dventist Review editorial assistant Jean Kellner recently had the opportunity to interview Clestine Herbert, a young Adventist professional who is the founder of Divine Discipline, a business devoted to empowering people to reach their professional and life goals
KELLNER: What is Divine Discipline? How would you describe your business?
HERBERT: I’m a speaker, trainer, and life coach. So my purpose is to empower people and teach them how to live a fulfilling life, and how to have a relationship with God.
When I speak at corporations, I use biblical principles because ultimate principles for success can be found in the Bible. I may say “God” occasionally, but my main focus is to teach success principles and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.
What kinds of businesses or individuals approach you for help?
There are three areas I address: (1) personal development; (2) professional development; and (3) spiritual development.
Corporations hire me to conduct workshops on soft topics such as: Time Management, Stress Management, Developing Your Attitudes, or Dealing With Change in the Workplace.
Individuals who come to me may be in the right profession, but there may be things in their life that need to be lined up. They want to achieve some goals, but they are having a hard time achieving them, so I guide them. And sometimes there are people who are not sure about which direction they need to go, so I can help them in that way, too.
Churches invite me to preach or to conduct spiritual development workshops such as: How God Communicates, Developing Your Relationship With God, and How to Pray.
Is this the career you always planned, or did it evolve?
I graduated from college with a degree in industrial engineering. Early into my career, I started feeling that this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. I was content, but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I knew something was wrong when my colleagues would share their career goals that were specific to engineering, but I couldn’t see my future at all. Plus, I would get restless after a year or so of working for a company, and I would move on.
Finally, after seven years as an engineer, the company I was with had major layoffs. My layoff came on my birthday. My colleagues couldn’t understand why I wasn’t upset or crying, and I said, “Oh, I’m getting laid off on my birthday, and that is not a coincidence.” God was saying to me, “Happy Birthday; I’m about to do something new in your life.”
The layoff gave me an opportunity to reflect. I started to pray and seek God’s path for me. Then I started having visions of standing up and speaking. What God was doing was rooting it in my spirit that this is what He created me to do—to teach and to preach.
How smooth was your career transition?
The thrust of industrial engineering is to make things ergonomically sound and economical. So I learned to make things systematically. This has been an invaluable skill for transitioning into my own business. I need to keep on top of things. In order to do that, I’m always creating systems for myself to make sure I’m efficient. Additionally, when I consult with my clients about strategic planning and business development, I’m always trying to create ways to help them be efficient.
In other ways it was a struggle. I started my business with no money, and for the first eight months there were no clients. I would tell myself, I know I heard God right, and I would have to go back to my journal. (Journaling is very important, by the way. I have workshops on journaling.) What He was doing was testing me to see if I trusted Him and if I believed Him. Finally, at the end of that, I got my first client.
Even though there have been struggles, God shows me that I’m doing the right thing. For example, the Web site I have (www.divinediscipline.com
) was a gift. That Web site should cost thousands of dollars, but I didn’t have to pay a penny. I have a laptop and software that were given to me. Even my cell phone and the service are gifts.
The name Divine Discipline was another thing God gave me. It’s all about Him; everything has been directed by Him. He’s very interested in developing our character—without that, we can’t realize our purpose.
The concept of training, preaching, and teaching is what God placed in my spirit; coaching and development came from that. When I began doing workshops, I had no idea I had such a gift in this field until I just started to do it. Every time I speak, people comment that it is almost as if I’m speaking to them individually and directly.
It sounds as if you have a ministry.
My business really is a ministry. I’ve had the opportunity to preach in different churches, and I love teaching the Word.
Then I started to see the secular doors opening. That bothered me initially. God had to show me that He needs His people to work for Him outside the church, too. We are living in an age when people don’t want to go to church anymore. They don’t care about knowing the Bible. Many of them were hurt by the church. So God needs us to go to them, which is what the whole purpose of the church was in the first place. We are built up in this fellowship, and with our gifts we are supposed to go out and do the work God has for us. One of my friends calls me God’s covert agent.
I always ask God to give me an opportunity to share Him in some way. Whether I directly speak of Him or not, one of the ways God has been teaching me to reflect Him to others is to live the way I’m supposed to live.
How would you counsel those who may be searching for their life’s calling?
Pray and be patient. I prayed for six years. I was 30 before God started to show me that my purpose was to help people discover how to have a fulfilling life.
Trust that God wants what’s best for you. He really does have a plan and a purpose for us. If we trust Him, He will lead us to that path. For some people, it’s early in life. For others, it’s later.
Discover what you enjoy doing
. What are your gifts? What are your talents?
Reflect on what you loved doing as a child. What games and role playing did you enjoy? A lot of times when we look at our childhoods, we will say, Oh, OK, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. This is actually an exercise I use on my clients.
This interview is the condensed version of the original, which was done for
CQ’s World. Click here to read the full interview. Learn more about Divine Discipline.