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Monday, October 31, 2011

My Journey to a Radio Interview

Just finished an Interview on Goal Achievers International Radio Show. I am used to be on the other side of the microphone, now I was the one answering to the questions. I guess that's what happens once one becomes a Superstar lol.

What an exciting week! After my meeting with Yvonne Chaka Chaka, it was a pure joy to go to two amazing events. One with our beloved East African Superstar Kidum who had his concert here in Toronto (I got a chance to meet him one on one for hours too), and a very amazing Broadway show with FELA last Tuesday (I am part of a team that is promoting this show). I was sharing this with my wife who told me that I had become a “Mayibobo” (street kid) as I am always out.

It has been nearly three weeks since I came back from Burundi. Even though it's great to be back here, I was feeling empty in the inside for quite some time (missing my wife maybe). I had lost my drive and sometimes it was a little bit scary given the sense of urgency of the moment (that's another topic for another time...). Something was missing and I did not know what.

Fortunately, being with friends such as Jim kept me going. It's great to have friends like Jim. He is so generous (he gave me two DVD's that got me excited) and he is out there meeting people. He asked me to go with him a couple of times and I did it with pleasure. I met great people, still, something was missing. I did what I love to do, like the two business owners that I am now coaching, but I did not feel the drive I had in Burundi when I was working on Lake Tanganyika project.

That was until I met my business partner Paul on Saturday. Man I needed that meeting. We were putting strategies in place for our company and we were so excited about that. All of sudden, I became alive. I got so excited that now I cannot even sleep. Do you know what was missing the last few weeks (not including my wife)? I had no goal to shoot for. I had no objective, I was living my life as it came. And my life was lacking energy .I was sleeping for 10 hours, including naps in the afternoon (can you believe that?)

Of course I did what I needed to do for the contracts that I have, but other than that, I was just watching TV. And that is not was I am used to.
Not anymore. I am now excited about my next goal (of course I won't tell you what it is, but stay tune for the next blog posts). Boy I am excited.

As I learned from Napoleon Hill's book “Think and Grow Rich”, I have burned all bridges behind.. Have you heard the story about burning bridges behind you? Not yet? Come on, please don't tell me that you have never heard that story.
OK, knowing that you will all pay me, I am going to tell you the story of the burned bridges. Of course I am going to paraphrase.

There was a general who brought his army to fight against another country whose army was the double of his soldiers. When his ships got to the shore, he asked his soldiers to burn them. They burned their own ships!!! Can you believe that? Now there was no turning back. Either they win or they die. Guess what? They won.

I have used this principle over and over again. Before I do anything about my goals, I always burn the bridges behind me. There is no Plan B involved. And I can tell you that it's scary. It takes a lot of faith, but it is the only way to get that burning desire that Napoleon Hill talks about in his book. The goal has to be an ABSOLUTE MUST, otherwise we will give up. I don't even know how I am going to accomplish it but I really don't care. All I know is why I want to have it, the rest is in God's hands (that is how I do business with Him and he is a very reliable business partner lol).

I did it two years ago when I wanted to move downtown (I longtime dream of mine). I gave the two month notice to my landlord without knowing where I would be going, without even having enough money to pay the (expensive) downtown rent. There was no turning back. Did I succeed? I had no other choice. I figured it out.
That's my challenge to you today. Find something you want to shoot for, burn your bridges behind you and go for it with all your heart. You will make it if you don't give up.

Moral of the story? Do you want to accomplish your goal? Burn all your bridges and you will sleep for 10 hours

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Journey to a second meeting with the Princess of Africa

She is a friend of Nelson Mandela and Bono, she has met the Queen of England, Michael Jackson and many other celebrities and world leaders, she has been at the White house, she has received many awards, she is a superstar and humanitarian, and now she is a friend of mine. How cool is that! I am talking about Yvonne Chacka Chaka also known as the Princess of Africa.

I met her for the first time in Burundi last July and we kept in touch ever since. At that time she told me she would be in Toronto in October. Guess what! She was here for four days. She came here to receive the Development Award from Planet Africa, for her Humanitarian work as UNICEF Ambassador and Humanitarian.

I called her as soon as she got here and we agreed to meet at her hotel (beautiful hotel by the way). I went there and met her and her humanitarian assistant. What a delight! I got the opportunity to hear her new song (not released yet) that she sung with Senegalese Superstar Youssou N'Dour. Wow! A masterpiece. They are releasing the song this week in Kenya.

As she was getting ready for the award ceremony in the evening, we agreed to meet the next day for lunch, and she would introduce me to the guys at Planet Africa. Of course I was there the next day. They came to pick us up in a big SUV (I thought I was the President or something), and off we left. We went to a place I had never been before. Really nice place. We met great people and all the time Yvonne was saying “this is my friend Patrick”. In my thought I was like “I am going to put that one on my resumé”.

We had great time (when I mention great time, you already know that food is involved), and even danced a little bit (Chaka Chaka music of course). I got to meet the guys at Planet Africa. I was impressed by what they have accomplished so far.

Then, around 6PM, Yvonne's humanitarian assistant came, and we started talking. This guy is something. He has humanitarian work in his blood. He works in over 15 African countries, all over Asia, and he is on the Board of so many humanitarian organizations it is not even funny. I asked him where was his office and he just went:”my computer is my office”. He told us the kind of work they do, and I was so amazed by this guy. I kept asking him questions, (I just want to know how the industry works). Do you know what got me the most? The guy is not even paid to do that. I was like What!!?? He just said to me: “I just do it because it is the right thing to do”. I was speechless afterwards.

I learned my lesson. Here am with Yvonne, a world class superstar with his world class humanitarian assistant (I know I am a world class bloger,, amazed with who they are. Do you know what is common between these two people? They just do what they love, and they do it because it is the right thing to do. If I want to be like them, I just have to do what they do. Do what I love to do and do it because it is the right thing to do. How cool is that? You can do it too.

Moral of the story? Do you want to meet a world class supertsar? Do what you love to do and you will

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Journey to a meeting with Denise

It's been a week now since I came back from Burundi. I am getting used to my new world (if I could call it that way). Do you know what excites me the most now? It's when I hit a button on my computer and the Internet opens up right away. I was used to wait for a few hours before the page opens up lol.

I had so much fun in Burundi that now it is hard for me to not think about it all the time, especially when I remember that we did something that has never been done before. It was a pure joy.

I promised to tell you a story about my new friend Denise. I know you have been waiting for that one for a long time. Here it is.

We were busy going out there looking for sponsors, and as I was talking to one of our partners, he suggested that I talk to one business owner who could help. We called him up twice, but he was busy all the time. He suggested I speak to Denise his assistant. So I did. An appointment was booked the next day at 9 AM.

I was there ten minutes before my meeting. I waited for her for about half an hour but she was not there. They told me that she was stuck in traffic (you have no idea how Burundian traffic can be hectic at certain hours). As I had another appointment at 10 O'clock, I had to leave without seeing Denise. However, I left a one page note of the project we were working on as well as my business card.

The next day I called her up so that we could fix another appointment. She was so nice on the phone and we agreed to meet the next day at 9 AM. But before I hung up the phone she just went: “Are you the one who left a note and a business card?” I said yes. Then she said: “I just want to let you know that you are a messenger from God”. I was like what?!!! She just said: “I will explain all of this to you when we meet.

As a messenger from God, I made sure not to be late lol. I also made sure not to have any other appointment that morning.

I spent three hours with Denise and I was blown away. She told me her life story and I couldn't believe what I was hearing. This lady has been a preacher for years and she lives her life by faith. She does not accept to be paid wherever she works. “I just pray and God gives me what I ask for”. She said.

She told me about how she used to live in a tiny room that she did not like. She then prayed asking God to give her a nice and big place, with a nice garden near the lake. Guess what! She now lives in a nice 8 bedroom villa, with a nice garden near the lake (I saw the place later on). Do you know what else? She doesn't even pay the rent and the food is provided as well. How about that!!! Somebody gave that to her as a gift.

She told me dozens of stories and I was blown away by her faith. It was incredible. I was stunned by her stories. After hours of incredible conversation, she then told me why she told me I was a messenger from God (I kind of knew that I was special, but I wanted to hear her version of the story lol).

Denise told me that It had been more than two years that she was praying about Lake Tanganyika. She asked God if He could send people who would save the lake because it was dying (did I tell you that it was exactly the project I was working on?). So, when she saw my note and business card that I left the day before, she knew it was an answer to her two year long prayer. How about that?! She was just waiting to meet the person that God sent for that matter. It happened that the person
She then said to me.”Do not worry about anything. Your project is a noble one, and God will provide everything you need. Because every time that I pray, God always answers to my prayers. So, go in peace and do what you got to do”.

What else could I say after that? I was speechless. When I met my team in the afternoon, I told them what happened to me and they were all stunned.

So, believe me when I say to you that I am special. It am just telling the truth lol

Seriously, what can you say after that? Now Denise is a friend of mine and we are working on a fabulous project. She came up with the idea and I was like “count me in”. It is something that will take a lot of faith, but Denise has some to spare, don't you think?

Moral of the story? Do you want to be sent by God? Just help me save Lake Tanganyika amd I will introduce you to Denise

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Journey to a two year anniversary

First of all. Have you noticed that I did not post my blog on Monday as usual? I do not have any excuse. I know that you were stuck on your computers waiting for the delivery of your beloved blog. As they say, better late than never.

The last four days have been crazy. I took my flight back to Toronto on Thursday (yes I am back), we flew to Nairobi-Kenya, then Addis Ababa-Ethiopia, from there, we flew to Rome-Italy, then to Washington DC, finally we landed in Toronto on Friday. To say that I was exhausted could be an understatement. While waiting for my flight at the Washington DC airport, I lost the plug of my Lap top. I thought it was in my bag but it wasn't. When I got home, I used my computer to charge my phone (that I did not use for four months), then the battery of my computer went down.

The next day, I decided to go to the phone company to reactivate my phone to find out that they gave my number to somebody else (lucky dude. He got a number of a superstar lol). OK. I kept my calm as usual and asked for a new one (which I won't tell you unless you pay for it lol). I kept my old phone with a new number. When I arrived home, my old phone decided to shut down for good. I lost all my contacts. All of them!!!. On Sunday, I went back to the phone company to ask them if they could fix my phone. They referred me to another office. I went there, but they couldn't do anything. They decided to give me a new one.

I got home excited, I called up a few friends whose numbers I could remember. In the evening, the new phone decided to do his things as well. I could hear the person on the other side of the line (if we can call it a line lol), but they couldn't hear me, unless I used my speaker phone (try to speak to your wife with the speaker phone on. Can you do that when people are around? I don't think so). So. I could not use my computer, and I could not use my phone. To top it all off, Monday was off (yes, it was the Canadian Thanksgiving!). I could not fix either my phone or my computer. Did I tell you that I was sleeping crazy hours as well? I was going to bed at 6 PM Toronto time (which is midnight in Burundi) and, by 1 AM I was done (which was 7 AM in Burundi). From then on,it was TV time. What else could I do? I couldn't even call my wife as my phone was unusable (is that an English word ?).

The only thing that got me excited was that now I can watch my friends Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart on TV (oh yes, I forgot about Tim Hortons' Iced Capucino as well).

What a relief when I went out to fix my computer and got a new plug today! Then the phone company gave me a new phone (I used 3 phones in 4 days. Can you believe that?)
That is the best way to celebrate the two year anniversary of something amazing. Do you know what it is? I will let you know. On October 16 (which is coming up quickly), I will celebrate two years blog! Aren't you excited? You should go out and buy a bottle of champaign. Aren't you glad that I did not stop writing? Just tell the truth to yourself. You know that you are glad.

I want to thank all my blog fans. We made it together. In two years, over 10 thousand hits on the blog, I should be proud of my work (and I am).
I am back in Town, ready for a new adventure after 4 months in Africa. What a ride it has been!

I know I promised to tell you a story about my friend Denise. That will be for next week. Her story will rock your world.

Moral of the story? Do you want to use three phones in four days? Take a long trip and you will celebrate a two year anniversary of something.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Journey to a week-end in Kigali

Just came back from a quick week-end in Kigali to visit my in-laws before I head back to Toronto. To say that I am tired is an understatement. I left Burundi at 7 AM on Saturday, and here I am, on Sunday evening writing this blog in my home in Burundi. A round trip to Kigali in less than twenty four hours is not an easy thing to do, especially when you had little sleep (I will blame my friend and best man Jeff lol)

The trip was like an escape for me. The last few weeks have been so crazy that I needed some space to think about different topics (could I really?). On my way to Rwanda, I had a note pad and a pen, just in case an idea could come into my mind (I know, I am just like that. My mind cannot stop thinking).I did not want to miss a G-mail (God Mail as my friend Barry likes to say).

As I was thinking about what the last four months of my life have been, I couldn't help but smile. Seriously! Every day when I wake up, I don't really know how things will unfold. Every minute is so exciting. I like to live in the unknown and let go and let God. It's quite an experience.

Do you want to know the details of the project I have been working on? Do I really have to insist or do you want it so bad. It's up to you. To tell the truth (not that I was lying before), I will tell you whether you like it or not.

I was hired to develop communication and fund raising strategies for an Environment Foundation, whose president is former Ambassador Albert Mbonerane. Many of my country fellows know this man because of his work to protect the environment. I knew him but had never met him before. I believe that my meeting with him was by God's design. I needed such a man in my life (by the way, he has agreed that I could write his biography. It is such a great honour for me). The Foundation wants to save Lake Tanganyika which is now getting polluted like crazy.

Anyway. What I did first was create a team that I would be working with. I called up my friends Machado (a great radio journalist), Rickie-Nelly, an independent journalist (who used to play in my team) and my great friend Richard (there is no way I could work without his help).

For three straight days, we put together a strategy and action plan that we would present to the Foundation. It was quite simple. First, have the media as partners of the campaign. It worked like magic. They all agreed to work with us for free. For three straight weeks, we did a media tour (if you did not hear us or see us on TV, I don't know where you were lol). Even now, the spots are still running. The Media has been unbelievably supportive.

Meanwhile, my team grew. We added JP for our documentary, Daniel-Cédric for our promotional tools and Annick for mass mobilization. It is now a dream team.
Do you know what happened next? Do you really want to know? Ok. I will let you know. I got a brilliant idea (from a brilliant man, it is not really surprising lol) of having Intercontact Services as our partner. For those who do not know, this company has been around for over 29 years and they are specialized in public relations (among other things). They agreed to work with us and book appointments for us with business owners (I am talking about CEOs of big corporations). In less than four weeks, we visited over 60 companies, asking for sponsors and support. The responses were simply phenomenal. I can't just believe how things are falling into place.

Next phase was to meet people with influence. We met organizations such us Rotary Club, pastors and priests, Union representatives and many others. All of them agreed to support the Foundation. Last Friday, we started the last phase of the local campaign which is to talk to the masses. We organized an open house and information session for all the population of the city and invited them to voluntarily contribute to the cause. In a few hours we gathered over 600,000 Burundi Francs. And that is only the beginning.

There have been a few challenges here and there, but over all, I feel so proud just to be part of this. Staring from next week, my job will be to ask the International community to join the movement that we started locally. Is that cool or what! Oh, I forgot something. A few weeks ago, we invited 13 CEOs of big companies for a dinner during which I conducted a mastermind session with them. Ideas that came from the session were out of this world. And I did it with flu symptoms. I felt that I was like Michael Jordan lol.

Man, you have no idea how I feel now. The great accomplishment in all of this is to have my wife supporting what I do. This was supposed to be our honeymoon. Instead, we are saving Lake Tanganyika.

During this campaign, there have been some defining moments. One of them was my meeting with a lady named Denise. I will tell you the story in my next blog post. Stay tuned, otherwise you will miss a great opportunity to read about a great Faith story.

Moral of the story. Do you want to work on a great project? Just get married and miss your honeymoon.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman