Weekly inspirational thoughts from our founder and chief imagination officer, Mark Henson.

The Magic Of Being Part Of Something Bigger Than You

Last week’s post, I Want To Be Part Of The Magic, Don’t You? resonated with more readers than I expected. One of the responses I received was the letter below from Michael Mitchell of Water4, a charity venture that empowers local entrepreneurs in tough parts of the world to bring clean water to their communities. 

I asked Michael if I could publish his note to me and to share a link to Water4 with you. My hope is that you’ll be inspired by both. Enjoy.


Mark,

We’ve met once when you were at Oklahoma Christian University a few years ago, but it was in passing. I just wanted to tell you how much your post spoke to me yesterday. After 12.5 years working at OC, I recently took a huge career leap (or at least it feels that way to me right now) and left my position as OC’s Director of Admissions to join a nonprofit in Oklahoma City, Water4, that’s making a huge global impact in the fight to eradicate the world water crisis. 

I loved working at OC and had gotten to a point in my career where I was on a nice, stable glide path. There’s really no such thing as a career ladder any more, I know, but if there was, I was on it at OC. I was in a place and had taken the right steps to continue advancing in a nice fruitful higher education career at my alma mater. I was even doing something that I felt good about in leading a team in the Admissions Office and helping students make one of the biggest decisions of their lives. I’ve seen the power of Christian education to change lives and I was getting to be part of that process in the lives of hundreds of young people each year.

And yet… I’ve always had this desire deep in my heart to fight for people on the margins. And while I’ve found outlets for that at almost every stage of my life & career, I’ve never given that desire my full attention. Over the years, without realizing it or being able to articulate it quite like this, I think I stopped believing in the magic. 

Then one day, I learned about an opportunity with Water4 that would be an almost perfect vocational fit with my heart for people on the margins…and it was an opportunity that I was qualified for! And I was scared. Scared to raise my hand. Scared to let my heart get excited. Scared to leap when the position was offered. Scared to leave something comfortable, stable, and familiar. But I raised my hand anyway.

And here I am. One week into my “new” world as a fundraiser and storyteller for a cause that is literally saving hundreds of lives EVERY day. And I feel the magic. The magic of new beginnings. The magic of vocation & purpose in near perfect alignment. The magic of being part of something that is SO MUCH BIGGER THAN I AM.

Wow. This has turned into a much longer email than I originally anticipated it being. I just wanted to say thank you for writing that post yesterday. Your words almost perfectly articulate the swirl of thoughts and feelings I’ve been having the last several weeks.

Thank you for your words. You’ve been a blessing to me. 


Michael,

Thank YOU. And best wishes for you and Water4.

 

I Want To Be Part Of The Magic, Don’t You?

This past weekend, I took my family and my staff to Miracles & Magic, my favorite fundraiser of the year. It’s a 2-hour Las Vegas style magic and comedy show that over the years has raised over a million dollars for charities that benefit sick kids and their families. This year was the best show yet.

You’re Overqualified. So What?

Have you ever felt overqualified for something you really wanted to do? Or actually BEEN overqualified for something you were really interested in doing?

What Will You Do In 2016 Just For The Joy Of It?

I saw this video on Facebook over the holidays and it really got me thinking about what, if anything, we do anymore just for the joy of it. If you’ve got six minutes, it’s worth watching, then come back here and read the rest of my post. If you don’t have the extra few minutes right now, that’s ok. Just scroll down and read the rest of the post.

What Will You Create In 2016 Just For The Joy Of It?

Stop Listening To The World

What struck me most about this story is that the hero of the story (the mom) wasn’t trying to go viral or create an internet sensation or start the next big thing. She just wanted to share something wonderful and pure with her daughter.

The world will tell you that you need to make your mark, start a business, or invent the next pet rock (or Beanie Baby or Google or Tesla electric car). You have to “hustle” and fight your way to the top. You have to pursue “greatness” or life is simply not all it can be.

One thing I’ve learned in the last couple of years is that when you get caught up trying to “make it big” you often stop doing the things you love to do just for the joy of doing them. You no longer pursue what expresses who you are and what you love, and instead you end up chasing what will make you the most money, or get the most likes, or build the biggest following.

I’m not against success or even fame and fortune, but I’ve learned those things make much better byproducts than goals.

Now is the time of year when we all think the most about the future. We make plans for the coming year, set goals, and make our resolutions. As you ponder your immediate future, I have just one question for you:

 

What will you do, participate in, or create in 2016 just for the joy of it?

Drop a comment below. I’m dying to hear your story!

Me? I’ve recently fallen in love with home roasting coffee. To do it well requires a little bit of knowledge and a whole lot of focus and patience. It’s an activity that I completely lose myself in. Plus, there is absolutely no way I can make money at it (nor do I want to), get famous for it, or have any success other than an amazingly delicious cup of coffee. And I’m perfectly happy with that. In fact, as a capitalist entrepreneur, it’s good for me to lose myself in something other than business.