The Journey of Anthony L. Fisher
Amongst all my achievements, accolades, talents and giftings, I knew there was something missing from my life. I didn’t want to live a life of drifting, succumbing to a mediocre existence. I knew there was more for me to do and become. I knew that my life was to be a life of significance and purpose. In seeking clarity for my life, my life change. I prayed and asked God two questions. The two questions were:
- Question 1: Who am I?
- Question 2: How do I fulfill the purpose of my life?
The answer I received was clear.
- Do an in-depth observation of my gifts, skills and talents
- Pay close attention to my dreams, desires and the areas of my life that I have a passion and heart for.
- Begin charting my life experiences and look at the threads of my experiences as guides.
It was this exercise in awareness that led me to recognize that my life purpose is exhibited and expressed through leadership, communications, evangelism, coaching and artistry. Although I have spent countless professional and personal hours in the industries of design, marketing and technology, I’ve come to recognize that my gifts, talents and experiences are conduits allowing leadership, communications, evangelism and coaching to take place in my life.
I have a strong desire to get out of me what God has put in me. I recognized years ago that my life experiences and the blend of my unique skills and talents are an integrated and woven tapestry given to me to help people live out their potential. I also recognized the significant relationship between authentic leadership and branding. And lastly, it has become very clear to me that my gifts were given to me for a reason. Therefore, I do not believe in happenstance. I believe in purpose. I believe in being faithful to what I have been blessed with.
Today, I let my life speak. I help people “perceive” and recognize who they are and their authentic self. I draw out the best in people. That’s my gift. I encourage you to join me today so we can partner together and begin achieving the greatness inside us both. I look forward to meeting you and working with you.
My journey to purpose and significance
In my conversations with men, I often get asked questions about my life experiences and key moments that have shaped me. I share my victories, disappointments, challenges, philosophies and strategies. I also provide glimpses into my family life and how I raise my children, communicate with my wife and partner-manage our household. Questions of faith come up in discussion and I share how I integrate my faith into all aspects of my life; including my decision-making. I also get the opportunity to share my employment experiences and how the various types of work I’ve touched translate into the work I do today as a business owner, coach, speaker, designer and course creator.
In thinking about my conversations with these men, I thought I share with you a glimpse into who I am and a few experiences that have shaped me. The information I share below is by no means comprehensive, but it does serve as a foundation of why I am passionate about certain things in life. My hope is that my story will be a blessing to you. As you read, maybe you will see yourself in my story. Maybe you will have questions of me after reading my story. Maybe through my story we are purposed to work together.
Over the years, one thing I have noticed is that stories are powerful and great conversation pieces as they reveal parts of our soul that make us human, fragile and imperfect. Stories can often be missing links that provide insight into a problem or challenge someone is working through in their life. What is your story? Here’s mine.
Growing pains as a young adult man
I spent much of my childhood heavily involved with family, church and sporting activities. I’ve always believed that a strong work ethic in sports developed in me a commitment to excellence. It has also developed in me strong communication skills and the ability to understand the value of teamwork & collaboration which would set the path for a successful future. My participation and growth in maximizing my ability on the court or track earned me the opportunity to be one of the best track and field and cross country runners in California which ultimately led to an athletic scholarship in college. My best mile time was 4:04.
After graduating from college, I immediately jumped into full-time employment and became a secondary education teacher at my high school alma mater. The first two years of employment were exciting, but also extremely difficult. It was during this time that I was teaching full-time, coaching full-time and going to school full-time to attain my Masters of Education degree. It was also during this time that I recently became married, purchased our first house and expecting our first child. Oh man! Oh man! What was I thinking? I must have thought I was Superman. I quickly realized my life was out of control as I struggled physically, emotionally and financially searching for stable footing.
The first three years of marriage life (ages 22-24) were the hardest. So many demands of me and my time, I was struggling to stay above water. I recall a few times where I broke down emotionally and physically and just needed some rest and time to gather my thoughts. I was on an uphill treadmill working hard, but feeling like I wasn’t going anywhere. The expectations I had for myself and the desire to provide for my family’s well-being weighed heavily on me. I was no doubt on the fastback to living a successful life, but the fast track to success early in my career took a U-turn…and for the first time in my life, I realized I wasn’t in control. I was paralyzed, unable to juggle plates of responsibility successfully at one time.
Prior to this new adult life learning curve I was on and seeking to find my place and position in life, anything and everything I ever put my mind and hands to became attainable and successful, but for the first time in my life I was not able to control the results and outcomes which made me extremely nervous and frustrated. It was during this time in my life that I began to question my life and my role as a man, father, provider and leader. I also began to question my abilities, my experiences, my education, my relationships, my work, my goals, my desires and my spiritual walk with God. Life was tough and all cards were on the table for re-evaluation. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. Why was I feeling this way? What did I do wrong? Did I miscalculate something or underestimate the vision and path I had for my life? Why was my world being turned upside down in such a dramatic fashion? Why was it that what once worked, didn’t work any longer? A shift was taking place and I didn’t know why. I wanted answers and I wanted them sooner than later.
The realization of the cause. Falling for the bait
It was between the ages of 25 & 30 that the questions I asked were being answered. Through a series of crazy, blessed and uncommon events in my life, my understanding of the challenges and struggles I was going through years earlier began to reveal themselves. The answers were related to my own way of thinking as it related to my life plans & expectations of my future.
"The answers were related to my own way of thinking as it related to my life plans & expectations of my future."
I grew up strongly believing that life was all about my talent, my work ethic, my education and my plan. I thought these four things were all that I needed in order to be successful and live a life according to my standards. What man wouldn’t want to be successful as he strives to provide for himself and his family? But here is where I went wrong. I put my trust in society, our educational system and those who taught specific messaging that if you do these things by the book (express and grow your talent, have impeccable work ethic, attain higher degrees of learning and map out your life plan), you can have what you want to live the life you see for yourself. I had to learn that this teaching and philosophy of life is not truth. It’s far from accurate. This philosophy should only be presented as a guide and possible scenario for achievement and success. It should never be presented as truth or a standard of understanding.
As a young adult man with high hopes and dreams who lived by this philosophy — hungry to take on the world, I had to wake up and come to the realization that I was duped and bamboozled. I fell for the lie. I fell for what so many men fall for and I had to face the reality that no matter how gifted, talented and educated I may be, my life will not be lived in a straight, uninhibited line. I will go through difficult times that will go contrary to how I position myself in my mind and how I position myself in the marketplace.
Success to Significance
While in recovery of letting go of educational and societal philosophies, God continued to bless me at home and in my vocation. He blessed my wife and I with our first child together (after a previous miscarriage)… but even among the blessings, my heart was still unsettled. I still had a hole for success that needed to be filled. I knew there was more to life than what I was experiencing. I wanted to know who I really was and why I existed? I was seeking clarity for my life and my work. I was struggling to find myself. The struggle wasn’t physical or financial, but it was spiritual and it had everything to do about finding God’s purpose and plan for my life. God was testing my character, my integrity, my appetites and my trust in Him to direct all aspects of my life. I was in a testing season and I recognized it for what it was. At times, I passed the test and at other times, I failed. But in the midst of my roller coaster and inconsistent trust and decision-making, God was still faithful.
Shortly after receiving clarity through my purpose journey pilgrimage, my outlook on people, work and life drastically changed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always valued people and work, but this time I had a mission and appreciation for people I never had before. I had a drive for significance through connecting and working with people. God changed my heart and gave me a new purpose and desire to help people. God showed me how I can make a difference in people’s lives. He gave me the awareness that I have been making a difference in people’s lives all along, but now I have a purpose behind it, and a reason and an understanding of why. He made it very clear that taking stock in my personal idols in the form of my abilities, talents, education or successful passed experiences can be prideful under His light.
My focus should be about being a messenger – an ambassador for the Kingdom of God and that my ability, talent, education and experiences are to serve a much bigger canvas and purpose beyond my selfish motives and ambitions.
During the transition of understanding purpose, God continued to show me various ways that He wanted to use me, but I didn’t know how He was going to do so. What platform would He use? Was there something I was suppose to do? Did I need to spark the flame in order to start the process? Was I suppose to force the next steps of my life and manufacture His call on my life? Or was I to wait for His move? Was I to be still, silent and patient?
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In prayer, I made the decision to allow God to be the master artist and architect of my life as I humbly became the canvas He worked on. I’ve learned to follow my heart and test the waters…yet at the same time, be obedient to what I believe He had directed me to do. To this day, God creates the strokes of my life. He opens and shuts doors. When necessary, He redirects my footsteps and I have learned to simply be available to do what He directs me to do and when He directs me to do it. Does leaning on my own understanding and giftedness flare up? Yes! All the time. But everyday I do my best to remember that my gifts are to serve a higher purpose, not simply mine.
In my life, I have recognized the importance of positioning myself to hear the voice of the Lord. This positioning is a daily exercise. His voice can be experienced through the reading of His Word, prayer, a dream, a song, a conversation, a movie watched, unfortunate and unexpected experiences, the activities of my children, the wind across my brow, or even a kind word from someone I’ve never met before. God can speak to you and I in any way He chooses but we must be willing and available to listen and expect an answer because He loves you and desires to communicate with you.
Why share my story?
I share my story with you because I’m passionate about purposeful living and creating a life of significance His way. Not the world's way. My site “Branding Men“, is an expression and small portion of my life’s purpose and call. It is a ministry and business to provide hope by way of training and helping men grow in their life, family, career, relationships, entrepreneurial endeavors and personal brand. A brand that looks like biblical manhood. It is a marketplace endeavor dedicated to helping men discover, communicate and launch their God-given purpose and gifts by providing coaching, training and mentorship sprinkled with communications and marketing services.
The Lord has taught me many valuable lessons in years of shaping me and refining me. One of the lessons learned was to never compare myself with another person. When I begin to compare myself to others, I recognize that I become unfocused and slowly drift away from my highest purpose and begin to undervalue what the Lord has given me and has called me to do. When I compare myself with others, I begin believing the lie that I will never be good enough to accomplish anything significant in my life… and that’s simply not true. It is this type of thinking that I call ‘stinking thinking’ and it has plagued men for centuries. Maybe even more-so today. Comparing ourselves to other men prevent us from reaching our full potential. It also prevents us from staying focused on the work we were called to do as husbands, fathers, employees, employers and entrepreneurs.
In closing, I encourage you to seek purpose for your life. Work it out. Only God can give you awareness of it and direct you towards it. Seek His ways and trust that He will provide for you, your spouse, your kids, your career, your relationships, your business and your ministry. Become a champion man and live like a champion man in all areas of your life. Being a champion isn’t about winning. It’s about being honorable. It’s about being a steward of your gifts and making the decision to live life with integrity and standing for something beyond you. Winning is simply a bi-product of becoming a better man.
I leave three scriptures with you that have resonated with me most of my life. Especially during times of decision-making.
John 15:5-7“ I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
Psalm 127:1“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.“
Zechariah 4:6 “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”