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What Sent Me Packing and Off to Tanzania Five Years Ago?

 

Keisha and interns with Jane
Keisha Reynolds with Dr. Jane Goodall and other interns in the 2010, International Intern Program sponsored by the Jane Goodall Institute in Tanzania, West Africa.

Mainly those in my close circle know what really sent me packing and off to Africa several years ago. I was recently asked about it and I realized that I hadn’t formed words around it. All I know is that it was an inner knowing that life was much bigger than the one that I was living. By the way, life wasn’t bad for me—a high paying job, fancy car, large house, great relationship—what more could I ask for? Fulfillment. It was all I really wanted. I wanted to feel like my life was making a difference in this world and it wasn’t in that state.

How many of you believe in omens? I do. I had been offered an UNPAID opportunity to do an International internship with the Jane Goodall Institute in Tanzania for six months. In order to do it, I had to leave behind all of my creature comforts, let alone the ability to pay for myself once I arrived. Here’s where the omen comes in. I wrecked my brain thinking about leaving but I was scared! I couldn’t understand why such a challenge felt right. I wanted to go but I would have probably remained clinging desperately to my 9 to 5 until I was told about the dream.

I had been praying and praying and asking and asking for a guidance on whether this was the right move. I had only about two weeks left before the time I needed to depart and I hadn’t even decided if I would. But then, one morning, my co-worker told me she had a game-changing dream about me—one that made no sense. She said I left work in a short-time frame and everyone was looking for me, mourning me. She was sent to find me and once she did, I looked the happiest and the most beautiful she had ever seen. She tried to encourage me to return to work and I told her no, that I was fulfilled and that it was worth it to step out on faith. I told her that life was about taking risks and that anyone who would not was spineless. My friend also mentioned that in the midst of our discussion, I was running my own enterprise and she said I was surrounded by people and directing them here and there. When she finished, she said something like, “wasn’t that a silly dream?” Then I told her what I was grappling with and how everyone of my questions was answered through her dream. Her mouth fell open. The thought still gives me goose bumps.

It was the sign I was awaiting. I printed off my resignation and took it over to my boss within the hour. What was I felt? Hope. The chance to push pause and make sense of my life. The chance to offer more to others and the world. The chance to make the difference. I instinctively stepped out on faith and it did not disappoint. God provided accordingly and it was just enough to get by like how the day I landed in Tanzania, a tenant finally rented the house I left behind. And so it went. When one thing became undone during those six months, something else would happen to make it livable, survivable. When I came home my bills and affairs were sloppy. But slowly I pushed through and began realizing that that single trip exposed to me, my life passions. Writing. Teaching. Building. Inspiring. Connecting with others—it was all a part of it. It’s what I do today and it’s primarily because I answered the call half-way around the world.

Have you been called to serve or inspire others? I would love to see your comments. If you haven’t felt a call or do not know what your life’s purpose is…sign up for my free gift, “The Inspired Life Journal,”from my home page and it will help you figure it out!

 

 

Cultivate Relationships in the New Year

Happy 2015!

The start of my year was met with an all too painful reminder that I am not quite where I want to be for my fulltime work. After three months of maternity leave, I returned to my consultant work. Although I received feedback for doing good work; my return didn’t seem to matter really. It was a blip on the radar. Please don’t misunderstand, it’s not that I expected a parade, however, I did expect perhaps a second of “chit chat” and an occasional question about my new little one. Instead, I was met with a quick, “welcome back,” and the conversation was back to business from there. Now, I do work remotely but should that be an excuse not to spend a moment longer connecting with me?

At the time I did not know it was so rare but I have been in work environments that were family-like. Environments where they cared about the work but also the people. My recent experience let me know that my work mattered but not me as a person, nor my experiences.

I believe that every interaction that we have with others is divinely ordered, meant to teach you something. There should be a grace in the way we interact with one another because isn’t it at the heart of everything? When we go to answer to our creator, do you think he she will quiz us on the project deadlines and work deliverables that we prepared? Or, do you think he/she will quiz us on our treatment of one another? I know that for many work is money. But it doesn’t just have to be that. Work can be an opportunity for you to cultivate learning experiences, different perspectives and insights and dare I say it—friendships.

Please share this post with others and feel free to leave a comment, I am interested in what you think.