When I grow up, I want to be this guy.

The past few months of staying home and trying to decide what I want to do next have been trying to say the least. I’ve been on the other side of job search for the past seven years, having been a job coach and a case manager, a friend and a listening ear to those in job search. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to fill out applications and post my resume. It’s been a while since I’ve had to figure out what direction my career is going to take.

Since my last employment experience didn’t necessarily end on a positive note, I’ve been wary not to jump carelessly into the next opportunity for the sake of being “employed”. I want to live my passions. I don’t want a job. I want a career. I love helping people identify their goals and achieve them. I enjoy creating things- designing programs and social services projects that have lasting impact improving the lives of individuals, families and communities. I want to help people discover and fulfill their god-given potential.

With as many available jobs as there are, one would assume job search would be easy- boy, do I wish it were! Unfortunately, many times it is not. I want to stick to my guns and only apply for jobs where I feel motivated and excited by the job description and the organization, only apply to those positions where I know for certain I would be most thrilled to wake up everyday and be a part of whatever is going on, regardless of the title. I want to, but my bills are piling up and I feel like I’m running out of time. Despite my anxiety, I hang in there and press on, keeping faith that the universe knows what I need and want, what my next employer needs and wants, and that at exactly the right time, the nexus of these things will manifest itself in an offer at an organization where I will experience an enjoyable and fulfilling career, and I will be very happy that I’d stuck it out and waited.

So far, I’ve found several “dream job” descriptions, and I’ve applied to them all. There are days when I feel so excited about what is to happen. Other days, I sit nervously in front of my Chromebook, refreshing my gmail inbox, checking to see if my phone has been disconnected since use it hasn’t rung in days, nervously scanning the digital horizon for the next opportunity.

In the course of my job search I came across an organization, Defy Ventures, and a guy named Coss Marte.

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Defy Ventures is an entrepreneurship, employment, and character training blended online program for people with criminal histories.

Defy recognizes that many former drug dealers and gang leaders can become successful, legal entrepreneurs.”

Coss is an ex-con whose prison workout is taking over New York. From all accounts, this guy seems to me to be the ultimate modern-day alchemist. Everything he touches turns to gold. As I googled him and read his story, I became more and more inspired to keep reaching for my dreams. I was reminded that obstacles are only opportunities disguised as situations to which I am yet to find a solution. This guy has been to prison, had nothing handed to him and experienced his fair share of unfair circumstances. As I watch his TEDx Talk and listen to his story, I am inspired by his bravery, his vulnerability, his resilience and ambition. From inmate to entrepreneur, he’s partnered himself with an organization, developed his passion, honed his business acumen, delivered Shark Tank styled business pitches, and he’s done a TEDx talk on his life experience. When I grow up, I want to be this guy- his entire life is my bucket list!

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Coss is a real life person who is skilled at turning water into wine; he knows how to find the extraordinary in the sacred ordinary. It’s good to know that there are real people out there with real life obstacles who are reaching for their dreams, achieving and succeeding despite their troubled pasts. Knowing this gives me the hope to keep holding on to my own dreams, to keep striving despite what it looks like with natural eyes, to believe that the universe can do for me what it continues to do for people like him. It reminds me, too, that turning water into wine is possible everyday for each and every one of us.

Defy-LogoTo learn more about Defy Ventures, visit their website http://defyventures.org/

To read about Coss Marte, entrepreneur, owner and physical trainer at Coss Athletics, go to http://nypost.com/2015/03/30/meet-the-ex-con-whose-prison-inspired-workout-is-taking-over-new-york/

Join my network or view my LinkedIn profilewww.linkedin.com/in/asamarithompsonpmp

(pictures used do not belong to the author)

Take 11 minutes to watch Coss’ TEDx talk. You’ll be glad you did. 

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