This past week has been full of unexpected blessings. I started off the week by setting some long and short-term goals and planning out each week one day at a time. When I filled in all the things I knew I was going to do or had to do, I noticed that I had so much more empty space in my day. Yet during the day, time seemed to pass so quickly. It was because my day lacked focus. With the daily planner I noticed that I seemed to get more done and would end the day with a satisfying sense of accomplishment whether I got everything done or not. (Disclaimer: When setting goals and planning your day it’s important to be flexible. Recognize the shifts and flow with them.) Right after I set my long and short-term goals, things started to change in my favor to meet those goals.
Mid-term goal (3 months): Advance to the next rank in my self defense class
I realized that I was being too causal about my self defense class. I know the moves because I catch on pretty quickly so I could have moved up by now. I needed to be diligent about it and practice more. Because of my current schedule I’m only able to attend class once a week. I set the goal to move up on Sunday and got an email about a schedule change on Monday. With the new schedule I’ll be able to attend more classes. More classes means more practice which means faster advancing.
Long-term goal (one year): Expand the college age ministry to have weekly events averaging 50 participants.
I’ve been given the task, honor, and privilege of heading up a new ministry for college age people at my church. Currently the group meets monthly averaging six participants. At one point I was discouraged by the lack of participation and was ready to throw in the towel. Setting this goal has given me something to strive for and has rekindled my fire for this group. I had an appointment with the youth pastor about adding upcoming events to the church calendar. That meeting turned into an impromptu meeting with a couple that recently joined our church staff. Turns out this couple specializes in ministry for young people and they have a proven track record. They have a few other projects for finish up first but they are excited about getting on board with me. That meeting may not seem like a big deal to anyone else but it was an answered prayer for me.
Long-term goal (one year): Enroll in culinary school
Thursday evening I got a text about open house at the local culinary school that was already in progress. I didn’t have time to think about it; I had to make moves. So I dropped everything, put on some decent clothes, and went. I had the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with the Admissions Manager. He explained the program to me and all the courses looked exactly like the kind of stuff I was interested in learning. The tuition wasn’t as bad as I thought either. Instead of being enrolled within a year I could be finishing in a year! This was actually looking doable. Of course I would need money to pay for it but there is plenty of grant and scholarship money out there; I just have to find it. Loans are not an option. I fell into the student loan trap with my engineering degree and learned my lesson. Never again. Sallie Mae and I are not friends. As I was sitting in his office I started to have doubts if I was doing the right thing. Was this really the right path for me? Then I snapped myself out of it. I’ve been wanted to go to culinary school for years. Now that the opportunity was knocking at the door why was I afraid to open it? As I was sitting there in the office my eye caught a Goodwill brochure on the corner of the desk. My eyes read it as “God’s will” and I had to do a double take. Maybe that was my sign that I am on the right path. If not, I’ll just turn around.
Saving the best for last…
I was asked to speak at a local middle school about engineering. Motivational speaking was not one of my goals but it is on my vision board. The lady that asked me to speak remembered me from a class we took together at least a year ago. (Ever since my last post, “Ps and Qs,” I’ve been getting recognized everywhere I go.) I enjoy public speaking, especially to middle and high school kids, so accepting was a no-brainer. I thought I was volunteering but the lady offered to pay me…out of her pocket! It gets crazier, she asks me to name a figure. I had no idea what to ask for. Whats the going rate for an unemployed amateur motivation speaker? I told her that any amount would be helpful given my current financial status. She told me to think about it and get back to her. In the meantime she still wanted to give me some money. Then she proceeds to give me all the money in her purse. Now, if I were to empty my purse it would be about $40 on a good day. This was well over $40! (If this would have happened to me months ago I probably would have refused the money. The Lord recently showed me that I didn’t know how to receive and if I wanted to experience all the blessings He has for me I needed to learn.) I went home that night with my face beaming, my pockets bulging, and my mind blown. I couldn’t believe what just happened. Then it hit me, I’m supposed to be talking about engineering and I don’t even have a job! I just got out of engineering. What am I going to tell these kids?! The last thing I’m going to do is lie to them. Then the words of Les Brown came to mind, “It’s possible.” A lot of minorities don’t go for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers because they don’t believe it’s possible. They don’t know anyone that looks like them in these fields or they don’t believe they can do it. My message to them will be to dream big. Live the life you want to live, not the one society expects you to live. Run after that dream career whatever it may be. It may seem difficult or impossible in the beginning but if you stick with it and set some goals one day everything will fall together.