This summer, I have experienced probably more change, inspiration and clarity in such a short period of time than I can ever remember. Those of you who read my post about the “Mission to Kilimanjaro” have read a small part of it.
It is hard to describe the depth of feeling and emotion that has permeated my heart over these months. One thing that was re-awakened and re-affirmed was that great things happen when people make great commitments. Sometimes, getting out of your own way allows the biggest quantum leaps in your life and the lives of others.
In Tanzania, I was put face-to-face with the hardship and plight of 500+ kids in a school for the blind, albino and orphans. More than that, I was driven by the realization of how much of the world does without… and yet, how bright the spirits of those are who are given a glimpse of hope on a distant horizon. I also saw how the magic of love, fun and education blocks out all the rest of the squalor, pain and struggle that surrounds a person in that moment.
The willingness to look, get dirty and go into the bowels of environments that breed prejudice, ignorance, disease, addiction, poverty and even death is the work of huge spirits. It takes the drive of entrepreneurs, leaders and teachers to create islands of magic in those worlds.
Faced with pivotal decisions in my own life and career, I was forced to look beyond myself again over the last several months. The Mission: “To improve the quality of life for everyone through transformation…” took on new meaning and greater depth. The work that we did in Moshi woke up a part of me that had gone silent for a time. As my dear friend Po Chung (founder of DHL International) said, “It is a societal responsibility for those who know… to teach others.”
Just yesterday, I witnessed the “coin out” or graduation of one of my students from an incredible rehabilitation center created by dear friends and partners of mine, Josh and Lisa Lannon. What was incredible was hearing this person’s story of facing addiction, overcoming fear, surrendering to love and support, and witnessing a complete transformation (or re-awakening) of this person’s life. Once again, I was happily flooded with emotion.
I had to think… What about me? What are my addictions, distractions and resistances that keep me from being all that I can be? What am I possibly running from? How big of a game could I really play if I were to face whatever fears I have and truly be who I am supposed to be? What about you?
Have you ever felt like there was some cosmic fire hose out there relentlessly blasting you in the face with message after message – as if trying to get you see something? My values and priorities… Code of Honor, Mission first, never abandon a team mate in need, love stronger than a mountain, eliminating distractions that keep me from my calling… and at the same time witnessing the magic and exquisite brightness of spirit of those who peek through the veil of their normal existence…
The sweet and happy singing of a teenage boy with XP (exoderma pigmentosum) knowing that he will probably not live to see 20… The magic glow of a father and husband coming alive after years of addiction… the crowding of kids in blue sweaters to the chalkboard so eager to learn the day’s lessons… watching life after life take a turn toward greatness… and the hug of my 17 year old thanking me for being there to back him up. Wow!!
It starts with an entrepreneur somewhere with a dream to serve others. To create a space that is somehow a little bit better than it was before. I am in the deepest state of gratefulness to be blessed with great friends, teachers and partners who continue to illuminate that path.
I show you the video at the end of this blog to inspire you to whatever your next level of greatness is. To inspire you to remove the distractions that are keeping you from being whom you are supposed to be. As a result of K2, I have committed to founding my own foundation to improve the quality of life for children and families in need worldwide through education, healthcare and entrepreneurship.
Buckminster Fuller once said that the purpose for human beings was to be local problem solvers. It is what we are naturally good at. He also said that you may never know your true purpose in life; but to be assured that you would fulfill that purpose if you commit yourself to the highest advantage of others. In other words, our job is to seek problems and solve them so that everyone can live a more successful and fulfilling life.
I know this may sound like a religious sermon, but, now more than ever it is up to courageous entrepreneurs to create tools, experiences, processes, businesses and movements that give people a chance to experience their greatness… whether on the Masai plains of Africa, the back streets of Chennai, in trade magazines of Colombia, or in your own home town.
Inside of you is someone great. It takes courage to face it. It takes commitment to do something with it. But like Mack Newton says, “Courage is simply staying in fear for just one more minute.”