The Faith and Work Series

Israel Idonije on Faith, Work, and Success (Part 2)

by Ramon Mayo


Ramon: Got you. Well, you didn’t get the Bulls, but you got the Bears. laughter.

Israel Idonije: Well, it’s amazing how God works.

Ramon: So what role does faith play when it comes to your career?

Israel Idonije: Faith for me, I would say it’s more than the role; it’s the engine. It’s really like the [Ramon interrupts with expression] heartbeat of my life. During my most challenging times and my most incredible moments in my life, my biggest success is in challenges. I know there’s a plan and purpose for my life and that whatever occurs at the end of it, it’s going to be amazing. The plan is not for me to be in the valley; the plan is not for me to struggle. So even in those challenging times, I have an incredible family, and the work of prayer warriors and a support system that during those times, we get together, we pray, and we sit down; we connect. Fighting through the challenge is not easy and you need those people in your life to help you through that and during the most incredible times. Whereas humans, it’s easy to go into that “me space.” I put in the work, I lifted the weights, I ran on the track and now I’m making all this money; I’m planning a super bowl; I’m doing all these things. For me, the remembrance of faith ultimately represents that I’ve been blessed; I’ve been chosen; I’ve been given these gifts and opportunities because I have a purpose to play. I have a role to play and it’s not my plan.

Ramon: Yeah, yeah.

Israel Idonije: There’s a purpose beyond this; it’s not me; you made it to the NFL and you have all these resources. You have this incredible network because you’re supposed to do something with it. You’re supposed to serve. For me, faith is like the heartbeat; it’s the engine; it’s not necessarily playing one specific role, it’s the reason the whole machine works. It’s the reason why everything progresses and moves forward. There is success and I’m just eternally thankful. I thank my parents for what they’ve done and for what they represented in my life growing up. Faith, in so many situations, is like a muscle and there’s times in your life when you may waver, and the muscle is weak. You need people in your life who are strong spiritually say, “come on, you can do it; push through and when you’ve made it through that challenge, you’re like oh my goodness, I made it, I’m ok. Your faith muscle gets stronger to the point where you can face that challenge alone and you know you’re going to be ok. I know I’m making it, and to my parents I’m thankful that they were that support system to help grow my faith, to help strengthen my commitment, my focus, my pursuit of my relationship with Christ. That has allowed me to be the man I am today. Granted, I can’t face every challenge alone [ laughter] but I feel like I’m strong in that space where the goals are worth the challenges. I can tell someone, hey, I promise you something better is coming. This is what I had to do; these are the challenges that I had to face and at the darkest time, I didn’t know how I was going to make it. Whether I’m sitting here or I’m standing there in front of you, I’m ok and for me, that’s what faith is; it’s the heart of everything; it’s the engine not just behind my life, but for all of us. It’s important to continue strength in that faith and that belief and that relationship with God and Christ.

For me, faith is like the heartbeat; it’s the engine; it’s not necessarily playing one specific role, it’s the reason the whole machine works.

Ramon: That’s a great perspective; it’s a humble perspective. So, this next question is going to be [laughter] sort of the opposite of that. What is your world class that people might not realize?

Israel Idonije: Well I’m not sure. I’ll say, what I consider myself world class is in relationship building.

Ramon: ok

Israel Idonije: I consider myself world class for the same thing. The connection in which I think business is a lot of relationship building. What else would I be world class at, that people may not realize? I think one that is interesting that I would add is that I’m world class at perspective.

Ramon: ok

Israel Idonije: I talk to people all the time that are going through things. I’m going through something and I have the inability to take that situation and try to find the positive in it or the lesson in it.

Ramon: ok

Israel Idonije: The gift in it. The skill set that I’ve always had, and I realize there’s a lot of people who don’t have that and necessarily the ability to always to focus on the good and the success.

Ramon: I was going to say is that how your personality type affected your life and career decisions?

Israel Idonije: My personality type. I think it’s important that everybody knows self. Usually, it is important that you know yourself, your own skills, your own gifts and abilities. Being connected to sports was an easy connection. If I have great hand techniques, I have great get off, but I don’t have great movement. You know these things about yourself that allow you to put a game plan together. As far as how you’re going to attack your opponent in the game.

Ramon: Yeah.

Israel Idonije: So, I know I’m going to catch his hand; I’m going to get off the ball. He’s an inside puncher, he’ll be aggressive. Knowing your skill set allows you to build your plan to defeat your opponent. That’s something for your personality and your gifts. When you know your personality, you know your gifts. I communicate well. I’m well sort out and I’ve got a great strategy; my work etiquette is relentless. These things don’t do well in situations a, b, c, d. well, I know all these things. Now that gives me the ability to position myself; to toggle my tasks in life and all my relationships in life so when I step into the office, and assess the people I’m working with, the loud vagarious person that I know I don’t necessarily love that, so you let me not necessarily put myself in that situation, where I’m gonna be there. When you know self, you’re able to assess and position yourself for success.

Ramon:  I like that.

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