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Monday, January 30, 2012

My Journey Back On Stage

After a busy month, things are getting back to normal. Our house is starting to look like a home (much less than a warehouse lol).

I had a great day today. I was back on stage delivering a half an hour presentation (the first of a series of four presentations) and I had so much fun. I am speaking again tomorrow with my friend Jim, and on Friday I will be facilitating a Mastermind session hosted by my friend Bonnie.

After my presentation, I went to say hello to my former co-workers; it was really great to see them again. As I started to joke with them, one of them came out of the meeting room and asked me not to speak loudly as they were shooting a promotional video for their Black History Month event (I heard they will have a celebrity as their MC, I wonder who that person is...). Guess what? They asked me to be interviewed right there on the spot (good thing I was already dressed for success from my presentation earlier on). What an experience!

As I began my 4 hour meeting yesterday with Paul, he said something I longed to hear for years. He said “I can see you lost weight. Congratulations”. Oh yes I did. No, sorry, I didn't. My wife did it. Man!! It's been a month of serious eating discipline for me. And you know, in terms of food I am always open to opportunities. Not having that extra slice of bread in the morning, asking permission to include ketchup in the groceries list (and justifying that it's for our guests lol), not including Tim Horton's iced cappuccino in my thoughts...has been a tough exercise for me. But hearing that comment from Paul (who has been teasing me for years about my weight) was worth all the pain and misery I have been through for the last few weeks lol

Seriously though, I promised my wife to lose weight and she has been holding me accountable ever since. I am so thankful that she is there to remind me of my goal (and I can tell you that she is doing a great job).

How many times have we decided to do something and later on found ourselves falling back into our old habits? Having someone to hold you accountable can be of great help. At Goal Achievers, we have a great system which does just that for our clients! For the last eight months we have tested it and we have had great results. Now let me be honest with you, it isn't comfortable but it brings out the best in you giving you that great feeling of accomplishment.

My challenge to you is to find someone who can hold you accountable in whatever you chose to do, someone who can tell you the truth regardless of how you feel about it, someone who cares about you enough to push you over your limits, and you will see how your life will change in a matter of weeks. The secret is to create new habits long enough so that they become second nature. Now, I don't think so much about eating out or having that extra slice of bread in the morning. I am now starting to have fun with it (especially when I start hearing good comments like Paul's).

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Journey to a Planned Week

Don't be fooled by the title of this blog. Just the other day, as I was starting a meeting with Paul, he asked me how was my day. I told him that everything was going according to the plan, but not my plan. He laughed so much but it was the truth.

It's been one of my hectic months in years. It's crazy man. Just to give you an idea, my wife came on Christmas day, and at that time I was still living with my friend. On Christmas eve, I learned that I won't get the apartment that I wanted (24 hours before my wife's arrival!!!). Guess what? I took a hotel for a few days (for many reasons as you can guess lol).

After four days in the hotel, we moved to my brother's place for a few days, just to give me a little bit of time to find a place. Did I tell you that I booked 2 apartments in a week, just to learn that they were taken while I was going to sign the lease? Crazy hey! Anyways, after a week at my brother's place (by the way, him and his wife have been so amazing to us), I finally found a place (few minutes away from the one that I missed on Christmas eve). Great place.

Then it was time to move, buy new furnitures, do something about the empty fridge and all that fun stuff. You may be asking yourselves why I did all those things at the last minute. That's a fair question. The thing is that I did not expect my wife to get the Canadian visa that quickly (I guess I have to believe more in my prayers...). We bought her ticket 2 days before her flight (that is an other story by itself). I was not ready at all for all these sudden events, and I didn't want to be one more day (if not one more hour) in a long distance relationship (I think now I have a PHD in long distance relationships lol)

Back to my story. I went to buy new furnitures and they told me that they would deliver everything in the next two days. They actually did, just to find out that the sofas could not get through the main door! Are you kidding me? Don't think that I live in a cave, but I was starting to get frustrated. I had to call the furniture store, and $400 extra later, they agreed to send me new sofas. I will get them this week, but the coffee table will only get here next week (another delay).

The list can go on and on. It was delay after delay, to the point that my wife was wondering what we did to deserve all this. Did I tell you that, in the process my phone got disconnected? I did not even have a minute to go downtown to pay the phone bill. Yes it has to be downtown as we moved in a new area where the phone company does not have any store yet.

Finally, I went downtown to pay my phone bill to find out that there was $10 less on my bill. I could take that. And I mentioned to them that my wife is new to the country and is looking for a phone. Guess what? They gave me a free phone for her, one month free, and as I brought them a new client, they gave me a free month as well. Not only that. As I went to my new mailbox, I found that I am eligible for a deal with Rogers that gave me free Internet, home phone and cable for the next 3 months. I can take that too.

All of a sudden, I forgot all the delays we went through the last few weeks because of those deals

Do you know what I learned in the process? I learned that have great friends (and one of them did not want me to mention his name in my blog, but I know that he is reading it now). They showed up and gave us a good and needed hand.

As I was reading Napoleon Hill's book “Think and Grow Rich” yesterday (for the thousand time), I read that one of the causes of failure in life is the poor choice in finding a marriage partner. I got covered on that one. My wife has been of an outstanding patience through the whole process it's unbelievable. I cannot take credit for that one. Gladys my sister in law is the one who deserves a standing ovation (please stop reading this blog and applaud her for a minute)

I also learned that delays are good. They are there to teach us patience, but also, there are things that are happening behind the scene that we are not aware of, if we can wait long enough we could benefit from them (how about the phone deals for my wife?!). If I had paid my phone bill a day before, I would not have gotten the deal, as it started the day I went downtown to pay.

So, if you are experiencing delays in whatever you are doing, just take a breath and wait a little bit. Something good is going to get out of them. Be a little bit patient

Moral of the story? Do you want to get great deals on your phone bill? Just marry a great partner and you will move to a new place.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Journey to My new Home

We finally settled in our new home a week ago now. There is still much to be done, but at least we have a home. The process took longer than expected, but we like what we have now.

As you may know, my wife landed in Toronto on Christmas day. What you may not know is that she showed up wearing just a T-Shirt and a light jacket in her hands. I was like, you got to be kidding me! I asked her if she had brought any bigger jacket, to which she said yes, but it was in her big locked bags. I offered to give her mine but she refused, until we got outside of the airport buildings. Her first comments were “do you guys live in a morgue?” We all laughed. So I said to her: “This is nothing. Wait until it gets really cold”. She couldn't believe it would get colder than that.

The first four days were harder for me than for her. Do you know why? She would go to bed at 6PM, Toronto time (which is 1AM in Rwanda) and she would get up at 3 AM Toronto time (10 AM Kigali time). Those were her normal hours back home. The problem with that was that she would shout loud in my ears: “it's time to get up!!”. I was like, at 3 AM??? Are you kidding me?

It was not easy for her to adjust to everything. The weather, the big city and other stuff. The biggest adjustment for her has been the food. No chance for her, as you know, I can eat almost everything lol. She has seen me eat stuff that she did not like at all. My comment is always the same: “Let's agree to disagree” lol. At least for the food. For everything else, she has the final word lol.

I saw a little bit of light when she said “can you please bring me that Tim Horton's latté? I like it”. At that time I knew she was in the process of being “canadianized”. Hopefully soon we would be sharing my usual small iced cappuccino (sorry Jim, I know it's against your rules).

Finally the breakthrough came two days ago. As Toronto was freezing like crazy, she wouldn't even go in the living room. But she told me that she was hungry, so I convinced her to go out and eat. There is a small Greek restaurant not far from where we live. I told her that the food was nice. Hoping that she would like it (unlike any other food she had eaten so far), we went out. She decided to order a well done steak with potatoes and Greek salad. Right away, she fell in love with the salad. By the time she finished her dish (almost in 5 minutes), all she could talk about was Greek food (maybe she has Greek ancestors). I almost became jealous as she had never used those words to She was so in love with the food.

She was so glad she went out regardless of the weather, and that she finally found a dish she loves (too much, if you ask my opinion). And before going to sleep, she said to me. I am glad I am here now. And I want to tell you that I love you. In my thought, I was like “take that Greek food! She loves me more than she loves you”. Lol

All the way through her settlement and challenges, I knew she would be OK. It was a matter of days. Do you want to know why I knew it? Because I went through that myself. When we go through challenges, it's for us to learn something, but it is also for others who will eventually go through them and who will need us as mentors. We can confidently say to them: don't worry, you will go through that. I've been there.

So, if you are going through hard times, all that I know is that it's for a season, and they will soon be teaching materials for you.

Moral of the story? Do you want to be a Canadian quicker than you think? Just go to Tim Horton's and you will also like Greek food.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Journey to a New Year's Resolution

I spent a very quiet New Year's eve but it was a very nice one. As we were watching the countdown on TV, I couldn't stop thinking about the things that I accomplished in 2011 (I am going to come back to this; please do remind me) . It was one of my best years. It's funny how great things are often linked to great challenges. I heard somebody say that your greatest struggle will be your greatest victory. I couldn't agree more.

Did I achieve everything I wanted to achieve in 2011? No, not at all. But I am so thankful for what I have done.

Those of you who have seen the movie “Peaceful Warrior”, you probably remember a scene where “Socrates” the mentor said to the young Dan Millman “Your training is now moving to a whole new level. I am going to teach you how to find your answers from the inside” (I am paraphrasing).

It was a brand new perspective for young Dan, and usually any new experience or change tends to make us initially feel outside of our comfort zone. He was used to “making things happen” using his own strength, and now he was learning to “allow things to happen”, by freeing his mind and living his life in the "Now" . I won't share the entire movie, but it is one of the best I have ever seen.

Do you know what is my New Year's Resolution? I want to be like Dan.

Remember I asked you to remind me of something? Do you remember? Now, you don't have to remind me because I remembered what I wanted to share. Let me first repeat the sentence already mentioned in the first paragraph, which was “I couldn't stop thinking about the things that I accomplished in 2011”. Now, what's so special about this sentence? Nothing, except that I was taking credit for what was done in 2011. That has been my biggest mistake. I always want to make things happen, with my own strength. I often do succeed, but at what cost? I am still paying for most of the stuff.

I am learning now to let go and let God, to allow things to happen instead of me trying to make things happen using my own limited mind and strength. Do you know what? At first it is so scary. It takes ABSOLUTE trust in the invisible, especially when it seems like there is no where to go. The hard part is trusting God's timing. His timing is not necessarily ours, and when you lack patience (like somebody I know lol), man it can be so scary. That is the test I have to pass. On the bright side, I have never prayed the way I do now. It is a very humbling experience. Sometimes, I find myself trying to return to my old ways, but I always do my best to remain calm in the middle of the “storms” and keep trusting that all will be fine.

Everything takes practice and with time I will get better at it . I am still making tons of mistakes but that is part of the process. It takes a lot of faith, but that is my resolution for this year and the years to come. I am going to rely on God and share what He is doing in my life. I thing that I have already started, don't you think? There is a lot to share, so stay tuned.

Moral of the story? Do you want 2012 to be your best year? Keep reading my blog and you will lose patience lol

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Journey to Division One

What a week! I don't even know where to start. It seems like I am watching a movie about me.
All I keep thinking about is my Basketball years in Burundi. I will explain why.

I started playing Basketball at a relatively young age (I won't tell you the year, but I was about
12 years old). My classmates would teach me the fundamentals of thegame, and years later we started our own team. It was so much fun. I was not among the best players but I hung in there.

I remember spending an entire summer working out in a gym with my friends, getting ready for
the new season. We would run long distances on Saturdays and at that time I was among the best runners (I couldn't beat Patrick our captain who was running like crazy). Did I mention that we were still playing in Division two? ( the Junior division).

After our second season (the first one was a disaster lol), we started getting better. Still playing in Division two, our captain was selected to represent our country with the Senior National Basketball Team (that how good he
was). They spent a month in the US playing with College Basketball teams. We were so excited for him.

When he came back from the US, he mentioned to us (with a few other players) that he was done
playing for Division Two. His experience with the National Team was enough for him to start playing with the big boys. It was quite understandable but I was devastated to see him go.

I stayed in Division Two for one more season (I wasn't that good), until I finished high school. I decided to join the University team the next season. This was Division A. Was I ready? Not really. But I took my chance and decided
to work hard for my spot. Was it hard? I wanted to give up every single day. I wanted to go back to the Junior team at the end of each practice. Was I still among the best at running? By the time I arrived, all the other players were already rested. Did I get a chance to play? I was not even on the playing list my entire first season. That how hard it was.

I hung in there though.Eventually I got my spot...on the bench. I played for the University team for the next three season, ended up being their Head Coach for one season before starting coaching “Les Gazelles”, a ladies team that I led to 15 trophies in 7 years (standing ovation for me please...).

Why did I tell you all of this? Just to let you know what a great coach I was. Just kidding..

All I know is that, I would not have been a good Basketball coach if I hadn't gone through all
the “struggle” learning how to play, or spending most of the time on the bench. Life has a way of teaching us lessons that are not very comfortable for us at the time that they are happening, but at the
end, we always win if (and only if) we don't give up.

Yes, this last week was a week to remember for me as my wife finally landed to Toronto, but it
was also a week of growth as well. Growth is always outside of our comfort zone, but it is necessary if we want to go from Division Two to Division One in life. The best is yet to come. That is the truth.

Moral of the story? Do you want to win big in life? Just be the last in running and you will be
a great Basketball coach. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman