In part one of this three part blog post, I wrote about how 4 impressions were telling me to be patient, to listen, and show up. And how “what you do with what happens to you,” i.e., “your experiences,” can change everything.
The point I was trying to make is that life is a crazy, amazing and glorious ride – but sometimes pretty scary too. You can either dwell on what you want, what you don’t have or how you may be feeling wronged in some way, or you can see every experience as an opportunity, intentionally put in your path for a reason. So this is more about perspective than any particular path that’s right or wrong. I do not believe that everyone’s path will/should look the same. In fact, I pray that the “ah-hah!” moments come more naturally to you than they do to me – heaven knows I’ve learned a lot the hard way!
Two years ago I saw a great movie and this became one of my favorite quotes… “Your life is defined by its opportunities… even the ones you miss.”
– The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I use the words, “experiences” and “opportunities” synonymously. I believe my story (for that matter, everyone’s story) is a continual work in progress. There is simply no point at which you are truly done. But then I’m a forever hopeful, total Activator type, so to me, if you are “done” on this earth, you are dead.
So here’s a brief timeline (as brief as I could articulate), to describe from a high-level what has been rocking my world.
April 2010 – Zambia trip with CPC – the first taste for mission that started all the restlessness, impatience and searching.
Joined the Zambia Task Force upon return, followed by four BIG impressions as described in blog post – part one over the course of the following two years.
May 2011 – One of my dear friends from church (a friendship that came from the Zambia trip) introduced me to another friend, and he introduced me to World Servants.
I didn’t seek out my friend – I met him on my first mission trip.
August 2011 – I began helping World Servants with their sales and marketing. World Servants’ mission is to “develop and facilitate life changing learning and serving experiences that bring hope to the world.”
As I was facilitating a strategy session with World Servants to assist them with their business development, I was informed about their volunteer program – and corresponding learning process for leading mission trips.
I didn’t really find World Servants – they more or less found me.
October 2011 – I signed up and began my training which included going on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic to experience their process. I’m now on Step 3 of 4 to lead mission trips for World Servants. Step three with World Servants will be another trip to the Dominican Republic which I will be co-leading this coming November. The trip is a custom trip for Lifetouch. Yes, companies are sending their employees on mission trips – not just churches – so let me know if you’re interested.
No matter how hard I searched and tried to find “my next thing,” I didn’t find the opportunity to lead mission trips – it found me.
December 2011 – I learned about a new board forming for an organization called Building Legacies International (BLI) and expressed some interest as I was rolling off my previous board commitment.
Dec 2011 – Feb 2012 – A business partner, Leary Gates, developed a GREAT workshop called the Dream Intensive and I decided to sign up. The 90 day workshop is based upon helping you, “pursue your God-sized dream.”
March 2012 – I was sitting in my first board meeting for BLI and to my utter surprise I was nominated Board Chair. BLI (website coming soon) is a faith-based 501(c)(3) with a mission “to align our clients’ resources and expertise with the needs of individuals, organizations and communities resulting in sustainable and transformational change.” This opportunity to serve is so squarely in the sweet spot of my entire being (melding all I gleaned from the Dream Intensive about mixing business with my faith and mission), it’s like it was designed for what I was so aggressively seeking after my first mission trip.
But I didn’t find BLI – it found me.
This past June, I realized that I probably wasn’t going to be able to swing the cost and time off to go on another mission trip with CPC, my church, so I was dragging my feet about crossing off my name from the sign-up sheet when our mission pastor (Paul) called. He told me he was unable to lead the trip and asked if I still had interest in going. Of course I do! But here’s the cool part… He said, “and if so, would you be willing to lead it?” He wasn’t even aware that I was working with World Servants to become trained in leading mission trips. If that’s not crazy enough, the trip is back to Zambia where this whole journey began.
End of time line – for now, that is, because heaven knows I’ve learned my lesson to just be patient, to listen and show up.
I leave for Zambia in late October (less than one month before I leave again for the Dominican) and I will have the blessing of a second opportunity to see my sponsored child Beene. She is now 8 years old and here is her most recent progress report…
About once a month I guesstimate (and sometimes more often), a friend inquires about mission trips. They ask… “What do you do on one?” “What is it like?” “How much does it cost,” etc., etc. People even ask me about my church, about the two great organizations outside of my church for which I volunteer and how they can get involved. I look forward to sharing my experience with anyone who wants to know more so they can experience something life changing too.
So why am I using my business blog to tell this story when I should be out here with some sort of inbound marketing content that points toward the ESM Group instead? I don’t know for certain. What I do know is I’m non-apologetically breaking every rule of blogging with these posts because I have to share my passion for doing Business Unusual. Who knows, maybe I’ll write a book some day – because we all need another book, right? For now, if my words inspire just one person to go on a mission trip, to be more patient, to listen more, to show up, or to follow their passion, then I’ve used my own God given gift of influence to make a positive impact – and that would make me very happy. So maybe it is selfishly motivated after all.
I hope the friend who questioned me about why I feel so compelled to tell my story (referenced in part one), reads this. Because I know how I’d answer his question if he asked me that today. In fact, instead of answering, I’d ask him this question in response… “How selfish would I have to be to NOT share an experience that could positively impact someones life?”
Stay tuned for Business Unusual in Practice – part three – the passionate pursuit of experiences.
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