The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘success’

My failures, our lessons

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I recently experienced a season of failure in business and so I have come to learn that failure is an ingredient of great success. My attitude towards this has helped me embrace it, learn from it and find ways to keep working on my ideas and dreams.

Today, I enjoyed an inspiring conversation with my house-help about the GES 2015. She told me that she’s been in business before and that she’s been saving up to rekindle her business back in the village so that her daughter can access secondary school education.

I promised to be on the lookout for opportunities that would benefit her and she encouraged me to keep working on my dreams and never give up.

So there we were, two 27-year-old Kenyan women from different backgrounds who’d failed in business yet still encouraging each other.

This brings to life Gena Showalte’s words, “Giving up is the only way to fail.”

#StayPositive 

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Bank on being you!

Bank on being you

Bank on being you

One of my mentors is an event planner who’s been in the event planning business for more than 20 years in Kenya. Let’s call her Alice*.

During a session one day, I asked her what an entrepreneur should protect at all times. I thought she was going to mention networks, investment, knowledge/wisdom, loyal staff members…etc.

Little did I expect to hear her say, “your creativity.”

Alice went further to explain that it is what has kept her in business for more than 20 years. Despite her being one of the pioneers in the wedding industry in Kenya, she has faced challenging times as people check-in to her organisation in the name of “learning” yet in reality some are often sent by competitors to copy her mode of running business. Boy am I learning it first-hand as others try to do the same with my new startup.

Over the years, Alice watched businesses come up and crash down as they tried to copy her approach. They got what they wanted so why didn’t the businesses thrive?

Well, her answer to this is that copying is attractive but in real sense more tiresome than coming up with your own ideas. When a business faces challenges, it is the leader’s creativity that often plays a part in salvaging the organisation.

In her events business, Alice was able to always come up with new products, services and approaches that the “copy cats” found hard to keep up with because they only depended upon her steps. Her creativity helped to fuel her vision which helped her branch out of Kenya and into other countries while some of the “copy cats” went out of business over the years.

Moral of the story: You are your best asset because you are the only one who understands your vision 100%. So protect your creativity as this is what every successful person holds as a secret weapon. Look at some of the most successful initiatives in the world then do a background check on the leaders who contributed to their success. You’ll realise that it’s their creativity that helped them spot opportunities in places, things and climates where others didn’t see possible for the success of their vision.

#StayMotivated

Ask questions a little more

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Children have got the unique ability to boldly ask questions before taking anything as truth.

So what happens to us as we grow older?
Do we lose the excitement and confidence that comes with asking, “Why?”

Studies have shown that the most revolutionary thinkers and successful people on earth had at a young age been exposed to environments they often wanted to be different – for the better. It should then not be a surprise as to why they ended up being successful. When their questions  where not answered, they took action, sought after the answers and they found them.

Having reflected upon this matter recently, I chose to challenge myself and dared to rekindle the passion I used to have as a child who asked questions a little more – to challenge my understanding of what has been defined as ‘truth’ or ‘limit’ to human understanding.

Don’t hold yourself back. I dare you to do the same and deliberately ask questions a little more. Challenge what seems rational with your imagination. Go the extra mile to understand something often affiliated with stereotype. And if your questions are not answered… go out there and find them!

The beauty of success is not found within confinement but in experiences that go beyond normality.

Going against the grain

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“I can’t remember the last party I attended as a young man…” This was an interesting confession during a chat last week with Bob Collymore who is Safaricom Limited’s CEO.

I had always thought that meeting someone as successful as Bob Collymore would leave me feeling so small yet hopeful that I could one day become just as great. This was not the case.

Instead, I was humbled, inspired and reassured that I have been on the right track towards my success. See, it was a Friday afternoon and instead of going home to get ready for a fun girls’ night out, I was at the Seed of Hope Centre where I volunteer as a mentor for young boys and girls.
I hadn’t noticed this until he said, “You could be anywhere else but you chose to be here…” He explained that it was a sacrifice not many young people would be willing to make.

What followed was a motivation to go against the grain and invest in people because that is what matters most in life.

At the end of the day, when we look back and what we see is anything but the betterment of people’s lives, we not only fail ourselves but humanity.

He told me this knowing that I am a young Kenyan who is currently unemployed but who has got a passion for mentoring young people. He saw gold where many saw a struggling person.

Now if this doesn’t show how a successful mind works, then I don’t know what does.

What is more important than the beginning and the achievement of success is the journey towards success. Embrace it!

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