Reading, reading and more reading!

I had the good intention of writing a weekly blog post, documenting the journey to get Butterfly Entrepreneurs off the ground. I've been earnestly studying for a good number of weeks and yet this is the first post. Now I could say that I've been so busy studying that I didn't get the chance, but that would be a lie! I haven't put a high enough priority, or been organised enough to get myself into gear. And so here is the first one! 

I spent time at the beginning of the year plotting and planning. I know roughly what I want to include in the four courses I am writing. I even know roughly what order it will run in. I brain-dumped, or mind-mapped, depending on your preference - although in my case it was definitely a case of emptying my head of thoughts and getting it down onto paper. I had a list of what books I'd like to read (numbering about 120), the Bible studies I'd like to cover (also about 120!), and a list of video's I would like to watch. I divided these resources up into the appropriate parts of the plan and hey presto - I have a study guide. My first two areas of study are developing leadership and then leadership - I think there is a difference between the two that needs to be explored. I would say that well over half of my resources fall into these two categories.

I'm still working on developing leadership and will be for another week (I've been studying this area for a couple of months) and I'm looking forward to moving on to a new area - or at least a new perspective on it. There has only been one book that I haven't completed - it's so negative I don't want to pick it up! (I don't think it would be fair for me to say which book it is, as it's only a matter of opinion) 

This week I have been concentrating on a YouVersion Bible study by Os Hillman called 'Overcoming Adversity' and watching the WillowCreek TV series, 'Made For More'. I have been amazed at how these two overlap at the same time - as in tell me the same thing on the same day!

In 'Made For More', the talk 'Caterpillar To Butterfly' by Steve Carter goes into the stages of butterfly development and brilliantly links the to the four stages of sanctification. He describes how the butterfly emerges after two weeks having become something completely new.

At the same time 'Overcoming Adversity' discussed the 'Butterfly Principle', how the cocoon is a necessary process that takes time - and how we need time to develop with God's teaching, there are no short-cuts - none that give lasting character anyway. 

Steve Carter goes on to teach how we should respond to evil, with the reassurance that the truth will come out, and refusing false stories both about ourselves and the situations we find ourselves in.  Good practical teaching that certainly calls close to home for me in the season that I'm working through.

I was debating with myself, and had the conversation earlier in the week about the amount of time I'm taking to research before I actually settle down to write the first course. It's easy to spend an eternity just researching and never quite following through. However, I feel that question was answered with the 'Made For More' session on 'Being Prepared'. Steve brought a different perspective that I really hadn't considered before. 

Preparation is getting ready before you go public with something, whether it's as an athlete for a sporting event, a pastor preparing for a sermon or a singer preparing for a concert. It's the unseen effort that goes in prior. It can be the unseen help getting the church ready for Sunday, or the tasks required before you can finally get a coat of paint on a wall. You get where I'm going? What I had never considered is that this area of preparation is a holy space. One where your focus is completely on God. It's that time used to allow God to work, to speak, to build character. Given the way it has been described I feel that I can take time to research, study and prepare for as long as God tells me to. Time of preparation is also time of change, where knowledge is gained, but also where character is developed. I trust that God's timing is perfect and that Butterfly Entrepreneurs will be launched in God's time- not mine.

For now I will continue to study, but having written the first blog I will also continue to document this process. 

I am open to questions and comments. The website is still under construction, so your patience is appreciated whilst I get my act together! 

Grace and peace

Lee

Giving Birth To A Vision

I’m at the stage in my professional life where I have been given a new vision. I started my current business in September 2015 having been made redundant following the business I worked for closing down. From there I started my own IT sales, service and repair business which has been ticking along quite steadily. We hit a solid six figure turnover in year one. The business was started on just £12,000, and our total loss for year one was just £12,000.

Not one for keeping still, (and always for thinking outside of the box) I believe I have been given a vision and a mission to create something new. Now I’m being quite bold here because I am stating that now, before it has happened, not after the fact. Much of this blog will be document that journey, in all its glorious ups and downs. All tied in together is leegillies.com, an Instagram feed, twitter and a facebook page. Now that has the potential to be quite high profile!!! I have chosen to do it this way for a couple of reasons – when you look back at a journey it is often with rose-tinted glasses and some of the detail is missing, I also want to capture the detail as it happens. Something I can pass on, or simply read again to remember.

Cathy Duplantis writes about ‘Giving Birth To Your Vision’ which seems to be a really good place to start. The first step Cathy offers is the need to Believe. Now I understand that this might seem obvious, but if you are trying to do something new or different, or even if you are not confident in your own abilities this might be more difficult than you think. Instead of thinking ‘why’, think ‘why not?’ – if not you, then who? – you catch my drift. A positive mindset is essential, the number one block to getting a business off the ground is the person with the vision, and it is normally through fear.

“Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.” (Luke 1 v38)

Mary was in a position that was challenging to say the least. What was happening was something considered to be impossible, but Mary believed what God had said. Despite the challenges that this would present she was completely open and willing to be the person God wanted her to be – in today’s terms she said ‘bring it on!’

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11 v6)

We must have faith that the mission God is sending us on is achievable, not necessarily easy, but through his power it will come to pass. He isn’t asking you to find all the answers, and the funding, or the people. In the beginning, he is simply asking for you to believe. And what does this lead to?

“You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” (Luke 1:45)

So, believing brings blessings!

The idea that we are running with in scaling up my business is to create the first Educational Technology Hub

It’s also important to share this vision with other people. There is power in agreement, and God expects us to work as a team. Even when we see individuals achieve great things we know that there is a support team behind them every step of the way. In the simplest of terms, we all need a cheerleader – someone who is in our corner.

“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my father in heaven will do it for you.” (Matthew 18 v19)

The second step Cathy believes is to Ponder, that is to mull it over. Don’t be headstrong and rush into anything major. Choose your time to be spontaneous!

“but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” (Luke 2 v19)

The definition is quite clear. Think about something carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.

Take time to consider that the vision you have been given, and time in God’s word will give what you are led to do a validation and strength that is God given.

 “May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19 v14)

The third step is to act. This can be the scariest part – this is the public part, the one where people can see you. Fear of judgement, fear of failure – just plain fear can stop the vision at this stage. Every life situation is an opportunity to act on faith, to put ourselves outside our comfort zones, to become the people that God wants us to be.

Cathy finishes the article by saying “stay in faith and never give up on your vision – believe it, ponder it, and act on it.”

Over the past year I believe God has given me a vision for how he wants our business to develop into something new and unique. During that time, the shape of the business has morphed, developed and evolved into the format that we are taking forward. It started off in a trailer, grew into a very large bus, then moved to bricks and mortar. Our staff structure has changed radically, we have prioritised the educational aspects of the project and eliminated most of the gaming aspects. It has even changed from being a commercial entity to a social enterprise.

Believe – √

I know that we can do this, and I believe it’s God’s plan for us.

Ponder – √

We have taken the time to let the ideas develop and shape over the last year.

Act –

This is our next stage. Time to get real!!!

Pivot!

A bit of an odd day today for reason’s that I won’t go into here!  I spoke to my Bethel sister, Lou, and she gave me a word and a couple of verses which I wanted to capture from the book of Daniel:

This man Daniel…has exceptional ability and is filled with divine knowledge and understanding. He can interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.  (Daniel 5 v12)

“I am told you can give interpretations and solve difficult problems. If you can read these words and tell me their meaning, you will be clothed in purple robes of royal honour, and you will have a gold chain placed around your neck. You will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

Daniel answered the king, “keep your gifts or give them to someone else, but I will tell you what the writing means.” (Daniel 5 v16-17)

Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.   (Daniel 6 v3)

Lou felt the significance was in the giving of the rewards to another.

I believe the interpretation to be in regards to the plans for the business. At the moment, it is a commercial venture – a limited company. We have been exploring creating the scale up as a Community Interest Company which is a social enterprise.

In the simplest of terms, the business is not there to make me rich – I don’t want the purple robes of royal honour. In my heart, I’m a social entrepreneur. This business is for the benefit of the community. It’s reason for being is profit for purpose with that profit being reinvested into the business. Daniel was blessed for his excellence of spirit in this regard and I believe that obedience to God’s word and his instruction will bring about the same blessing for me.