Tag: mission


How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand

In several blog posts I’ve talked about the importance of personal branding. Your brand is key to success in every area of your life. It requires consistency and self respect.

But sometimes you can put your personal brand at risk without realizing it. Especially during any vulnerable point in your career. This can include a downsize or layoff, a slow start to a new business venture, or any other unanticipated time when there’s financial instability.

There is the temptation to take just any job or client that comes along. During the slow times of the year I personally face the temptation of taking on projects or clients I know are against my better judgment. Luckily with practice I’ve gotten better at resisting such temptation.

Other examples of putting your brand at risk include:  saying “yes” to every opportunity, giving away your skills and talent for “exposure,” and taking jobs you’re overqualified for in the hopes of just getting a foot in the door with a certain company or industry.

However, you must keep in mind your career choices, just like your personal choices, reflect on you as a person. (And your business if you’re a business owner.)

Don’t Give Away Your Name

Well-known personal development and entrepreneurship blogger Tim Denning explains this in his post entitled “Don’t Put Your Name On Anything That Makes You Look Cheap“.

He shares examples of how easy it is to make this mistake, such as accepting a job or project that goes against everything you believe in. He refers to this as “giving your name away”. I’ve seen this happen with people who take a job just for the money or out of fear.

If you do any of the above (i.e. agree to do a project for free or cheap, settle for a less than ideal job, etc.), then people expect you to continue doing so. Therefore, it becomes harder down the road to ask for what you’re really worth. This includes not just money, but also time and respect.

The point Denning drives home is this:

“Stop saying yes to everything!”

This doesn’t mean you say no to everything, but just to the things putting your personal brand at risk.

How to Say “No”

Saying “no” may sound very difficult to do, especially for people-pleasers.

However there is a way to stop saying yes to everything and to learn how and when to say no. It all starts with a mission. Your mission is the foundational piece to your personal brand.

What is your mission you want to accomplish in life and why? It’s necessary to have a deep knowledge of your mission if your goal is to take responsibility for and ownership of your life’s purpose.

A personal mission statement of how you want to use your talents to accomplish your vision and goals serves as a filter in making important decisions. You use it to filter out the opportunities that don’t support your mission statement. As a result, you know which opportunities to say “no” to.

The opportunities that support your mission statement or get you one step closer to your vision are the ones you can say “yes” to.

How to Write Your Own Mission Statement

Since your mission statement helps you better discern opportunities, it’s important to put some thought into it. Writing one is more of a process than just jotting down some pithy statement in two minutes.

You should take into account all your strengths, limitations, unique differentiators, potential audience, and more. Think about the following things:

  • Who are your various audiences? I use the plural form of audience here because you’ll have more than one audience for each endeavor.
  • What is your audiences’ biggest challenge or problem they face?
  • How do your unique strengths and skills solve your audiences’ problem?
  • What are the additional benefits of your skills for your various audiences?

Protect Your Personal Brand

Having a mission statement is just one piece of your personal brand. In order to protect your personal brand from bad choices, you must have a clear understanding of what your brand is.

What do others think of when they think of you and your work ethic? Are those the things you want people to think about you? Or is there another message you want to convey through your goals and mission?

To gain control of your brand and to build one that’s strong and will take you where you want to go, check out my latest book, Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic. It will give you all the tools you need to attract the opportunities you’ll want to say “YES!” to.

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Sunday Inspiration: How to Get a Vision for Your Future

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2 KJV

A vision is a picture of what “can be” rather than “what is”.

Your vision may be to bring health where there is sickness – like the vision Albert Schweitzer had for Africa. Or of education where there’s ignorance – like the one that motivated Gilbert Tennent to help establish Princeton University.

It may be a vision of freedom where there’s oppression – like the one that made William Wilberforce give up a life of privilege to eradicate slavery.

Or your vision may be smaller and simpler – like being the first one in your family to graduate from university, or becoming a great parent to your child even though you yourself never had one.

Or breaking a bad habit before it breaks you…or moving to a different country…or spending your t most-productive years traveling the world.

Thoreau said,

“If you’ve built castles in the air…put foundations under them.”

But having a vision isn’t enough; there has to be a commitment to act on it. That’s called a mission – and it requires setting specific, measurable steps to achieve it.

Those steps are called goals; they establish a plan for accomplishing your mission and thus fulfilling your vision.

You’ll generally have one vision, but many goals. And each goal you reach brings you a step closer to fulfilling your vision.

And here’s the really good news: when your vision comes from God, He’ll give you the strength, wisdom, connections, relationships, and resources to make it happen because He’s “the author and finisher of our faith”.

Source: http://w4u.ph/ask-god-for-a-vision/

With Every Great Purpose Comes Passion…and Challenge

When I decided to focus my career coaching skills on helping people pursue their passions, it was with the belief that passion yields purpose. The passions divinely instilled in each of us give us the ability to carry out our unique purpose on this earth, despite the challenges that come with our pursuit of purpose. And every great purpose will always include challenges. Passion is the spark that ignites our purpose. It’s also the grit that keeps us moving in our purpose despite obstacles or the temptation to give up.

Beware of the Lure of the “Easy Life”

When I started promoting paNASH’s services, I got a lot of followers on Instagram from those who assumed I was doing similar work to theirs. But they were promoting something different. Something writer Tom Kuegler refers to as:

“The digital nomad/laptop millionaire infomercial of the hot couple sitting on the beach sipping Mai-Tai’s and checking their PayPal account every 3rd drink only to find thousands of dollars rolling right in.”

They promised if I followed their cute little finger-pointing emojis to the posted link, they’d tell me how they achieved the “easy life” and how I could too. I could follow their cookie-cutter formula and spend the rest of my life laying around on a beach chair. As much as I love the beach and enjoy much-needed relaxation, I think I’d get bored doing that every day. Just like how the newly-retired 65-year-old discovers playing golf everyday gets pretty boring after a few weeks.

Eventually we long to be productive. And there’s no cookie-cutter formula to help us discover our unique purpose or know how we should be productive. There are various methods to figuring it out. Some are more tried-and-true than others. But we each have a different path to discovering our purpose.

One of my clients described the coaching I provided her this way:

“Going through our coaching sessions is like taking my car through the car wash. The car wash gets all the dirt and bugs off the windshield, making it clearer to see what’s ahead of me. I’m the one who still has to drive the car in my own direction. But at least now I can see where I’m going and feel refreshed. I have so much more clarity about my career path and my path in life.”

The Universal Desire for Purpose

Last week, I got to witness true passion and the universal desire for purpose. I found myself in the middle of the Amazon jungle gathered with pastors from small villages situated along the vast Amazon River. These pastors have a deep passion for providing care to the forgotten people of the Amazon. Their purpose is to show God’s love to their fellow natives and to share the Gospel, regardless of the challenge or the sacrifice. Through their actions, they let their people know that even though they’re isolated from the rest of the world, they’re not forgotten.

To fulfill this purpose, they traveled by boat, many for days at a time, to the annual  jungle pastors’ conference to learn things they can take back to their villages and their churches. The team I served on also had a long journey to the conference center in the Amazon jungle. We gave up the comforts of home such as air conditioning, hot water, and standard plumbing to teach them. But our sacrifices were unlike the sacrifices I heard of from the pastors and their wives.

purpose

Through those with the skill for translation, I heard the story of one woman who traveled nearly 36 hours to attend the conference. Her husband had to stay behind in their village to work his other job. She told us of her and her husband’s vision to build a new church in a poor far-away village. When we asked her how far away, she responded in thick Portuguese, “A seven-day boat trip.”

This is no seven-day river cruise on a luxury liner like the ones you see in those “don’t-you-want-my-life?” Instagram posts. She and her husband will soon take this long and treacherous journey in piranha-infested waters. It will require them to leave their grown children, perhaps never to see them again. This is real passion. Real purpose. Real nobility. With real challenges.

Don’t Play the Comparison Game

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking the efforts of the passive income tribe. I’m sure they’ve faced struggles and challenges of their own because we all do in this lifetime. And perhaps their approach to work frees them up to pursue something more than just a lifestyle of permanent vacations. Something meaningful and purposeful that for whatever reason they choose not to share on their Instagram account.

The problem is when we start playing the comparison game. On one hand, If we compare our lifestyle to the glossy Instagram lifestyles, we can easily become jealous. On the other hand if we compare our contribution to the world to someone else’s greater contribution, we can experience feelings of worthlessness.

The goal is to focus on your own unique gifts and how they fit with your purpose. Don’t worry if your purpose seems small. In fact, one thing I kept hearing over and over last week was:

“You may never get to see or know the bigger impact your small role on this trip has made. But it’s much bigger than you think.”

I just had to do what I was equipped to do. And trust it was making a far-reaching difference throughout the Amazon whether it felt like it or not.

It took me up until a couple of years ago to fully understand my own purpose and how my God-given talents and past experience fit into that purpose. I realized my overall purpose is to increase productivity by helping people answer the call of their purpose. This is true in both my career and my volunteer service.

Sometimes this means helping people get “unstuck” in their fear of what they’re being called to. Other times it means helping them realize their talents and skills because they can’t see in themselves what others see in them. Oftentimes it means encouraging and cheering them on as they take their first wobbly step outside their comfort zone. All while providing them various tools to give life to their vision and accomplish their mission.

My purpose is not the same as yours or anyone else’s. Therefore, I have to focus on my own journey and not compare it to anyone else’s.

Nothing is Wasted

I was able to take what I do in my work here in the US and tweak it to fit a different audience in the Amazon jungle. (Something I never dreamed I’d be doing!) While what I was teaching didn’t require me to step out of my comfort zone, where and to whom did.

I went to the jungle to teach local pastors the importance of having a vision and a mission statement for their churches. While most churches in the US have such statements, this was a new concept for several of these pastors. I showed them how the mission statement can be used to help them make tough decisions their churches may face. I also showed them how to teach their individual congregation members to do the same for themselves. This is so they can make God-honoring decisions when facing the daily struggles of jungle life.

purpose

Presenting with my translator Harold Pinto

This class evolved from the tools I use with my clients in my coaching efforts and from the on-demand program Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

And those tools and programs all evolved from my previous work with recording artists in the music industry. When helping my young artists develop their image and brand, many of them couldn’t tell me what made them unique from other aspiring artists. Therefore, before we could create an authentic image and brand for them and their music, we had to back up and figure out what made them unique. Since this happened so many times, I had to come up with a process for not only helping them figure this out, but also how to articulate it to their fan base and potential labels.

I no longer work in the music industry. But being able to trace back where my teaching came from confirmed that God doesn’t waste anything. I NEVER could’ve dreamed in a gazillion years God would take what I’d created in my previous role all the way from Music Row to as far as the remote villages of the Amazon jungle!

Embrace Challenge

When you’re faced with challenges, instead of running from them or becoming paralyzed by them, learn to embrace them because they can lead to a greater purpose. Don’t be fooled by all the “life’s-a-beach” Instagram posts. And certainly don’t compare your life to the carefully edited lives displayed on social media.

Don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’ve reached a dead end. In fact, one of the pastors leading the Brazilian team of missionaries said this last week:

“Airplanes don’t lift off until they reach the end of the runway. When it seems like you’re at the end of your road, that’s when things are about to take off!” Pastor Filipe Santos

purpose

Taking off from Miami to Manaus, Brazil

Be open to the ways your interests, talents and strengths can be used to fulfill your purpose in life. Let’s face it. We’d all be good at sitting in a lounge chair on a beach. But what kind of contribution would we make in this world if that’s all we did? How would we truly know what our purpose is on this beautiful earth if all we did was soak in its beauty without ever getting our feet wet or our hands dirty?

purpose

The view of where we landed was Instagram-worthy, but there was more spiritual beauty to behold as our boat went deeper into the jungle. (Left: the Amazon River from the beach in Manaus; Right: a village served by Justice & Mercy Amazon)

Discover Your Purpose While Helping Others

paNASH is now donating 45% of the sales from the the on-demand program Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic to Justice & Mercy Amazon. Your purchase of the on-demand program will help pay for a pastor’s expenses to attend future conferences.

The conference provides these pastors with the training and education they otherwise would never find in the Amazon jungle. It fills the gap caused by a lack of opportunity for formal education. It also gives the pastors renewed energy and hope as they return to their villages where they wear many hats. Not only do they serve the spiritual needs of their village. They also oftentimes serve as the only provider of medical care to their people. And some also serve as farmers to provide agriculture and food to their people.

The pastors have limited financial resources to make the long trip to the conference, but once they arrive, they learn many new things to take back to their villages to better the lives of their communities. The jungle pastors’ conference is the centerpiece of all the work Justice & Mercy does in the Amazon. This includes medical assistance, child sponsorship, emergency food relief, support for special needs kids, mission trips and training, and school construction.

Purpose

Therefore, when you purchase this on-demand program, not only will you learn how to better your own life by creating a purposeful mission statement to live by, you’ll also help Justice & Mercy accomplish their mission and achieve the above results.

You can also help by purchasing a copy of my second book, SUP: Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard for only $12. I personally will donate 100% of the profits from book sales to Justice & Mercy Amazon and mission trip expenses.

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Return From the Amazon

I’m back from my mission trip to the Amazon jungle! What an amazing experience it was. I can’t wait to share all about it in my next blog post, something I’m working on right now. In the meantime, enjoy this re-post of a previous blog on how passion projects can have a greater purpose. It’s written to encourage you to begin working on your own passion project. The one that keeps coming up in your mind. The one you’ve either been procrastinating on or praying over (or both!). Enjoy, and see you next week!

It’s Time to Launch Your Passion Project

At the start of 2017, I challenged my readers to begin a passion project. I encouraged them to take the ideas they’ve had burning inside them for some time now, and start implementing them. The new year was a good time to add their passion project to their goals for 2017. I planned to join them with my own passion project, a 30-day devotional that combines three of my passions:  faith, writing, and stand up paddling.

How My Passion Project Began

My own passion project began much like the way the passion project process is described in Niklas Goeke’s article “How to Start a Passion Project One Day At a Time.” It started out simply as something I thought would be fun. I’d been enjoying a newly-discovered passion, stand up paddling, and was noticing several parallels between paddling and Biblical principles.

I thought it would be fun to record some of those spiritual epiphanies in writing, specifically on a personal blog. I set up the blog, named it “Spiritual Understanding & Prayer (SUP) on a SUP,” and began writing. However, I didn’t really promote the blog since I was just doing it for myself. Only a few friends knew about it and followed it.

A Greater Purpose

Fast forward two years. My publisher asked me for a 2nd book, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. Originally I was thinking perhaps a follow-up to my first book Advance Your passion projectImage.

But God had a greater purpose in mind. Instead, I started thinking about a compilation of my personal blog posts on spirituality and stand up paddling. My publisher liked the idea and suggested putting it in the format of a daily devotional.

By the end of 2016 I was weeding through all my posts of my paddling adventures to choose just the right ones for my next book. I started reformatting and editing them around the same time I’d challenged my readers to pursue their own passion projects.

That’s when it dawned on me I could use my passion project for a bigger purpose. I could use the profits from book sales to help fund my very first mission trip I’m taking in July. This idea was a perfect fit since my paddling excursions mainly occur on rivers and my mission trip will take place along Brazil’s Amazon River.

Obstacles are Inevitable

Of course, when working on such a project, there are times when obstacles will occur. It’s just inevitable. For me, it was an unexpected surgery in late January and an extended recovery due to complications from the surgery. I couldn’t work on my passion project (or any projects for that matter) for over a month.

Luckily I’d submitted most of my manuscript prior to my surgery. But this set-back was still going to cause a delay in the release of the book. I did my best to not let this get me down. I picked up where I left off on my project as soon as I was able.

There’s also another hiccup in this story. Originally, my mission trip was to occur in early March. But since there weren’t enough participants from my church, I got moved to a trip with participants from another church who are going in July. I found this out several months before I knew I’d have to have surgery.

If the March timetable had worked out for my church, I wouldn’t have been able to go because I was still recovering from my surgery at that time. I’d already raised about half of the funds for the trip, so I would’ve been really disappointed.

God’s Timing Is Perfect

Despite having to have a 2nd surgery in late April, I’m now doing much better physically. In fact I’m back on the water just in time for the beginning of paddle season.

Most importantly though, my book is now available! God’s timing is always perfect! I’m so excited about how He plans to use the book for His Glory and the impact it will have. Not only on its readers, but also on those benefiting from the profits – the people in the tiny communities and congregations situated along the banks of the Amazon River.

Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard is a reminder to not just listen to God when you’re reading your Bible and praying, but also when you’re working and playing. This is true no matter what your own hobbies are, what kind of work you do, or what your personal passion projects are.

I’m so honored and grateful that champion SUP racer and pro surfer Candice Appleby penned the foreword to the book. She is a sister in Christ who openly shares her faith in the professional SUP community. She continually points her achievements in SUP and surfing back to God, always giving Him the glory.

How You Can Make an Impact

There are several ways you can also make an impact. First, by starting your own passion project and seeing where it leads. Follow Goeke’s suggestions in the article linked above and you’ll have the confidence to bring it to fruition and accomplish what God wants to do through you.

Second, you can contribute to my passion project by purchasing a copy of Spiritual Understanding & Prayer (SUP) on a Stand Up Paddleboard for only $12. One hundred percent of the profits go toward travel expenses and supplies for the mission trip to the Amazon. Go to http://bit.ly/SUPdevotional to purchase a copy.

Thank you in advance for your support of this passion project. Your purchase creates a ripple effect in God’s Kingdom like a single drop of water does in the vast Amazon River!

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