Monday, August 12, 2019

Today, we were supposed to attend our weekly Toastmasters International class. Instead, we received a book entitled Integrity Selling, and two executives named David R. and Steven H. came in to do a presentation that aligned with the book.

It was an interactive presentation. We all participated in scenarios where we introduced ourselves to potential customers and asked them open-ended questions in order to get to know them better. As we participated in this exercise, learning what to do and what not to do, we were developing skills that will be needed to communicate our services to people.

It makes our ideas seem more real when executives come in and participate with us. The validation that they give us is priceless! Integrity selling will definitely help us with our pitches by improving our approach and delivery. These skills will not only benefit us as we reach out to potential customers, but we will also need them as we speak with future investors.

Brent E. (a.k.a. “Scary Movie Butler”)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Today, the Spring 2020 class of PEP was called out for their official start of Leadership Academy. The enthusiasm of the class was overwhelming!  We, the Servant-Leaders of Fall ’19, were able to gain a new perspective of what it means to start the transformation process that PEP instills in each participate. We witnessed what was essentially “us” a short six months ago. The transformation we have gone through started right here.

The men of Spring ’20 were enraptured as they watched motivational videos and were given the details and history of PEP. It was so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop on the carpet. They were not only attentive, but they were very respectful as well. We believe that amongst the members of this class, there is great potential for success.

With a feeling of nostalgia and immense pride, we watched as these men began what might be the most important challenge of their lives. Good luck, class of Spring ’20, and may you find your calling “between the wings”!

David G. (a.k.a. “Tyrion Lannister”)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Today’s class started like every other one; our master of ceremony, Anthony B. (a.k.a. “Boomhauer”), danced down the aisle. Then we opened up in prayer. Afterwards, we prepared ourselves for “Test Time!” The test was hard, but we are “Kings of the Fall” and we pulled through this as we have every other obstacle that has been placed in our path.

Once the testing was complete, it was time to focus on this week’s lesson. Brian T. (a.k.a. “Super Side Track”) gave us a presentation over Chapter Eight of our entrepreneurship book. He lived up to his “a.k.a.” by entertaining the class with many stories. Our favorite was when he told us about the “Skid Row Movie Marathon.” That had the entire class in awe!

This program has challenged us in every way possible. As time goes by, we realize that these obstacles are better preparing us for what the future brings once we are released. We would like to send out a great big “Thank You!” from the Kings of the Fall ’19 to all of our families and PEP.

Jason B. (a.k.a. “Lil’ Pinata”)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Today was an awesome day! We had a guest speaker come in and give a special presentation on the importance of giving our testimony. It was none other than our own CEO of PEP, Bryan K. (a.k.a. Dorothy). To demonstrate the power of a person’s testimony, he shared his own story with us. Every one of us was completely blown away! His story was so inspirational. More than that, it gave us hope! He is living proof that we all still have a chance at redemption.

After he finished giving his testimony, he had us break into small groups and share our stories with one another. As we did so, he told us that our testimony isn’t our story; it is God’s. They are the accounts that demonstrate God’s ability to take our messes and create a masterpiece. So, with that in mind, we poured out our hearts to one another. We spoke about where we came from, where we are today and where we hope to be tomorrow. That is when the real magic happened! Walls were torn down, barriers were broken, new friendships were formed and many received a restoration of faith.

Most of us learned, first hand, the value of being courageous. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and transparent in the presence of other men. We are not used to putting the real “us” on display for the world to see. That type of courage can only come from surrendering your will to God and letting Him use your mess to help clean up someone else’s. Thanks to the many tools given to us by PEP, we’re finally strong enough to let Him!  

Avery W. (a.k.a. “Swiss Beats”)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Today was the much-anticipated Kickoff Event for the class of Spring ’20. It was their first opportunity to mingle with the executive volunteers. Before the event, we talked to the participants about what they could expect from the event and what it was like for us. Once they left for the event, the dayrooms were nice and quiet.

With most of the people gone to the event, and since we did not have any class today, we formed study groups. Some people prepared for the final Living in the Village test. Others either practiced their next Toastmasters speech or began to make preparations for the upcoming Business Plan Workshop event.

When the participants of Spring ’20 returned, every face was aglow with excitement! They were already looking forward to their next event. Once we listened to every detail of their account, we helped them structure their “thank you” cards to the executives.

Daniel Y. (a.k.a. “Cherry Bomb”)

Expressions

 “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”

~1 Timothy 6:10

By these famous words, my namesake, the Apostle Paul, warns his young protégé, Timothy. This verse is one of the Bible’s most quoted passages, often incorrectly truncated to “money is the root of all evil”. How, then, do we reconcile this admonition with the clear goal of any successful business venture?

First, note the crucial distinction between money, certainly a necessary evil, and the proscribed act of loving it. Simply put, money is a tool and we err when we see it as anything more. Money allows us to obtain the basic necessities: food, shelter, clothing, etc. Money also allows us to support our families, fund education and practice charitable giving. Indeed, these very uses of money are commanded in the Bible. 

Moreover, money is the very lifeblood of an entrepreneurial venture; it is the essential fuel that feeds the fire of innovation, allowing a business to be established, operate and expand. Money is the ultimate metric by which business success is measured. Without a net profit, no business can survive — a reality even billionaires like Elon Musk must ultimately accept.

The proper perspective is to see money as an admittedly important tool, without falling in love with it (does the carpenter love his hammer?) or allowing it to be the focus of our lives. PEP not only teaches us the rudimentary business tools we must understand and use, but also the values by which our business efforts and, indeed, our whole lives, must embrace. Again, the Apostle Paul tells us that in the end three things abide: faith, hope and love, and the greatest is love. Love must be directed to God first and then to our fellow man, not to the mere instrumentalities of existence such as money. For in the end, money, for all its sundry uses, cannot buy love.

Paul A. (a.k.a. “Life Alert”)