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Have you ever seen someone who has achieved a certain success in their job and thought “how did they do it?”

If you hear that they did it alone, then you obviously don’t know all of the story.

Twenty years ago a very amusing movie released called Dave (1993) starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. In the story, Kevin Kline plays Dave Kovic who runs a temp agency. What is amusing is that he looks very similar to the current President of the United States, President Mitchell. On the side, Dave Kovic is hired to impersonate the President and in a bizarre turn of events is called into help in more ways than just impersonating the President. I won’t ruin the movie because it is a joy to watch.

Kevin-Kline-Dave-Kovic

Despite this being a movie with politics as a backdrop, it is really a movie about people helping people. In the movie once Dave Kovic eventually is acting as the President, shares with the American people,

“If you’ve ever seen the look on somebody’s face the day they finally get a job, I’ve had some experience with this, they look like they could fly. And its not about the paycheck, it’s about respect, it’s about looking in the mirror and knowing that you’ve done something valuable with your day. And if one person could start to feel this way, and then another person, and then another person, soon all these other problems may not seem so impossible. You don’t really know how much you can do until you, stand up and decide to try.”

Dave was trying to help others find jobs so they could live passionate and fruitful lives. A job doesn’t solve every problem and it doesn’t guarantee you will find your full purpose. A job can help give someone the opportunity to have passion, purpose and the ability to better themselves to make a difference.

Dave wasn’t just a job-placement owner.

What matters is that Dave Kovic was a connector.

I am only where I am because of the help of other people. Period. Did I work hard and was persistent to meet with people? Of course but doors would not have opened to me if I had not been helped by courageous people who took a chance on me. Here are a few of the many examples from my own personal journey:

  • My high school friend Kara recommended me for a position that ended up being my first job in marketing and sales in the film industry. I wouldn’t even have gotten the chance to interview if it weren’t for her. This also helped fuel my love for movies and great storytelling.
  • When I moved to Nashville, my sister’s childhood friend’s brother, whom I hadn’t seen in twenty years, introduced me to a publisher and led me in the door to my first job in publishing.
  • I am at my current position because of working hard but if I weren’t recommended by mutual friends, it would have been difficult to get to the next stage.

None of the people who helped me got anything in return except being able to see me thrive in those positions. They simply enjoyed seeing me be in a place to thrive.

I have learned from many others along the way.

One of my friends who inspires me greatly is John Bergquist. You need to know John because he lives for helping others do amazing things.

What I have realized is that as a connector, my success will be measured by the successes of others.

Marketing thought leader Seth Godin wrote in his book Linchpin

“Not only must you be an artist, must you be generous, and must you be able to see where you can help but you must also be aware. Aware of where your skills are welcomed.”

The Bible also has a lot to say about helping others. In Philippians 2:4, Paul encourages the early Christ-followers;

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

To summarize, here are three ways to be an effective connector:

  1. Be aware of those around you who may need help and make yourself available to them. You may be igniting a fire in a true change-maker. 
  2. Invest time each week meeting with and helping people. 
  3. Don’t expect anything in return except the joy of seeing someone else thrive in their sweet spot making a difference.

Let’s be like Dave Kovic. The world will be better because of it.

Recently Brooke and I saw Mumford and Sons at the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.  I’d been a fan of theirs for a while but the experience seeing them live is something I will not forget.  There were a few things that stuck out but one in particular.

They seemed to love what they were doing and here is why:

  • There were smiles and laughter during the entire evening by all.
  • Their harmonies reinforced that they are not centered around one person.
  • They invited locals to play with them to bring connection to the community.
  • They invited the audience to be a part of what they were doing and were gracious
  • They danced, they were loud, and gave an unforgettable experience
Bottom line is that they seemed to be doing exactly what they were meant to do.

The day of the show, the band had flown to Nashville all the way from London, England. They must have been exhausted from the trip and I can imagine for any band that a live show can be a drag when you are not sleeping much. They didn’t show any discontent whatsoever and seemed incredibly excited to play at The Ryman. I learned that Mumford and Sons perform like this at every show. It is now weeks later but their joy and enthusiasm stays with me.

What if in life I approached all things this same way as Mumford? 

Life is not always the same type of art but can we aspire for that same type of joy? 

I have plenty of friends going through very difficult circumstances so a post like this could be interpreted as insensitive.  I’ve learned through time and through the Bible that I should expect trials and suffering. Personally life is not particularly easy now but compared to so many others, all is well in perspective. It is draining when you are going through any sort of pain but when you stop to look up and around you, you can see the light. I have a friend at work who said her nine-year old son was so worried about life, especially dying. I remember having strange feelings like that as a kid. It seemed irrational to me now but then it felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. Even with little responsibility, there is something about us that wants to worry and dwell on the negative. What does it get us?

I have noticed a common ebb and flow in life. It is an up and down of emotions and it is easy to get trapped in a valley. Just watch cable news and you’ll be never escape it. Some stay in that valley longer than others but in my experience the more I dwell on the fact that I’m in a rut the longer I stay there. James reminds us in this way in his epistle.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.-James 1:2-4 (NIV)

It’s a reminder that we’re not meant to live an easy life.

There is a reason for our pain because God refines us in the process and shows us what joy is meant to be. I want to live with joy the way God designed me. It has caused me to listen carefully to him for when he whispers through my experiences. C.S. Lewis reminds us,

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.-The Problem of Pain

Next time I am feeling down I will be reminded of that Mumford and Sons night, go to prayer, read God’s word and find that joy.

It comes down to a choice. Choose joy.