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Go Beyond Borders

I spent 2011 living in Kuala Lumpur (KL for short), Malaysia. This is a period of my life that I look back on with nostalgia. Some moments weren’t easy but it gave me perspective I couldn’t possibly have had before.

Last night I spoke for the third time with a local group called Ferguson 1000. The topic is one that I regularly work on with entrepreneurs, product-market fit via the Value Proposition Canvas. The talk and interacting with prospective entrepreneurs was enjoyable. Helping people find their way on the entrepreneurial journey is a lot of fun. For me personally, the real value and memories came before and after the talk.

As a thirty-something white male, I often take a look around my immediate circle and see people I am grateful to have as a part of my life. Friends and colleagues that I trust, admire and enjoy. But I also take note that much of that circle has more racial similarity than diversity. While it is anything but intentional, this is how it has evolved.

Most mornings in KL, the news would be on in the backyard as I got ready for work. My go-to channel became Al Jazeera English. Their coverage was wide-ranging and done with a calm voice rather than dramatics. At times though, the TV would find its way to CNN International. While the coverage wasn’t as compelling in my opinion, an advertising campaign they were running struck me as poignant to the onslaught of new experiences in my life called, “Go Beyond Borders”. These didn’t have to be physical borders, they were cultural and emotional too. It was Comfort Zone vs. Courage Zone (h/t Stephen Covey). It was working to see the world from a different angle. It changed me in so many ways.

I arrived early last night and was standing around with Bishop Ron Luellen, a booster of the group and its work. For me, the best part of the night was talking with a black bishop before the event who wears his wide-brimmed straw cowboy hat everywhere.

We talked about my recent immersion into Marcus Aurelius, he told me he has a picture of him on his wall. I told him about the 24 hour fast I completed earlier that day, he told me about the one he leads with his congregation every year. I told him about writing my own eulogy, he quoted scripture to me.

In those 15 to 20 minutes, I felt alive in a reminiscent way. I already knew this man to be interesting, but we were out there on together on a deep level and it felt great. It also serves as an important reminder to me. I often lament the passing of the chapter of my life abroad in Malaysia and await the opportunity to do so again. Last night with Bishop Luellen, I went beyond borders and it felt great.

Go Forth Boldly.

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