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Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Journey to a higher service

One of the best movies I have ever seen is “Peaceful Warrior”. It is such an inspiring movie that I’d like you to see it. I promise not to give the movie away and I won’t talk about it for that matter. The only thing I will mention is the part in the movie where they say: “There is no higher purpose than service to others”. I couldn’t agree more.

I did one higher service without even noticing. I coached Basketball (did you expect something else?)

Just this morning, I was thinking about my former players and what they have become. Let’s see. We have a journalist in South Africa and she is with our team captain who now works for the UN. We have a Doctor in Germany, another one finished her studies in China and the list goes on and on. Many of them are wonderful mothers and wives (Ama, I am not naming names lol). Was I not a good coach?

I am very proud of all my players. Really. However, there is one who deserves a standing ovation. Can you do this with me? Thanks for your applause (I hope you included me in your cheers).

This player is one of the founding members of the team. For a number of seasons she was our best player. Her two sisters also played on the team.

And then tragedy struck. Her dad (a single parent) died while she was in high school.

She had to find a way to raise her younger siblings (the two sisters and two brothers).

Did she give up Basketball? Not a bit. In addition to raising her siblings, she kept playing and she kept going to the Scout meetings while working a job (yes, she gave up her studies). She was my hero.

That was over 10 years ago. How about now? Let’s see. One of her sisters finished university and worked in the media field, worked for the UN and is now working as a consultant. One of her brothers is in France studying. The younger brother is now a happily married man and works in the hotel industry.

Do you have a day or two? I can talk about her youngest sister. She is an actress, a radio host and a top model. To top it all, she just got her degree in TV production. How about that!!! Now you get why I was asking for a standing ovation. I am not saying she did all that because she had an amazing Basketball coach. Maybe I might have something to do with it. Standing ovation for me too, please.

When I went home in 2008, I visited them. What a joy. We talked and laughed, it was so great.

Then, the younger sister (do you remember the top model?) told me about her dream. Now you see where this is going, don’t you?

Yes. She just wrapped up a documentary about the life of former refugees in the South of the country (Burundi). She was enormously moved to tears throughout the making of this documentary and she wants to do something about it. She wants to make a change using her talents as a movie producer.

Upon hearing this I had to do something. I felt the urge to help although I still had to figure how. Then the thought came to me that I could raise money to offer her a scholarship and bring her to Canada for training in Film production. Isn’t that a great idea?

I found one of the best institutes in North America and registered her in that program. It’s now down to finding the money to pay for the tuition. I would like her to produce the best movies possible about issues of poverty, hunger and other issues facing my country (and other countries around the world). I want her to raise awareness about what these countries are going through. Above all, I want to pay tribute to my player who succeeded in raising her siblings through tough times. She deserves it. Would you help me accomplish that mission? Here is how.

In a few weeks, my book will be out. Not only would I like you to purchase a copy, but I would so very much appreciate it if you could promote it to your friends as well (didn’t I tell you I have started a movement?). Can we do this together? Would you join me? A big part of the money will go towards my friend’s scholarship. And then, I want to go back to Mali next year to pursue my mission of helping kids. If there is any money left, I will treat you all to lunch in your favourite restaurant lol (hope you won’t be too hungry).

Moral of the story? Do you want to be of a higher service? Just coach Basketball. If you’re lucky you will meet a top model.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Journey to a dream fulfilled

A funny thing happened to me when I was in New York a few weeks ago. It was on the Saturday and we were enjoying the great conference we had been attending. In the afternoon during our 15 minute break I went out into the street to enjoy the great view of New York City.

It was a beautiful and sunny day. My friend Mike joined me outside. Off we went down the street to the building across the Madison Square Garden (I think it is the post office)

We then sat down on the stairs watching the crazy traffic in the streets of Manhattan. I started telling Mike how big a dream it was for me to just be standing outside the Madison Square Garden. This brought back memories of the sleepless nights at Kennedy’s place watching the NBA playoffs until 3 am due to time zone difference.

Then, just to relax, I decided to take my shoes off (I knew I had no holes in my socks lol). All of a sudden, Mike decided to do so. Before we knew it, another classmate joined us and did the same. Some other guy we didn’t know joined us and took off his shoes too (I guess I started a movement).

I looked at Mike, he looked at me, and we all laughed. Mike then told me: “See? You did that. You inspired all of us to do so”. It was so funny.

Fast forward. Just yesterday, I was thinking about what I should write about this week on my way home (yes, sometimes the inspiration can decide to go on vacation). Then I remembered my funny story with Mike in New York. I thought it would be a good story (at least for me).

The first thing that came to my mind was the movie Gandhi (a great movie by the way). There is a section in the movie where Gandhi decides to walk through the entire country mile after mile from coast to coast. No one knew why he was doing it but in every village he went through, people decided to join him. In a few days, it had become a movement. Not even the English people , in India, knew how to handle this.

When he reached the Indian Ocean, he went deep into the water and grabbed a handful of salt. He then said: “We have our own salt. Why do we have to import it from England” (I am paraphrasing here). From then on, Indian people started to use their own salt, negatively impacting the entire England salt industry. This was so inspiring.

When I got home, I thought I could start a movement too (why not). The more I thought about it the clearer it became. Here is the story.

When I went back home in 2008, I visited a number of friends. We had a great time. I shared with many of them what my life is like after spending 6 years in Canada (I told them it is a cold country, eh!).

One of my friends was inspired and told me about her dream. Then I got inspired (I am always inspired by people who have dreams so big that they don’t know how to fulfill them). After listening to her, I decided to give her a hand. I didn’t know how, but I knew I had to at least try. The funny thing is, by helping her, my dreams are coming to pass.

I kept in touch with her after I returned to Toronto. The more I talked to her, the more I liked her dream. In fact, it was like her dream became mine. All of a sudden, I started to think about it all the time.

One day I called her and said to her, “Let’s do this”. Let’s even put a deadline to it. But the thing is, I had no idea how we would do it. She had no clue either (but that is the beauty of it). Now we are almost at 90% towards achieving it. I can’t wait to see my friend achieve her dream.

For all you fans of the blog, I have two requests. Would you like to join me in making her dream come true? If yes, please let me know by sending me an e-mail at
I will give you all the details about the dream and how we can do it together.

The second request is this: Find someone (it could be a friend or not), ask him/her about his/her dream and help him/her make it come true. By so doing, yours will come true as well.

Moral of the story? Do you want to make someone’s dream come true? Just go to New York City and you will take off your shoes.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Journey to a Resort

Talking about two extremes, I came from New York City and the next thing you knew I was in a resort in a city called Nottawasaga. I didn't even know what was its exact location. What I did know was that it was a one hour drive from Toronto. It was a beautiful resort, away from the hectic traffic of the big city. There was a golf course, a swimming pool, a spa facilities, a gym, and a lot of other good stuff.

I came here for a three day conference. The great food I ate and all the other good stuff I mentioned before were included in the package. There was also a show, put on for us, with a DJ that did his thing (so that I can do my all my great moves...)

However (yes however), even though I was happy to be there, I wasn`t really enjoying all the fun activities. Trust me, it’s not because I don't like having a good time. From my previous blogs you know I like having a great time, however, this time was different . I had an urge to finish something.

The conference was great and the various workshops were very helpful. But as soon as we had a break, I ran to my room to work on my computer. Yesterday, I went to bed at 1:30 AM and woke up at 5:30AM to continue working. Its been quite a long time since I have been this excited about doing something.

You are probably asking yourselves what in the world is this guy doing to not even be enjoying this wonderful resort. Don’t worry, I will tell you.

The reason why I wasn't fully enjoying myself, not to mention not sleeping much, was because I am writing a book..your book...our book.

When I was in New York city, I was so inspired that I decided to use my book for a good cause. A portion of the book sales will go towards helping kids in different countries. I was very much inspired by our project in Mali that I decided to donate a portion of the funds from my future book sales to support projects similar to the one in Mali. The remaining portion will go towards my bank account lol (I have a special thing that I intend to accomplish, but I won’t tell you what it is...but stay tune for its breaking news!)

Ever since I got this idea, it has been difficult for me to sleep. I am just so excited about it. I find myself writing all the time. I wrote while traveling on the mega bus that brought us here and during my breaks. I couldn't stop thinking about writing while attending the workshops. It has simply been unbelievable. I am really enjoying the process, so much so, that if there was only one copy of this book I would be the one to buy it.

I am now on to my eighth chapter and the goal is to finish the book by the end of next week. I can’t wait for it to be published. It contains some really good stuff (much of which have been more difficult for me to write about because they are very personal stories. Nevertheless, I will share them with you).

Remember, It is not too late for you to send me your favourite blog posts. Thanks to all of you who have sent me your comments, I made sure to include your names in my book.Again my e-mail is:

Moral of the story? Do you want to have a dream that will keep you awake all the time? Go to a nice resort, but you won’t be allowed to have fun.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Journey to New York City (Part two)

I didn’t know that I could time travel. Now I know. Put it this way. I am writing this blog on Thursday about a trip I am taking tonight and you are reading it on Monday about my experiences of a place in which I am yet to arrive (this does not even make sense to me too, so don’t worry if you don’t get it lol)

First of all, a big thank you (I mean big one) for those of you who sent me your e-mails (or texts). I was overwhelmed by the number and the content of your messages. Some of the messages were coming from people that I did not even know were reading my blog (I won’t mention names that is why I won’t say I was surprised by your message Lionelle lol).

My e-mail is still open for your suggestions (

All right. I am heading back to New York City . Again I don’t know what to expect. All I know is that I need this trip for many reasons. I have been playing fully (even though I feel I did not give my 100%), and I am feeling empty. I need a refill (I guess New York City has become my gas station). I hope to return with a full tank.

This reminds me about a message I listened to a while ago. The guy was explaining that if X is where we are and Y being the place we want to be, Y is always outside our comfort zone (he was so right). He also said that on our journey from X to Y, sometimes we will feel like we want to give up because we may be in a uncomfortable spot. We want to return or to remain with that which is familiar to us. It is at this time where we need to fight on and keep going because the breakthrough is near (even though we don’t see it yet). I hope the information I will receive in New York will take me to my Y

I learned so much in the last few weeks. I learned that everything is about making a decision. Once that decision is made, the details will take care of themselves (even though sometimes it requires miracles for them to happen).

Last Thursday I was so busy that I didn’t even know how I would handle my day. I had to give back my friend Kijanya his guitar, go to the post office to pick up a dvd (it was the last day to pick it up otherwise it would be sent back to the US ), and then go to my appointment at 5.45 PM. There was no way I could manage all this (on top of what I was already doing).

Then I received a call from Kijanya. He was downstairs at my office (first miracle). It was 30 minutes before my appointment. There was no way I could go home to give him his guitar (he had to give guitar lessons that evening). Then his student called (second miracle). He was not far from us. He came over, gave us a ride to my home (third miracle), I picked up the guitar, then he drove me to the post office (fourth miracle) and I picked up my dvd (5 minutes before they close: fifth miracle). The
dvd was so great. It had all the information I needed to take my business to the next level (I would have missed out on all this great information if did not get to the post office in time)

I learned a valuable lesson. All I have to do is to plan what I need to do, and not to worry about the details on how they will happen.

Moral of the story? Do you want to go outside of your comfort zone? Take guitar lessons and you will get a ride when you need it

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Journey to My Blog

Yesterday, I went to help my friend Motivatorman move into his new apartment. As we were chatting, I realized that it has been almost four years since I met him for the first time. It has been four years of great friendship and I am very thankful that he is my friend.

The first time I met Motivatorman, I was participating in a workshop out of the city (great place near a lake) and he was one of the speakers. I was not even part of the group he was speaking to, but the title of his speech got my attention. It was: “How to press 'play' when you're stuck on 'pause'. It was a great session. After the workshop, we exchanged telephone numbers; we also realized that our offices were 10 minutes away from each other. The rest is history (now I am a historic figure).

Motivatorman introduced me to his blog “The Adventures of Motivatorman” and I have enjoyed it ever since. I was inspired to start my own blog, after reading his for years. He helped me to start it and since then I have never stopped writing

To tell the truth (not that I was lying before), I did not know how far the blog would go. I started writing just for fun and I did not even want to share my stories (superstars like myself, we like to have our privacy..). It was a few months after I started writing that a friend of mine told me that, after reading my blog, she started talking to her sister after months of hard feelings between them. A week after, another friend told me that she decided to adopt a child in Africa after reading my story. I was like “are you kidding me???” Today I spent an entire hour with my friend Regis (great guy. I like to call him Obama) who kept telling me how I should be on Oprah show!!! I couldn't believe it.

As we say in French “L'appetit vient en mangeant”. The more I received these comments (and I have received a great number of them), the more I wanted to share my stories with the world. In about four weeks I went from 750 friends on Facebook to 1100. I can't even say how the blog opened doors for me with different organizations wanting me to come and speak. I remember one time a lady asked me to speak to the Chinese community and she introduced me as if I could walk on water (in fact I once walked on water but it was frozen. It was in winter).

I have also made great friends because of my blog (the one in Dubbai, I think I am talking about you...). And I don't want to mention names, that is why I won't mention Gentille in Toronto and Nadege in South Africa who are great fans of the blog. They like their privacy lol

Now, I have decided to write a book. Yes you got it right. I am now committed to doing this. A friend of mine in Montreal promised to hook me up with an editor (talking about meeting the right people at the right place at the right time.). I am really excited about this new adventure.

Before I start it though, I would like to ask for help from you guys. I want you (yes you) to be part of my book. I want my book to be yours too.

This is how:

I would like you to send me an e-mail at and please let me know which blog post you liked the most, and why. I would like to include those blogs in my book. Also, some of you may have questions you would like to ask me. Please do so (you won't have to talk to my people so that they can talk to me lol ). You can also provide me with feedback as to how I can improve my blog. I am open to any suggestion. My promise to you is that (if you agree), I would include in my book the names of the people who contributed to the writing process by sending me their suggestions by e-mail(I want you to be superstars as well. It's sad to be alone at the top lol).

Moral of the story? I am looking forward to reading your e-mails

Always a pleasure


The Journeyman