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Interview with William Higgins, author of 'Your Road to Damascus'

By T Gleichner
Posted Jan 22, 2013 in Entertainment
The seed for this book was planted many years ago. Bill’s journey down his road to Damascus began as a senior in high school when he had his personal encounter with the risen Lord. Immediately upon graduation from high school he faced his first crossroad when contemplating what to do vocationally. He joined the U.S. Air Force because he really wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. It was while in the service that he began to see how his own internal GPS (God’s Positioning System) was calibrated.
As he began to follow the direction of his internal GPS, other crossroads led him to Biola University and Talbot Seminary where he earned a B.S. and M.A. respectively in Christian Education. Upon graduation, the next three destinations on his journey led to local churches in the U.S. and Canada where he served as a Minister of Christian Education for almost 10 years. These were opportunities to use his organizational, curriculum development, instructional design and classroom facilitation skills. These were delightful years.
Bill faced another crossroad at the last church he served when he resigned and then found himself in his prison years. For four years he traveled a dusty, pothole filled road as he consulted his roadmap. During this time he viewed the world from the prison cell of under-employment. His perspective through the cell bars was as an owner/operator of a commercial janitorial business. These were four tortuous years as he saw one opportunity after another disintegrate. These years gave him the ability to relate to others experiencing the same employment imprisonment.
At the conclusion of these four years, Bill faced another crossroad and selected a new direction in his vocational travels; looking to apply his skills and experience in the business community. He made stops along the way as he worked for about six years in three industry leading organizations as a Director of Training & Development, attaining the position of Vice-President of Corporate Training at one stop.
It was also during this time that he took a parallel road into the field of Career Coaching. He has spent over 20 years working with individuals and small groups as they struggle down their own roads to Damascus and conduct their own job searches.
While continuing as a career coach, where he has worked with over 5,000 clients, Bill also embarked down another path by starting his own consulting business, MindWare Incorporated ( MindWare pulled together the specialties of career coaching, instructional design, and technical writing. IN this capacity, Bill has worked with many Fortune 500 companies as well as numerous smaller organizations of a for-profit and non-profit status.
Bill’s writing experience has been primarily in the area of technical and curriculum writing of a proprietary nature. He has written literally hundreds of technical documents and curriculum courseware. This stop, writing Your Road to Damascus, is his first venture into writing for public consumption.
Why was writing Your Road to Damascus so important to you?
Writing Your Road to Damascus was the result of many years of personal pain from suffering through numerous job losses with no understanding of how my faith impacted that experience. Coupled with that was the more recent realization that there were literally millions of others claiming a Christian affiliation with no guidance as to how their faith impacted this difficult experience as well. When I discovered that there were no resources on either Google or Amazon that spoke to the biblical, or Christian faith, perspective of this difficult experience I felt God was leading me to speak out. My years of coaching over 5,000 individuals engaged in making sense of a job loss and trying to identify effective techniques and strategies for conducting a job search validated this call to write.
What was the writing/creative process like?
The writing process was very fulfilling. From the research and discovery phase of what the Bible actually had to say about this job loss and job search experience, to the integration of my personal experience and practical techniques, it was both enlightening and inspiring. When I saw something from scripture I had never heard anyone else comment on, it was like discovering treasures long-hidden by ancient sages. Uncovering these was like digging in your backyard because you thought something was buried there, without really knowing what or if it would be of any value. But it was. I would wake up in the middle of the night with ideas. I would get ideas while driving, when shaving, at all times of the day and night. It was thrilling.
How did you come up with the title?
The title, Your Road to Damascus, seemed natural after studying the experience of Saul of Tarsus when he encountered the Lord on the road to Damascus, and began his own job transition. When it became clear that this was simply the beginning point of a much longer journey, it stuck. When I saw that Elijah also had to travel the same road to Damascus in his rejuvenation process after doing mental and spiritual battle with Queen Jezebel, that added to the validation.
The sub-title, 6 Biblical Secrets for an Effective Job Search, also evolved as the story board and truths came together from an in-depth examination of Saul’s and Joseph’s (of coat-of-man-colors fame) lives. I realized that no one had ever captured these truths quite the same way, applied them to a job search, and integrated them with our spiritual walk with God. I was off and running.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The question assumes the validity of the description of “a writer.” I’m not sure I do consider myself a writer. To me a write is someone able to make a living putting pen to paper, words on a screen. People like Chuck Swindoll, John Ortberg, John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson, Lee Child are writers. I’m still an aspiring writer.
What books do you believe influenced you in your life?
I love to read, and consume over 50 books a year. Trying to narrow all of those down to a few of the most influential is a challenge. However, a few do come to mind:
Dedication and Leadership, by Douglas Hyde
Teaching as a Subversive Activity, by Postman & Weingartner
The One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard
In Search of Excellence, by Tom Peters
When I read these, and even now as I think back on them, I feel the same sense of inspiration, challenge, encouragement, and motivation. All of that from simple words on a page. That’s what challenges me to hold them up as models of great non-fiction writing.
How much influence did you have in the cover of your book? Did you initially have a different idea of how it would look?
I had a great deal of influence. The words that would appear stayed the same. The picture was not what I had originally picked, but the cover designer had a much better idea of what I was trying to convey than I did and she recommended other pictures. She also recommended putting the sub-title in larger print than the title, because more people would identify with it than the title itself. And she is right. I am delighted with the cover. It captures both the drudgery of walking down a mud-caked road while also seeing the light just ahead. That’s what a job search is all about. On our own, we slog on down the road, but with God providing the inspiration we can see His light on the path.
What do your family and friends think of your writing?
They think the writing in the book is very encouraging and spiritually inspiring, as well as very practical. It links these two together in a very readable format. Some have indicated that they identify with the personal illustrations that were used and so were able to make it very personal.
What do you think is more important – a good plot, or good characters? Why did you choose the one you did?
Since my book is non-fiction, neither of these applies. However, for Christian non-fiction there must be both a strong theological underpinning as well as practical application of the truths being conveyed. This is what this book does so well. The reader will find readable examples from the lives of Joseph and Saul of how God worked in their job transition, as well as other principles and guidelines that furnish the foundation for the practical aspect to follow. The practical aspect builds on the foundation and indicates how to use the principle sin a daily job search by presenting techniques and strategies that the reader can readily apply to their own search. These are not theoretical points, but are borne out by my own experience assisting over 5,000 individual sin their own job search

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