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As we come to the close of February, and this being the last day of the month, I thought I'd share an epiphany I had with regards to endings . . .
So I graduated high school with a small scholarship to the College of St. Thomas, one of the top 20 Catholic universities in the US. To say I was excited would be an understatement. It felt like the fulfillment of things I had been working towards in high school and the first step towards realizing higher education pursuits. So you can imagine my immense disappointment when my scholarship ended after just one year and the realization that I would no longer be able to attend St. Thomas. The college fees were pretty steep and much more than could be afforded, even if I were to take on additional jobs. I transferred to the University of Minnesota, disappointed and resentful at my circumstances.
Although the University of Minnesota (UofM) is among the top-ranked universities in the world, known for its high standard of education, to me at that moment it could have been any school. I had planned my future in a certain way and followed a path that started at St. Thomas, but life was not going as planned. I went to UofM unexcited about the thought of being there, disliking all my courses and disengaged from my professors. Unfortunately, my financial situation did not help my animosity as I had to work to pay to go to a university that wasn't my first choice. Being a working student, I was not able to participate in many college life events. And I can look back on it now and say I was having a full on temper tantrum with God and didn't appreciate my circumstances at all, even though these events are what teach us the lessons that define us.
I was so caught up in my short-term loss that I couldn’t see the larger picture that God had in mind. After enrolling in a couple of courses, the Black Student Affairs Counselor at CoST contacted me with an opportunity that would change everything. I was offered an internship with IBM, which resulted in an offer of full-time employment while I was still in college. The role with IBM was a strong foundation that helped springboard my professional growth. That single opportunity changed the trajectory of my life in the best and most unexpected way.
What was an ending at the College of St. Thomas, was really a redirection from God to align me with a better opportunity and set me up for the unbelievable. I had to go to the College of St. Thomas to meet Kathy Beechum, who connected me with the IBM opportunity. BUT UofM's proximity to IBM, and the flexibility of the courses allowed me to seize this amazing work opportunity. If I had been at the College of St. Thomas, I most likely would have had to pass up on this opportunity, because of the course schedule demand and distance from IBM. In the end, I'm grateful for every redirection, because it led me to unfathomable opportunities and working with people I admire and who inspire me every day and living a life I'm proud to claim.
Roadblocks are there to Protect Us.
When we hit a roadblock in traffic, most times, it is because there is a pothole, accident, or something dangerous on the road. It is a signal to change lanes, directions or wait patiently for the path to be cleared. When we reframe roadblocks as redirection, we can take a step back, and question if this is the path that we should be on – what is happening ahead of us that we cannot see.
As we navigate changes in our life, sometimes the obstacles we face are not against us but for us, and the roadblocks teach us a lesson we may not realize now, but later we absolutely will. Roadblocks are there to prevent us from going forward into danger. They provide us with safety and protection. They are not endings, they are just redirection, there to align us to where we should be heading and protect us on the journey.
Unknown Paths Unlock our Creativity
Human beings are ingenious creatures. When we are confronted with problems, we immediately seek solutions; whether planning your kids' schedule or identifying a business problem, we are constantly working on solutions and problem-solving. When we are faced with obstacles, we utilize our creative skills to figure out solutions. When an obstacle appears in front of me, I have learned to pause. Instead of reflecting on the problem itself, I focus on the lesson that I don't want to miss.
Obstacles have led to some of our best creations. In my journey, I have truly learned that when one door closes, God opens another; we just need to have faith and seek it out. There are countless companies that have found success from failure. The most notable example is Twitter, which was initially imagined as a podcast platform, Odeo. However, Apple iTunes flooded the market in advance of its launch. The company pivoted to a status sharing site and now has a valuation of 12 Billion. Instead of letting a roadblock stop them, they kept looking for another path to success and found one that rocketed the business to greater heights.
Trust the Unseen Driver
In times of redirection, we often get caught up in what we could have had, that we don’t recognize the NEW space created for us. The new path opens us up to something new, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Whenever I look back on my life, the moments that felt like delays in my life were simply redirections, setting me up for something more than I could have imagined. Sometimes, we have to let go of what we think our journey should look like to recognize something greater.
Redirection is the universe’s way of correcting the soul of our feet (our path) and putting us on the right track. Have faith that you are divinely guided, and believe that God only closes doors that aren't meant for you, so He can open those that are. Today, I can look back and see the things I thought of as endings and understand they were only detours, redirecting me to my true purpose.
JOIN ME LIVE TONIGHT @ 7pm C / 8pm E for Monday Mentoring Moments. It's the 4th and final installment of our February series #SOULofmyFeet and the topic is: New BALANCE. Simply click this link to join us: #MMM TONIGHT
More than 50k have tapped in this month, 90k people viewed our #OwnYourMark series in January, and MORE THAN 1 MILLION people joined us for #MMM last year. It's far more than a moment, it's a whole movement!
Thank you for joining me on the road to GREATER!