Growing up, I dreamed of having a normal life. I wanted a regular job, a regular family, and live a comfortable life. One of the reasons I chose to study engineering was because I knew a four-year degree would be a sufficient amount of schooling to stay on track to this comfortable lifestyle. Little did I know, deciding to become an engineer was the first step down an irregular path.
Shortly after I began college, I realized I had a WOW Factor. I would introduce myself to someone and they’ll go ‘WOW, you’re an engineer!?’ or ‘WOW, you just moved to a new state without knowing anyone!?’ or ‘WOW, you went through THAT and still have joy!?’. In other words, it’s when people applaud me for doing something out of the ordinary. However, it’s easy to get distracted by the applauds of people (and my own low expectations) and forget I’m living to please God. I can’t just sit around comfortable abusing my WOW Factor. When I realized my WOW Factor created opportunities to be used by God, I naturally abandoned my normal life mentality.
High School-To-College-To-Industry-To-40YearsOfWork-To-Retirement Pipeline
I’ll just refer to this as the Normal Life Pipeline. As an African-American student leader, the School-To-Prison (S2P) Pipeline was the only pipeline I was concerned about avoiding. However, the fear of entering the S2P pipeline (and/or reinforcing the negative statistics) scared me into thinking the Normal Life Pipeline was #goals. Now don’t get me wrong, I recognize and I’m thankful for, Affirmation Action systems that help keep the youth out of jail and off the streets. We actually need more of these programs, but they are not sufficient alone to achieve holistic Life-Work balance. Affirmative Action systems highlight what a successful life could look like for me and typically promote the Normal Life Pipeline to get there.
After a ton of trips, falls, and detours along this ideal path, I realized I was happy living life my own way and at my own pace. I spent 3 years in community college. I spent an extra year completing my bachelor’s degree so I could co-op. I also took a 15-month break from engineering after college. Now I’m going into full-time ministry, prepared to live the rest of my life in purpose, and concerned about the legacy I will leave. I call this my WOW Factor-To-WOW Factor Pipeline. #Goals
Office Day Job
I used to LOVE working in an office. Normal office jobs made me feel important and like my life was in order. They aligned with the idea that I needed to compartmentalize my life. My home, mind, spirit, relationships, etc. could all be a hot mess; but when I put on my suit, heels, and go to work, I suddenly have my life together. This past year, I kept my hair short, wore little to no make-up or jewelry for this very reason. I knew I was preparing for an important engineering career that would require me to look the part. Now I desire to feel the part, before looking the part.
Work 8 Hours a Day, 40 Hours a Week
Structured, full-time work is as normal as it gets in this society. I began to think outside the box in this area when I started brainstorming work I could do from home while raising kids. When I first moved to LA, I lived with entrepreneurs who also had a networking marketing business. This helped me redefined my idea of job security by understanding the benefits of having multiple streams of passive and residual income.
Love, Marriage, Kids
When I was younger, I thought I was going to start having my 5+ kids at age 22! hahahahaha I had to learn that I couldn’t build a family until I built myself! I’m grateful for my desire to start a family young because it pushed me to find my purpose young. Now that I’ve got it, I’m willing to wait on my purposeful family that will add more WOWs to my WOW Factor life.
God has given me so much peace and confidence about my mission that discomfort feels comfortable and abnormal feels normal. My WOW Factor allows my extraordinary God to use me in extraordinary ways. Everyone reading this has a WOW Factor. I encourage you to identify it and stop thinking you have to live a normal life! Let me know what your WOW Factor is and how you are NOT abusing it. Send me an email, leave a comment, or take the conversation to social media (Twitter or IG) with #UCWOWFactor and tag me @UCUnfiltered!
“Father, I know you are a WOW God and nothing normal is about you. Thank you for wanting to do extraordinary things through me on Earth. After you created the heaven and earth, you probably thought WOW.1 After you thought of every person, you probably said WOW.2 Give me the wisdom and confidence to use my WOW factor for your glory. I pray that you reveal each person’s WOW factor and they have the strength to live outside of normal. I’m forever in awe of your power. Amen.”
Thanks for reading my blog! Next, I’ll be discussing how I broke the mentality of what work looks like.
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With God’s Love,
Jamara Beard ❤