Coincidence, Destiny, or Decisions: A Journey That Led to Fulfilling a Passion to Love Give Serve and Enjoy

Do you believe in coincidence? What guides you to make a decision? Has life simply happened to you? Or have you been an active participant in the choices that have led you to the time and place you are at right now? Much of my short life on this planet seems to have taken place with me watching as a bystander rather than acting as the main character within my own narrative. Maybe you can relate, but for me, the first time that this reality began to sink in was when I left for college. As a college student, I was constantly looking for direction in my life. My day-to-day decisions were primarily influenced by professors, friends, sports, or faith. During those next few years in my life, faith won out as the driving force behind my decision making. Over time, I have come to firmly believe that there is no such thing as coincidence and that if I desired for my life to serve a greater purpose, it would require taking ownership of my time and choices.

As college was coming to a close and graduation was on the horizon, it was clear to me that my next steps would bring significant change, though the direction was not specific. Adventurous would never be an adjective that I would use to describe myself. Yet, I found myself preparing to move to a different country, one nearly as far from America as someone could go. In 2017, India became my new home and remained so for the following three years. Serving in a non-profit throughout my duration there, it was the most challenged I had ever been in absolutely every facet of my physical, emotional, and spiritual life. Through business ventures and community engagement, our goal was to both share our lives with and serve the people of India. Though business had always intrigued me, my passion for it grew as I spent more time engaging with the people and culture of India. However, it is not considered one of the most difficult places in the world to conduct business without reason. Nonetheless, it was evident to me that there was an immense opportunity and need to approach business in India with a posture of humility and in complete integrity.

In the Spring of 2019, my globe-trotting brought me back to America for a short period. Entering this trip, I was beginning to explore opportunities within various organizations and businesses that had a global presence. One conversation, in particular, led me to coffee with a man I had never met before. The only context given prior to the meeting was that he works with a company that has a mission that is similar to mine. Although this discussion was the first time I had ever heard the name First Rate, there was a sense that it would not be the last. Walking away from the table that morning, two questions left with me. Is First Rate a real company? Do other companies like this exist?

The search began as I returned to India and the following month ensued. I felt energized by the vision and passion by which this company, First Rate, operated. Nearly half a year after my initial encounter with First Rate, the opportunity presented itself to experience their presence in India. Up until this point in time, it had not crossed my mind to apply to this company that I admired so much. My commitment to my current employer was approaching its end, and new decisions now lay before me. With the encouragement of a now good friend in the company, I threw my hat in the ring to be considered for an open position. Sitting here to write this now, it has been six months since accepting with much gratitude an offer to join the First Rate Family. Coincidence? I will allow you to decide for yourself.

At First Rate, our core values are Love, Give, Serve, and Enjoy.  Aligning with these values felt seamless, as I have been blessed to join a company that encourages me daily to pursue my primary aim in life. For me, these are more than just four words or values. They are a way of life that both includes and far extends beyond the time spent within our office walls.

Love. Businesses have a unique avenue to demonstrate many things to the world around them. Conducting business in a manner of love in all areas is no easy feat. Regardless, I am inspired to live in such a way each day that I am employed here. To love is to lay down your rights and consider others’ needs as greater than your own. I believe that First Rate embodies this by seeking to care not only for their employees in unprecedented ways but also in the communities in which we have a presence.

Give. It is greater to give than it is to receive and giving of our time and money are possibly the two most tangible avenues to do so. A blessing is never meant to be hoarded, but rather to be used to bless others. In my short time a part of this family, there have been numerous opportunities to participate in giving financially to the needy around us. As a company, 10% of revenue is given to non-profits, charities, organizations, and other needs around the world. To witness such generosity daily, it becomes natural to desire to do likewise in my personal life.

Serve. In my opinion, the greatest leader that has ever and will ever live is Jesus. He stated that true leadership is to serve, not to be served. As a member and leader in the Arlington community, among others, First Rate paves the way in servanthood to those around them. Whether preparing lunches for kids, buildings homes for those without one, or empowering locals to deliver food amidst the pandemic in India, acts of service are a familiar sight at First Rate. Looking at my own life and my desire to impact others, working here regularly provides the tools and time to do so.

Enjoy. In my limited exposure, it does not appear to be common that one’s employer both encourages and provides the space to enjoy life apart from work. From well-thought-through company benefits to an inviting office environment, enjoyment can be easily spotted. Working diligently and with integrity provides the freedom to truly enjoy life away from the computer. With the latter expected and fostered, the former has been able to be given life at the office, in your home, or in the community.

Thankful is the word that comes to mind when I reflect on my experiences at First Rate thus far. I am thankful for a company that pushes me towards my greatest passion in life and even provides many resources to do so. It has been an honor to Love, Give, Serve, and Enjoy alongside my teammates and company as a whole, and I am looking forward to a future of doing so.

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