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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