Hello my friend,
Before writing this 100th post of my blogging career, I considered how I would like to mark this milestone. In many ways, blogging weekly has been both easier and more challenging than I expected. Some weeks, I struggle to pick a topic that I believe will be valuable to the reader. More frequently, I have actually had many ideas on what to write and had a tough time choosing the best one. This week, the decision was easy, because it was made for me.
As many of you know, I am a faculty member on the John C. Maxwell Certification Program. Participating in this program has been a blessing to me and a wonderful opportunity to grow and to develop. I have met thousands of amazing people from over 40 countries and have enjoyed every minute. Well, most minutes. See, my experience has also given me lots of practice at laughing at myself!
As the newest member of the teaching team, I have been subject to the ribbing and practical joking of the president of the company, Paul Martinelli. Now it has all been in good fun (I think), but I’ve never been teased this much in my life.
At the last training, Paul distributed 500 copies of a very poor picture of my face, mounted on a stick. Like a popsicle. Not knowing quite what to do with them, the JMT students waved them at me constantly and then decided to have me autograph the “Ed Heads” that they had been given. Never having attended an autograph session in my life, I quickly realized that it was in my interest to write the same thing again and again. “Dear Name, It is great to know and work with you. Ed DeCosta.” I must have written that on my own forehead over 400 times during the training.
Why am I telling you this? Here’s why. During one of the breaks, a John Maxwell Team member named Denise approached me and asked “What did you do to Nora?” She then pointed to another JMTer, a woman who was sitting at a table and looking down as if she was very sad.
I approached Nora and asked her what I could do for her. At this moment, my mind was racing with thoughts of what I might have done to have caused her such sadness. Had I spelled her name incorrectly? I really could not imagine what it was.
Nora looked up at me, tears running down her face, and haltingly told me the story of how she had struggled to make the decision to attend the John Maxwell certification. To help her decide, she had prayed to God for guidance. While praying, Nora felt strongly that God wanted her to attend. In fact, she reported to me that God had spoken to her, informing Nora that He expected great things from her. While she is telling me this, Nora continues to cry and is holding her Ed Head in such a way that I cannot see the front. I am listening to her as actively as I can, but I am now convinced that I must have made some error in my note.
Just before turning the head over, she looked me in the eye and said “God told me that he expects GREAT THINGS from me, Ed. Look at what you wrote!” Nora turned over the head (my head) and revealed that I had written “Nora, together we will do great things! Ed DeCosta” I was absolutely stunned. First, I have no recollection of writing that sentence (yes, it was my handwriting). Second, although I know that the John Maxwell and his program has certainly empowered and inspired people all over the world to achieve more than they thought possible, this was the only time I had written the words “great things” together.
How do I explain this? I don’t think it’s really necessary. You get it. Was I used as a messenger to validate Nora’s decision? I believe so. You can choose to believe it or not believe it – it’s up to you. The story reminds me that we can be instruments of peace, positivity and possibility in people’s lives. This is my choice. My most powerful lesson in the last two years? If you prepare and do your best, you will have a positive impact on others. I’ve seen it now and am going to keep doing it until I can’t anymore.
So many elements of our lives are within our control, while many are not. Like the Serenity Prayer teaches us, it takes wisdom to tell the difference.
Go do great things!
By the way, I don’t charge extra for typos. They are my gift to you.