My Blog

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Inspiration for a Life’s Work

Why Do You Do What You Do?

I am part of an amazing network of business people that meet once a week as a group and meet one on one with each other throughout the rest of the week to talk about business and life. I’ve been asked in the past and I continue to be asked, “What made you want to go into online media? What is your goal for your business?” I’ve had a rather narrowed down, quick answer for this, mostly because this isn’t just a business for me and unless I have enough time to go through the process with someone, it won’t make sense. So that is what this is. This is my why and where for my life’s work.

When The Street Becomes Home

Background Perspective

I joined a missions organization (YWAM) in January of 2008. While I may not agree with all the ins and outs and theology points of YWAM, I will always cherish my time there and be thankful for what I gained and was able to give. I traveled the World meeting amazing people, ate exotic and wonderful food and got perspective on life. I traveled to places that I had never heard of and met people I never knew existed. The biggest perk was meeting my wife and that alone has made that part of my life worth everything, but that is another blog for another day. The trip that changed the way I viewed life and ignited a passion in me that had yet to be found was a documentary excursion that took my team to Nepal, Thailand, Burma and Morocco. It was a whirlwind journey that took place within 2 months. The documentary and promotional videos that were formed out of this venture were based around “street kids” and the people and organizations that help them. I’ve posted the documentary below and I recommend that anyone reading this watch it to get a clearer picture of what I am talking about. 

 

 

The first day of filming was the first day that I realized how much I love and have a passion for kids. As we set out to scout locations within Kathmandu, our host (who works directly with the street kids), myself and a fellow team mate came across one of the many groups of kids who live on the street. As a side note, kids are kids no matter where you go. They all want to play and they all need and deserve love. With that being said, being a rather tall and large white guy I must have looked like what kids in the states would equate to a jungle gym. These little stinky, dirty, drug and street addicted people started climbing all over me and wanted nothing more in that moment than to play and be given the attention and love they so rightly deserved for no other reason than that they are children and human beings. As our time continued in Nepal, we followed one particular kid who showed us what life was really like for these street kids. To tell you it is one of the saddest and hardest things to see is a gigantic understatement. From the kids sniffing glue to going without food and living on the actual streets with no shelter and being treated like stray dogs to being trafficked into the slave trade, this is the gruesome hell they live every day. When you sit with these 7, 8, 9 year olds who are high on glue, starving and have no one to care for them except each other, your perspective on life changes forever. When you play with these kids and get to know these kids and then look at the people who are trafficking them in the eye, your perspective on life changes forever. When all you want to do is rescue them from the streets but know that it is an ongoing process because they will run away again and again because they are addicted to the street, your perspective on life changes forever. We not only got to tell their story in this documentary, but we had the honor to get to know these kids and if only for a short while provide love and attention where there is such an unimaginable deficit in their lives. This was the journey that started a vision.

Braden with the kids

The Vision 

I find myself on certain days asking, “What the hell are you doing here when there are kids you could be helping? You’ve seen them, you know they are there and need help, why not be there for them?” This is the torture of perspective and while it is nothing compared to what they are going through, it does drive you to question your life’s work. Which leads me to the why and where this is going. A year or so into starting UZU Media, I had a vision of what my life’s work was to be. For the purposes of clarity, I’ve written out a vision statement:

To develop an international company in the advertising realm that pulls together all forms of the arts and brings in the best talent in those various industries to create the highest quality of work for multiple businesses, both large and small. At the same time searching for and recruiting those who have the ability but not the opportunity to learn, glean and be mentored by the best in the various industries of the arts. Once those mentees have come to a place in their craft and life where they feel comfortable moving forward, they will be offered a position with the company or released into other successful opportunities to continue on and multiply what they have learned. The goal of this vision is to infuse all areas of life with more beauty, multiply the arts and to provoke a deeper thought process for those willing to engage in the work rendered.

So how does this help kids that live on the street. There are those who live and work with these kids every day. I know and keep up with quite a few of them. Some are former street kids themselves. What most of these organizations need besides more help taking care of these kids are financial supporters and opportunity for these kids once they are rehabilitated. This is where the vision I have had applies. We will have the opportunity to not only fund some of these organizations, but develop programs that encourage and value the arts to help in the rehabilitation process and provide a resource to a career path that will set these former street kids up for success once they are ready to move forward. While this vision isn’t just for those former street kids, it is for anyone who has the passion and raw talent but not the opportunity, they were the ones that spurred this revelation on. I’ve seen the beauty that they have produced from the darkest of places and what is lacking is the opportunity.

 

In Conclusion…

I know that this is a giant vision, one that is bigger than me. I hope to meet like minded people, and have already, that can help carry the torch of this venture. It doesn’t take seeing everything through, most of the time things change and evolve from what we had in mind. It simply takes remembering where the passion came from and what is driving it, then stepping out and doing something about it. If you have any interest in what I have talked about and want to help create with me, please call me, email me, text me, I don’t care how you get in touch, lets just start talking. A lot can happen when you start to think and verbalize. As always, please feel free to leave comments and continue this conversation.