Category Archives: Spirituality

Our lives are filled with “chance encounters”

On Monday, the Good News Network ran a piece from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution about a young woman who had a “chance encounter” that changed her life – and the lives of many people in a remote area of Africa on the Congo/Uganda border.

(I’m linking to the Good News Network as well as the AJC because the GNN is filled with the type of positive news we really need to read more about, and I urge you all to subscribe to the site!).

As you’ll read, Brittany Merrill was 19 when she was talked into a short trip to Africa by some friends, to teach during her summer vacation from Southern Methodist University. During that trip she met Sarah Kamara, a woman who wasn’t much older than Merrill but whose life was 180 degrees opposite from the privileged existence the American girl enjoyed. Instead of traveling around the world and shopping in exclusive stores, Kamara cared for 24 orphans, sleeping on the dirt floor of a tiny Ugandan house.

That was the “chance encounter” that sparked something in Merrill and turned her into a tireless humanitarian who has, in the last seven years, managed to gather the forces needed to build an orphanage to care for 180 Ugandan children, and then went on to channel $2 million in donations into projects throughout the African country. Thanks to her, the Ugandan American Partnership Organization has drilled 20 water wells, built two orphanages and started a vocational program that has trained 160 Ugandan widows to become financially self-sufficient.

Chance encounter? I don’t think so. In fact, I don’t think there are any “chance encounters” in life, no coincidences. Things happen for reasons, even when we don’t recognize or understand them. We get drawn to certain people, organizations, or ideas and doors open up. We either walk through those doors or we let them close without going through (which is okay, too … other doors will open).

What I realized once again from reading this inspiring story of Brittany Merrill is that we never know which people or encounters will result in incredible opportunities or wondrous events. I need to greet every person with the same anticipation, expectation, and excitement. My next client, the woman behind me in line at the store, the boy who delivers pizza to my door.

That person may be THE ONE who sparks something incredible in my life.

I can’t wait to have some “chance encounters” today!

Life lessons from everywhere

Several years ago, Robert Fulghum wrote a wonderful book called “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” and it started a trend in books and articles, all relating the life lessons we learn from unexpected places, including television shows.

I came across an exceptionally good example of this “genre” the other day and it soars above most I’ve read and I wanted to share it with you. In it, writer Andrew Wyns (Executive Director of Bridges of Greater New York, a transitional housing program for men struggling with addiction and being released from prison) talks about how the sport of rugby helped him become a better father, and a better person.

As a father, it has particular meaning for me, but I also see the direct application of the lessons to other areas in life and even business, since it touches on leadership, team building, and rebounding from mistakes.

Take a few minutes to read this and you’ll see why I think this ranks right up there with Fulghum’s classic!

5 Lessons Rugby Taught Me About Fatherhood

Keeping things in perspective

I worked hard earning my black belt in karate when I was younger. It was tough, physically and mentally. But when I learned about a young guy named Kyle Maynard, I realized how “easy” I’d had it.

Maynard also trained in mixed martial arts, and is a former college award-winning wrestler. Not only that, but he’s modeled for clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch.

What’s really amazing, though, is that he was born with congenital amputation of the forearms and lower legs. He has no arms or legs. And he’s still been able to accomplish more than many “whole bodied” people! He won the ESPN Espy Award for Best Athlete With A Disability in 2004 and has appeared on radio and television interviews, been featured on talk shows including “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Larry King Live,” and is now a highly in-demand motivational speaker and the author of the memoir “No Excuses.”

Take a look at this video and see if it doesn’t inspire you to give up the phrase “I can’t …”