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Monday, August 27, 2012

My Journey With Paul

It was almost 9 years ago. I was on my way home after a long day. While on a Subway platform waiting for my train, about ten feet away, I saw a gentleman in a blue jacket and decided to talk to him. I didn't know how to start the conversation. I simply went: “Nice Jacket!”

That little sentence has lead to 9 years of great friendship with Paul my business partner. We have been through a lot together. I remember him helping me register my first business. I was so excited that day that I couldn't contain my joy. I looked Paul in the eyes and said: “Just watch. We are going to change the world”. After these many years, I don't think we have changed the world yet. Just the other day, I was laughing with Paul saying that before changing the world, our job has been to Lol

With all we have been through together, one story is still stuck in my mind. It was in 2004, and there was nothing to show for after months of hard work. Paul, being a huge soccer fan (and average player lol) got a job offer as a manager of a soccer club. That was one of his dream jobs at the time. He successfully passed the interview and was offered the position. To my surprise, he decided not to take the job. I was stunned. How could he let this opportunity pass by? Do you know why he decided not to take the job? Well, it was because of the vision we had together. Can you believe that!!! He gave up his dream job to work with me while I had nothing.

I can go on and on with hundreds of stories. But I will just share this one:

We had a presentation this last Tuesday evening. Paul and I met on Monday evening so that he could help me rehearse my presentation before sharing it with our guests on Tuesday. I had something in mind, but Paul thought it was not enough. He challenged me go dig deeper into my stories and share them in a way that I had never shared before. It took me a while to get his point, but once I got it I was ready to share stories that I had never shared with anyone.

Among the people who attended our event were some close friends. They were shocked to hear what happened in my life these last years. I was able to connect more with the audience by opening up and sharing what I had been hiding for years. It was not an easy thing to do, but I am learning to do it more, thanks to Paul.

He is really a true friend. I will never take him for granted. I hope you won't take your friends for granted. Take time to appreciate them, above all, let them know what they mean to you. Cherish them while they are still around. They are a treasure which can be hard to find.

Thanks so much Paul for all you have done for me.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Journey To a Networking Event.

A few months ago, I received an invitation to a big networking event here in Toronto. I said yes right away but I wasn't a hundred percent sure that I would be there, the reason being that it would be on my birthday. But after all, I thought that it was not a big enough reason for me not to show up as I was not going to celebrate my birthday anyway.

So, last week, with hundreds of other business owners, we were gathered at the Ontario Place for a networking bash. It was a great event. I told Jennifer, the organizer, that she did all of that just to celebrate my birthday. She laughed, but, in a way I did celebrate with all those wonderful people (especially when there is food involved).

As I was standing at our table, a gentleman came over from a corner, as if he had something important to tell me. He asked me to join him where he was. I immediately went to him. His face looked familiar but I couldn't remember where I met him. He looked in my eyes and just said: I don't know if you remember me, but I was at your event in May last year. I heard your speech and I was so inspired. Your story was simply amazing. Keep doing what you're doing.

The guy came just to tell me that. I tell you what! He doesn't know it maybe, but that guy made my day. Do you know when you start doubting yourself (yes, it happens to me more than once lol), when you are thinking that, maybe you have made a huge mistake, and somebody comes and tell you those kinds of words!! Man, it was a breath of fresh air. Funny enough, about ten minutes later, a lady came to me and said: I heard your story last year. You inspired me a lot. Keep doing what you're doing. You are on the right track.

This time I was not doubting anymore. I felt I could fly man. Those two conversations were worth every penny we invested in the event. They brought me back to life.

You see, I have realized that in every dreamer's journey, there comes a point when nothing seems to work. Where every effort we make, it seems that nothing is moving. That's when so many people give up. If that hasn't happened to you, just wait and you will see. But those are great moments if you understand the reasons behind them

Just this morning, I picked up one of my favourite books, namely Bruce Wilkinson's book “The Dream Giver” (if you haven't read it, it is a must read). He beautifully summarizes the dreamer's journey in these terms. He says that Dreamers:

1. Become aware of a personal dream or calling, and then decide to pursue it.
2. Face fear as they leave a place of comfort.
3. Encounter opposition from those around them
4. Endure a season of difficulty that tests their faith.
5. Learn the importance of surrender and consecration to God
6. Fight the giants that stand between them and the fulfillment of their dream
7. Reach their full potential as they achieve their dream and bring honor to God.

Bruce Wilkinson ended this part by saying that the good news for every dreamer is that each stage or obstacle along our journey is intended not to block our dream, but to help us break through to the fulfillment God promises.

So, if you are pursuing your dream, maybe you can relate to the paragraph above. The key is not to give up when the going gets tough. Keep believing, keep the faith and we will see you at the top.
Moral of the story? Do you want to live your dream, just invite me at your event and I will inspire you as I was inspired.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

PS: A shout out to my friend Courtney Caroll for publishing his first book "The Financial Fitness Blueprint"

Click here for more information.

Proud of you my man!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Journey To Sudbury

The month of August is so full of celebrations that I would need a special software to manage them all lol.

Let's see. August 6 was our one year wedding anniversary, August 7 was my wife's birthday, August 8 was both my 10 year anniversary in Canada and 4 years as a Canadian citizen, and this coming August 15 is my birthday (and of course I won't tell you my age, but I am expecting your gifts).

How do you celebrate all of that? How about a trip? That wouldn't be bad at all.

Four times in July I was asked to conduct a series of workshops for French speaking professionals. It was so much fun. When they told me that I would do the same thing in Sudbury, I immediately said yes. So, this last week, it was both work and pleasure as I took my family with me to Sudbury Ontario. It was fun.

Up to the last minute we did not know if we would drive, take the train or fly to Sudbury. We were at Toronto Airport when we were told we would drive after all. Thank God we did. We had so much fun on our way, with Justine (my co-facilitator) driving and making us laugh all the way to Sudbury. Our daughter was so calm all along. The only time she woke up was when she was hungry. Great timing as the cops asked us to stop for a check up. Nothing to worry about. Few hours later we were in Sudbury.

The hotel bed was so comfortable that I do not remember the last time I slept this well. I wanted to move to Sudbury right then.

I left the hotel early in the morning as our workshop was scheduled to begin at 9.30 AM. My wife and kid stayed at the hotel for some extra sleep. They would join us later as it was my time to speak after Justine did her thing. Did I mention that our presentation was happening at an African food restaurant? I couldn't wait to finish my presentation as I was smelling some nice stuff in the kitchen.

As I wrapped up my speech, I went to check my wife in the audience to see how she and the baby were doing. I was hoping for a standing ovation from her (as it was her first time hearing me speak), and she just went: “You spoke so loud that you woke up the baby...”

I guess the standing ovation will come next year...

I won't mention the African food. You don't have twenty four hours to read. It was simply magnificent. My wife says that any food is good for me (which is the truth...), but this food was out of this world. We even brought some for the road. You know that in terms of food I am always open to opportunities. And for me it is always about quantity first lol.

Right after lunch, we hit the road back to Toronto. Three hours later we were home, and the baby started crying. She did not cry for two days, now that we were home, she started doing her thing. Go figure.

It was after an hour of rest that my wife said to me. You do really help people. You should get paid a lot of money to do what you do.

That simple sentence was worth millions of dollars for me. It was the validation from my loved one that I am doing what I am supposed to do with my life: helping people. I can tell you that it is not always easy, but those kinds of words are what I need to keep on going. Words of encouragement are worth the world for me. Yes, I would like to earn more doing what I love to do, but getting my family on board is worth everything. I guess it was good karma, as I was checking my e-mail when we got back, somebody had asked me to do another presentation in October (to which I said yes). September is already booked.

My question to you is this one? What does really drive you? What are the things that keep you going when it's tough? Once you identify those, keep them in front of you. They are your fuel. Once we know why we do what we do, the how doesn't really matter. It will come at the right time.

My family plays a big role in my life, and I am glad they support me.

Moral of the story? Do you want to celebrate with me? Don't ask my age, but please do send me your gifts on August 15.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Journey To The Olympics

Yes I know it's past midnight and I am late posting my blog. But in some parts of the world it's still early. Then I am not late after all (that is my story and I will stick to it).

I also know that, by reading the title of this blog you may think that I am writing from London where the Olympics are happening. I wish.

I am enjoying the Olympics like many of you on TV and Internet. But it is really fun to see how athletes are showcasing their talents on the world stage. How about Usain Bolt and Phelps? We are witnessing historic figures. That is my opinion.

As you may have guessed, my main thing is Basketball. It was funny to see players from Tunisia asking Kobe for an autograph after the game. It looked like they were just happy to be there. Forget about winning the game. Poor Nigeria! They were really swept by Team USA. Melo scored 37 points in just 14 minutes. Team USA broke all the records in that game. The US coach was so pleased that he gave his team a day off before their next game, which was Lithuania. Guess what! Lithuania gave the US their biggest challenge so far. It was a really tough game. The US won, but they learned their lesson. Now they just won against Argentina.

Enough about Basketball. Why in the world did I share this story with you? I think I want to force all of you to become Basketball fans.

Seriously though. I think I can relate to Team USA. I have been in situations when all seemed to work perfectly. Everything I touched turned into gold (like the Nigeria game). It made me so proud that I thought I was invincible. Little did I know that the next phase of my life would be so challenging (like the Lithuania game) that, the successes I had in the past seemed to be distant memories.

Challenges are good though. My experience has been that, those moments show parts of my life that need to change. It can be really ugly to face our flaws, but, trust me, when you do, it is really liberating. Those are though, yet humbling moments. They taught me how to forgive myself when I make mistakes, above all, asking for forgiveness when I hurt others. It's a tough pill to swallow, but challenges prepare us for the next victory. The proof? The US just won over Argentina (which is a great team). Facing a tough Lithuanian team got them ready for their next opponent. And they won

So, if you are facing tough challenges. It's a sign. It's promotion time. Get ready to celebrate.

Moral of the story? Do you wish to win in life? Just watch Basketball and you will get a promotion

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman