I'm building God's brand as I build my own.

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

- Matthew 25:10-13 (New International Version)

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending and sponsoring the Build Your Own Brand Retreat, which was nothing short of amazing. A few days before it kicked off, I got a surprise invitation to attend the speaker’s dinner, which was a HUGE opportunity. Literally every powerhouse speaker presenting at the event would be there and I’d have the opportunity to connect with them one-on-one and share the Big Idea Food brand with them (won’t He do it?!). 

So of course I went and, true enough, I got to network with some really dope people and rub shoulders with millionaires -- a few Christian millionaires at that! Talk about inspiring! 

But, while I made some truly divine connections there by the grace of God, I couldn’t help but feel completely unprepared for this moment. Case in point: I met the co-founder of Blavity, unbeknownst to me at the time, and asked him what his last name was so I could follow him on Instagram 🤦🏾‍♀️ When he told me his last name I immediately remembered who he was and, honestly, felt like a nincompoop 😂😂😂

Now in reality, it really is different seeing faces you’ve seen online for so many years in real life, so I extended myself some grace for this blunder. I also recognize that I only had a few days’ notice about the dinner, so trying to study the speakers’ bios and adequately prep for it while still finalizing my travel and vending table details was something I just didn’t have the bandwidth for. But hear me when I tell you this:

Sometimes God opens doors to opportunities you don't have time to prepare for. 

Like the 10 virgins in this week’s scripture, only the ones who were already prepared got to go to the next level. The rest of them were stuck outside looking in and probably kicking themselves for not staying ready. My greatest takeaway from this entire experience is that I need to become more of a student of my industry. Networking doesn’t stop when you leave your job to do business full time. If anything, it intensifies. 

Thank God He gave me a trial run this time so next time I’ll be ready. I heard Beyoncé will cut a dancer from her team after they mess up twice and I ain't mad at her for it at all. She's got a brand to protect. I know for a fact God has more grace than that but don’t you want to be excellent? I know I do. And I don’t want to give Him a reason to consider cutting me either. 

It’s our responsibility to represent our God well. We can’t be out here slipping, not knowing who major players are (talking to myself right now!). That damages not only our brand, but most importantly, His brand. And that’s not cool. Being too busy to prepare is no longer an excuse. Stay ready so God can keep elevating you. 

Still hungry? Eat some more //

Ezekiel 38:7 (ESV), Hebrews 11:7

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