December 2, 2014

Invest in yourself

"I only take classes my job pays for."

"If my company wants me to stay, they should pay for my training."

"As soon as I get my MBA, I’m out of here!"

"I only enroll in workshops or classes that are free."

If your company pays for training, who’s investing in your professional development, you or your company? If your company pays, what do they get in return? If you pay, what’s the ROI (Return on Investment) for your growth and development?

Imagine hiring a contracting company that specializes in home renovations showing up at your doorstep without the skills, tools, or resources to perform the job. Would you pay for the training and resources the contracting company needs to complete the job? Or, would you hire another contracting company equipped with resources and expertise to meet your requirements and deadline to renovate?

Corporations are discovering better ways to yield returns on their resources and investments. And unfortunately, this doesn’t include ‘human’ capital because too many corporations have witnessed and experienced their education and training investments walk out the door.

If your career has come to a screeching halt, evaluate where you invest most of your time and money. If you plan to excel in your current or future place of employment, you have to transition to self-directed and life-long learners. The library is replete with ‘free’ resources for professional or career development and some organizations are replete with ‘fee-based’ resources. The resource you choose would be based on what you’re trying to achieve and why?

Education has been recognized as an integral path to economic empowerment and wealth. Not designer bags, shoes, or acrylic nails. If you’ve been blessed with these things great! But, if you invest more in these things than yourself, evaluate how these things have positioned you to create the foundation to your financial independence and stability?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “We buy what we want and beg for what we need”. Education is a needed commodity to evolve and thrive in today’s society and your growth will be measured by what you endow to yourself.

November 12, 2014

Don't Die with Your Baton

‘The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.” – Dr. Myles Munroe

On Sunday, November 9, Dr. Myles Munroe – a prominent pastor, prolific author, and transformational leader perished in a deadly plane crash. Dr. Munroe expressed his concern about his generation of leaders not passing on the legacy of leadership. He described this as – a person dying with a baton in their hand. And if someone wanted that baton, they would have to pry it from the hands of the person who was dead.

Exodus 32:9 states, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!” This is the depiction of people with hardened hearts and ears unwilling to listen or heed to the voice of God. Pride is the culprit of a stiff-necked generation and this generational type is growing from the strength of pride.

Individuals unwilling to learn are unwilling to lead. And, if we’re unwilling to lead, then why question or complain about the demise of our communities or society? We weren't created to receive and keep, but to receive and bless! Dr. Munroe used his life to teach people how to discover and live with purpose and he died in route to pass the baton of transformational leadership.

In his book entitled, Understanding Your Potential, Dr. Munroe states, "You must decide if you are going to rob the world or bless it with the rich, valuable, potent, untapped resources locked away within you.” If you do, then you've chosen to die with your baton.

November 10, 2014

Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID)

In 1980, Mary Catherine Swanson (an English teacher) created AVID - a program designed to help underrepresented students succeed in high school and college. The program's philosophy is: "Hold students accountable to the highest standards, provide academic and social support, and they will rise to the challenge."

A group of AVID middle school students completed their assignments fifteen minutes early and wanted to watch YouTube videos which were unrelated to AVID. When asked to turn off their videos, a student responded with: "My mom watches YouTube videos all the time at work, so why can't we watch them at school?"

What legacy are we leaving our children in reference to work, finances, or service? Students need role models to coincide with their lessons to advance academically, socially, or economically. And their parents should be their first point of reference.

The industrialized workforce is depleting and individuals that choose to watch YouTube videos instead of seeking opportunities to serve will be challenged to advance via individual determination.

October 31, 2014

Things or Experience?

A survey from Eventbrite found that 78% of Generation Y respondents would rather spend money on an experience than a thing, and 77% say their best memories come from experiences.

In addition, 72% of millennials shared they would like to increase their spending on experiences, and 69% say that their experiences make them feel more connected to their communities, other people, and the world.

In 1998, B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore published an article - The Experience Economy. In this article, they state businesses must orchestrate memorable events for their customers, and that memory (i.e., experience) itself becomes the product. Savvy businesses use this model and charge for the value of their "experience" product because they know if they create experiences that are exciting and transcendent, they can build a community of fans that will rave about their 'experience.'

Jesus Christ created a community of raving fans because He always gave people what they needed - a spiritual transformation. Example, a Samaritan woman went to Sychar to draw water from a well where Jesus was sitting. Her encounter with Jesus transformed her life when He told her about herself and offered her a drink of 'living' water that would quench her spiritual thirst forever.

After her encounter and transformation, she returned to her town and told everybody about her 'experience' with Jesus. As a matter of fact, she left her pail of water at the well.

Matthew 6:19-21, states, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Experience is what transforms, things pile up. What are you willing to invest in that will lead to your stronger 'inner' being?

October 28, 2014

Skeptics of The Poor

Two homeless women contacted The SOFEI Group for housing assistance after eviction from an area shelter. Housing homeless women and their families is not part of our mission; however, we sought assistance (temporary housing, food, and pampers) from area organizations, churches, and people on their behalf. Following are responses to our request:
  • Why were they evicted?
  • Are they tithing members of a church?
  • They must be irresponsible women to be evicted from a shelter.
  • Why can't they move to another shelter?
  • I don't believe in giving my money to people that don't want to help themselves.
  • Why can't they go and stay with relatives?
All responses were valid and The SOFEI Group decided to provide temporary housing and food for these women because they were wandering the street with their children in tote. And, it was discovered their eviction wasn't a result of their carelessness, but their refusal to attend substance abuse (alcohol or drugs) counseling sessions mandated by the shelter.

Some shelters receive different types of funding - funding for emergency or transitional housing. And, when shelters are strapped for cash, it's unfortunate that some women are subjected to unnecessary or unrelated services.

We're all responsible to be good stewards of our resources, and we clearly understand the skepticism associated with giving money to people you don't know. However, here's a food for thought, every time we spend our money, we're possibly supporting an organization or a cause we do not believe in. You know why? Because we don't ask questions about how our money is being used after a purchase is complete. As long as our immediate wants or needs are met, we seldom question the destination of our hard-earned money once it leaves our hands.

So, why the skepticism when money is needed to help the poor?

October 23, 2014

We Plunged

Right into doing something we’ve never done before – host a Zumbathon® Charity Event! Since we’ve been out of the lime-light, we thought hosting a Zumbathon® would be a fun way to reconnect with friends and supporters, and make new ones.

We’ve supported Zumbathon® events to benefit heart disease and ovarian cancer. And one-year later we’re hosting our own to benefit women experiencing poverty in the Washington region.

The Zumba® Corporate Office approved our Zumbathon® Charity Event within two-hours of submission - a process that normally takes two-business days, and within four-weeks, only 10% of our desired participants have registered.

Lesson learned, we’re doing something we’ve never done before and its success can’t be measured solely on who showed up; but, on our commitment to work and move the weight of poverty off the shoulders of women who live with it daily right in our backyard.

Not achieving the desired results from this plunge will not stop us from doing it again. Poverty is growing, and we do not have time to be stagnated by fear, skepticism, or resistance.

If you want to experience growth and enthusiasm click here - this can result from trying something new.

September 30, 2014

A World without Women

What would the world look like without women? Take a few minutes to ponder this thought. What did you come up with?

Women who are abused, neglected, or subjected to sexism, are invisible. And, women weren’t created to be second-class citizens to men, but equally to build a fruitful and noble world for all humanity to enjoy. Subjection of women can stem from pride and ignorance. It’s ignorance when people don’t know the reason for women’s existence; pride when people are self-serving and would do anything to fulfill their wants and needs.

If women want to strengthen their presence and voice in society, they should:
  • Discover their purpose and not allow people or external circumstances deter them from their destined path.
  • Live according to their uniqueness and convictions; not societal norms.
  • Know their rights as a citizen and in the workplace and hold people accountable who inflict harm to them.
  • Increase and stabilize their self- and net-worth to create personal and financial stability.
  • Stop defining their value based on their sexuality or possessions.
  • Connect with people who exalt others and not themselves.
  • Be decisive and fearless about their beliefs and choices.
Eve was created to serve as Adam’s helpmate; not his doormat. If women want to make their presence known and voices heard, they should stop walking in the shadow of mankind, and consider walking in the shadow of their Creator - God.