Your mission is how you will make the world a better place - Sergio Bendana
“What do I want to do when I grow up?” was a question I became all too familiar with throughout late high school. It seemed like at least most of my friends knew more or less what they wanted to do, while I had no clue. I would sit and just think, for…hours, about how my life would turn out if I decided to take a certain career path. Perhaps a mechanical engineer, or maybe an astronomer, or how about even a lawyer. I would think about what my day would be like in these different jobs, and none really felt right. I was lost and had no one to turn to, to really help me get clear.
I was then given a great piece of advice I’m sure you’ve all heard before, but sometimes it only has profound implications later on. “Study something you love” where the words of my high school guidance counsellor.
I decided I would study the law since it is something I have always been passionate about. I have always been into trying new things, so I decided I would study at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) which was a fairly new University at the time. I enrolled in the Criminology, Justice & Policy Studies program and studied there for four years, fairly certain I would then go to law school and become a lawyer.
Two years in, I was not in a great place. Our rez frosh week became a frosh month. We drank like it was nobody’s business, having beer pong and flip cup tournaments regularly, and even did a century club or two. I was having fun and by most people’s standards was living the life. Besides drinking probably way too much, I had spent pretty much all my money on booze, running through 1 or 2 26s a week, and so was pretty much negative in my bank account. I knew deep down there was more to life than this, and so I decided to do something about it. I attended a Tony Robbins event called Unleash the Power Within (UPW) and it massively altered the direction of my life for the better. I went from being broke due to spending money on partying, to eventually buying my first car, a Honda, then a motorcycle, and then a Mercedes.
I made several changes in my life. One of the biggest was annihilating a limiting belief I was allowing to control myself. This began with the notion that there are only two reasons we act; for the desire to gain pleasure and the need to avoid pain. Throughout our lives we link pleasure and pain to different things, based on our experiences. I had somehow in my mind linked working hard to the feeling of pain, which some of you may be able to relate to. At Unleash the Power Within, I become conscious of this limiting belief, and began to associate the opposite, pleasure, to accomplishing hard work. That small change made all the difference. I went from failing my first class ever to straight A’s across the board. I was already half way through my degree, and so I decided I would complete it, because I finish what I start. Yet I knew that my career choice would again need to change as I no longer wanted to attend law school. It wasn’t until a year after I graduated that I had an experience that would guide me to choose my new career path.
I had the unique honor and privilege of being invited to be a coach at the Global Youth leadership Summit (GYLS) thanks to my new connections from Unleash the Power Within, where I volunteered as a crewmember. It was an incredibly rewarding experience to contribute to the bettering of thousands of lives! I met someone in the Anthony Robbins Foundation and she invited me to come be a coach at GYLS! As you can imagine by the title, it is an absolutely amazing life changing event for teens from all over the world. It wasn’t until completing my second year as a coach, on the flight home, that it finally hit me. I asked myself a powerful question: “Wow, this week was the most rewarding and fulfilling week of my life, why does it have to end?” And then I asked an even better question. “How can I make what I did this week, my career?” And right there, Run Your Mission Inc. was born!
I decided I wanted to help people live an empowered life by becoming a professional speaker and coach. I took my guidance counsellor’s advice and began to immerse myself in studying something I really loved and was truly passionate about: personal development. There are many different speakers in all different areas ranging from health, finances, and relationships. I knew instantly what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people find their career. It was something I struggled with for a long time, and so I knew I needed to help people make this decision more easily. I also knew I didn’t just want to help people pick a job, or choose a career. I needed to inspire them to find their mission in life and then empower them to make it their career.
If you have gotten to this point, I know something about you. You are not willing to settle for a life less than the one you are capable of living. You may be unsure as to what job or career to choose. I offer you this: don’t choose a job or a career; define what the purpose of your life is. Choose your mission and then find a career that is aligned with it. By analyzing what you value most, and what you are most passionate about, you can gain direction in choosing your mission. Think about what you would do for the rest of your life for free. Think about what you will do after you retire to keep busy. You need to create a vision for your life, and for the legacy you will leave on this earth. “Your mission is how you will make the world a better place.”
I honor you for reading this, and it is my deepest wish it has inspired you to not just settle for a job or a career, but to find a mission that lights you up, excites you, and fulfills you at the deepest level. Once you have found your mission, it will wake you up early and keep you up late. You will live with a level of joy and happiness you did not think was possible. Commit to making your life a masterpiece, and go out there and run your mission.
Sergio Bendana is the founder of Run Your Mission Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Honours) in Criminology from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, with a specialization in youth restorative justice. For more information visit www.runyourmission.com.S
It took me my twenties to realize the only thing that was stopping me was belief in myself - Ayako Turnbull
I never knew my calling was a Jamaican inner-city by a garbage dump, until fourteen years later.
I am just beginning to embark on an exciting new endeavor in the non-profit world. Yet, my heart knew this was my true path fourteen years ago. I was sixteen years old, it was summer break and I was volunteering in Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston. I spent that summer in an inner-city community called Riverton. Riverton is one of Jamaica’s most impoverished communities; built up along the edges of the Kingston landfill. I saw children, just younger than me, not having the opportunities that I took for grated. And it greatly impacted me. I traveled down to Jamaica two more times and raised around $10,000 in my youth.
I raised the funds through trial and error - hosting pub nights, asking friends and family and then linking up with Langara College’s Student Union group, the International Development Committee. This Vancouver college, and I’m sure many others around Canada, have a development committee that collects funds as part of the student fees. I was able to secure some of the funds to be donated to Riverton and from then on, they’ve been a fantastic long-term supporter of the Riverton School. Also, my experience fundraising for Students for a Free Tibet Canada, gave me the confidence to ask without guilt. Through this commitment to Jamaica, I was fortunate enough to remain close with the principal of the school and be one of the first and only foreigners to homestay within this community.
But soon the “real world” of going to post secondary, getting engaged and Vancouver life took hold. I thought the only way to help was by getting a degree. Though I did enjoy studying Political Science, Sociology and International Development courses at Langara and eventually, UBC, I knew it wasn’t for me. I always yearned to be out in the world interacting with those I read so much about. So, with a failed engagement in 2008 and a feeling of lost direction, I dropped out.
Between 2008-2013 I had to learn some life lessons the hard way, which made me lose touch with Jamaica. I let my own personal issue of lacking self-confidence lead to substance abuse, and it began to take precedent over helping others. I partied much too hard and I recklessly bumbled my way through Latin America for almost a year. Looking back on it now,
I don’t regret anything, for it is said, “I may not have gone where
I intended to go. But I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
I have emerged out of my darkest years, full of light. I am stronger and more focused than ever before.
As if to test this strength, my new job as a travel agent saw me flying down to Jamaica for a conference. It was as though the Universe was waving its hands in front of me, saying, ‘Hey! You’re ready for this. Now, get back on track and help these guys!’ In just a few weeks I raised almost $8000 to take down with me to donate. I didn’t just want to ask for a hand out in donations from friends, so I created a fun event: “The Ja’mazin Race”, which was a bar-hopping scavenger hunt around Vancouver with a silent auction that raised almost $3000. I was then able to get Langara College’s Student Union to donate another $5000. I visited Riverton again, staying with a local family, and distribute the funds.
After that trip, the hamster in my head really started moving. I realized that I could utilize the compassionate social network I had developed to increase these efforts. Within a few months I incorporated a non-profit called Fundamentals for Change Society. As the President and Founder, my organization’s goal is to promote development in impoverished Jamaican communities, through fun and innovative programs with the use of play, education and community empowerment. In just six months we’ve raised almost $10,000 and have begun building a playground for a school.
I also want to give people from the West an opportunity to experience what first lit my fire at the age of sixteen; volunteering abroad. I am in the process of creating a volunteer vacation tour company to enable opportunities for others to give their holidays purpose. I believe giving the gift of bridging cultures and seeing the potential brimming in all children allows others to see the potential that is brimming within themselves.
And maybe, just maybe, it might save you fourteen years.
Ayako Turnbull is the President and Founder of Fundamentals for Change Society. She has studied the social sciences at UBC, sat on the Board of Directors for Students for a Free Tibet Canada and volunteered as a mentor to native youth in government care, through the Urban Native Youth Associations Kinnections Mentorship Program. Ayako has recently quit her job at Flight Centre to pursue FFC's goals on a more full-time basis. For more information about her organization and ways to contribute, visit www.fundamentalsforchange.org // @ffcjamaica .