Helping People Live Their Best Story

I sat in the back of a fourth-grade classroom in Kenya and told God that if He gave me something meaningful and purposeful to do with my life, I wouldn't quit unless it was complete or He said it was time to quit. - Derek Snook, a Millennial

How Derek helped others LIVE THEIR BEST STORY

While living and working in Africa, Derek realized, "There was often a disconnect between those who wanted to help, those who really understood how to help and those on the receiving end." Having previously volunteered at the Star Gospel Mission, a men's homeless shelter, Derek decided to spend a year living at the shelter. The hardest part of his experience was being a day laborer. Day labor was one of the most miserable and demeaning things I've done Derek said.

Because of this life-changing and eye-opening experience, Derek Snook turned a problem into a passion. Derek started his own company to empower people to "Live Their Best Story." This is the mission of "In Every Story Labor Services."

What makes IES different from other labor companies?

  1. Starting wages are higher
  2. Workers are paid weekly instead of daily (to help gain skills for long-term employment)
  3. After working 150 hours you automatically get a share of IES profits (and the longer you work, the more your share goes up)
  4. Relationship building is a priority (i.e. team building and accountability)
  5. Celebration (IES celebrates each time a worker is hired full-time - check out their stories here)

Derek made many friends and gained a lot of wisdom while living at the Star Gospel Mission. The wisdom he gained is relevant and real. The following is an excerpt from a memoir he is writing:

Want versus Need

"I learned a lot about what it really takes to survive while I lived at the Star Gospel Mission. For me, seeing the men at the mission really changed my perspective. It made me wonder why we think we need so much to survive, and helped me see the dysfunction of healthy wants becoming needs. It's not that I solved the problem, either, and I write this as one erring soul to another.

In general, I learned like most things in life, that less is more. I can answer the question What do you really need to survive? with simply, God. I can answer it by adding to God, food, water, shelter and clothing. Or I can add to that a vehicle, family, and house. Or I can add to that not just any vehicle but an SUV, not just any family but one with a hot wife and 2 well-behaved children (one boy and one girl, duh), and not just any house but a brick one in a nice neighborhood.

Or I can answer it simply, I need just as much as the people around me because the real issue is their approval. Or maybe just a little more than everybody around me because the real issue is I need to feel superior...This means the answer to what you need to survive actually changes depending on if you're born in the USA or Bangkok.

To be honest I feel like this question more pointedly attacks me because I've tried taking it by the horns and answering it for myself rather than simply keeping quiet, staying in line, and going with the flow. 'Thoughtless is the man who abandons his ideals, surrendering himself to the common fate,' says Autobiography of a Yogi. And so, daily this question hides behind a corner on my walk to work and tries to mug me. 'Put your hands up and give me all your joy!' it screams. Some days the question wins and makes me sad and depressed and I'm sure no girl will ever want to marry me and my future will end living in a van down by the river.

In general, I've accepted the tension between what I want and what I need and that there's a force out there trying to move healthy things from my want list to the need list, at which point they become chains. What I gained from the mission was not a clear understanding of a right or wrong answer but instead the insight it's a serious question my life is too short not to consider now. Rather than let other people tell me what I need to live I should have the courage to decide for myself. Because however, I answer the question, What do you really need to survive? will ultimately determine what I can accomplish with my life."

Want more? Watch Derek's TEDxCharleston talk here.
You can follow In Every Story on Facebook or check out their website here.

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