Dan and Broc have a conversation with Chris Rondeau, Area Director for Man in the Mirror Ministries. As a believer, Chris talks about the value in sacrificing for others and how serving people is better than being self-serving. Chris’s relationship with God has taught him to pay it forward.
They will talk about investing in others and getting out of their comfort zones and well as being willing to make changes that will fulfill you not only physically and emotionally, but spiritually as well.
Inspired to make a difference? Start here: https://mimdonate.org/chrisrondeau
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Dan: [00:00:01] Hey guys, this is Dan Waldschmidt and Broc Edwards. Good morning, Broc.
Broc: [00:00:06] Hello.
Dan: [00:00:08] I love it. I love it. Actually, this is not too early, is it, based on your conversations this morning.
Broc: [00:00:14] No, we’re doing good and the nice thing about the internet here is, it knows when people are listening to this. Good morning, good evening, good night, whatever.
Dan: [00:00:23] It’s funny whenever I’m on the trail running, the matter time of day I’m usually saying, “Morning, morning”, and that’s my way of saying I should say, “Move it”, but I think I just say morning people are like, “Whoa, it’s 6:45 in the evening”, I’m like, “It’s Morning, it’s morning somewhere”. Anyway, this is the Bring Your Own Awesome podcast. Got it right again. Two weeks in a row, Bring Your Own Awesome podcast and this morning I’m really excited Broc that we’ve got a longtime friend of ours. Who unfortunately we haven’t talked to in a while but Chris Rondeau is on to something really amazing and Chris, first off, welcome, I’m glad you could join us today.
Chris: [00:01:04] Thank you, glad to be here. Really excited about what you guys are doing with this awesome palooza in the Edgy Empire and glad to be part of it.
Dan: [00:01:12] So, for everyone who doesn’t know you as well as we do and of course I got to spend a bunch of time with you. Tell us or introduce yourself to the communist community, tell us who you are and what you’re doing.
Chris: [00:01:29] Thanks Dan. My name is Chris. I’m an annoying the nerd by birth but blessed by God to live in the south and really enjoy it down here. For most of my life, I’ve been interested in the aviation industry. I’ve worked for major airlines, major defense contracting companies and it’s been pretty neat to actually find out in recent years that some of the products that I’ve been working on the last 15 years in the helicopter defense industry, that our products are going into the war on terror and aiding soldiers and militaries around the world. So that’s been a great contribution so far in my career. About seven years ago, I realized that my life was kind of flat. It was actually down turning a little bit and I had sent some trance in my life with behaviors and interests and likes and things like that. I saw a trend towards a demise. Looking at my parents generation and I’ll be frank with you. Every marriage in my parents generation divorced and I didn’t want that to happen to my life because I saw what it was going to do to the children and the next generation beyond that. So I kind of got my life right and through some friends that invited me to church and we sat down and studied the Bible regularly but more of it was just spending time with guys who are behaving well. If you look at society today there’s a lot of misbehaving men out there but these are some great mentors that I could shadow and follow and emulate. So in the last seven years, I’ve had a lot of mentors that I can come alongside of and walk in their footsteps and the cool thing is about five years ago, I heard of a ministry called Man in the Mirror which was doing just that as well in the church environment and they are looking to take guys like myself and plug them into our geographical areas here in the upstate of South Carolina for me to be there go to resource that mentor for churches and men of faith to look for guidance to reach more men but also to live out what they believe. I think a lot of people believe certain things but they’re too afraid or fearful to live those out or to take that leap of faith to be different from the rest of the people out there. So that’s kind of what I’m doing now is to moving away from the hidden. —
Dan: [00:03:50] Let me ask you a quick question because I’ve heard this from a few different people that we’ve talked to especially on this podcast, Bring Your Own Awesome podcasts. You had this kind of, you didn’t use this word but kind of an awakening moment.
Chris: [00:04:04] Yes.
Dan: [00:04:06] Were you raised this way to kind of have this, Christian ethos, these values or is this something you learn later in life?
Chris: [00:04:15] I would say I learned later in life, after I was 21 and I guess I had to take a lot of responsibility for myself realizing I couldn’t live the way I was living at 18 and 20 years old and I was still trying to live out those immature beliefs like that as an adult and it wasn’t working for me.
Broc: [00:04:35] So Chris, what is the biggest challenge about what you were doing, I mean the one time about working with Men in the Mirror and working with, as I understand, it working with churches to kind of be a mentor for the mentors or someone to help bring people together so they can be around other people they can learn from. Did get that right? That’s what you’re up to.
Chris: [00:05:00] Pretty much and I would say one of the biggest transitions I have is, I’ve been an engineer for 25 years and I fly a desk and talk on the phone and send a lot of e-mails. Now, I’ve got to do a lot of relationship building with pastors, with lay leaders, with Bible study leaders, with guys in general and get relational people, find out what their struggles are or what people around them are struggling with and provide them some advice or materials or resources that they can use to inspire their men to be willing to have someone else come in their foxhole, sharpen them. You are correct in saying that I am training the trainers, I’m here to help pastors and lay leaders have a quiver of resources to help men that are struggling with life like I was.
Broc: [00:05:45] You said, “To help them inspire others”, what piece of inspiration is missing or what are you bringing to that conversation that helps them move up to the next level?
Chris: [00:06:01] I think one of the big things that in this world that we see is personal pleasure or need and want and when you look at stories of the Bible they’re all of great sacrifice and I think it’s great in my life and my family’s when we can sacrifice four, five, six hours to go help those in need and unfortunately, I think a lot of people are going into their places of worship with a consumerism mentality that, “Oh, well they’re not giving me what I need”, I’m going somewhere they don’t have what I need. I’m going somewhere else. I think the model that the church should have is for who’s greater is the one who serves or the one who is being served. It’s the one who is serving. I think when we can get our focus off of our own struggles and trials and tribulations we realize some of our issues are very minor but it’s very rewarding to help others in the same way.
Dan: [00:06:54] It sounds like some of this has come from your own personal experience, meaning you weren’t always this way but now but you’ve learned the value in and sacrifice and giving to others. Were there any particular standout moments where you really realized the power of sacrifice, the power of paying it forward?
Chris: [00:07:20] I’m trying to say, looking Danielle, I go back to the Edgy Conversations book and actually, another very big resource in my life was a book called Crazy Love and it talks about real world people that are trying to break the mold, be different, be exceptional, do big things but do it in humility and humbleness and not getting the honor for it. Once I think people will realize that they’re willing to do more and more of it and have that extreme behavior and realizing, “Life’s not about me.”.
Dan: [00:07:59] So when — now, talk to us a little bit about your engineer, you work for a really big company, I believe, if I recall that correctly and you’ve got an important job where you are but you’ve got this dream that you can be doing Man in the Mirror and in a leadership position there full time, I have that right so far?
Chris: [00:08:19] That’s correct.
Dan: [00:08:21] So, talk to us — I mean there are a lot of people inside this group who have dreams like you and who want to kind of get to that next level, whatever it is. Talk to us about how long you’ve been on this journey trent, moving from where you are now to where you want to be and then maybe talk to us a little bit about some of the lessons you’ve learned.
Chris: [00:08:46] You broke up a little bit there but I think I got the gist of what you’re asking is. It’s getting out of my comfort zone. Again, it’s good to go in, sit at the desk, work help with the fence, do all of these things with jet engines. I know we’re all 10,000 parts go on a jet engine and that’s great. That’s awesome. It’s it’s very beneficial to the world, but I saw what someone can invest in another person, what that can do in the same respect and sense of accomplishment and people pouring into my life helped me do that, but the comfort zone is to be face to face with people, eyeball to eyeball, to be willing to be honest and open and share a passion but you also have to follow through with it. That’s one of the bigger struggles is reaching out to people but we need also follow up with them and follow through with commitments we’ve made or callbacks or whatever, but getting relationally with a lot of people to see the need for a shift in society’s behaviors, watch the evening news and you’ll see what’s going on out there. The school violence issues with boys without mentors and absent fathers is probably one of the largest things that I’ve been motivated by. I had a great dad, da was there providing for us but owning three businesses, he was a bit at that time so I missed some of that advice from him, but I want to help those guys put a focus on their families and raise them as well. One of the struggles with sharing this with people is a lot of people don’t know how to empathize or sympathize with others and realize the personal need and some of these folks are maybe not understanding the need to invest in someone else personally, so they can become more successful relationally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, professionally. I’ve actually read where I’m in any given 30 day period 3000 people were questioned and four out of ten were actually seeking to better themselves scripturally on a daily basis. The other six were not. So Dan, you work with companies if you were working with the company and only 40 percent of their employees were trying to better themselves. What would you do with the other six employers? You fire them, train them, help them out to get better. That’s what we’re trying to do, a lot of religious organizations are content with 20 to 30 percent return on their investment in their employees but I would like to see that 60, 70 percent or more.
Broc: [00:11:22] We had several questions for you from that Chris. First, how did they do that, how do they move from 20 30 percent to, I mean let’s not get out of the park let’s just get it up like over half?
Chris: [00:11:43] If you’re selling a product, how do you know people want it?
Broc: [00:11:47] Well, I would go with they buy it again, assuming it’s that kind of product.
Chris: [00:11:51] Sure, but if you know people are in need of something, how do you find out what that is? You ask them, you question them, you help the leaders of these organizations get to know their men, get in their foxhole, build relationships, go out for a cup of coffee and say, “How are things going? Is there anything I can help you with”? That’s what I liked about going awesome loses, a lot of the guys there, I built relationships with these guys. Several of them and I’ve followed up with them and met with them over and over again and now we’re friends like I am with Dan. Once you see people trying to get into other people’s lives not trying to judge but to support and uplift, I think people will start to share what their needs and their struggles are for real and once you know what they need, you can then give that to them.
Broc: [00:12:45] A lot of people give me advice, ” Follow your passion. Do what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life”, that kind of thing. What I’m hearing from you is that, this is kind of work. I mean, this isn’t easy. I guess I’m just — it sounds like that, basically, you’ve got to sell to these churches, you’ve got to help them understand the value they’re building those relationships because if they really understood that they’d already be doing it.
Broc: [00:13:15] What is that — what’s the challenge that you face in following your passion? What’s kind of the everyday grit of it, the luster of just living in your dreams doesn’t always hold?
Chris: [00:13:29] First off, I think that comes to mind from what you just said was, we need to help people know what they don’t know. Much like recovering and moving beyond things is they don’t know that they’re not doing things right. I’ll be at the church as a great organization is doing well, lives are being transformed. We just want to help it to become more successful, at Honeywell, I’m a process analyzer, kind of doing the same thing for the faith based community is helping them look at their processes to reach teaching, guide men and help them improve upon that. I’m sorry, what’s second half your questions?
Broc: [00:14:12] I asked you more than just one question. Chris, I catch up with a bunch. So your transition right now? I mean you’ve got a successful career and you had this awakening moment or this transition where you werethen said, “You know what, that’s awesome but it’s not fulfilling and there’s this other thing that I need to be doing, I need to be doing it so much that I’m willing to walk away from a successful career and go start something new that turns out is hard”, and it’s not a jet engine, it’s not your area of expertise and so often we are but –.
Chris: [00:14:50] It is rocket science that’s for sure. Men have just many buttons and arms and tricks and trade and interests and likes and dislikes and whatever as much as a jet engine is, yeah, it is rocket science.
Broc: [00:15:04] So what advice would you give to others who are also kind of on that cusp feeling dissatisfied and not feeling as fulfilled as they think they should and have this idea of the passion or where their enthusiasm is and they’re about to make that leap, what advice would you give them?[00:15:24] Not the sound proverbial but, find out what fulfills you the most emotionally, spiritually and physically at times. If you’re not there, be willing to make the change to go do it. Again, when I read Edgy Conversations, probably, four years ago now, I’ve always heard those stories and I love the whole burn the ships mentality of, “I want to make a difference. We have a mission. Let’s go do it”, and when you have that passion to see someone else someone’s life change and benefit their families, their children, the next generation and beyond that, that’s where my passion lies. So it’s an easy thing for me to say, “That’s where I’m going”, not that I don’t like what I’m doing right now. I like it. I enjoy it but the fulfillment is not typically there but I would just tell people to commit to it, commit to doing something to make a change in your life and it may be ten steps, that maybe 40 steps, that maybe a 100 mile ultra race stand but you committed to it and once you commit to it you’ll figure out a way to make it happen because you want to hold integrity to your name and what you’re following up with. So find out what that is and be willing to. I’d hate to say sacrifice, but be willing to change and be persistent on pursuing what gives you that total fulfillment.
Broc: [00:16:59] Well, let me ask this, so if you could ask anything of the folks in the Edgy Empire to help you move to the kind of your next level. How could they best do that? I mean what question would you ask of them?
Chris: [00:17:20] I would say this, the one difficulty I can have in my mind sometimes, again we have voices in our head that will tell us to not do anything, voices in our head will tell us to do everything, but what would you do when you’re trying to convince somebody to give up their hard earned finances to support something that we are a nonprofit. but you will receive no – nothing monetarily or nothing physically back in return. It’s more of an emotional investment. When they say no, how do you take that? How do you not take it personally sometimes, because here’s my dream that I’m trying to sell but when they say no you wonder, ” What did I do wrong?. How do I do this wrong”? So the question would be, how do you convince somebody to invest in something that they get no material return. I know a lot of folks and they’re great miniature opportunities where they can invest into a sports activity, where they can spend six hours with other guys playing golf and the ministry benefits from it and so don’t they, but when they say, “Here we want to help you change men in society with no return per se”, how do you convince them? That’s probably one.
Broc: [00:18:39] I hear two questions in there, one is, just what you said, “How do you convince them to invest when there’s not an obvious financial return to them?”, but you also hit on something else in there that this is your passion, this is what you’re living for. You deeply see a value behind it and yet you’re going to face people who say, “Yeah, no, not really interested Chris”, I heard the question there, how do you deal with that? How do you handle that rejection? How do you keep going? Is That fair?
Chris: [00:19:16] Yes and it’s one of those — it’s an Easter egg hunt. It can be but it’s harder to accept or receive at times. When you go outside, your kids go outside to collect easter eggs they go around and they pick up 20 eggs. Well now they’re looking for another egg. Where is it? So, they turn over another rock, there is no egg here. So they keep looking around and looking around. Every rock may not have an egg behind them but we need to stay persistent and obedient with the pursuit of all of the Easter eggs until we know it’s completed.
Broc: [00:19:48] We’re back Dan.
Dan: [00:19:53] One thought, can you guys hear me on my back? Can you hear me this closer?
Chris: [00:19:56] Yes.[00:19:58] I had a coach who said to me a long time ago, transformation isn’t a transaction and he said this to me right as I was purchasing a 12000 dollar coaching package from him and what he said was insightful for me as once I paid that money, I was in, I knew I was committed and I love your comment about being committed because if you’re not committed it’s not going to go anywhere and so I think man I love that. You may not always know how its going to happen but you can commit to making it happy and sticking it out. And Chris I think your question is going to be one that’s going to be answered wildly by people here inside the community because if you can’t sell, can’t generate revenue, it’s really hard to to see your dream through because it usually requires money at some level. And so I think we’re going to have some great answers for you.
Broc: [00:20:49] Definitely.
Chris: [00:20:50] Great.
Broc: [00:20:51] Well Chris it has been fantastic talking to you today. I really enjoyed this conversation. We always take something from it ourselves and just this idea of, I mean for me I guess what I’m taking is being able to pursue that passion, having that level of commitment because it’s easy to talk about. There’s this other thing I want to do but you know to actually see someone out there doing it and actually you know kind of shutting down one big chapter of life and starting up another in how you’re going about how you’re approaching that. That is fantastic to see. Hopefully I’ll get some good answers from the Empire. Fantastic talking today Chris and I will have to do this again sometime.
Chris: [00:21:35] Oh, not a problem. Please — thank you for being here, appreciate all of your input and I look back at my notes from our day back in December regularly just to see where I’m at where I come in six months. It’s exciting to see where I’m at. I wish I sometime it was three pages further along but in timing there’ll be another other story to write on where I’m at. Thanks Chris. Thanks Broc. We look forward to our chat with you again soon.
Theme music (“Runaway”) by Shadow of Whales: https://www.facebook.com/shadowofwhales