The year 2011 has presented many great opportunity for me both professionally and personally. 2011 provided ample opportunity to make this world a better place through my interactions with others. I missed the mark far more times than I would’ve ever imagined, and I hit the mark more times than I could have ever dreamed. As I reflected on the year; there are three things that I learned from various people and experiences that i’d like to share with you in order that we together can apply this knowledge to wisdom and 2012.
1. Be impactful.
Although this year was full of great opportunities, it was also full of great challenges. There were deaths in my immediate family and surrounding families. There were relational struggles that I had to navigate; professional challenges and opportunities that I have never seen before and quite possibly may never see again. There were times when I sat wondering how in the world I would get through some days and many evenings. However, one of the great leaders in this community (who will remain nameless) shared with me a precious jewel of knowledge that would be the one thing about life he would leave with his own children. Be Impactful. Have Impact . Change the conditions you are in. If you feel overwhelmed, if you feel overburdened, if you feel helpless, if you feel like you have no help… change the condition you’re in. Having impact is not about having money or influence or power, it’s about knowing who you are and why God created you. It’s about the indisputable truth that I have the power to change the conditions I find myself in. So next year I will not hold my hands helplessly in the air but rather apply my often feeble hands to the plow to change the condition I’m in. Having impact is super salient moving forward into this year of great opportunity and challenge.
2. Keep changing your lenses.
With all of the challenges and opportunities embedded in this past year, I found that I was in seasons of time where I wouldn’t see things the way I should. Sometimes when you allow fatigue, stress, disenchantment and disengagement to swarm your mind and heart, you find yourself seeing things through clouded lenses. The glass that once was full is now lacking water. The people in your life who are supposed to be there to help you, start to be seen as nothing more than dependents. It is very important for 2012 for you and I to focus on the blessings that we have in our lives and to make sure that If our lenses are to be cloudy, let them be clouded only with Thanksgiving and aspiration for better future. If you see me down in 2012, please remind me to change my lenses.
3. Cherish the Wastah’s in your life.
In Lebanese culture there are individuals that are critically important to the lives of regular folks in Lebanon. These people are called Wastah’s. They are people who are empowered to go between, go before, and facilitate success for others. I appreciate our freedoms here in America, for if I need to go see a banker I am free to walk into the bank. That is not the case in other cultures more specifically in Lebanon. There, if I needed a banker, my Wastah would have to go to advocate my behalf. When I think about this year of 2011, I am reminded to be thankful for those men and women who have gone before me and continue to advocate for me and for my success.
I’m especially thankful this year for my late father-in-law and Wastah, Art Hoekstra. He fought to dismantle and destroy racism in this community for 30 years. He tried his level best to be a good father and a good husband. He was a man like me of many faults; imperfect in many ways. But hedetermined in his mind to have advocacy and facilitation of others’ success as core principles of his everyday life. There are several other Wastah’s in my life and I’m thankful to Almighty God for allowing them to go before, to go with, and to go after me. You too have people who have gone before you, helped pave the way for you to be successful. Please take time in 2012 not only to spend time with your wastahs, but to express your gratitude to God and them in special ways for advocating for you, for loving you and for helping you be what you were put on this earth to be. Make and take the time. For when time is no more, all you will have is memories. Make sure that your memory bank is full as it pertains to the Wastahs in your life.
Wisdom is applying what you know to what you do. Pray that I will apply wisdom to my life life in 2012, and I’ll do the same for you!
Happy New Year!
Love, Peace, and Impact,