My brother-in-law set aside his life as a successful entrepreneur to serve the people and the country he loves. Make sure that whatever you are fighting for is inspired by love. It is the only drive that is inexhaustible and results in a truly fulfilling life.
Anger, resentment and revenge are motivators that burn hot. But they also burn out fast and take you with them. But when love is acted on, it is refueled by the responses of others and your own internal response. As far as motivators go, it is the only renewable resource.
If you saw him performing with his lifelong friend Lenny Kravitz, you would assume he was just like any other world class rock star….and boy would you be wrong!
Zoro the Drummer is an anomaly, an outlier, an exception. You get the point. And his story is nothing short of phenomenal! Growing up in abject poverty to a single Christian mother, he discovered his passion for drumming at the age of 6. He then spent his life pursuing his passion relentlessly, while never leaving his Christian roots behind.
“Your days are limited, but your good deeds are not,” Zoro said in an interview with Ken Coleman, the host of the Entreleadership podcast. He not only knows that truth, but he lives it everywhere he goes. Zoro orders inspirational books by the thousands and gives them away, along with extra autographed drumsticks he keeps on hand, to fans everywhere he goes. He is also an author, (his most recent book Soar: 9 Proven Keys for Unlocking Your Limitless Potential will soon be in my library) speaker, fearless evangelist and has his own ministry (http://www.zoroministries.org/).
“What is your point?!” you ask.
It is simply this (and I think Zoro would agree). Whatever gifts or talents you possess were not given to you for your enjoyment. They were given to you to provide a platform unique only to you, so that you can use them to bless and encourage others.
For years, I have been an entrepreneur, starting many different kinds of businesses. But
making money never has been enough for me. It is only in the last few years that I have pinpointed my sweet spot, that place where I love what I am doing and have the greatest impact. I use the business gifts God has given me and I have worked to develop to help non-profits and ministries to develop entrepreneurial ventures to fund themselves and provide jobs, especially for the homeless. I also love teaching what I learn to others, which is why I started writing consistently.
Where you are and what you can do are not incidental. They are both a part of God’s plan for your life, and as soon as you recognize that and start looking for opportunities to bless others, your work and your life will take on a new level of meaning and fulfillment!
Last Monday I would have chain-smoked all day long…if I were a smoker. It was so intense and I was so distracted that I kept doing stupid stuff, like walking out of my gym (which requires a key card to get in) without my keys. I had to bang on the door until someone heard it and let me back in. My wife, Nicole, had a very similar day. Hers probably got downright dangerous, because being an artist, she’s typically pretty scatterbrained. (Don’t you dare tell her I said that!)
All we could do is think and pray for my family in Houston, as hour by hour, the water
crept closer to their house. That morning we had offered to rush down with the truck and our largest enclosed trailer, but within a couple of hours they were completely inaccessible and we would have probably ended up being one more stranded vehicle on a flooded highway. So, from 9 and a half hours away, we waited, worried and prayed.
As I was leaving the house that evening for Cub Scouts with our son, Thatcher, Nicole showed me a picture taken from my parent’s front porch of a rescue boat driving down their street to take a pregnant lady to safety. Looking down at the ground, I could clearly see the water line. It was six feet from their front door. And the rain just kept falling.
I can’t remember a day when I prayed that much, but I’m pretty ashamed of myself. Why? Because I allowed my prayers to be limited by what I thought was possible. “Lord, please keep the water out of their house and keep them safe.”
“Oh, ye of little faith.” Yep, that was me.
The next morning, as soon as I woke up I texted my mom.
“Mom, what is the water level?!” My heart was racing as I waited for her response, fearing the worst.
“All of the water is gone!” she said.
“All of the water is gone!” I hollered upstairs to Nicole and the kids as my eyes teared up. She sent me a picture, and the same street that had a boat in it last night did not even have a puddle.
“Thank you so much, Lord.” I thought to myself repeatedly. I sure wish I had prayed for all of the water to miraculously disappear. But I just didn’t think it was possible. In retrospect, this reminded me of a powerful principle I live by….typically. Here it is:
In any given situation or pursuit, first decide what is ideal with a deliberate disregard for what is or is not possible. Once you decide what that is, go for it! If you are doggedly persistent, you will watch as paths form around obstacles that before seemed completely insurmountable.
The first meeting I had when pursuing the idea of a recycling facility for Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission (which would provide work for the homeless and funding for the ministry) was with a lady who had worked for the government in the recycling industry for almost 20 years. She has been an invaluable resource along the way. My initial objective was to focus on electronics recycling, but as she listed government regulation after government regulation related to that industry, my heart fell. It would cost a fortune and take ages!
I left the meeting despondent, but as in similar circumstances with other businesses I have started, I don’t give up. I simply re-route. In my mind, I have a set of shelves (I literally see them when I do this) and I took electronics recycling in my hand as if it was an object, and set it on the shelf. If something gets put on the shelf, it means that it is a good idea, but the timing is not right.
We did get the recycling facility going via a far less complicated and expensive
road. I then decided to take electronics recycling off the shelf and see if its time had come.
I made a call to my local recycling expert to find the most reputable electronics recycling company in our region.
“That would be ESCO,” Mary Anne said. “They are based out of Rogers, Arkansas. The owner is really nice and honest and I bet they would be willing to answer your questions.”
The day after I talked to the receptionist at ESCO, a great guy named Adam gave me a call. I told him what we were doing and said I was wanting to learn more about the world of electronics recycling.
He volunteered to come to Joplin and while here, gave us some basic instructions, then extended an invitation for my good friend Gregg (who runs the Worth Shop where this takes place, and my fellow co-conspirator throughout this process) and me to tour their facility.
I was pretty excited about the tour, but more excited about the possibilities. When I was alone, I would think and allow my mind to dwell on the ideal. I didn’t waste a thought on what was likely, what obstacles there were, or what was possible. To put it another way, I allowed myself to DREAM.
When we arrived at their facility, it was enormous! We had to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) to tour their 275,000 square foot facility. I’d love to tell you all about it, but, well…the NDA had me give them a picture of Nicole, so I’m pretty sure she would go missing if I did. 😉
At the end of the tour, he took us into the conference room and the three of us sat down. It was obvious he had something on his mind.
“We do not deal with individuals,” Adam said. “When we receive and send shipments, it is by the semi-load. Our biggest client is WalMart, and we do not have time for small accounts.”
I was not sure where he was going with this, but it wasn’t looking good.
“But I have been talking with the owner, and we LOVE what you guys are doing at Watered Gardens! What can we do to help you succeed?”
This is exactly the possibility I had considered. No, this was the exact possibility that I had allowed myself to dream. And I knew EXACTLY what to ask for.
“If there is any way that we can be legally placed under your umbrella of legitimacy, along with all of your certifications, accreditation, etc., that would be ideal. That would allow us to confidently approach businesses and the community, so they will know that their computers and electronics will be properly handled,” I explained.
“We will draw up the legal paperwork and send it to you,” Adam responded, as if it wasn’t a big deal at all. But to us, it was HUGE!
Two weeks later, the paperwork arrived, and with the time it took to write one’s name, every single obstacle that made opening a legitimate electronics recycling facility impossible was decimated.
Since then, we have picked up computers from a Fortune 500 company, small businesses, and even, get this…government agencies.
Don’t waste your time, my friend, worrying about what is possible. Let your mind go to that place where your heart comes alive; where there is no limit to what you can accomplish. Let yourself DREAM! And then pursue that dream with everything you have.
When you aim for the moon, you intend to make it; because you’re not likely to get a second chance.
Neil Armstrong knew he was risking his life on the Apollo 11, but he was willing to take that risk. America had set its goal, the entire world was watching, and there was no turning back.
With so much new technology traveling at speeds up to 24,200 miles per hour, they were anticipating some challenges. But NASA wanted to be as prepared as humanly possible when those issues arose.
Discussing his historical flight to the moon, Neil Armstrong explained that NASA had assembled on site or waiting by the phone the individuals who had designed and built every single significant part of the Apollo 11. That way if something went wrong, they could get answers immediately.
NASA understood a powerful principle: if you want to know how to fix something when it breaks, you talk to the person who designed it in the first place.
This doesn’t just apply to machines and electronics, however. It also applies to you and me; and we’re all just a little bit broken.
“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself,” C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity.
Have you ever heard someone say, “To heck with my car maintenance manual! I bet they’re just trying to keep me from driving really fast! Oil is expensive, and I don’t have any; but I have plenty of maple syrup. The two look almost the same, and besides, what do they know?!”
When it comes to the basics in life, our common sense typically prevails and we consult the manual when something goes wrong with one of our machines. So why don’t we consult the manual written by our Designer when we want to know how to live our lives to the fullest, fix a relationship, or put things back together after everything has fallen apart?
It’s never too late to change that, though. The Manual is sitting right there on your bookshelf, night stand or end table. It might be a bit dusty, but never mind that. Pick it up, blow off the dust, and marvel at how your Designer knows exactly how to deal with what’s broken in your life.