jack. He said the last time he climbed the CN Tower was 20 years ago. I asked him if he exercises a lot, and I was stunned to learn that him and his 73 year old wife walk an average of 3 hours a day. I learned also that Jack and his wife are vegetarians. Right then I had plans to go to Swiss Chalet (my favorite restaurant) for my usual quarter chicken dinner with fries with a Pepsi (and Ceasar salad on the side). Then I changed my mind.

As I mentioned, we had new members on our team and many of them were climbing the Tower for the first time. We met early in the morning, and I could read both excitement and a little bit of fear on some of the faces. Were they up to the challenge? Were they going to make it? For others, it was about breaking the records. For me it was about....going to Swiss Chalet afterwards.

Once at the top, the facial expressions changed. It was all about excitement. We all made it. Some of our family members were there as well (a trip all the way to the top by elevator. How lucky!!). It was a moment of celebration. Jack was in heaven (literary speaking as we were all in high altitudes). When I asked Jack about his experience, he just said:” It’s all about doing what I love to do. If it was not this fun, I wouldn’t do it.” I thought I was hearing Michael Jordan in his peak years.

Many hours later, as I am writing this blog, I can’t stop thinking about Jack’s comment:” it is all about doing what I love to do. If it was not this fun, I wouldn’t do it”. How many of us really think like this? Do we all really love what we do? Are we really having fun doing what we are doing? If the answer is no, then we should think it over and find our passions. It’s a life worth living. Trust me, the expression of Jack’s face said it all. He is alive as ever. And he has plans as well. He wants to speak about living healthy and long. Why not. He is a living example of what he wants to speak about. Today, I was the first member of his audience and he did good. Do you want proof? Well I skipped going to Swiss Chalet.

Moral of the story? Do you want to live long and healthy? Go and climb the CN Tower and you won’t go to your favorite restaurant.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Journey to a week of mixed emotions

I am sitting in front of the TV watching an old movie featuring Steven Seagal but my phone keeps beeping and interrupting me. I have no choice but to stop the movie and see why the phone keeps going off. You see, I have turned my phone into a tool to remind me of what needs to be done and when. Every time the phone beeps, I know something requires my immediate attention, so I make sure to check to see what it is and then proceed to do it. It could be a phone call that I need to make, or just a reminder that I have to write my blog (see, it’s working. I am writing my blog now). Hold on, this movie I am watching is getting really interesting. I might have to get back to you later.

Wow! What an intense movie! Well, where was I? Oh my phone. It had to come down to that. I had so much to do last week that I missed a bunch of the things with which I had tasked myself to complete. I ultimately had to come up with a system to remind me of what needed to be done. My phone came in handy. Now it’s got a double function, I am using it as a phone of course but also as a reminder tool. So far, it’s working and I hope it keeps on working.

By the way, the movie is finished and I am now watching Lopez Tonight. Just thought you would like to know. Gosh, I can’t wait for the NBA season to start...Mario Lopez is predicting the Lakers to win again. Couldn’t agree more (no offense Bertrand).

I had mixed emotions this past week. First of all, I received pretty much great feedback both on my work as an MC at two events and on my blog from people who had just discovered it for the first time.

At the same time, despite these positive aspects, I felt empty inside for some reason. At first I thought it was due to my tiredness so I made sure to put in some extra sleep, however, it still didn’t solve the issue. I was like “what’s happening to me”?

Then I remembered one of my coaches telling me that our feelings have nothing to do with our performance. I could very well feel empty but that doesn’t have to affect my work at all. It’s like driving a car. Once we stick the key in the ignition and start the car, all we have to do to get the car to move is press on the gas pedal. The car will move regardless of how we feel (what a great expert I am!!! I don’t even have a valid driving license lol). Feelings come and go. It’s called being human. There is not much we can do about it. I am learning to keep on going and to not let how I feel affect what I do. Of course I wouldn’t mind feeling good all the time, but when that doesn’t happen I am not going to stop what I am doing because this too shall pass.

The funny thing is that when I am in action, the good feelings always return.

At the end of the day, as mentioned in my last blog, I am focusing on the good stuff: that people like my blog and that I exceed everyone’s expectation as an MC (and above all that I am very modest about it).

Moral of the story? Do you want to feel good all the time? Just turn your phone into a reminder and you won’t forget to read my blog.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Journey back to Montreal

What a month of travel! This has been my schedule for the last three weeks: Three days in New York, one day in Niagara Falls the following week, and three days in Montreal last week. In a few weeks I will be returning to New York. The trip is already booked . My manager at work told me that if I keep living the life I am living now, there will be no space for a wife (I am hoping to meet my future wife on the road lol).

Talking about marriage, I was in Montreal performing double duty in a wedding (as the best man and the MC). I guess it is the next step before my own wedding, don't you think? Johnny, my best friend was getting married to another best friend of mine (I think they were made for each another. They are both my best friends). Johnny is lucky to have her as his wife. She is an amazing lady. I know she is lucky to have Johnny in her life too. It was both an emotional and great event. I was there when the relationship started and I was there to witness the beginning of the next phase of their journey.

As I mentioned, before my trip to Montreal, I was on the road for long periods of time. I had about an average of four hours of sleep per day. On Friday, I finished what I was working on around 1AM, and then I went to my friend's house in the East end of the city so that we could travel together the next morning. I went to sleep around 2.30 AM, and I was ready to hit the road at 6.30 in the morning. By the time I got into the car, I was done. All I needed was sleep (and I can sleep anywhere). I was traveling with two very good friends of mine (and I was not the one driving. Lucky me). One of them got this bright idea of bringing a pillow (whoever invented this item should get a Nobel Prize).

We chatted for a while, and then I was gone. Maybe I snored, I don't know. All I know is that I slept like a baby. And then something happened. I don't know if I was dreaming or not, but I started hearing some music. It was beautiful music. No, I was not dreaming. It was real music. I woke up on “Hotel California” by the Eagles. That is my favorite band of all times. I started singing (I know almost all Eagles' songs). The next thing I realized was that I was no longer tired. I was alive! These guys can really sing. I am glad my friend (the one with the pillow idea) was playing this CD.

With all the week-end festivities, I was exhausted by the time we hit the road on our way back to Toronto. But I didn't even think about sleeping in the car. I was still with my two friends, and we added Nicolas and Diego, the two DJ's. What a great delight! There were plenty of jokes, and then came the music, the Eagles of course, and we ended up with Bob Marley. Now all the five of us were singing. Was I ever tired? I don't think so.

It's funny how a little thing like music can change my mood and make me forget that I am exhausted. You know what I learned in the process? It's really about what I am focusing on. When I thought about me being tired, that was all I experienced: more tiredness. But once the music became my focus I no longer felt tired. I was alive!

Let's think about our lives for a moment. Good things and bad things happen to us all the time. What we choose to focus on makes all the difference. I know we can find good things in all that has happened to us. Once we make a decision to focus on the good stuff, that is all we will see. Isn't that great? It is a simple but effective decision. Let's try to see the positive side in all things. Next time you feel tired, just play some good music and you will be fine (I hope it will be the Eagles). But don't forget to sleep as well. It might help (it has been my main activity the last two days).

Moral of the story? Do you want to feel alive? Just listen to your favorite music and you will later have a good sleep. Hope it won't be in your office.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Journey to the Gym

I am glued to the TV zapping between two channels watching both the Colbert Report and the Cosby Show. I am also trying to finish some work from last night (talk about multitasking). To my great surprise, as I flip back to the Cosby Show, guess who I see? Myriam Makeba, the late great singer from South Africa. She was playing herself on the Cosby Show. Needless to say the Colbert Report had to wait (good thing I was able to catch the same episode last night).

Of course I am a big Myriam Makeba fan (and so seem to be all the people on the Cosby Show). She started to tell them how beautiful the continent of Africa is. She described Africa in such a poetic way that made me a little teary. Oh how she made me miss home! All I could think of was “why did I leave my country?”

In my eight years in Canada, there has been a few times where I wanted to pack and go back home for good. Funny enough, those moments hit me when I don’t seem to see any results in what I am doing. Chasing the American dream can sometimes be heart-breaking, especially when you want it so bad. Whenever that happens, all I have to do to get back to my senses is go to the gym and play basketball. That’s exactly what I did yesterday.

Talking about going to the gym, my getting back in shape thread I started a while ago is almost at its full swing although I didn’t make it to the gym or to my basketball games for a whole week after my trip to New York. I went back to the gym on Monday. I was so excited to go back, but sad to learn that my gym is closing for three long months for renovations. That’s not right. I only have three weeks before they close. Does that mean I am putting a hold to my dream of converting this one pack into a six pack? (I am aiming to be like “The Situation” lol).

The only thing I did at the gym on Monday was running on a treadmill. I kept adding resistance until it was almost impossible for me to run anymore. Sweat was dripping off my entire body like crazy. And then when I took a break, a thought came to my mind. Do you mean all I need to do to get back in shape quickly is more resistance to my treadmill and lift heavier weight? If that is so, then resistance is a good thing. Resistance is a sure sign that I am on the right track. What a relief! Before this I had been battling for a week as I experienced set back after set back in everything I was doing. Isn’t that funny? Resistance became my best friend since then.

If you ask anyone who made it big, all of them will tell you they made it while facing major resistance, some of them risking their lives. Einstein said that we can’t solve any problems with the same mind that got us into them (I am just paraphrasing). Change is never easy. We have to get outside of our comfort zone if we want to make it. It is easier said than done, but it sure was a huge relief for me when I remembered it. We can get inspired anywhere, including at the gym.

So my dear friend (yes I am talking to you), if it seems to you that you are not getting ahead in what you are doing, if it looks like it is so hard for you, you should be excited because the same situation that is driving you crazy is the one thing you need to be strong. So face it with joy because it is a good thing. Embrace it.

Moral of the story? Are you facing some resistance right now? Just catch your favorite TV show and you will see a superstar. It may be me.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Journey to a Great Discovery

I remember writing my first essay ever way back in Grade 10. The essay topic was “life is a journey”. Did the teacher know at that time I was going to be The Journeyman? I doubt it. I don’t even remember what I wrote but my teacher’s remarks were that it was too long.

Life is really a journey and it is up to us to decide how we are going to take it. The good thing is that life has plenty of surprises. Throughout the course of my life I have learned to let go of expectations of how life unfolds and live in the moment.

Do you remember my blog from a few weeks back where I mentioned the movie “Evan Almighty”? I kept thinking about it since then. In the movie, Evan, a newly elected congressman, based his campaign on his slogan “We’re going to change the world”. Because people needed change, he got elected. He thought being a congressman was going to be a piece of cake until he started facing real challenges. It takes a great deal of work to change the world.

I took time to reflect on a few things when I was in New York last week (when I say time, I mean 20 seconds lol). At numerous occasions and in so many ways I have said yes to things without knowing what it will take me to accomplish them, and what it ends up costing me for being involved. Quite frustrating at first, but I have now learned to go with the flow although it might seem easier said than done.

Take the publishing of my book for example, I never had an idea of what it takes to publish a book. When I first had the thought of writing a book I thought it would just be sitting in front of a computer and writing my stories. I did that and a hundred pages later, I was done. I was pumped and super excited about letting it out in the world so people can read it, until the editing process started. I was like “are you serious??”. Does it really take this long? Yes it does. I have an amazing team of editors and we have fun doing the work, but we are not done yet. The good part of the story is that every time we go through it I just realize how great this book is (I say that because the author is a good friend of mine lol). Can’t wait to make it available.

This is one of the many examples of things I started without knowing what it was going to take to fulfill them. I must admit that at times I gave up because either the situation became unbearably hard to endure, or things turned out in a way I hadn’t predicted. Do you know why I failed? Because I was not committed enough. I had a back up plan in case things didn’t work. However, when I seriously commit to something, there is no way I am quitting. It may take years, but I will keep pushing until I get it done.

I started a business with my friend Paul in 2003. It has been 7 years with “no major results” but we kept working. For this particular instance I had no back up plan. I have to make it. Seven years of hard work (without any results) are about to pay off. I just know so. I can feel it. Do you know why? Let me tell you why.

Yesterday I went to deliver a speech on behalf of United Way Toronto. It was during a meeting of one of the top financial institutions of the country and the “top dogs” were there. To my great surprise, when I got there, they told me that they had made a specific request to United Way that they wanted ME as the speaker. How they heard about me, I have no idea. Good thing they mentioned it to me before my speech. I made sure not to disappoint them, and I did not (do you want my autograph?).

That made me realize I am on the right track. My name is getting out there.

My discovery is that when you set a goal for yourself and burn all the bridges behind you, you will eventually make it. There is no other choice.

Moral of the story? Do you want to make it in life? Just write a long and boring essay.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Journey to Another trip to New York

Here I am again in New York. I just started another series of four trips in seven months in the Big Apple. If things go as planned, I will add another trip to San Diego in February, a trip that will come handy as it will be freezing in Toronto (I would make an excellent weatherman).

We got to New York early today, and boy is this city alive! The traffic is crazy and people are everywhere. Our room will only be available at noon and my fellow travelers are going for breakfast. I decide not to go so I can write this blog. You blog readers are so important to me that I can afford to skip breakfast (you don’t see me, I am writing so fast so I can join them before I die of hunger lol)

This trip comes at the right time for me. I needed an escape. Although I know it will be a busy week-end, at least I know I will be focused on one thing. The last few weeks felt as though I was part of “Cirque du Soleil”, overwhelming but fun week indeed. I made sure to keep my commitment about being in shape (twice a week in the gym and basketball on Tuesdays).

I thought I was doing good regarding my “back in shape” program until I met a great friend of mine in the subway yesterday. He gave me a 15 minute lesson on nutrition. I am far from being a healthy eater and my friend’s lecture made me feel like a loser. When it comes to eating I am always open to opportunities. A few times ago, pizza deliverers were my best friends (I think I know all of them by names lol). I know all the Chinese restaurants in my area (and they deliver too lol). I know it takes a commitment to get back in shape but I am up to the challenge. I am afraid my pizza friends will feel like I left them hanging, but they have to look for other customers.

What was funny about my conversation with my friend is we never talked about nutrition before. We grew up together, we went to the same high school, we were on the same basketball team, then we met again here in Toronto. Every time we meet, our conversations are always reminiscent of the great memories we share. Why was this time different? I didn’t even know he was an “expert” in nutrition.

Then I remember reading somewhere “when the student is ready, the teacher will show up”. I bet I wouldn’t have met him, had I not made a commitment to get back in shape. He was there to bring me up to speed and I understand now that exercising without proper nutrition is almost a waste of time.

Think about your own journey when you met the right person at the right time? People who were there just for a purpose. I am sure there are plenty of them. Were they there just by coincidence or have you “created them? I may be wrong, but I think there is a Big Guy upstairs who is waiting for us to make a decision so He can put those kinds of people on our path. My daily prayer is to be one of those people that He is sending each and every day so that YOU can achieve your goals.

Do you want to hear a secret? When I started to write this blog, I had no idea what I was going to write about. Words and ideas started pouring as I was writing. Isn’t that cool? I think I did OK, don’t you think?

Moral of the story? Do you want to meet the right people at the right time? Start ordering pizza and they will show up.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Journey to a Cool Realization

Last week-end I took some time off. It was so cool to relax and do nothing (if you call “watching movies” doing nothing).

On Saturday a great friend of mine came to visit me and we spent many hours together. When I told my sister in law who was coming, she laughed and said: “it is going to be a great meeting between two intellectuals.”. I laughed a lot and I was also honored as my friend is such a brilliant guy. Every time I am with him, I always learn something new.

As it has been a long time without seeing each other, we took time to catch up a little bit and he asked what I was up to. He knew almost everything about me as he is a great fan of my blog. There was really nothing new he was going to learn from me.

However, as I was telling him my stories, I realized something. I have been creating my life the way I wanted it without even noticing. Here is an example

1.In 2008 I decided I wanted to be a professional speaker

2.The same week, my coworker introduced me to Toastmasters (she did not know about my decision to become a speaker)

3.Two weeks after, another coworker told me that United Way Toronto was looking for speakers (since then, I have made over 45 speeches for them)

4.Through Toastmasters, I was connected to a company that trains people to become professional speakers (I went for a training in Dallas Texas in March 2009)

5.My very friend who visited me on Saturday asked me to be the MC at his wedding last year

6.The cameraman at this event saw me do what I do best and asked if I could be the MC at his engagement party

7.Three other invitations to be the MC came from people who were at this party including two for fundraising events

8.From one of these events, I was connected to BANA, the organization that put together the convention in Montreal this year (I guess you know who was the MC at this event too)

9.Few weeks ago, I met Phil Tailor who is the founder of Goal Achievers International. He works with a group of professional speakers and helps them to achieve their goals (I officially joined the group last week)

10.The list goes on and on

I just realized that me deciding to be a speaker made people and circumstances align themselves to help me achieve my goal. Wait until my book comes out. You will read plenty of these kinds of stories.

Moral of the story? Do you want to achieve your goals? Just set your goals on what you want to accomplish and you will be invited at weddings.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Journey to a commitment

One of the commitments I made and that I need to accomplish before the end of this year is to get back in shape. I think it was about time I do something about it. I have been in Canada for 8 years and in those 8 years I have gained 55 pounds. Don’t you dare laugh at me. It sure isn’t because of lack of discipline, besides I have my reasons, number one being my retirement from the game of Basketball lol (see Charles Barkley).

I remember sending a picture to my mom two years ago and she couldn’t tell which one is her son (I was with some friends in the picture). Funny moment. She sent me an email the next day saying “That’s a nice picture. You must be the one who took it because I didn’t see you”. I had to explain I was the one on the far left side, she couldn’t believe it.

I had hoped that working on my book would make me shade a few pounds (by the way, my editors and I are putting some serious work in this. I never thought it would take this long). What an illusion! My best bet is hitting the gym now that my shortcut plan failed. Fair enough I have access to the gym in my building but hardly ever make it there.

I started gradually by playing some soccer games. I scored 4 goals in my second game (should I join Chelsea or ManU? You decide lol). Two days ago, I played some Basketball and I did some walking yesterday. In October I will climb the CN Tower, and in December I am running an indoor marathon (check me out in the 2012 Olympics in London).

I made these kinds of commitments in the past but it didn’t work out. Do you know why? Because I was not accountable to myself and I didn’t have anyone to be accountable to. Things have to change now.

It has been two weeks that me and my friend Diego have started a cool system. From Sunday to Thursday, we call each other at 10pm everyday with a list of things we have to do the next day. Then the next day we have to report to each other that we did every single thing on the list, and make another list for the following day. We committed to each other to make no excuses and be sure to accomplish what’s on our “to do list” on a daily basis. I have to tell you it’s working fine.

We have accomplished so many things in just two weeks it’s not even funny. One of the things on my list today is writing this week’s blog. Good thing I am doing it, otherwise Diego would kick me. At the same time you are benefiting from it as you are reading my blog.

I figured that having someone, a friend, a coach or any other person to report to is very helpful. Otherwise we would all be part of the biggest nation in the world. It’s called procrastination.

Moral of the story? Do you want to achieve big goals? Find someone to be accountable to and you will lose weight.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Journey to a last minute speech

If I were to choose a theme for this week, I would call it “last minute week”. Everything was done at the last minute this week. . I had been planning my days so well for quite some time now, but this week has been quite an experience
Yesterday I had no idea what the topic of this week’s blog would be, and my very efficient editor (whose name I won’t mention because she likes to keep her privacy) sent me a reminder that it was the blog. I was honest with her that I had no inspiration at all. A few suggestions from her and I was ready to go. However, I did not get to work right away so my ideas flew thick and fast and I ended up losing them.

Today was another “last minute” event again. I was scheduled to be the chair of the Toastmasters meeting, and 24 hours before the meeting I was not ready with my agenda (what a well organized chair I was!).
Fortunately the president of our club came to my rescue. She agreed to be the chair provided I be the speaker. I immediately said yes, but still had no clue what I was going to speak about.

Our Toastmasters meetings run every Thursday from 1 to 2pm. Up until 12:30 I had little to no idea what would be the content of my speech. All of a sudden an idea hit me and there I was, a few minutes later, speaking in front of an audience.

A few minutes before our meeting, I noticed a new guest at our club. I went to him and said hi. Right away, I knew he was not an “ordinary” guest. There was something special about him that I can’t describe. He had laying on the table in front of him a book titled “Set Yourself on Fire: How to ignite your passions and live the life you love” .The title caught my attention and I asked if I could have a look at it. He said yes. Guess what! He was the author of the book. What a great surprise. Of course I bought the book and he signed it for me.

As we were about to start our meeting, I asked if I could speak to him after and he agreed right away. I went on to deliver my speech and our special guest was both impressed and inspired (his own words).

It turned out our guest was none other than Phil Taylor. Phil Taylor is a multiple-award winning speaker, trainer, and internationally recognized authority on communications; sales, team performance, entrepreneurship and goal achievement (don’t think I am describing myself. He is another fellow celebrity). He is also the founder of Goalachievers International Inc., a global organization devoted to empowering individuals and organizations to achieve extraordinary results in all areas of one’s personal and business life. On top of all this, he is running for Mayor of Toronto (too bad I had no camera on me. I wouldn’t mind having a picture with him lol).

Didn’t I tell you I knew there was something special about this guy? As we wrapped up our Toastmasters meeting, I had the privilege to talk with him for about 15 minutes. He asked me a question I was eager to hear “tell me about your goals in life, and how can I help you?” I said to him “I am glad you asked...”. Guess what? He is going to help me achieve them. Him helping me will be a no brainer as I am working on doing exactly what he is doing right now, except running for Mayor (if I do that, there will be no competition at all lol).

Moral of the story? Do you want to meet a world class achiever? Do everything at the last minute and you will

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Journey to a Great Opportunity

Have you ever been in a meeting but not fully present because your mind is wandering somewhere else? Don’t you dare lie because I know it happens to all of us lol.
Today I attended a workshop for speakers, and for about five minutes or so I was thinking about ... a movie. How pleasant is this!

You may be wondering what movie? Bare with me, I will get back to it later (this is my trick to get you to read till the end lol)

For about a year now, I have been working on a project that is a little outside of my comfort zone. During the course of the project, I experienced some ups and downs (more downs than ups if you know what I mean). The project has been demanding and required a lot of prayers too because most of the time I was left wondering what to do next. A little boost from the Man upstairs causes no harm.

With everything that’s been going on throughout the year, one question kept coming back in my mind. Why does it seem that every time I pray for something I end up with the opposite (at least in the short term)? Is the Man upstairs playing tricks on me? It is only today that I finally landed on the answer I have long been looking for, and fair enough it came from the movie I was thinking about.

Since you’ve made it this far, I will share with you the name of the movie. There is no turning back now, you are going to read the whole story (at least I hope).

The movie is “Evan Almighty” starring Steve Carell, great comedy with lots of lessons to learn. Evan, a newly elected congressman, was asked by God (Morgan Freeman’s character) to build a boat because very soon there would be a flood in the city. The boat would be used to save lives of animals and human beings. Did I mention this was during a blazing hot summer? No rain to be expected.

Evan was the joke of the whole country. Nobody bought the idea of a flood in the mix of summer, above all no one believed God was speaking to him. It got to a point where his wife (who at the beginning of the movie was praying for family unity) and kids left him because they thought he was going crazy.

The most interesting part of the movie (at least for me) is Evan’s wife meeting God. Of course she did not know she was talking to God. Here is what God said to her:

“If someone prays for patience, do you think that God will give him patience or does He give him the opportunity to be patient? If someone prays for courage. God gives him the opportunity to be courageous. If someone prays for his family to be closer, do you think God will give them warm fuzzy feelings or does He give them the opportunity to love each other?”

Do you remember the woman’s prayer at the beginning of the movie? Of course you do (because I told you about it). After praying for family unity, she found herself separated from her husband, the exact opposite of her prayer request.
After she talked to God and understood how God works in answering prayers, she went back to her husband and they finished the project together (great ending by the way).

Now, back to my story (I should get paid for promoting this movie). When I started the project last year, I prayed for faith and creativity. These two are the main requirements for me to accomplish the project. It has been a year of setback after setback, sometimes I even laughed about it. It’s been crazy hectic.

My “AHA” moment finally came today during the workshop. All the setbacks I experienced the last year were not really setbacks! They were my opportunities to use faith and be creative. Isn’t that beautiful? Now I am excited and focused on taking the project on to the next level. I can use the faith and creativity I acquired (although I learned the hard way, and still learning). The change of context is such a powerful thing, don’t you think?

Moral of the story? Do you want to be excited about whatever you are doing? Just go to a meeting and think about something different.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Journey to Another New York Story

A friend of mine was writing a letter and something strange caught my attention. He was writing so slow that it seemed everything was in slow motion. I went up to him and asked “why are you writing so slowly?” His response was “I am writing so slowly because my friend to whom I am sending this letter is a slow reader”. Go figure

I hope you read this one slowly.

In March of this year I enrolled in a program that trains people to become leaders (Yes we can!). My friend Jeanelle told me that although the program is free it will cost me everything I have. I will have to give up all my old thinking and my old ways of doing things (I hoped I could keep my clothes on lol). That was an understatement.

The program was designed to last seven months. During those seven months I would attend four training sessions in New York. I liked that (I was hoping to meet other Superstars like me). In addition, I was given a coach who would hold me accountable for what I promised I would accomplish. So far so good.

During the first few weeks of the program I thought I was in a military training but there was nothing physical about it. I was so confronted that I thought “what in the world did I get myself into?”. That was before my first trip to New York. Fortunately I have a good coach who has always been there to guide me. I met real world changers in New York and I knew I was at the right place at the right time. The training was so intense but I kept going.

Fast forward. Here we are on the fourth week-end in New York. Not only did I survive the training, I am now among the top achievers (standing ovation please). I am humbled by the whole experience and I know I couldn’t have done it without the help of so many. When they called me on stage, I was so moved and filled with emotions that I couldn’t hold my tears (thank God there was no one taking pictures).

Before our lunch break, I approached one of our trainers. I had one question for him. How in the world are you able to do what you do? This guy is my hero. He has accomplished so many things (and still is) and I wanted to pick his brain. Here is how our conversation went:

Me: How in the world are you able to do the things you do?

Him: Because I say so. I do not look at my circumstances. I decide what I want to accomplish and I make it happen regardless of the obstacles. I create my own reality.

Me: Wow!

Him: Tell me Patrick. What would you like to accomplish in the world?

Me: I would like to help my home country

Him: How?

Me: By building schools for under privileged kids

Him: How many schools, where exactly and when?

Me: I don’t know yet

Him: That is why you are not doing it yet. It has to be crystal clear in your mind and you have to decide by when you want it to happen. Then create a plan to make it happen.

End of conversation

I am going to follow his plan; hopefully are you willing to do it with me.

Moral of the story? Would you like to have a cool conversation with a world changer? Just come see me and I will talk to you lol

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Journey to My Fourth Trip to New York

Here am, sitting in the lobby of the New Yorker Hotel, and all that I am thinking about is going back to Toronto as soon as possible. Don't get me wrong; New York is a great place, but I feel like I am ready to take on the world and to make things happen NOW! I think my last name should be “Superman” (at least that is how I feel now). The conference I went to was so awesome.

A couple of great moments happened to me in New York. This is my fourth trip to New York since the month of March of this year. The last three times I came here, I was so eager to learn, and I was so focused on what I was coming for that I did not get a chance to visit the city. This time, it was different. I felt more relaxed and I had enough time to visit a few places before our conference.

We arrived at the hotel on Friday at nine o'clock, and we were told that our rooms would only be available at 2 pm. So, one of my friends suggested that we go on one of the sightseeing tour buses. What a great idea! For two hours and a half, we were on the bus discovering New York. This city is so huge! Prior to that trip, the only time I saw New York like that was in the movies (especially Eddie Murphy's “Coming to America”). In my mind I was reflecting back to a time when I was a kid growing up back home in Burundi. I never imagined that one day I would be visiting the capital of the world and having so much fun. It was a surreal moment.

On Saturday evening, I had to meet my friend Abdel. He is the president of BANA, the organization that put together the event in Montreal I talked about in one of my blogs. I met Abdel only once before in Montreal, but when we met in New York, it felt as if we grew up together. He is such a great guy and we had so much fun together. He brought me to Times Square and the only word I could say was “wow!!!”. I never took so many pictures. That place is alive!

Abdel invited me to one of the pubs next to Times Square. It was such a beautiful place on the fifth floor of a great building. The place was packed. We ordered our drinks, and to my amazement, a glass of Coca Cola (yes a glass) cost eleven US dollars!! Are you kidding me? (that is the cost of two plates of delicious food at a Chinese restaurant lol)

I spent almost four hours with Abdel. Do you know what we were talking about? We were sharing the great memories we had back home in Burundi. Hold on a second! Here we were, in a city that many people only dream to visit one day (at least that was my case), and we were talking about the greatness of our home country! What a contrast! And to tell the truth (not that I was lying before), I would give anything to relive those moments when I was younger. If that was possible, I would live them fully not taking any moment for granted.

Isn't it funny that sometimes we think that when we “get there” we will finally be happy? Let me share a secret with you (you are my confident but do not tell anybody else). Once you “get there”, you will be like “is that it?” And you will want to get to another place, and then another place, and then another place… (that has been my experience). Now, don’t get me wrong. Striving towards achieving our goal is good. However, life is about achieving a balance (that is my theory). Achieving a balance is when we are able to reflect and learn from the past, plan and be excited about the future, but experience every moment in the now.

I have a suggestion. How about deciding to put more emphasis on living in the present moment and less on spending every moment of our life striving to get somewhere we think will bring us ultimate happiness. Instead, let’s try to be happy with who we are, where we are and be thankful for what we have whether it is a lot or a little! I really believe, based on my experience, that if we can all do this we would see that the world is a great place to live regardless of what is going on around us (that is the Journeyman Theory and it is a Trade Mark lol).

Moral of the story? Do you want to be happy? Just go to New York, you will have an expensive drink and you will miss your home country.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Journey to a priceless moment

I have so many things to be thankful for this week and some of them took my breath away as they unfolded. I once heard somebody say “be careful what you wish for, because you may end up getting it”

I was at Ngoma Lounge last week (for my free Sprite of course, among other things), I was talking with my friend Kijanya. I mentioned to him I was interested in learning how to play music, starting with the keyboard. He laughed obviously thinking I was joking.

The next day, while helping a great friend of mine who was moving he asked if he could leave his two keyboards with me (you heard right...two keyboards). He didn’t think he would have enough space for them at the new place. I thought to myself “Are you kidding me?” I then started reflecting on the conversation I had with Kijanya the previous day. Who do you think I called to announce the news? You guessed right, Kijanya himself. He thought I was playing tricks on him still going at it with my joke. He just couldn’t buy it. Then he said to me “I would like to pray to the same God you pray to” lol. So needless to point out I will soon be taking lessons and my instructor will you guessed...Kijanya.

This was a great moment; however what happened the next day was just priceless (I don’t think there is a better word to define it). For almost a year now, I have been helping a client to achieve his dream. He is a musician and for more than five years he has been playing in bands, working for other musicians. He would sometimes get contracts here and there, but that was not his ultimate dream. He told me his dream is to have his own not for profit organization. His aim being to promote his music, as well as other African musicians, by organizing events and workshops all over North America.

So we went to work. The first thing Paul and I did was help him register his organization. We did it successfully in January of this year and went on to develop a plan for him to host an event this summer. Later we worked on securing government grants to finance the event. We also went after private sponsorships in case we did not qualify for government funding.

I must confess that it was a learning process for us as well. My client had such a positive attitude even in the most difficult of times. Instead we kept working and sometimes for as long as ten hours a day. Two weeks prior to his event, we had a few sponsors but not enough to cover all the costs. Nevertheless my client remained optimistic and kept believing we will get it done.

Then something amazing happened! I had an appointment with him to work on securing some last minute sponsorships. It was one of those days where I didn’t feel like working at all. I almost called off the meeting I had with him (I am so glad I didn’t). He showed up half an hour before our appointment. He was very calm so I thought maybe he was tired. A few moments later he said “I just received a phone call. We were approved for the government grant”.

We stared at each other for five good minutes without saying a word. Then, he broke the silence with tears. He cried like a baby. Guess what? I got emotional too (not a nice scene). The hard work had finally paid off. All this happened a few days prior to his event.

Trust me when I say I would give anything to live a moment like this again. Knowing that I helped contribute towards making someone’s dream a reality fills up my heart. It is truly a priceless moment! My only regret is missing his event. I will be in New York City, but Paul will be there and I know he will represent our company with pride.

Moral of the story? Do you want your dream to come true? Come see me, and we will cry together.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Journey to another blog

One of my favorite movies of all time is “Serendipity”. It is a great romantic comedy (If I were an actor, this could be one of the movies I would play in).

Before I watched the movie, I did not know the meaning of the word “Serendipity”. Here is one of the meaning of Serendipity: “the effect by which one accidentally stumbles upon something fortunate, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated”.

Such was my experience a few weeks ago in Montreal. As I mentioned in one of my recent blogs (I hope you got a chance to read it, otherwise go back and skim through it before you carry on with this one. That’s my assignment to you and there might be a quiz afterwards lol), I was in Montreal hosting an event, and I “accidentally stumbled upon” one of the guest speakers. What a fortune accident!

The last time I saw Jeanine, I was a little boy. We lived in the same area (our moms were great friends) and we attended the same high school. When she left to pursue her studies in the US, I think I was in grade 7. She did not remember me when we met in Montreal, but I remembered her very well.

After her very inspirational speech, we talked for a while and she told me about her work back home through her organization BFI (Burundi Friends International). I asked for her business card and we have kept in touch ever since.

You know what else happened? Jeanine “accidentally stumbled upon” my blog and this also turned out to be a fortunate accident. She asked if I could start a blog for BFI, I felt honored. In fact I did not think twice, I jumped right on the opportunity. They are doing an amazing job helping people mainly through education and health care. The more she talks about her projects, the more excited I get. I want to be part of a group of people who strive to make a difference.

Do you know what else Jeanine told me? She lives in San Diego (she is continuously bragging about how sunny it is all year long) and of that I am very jealous. Don’t get me wrong, I love Toronto, but my love for Toronto is not the same in February (talk about unconditional love lol).

This is the reason why I am committed to writing great blogs for them, hoping that I get my special invite to San Diego lol (she knows I am more inspired when it’s not too cold lol). In the meantime I will content myself with their website (; hopefully I will see some pictures of sunny San Diego.

Moral of the story? Do you really want to meet cool people? Go to Montreal and you will start a new blog for them.

Always a pleasure,

The Journeyman

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Journey to a great deal

Back to normal life after a few busy weeks. It's great to wake up in the morning feeling rested and ready to go (yes, Ama. Hoping you won’t ask me to get a life again lol).

Two weeks ago, somebody told me: “Patrick, you are a doing machine. Find some time to just be”. I laughed so much, but I came to see that she was right. After much consideration, I took last Monday off. All I did was respond to a few e-mails, some of them to friends who were just discovering my blog for the first time (Vanessa, I am not trying to name any names lol, but your comments were so great. Thanks a lot), some others were discussing with me about an opportunity of me blogging for them (I really felt honoured, so I said yes. Stay tuned for more on that).

I was again the MC of an event a few weeks ago. Despite my team losing at the Basketball game prior to the event, I had great fun. I guess now the Lakers are having second thoughts about signing me to that contract I have long waited for. If that doesn’t happen, I will be just fine with the Miami Heat.

Coming back to the event I was hosting, my friend Diego received an award given to a successful young entrepreneur. Although he was caught by surprise, I personally think he deserves it.(I am not saying this because he is the main sponsor of our Basketball team). He really is deserving of being the recipient of such an award.
I've known Diego for a while now and we have developed a great friendship which started with sharing books we read. But since he started Ngoma Lounge, our friendship has grown stronger and deeper (could it be because of the VIP treatment I always get when I go to his lounge, yes the free Sprite I get every time says it all. Now how great of a deal is that?)

A few months ago, I met Nicolas and Kijanya, Diego's long-time friends and business partners. They told me about a great opportunity that had presented itself. They could finally settle down and have a place of their own after years of going from one place to another while showcasing their talents. All they needed was some extra money to add to what they had at that time and they would finally own the place. We made a few phone calls here and there and the deal was sealed. Ngoma Lounge was born.

What seemed to be an easy deal turned into a nightmare for my friends. For 8 long months, there was setback after setback, and Ngoma could not open. But Diego never lost hope. He was close to the Promised Land and there was no turning back. He really inspired me. In a hopeless situation, Diego kept his smile. He knew one day he would get there. Finally, it happened. On Christmas day of 2009, Ngoma Lounge opened its doors for the first time. It was a huge victory for Diego and his friends. And they never stopped expanding. It’s gotten to a point where I have to come early if I want to get my free Sprite (or just get in).The place is always packed. It's a great lesson of perseverance and faith in the face of adversity.

How about my friend Diego? Did he change? Not a single bit. He still keeps his low profile, always serving his community and still quoting our favourite movie “Peaceful Warrior” by saying to his loyal customers “Thanks for stopping by”. No wonder they keep coming back.

Did I mention they also have a cool website? I recommend it, great piece of work too.

Moral of the story? Do you want to be successful in your business? Just offer me a free Sprite and you will receive an award.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Journey to a new relationship

I just started a new relationship. It is an amazing one. I really love this person so much that it takes a song to describe it. I thought of a great romantic song and I came up with Whitney Houston’s The Greatest Love of All.

Here is how it goes:

“I found the greatest love of all inside of me.The greatest love of all is easy to achieve. Learning to love yourself It is the greatest love of all”

Yes. I am learning to love myself (I know you were expecting me to say something else lol). It is not as easy as it seems. I must admit that it took me a great deal of courage to

I once heard a speaker say that when you seem to get stuck over and over again in some areas of your life, check up from the neck up. That is what I did recently. I took a thorough and honest look at the man in the mirror (I think Michael Jackson’s song came in handy). What I saw was not a pretty picture (but I am that bad either). There were things I had to face, and my coaches (yes I have many) helped me a lot.

Here are some of the things I found out about me. It has been really hard for me to open my heart to people around me, especially when I am facing a challenge. Being vulnerable and asking for help is not my forte. The impact is that very few people get to know the “real” me. I am a positive guy most of the time (and I don’t think I fake it), but I had to face the harsh reality that I am not Superman (I think I am close lol). It’s ok to fail, make mistakes and admit it.

As I said, letting it sink in wasn’t easy but it was even harder to admit it to people around me (especially to my coaches). I had always told them what I thought they wanted to hear, but it was not always the honest truth (I think it was my desire to look good in their eyes). However, I could not hide the results that showed up later in my life.

What else did I find? (Yes, I am opening up). I found that I am so much result driven that I forget it is all about the journey (am I really the Journeyman? Lol). And when it occurs that I don’t get the result I want, I blame it on myself and don’t communicate at all (I remember once my friends spent 3 days looking for me as I had disappeared without saying a word).

I found out a few other things, but those I just shared were the ones costing me the most. My resolution has been that something got to change. If I really want to live the life I am creating and live it fully, I have to live an open glass life and allow people to get access to the “real” me. I must accept that there is nothing wrong with me, I am who I am and I am just as fine. It is ok to be vulnerable and get my heart broken sometimes (hopefully not so often lol).

So, for the last few days, I have been on the phone or meeting people, cleaning up a few messes, asking for forgiveness for the broken promises, and I will keep doing that until all the mess is clean (at least the mess I know of lol). It is not an easy thing to do, trust me. But I really want to live a life of integrity and enjoy every bit of it. I never thought I would someday share with the world this much about my life, ever! There is always a first time for everything. You know what? It feels good already. Now I have a great relationship with myself and I am embracing and accepting the good and the not so good about me.

Moral of the story? Do you want to really fall in love with yourself? Learn to sing some romantic songs.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Journey to Montreal

I have been to Montreal a couple of times, but I cannot say I know the city well. Of all my trips there, the longer I have stayed is 3 days. I usually go just for a week end. On every occasion there is somebody to pick me up either at the airport or bus terminal, I just have to show up.

This time it was different. I knew I had to go to Montreal (I was the MC of an event taking place there), but I had little time to prepare as I was on the road for the most part prior to my trip. A day before my trip, I had no idea how I would get to Montreal and where to stay. Because I had been away for a while, I did not get a chance to talk to the organizers of the event about the logistics of my trip until only a day before (what an adventure!). But...a quick phone call to my friend Emery and there was a place for me to stay. I guess that’s what friends are for.

I then decided to take the Mega Bus. Good decision. The bus is so comfortable and makes it feel like you are flying. Plus I had access to the Internet (free advertisement for the Mega Bus people). Now I only had Emery’s phone number and he told me to call him once in Montreal.

Here’s the funny thing about this. During the six hour drive to Montreal and after the battery of my laptop died I started reading a book.The book was saying that all we need to know is where we are going. How to get there is none of our business. We just have to take the next step. I started laughing thinking of how it linked to my situation. I was going to Montreal with only a phone number as my back up. That was all I needed at that time. Once I get to Montreal, the next step would be to call my friend (I didn’t even have his home address, is that good stuff or what!).

I then decided to make my trip to Montreal about knowing the next step. It was a fun experience. Friday was great. My friend Emery told me how to get to the venue, and here I was wandering in the streets of Montreal not knowing exactly where to go but having fun nonetheless. During the event, I met a good friend of mine who was going in the same direction after. So he gave me a ride (I was like, this ‘next step’ thing is cool).

Saturday was the main event (simply so because it was the event I was hosting). I had to meet with the organizers at noon for the last touches on the schedule. My friend Emery was still sleeping when I left. I stepped out without even knowing where the bus stop is located. I was living in the moment just waiting for the next step (could it be a taxi, bus or even a ride). I wasn’t worried about the next step; I knew I would get there regardless.

All in all my stay in Montreal was awesome. I enjoyed the festivities and met people I hadn’t seen in a long time. I kept asking myself how life would be like with no worries about tomorrow, living in the moment just waiting for the next step to show up? Looking for nice things to happen of course. Wouldn’t it be nice? My guess is that’s really how life is (if we choose to live it that way). All I have to do is know where I want to go in life, live in the moment and let life take its course by showing me the next step.

Moral of the story? Do you want to live a worry free life? Just go to Montreal with just a friend’s phone number as your back up.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Journey to a life on the road

Back to Toronto after a week on the road. The last few days have been amazing. I left on Thursday for New York City, came back on Monday morning (5am to be exact), then headed to Buffalo New York the same day, and by 1am I was back to Toronto saying to myself: “This is crazy”. Hold on there is more. On the next day, I was back on the road again this time going to Brantford Ontario and came back to Toronto around 11pm. Two days later, here I am on my way to Montreal for a week-end of festivities. In a few weeks, I am heading back to New York and if things go according to plan, I may go to Africa later this year (crazy isn’t it?).

As I am writing this, I am amazed at how my life has turned out. Never in my mind had I thought I would travel this much. In fact, since July 2005, I have traveled at least every 3 months. On my way home from Brantfort, I was thinking a few years back about what my mom said to me when I was coaching Basketball. She said “when are you going to have a life?”. And my response was “Mom , this is my life”. She said this because I was gone all the time.

As years went by, my mom’s question kept bugging me. When am I going to have a life? I asked myself this very question before last week in New york City. In one of the sessions at our conference, during a panel discussion, one of the speakers was asked how he has been able to manage family life with his many trips around the world. The question caught my attention (maybe I will get something to tell my mom lol).

He then said (I am paraphrasing): “Can you give me the definition of a good father or husband? Yes I travel 3 weeks per month, but my family never misses me. And I never miss them. We have agreed on how we are going to live our lives regardless of how society says a family should live. We can create the life we want, and we can create great memories along the way.”

I felt a sense of relief after I heard this. In fact, I have created great memories with my trips. I will never forget how emotional my trip to Mali was. The moments I lived were priceless. This is an opportunity that is not given to everybody and I won’t take it for granted (and I like to travel. Every time I go somewhere, I am doing things I love to do. What more can I ask for?

Although my mom’s question is still valid (and I know she asked it out of love), I think I can create a family life that includes a lot of travel (how about a trip to Hawaii with my loved ones? Wouldn’t that be nice?)

We can create the life we want, how we want it to be and still enjoy it. That is my new mission. I am inviting you to do the same, and the world will live as one (as John Lennon said).

Moral of the story? Do you want to have a great family life? Start traveling a lot and your mom will ask when you are going to have a life.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Journey back to New York City

Living in downtown Toronto is really something these days. I have never seen this many police officers in the city, ever. And they are everywhere.

At first I thought that me being a superstar had drawn the people’s attention and the city saw that I needed bodyguards (but not this many). I wanted to let them know I was about to leave the city for 3 days, but they were not open to conversation. So I had to let it go. Good thing I did not talk to them because as it turned out they were there for my friend Obama. He has a meeting with 19 of his fellows in what they call G20 (I know he’s going to miss me as I will be away).

So here I am, back to New York City again (I am about to leave in a few hours). The only question I have in my mind is this: Is New York as pumped as Toronto about the soccer World Cup? I witnessed the World Cup fever myself, today as the Netherlands won again (I am writing my blog on Thursday evening). Soccer fans were chanting and cheering everywhere in downtown Toronto. Would you say the fever has something to do with the earthquake that hit our city lately? We never know. It could be the power of the vuvuzelas.

A couple of things happened to me this week. On Tuesday, as I was talking on the phone with a friend of mine, I was also drinking a very tasty juice (yes, I am a master at multitasking). After I was done with the juice, I kept playing with the bottle stopper in my hands, and something caught my attention. At the bottom of the stopper, it read: “You will be traveling and coming into money”

Here I am two days before my trip to NYC, and I read this strange message. I thought: that would be nice.
Then I started to think. What would life be like if there was no limit at all to what we can have? Wouldn’t it be great? Think about that. We would be free to go wherever we want to go, do whatever we want to do, no strings attached. There would be no worries about tomorrow because tomorrow would take care of itself (I think someone said that over 2000 years ago). It would be a dream life.

Something shifted when I started to think about those things. I said to myself: You know what? There is no limit at all. We can have it all. The only limit there is is in our mind. So I chose to believe that the message “You will be traveling and coming into money” was true. It became a reality. I made a conscious decision to live a limitless life (it sounds insane, but it feels good). This new context excited me. I was jacked up! All of a sudden I felt a joy that I had never experienced before (although my pocket book did not change at all lol).

Guess what! Things started to happen in my life. Work that I was struggling to finish for weeks was done in two days. I spent 3 days going to bed at 2AM and waking up at 6:30AM to work again and I was excited to do it. And yesterday, as my friends and I were struggling to find rooms in NYC hotels (they were all booked), someone offered us a place to stay...for free. Are you kidding? This is cool. And I feel that the best is yet to come. I can’t wait to share this with my friend Paul. By the way, did you see how good looking he is in the video? If not check the video
And ladies, he is not taken yet (don’t tell him I told you so).

Moral of the story? Would you like to live a limitless life? Just drink a tasty juice while you talk to your friend on the phone.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Journey to the good and the bad

Have you ever been in a situation when nothing seems to work? That was my life for the entire of last week or so it seemed.

First of all, my home phone and internet service died the same day. Now to many this may seem like not a big deal. Heck, it was only ten years ago when most of us didn’t have any cell or home internet service. But a significant part of my business involves the use of the internet and the phone. Because of this a number of my projects were delayed.
If that was not enough, I experienced a number of delays in publishing my book and to top it all off, I got injured during basketball practice (I guess the Lakers will have to wait before they can sign me to that 3 year contract). For three days, I couldn't move, and I had no connection with the world.

All right. Something had to happen here! This was not the way I had planned things. It took me a few days to figure out that this was a wake up call. How? You may ask. This was a message to me that I needed to take some time for myself. I had no choice. In hind sight I am glad this happened because up until then my days were ridiculously busy. So, like you probably guessed, I decided to take some time off. What a joy!

The first thing I did was to find out what I was thankful for inspite of all these challenges. Let's see. In the same week when all these things were happening, I received a reward (for the second straight year) as the best speaker at Toastmasters International (The Members Choice award). On top of that, I was elected as the funniest speaker. I have to tell you that these two awards came as a surprise. I really was not expecting to win anything.

Now the surprises didn’t stop there; last week an organization asked me to be the Master of Ceremonies of an event to be held this summer. Yes, this will be another one of the many events that I would have had the opportunity at which to speak. However, this one will be unique in that the people attending will be from all over North America and even as far as Europe. And the story continues because that same day, I was also asked to join one of the top personal development training organizations in the world. This also came as a surprise, and on a day in which I needed good surprises.

The good news did not stop there. I was invited by CBC radio to be part of a panel discussing the World Cup of Soccer. What do you think I said?. ...... YES, of course! Also, did I mention to you that they would like to work with me on a very cool project?

In the middle of all this, I learned a couple of things. First of all, I learned that I am the type of person who likes to be in control and to have things go my way and happen within my timeframe. Well, guess what? After all of last week’s events I learned that I have to let go, believe and allow things to unfold in their own time (I must confess that this is easier said than done). I also learned that I have a choice of what I can choose to focus on. When I perceive that bad things are happening to me, I now choose to focus on the good things that are occurring at the same time; and as I found out last week there can be many.

I also learned that delays are a good thing. I had to change the conclusion of my book (thanks to Paul and his sister's suggestions), and now I am more excited about it. I decided to expand on the conclusion of my book to include a one on one conversation with you my blog followers. All of my blogs have been about sharing my experiences with you, however, in this book I felt that there was one part missing from the conclusion. I am happy to say that I found it! This additional part is not about me but about you. Yes you! What? You ask. Well, if I tell you now it would spoil the surprise.

So back to what I learned from all the events of last week; well, I learned that sometimes, it's good to take some time off and enjoy life.

All right, I know you have been waiting for this. Did you forget? Last time I promised you to show you a video. Here it is, and I know you will all enjoy it

Just use the link below and you will be able to watch it. That will be the moral of the story

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman