by Alzay Calhoun
Let me just get right to it…
Serving is not that hard. For a long time I thought to be of service meant you had to volunteer at a major service organization like the Red Cross. I would get intimidated at the possible long-term commitment I would be asked to make. I was also concerned about how that commitment would interrupt the current lifestyle I was living.
Over the years I’ve also heard a lot ideas of non-profits that people want to start. They wanted to save the world, rescue the children, and stop gang violence…all as junior in high school.
This trip is proof that there are many other ways of serving that do not require such a hefty (and sometimes risky) commitment. Service is an attitude. Once you have committed to an attitude of service you see so many opportunities that only require a small investment from you that is multiplied when applied to others.
Service takes on a variety of shapes. In addition to my first point, there are so many other models of service I have never thought about. We cleaned a cellar, shredded papers, and organized files. We also arranged pantries, sorted fruit, and developed a non-profit. If you are unsure if any of these tasks falls under “service”, inquire at one of our many stops. Their smiles speak for themselves.
God blesses those things that matter to him. We were supposed to rent a 4 door sedan and ended up in a Kia Sorrento (sweet). When the crickets in our Dallas hotel had already moved in, we were able to move out. I am happy to report there was not one argument…in three weeks…with constant interaction…in close spaces. We raised over $4,000 without any fancy campaign strategy or seed money. In other words, we did the best we knew how to do and trusted God to do the rest…and He did.
There are people who will commit to support your “big idea”. This trip was literally just an idea (and it wasn’t even mine). It was brought to life by one person starting the work and sharing it with others. I committed to the trip because I believed in how it would change my life and the lives of others. When the idea was brought to me there was a GoFundMe.com page with just $400 in it. Nevertheless, I bought in and did my part to make this trip what is was supposed to be. Who is to say that you won’t earn a similar response from people as you work toward your own idea? You’ve got to get to work first though…
You get out what you put in. As a team, we really worked hard on this trip. We served, enjoyed intense conversation, laughed our way to tears, stayed up late to blog, studied the bible, and drove across the country. We took every step of this trip intentionally. We took ourselves seriously…with a smile. There are SO many personal confessions that took place. There were SO many lessons that were learned and confirmed. There was SO much clarity provided about what belongs in our life and what doesn’t. We got a LOT out, only because we put a LOT in.
What is next?
The trip reminded me of some things and refined me in others. As you and I both know, you can learn to your heart’s content but if you don’t do anything…what’s the use?
There two specific things I have committed to as a result of this trip. Feel free to hold me accountable. See below:
Leadership coaching. One of the things I looked forward to on this trip was receiving new direction about my business efforts. I didn’t discuss my work much on this blog, but it is something the team and I discussed at length in our private time. In short, I am a self-employed marketing consultant and the “fire” has left my work. I enjoy what I do, but I do not enjoy the way I do it. Yes, my clients “need” marketing, but they are asking for something additional. They are asking for guidance and support as they set the direction for their marketing efforts. They need less tactical instruction and more strategic understanding. In other words, they need coaching to refine their perspective as they lead their business.
I will tell you that I have fought the coaching moniker for a long time. I always saw it as a fuzzy term that people didn’t really understand. The truth is not only is this a service my clients are asking for, but it is also one my greatest strengths. I enjoy the intense one-on-one conversations. I enjoy sorting through the story-behind-the-story. I enjoy helping my clients set an intention and walk the intention out. I do all of these things in my current marketing conversations…but now it is time to up my own level of play and talk about it from a leadership perspective.
Acknowledgment and commitment to my improved relationships. So how did I get to this new picture of “leadership coaching”? It’s a picture my new friends have helped me make clear. To be honest, Kristin and Natasha are just a few of the new people who have entered my life in the last 6 months. These new friends have been attentive enough to listen, courageous enough to challenge, and respectful enough to care. They have endured and even encouraged my (many) rants about what is wrong with the world. I respect them enough to consider their insight that supports me when I’m right and corrects me when I’m wrong. This trip has only intensified the relationships and it is a wonderful thing.
If my growth, personally and professionally, is going to continue I cannot take these new relationships for granted. These relationships, though impactful, are young and still need continued attention. I have learned a lot of things on this trip and I realize that I was prepared to go this trip. There were mini-conversations, mini-lessons, and mini-tests that helped prepare me for the full experience of the trip. Without these relationships there is no telling how I may have responded on day 4, 9, or 19. I am thankful for my new friends and I am committed to showing them constant appreciation.