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Sitting with Napoleon Hill

As I've shared before, books seem to find me at just the right time. The one I am now listening to by audio entitled, "Outwitting the Devil" was written in 1938. It was released only after the late author, Napoleon Hill's death, then held even longer by his children until the death of his wife. It had sat for some 72 years in his personal archives. 

He and his wife felt it so far out of bounds with conventional faith perspectives and theology, that it would be misunderstood and only serve to the detriment of their day, given the anticipated religious push back, should it be released prematurely.

Only in 2012, was it released by the Foundation bearing his name.

As I began this blog, I was sitting in a parking lot, having arrived early for a lunch meeting yesterday. It actually seemed providential as I listened to Napoleon Hill's words and life story.

The book had been highly recommended by my brother-in-law only last week. Given his excitement and sense of spiritual alignment with how I think, I ordered it immediately. Then after ordering the book, it was sent by error as a CD audio disc. So there I sat, my mind buzzing with a sense of providence, so I began to capture my thoughts.

After the aforementioned lunch meet, I continued listening, still in the parking lot and by then into the portion where Hill discusses one's sixth sense. He describes it as perhaps angel-like intelligence. I know it as the voice of the Spirit.

Meanwhile, given my multi-tasking tendencies, I noticed a post on my phone from a friend celebrating a retirement anniversary after nearly 50 years of service in a well known manufacturing facility in a nearby city. The plant, now vacant for several years has an amazing architectural design, especially the corporate offices, with a huge pool and fountains out front. I too have a history with that facility.

It is now in the hands of an entrepreneurial acquaintance, who's family over several decades has grown an amazing food-based distribution business. The facility, with its 39 acre campus is soon to be remodeled as home for their growing enterprise.

My mind, seeded by Napoleon Hill's words playing in the background, caused me to recall a time when that very facility could have been the property of a large church with which I had contracted for proposes of their facility expansion.

The larger manufacturing campus with its then state of the art facilities, to include an on-site, income producing power plant, could have been gifted to the congregation, written off for tax purposes. When opportunities such as this arise, there are often narrow windows for action.

Had the church's leadership chosen to walk through that open door, it would have been an amazing story. Several such stories were played out in Hill's book as I listened, all requiring a certain mindset of unhindered openess to risk.

I often wonder, having now experienced several such moments, how often these behind the scenes, marketplace crossover moments occur, then sadly, religious risk avoidance masked as a "need to hear from God" sabbatages the kingdom's advancement.

Hill instructs his readers to consider taking orders from an "other source" than their primary self and others. Though not advocating a "lone ranger" approach, he simply encourages his readers to begin living as if their vision was their reality. In one case, he describes having to think like the wealthy, in order to break out of the insufficiencies that seemed his reality!

Perhaps the reason that the previous "gift" did not occur was due to our collective succumbing to a fear motivated by our old self. Hill recommends pursuing the full capacity offered by way of faith, moving forward with our hearts rather than our heads, until the vision actually manifests as reality. That my friend is the nature of any successful entrepreneur.

Meanwhile, scrambling to catch my thoughts, I received a call from the developer with whom I had just had lunch. He was excited to share a photo he had taken moments after our meeting, with images of what he deemed as "Christmas angels" in the sky above our now nearly completed multi-family development.

This is the same project I mentioned in my last book, "Finding Your Kingdom Sweet Spot." You see, while I was writing the book we had hit a road block in the assemblage of those very properties, one that should have killed the development, but as mentioned in the book, I distinctly recall hearing my "other source" speak these words, "I've got this!"

I soon began a somewhat desperate series of meetings based solely upon my faith in those words, out of which came the breakthrough that led to the completion of the land assemblage and later the buildout of the project. We could have easily given up and walked away prematurely.

Then there's more, after optioning all five parcels, to include a large office complex not even on the market, we would of course need to proceed with the design process, followed by bidding out the project. When the numbers came back from multiple bids, then paired with projected rental revenues, it became evident that the project was way over budget. By then thousands had been spent on design and non-refundable option fees.

One morning on a whim, I decided to call the project manager of another construction firm whom I had recently met at a men's retreat. My new friend, who worked with a very large firm, unfortunately seemed covered up with multiple projects. No window was open for our project, unless another large project they were bidding on fell through.

Guess what? That happened and they not only made the financials work by way of several million in cost reductions, but have ended up doing the build out within the time line desired. Yesterday, it apparently attracted a few "angels" as captured in the photo above.

By the way, shortly after receiving the photo, in an email copied to several on the team, the lease-up manager of the multifamily project, whose office is located in the club house pictured in the photo quickly responded that her middle name is "Angel"!

You can't make this stuff up in one setting, in one day, starting in a parking lot in between two meetings!

Even this morning as I do my final edits, quite necessary given my minds rapid dump of this blog by way of an aging thumb on a cell phone, I think of the next generation's expanded ability to navigate risk. One gentleman in particular that I was with last week.

This young man is a very successful bi-vocational attorney, who is also a pastor (hold the lawyer jokes) and now has three campuses going. The first is now a full service pass through facility for a program known as City Serve. The second, a combination of office space for entrepreneurial start-ups and a thriving church. The third a soon to be constructed new build in another city. All the assets are held in a 501c2 (look up the tax law) not the typical church plant, often began in a brush arbor in my grandpa's day!

All this to say, I am more than ever believing the next generation of entrepreneurial marketplace leaders, many from outside the lineage and boundaries of formal church organization could finally bring the transformation the Institutional church has long promised, but failed to deliver upon.

Now I can get back to my audio book, perhaps benefiting even more from a long delayed "Word" for today from a deceased Brother in Christ, Napoleon Hill.

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