Giving Is Receiving

 

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By Coleman Washbrook 

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” — Tony Robbins 

Richard Dolan (president of REIN, authority on performance, innovator in psychology, entrepreneur, and speaker) is walking around the room at Edmonton’s first REIN meeting of the new year. Rich, in his typical fashion, is asking probing questions, smiling that million-dollar smile and looking for anyone brave enough to publicly announce their goals for the year. I felt a strong urge to share my goal, even though I am a newbie to REIN and my goal does not directly relate to real estate right now. I look around the room, hoping that someone else with a more relatable goal will raise their hand and share. But—no one does. A long, awkward pause is starting to set in, and I raise my hand. 

Have you ever been in a situation when your conscience?would not let the moment pass by? When you had a gut feeling that you must act now?or else for the rest of your life you?will be left asking yourself,?“Why did I not step up?” I believe we all have moments like this that, looking back, if we had made a different decision, our lives would be much different today.  

Seeing my raised hand, Rich says, “Okay, young man with the slick hair. What is your goal for this year?”  

With complete certainty, I state: “My goal for the year is to raise $70,000 to purchase and implement a sustainable farm on the island Malapascua [pronounced: mala-pass-cwah] in the Philippines.”? 

Rich looks me in the eye and opens his mouth slightly for a second before responding. “Wow, what an admirable goal. Here we are in this room, with most of us setting goals related to how to purchase our next rental property or how to deal with a current property management issue. And there you are, looking for a way to help people who are halfway around world from you. That’s an honourable goal, and I would personally like to talk to you about it.”  

Now I am in awe! Richard Dolan—an authority on performance who helped the Miami Heat win two NBA championships; an entrepreneur who has been a part of two start-up companies that reached over $1 billion in worth in 24 months; a speaker who has worked and shared a stage with people such as Tony Robbins, Bill Clinton, and Richard Branson. And now he wants to personally talk to me?  

That moment changed my life. The moment I decided to step up and share my goal out loud.   

*  *  * 

My friend and I land in Cebu. We hire a taxi driver to race us to Maya to catch the last boat to Malapascua Island. There is so much anticipation. As we arrive, I see buildings crumbling, garbage strewn all along the beach, and children and stray dogs running around. It was like nothing I had seen before.? 

We stayed at Villa Sandra, the only hostel on the island. The hostel owner, JunJun, and his staff would invite guests to support his Saturday feeding program. JunJun told us that he started this feeding program to help families who were struggling to get back on their feet after Super Typhoon Yolanda.  

Have you ever been asked to donate money for a cause and you wondered where that money will go? Who will truly benefit by your act of kindness? Will the money reach the people in need? Is money what they need most? In my case, I wondered why JunJun was so willing to help. What was his story and why does he care so much for the people of the island?  

This past March, when I went back to Malapascua, JunJun shared with me that he had a colourful past. He used to use and sell drugs on the streets of Cebu. It was a harsh environment for him, as it is for everyone impacted by that lifestyle. JunJun’s dealer saw the path JunJun was heading down. Knowing that very few people come back from that lethal game, he personally gave JunJun money to leave the city and start a new life. Miraculously, JunJun turned his life around by making drastic changes. He began to give instead of take; to love instead of hate. He became an example of the positive things that can be done with our lives and resources.  

Needing to investigate the feeding program for myself, I donated money and went along one day with JunJun, even though a deep fear of seeing malnourished children loomed in my mind. I imagined hungry, half-naked children with swollen bellies pulling at my shirt and pant legs, asking for food and money. Have similar thoughts crossed your mind before?  

The children were so happy to see us. We played Frisbee, Red Rover, and other games I remembered playing as a child. It brought me back to a time when I had looked up to the men and women in my community who taught me the values I carry today. I was finally starting to see why JunJun was here.  

JunJun cooked a meal for the children and, before they ate, he asked them to wash their hands. In that moment, it was not about my donation. It was about JunJun’s leadership and how he was educating the future leaders of his community. It is said, “Give a man a fish, he will eat for the day. Teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” That day, we gave those children “fish,” and I decided to create Fuel the Movement—a company to help support them in becoming “fishermen.”   

 This year, Fuel the Movement will be raising $70,000 to create a business that provides jobs for the people of Malapascua Island—jobs that will help improve the fragile ecosystem and will last year-round no matter the economic climate or the environmental stateWaste management is the biggest concern for the local government and for JunJun other local business owners like him. I believe waste management should be left in the hands of local government. Additional income on the island would allow the local leaders to create infrastructure as they see fit, not as I see fit.  

Fuel the Movement has decided to stay as an accessories business, remaining flexible and expandable to other countries and regions, helping to ensure that remote areas like Malapascua Island are no longer forgotten by working with the local artisans to create handmade, authentic beaded bracelets made from accessible materials such as natural stone, woods, minerals, and gems. A brass medallion bearing the artisan’s name will be attached to each bracelet, allowing customers to go to our website, type in the artisan’s name, and see more of that person’s personal story. We believe this model will provide relief to the root issue on the island—a lack of jobs. Our mission is maximize the benefits Fuel the Movement can have, limiting the amount of disruption to the culture while collaborating with this incredible community. 

The reality is, I can’t do all of this on my own. I believe together we can make an incredible difference in the lives of others and, in so doing, also in our own lives. That is why Fuel the Movement captured the story of the people—to share with you.  

Money is an incredible tool. For many of you, it has enabled you to build a real estate portfolio and/or businesse(s) that will continue to feed you and your family. To use the fishing metaphor again, you have taught yourself to “fish.” And the lessons you learned through that process has given you the ability to rebuild everything if you had to, although hopefully you won’t ever need to do that. Unfortunately, the people of Malapascua have to rebuild, and your help is needed. 

Ten percent of all of my commissions generated through Century 21 Vantage and LLR Canada will go to support Fuel the Movement.? 

Check us out on Facebook @fuelthemovement and on Instagram @fuelthemovement. 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”? —Marianne Williamson

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