Archive for August, 2012

August 29, 2012

What Obama’s America 2016 Taught Me about Entrepreneurialism

My father and I went to see Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie based off of his book: Obama’s America 2016 and I admit, it chilled me to the bone.  Uniquely researched, precisely prophetic, and overall an excellent film, I recommend it to each and every one of you.  And although 2016 was a political documentary, there are some points in it that I believe every entrepreneur and writer can learn from and employ in their own career practices.

History Matters

The absentee father, the activist mother, the questionable “Founding Fathers”…these are those who formulate the history of President Obama.  Good, bad, or ugly (in nature, not appearance), these individuals made our president who he is.

His mother, despite the temporary existence of an Indonesian stepfather, praised Barack Obama Sr. to their son despite his bigamy, despite his absence, despite his true character, she created a laudable figure for the young fatherless boy to cling to and cling he does, even to this day.

His maternal grandfather introduced “Barry” Obama to the first of many unsavoury characters who would come to form what D’Souza “affectionately” refers to as the president’s “Founding Fathers”.  People, events, and ideas shaped the history of the great nation that we are today and it is the same for the man comfortably seated in the Oval Office.

What is your history?  Whose influence makes you who you are today?  What kind of blood runs through your veins?  Were you conditioned to be hardworking and trustworthy or are you wishy-washy and self-centered?  Do you appreciate the morals and values you’ve been taught or do you hide certain belief systems when it’s not socially convenient?  What you are taught; what flows through your veins is exactly what your empire will be built upon.

Your Values=Your Motivation

D’Souza relied heavily on President Obama’s book: Dreams from My Father for the documentation of his own book.  He points out intelligently that the book is entitled Dreams from my Father, not “Dreams of my Father” indicating that the president’s book—and, in fact, his entire life and career—is based off of his father’s dreams; not the American Dream; not a personal dream, but a paternal dream.  There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself; however, the substance of the dream(s) is what makes it good or bad.  It is the motivation behind every speech and decision made from the Oval Office that drives Barack Hussein Obama Jr. to be who he wants to be and to make America into what he thinks it should be.

So the important question is what are your values?  Whose values drive you, your business, or your literature?  Hopefully, you are not basing your goals off of someone else’s unrealised dream or something with no true substance.  Are your values godly?  Do they concern excellence, honesty, servant-leadership and other important qualities or are they more superficial or godless in nature?  You decide.  But whatever you decide will permeate through whatever you build.

Honesty Counts

At one point of the film, Dinesh speak about President Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and the aftermath following the distance made between the two of them following the Reverend’s “God damn America” comments.

President Obama: “You know what your problem is?”

Reverend Wright: “What’s my problem?”

President Obama: “You have to tell the truth.”

Reverend Wright: “That’s a pretty good problem to have.”

Agree or disagree with Rev. Wright (and just for the record, I disagree strongly), he is true to what he believes and maintains that honesty with everyone he encounters.  President Obama—and many politicians—change as the scenery dictates.  Obama doesn’t just adjust to suit his surroundings, he transforms and there is distinct difference between the two.

When Rev. Wright became an embarrassment to the soon-to-be-president, he “put him away” as an archaic man or king would put away a shameful or barren wife.  It didn’t matter that the president actually agrees with his pastor; he would rather present a carefully fabricated façade to present that is more wholesome and American in nature to secure his presidency.  And guess what?  It worked.  Yet now, he’s got numerous groups of people—many of which voted him into office—that are displeased with his unfulfilled promises and beginning to see him for who he really is.

Honesty is important.  Honesty does matter.  People still get mad when their trust is broken or disproven.  Is this how your clients feel about you?  Do you overpromise and under-deliver?  Do you promise them one thing and give them another?  Do you have hidden fees and rates that snag your customers and leave them angry and upset?  Or do you give your clients what they expect?  Your personal and corporate level of honesty matters to your clients and if you or your employees develop a reputation of under-delivering and dishonesty, then your best and free marketing—word of mouth—will advertise an undesirable—although earned—presentation of your business.  Is that what you really want?

Cultivate honesty; it’ll take you further and farther than you could ever imagine.

Things Are Not What They Appear

A carefully crafted image; an award-winning piece of fiction.  This is the increasingly clear picture that we are drawing from our president.  Important sealed records, “authentic” birth certificates, denials of close associations…  D’Souza’s film answers a lot of questions that the American people have or should have about our president (his family, friends, upbringing, worldview, etc.).  In truth, the man we elected was an enigma—a beautiful enigma—but an enigma just the same.  We didn’t really know anything about him or what made him who he is.  We only knew what we were allowed to know.

Crafting a reputation or appearance is not a bad thing.  However, there is a thin line between “putting your best foot forward” and putting a false foot forward.  It’s like make-up: make-up is meant to be an enhancement, an accessory if you will, of what is already there; it is not meant to be a full-on mask to transform completely what is seen.

Be sure that the image you personally and corporately present is, in fact, who and what you are as a person and entity; not a completely other person/entity.

Hope Sells

President Obama was elected on hope.  “Hope” in “Change” and moving “Forward” are natural desires and inclinations.  We want change and we want to move forward.  These are natural desires and inclinations of any human being.  Hope will always sell.

Do you sell hope?  If so, what kind of hope are you selling?  The hope that you will look better, sound better, or be better after purchasing your products or reading your books?  Is it the hope that this product will boost your business your hone your ministerial skills?  Hope is important.  Without it, you don’t really have anything that’s worth selling.  Just make sure that your product is actually worth selling (or worth writing).  You don’t want to disappoint your client’s hope in your or your company.

Love him, hate him, Dinesh D’Souza’s 2016 film is a must-see and will teach you a lot about a lot.  History, values, honesty, hope (or the lack thereof), this is what makes you the person and brand that you are.

P.S. Don’t forget to vote for me in the Wedding Industry Experts 2012 Awards! We’ve only got til August 31st at 4pm, EST. Thanks again! 

Previous Post: “The Gift of Elevation

 

If you would like to use this post, feel free!  Just be sure to include this blurb with today’s blog:

Desiree M. Mondesir is the CEO and Founder of Desired Assistance or “DA” virtual writing and editing company which also encompasses DA Inspires, DA WeddingsDA Luxury and her self-titled authoress blog.  As a dedicated writer and entrepreneur, Desiree seeks to inspire the imagination, educate her readers, and challenge the toxic mindsets of individuals all over the world.  Sign up for a FREE subscription at www.dainspires.wordpress.com

August 22, 2012

The Gift of Elevation

This afternoon I was reading through my awesome NKJV Chronological Study Bible when this verse jumped out at me:

“Do you see a man who excels in his work?  He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men,” (Proverbs 22:29).

Now being that I’ve been walking in the Lord (pronounced “Lawd”) for the majority of my 26 years (since the age of 7), so I’ve read this verse several times, but it stood out to me particularly today.

It speaks of a man (or woman) who is greatly talented—maybe in one area, maybe in more—and because of that great gifting God has given him (or her) access to “stand before kings”.

Standing before Kings

When I look at the phrase standing before kings, I think of several things such as the people you “stand” before:

  • Royalty
  • Politicians & Judges
  • Corporate Moguls
  • Celebrities, Athletes & Entertainers, etc.

I also think about what the term “stand” implicates.

  • To Meet, Become Acquainted
  • To Network
  • To Speak & Preach
  • To Teach & Train
  • To Befriend
  • To Be Mentored

King Solomon had it down when he stated this verse.  He knew that the giftings God placed inside of us would be worthy of the great men and women He (God) would cause you to interact with on various levels.  He knew that the greatness of your gift would denote the greatness of the people in the you were literally made to stand before.  You WILL NOT [only] stand before unknown men.

We also know that when a thing is said once or twice, that it is established.  So I guess that it’s a good thing there’s another verse to back Proverbs 22:29 up.

“A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men,” (Proverbs 18:16).

Again, a person’s gift will literally create a time, place, and opportunity for you to stand before great men.

Real Life Examples

Marshawn Evans, ME University 

Marketplace Mentor, Reinvention Strategist, Author 

Site, Facebook Page, Twitter @marshawnevans 

I’m on a particularly exciting high right now due the free televent (conference call) Marshawn just hosted.  It was extremely inspiring!  Due to Marshawn’s mentoring from a distance, I was able to (finally) create a realistic Mission Statement for my life that helps to guide my decision and actions, started this blog, and wrote a book (353 pages and counting) that I am currently editing and looking for a publishing house to pick up.  All this and I haven’t even got the opportunity to buy her book SKIRTS in the Boardroom or attend one of her live events yet!

Officially, Marshawn Evans is a marketplace mentor and reinvention strategist who mainly deals with women, yet she is also a consultant who deals frequently with athletes, corporate giants and their businesses, and other high level individuals.  Marshawn has also finished as the third runner up in the Miss America pageant under the title as Miss District of Columbia (she won in the Talent & Interview segments) and starred in Donald Trump’s The Apprentice reality show.  Needless to say, Marshawn’s ability to take her wisdom, intelligence, and go-get-it spirit into a product that can be merchandised and also used to mentor other individuals on various levels has created a special niche in the world just for her.  If you’re not familiar with her, get familiar.  Her gifts will help you to realise your own.

Dr. Myles Munroe, Myles Munroe International

Kingdom Specialist, Government Consultant, Business Mentor, Author 

Site, Ministry Site, Facebook Profile & Page 

Dr. Myles Munroe is also another favourite of mine.   Defying the odds of his grade school teachers who told him he would never do anything, this determined man graduated from Oral Roberts University with not one, not two, but three Bachelors degrees at one time!  And that was just his undergrad studies!  I have sat under Dr. Munroe’s teachings theological and corporate teachings more times than I can count and read (and gotten autographed) more of his books than I can recall.  His influence during my formative college years into the present has produced in me a [Gospel of the] Kingdom mindset that is still continuing to form as I learn more and increase in wisdom.

Dr. Myles has the privilege of travelling the world translating his Kingdom principles into governmental trainings, corporate teachings, theological sermons, and phenomenal ministry products that world-renown individuals would pay any amount of money to receive in person.  Dr. Myles has stood before “great men”; he has literally been bestowed honours by the Queen of England; he has and is continuing to fulfill his purpose in the earth through the giftings God has placed within him.

Note that although your gift is meant and made to bring you before great men, that it does not mean you will never have a reason, need, or desire to stand before common men.  For if there was no one to provide you with a good and godly role model how could Marshawn and Dr. Myles have attained the heights they have?  Our common man, everyone who has a desire for more wisdom, more knowledge, and purpose will always need those who have mastered Proverbs 22:29 and 18:16 to teach them how to master it as well.  This example we get from the greatest and most gifted man to walk the earth, the Son of God: Jesus Christ.  His compassion moved Him always to minister to people whomever they were, wherever they were.  We should strive, even in all of our giftings to be just like Him.  God has given us each gifts and measures of gifts, therefore, we must be good stewards of that which God has given us and help to benefit, first the Church, then the world at large.  Without that goal in mind, our gifts would be entirely useless.

P.S. Please vote for me in the Wedding Industry Experts 2012 Awards! Thanks! 

Previous Post: “What Inspires YOU??

 

If you would like to use this post, feel free!  Just be sure to include this blurb with today’s blog:

Desiree M. Mondesir is the CEO and Founder of Desired Assistance or “DA” virtual writing and editing company which also encompasses DA Inspires, DA WeddingsDA Luxury and her self-titled authoress blog.  As a dedicated writer and entrepreneur, Desiree seeks to inspire the imagination, educate her readers, and challenge the toxic mindsets of individuals all over the world.  Sign up for a FREE subscription at www.dainspires.wordpress.com

August 15, 2012

What Inspires YOU??

I have always been inspired by the most outrageous and unconventional things.  I definitely DO NOT have a mind like anyone else.  My thinking process is random—and likely confusing, most often to my dad (sorry Daddy!)—because it comes off as “featherbrainedness”, randomness, improper thinking, when really, it’s just my brain making connections between things the most would not think of or pick up on.

Historical Inspiration

Example: Not long ago I was sitting watching Return to Cranford on Youtube and this thought-process overtook me.  Then my mind went to all the references of Beltane in The Mists of Avalon (the Arthurian Legend from the female point of view) by Marion Zimmer Bradley and it suddenly reminded me of the god of the Canaanites “Baal” also known as “Bel”.  Soon my research brought me to discover that it was, in fact, the Scottish god, “Belos”—derived from the Akkadian god “Bel”—who was the Baal of the Bible!  And now I’m dreaming of research projects and fellowships at Oxford of Cambridge!  (Hey, a gal can dream right?)

Wedding Inspiration

But my randomness and ability to be inspired also carries over greatly into my wedding obsession with DA Weddings.  You might think it odd, but one of my favourite furniture companies, Restoration Hardware, inspired a series of wedding inspirations I did.

The colours, the style, the design—all of it inspired various wedding themes.  I’m also inspired by songs, literary classics, outfits, and much more.

Your Inspiration

So here’s the big question: what inspires you YOU?  What brings you the inspiration when you write your own blogs, articles, and books?  What inspires your business decisions and inventions?  As some of you may remember in an earlier post on divine inspiration, I believe discussed the ability to sub-create (see Tolkien’s theory of Sub-Creation) which, summed up, is the ability for us to create in our own spheres of influence just like our Father God in Whose image and likeness we were created.  It is this same Father who gives us all good things, not just literal, but spiritual and mental too (James 1:17).  And not just that, but God also gives us the power to get wealth.

When people think about money, they usually think about just that—money and what they’d like to spend it on.  But it only makes logical sense to figure out where the money would come from and what will sustain all those exciting things you’d like to buy and, hopefully, invest in.

The power to get wealth is in the ideas, inventions, and enterprises that God is well able to give you so that you can fulfill your specific purpose in the world, fund the gospel as well as other charitable efforts, and yes, live comfortably.  God loves all of us; He actually likes His children.  It’s His good pleasure to give you all of the inspiration you need to employ your hands and fill your bank accounts.  He can bless you with:

  • Money Management Ideas (Stewardship)
  • Infant & Child-Raising Ideas
  • Educational Advancement Ideas
  • Governmental Policies & Community Ideas
  • Medical Discoveries & Advances
  • Artistic Creations
  • Inventions

These are just a few of the areas that God can give you ideas and inventions for.  Maybe you can already think of some other areas where God has inspired you, given you impressions, ideas to paten, clothing lines and accessories to create, and much more.  All you need do is ask God to lead you.

Set alone some time with Him each day, whenever you can, to just be quiet and listen to what He would say.  Have pen and paper, or iPhone, or whatever your note-taking preference is ready.  When you show God that you’re listening, He will speak.  He will show you things you never imagined and even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else, it doesn’t matter.  After all, the inspirations are for you to put into motion—not others.  And in time, God will lift you up and your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men (Proverbs 18:16).

But until that time—and even after—be inspired!

P.S. Please vote for me and DA Weddings in the Wedding Industry Experts 2012 Awards! 

Previous Post: “Guest Blog: Modern Good Samaritans

 

If you would like to use this post, feel free!  Just be sure to include this blurb with today’s blog:

Desiree M. Mondesir is the CEO and Founder of Desired Assistance or “DA” virtual writing and editing company which also encompasses DA Inspires, DA WeddingsDA Luxury and her self-titled authoress blog.  As a dedicated writer and entrepreneur, Desiree seeks to inspire the imagination, educate her readers, and challenge the toxic mindsets of individuals all over the world.  Sign up for a FREE subscription at www.dainspires.wordpress.com

August 8, 2012

Guest Blog: Modern Good Samaritans

“As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, some robbers attacked him. They tore off his clothes, beat him, and left him lying there, almost dead. It happened that a priest was going down that road. When he saw the man, he walked by on the other side. Next, a Levite came there, and after he went over and looked at the man, he walked by on the other side of the road. Then a Samaritan traveling down the road came to where the hurt man was. When he saw the man, he felt very sorry for him. The Samaritan went to him, poured olive oil and wine on his wounds, and bandaged them. Then he put the hurt man on his own donkey and took him to an inn where he cared for him. The next day, the Samaritan brought out two coins, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of this man. If you spend more money on him, I will pay it back to you when I come again,'” (Luke 10:30-35 NCV).

Sometimes, in life the unexpected is performed by the unlikeliest of characters.  A lawyer approached Jesus and asked, “Who is my neighbor?”  Jesus replied by telling him the story of the Good Samaritan.  A traveler in desperate need of help was passed by the two people who were expected to help, a priest and a Levite, presumably Hebrew, religious leaders of the day.  If anyone’s going to help a dying man, it would be a religious leader right?  Wrong!  In this case, a Samaritan, someone of a race historically mixed with and despised by Hebrews and vice versa was the unlikely hero of the story (Knowles, 2004).

In life and business, the opportunity to extend or withhold help will present itself to us.  What we choose to do in that moment will positively or negatively determine our future outcomes.  Researcher Thomas Tang and his colleagues conducted a study to test a model of employee helping behavior that explored the intrinsic (i.e. “The Good Samaritan Effect”) and extrinsic (i.e. money) motivations of employees’ decisions to help or not help a co-worker.  The study concluded that money negatively affected an employee’s willingness to aid another employee and intrinsic (altruistic) motives (i.e. “The Good Samaritan Effect”) was positively related to helping behavior.  The Samaritan had no obligation to help the dying man, yet moved with compassion he tended to the half-dead man above and beyond the call of duty.

Fast forward a couple thousand years and this is how the story of the Good Samaritan might look like in today’s business environment.

A Modern Samaritan

A woman wakes up from a coma wondering where she is.  A stranger is by her bedside and her body is wracked with pain.  “What happened?” she wonders and to the stranger she struggles, “Wh-who are you?”  It even hurts to speak.

“Who I am isn’t important,” he responds. “Only that you get better”.

*****

James sat in his office—recovering from his daily, verbal beat-down from his abuse boss and ready for a night out with his sweetheart makes ready to clock out.  But just then, he hears shots outside the office.

James leaves the office and sees a crowd gathering and curiosity prompts him to push forward to see the spectacle.  When he saw the couple gunned down like dogs on a highway, the contents of his stomach ascended past his mouth and onto the victims’ helpless bodies.

What he did not know was that the unfortunate couple was his boss and his boss’ wife, Waldorf; they’d been so disfigured by the beating and shootings, that they were unrecognizable.

“How can these people just walk past them and stare doing nothing?” James asked, half to himself and half aloud.  He wiped his mouth as he dialed 911 and soon the paramedics arrived.

He watched them load the bloodied bodies in the backs of the ambulances wondering “what if that was my wife?  Or what if that was me?”  James shuddered at the thought.  As the paramedic began to close the door he called out.

“Wait!  I’m coming too!”

“Are you a family member?” the paramedic asked confused.  “No, but I’m paying the hospital bill!”  And just like that, he hopped in the van and they were off.

*****

The woman looks at him again and asks, “Who are you?” in slow, laboured breaths.

“Who I am isn’t important,” James repeats, looking at her husband out of the corner of his eye.  “Only that you get better”.  It wasn’t until the victims were cleaned up that he finally recognized them.

His response grated on her more than all the combined pain of her current condition and a single tear slid out of Waldorf’s right eye.

What James did for Waldorf and his wife was purely altruistic; when he found out that is was them, it no longer mattered what type of relationship he’d had with his boss.  He had the opportunity to extend or withdraw a helping hand.  After all, if he’d refused, he would have [mentally] been justified in his actions—his wife was waiting on him for a romantic dinner date.  However, he set aside his personal needs to help a total “stranger.”  Like the Good Samaritan in the above passage of scripture, James was moved with compassion, and in both cases, lives were saved.

My Conclusion

Neither James nor the Good Samaritan knew who they were helping, but they helped anyways.  This was Jesus’ point to the lawyer—the victim in the story was robbed and stripped naked, thereby leaving him unidentifiable.  His lack of identity emphasized the importance of aiding someone regardless of their race, socioeconomic status, and other labels used to categorize individuals.  When it’s all said and done, we are all human, and based on this shared humanity we should reach out and care for others in need when the opportunity arises.

In business, you never know who your next customer might be.  You do not know how a small act of kindness could turn that person into an enthused brand ambassador or loyal customer.  However, that should not be the motivation for helping others only an added benefit for doing so.

Oh!  Did I mention, months after Waldorf and his wife recovered, he visited James and apologized for his nasty behavior toward him?

About the Author:

Namie Bimba is the daughter of missionaries and is an MBA Candidate at Regent University.  She blogs about various life experiences, events, culture, fashion, theology, and more at www.missbimba.tumblr.com.

References:

  • Biblegateway.com. (2012). The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-27. New Century Version. Retrieved from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2010:25-37&version=NCV.
  • Knowles, M.P. (2004). What was the victim wearing? Literary, economic, and social contexts for the parable of the Good Samaritan. Biblical Interpretation, 12(2), 145-174.
  • Tang, T., Sutarso, T., Davis, G., Dolinski, D., Ibrahim, A., & Wagner, S. (2008). To Help or Not to Help? The Good Samaritan Effect and the Love of Money on Helping Behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 82(4), 865-887.

Previous Post: “Introducing Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York

 

If you would like to use this post, feel free!  Just be sure to include this blurb with today’s blog:

Desiree M. Mondesir is the CEO and Founder of Desired Assistance or “DA” virtual writing and editing company which also encompasses DA Inspires, DA WeddingsDA Luxury and her self-titled authoress blog.  As a dedicated writer and entrepreneur, Desiree seeks to inspire the imagination, educate her readers, and challenge the toxic mindsets of individuals all over the world.  Sign up for a FREE subscription at www.dainspires.wordpress.com