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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