Great Things

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!


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By the way, I don’t charge extra for typos. They are my gift to you. :-)

About eddecosta

Business and Executive Coach
This entry was posted in Leadership, Living With Passion, Self-Mastery, Success. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Great Things

  1. Bob DiGiacomo says:

    Not sure if I am the first to reply but I am sure that I will not be the only one… Clearly your choice of what to write for your 100th posting was a great and proper one (in my opinion). To think on how many times thin threads are all that keep us from seeing and hearing the message that comes to us from the Great Overall Designer. I nearly ignored the invitation to get involved and become part of the JMT program. But this is more than just a program, it is a living and blessed group of people that have come together to share and bring to the world…YES, the world positive that has been lacking so badly. I will not say that John is an idol for us to idolize. He is rather, one man, who through the augmentation plans of Paul, Scott and the rest of the mentorship team have allowed so many of us to go forth and multiply. Very much like apostles. John could not be everywhere teaching positive but with the JM Team he is! I too have had a few bouts of tears, joy and prayers asking for guidance when things were not moving fast enough for me. But it is not about that. It is about the time table that God has established and the planting of seeds. It is about touching people in a positive way. Paul recently said that we have been called to this. I truly believe this with all my heart and soul. Thank you, Ed for your posting of this your 100th entry!!
    Best, Bermuda Bob.

  2. Barry Smith says:

    What a great story Ed and Nora. I think it is true that when we focus on adding value to each other, we can all do great things. Keep up the great work Ed. You are making a significant difference in many lives.

  3. Joyce Dias says:

    Ed, I truly admire your good natured sporting spirit when we raise the Ed Head in yet another incarnation. You are such an inspiration and a true gentleman to the core! Way to lead with humour and Caring! Your turn will also come, and so glad to know you and do Great Things together! Congratulations on your 100th Post – it is a Great thing! (quoting Martha Stewarts “It’s a good thing”) !!

  4. Jill Poulton says:

    Ed, congratulations on your 100th blog entry! You once told me that this business is a marathon and you are a shining example of the endurance, perseverence, and commitment it takes make that run. And stories like this one are just some of the awe-mazing things one can experience along the way. Thank you for sharing the story and thank you for living your purpose.

  5. Billy Durham says:

    Ed, This was FABULOUS! You picked the most wonderful content for your 100th blog and I am continuously blessed by your investment in me as a leader. Thank you for your faithfulness to use your many gifts to bring God glory and to bring joy and encouragement to so many people. I only wish Paul had brought out the “Ed Heads” at my Live Event weekend (August 2011) Maybe I’ll request one for my birthday this year! I am expecting GREAT THINGS!

  6. What an absolutely PERFECT post to mark this milestone! Thank you for sharing, Ed. It moved me and inspired me. I, too, believe that God uses us in ways that we cannot conceive and are not even aware of. What a powerful message from Him to YOU (and me as a result of this post) as well as Nora. You never know what will make an impact on someone else- so live in such a LARGE way that God can use you out loud AND in secret! Love it!

  7. Mary says:

    As a great man once said you have ‘Connection and Synchronicity’ – love the moment with you Congratulations Ed

  8. David Carter says:

    We have great fun with Ed but the truth is we all love him very much. He s a great faculty member and helps us all in so many ways even answering the same question time and time again !

  9. Tim Davis says:

    I should not be, but I am always amazed at how God shows up through people! Great post! And why don’t I have an autographed Ed head???

  10. elaine says:

    As you said, this subject picked YOU. Congratulations on your 100th. Awaiting the book.

  11. Susan Williamson says:

    Congrats on your 100th blog post! Great story! Had God not inspired Paul to make Ed on a stick, Nora may have never gotten that amazing confirmation that was ‘Edified’ through you!

  12. Great post Ed! I have enjoyed you sharing your time and life happens in your blogs. 100 is a defining milestone my friend. Keep the peace and positively coming for many posts still ahead of you. You are making the possibility reachable for so many. Get EDIFIED today!

  13. Cheri says:

    Love those God moments. Keep them coming Mr. Decosta–keep them coming!

  14. Tracy says:

    Serendipity! Awesome!

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