Monthly Archives: February 2013

Key Steps to Building Your Dream 2

17 So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this
thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace
in My sight, and I know you by name.” 18 And he said,
“Please, show me Your glory.” 19 Then He said, “I
will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will
proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be
gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have
compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But
He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see
Me, and live.” 21 And the LORD said, “Here is a place
by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall
be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the
cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while
I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you
shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
(Exodus 33:17-23)
4 And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the
children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the
LORD commanded, saying: 5 ‘Take from among you an
offering to the LORD. Whoever is of a willing heart, let
him bring it as an offering to the LORD: gold, silver,
and bronze; 6 blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine
linen, and goats’ hair; 7 ram skins dyed red, badger
skins, and acacia wood; 8 oil for the light, and spices
for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; 9 onyx
stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the
breastplate.” (Exodus 35:4-9)

Paying God first involves him in your dream, vision, goals
and desires. Establishing His purpose opens the door for you
and I to realize dreams can and will come true.

Devin Oten
DO Enterprises
Writer, Public Speaker and Philanthropist

Foothill College, I’m Impressed

I had the pleasure of speaking to some outstanding students at Foothill College on yesterday. I was impressed with the awareness each one had of his or her place in this world and how important their contribution will be. If you follow the media we tend to scream the sky is falling yet fail in some regards to highlight those young people who are striving for excellence. The administrators who assisted the students in organizing Black History Month celebrations and activities and those who attended my speech are to be commended. I witnessed the students respect for and admiration of these educators. I look forward to solidifying a strong relationship with this college and student body as we will help one another in redefining our voice in 2013. We engaged each other, referring to the students, on a deep and personal level. We were vulnerable, honest and candid with each other and I believe positive results will be the outcome of our encounter. Thanks for the love Foothill and may God continue to bless you all!

Key Steps to Building Your Dream

The key steps to building your dream are to pay God, pay
yourself and then pay your bills.
Pay God
Quite a few of us learned to pay our bills, then pay our bills and
then pay some more bills, because those providing our example
lived above their means. I pay God between 15% and 25% of my
gross income each year, and through my example, I teach others to
do the same.
As I studied the Holy Scriptures on this matter, I noticed that the
children of Israel paid upwards of 50% of their gross yearly income,
even though God commanded them to give a tenth. I also discovered
that when God wanted more resources for His purposes, He hosted a
feast. Each feast required an offering that God set for a specific purpose.
Make sure that your church, mosque, temple or tabernacle has
a vision for increase and abundance. Make sure your pastor, cleric,
rabbi or teacher challenges you to give beyond your comfort zone.
“And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will
surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt
offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth
cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor
and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.”
(2nd Samuel 24:24)
King David understood the importance of giving to God. He
would not offer anything to the Lord that was meaningless to him.
Let me break it down for you – those trinity ($3) offerings you have
been giving to the Lord will not involve Him in your dream. You
may dream about a big flat screen television, and you are willing to
pay thousands of dollars for one. You may dream of a fine automobile
and will pay handsomely for it. Your home may have the finest
furnishings and artwork you dreamed of as a kid. (If it does not,
you should be working toward that vision.) The point is, we are all
willing to pay what it takes to get the things we desire, but along the
way, we forget the One who brought us to the dance. God wants to
fund your dream, but He wants His purpose taken care of first.
When I first taught this many years ago, a number of people
were offended by my understanding of God. He is about Him -
self first. He sent His only begotten Son because he wanted
more children to serve Him. He showed Moses His great Glory
(wealth) and then asked for an of fering. (The word glory in this
text means wealth.)

Devin Oten
DO Enterprises
Writer, Public Speaker and Philanthropist

First Things First 4

There are several key points I would like to share about developing,
maintaining and completing your dreams. Any dream can
lose its relevance, sputter or even die before, during and after its
conception. Therefore, the fulfillment of a dream can take a lifetime,
or even generations. Be armed with the tools that will help
you lay the groundwork for a dream that will impact the world for
ages to come!
Do not forget these words of encouragement: Every dream
will hit a bump (or two) in the road. Never let these obstacles stop
you from attaining your goals. As a kid, I dreamed of leaving the
projects of New Orleans. I was well on my way once I joined the
Air Force, went to college and married my college sweetheart. (By
the way, I’m the third person in my immediate family to attend
college. My oldest brother and one of my maternal uncles also
graduated from college.) I hit a bump in the road when I lost my
first home and had a truck repossessed, but I persevered. Now my
credit score is in the high range, and since those early missteps,
I have purchased several automobiles and homes. The important
takeaway is to learn from your mistakes and have an unwavering
belief in your abilities. Never let opportunities for growth pass you
like a ship in the night, because most opportunities have a very
short shelf life.

Devin Oten
DO Enterprises
Writer, Public Speaker and Philanthropist

First Things First 3

Building your own dream is hard work. It requires your undivided
attention. If you are busy building someone else’s dream,
you will not have the time or energy to dedicate to your own. Let
me explain: if your only motivation is to punch a clock for 40, 50,
60 or even 80 hours a week, can you or will you have the energy
or focus to carry out a meaningful dream? By no means would I
suggest you not retain your employment, for we all have to make a
living to meet our family needs and responsibilities. Sacrifice is the
name of the game, as you may need to cut back on spending and
reduce hours on the job in order to go back to school to obtain the
degree or certification that can open the window of opportunity to
fast track your dream.
If that dream involves starting your own business, the countless
hours you invest on a job will have to shift to the single purpose
– “owning my very own business.” You need to ask yourself a
variety of questions, including:
• How can I penetrate the market with my idea?
• From where will I receive funding?
• Can I operate a home-based business to reduce overhead?
You will need to invest time to research all avenues in delivering
that desired objective. There is a radio personality in New
Orleans who ends his program with this quote: “Live well and do
good work.” I think dreaming and working toward the fulfillment
of a dream is living well and doing good work.

Devin Oten
DO Enterprises
Writer, Public Speaker and Philanthropist

First Things First 2

If you buy a house, whether new or old, it was originally
someone else’s dream. I have a goal to design and build my
own house, as it represents me building my dream home. I have
owned several homes, and while each one had certain things I
liked, each also had some things I disliked. For example, I’m
not enamored with the location of the washroom and great room
in relation to the master bedroom in my current home. Building
my own home will allow me to eliminate things I dislike and
increase things I do like – and that makes for a very warm and
inviting residence.
In the past, I have purchased new cars, built to my specifica -
tions, because doing so represented a small portion of what I
consider my dream. When I travel, I like to choose the places I
want to visit as opposed to having a travel agent design a trip for
me. I use travel agents for suggestions, because they are exper ts
when it comes to travel. It’s like consulting a doctor for illness
remedies, a pharmacist for medication recommendations or an
attorney for legal advice.

Devin Oten
DO Enterprises
Writer, Public Speaker and Philanthropist

First Things First

The very first key or step to building your dreams is to understand
this one concept: you must build your own dreams. No one
else is truly interested in building your dreams to your specifications.
If they are, they likely do not have a dream of their own.
How would that work? Someone without a dream teaching you
about figuring out and establishing your dream; would that be beneficial?
You wouldn’t let a broke person tell you how to gain and
keep wealth. (Right – you are broke and borrowing money from
me, but you have insight into how I may attain additional wealth?)
You wouldn’t let someone in a bad marriage give you advice about
your marriage. You get my drift? Learn from their mistakes, but
take their advice with a grain of salt. Your desire, ambition and
motivation are your responsibility to safeguard and nurture. Your
dream is, in fact, yours my friend.

Devin Oten
DO Enterprises
Writer, Public Speaker and Philanthropist

Take care of your body and teeth

It’s not a very good testament to your character when your
body is sloppy and your teeth are raggedy. A few years ago, I
gained 50 pounds. I was recently able to lose 40. I run three miles a
day and lift weights routinely. I have also changed my diet by limiting
my sugar and carbohydrate intake. I visit the dentist semiannually
and have annual checkups with my physician. Looking good
and feeling good builds the bridge to executive level thinking.
This personal transformation has been so impactful for me, I plan
to write a book about my journey over the past few years and how
this personal renaissance has made me a better me.

Devin Oten
DO Enterprises
Writer, Public Speaker and Philanthropist

Dress for success

At an early age, I learned from my grandmother that your appearance
is the first (and sometimes the last) thing people remember
about you. “Always keep your hair trimmed and lined even if
you have long hair. Keep your clothes clean and pressed, even if
they are not in fashion or designer items. And make sure you are
color-coordinated,” my grandmother would say.
I learned at a later age that different clothing items are very
important also. My good friend Rick Fitzpatrick was the vice
president of a well-known bank in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the mid
1990s. At the time, he was my customer, not my friend, but our
friendship developed after he educated me about the importance
of dressing for success. He invited me to make a presentation to
all the other banks within his system around the country. After
that, we began seeing each other at conferences, and I was
eventually invited to speak at his company’s quarterly meetings.
In other words, he opened a door for me to become friends
with his important colleagues within the banking system. He
noticed I had a favorite Claiborne sport coat that I consistently
wore to those important events. He pulled me aside and said,
“Devin, you need to think about purchasing some new Claiborne
sport coats, as this one appears to be your favorite.” He
knew the name brand of the coat I was wearing. He informed
me that the other vice presidents had also noticed my favorite
sport coat. After that, I periodically took the time to buy clothes
to keep my wardrobe fresh. Executives notice everything, and
the reason they remembered my clothes is because they were
impressed with me from my very first presentation. From my
clothes to my verbal communication, they took notice. Their
financial commitment to me went from $10,000 to $60,000 per
year. Why? Because they liked the way I dressed, and they liked
my ability to communicate on a professional and personal level.
Since then, our families have spent vacation time together. We
have shared many meals and drinks together. Because I learned
how to dress for success, I was able to develop a valuable professional
relationship and lifelong friendship.

Devin Oten
DO Enterprises
Writer, Public Speaker and Philanthropist

Never judge a book by its cover, and yet always judge a book by its cover

There is more to everyone you meet than the eyeball test; yet
the eyeball test reveals much.
“The very look of Frederick Douglass was an irresistible
logic against the oppression of his race.” James Russell Lowell,
(I Was Born a Slave)
Everyone who saw and spoke with Frederick Douglass knew
he was a man with whom to contend. He looked the part and
walked the talk. I have met some folks who looked very unassuming
and not very bright, but when they opened their mouths,
wisdom, knowledge and understanding began to flow. I have also
met folks who look the part, yet the words they spoke left a lot to
be desired. If you trust your eyes and listen with your intellect, the
result will be the development of good, healthy relationships and
the quick elimination of unhealthy ones.

Devin Oten
DO Enterprises
Writer, Public Speaker and Philanthropist