A gift, a chance, and a change.

January 31, 2016

Friday was career day at work and it was absolutely amazing. The students were fascinated by a host of interactive presentations. I heard nothing but rave reviews as I traveled from classroom to classroom to take pictures and make sure our guests were comfortable.  The smiles on their faces said it all; and then I embodied the children’s joy as three speakers in particular ignited a change in me.

The first presenter was a professional jazz musician. He talked about how he was raised to go to college so he could get a “real job.” He did just that, and spent several miserable years making good money in the world of finance.  He hated his real job because music had been his real love since his early childhood piano lessons. He decided to take a chance at his gift and make a change, so he left corporate America to pursue his dream of composing and producing music full-time. No time was wasted in corporate America, however. The jazz musician’s experience with numbers is the reason why he was able to create a tune…on the spot…in less than five minutes…simply by translating a student’s birth date in to musical phrases. I could sense his fulfillment through his delivery.  Let me add that he is not a “starving artist” if you know what I mean.

The next presenter worked as a sound engineer who arranges mic packs for cast members on reality TV shows.  When asked how he got into the television industry, he pretty much said, “it just happened.”  He was struggling to find a job in education when he saw a production team preparing for a broadcast about football wives.  He had experience that dated back to his youth in working with sound equipment. He spent years in making sure everything was just right for his church.  He took a chance and started a simple conversation with one of the crew members.  That conversation changed his life as it established a connection and a partnership that would soon help him perfect his craft. No time was wasted while working the sound boards at church. His humble beginnings in the media ministry prepared him for a lucrative career in Hollywood’s media industry.

Finally, my friend Kevin joined us for some comic relief.  We live to pull pranks (it’s our sidebar passion) so he came to the school pretending to be a failed magician.  Once he finished his routine of unsuccessful magic tricks, the real magic occurred. I expressed to the students that Kevin was actually a success story too. He worked for years as a business consultant only to find himself warn out and unfulfilled despite his impressive resume. He wanted to make a change, a personal change, and began his journey to live a healthier life. People started inquiring about his workout and diet plans as his Instagram pictures started reflecting a new Kevin.  He took a chance and started helping people with their journey.  Now he travels the world as an entrepreneur doing what he loves; sculpting bodies from the inside out with amazing recipes and workout regimens. No time was wasted while offering his expertise to his business clients . In fact, Kevin’s consulting experience in Latin America equipped him to operate a dual-language Instagram account and reach a much larger audience to become an international sensation.  

Even though I labored all week long trying to perfect an entirely different piece for today’s blog entry, I knew I had to make a change. The journey of these three gentlemen was too awe-inspiring for me to not recount it. I don’t feel like I wasted any time writing the other piece.  That story is still being assembled, but I had to take a chance on Friday’s epiphany.   With that being said, let me tell you what I really saw on career day.  I saw children being presented with options.  I saw them imagining themselves as great. I was especially thrilled to see my oldest son take it all in. While Emory is perfect in my eyes, he doesn’t always see himself the same way.  He’s a quiet kid surrounded by BIG personalities, and that has often made him feel overlooked.  He is also considerably shorter than his peers and I know that bothers him too.  I’m grateful to say Emory has blossomed quite a bit since working at this new school.  He loves to dance, and this staff really hones in on his artistic talents and dry wit.  THAT makes him feel big. Friday made him feel even bigger.  He was exposed to more people who did not have to fit into a certain mold in order to be cool.  All they needed was a gift, a chance, and a change.  Of course I’m still going to make Emory excel as much as he can academically.  But it was great to hear my son say, “so I can go to college and break dance?”  Absolutely son, absolutely. I believe days like career day will remind Emory that it is important to make the grade so he can perfect the gift. Oh yes, his gift WILL make room for him and bring him before great men! 

The world needs accountants, doctors, and lawyers, as well as musicians, designers, and chefs.  No gift is better than the other; they all work together.  Be careful not to chase money. Money will find you when you do what you love because…people will pay to see purpose and passion on display. It’s an attractive display because it speaks to the dreams that reside in us.  Allow your experiences to serve as opportunities to discover your unique talents. Consider how you can use them to impact others. God gave us our gifts, life gives us our chances, but WE have to make the change. Dare to dream, take a chance, and make a change because…I am already soliciting for next year’s career day. Seriously, I really am excited about it! It’s the day when your past and our future get to meet in the present and make a difference.

Check out Kevin’s magic show: https://youtu.be/m9ZGwHfYokA

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