How Rejection Can Set You Up for Your Biggest Breakthrough!

God has blessed me with a number of opportunities that have given me knowledge. I’m only here to be a servant, a conduit, to help you – because I desperately want to see you become everything that you dream of and everything that God has called you to be. And not only do I want to see you become that – I know you can!

The Word says, “Our people parish because of the lack of knowledge.” And specifically those that want to be in entertainment, we have work to do!

Many people ask me, “How did you get your start in the entertainment industry?” The answer really goes back 18 years ago when I came to LA from Oakland, CA. I was the only person in my family who had any interest in entertainment. And nobody thought it was wise for me, a young Christian, to go to Hollywood or get into the entertainment industry. Does that sound familiar to any of you? 🙂

When I was 18 I went to USC (the University of Southern California) but I only wanted to go there if I could get into the film school there. Everyone had told me that in order to make it in Hollywood I had to go to the best film school in the country, which was USC.

But the way that USC worked was that I had to apply for general admission and then apply to the film school separately. So if I was accepted into general admission then I might have the opportunity to get into the film school. But there was a chance that I could get into the general admission but not into film school.

I was accepted for general admission and was on my way to visit USC when I got a call from my mom. She said, “I got a letter from the USC Film School, do you want me to read it to you?” I said, “Yes, please read it to me.” She then said, “We regret to inform you….” and you know how the rest of that goes.

My heart dropped. I had been rejected. I started to think, “Why am I here anyway? I don’t want to go to USC – I only wanted to go to USC because of the film school. I can’t make a career for myself if I’m not in the film school!” But God said, “Go.” So I attended the College Days Event that they had there on the campus.

While I was there the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that this is where I was supposed to go. So I thought, “Even though I’m not in the film school I’ll still enroll.” And I started my freshman year at USC.

The first semester of my freshman year, I knew that I needed an internship. I didn’t know anyone in the business and wondered what I was going to do. In high school I worked at a non-profit in Oakland and the executive director of that non-profit was the college roommate of a successful screenwriter in Hollywood. Because I was looking to get my foot in the door my old boss recommended that I meet with this screenwriter.

I went and met with the writer and he said, “You have to get an internship with Handprint Entertainment.” Handprint Entertainment, at the time, was the management company for Will Smith, Jada Pinkett, Babyface, and many others. It was one of the biggest management companies in the industry.

I went in to do an interview for an internship. Long story short, I ended up getting the internship. And the internship got me in the door of the industry and was the break I needed to start my career. The irony is that had I been in the film school, I would not have had the time to put in weekly at that internship. 

You might be trippin’ out right now because things haven’t worked out the way that you wanted. You’re mad at God, you’re frustrated with God and you’re angry. But what you dont understand is that God is trying to create room for not what you think you might want but really what you need. He knows where he’s taking you and what He’s going to do!

I really need to break this down for you: you can draw a straight line from my internship experience to where I am today.

When I walked through those halls of my internship, I was a nobody, they didn’t know my name! They only knew that I was an intern from from USC. So the big question I asked myself was this, “How am I going to make my mark while I’m here doing this internship? How am I going to stand out?”

And that is the question I want to impress on each of you today: How are you going to make YOUR mark? What are YOU going to do to stand out?

Don’t be upset about what you think you’ve missed or been rejected from. God might have closed one door so He can open 10 more doors for you!!!!

TAKE ACTION NOW: In the comments below, share your story of how through rejection you found another open door from God. Or if you’re going through a time of rejection, share your story and be encouraged by others who have been in your shoes. Know that God will open more doors for you.  

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The Christian Approach to Working on the Job

I did an interview that focused on the question of what should the Christian approach be to working on the job. It’s actually a subject that I’m asked a lot about and one that is important to discuss and consider in not only your job but in your life. I thought I would share my answers to those questions – hopefully they shed some light on areas that you might be struggling with or questioning.

How do you interact with non-Christians at your job? 

The same way I interact with Christians: love, dignity and respect.

What if you see something you don’t like or conflicts with what your beliefs?

I think sometimes we will see things that we don’t like and immediately react. Jesus teaches us to be “Wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove.” So even when there is something to be said you have to be mindful of your tone, you have to understand the audience, look at who is in the room, and consider their particular points of view. And then pray and ask, “Is now the time to say something?” and if it is then you ask yourself, “What’s the best way to get my point of view across so that it is received?”

How do you know when to share your faith with others at work? 

Actually verbalizing aspects of what you believe, that’s where discretion comes in and understanding and being led by the Holy Spirit. I certainly don’t go up and down the halls with my Bible saying, “Let’s do a Bible study!” But in meetings, when appropriate, or when subjects come up that I’m very well versed in and I’m very passionate about because of my faith, I’m not afraid to say, “Here’s what I think and here’s why I think it.” or “In going to church and being immersed in this community I think this audience will respond this way.” or “I think this could be offensive.” I believe that’s what I’m here to do – if things come up and I have insights into those things and I stay quiet, then why am I here?  Sharing your faith isn’t always about proselytizing.  Your faith gives you a unique point of view that can be very valuable to your job.  So sharing your faith can sometimes be about sharing those insights, which are derived from your faith.

How important is the way you treat others at work when sharing your faith? 

The best sermon I could ever give is how I treat people. How I respond to emails. How I handle phone calls, how I deal with my colleagues, thats where God’s love can be shown. And when there are times to be vocal, not being afraid. God will call you to say, “Go pray with this person,” or “Say this.” If He’s called you to it He will provide the way.

Should Christians create only faith-based content? 

I do think it’s important for people of faith that are called to any industry to become great at it. That’s another thing that I see – sometimes as Christians we get caught up in the idea that we have to make “faith based” content — and this can be a controversial thing. How about being whatever God called you to be?  Knowing the lessons and knowing the virtues He has called you to hold on to, and putting those virtues in the content He’s called you to create — but not creating content in a way that limits those who will see it. Just say, “I’m going to tell the story. This is what God told me to do. I’m going to get the best cast I can get, but it’s still going to have the virtue that lines up with the Word.”

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Everything comes with a cost, especially when it comes to your purpose.  That cost is being unable to take career shortcuts, working in a position beneath your abilities longer than you feel you should, or sometimes even suffering the disapproval of those who do not understand your faith in the workplace. Regardless of the cost, paying it is never easy, yet unless you bear the cost and accept God’s budget for your purpose, you won’t see the progress you’re desperately seeking.

We serve a God who has a plan for us. As part of that plan He has taken the time to prepare a budget and schedule for our purpose. He knows when our life will be ready to enter production, what it will cost us, and how much time will be required to produce true success in our lives. If we believe this to be true, then the next logical question is, what does that budget require?

Before any movie gets made…the script must be budgeted.  Just as budgeting a script isn’t an arbitrary process, God’s budget for your success isn’t either. He knows your future and the tremendous potential you possess. The budget He’s prepared for your success takes who you are and what you can achieve into account.

Unfortunately, we often argue with God because we have our own ideas about what should be required for our purpose to come to fruition. There are things we don’t want to do and things we don’t want to give up. We aren’t willing to agree on what it will cost to fulfill our purpose, and then we get upset when the Lord shows us how long it will take to produce the level of success we desire. We want it cheap and we want it now!

Before we can move closer to purpose fulfillment we must come to an agreement with God and sign off on his budget. God’s budget always features specific line items:

1. FAITHFULNESS (Matthew 9:27-29)

Trusting in the limitless power of God is a fundamental requirement. We must believe that our circumstances do not restrict God’s ability to bless us. The only thing that restricts us is our lack of faith in him. Big faith equals big blessings.

2. OBEDIENCE (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)

Binding yourself to a God-centered code of obedience is a necessary cost of living in faith. We must all make decisions of obedience to him about what we stand for—and will not stand for. As Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall famously said in his session-opening prayer in 1947, “Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for, because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.” What things are nonnegotiable? What are the areas in which God is calling you to be more obedient?

3. SACRIFICE (Romans 12:1-2)

The value of our faith should not simply be the comfort that it brings us or the joy and peace we get in communion with and service to the Lord. That value is also measured by what we are willing to sacrifice for our beliefs. What we have is worth what we are willing to pay for it. If we are willing to compromise in public on the things that make our faith meaningful in private, that speaks volumes about the lack of authenticity of our faith. Everything goes up for grabs . American theologian Tryon Edwards captures my view beautifully in a quote from the Forbes Scrapbook of Thoughts on the Business of Life, Vol. 2: “Compromise is but the sacrifice of one right or good in the hope of retaining another— too often ending in the loss of both.” Commit to a career built on sacrifice, not compromise.


Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty. —Matthew 23: 12 The Message

This Scripture says it all.

5. SUBMISSION (James 4:7)

We have to give ourselves over to God’s authority. We have to let him develop and the produce the story he wants from our lives.

In life, we do our share of wrong. We’re often guilty of not paying the cost God wants from us for the life he’s given us so generously. So if we sign off on his budget, we must demonstrate it by our actions.

For me, the cost of maintaining my identity as a devout servant of God and follower of Christ while pursuing an ambitious career path is adhering firmly to my Christianity. That is the payment I owe to God for giving me my life, my health, my talent, my family, everything that I have and am.

TAKE ACTION NOW: Are you willing to pay the cost no matter what it takes to fulfill your purpose?  What have you been doing to sabotage your own success?  Is laziness and disobedience robbing you of the life you really want?  


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Usually we are tempted to compromise on our promises to God because there’s some reward on the table. The irony is, being steadfast will yield greater rewards that will truly edify our lies and benefit our careers. How do I know this? Because it’s happened to me. People in the business are surprised when I tell them I can’t do something because of what I believe, but by doing so I let them know what I value most. In an environment where everything is negotiable, taking something off the table and making it nonnegotiable can be empowering.

Many people who are otherwise truly passionate about their faith are afraid to stand on their principles in their professional lives. Have you ever found yourself in that position? Have you given in? Living in service to God always comes with a cost. Have you ever considered the cost and thought that it was simply too high?

If you have, you’re hardly alone. I doubt there is a single Christian (me included) who hasn’t failed in this regard at least once— and most likely many times. But God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. Sometimes when you allow circumstances to compromise your values and regret it after the fact, you’re even more motivated to obey God’s will the next time you’re tempted.

In the professional world, the key is to understand that most of what we think we know about business and morality is a myth. We have this Gordon Gekko image of people in business: cynical, predatory, and ruthless, ready to slit anybody’s throat to make more money or climb the ladder. But for the most part, in my experience that has not been true. Even in the corner office, people are moved by kindness, honor, and ethics. The CEO is still someone who has a family and children, someone who doesn’t walk into the office each morning thinking, “Who can I cheat today?” If there are people who take actions of questionable morality in their careers, it’s usually not because they are bad people but because they’re doing what they think they must do to survive.

Whether you’re in entertainment , finance, or technology, the demands of most careers are mental. Because of that, the doubts we face are psychological— questions of confidence, self-worth, and self-image. When we go into the professional environment, we begin to question ourselves. Do I have what it takes? Am I good enough? Can I advance? It is very difficult to pursue a path of success if we define that success only in terms of promotion or the title on a business card. But if you define it as peace, as “the kind of person I become in the eyes of God,” success becomes achievable.

When you let God develop and produce your career by faith, you hold fast to your commitment to him. So what if you’ve been tempted before and failed? As my Uncle Pastor DJ Williams used to say: “Yesterday is a canceled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, today is ready cash, use it wisely.” The past is irrelevant; it’s all about what you do today . Standing up for God changes how people see you. Suddenly, in a world where everything is relative, you’re an absolute. You’re a person of integrity, someone whose word can be trusted and, more important, someone whom God can trust. This is what God’s budget for your career is all about.

TAKE ACTION NOW: Have you have ever found yourself in this same position? Did you give in? How did you handle the situation? OR are you facing a situation like this right now? Let me know!


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Most of us spend some time in Development Hell. If it doesn’t come in the form of missed opportunity, then it might manifest as an ethical crisis or boredom with your duties. But when you do reach that stage, the key to dealing with it is staying the course and being steadfast in your faith and work. The risk is that you will ditch your purpose and try to take shortcuts to advance by any means possible. That practically guarantees that you’ll be taking up long-term residence in Development Hell, because you will not be able to receive God’s blessings in the way he has planned and your work runs the risk of suffering.

If you can keep your eyes looking ahead even when the difficult times come, you will accept God’s decision to put you through the purifier of Development Hell in order to mold your ambition, integrity, and perspective. Don’t abandon what makes you who you are. Don’t give up hope. God will pull you out of Development Hell soon enough, and you will move ahead into the next scene of your life. You will be ready to make a powerful and lasting impact on the world.

One of the most effective tools I’ve discovered which can help you manage the tough times is to remember. We have a tendency to forget how good God has been to us. Think back over all the scenes of your life. Think about the times when you needed God the most— did he ever let you down? If you’re like me, then not only did God come through for you in your past, but every time he did, he exceeded your expectations! If he did it before, then he will do it again. Let your past experiences with him bring you comfort and confidence to keep moving forward.

When you feel trapped in Development Hell, also think about steps you can take to help you manage this difficult period. Attend events where you can network with people. Take training courses to become even better at your job. Pitch your boss on a creative new idea . Take on a project no one else will accept. Propose a daring solution to a longstanding problem. These tactics all keep you on God’s road while bringing new energy and purpose to your work . Keep the faith and keep your sense of perspective and, believe it or not, Development Hell will ultimately seem like time well spent.

TAKE ACTION NOW: In the comments below share with me if you ever doubted that your desired career is the right one for you? If so, how did you resolve those doubts?

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What happens when your employer is giving you chances to advance and do your best work but you buy your own one-way ticket to Development Hell? When things stagnate, it can be because you’ve stopped caring about your work. You’re “phoning it in ” and just punching the clock. You’re probably not doing what you’re passionate about, and when that happens, it’s virtually impossible to put the best of yourself into what you do.

As I’ve shared in my book, Produced By Faith, I’ve had days when I felt as if there would never be another opportunity coming my way. Nobody wants to work beneath their potential; it’s a miserable, lifeless way to spend a career. If that’s the reason you’re in Development Hell, it’s time to look in the mirror. Clearly, God has a path prepared for you, but are you on it? In landing in your current position, did you pay attention to the signs that God sent indicating where and how to best use your talents? Or did you freelance, deciding that the company or line of work God was directing you toward wasn’t interesting and you would rather do something else instead? When you do that — when you dig in your heels and resist his attempts to lead you in a certain direction — you miss out on his greatest blessings.

In a self-created Development Hell, we have two options: straighten up or get out. Remember, God knows what is in our futures, so he knew that you or I would resist his will and end up in a job where you feel unhappy and directionless. Why? Because he wants you to learn something. Either you stick with your current job for a while and vow to do your best and learn whatever it has to teach, or you humble yourself, admit your error, and look for a more suitable opportunity, either way turning yourself completely over to God’s will is essential. Pray and pay attention; he will guide you out of Development Hell.

When you finally escape, listen to your passion. We frequently forget that the passion we feel— for law or finance, teaching or repairing classic cars— is placed in us by God. Each is a spiritual seed that will one day bear fruit and bring us to the career we were meant to have. Listen to the voice of your passion and it won’t lead you astray.

TAKE ACTION NOW: Are you currently in a self-created Development Hell? In the comments below, share your story. Can you identify what your error was? If you have gotten out of Development Hell, share what the Lord taught you through the process.

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In my book Produced By Faith I talk about a situation that most of us have faced within our careers called Development Hell. It occurs when you reach a place where you stop progressing and feel as if things are going in reverse. It’s when you start to wonder why you’re putting in the long hours, when you get sick of waiting for your time to come, when you lose perspective, and when it feels like life is on repeat.

Have you ever felt this way? Are you currently in this position?

One of the most important things to remember about Development Hell is that it has little to do with what your opportunities actually are at the time and everything to do with what you perceive those opportunities to be. 

I faced my own Development Hell and here’s what I learned: If I’d put my full trust in God, I would have known that He had something in mind for me. It was my choice how I chose to look at my situation.

Here’s the thing – most of us spend time in Development Hell; it’s part of the process of building a career. We all experience an intense period of doubt, tedium, and failure as we’re learning. Every single one of us faces a hard dose of reality when we move from just dreaming to being in an environment where we have to work on making our dreams come to fruition.

What we often lack is a big-picture view of things; we forget that we can’t know what God has working for us in the future. It’s important to retain some perspective on our suffering and to tell ourselves over and over that things can turn on a dime, and often do. People really believe something only after the fact, and that’s where faith comes in.

We don’t have to know what’s going to happen, we just have to trust that God will not leave us without hope.

This time is a phenomenal lesson in how God works in our lives! There is the way we perceive our situation – tense, frightening, and poised on the edge of disaster – and the way things really are, which are positive and validating.

It is our choice in how we chose to look at our situation.

If you are in Development Hell, don’t throw in the towel. You’re probably not as far away from Production as you might think. You might be just one scene away from where you want to be!

TAKE ACTION NOW: In the comments below, share with me your Development Hell story. Are you currently in it or have you made it through? Share at least one lesson God has taught you or reviled to you during this time of development. 

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There are no overnight successes. Everything comes with a cost.

Until recently, most actors, writers, and directors followed the same basic career track: learn your craft, work as much as you possibly can, pay your dues, make contacts, and try to be in the right place at the right time when the Big Opportunity comes knocking.

It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t supposed to be. The difficulty of sticking to a plan that could take twenty years to pay off meant that for the most part the people who finally “made it” possessed the commitment, dedication, and skill set necessary to have long-lasting, high-quality careers.

Overnight celebrity culture undercuts the process of change that we all must undergo in order to achieve true success.

So ask yourself this: What if you actually land the dream position and you’re not ready for it?

Let’s role-play for a minute. You bust out of school convinced of your own genius, work Facebook and LinkedIn like a master, make all the right contacts, and before you know it at age twenty-five you’ve got the ideal job or career you’ve always wanted. You’ve arrived.

But are you really ready? It’s not just about desire but also preparation.

See, while your career was in the fast lane, your character was still in the slow lane. While you were playing the game and shaking hands and working the Internet, you didn’t become the person you needed to be in order to make the most of this opportunity. You don’t know how to manage people, make decisions, or resolve conflicts. You’ve muscled your way to the top, but now that you’re in your dream job, there are no excuses for poor performance— and you don’t have the tools to do the job at the level it requires.

But you’re desperate to keep it, by any means necessary, even if it means betraying every principle and ideal you possess. In the end, you might survive, but it’ll cost you more than you ever thought. More likely, you’ll betray your own ethics, betray people you care about, fail in the end, and possibly ruin your chances for success in your chosen field for the rest of your life.

When you get something that you don’t work for, you won’t know how to value or maintain it.

When we can’t find something inherent in our character or abilities that validates the position we’ve attained, we become insecure, and that deep-seated insecurity will eat us alive. God allows us to struggle and work through setbacks for a simple reason: he wants us to grow and develop the character and competency that ultimately enable us to succeed on our own merits and the merits he’s always intended.

You must pass through each stage of Development before you’re ready for Production. There are no shortcuts, not if you want to achieve success.

TAKE ACTION NOW: Share with me in the comment section what struggles you are facing within your Development. What do you think God is teaching you through these struggles? 

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Back when I was a student at USC (University of Southern California), my major was business with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. My senior thesis for the entrepreneurship program was a business plan for an entertainment company. I had to come up with a company to model my fictitious business after, and I chose to interview Tracey Edmonds, President and CEO of Edmonds Entertainment. A friend of a friend knew her personally and was nice enough to put in a good word, and I was able to interview Tracey. She was incredibly gracious and gave me invaluable insight and knowledge about the business. So I wrote my business plan and that was that.

Until, of course, a few years later when Tracey remembered me from our interview and ended up giving me my first junior executive job. I realize now that by bringing Tracey and me together, God was setting up a situation in my life that wasn’t going to pay off until much later. But it did pay off and my job at Edmonds Entertainment was my entry into development.

When I met with Tracey as a student, I knew that was part of God’s process. I had no notion of how it would play out, but because I trust the Lord I made sure I conducted myself appropriately. If I hadn’t made an impression as someone of passion, desire, and principles, I doubt Tracey would have remembered me four years later.

What matters is not where you are today, but what kind of person God is shaping you to become in preparation for the time when He brings His vision for your life to fruition. Keep your eyes straight ahead and focus on becoming the best possible Christian, individual and professional you can be. Let God take care of the rest (your future.) Remember your future is just as important to Him as it is to you…it’s the reason why you were created.

TAKE ACTION: In the comments below, share a time or experience in your story where God was setting the stage for the vision for your life to come to fruition. 

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Notes are a critical part of development in the film world, and the same is true in your career. You must be able to take notes from God and from other people in order to learn and grow.

God is constantly giving us notes on our choices and the ways in which we exercise our faith. These notes can take many forms: people or events appearing serendipitously, ideas that you can’t get out of your head, or sometimes literal revelations that come to you in prayer.

Normally, when God sends you notes, he is trying to course correct a part of your story, just like a studio executive will try to redirect a point in a script in development. It’s up to you to be humble, accept God’s notes, and act on them in good faith. This can be challenging when God’s feedback contradicts something that you really want or a choice that you thought was right. But that’s when you learn to swallow your pride and pay attention.

God’s notes will always guide you toward situations that will test you and help you become a greater person and a better Christian. they may not line up perfectly with your plans, but that’s where faith comes into play. Are you defensive – or willing to listen? How ready are you to collaborate with God on your path? But first you have to recognize a not for what it is, then be willing to listen.

Here are some other ways God can send you notes about your career:

-You don’t get a position or a deal that you wanted badly, even though you thought you had it locked up. God holds the copyright on “Be careful what you wish for.” If he prevents you from getting something that you were aching for, it’s because it would not have turned out to be the blessing you expected.

-Your instincts set off alarm bells about a company, a person, or a decision. Trust them. Gut feelings and intuition are God whispering in our ears that something’s not right.

-You receive advice from someone you didn’t expect. When it’s from your boss or supervisor, that’s normal. But when a client, vendor, or competitor does it, that’s especially notable. Be sure to listen.

-You happen upon an article, blog post, or TV segment about a career-related subject that’s been on your mind. this happens to me frequently: I’ll be thinking about a project, a company or a person and and seemingly out of nowhere, I stumble upon relevant, useful information about that same project, company, or person. Carl Jung called these “synchronicities.” I call them God getting our attention.

-You get a performance review that takes you by surprise. Notes don’t get much more obvious than this. If your review isn’t as good as you expected, that’s often a very direct message from the Lord to either step up your efforts or rethink what you’re doing.

When you get a note from God, pay attention!

QUESTION: What notes has God given you on your career so far? How did you respond to them? 

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