• People of Destiny: Craig and Sandy Jaggard

    If you haven't met Craig and Sandy Jaggard you're really missing out.  They're both performers - they both love to sing and are quite gifted at being silly.  They do this thing (and have done it for years) where they dress up like Sonny and Cher and sing "I Got You Babe."  They are both incredible educators.  They light up a classroom like roman candles on The 4th of July.  Also, Sandy was born on The 4th of July.

    Every year for my birthday Craig and Sandy make these ridiculous videos and put them on youtube.  What I love about these is how I imagine them every year having fun making them.  They're at their best when they're being creative together. 

    Craig and Sandy worked their tails off when I was growing up.  They paid for piano lessons, trumpet lessons, guitar lessons, art lessons, soccer, baseball and one unfortunate season of basketball.  They worked so I could go to camp in the summer and be around amazing people.  They picked the faith community we were a part of in large part because of the quality experience they knew I would have there.

    I have never had bigger fans, deeper support, or loyal commitment than I've experienced from my parents.

    When I decided I wanted to move to Los Angeles to volunteer for non-profit, my parents supported me.  7 years later when I decided to start my own company in the middle of one of the worst economies of the last 100 years my parents supported me.  When I walked through the hard times of my failed marriage my parents supported me. 

    When I get crazy ideas about friendship my parents say, "sign me up."

    Some children would kill to have their parents say what mine say to me nearly every time we talk on the phone: "We're proud of you."

    And on the day this campaign ends I say what they already know, "I could not have done it without you."

    I am truly grateful for you, my original people of destiny.

    Mom and Dad.

  • People of Destiny: Steve Saccone

    Steve Saccone was my mentor for years while we worked together in Los Angeles.

    I remember the first time I met him, at a Starbucks with his amazing wife Cheri.  I remember people had told me about him and I felt like I was about to meet a celebrity.  He patiently let me assault him with questions about leadership, wisdom and relationships. 

    And, strangely, he asked me questions, too.

    In fact, Steve asks the best questions.  Life-changing questions.  Life-saving questions.  Steve wields questions the same way a surgeon wields a scalpel. He doesn't preach. He doesn't judge.  He simply listens with compassion and then plants a question the way a gardener might plant a seed: at first they almost disappear into your soul...but then...a week later...you're still thinking about it and that seed grows into profound insights about yourself, your relationships with others. About God.

     In that sense, in the best possible way, Steve is a pastor.  Steve mentors others the way Picasso paints.  He can't help but create environments that develop the potential in others, that create safe spaces for others to be known, to explore what an identity of love looks like, and how to grow a life of love into a life of creativity. 

    There are countless hours of Steve's life that he'll never get back spending time with me in coffee shops or restaurants helping me listen to myself, guiding me, prompting me.  Any time I sit across from someone and it's my turn to blend compassion with challenge, I'm really channeling Steve Saccone. 

    My years being under Steve's leadership were some of the best of my life.  His humility in treating me like a friend, like a peer, even though he had more wisdom and life experience, has always impacted me.

    I'm a better man because of Steve Saccone.  That's why he's one of my people of destiny.

     

  • People of Destiny: Chris McLaughlin

    When I was in college I had this guy come up to me and say, "Hey I've heard a lot of good things about you."

    I thought, "I like this guy."

    Then he said, "But I've been watching you and I gotta say: I'm not that impressed."

    I thought, "I hate this guy."

    It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    Over the years that first interaction gave way to us being RA's together, living together, rooting for each other, suffering with and for each other, and learning to admire and respect each other.

    One of the things I love about Chris is that he is quantifiable more talented than me in just about every conceivable way.  He's an incredible leader.  A gifted and courageous businessman.  An artist (photographer and guitarist). I love talking with him and watching his mind work.

    In a way that I'll probably never fully understand, Chris and I both feel honored and fortunate to be in each others lives.  We only get to talk a dozen times a year or so but every time we do I'm reminded of why we were friends in the first place.

    Even though we're basically the same age, I ask him for advice all the time.  Now that we're "adults" our challenges, successes and failures have grown in scope.  After all, there's only so much trouble you can get into in college.

    Chris is one of those people that I should be jealous of (and sometimes am).  But I love having people like that in my life - people who inspire me to grow and to show me that more is possible in my own life. I have loved watching Chris go on his own journey, ever aware and never quitting.  In doing so he inspires me to do the same.

    That's why he's one of my people of destiny.

  • People of Destiny: Jeremy Foster

    I've known Jeremy Foster since I was 10 years old.

    Jeremy and I got to be present for each other's first steps.  Not our first steps as babies, but our first steps as leaders. We were teenagers.

    We are two of those rare souls for whom spiritual community growing up was actually an empowering experience.  It was in our youth group growing up that we got to practice serving and leading others for the first time. And we got to do it together.  In high school I spent literally hours on the phone with Jeremy processing ideas and relationships. Arguing, questioning, learning. We have crazy memories of summers TP'ing people's houses, hiking mountains in Colorado with hundreds of other high schoolers and otherwise having a ton of fun and almost constantly having meaningful conversations. In college one summer we moved to Southern California to volunteer together at a non-profit there. 

    But my favorite story to tell about Jeremy is from years ago before he proposed to his wife, Tracy.

    We hadn't spoken in over a year.  He had called, and to my shame I hadn't reciprocated.  Our friendship was fading.  Any normal person would just let the relationship die.  That's not Jeremy.

    So finally we connect on the phone and Jeremy says, "Jason, I'm thinking about proposing to Tracy soon."

    "That's great," I say.

    Jeremy responds, "Yeah but here's the thing.  I really want you to be a groomsman in my wedding...but I don't really feel like we're friends anymore.  Am I off on that?"

    It was a Friend DTR ("Define The Relationship"). 

    I'll never forget that.  Up until that point I had experienced someone challenging me to a friendship.  Jeremy had the courage and vulnerability to say that he wanted me in his life, if I was willing.

    Thankfully I had the good sense to reengage the friendship.  Today, we don't talk more than a few times a year. But nearly every time I'm travel back home I easily make time to connect the Jeremy, Tracy and their son Mason.

    Sometimes friendships are worth fighting for.  Jeremy taught me that.

    That's why he's one of my people of destiny.

  • People of Destiny: Goodie Goodloe

    Every now and then we need people in our life that remind us that we're stronger than we think.

    For me, that person is Goodie Goodloe.

    When Goodie Goodloe believes in someone, it's like watching a hot-air balloon take flight.  Goodie has done in the several years of knowing him everything he could possibly do to help me be successful.  For me, to spend time with Goodie is to drink spiritual Redbull.  Goodie is walking spinach to a world full of unsuspecting Popeye's. 

    I cannot tell you how many times in the past season of my life, when I was tired or wanted to give up or was afraid, how Goodie was able to speak strength, endurance and courage into my life.  In his faith I found my own. Like a midwife for my character in a season when I didn't want to have it, his confidence in God's plan for my life gave birth to better choices that have changed my life for the better.

    On one particularly dark night, Goodie emailed me these words:

    You are an amazing human being, flawed but not unfinished, in pain but not without the promises of God to care for you; you are vitally important to me, your family, community, and legions of people whose lives you've touched.

    We need people like Goodie to remind us of our potential in God.  More than that, though, we need to become the kind of people who speak strength to people in their times of weakness.  Who believe for others in their times of doubt.  Who remind us that our stories aren't finished yet.

    We need Goodies.  We need to become more like Goodie.

    That's why he's one of my people of destiny.

  • People of Destiny: Mike Abramson

    Mike Abramson believes in people.

    I've never seen a guy be more generous with connecting his friends together and creating opportunity for others.  Earlier when I wrote about meeting Tyler Merrick on a panel in Chicago?  I was on that panel because of Mike Abramson.  That one time I got to work with a great non-profit doing consulting?  Mike Abramson introduced me.  In fact, just about everyone I got to work with in the first two years of my company were in some way connected to Mike connecting me with others.

    In fact, the only thing I've ever seen truly frustrate Mike is when people won't let him connect them to others.

    One of his professors from law school wrote a book and had a chapter on creating networks that benefit each other and the chapter was essentially how to be Mike Abramson.

    Mike is also one of the most creative people I've ever met, which is a word I don't think he'd ever use to describe himself.  From working with some of today's most talented songwriters to the world's best athletes to creating spaces for people to explore the intersection of spirituality and community, to be married to the amazing Bebe, to power-lifting (that's right: power-lifting) I'm assuming sometimes he sleeps but I've never seen it.  Most people love sleep.  Mike loves people.

    Mike has never, ever asked me for anything.  Not that there'd be anything wrong if he did (I'm secretly looking forward to the day when I can help him with something).  But it just shows how he gives with no strings attached.  He gives because it's better to give than receive.

    His relational generosity inspires me.  He social creativity has changed my life.  Plus, if you're ever in downtown Chicago or Nashville (his two current cities of choice) he's the guy you want to have drinks with.  Just be prepared: he won't come alone and whoever he introduces you to will be extraordinary.

    To literally thousands, he's one of their people of destiny.

  • People of Destiny: Mike Foster

    Some people, if you tell them about your past and your mistakes, they'll distance themselves from you.

    Not Mike Foster.

    I remember the first time Mike and I spoke on the phone.  We were talking about potentially doing some work together.  It was a really difficult season of my life and I was just beginning to recover from the anguish of a failed marriage.  It was a season where I was learning a lot about myself - about my emotional brokenness and how that had impacted just about every area of my life and the lives of those I loved.

    If Mike wanted to work with me, I thought, he needed to know my story.  I wouldn't blame him if my past disqualified me from getting to work with him.

    So I finished my story and it was quiet on the other end of the phone.

    "Jason," Mike said. "Your story only draws me closer to you."

    You see, Mike's a guy of second chances.  He's a grace guy.  He's one of those crazy people who believes that grace can do more in a person's life than anything else.  He's a passionate advocate for people who feel like they're not good enough or who live trapped by shame or guilt of their past.

    It shouldn't surprise you that he runs the most fantastic non-profit called People of The Second Chance that helps organizations and individuals unleash the power of grace in their leadership and culture. 

    He models grace with his life.  Take a guy like me: a guy who a lot of faith-based organizations wouldn't take a second look at, let alone give a second chance.  I was marred with the Scarlet Letter of Divorce.  That's the guy Mike hired to help him with writing content, films and material to help leaders invest in others with excellence.

    Mike gave me a second chance.  Not just by letting me be part of his organization, but through his friendship as well. I don't think it was a coincidence that I met Mike at a time where I was struggling with offering grace to myself or others.  It's not a coincidence that I spent days writing content with Mike around the ideas of "acceptance" and "forgiveness" when I was in the throws of trying to accept myself and my story and to forgive myself and others for what we had done to each other.

    We all need people in our lives that remind us of the possibility that God loves us not simply in spite of our faults, but including them.  We need to be reminded that there are no scarlet letters.  Only second chances.

    Thanks, Mike, for reminding me of that.  Thanks for being one of my people of destiny.

  • People of Destiny: Tyler Merrick

    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny?

    I met Tyler Merrick (CEO of Project 7) years ago in the Chicago Hotel at an event where we were both on a panel about for-profit businesses who's mission is social good.

    For whatever reason Tyler and I hit it off and over the course of the next 6 months we coincidentally found ourselves hanging out in Atlanta and New York since we were both there for work or conferences.  It was the first time I became friends with someone without ever spending time with them in the city either of us lived in. We've been friends ever since.

    What I love most about Tyler is how much he loves his wife and daughters.  If Tyler is reading this, I'm sure he's cringing because he probably feels he could always improve (he also tweets the phrase "don't buy your own hype" often enough for it to make a lasting impression on me), but I'll stand by it. I love him with his family.

    I also love Tyler's entrepreneurial spirit and desire to create meaningful work for himself and others.  He could have stayed working in the family business making (literally) tens of millions of dollars selling really expensive pet food to rich people.  But he chose instead to move to Southern California and start a beautiful business called Project 7 that donates its profits to 7 areas of global need.  The good Project 7 does is intelligent, creative and compassionate - three words I would use to describe Tyler.

    He's one of those guys I would describe as a kind of big brother to me.  He is very generous with his business wisdom. He's had me over for dinner a number of times not only to experience Merrick Family Cooking but also to let me ask him questions and to hear him tell "behind the scenes" stories in business and leadership. It's not a stretch to say that when I grow up I want to be like Tyler.

    That's what makes him one of my people of destiny.

  • People of Destiny: Krysta & Vince Masciale

     

    On April 17, 2010 I had the distinct pleasure of officiating the wedding of two of my favorite people in the world.  Instead of doing the usual description of them, I thought I'd instead post the actual words I spoke to Krysta and Vince on their wedding day.  Read below and you'll see why they're some of my people of destiny.

     

    "You can’t usually remember meeting most people for the first time. It’s not that they’re not interesting—almost everybody is—it’s just that most people don’t usually go out their way to make sure they’re never forgotten.

    Krysta is not “most people.”

    The first time I met Krysta I spent the whole night begging a colleague to let her into a masters program she was applying for. She was smart, feisty, confident, beautiful, ambitious and had a chip on her shoulder the size of Mexico’s drug problem. It was obvious she was extraordinary. And I found myself thinking, “I really like this girl!”

    Then we had our first unfiltered conversation.

    Okay, so it was an argument.

    Now, I’d like to think that I’m a quick witted guy. But I was no match for Kyrsta and the conversation ended with me feeling like how many of you feel when you dare to challenge Krysta—like a neutered idiot.

    After that conversation I knew three things for certain:

    1. Krysta is one of the most powerful women I have ever met.

    2. If Krysta wants something she is going to find a way to get it.

    3. And we were destined to be friends.

    Those are the three things I knew for certain. What I didn’t know for certain was if there was a man on the planet capable of putting up with her shi…I mean…was there a man compatible with Krysta who could match her—power for power—without the two of them destroying each other.

    And I think most of us knew the answer to that question: No.
    [A friend of mine] met Vince before I did and she immediately began hatching a plan to get Krysta and Vince in the same space (a plan I thought was doomed to failure).

    But then I met Vince. Vince was obviously intelligent and successful. But the thing that I remember most was his authentic kindness and disarming laugh and shameless geekyness and passion when it came to storytelling.

    Who doesn’t absolutely love Vince?

    So I thought: This guy is dead meat.

    But then I saw the unthinkable. I saw Vince put Krysta in her place.

    And then I saw Krysta not seem to mind.

    It was like watching two lions playfully batting each other around. Like two gods who could destroy planets choosing to serve each other instead.

    They were, they are, perfect for each other.

    When my friend, Krysta, is a goddess you can only pray that someday she’ll meet a god.

    And Vince, you put Zeus to shame with your strength, sincerity, talent and kindness.

    And Krysta, I dare Aphrodite to try and match your charm, passion and surprisingly good and wonderfully fragile heart.

    So today you choose each other—not because you have to but because love compels you—to serve each other and serve the world."


  • People of Destiny: Challenge

  • People of Destiny: Adrian Koehler

    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny? - See more at: http://www.sparkgood.com/blog#sthash.3F4ZXv8f.dpuf
    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny? - See more at: http://www.sparkgood.com/blog#sthash.3F4ZXv8f.dpuf
    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny? - See more at: http://www.sparkgood.com/blog#sthash.3F4ZXv8f.dpuf

    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny?

    Adrian Koehler is about to be a dad any minute now. So there's that.

    Ade and I lived together years ago with Mark Wittig and later (after Mark got married) with CJ Martin. We lived in a one bedroom apartment in the Salvadorian Gang Hub of Los Angeles. Helicopters shining searchlights in our bedroom window. Police visits. Construction. Impossible parking. Loud music.

    They were some of the happiest years of my life.

    That's the thing with friends. They don't always lessen the suffering, they bring meaning to it. I learned that from Adrian.  I've learned a lot from Adrian.

    You see Adrian is, like me, a leadership coach. A big part of coaching is helping people discover the relationship they have with pain.  Most people avoid it at all costs.  This leads to small and unfulfilled living. The larger the life, the more they look at pain as something to leverage, not avoid. Adrian taught me that. He models it, too.  From his marriage to his habits to his career.  The bigger the challenge, the greater the adventure, the more he lights up like a Christmas Tree. He's at his best in the middle of chaos. He isn't afraid of the pain. He's afraid of boredom. 

    He taught me one of my favorite quotes by the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard: it's not that the journey is hard, it's that hardship is the journey. 

    I think of that (and quote it) when I'm working with clients.  I think about it when I get up every morning to exercise. I think about it when I want to avoid a hard conversation with others. I think about it when I avoid hard conversations with myself.

    I cannot tell you how awesome it is being friends with leadership coaches (and a few of our friends are). Imagine getting to share life with people who usually charge $200+ per hour to talk to them.

    Adrian's wisdom as a coach is one thing, but what I love most about Adrian is his confidence.  I often times joke that Ade could walk into a room and have no idea what he's doing but people would follow him.  I would. In my opinion, Adrian doesn't have to  know what he's doing in order to lead others well.  He'll figure it out as he goes and the adventure will always be better than what you would have chosen without him.  What you wouldn't want is to be in a tough spot without him.  If I were in a trench in a war with someone, I'd want that guy to be Adrian.

    I've tried to hire him. Twice. Once to run my company. He's that kind of guy.

    He's one of my best friends and he's going to be an absolutely amazing dad.

    He's one of my people of destiny.

     

  • People of Destiny: Mark Wittig

    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny?

    I often like to say about Mark Wittig that if he can't get something done than it can't be done. Saying that Mark has a "work ethic" is like saying that Niagara is a "waterfall." It's accurate…but doesn't quite explain the force of what it is your describing.

    Mark challenges me to work harder. Just being around him is energizing. When I'm trying to motivate myself to make the most of my day I simply ask: WWWD. What Would Mark Do?

    The other thing I love about Mark is his spirituality. Mark and his wife Andrea are two of those crazy people who believe that when you talk to God, He actually listens and responds. They believe that a life with God is best way to make the most of the life they have today. I've seen this in action in the way Mark's faith make him a better man, a better husband and father and brother and son. It may sound weird, but I've seen Mark's faith enhance the way he serves the company he works for and the neighbors on his street. God may or may not exist, but I thank God that Mark believes He does, because that's made him a better friend to whatever person he finds himself around, including me.

    In our conversations Mark's always got my spiritual health on his radar, and he always gives me hope that God cares and that if I talk to God, maybe He'll listen to me the way He listens to the Wittigs.

    I think this is why the Wittigs are almost fanatical about inviting people into healthy community. They're so passionate about serving others that they're flying to another country to adopt a child so that they can love them the same way they love their own biological son. Also, Mark is the baby whisperer. In my wildest dreams I hope to be 1/10th of the dad that Mark is.

    When he talks about being a dad he doesn't realize it, but I'm taking notes. 

    That's just one of the many things that makes him one of my people of destiny.

     

  • People of Destiny: Mandy and Athony Inchaustegui

    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny?

    In some ways it's a shame to put these two together on one post.  There's a lot I could say about both.  Yet in many ways their impact on me is inseparable, since they're married and they're both family.

    When I think of the word "Champion" I think of Anthony Inchaustegui.  He roots for people better than any man I know.  Whether he's rooting for his wife or his kids or the people he manages at work, he's at his best when he's cheering others on.  A few months back I ran a 5k with him and another friend around Dodger Stadium and I didn't do such a good job of pacing myself.  Okay, so I didn't pace myself.  In the last mile of the race, when I was the most tired, Anthony transformed.  His attitude lifted, his enthusiasm skyrocketed and he started clapping and cheering for me as my lungs began to pop.

    I loved it.

    He's done that for me in my business.  He's done that for me in my character.  He's done that for me in success and in failure.  When it comes to championing others, there's no one better.

    Then there's my sister, Mandy.  She's always championed me as well - not necessarily in words but in action.  When I was a gangly awkward scrawny kid and when I thought she was the coolest thing since sliced bread, she did the thing a more social and outgoing sister normally wouldn't do to her dorky younger brother: she took me everywhere.  She introduced me to her friends.  She made it easy to be at parties and social hangouts.  She made it easy when we went to the same college to make friends.  She paved the way for me, often times at the expense of herself.  The thing a lot of people don't know about me is that I'm a massive introvert.  Well, the reason I was able to have friends when I was young and still be an introvert was because of my sister.  I got to ride on her social coattails. 

    And finally, there's Mandy and Anthony together.  I've never seen two people work more intentionally at their marriage or at parenting than these two.  They have a value for growth.  They have a value for never giving up.  They have a value for learning how to create life in the context of a family.  They're getting pretty darn good at it, too.  In one of my counseling classes in college I remember a professor describing why parents should decide to have kids.  He said, "When the life you've created is so beautiful that it would be wrong not to invite others into it."  I think Mandy and Anthony have done that pretty well and continue to get better.  Their two sons benefit from it.  So do I.

    And that's why they're my people of destiny.

  • People of Destiny: Community Group

    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny?

    Nearly every Tuesday night over the past 18 months I've been fortunate enough to hang out with a group of 15 - 20 people in either Santa Monica or Culver City. We come from all walks of life and various parts of the country. Yet we all found ourselves in Los Angeles for this season and are connected in one way or another to the same community of faith.

    I gotta be honest: I think the people I get to hang out with are pretty awesome.  They are actors and businesswomen and models and counselors and artists and nurses.  Sometimes some of us are unemployed and others are getting promotions.  Sometimes some of us are ending relationships while others are beginning them.  Most of us are single. Some are married.  All of us have dreams and hopes and fears and pains and stories that make us human.

    And it may sound strange, but we're not a group. We're a team.

    The goal of our team isn't to make more money or to win an award or anything like that. The goal of our team is to support each other in our journey to become extraordinary human beings. The goal of our team is to root for each other as we make choices that connect us to Life and as we grow in our character and spirituality. Our team wins when we suffer with each other and when we celebrate with each other as we grow in our lives, families and careers and faith. We win when we're radically inclusive to those searching for community themselves.

    Our goal is to create as healthy a community as possible and to invite people into that healthy space so they can experience it, too.

    When we do this, we "win."

    And as we win, we are people of destiny for each other.

  • People of Destiny: Brian Roth

    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny?

    The best way to understand Brian Roth is to tell you how we met.

    We were at a mutual friend's party and were introduced. Brian asks me, "Tell me something you're passionate about that isn't about work."

    So I tell him about a little script that I wrote just for fun about a guy who buys a TV too large to lift into his house…but tries to lift it anyway.

    So he says, "Would you like to make that film?"

    I look at him like he's from Mars.

    So the next day we grab coffee and he tells me that he's produced a lot of short films and that he'd like to produce mine under one condition: that I would direct it.

    We met the day before.

    That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Most of the film work I've done with my company Brian produced. But his talent for producing films and events isn't why he's one of my people of destiny. One of the things that impresses me about Brian is his ability to understand people uniquely and to serve them in ways that matter to them. He wants other people to be successful and he manages his time and energy around that end. He is a textbook champion of others.

    The other thing I love about Brian is how he creates community. He lives on the beach and throws these amazing volleyball bbq's. He's involved in softball leagues, dodgeball leagues, he invites people from his faith community into his house every Monday night. He's led book clubs and guided autobiography groups (ask him about those - they're amazing). And with just about every crazy idea I get about how to create community, he's always game to help in any way he can.

    In that sense he has been an inspiration to me, a teammate with me and a champion for me.

    And that's why he's one of my people of destiny.

  • People of Destiny: Thomas Bush

    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny?

    I got to know Thomas Bush in the most unexpected place: my own kitchen. He lived next door to me years ago and would email me ingredients as he drove home from work (which I would then go get from Trader Joe's) and then he'd coach me on the fine art of making great food. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    Thomas has taught me the power of food + friends. Every Thursday night Thomas cooks a meal and invites anyone - that's right anyone - who wants to come to share in it. So every Thursday night there are between 10 to 40 people in our house (we live in the same house now) and it is absolutely incredible.

    A few months ago during one of these "Thomas Family Dinners" a young man pulled Thomas aside and asked, "So, what's your angle?"

    Thomas replied, "What do you mean?"

    The guy explained, "In this town everyone does something because they want something. So what do you want from me for giving me free food and introducing me to great people?"

    Thomas smiled and said, "Nothing, man. We're just glad you're here."

    I love that.

    Thomas models an open door policy of community. People are over at our house all the time. In fact, because of Thomas' passion for community on Thursday nights I started leading a group of people on Tuesday nights to get together to cheer for each other on their spiritual journeys and to figure out what it looks like for us to be fully alive.

    So on any given week we have around 50 to 75 people in our little two-bedroom home in Los Angeles. It's great knowing that people look at our house as a place where they're always welcome. That's all because of Thomas.

    That's why he's one of my people of destiny.

     

  • People of Destiny: Johan Khalilian

    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny?

    It’s hard to describe Johan. He’s a Persian/Puerto Rican (or what he calls a “Puerto Persian”) actor/model/speaker/writer/baller/artist/friend who hails from Chicago even though he resides in Los Angeles. At any given moment in the world there are women murmuring sadly over copious amounts of coffee/ice cream/alcohol (in that order) about how they wish they could date him.

    I could say that my favorite part about Johan is that he’s hilarious. He’s one of those guys who loves to make people laugh and is pretty darn good at it. But that’s not why he’s one of my people of destiny. He’s one of my people of destiny because he challenges me.

    A while ago we were talking about a mutual friend who we had both lost touch with and who’s life had spiraled years back. I said that our friend had been reaching out to me but I was hesitant to reach back, not knowing who he was or what kind of interactions we’d have. Johan kindly reminded me about the better side of myself: that it would be more like me to connect with our friend than to ignore him.

    I kindly reminded him to mind his own business.

    It took a few days for me to realize that Johan was right. It took a couple of days for me to listen to the part of me that Johan was reminding me of. I called our old friend and we’ve been connecting more regularly than we had in the past.

    That’s what friends do. They don’t tell you who to be. They remind you of who you are. Johan teaches me that.

    That’s why he’s one of my people of destiny.

     

  • People of Destiny: Mateo Messina

    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny. Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny?

    I like to joke that every book I write (or want to write) is to help people become more like Mateo Messina.

    Matty is an award-winning film composer that doesn’t know how to read music. He creates a symphony every year for The Children’s Hospital in Seattle to raise money for kids with cancer. In fact, he non-pretentiously ends every prayer over a meal with “and please cure a kid of cancer.”

    How can you not like a guy like that?

    Two things I want to share briefly about Mateo. First, his unrelenting optimism. I’ve never heard the man complain. Ever. That weird sensation you get when you’re around him is his hope and faith leaking onto you. Be careful: it’s contagious.

    Whenever we get to catch up on the phone or whenever he jet-sets into town for some big meeting we always ask each other the same question:

    “What’s inspiring you?”

    What follows is fantastic conversation around things we’re doing or learning or something we saw or read or heard that blew our minds or created life for us that week.

    The second thing I love about Matty is his never-ceasing confidence that he can create something beautiful out of any situation he gets himself into. This kind of belief causes a man to get himself into situations that most people do anything to avoid. His father once said, “Son, you don’t know what you can’t do.” I tend to agree. It’s how a guy who can’t read music creates a symphony. Mateo pushes my imagination for what I can and can’t do. So whenever I get scared in my leadership or complacent in my impact, I have the Ghost of Christmas Mateo whispering: how could we make it bigger? How could we make it fun?

    He’s one of my people of destiny.

     

  • People of Destiny: Michael Muniz

    For the duration of the campaign Jason Jaggard will be sharing about his people of destiny.  Each person featured has impacted Jason’s life in unique and positive ways.  As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny?

    Michael Muniz left a lucrative opportunity in the banking world after college to instead move to LA and pursue a hippie masters degree (where we became friends) and work for a company that builds wells in developing countries.

    Kind of like the opposite of the Wolf of Wall Street. 

    Today Michael lives in Tampa, Florida and is married to the beautiful and brilliant Noelle. One thing you need to know about him: he is a man’s man.  The definition of his jawline is only matched by his love for his wife. (I don’t even know what that means).

    These days my favorite thing about Michael is his commitment to creating healthy community.  Once you’ve tasted life-giving, dynamic, growing and exciting community it’s hard to settle for anything else.  So occasionally we have phone calls (usually while I’m in the drive-through of In-N-Out) where he shares his and his wife’s desire to create a space for people to connect, cheer for each other and grow to become more extraordinary human beings.  From my point of view, he’s been on a quest since he moved to Tampa to find an expression of what lives in his imagination and what he experienced in Los Angeles.  He hasn’t found it yet, and is now embarking on the adventure to create it himself with his friends. 
     
    I can’t tell you how excited I am for him.
     
    His authenticity, leadership and faithfulness to create community inspire me.
     

    He’s one of my people of destiny. 

     

  • People of Destiny: Ryan Daugherty

    This is a daily blog series with Jason Jaggard sharing about his people of destiny. Each person has impacted Jason’s life in a unique and positive way. As you read, ask yourself: who are your people of destiny?  Click here to help us spark 100,000 friendships.

    The bottom line is that if it weren’t for Ryan Daugherty, Spark Good wouldn’t exist.

    He was the business manager in the early days of the company (a job he did for free) and gave countless hours to Spark Good getting off the ground. During a season in my life when my world was falling apart, Ryan would fly to other states to represent the company…paying for the flights himself.

    What I’ve learned from Ryan is the powerful synergy that comes when you combine generosity with a flair for life. As I often say about Ryan, “He likes nice things.” Ryan lives in one of the most amazing lofts in Downtown LA, loves good conversation and great whiskey. He bought his M3 in Germany and – after driving it through the streets of Berlin – had it shipped home to LA. He combines this stylish lifestyle with passionate generosity – from giving loads of time and money to his faith community to constantly letting people use his loft for films, group meetings, parties and fundraisers. I’ve never seen anyone use a place so posh so frequently for things that make the world a better place. Recently his faith community of thousands honored him publicly for the way he serves our City of Angeles.

    Style and generosity. Two things that usually don’t go together. Things that I choose more frequently because Ryan Daugherty is in my life.

    Also, he’s single. Ladies?

    He’s one of my people of destiny.

     

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A Haunting Question

By David Gerber

One question has been haunting me lately; weighing heavy on my soul:

"Am I playing to win or am I playing not to lose?"

Read that again, slowly, and think about the areas of your life you are frustrated with.

Are you playing to win? Or are you playing not to lose?

When we play not to lose, we focus on what we stand to lose if we leap. This is greed to the core.

When we risk, we focus on all that we will give in sacrifice for others. This is generosity at its best.

When we risk, we intentionally choose to play to win. We focus on the difference we are committed to make rather than what it will cost us.

What are you willing to let go of so you might lay hold of the abundance beyond your horizon, knowing it may get more challenging before you see it?

David A. Gerber works for Spark Good as a speaker, executive coach, and writer committed to this question: "What is your revolution?" He empowers people to choose their revolution, own their future, and live without regret - one moment at a time. His primary focus is working with students and creative professionals who are courageous enough to make a difference. You can find out more at www.davidagerber.com or email him at david@sparkgood.com.

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