Heaven always thows a big party whenever a human being on earth discovers their true purpose. A man can never be truly happy unless he starts playing the role for which he was born. When you are living your purpose, Mondays feel like holidays and holidays feel like a waste of time. When you are doing what you love you will be surprised how you will never have to work another day in your life. You will always sleep a happy and fulfilled person and wake up energised and ever curious to discover what treasures the day has in store for you.
When you live your purpose you become attractive to fellow human beings and also to all the good things that you desire. Misery loves company; isn’t it then logical that happiness should attract more happiness?
In your purpose you will discover that your life is free of clutter and distractions. By this I mean you will find it easier to say yes and no to the different things that come your way. You will make more room for the things that make you happy and find that you effortlessly repel the things that take happiness away from you. You will never have to make tough decisions just because you are not sure if the situation you have been presented with is something you want. It will be easier to attract great friends that add value to your life and drop friends that derive value.
Having a purpose is knowing who you are. This in turn gives you clarity on what you want for yourself. It gets much easier to turn down seemingly but not necessarily great opportunities. If you are living your purpose you can easily turn down a great job offering that offer a great salary simply because it’s just not aligned to who you are!
In the modern world we live in, most of us have gotten used to anxiety being part of our lifestyle. We are afraid of the future and terrified of the the unknown. We are terrified at the thought of losing our jobs and being diagnosed with a terminal illness. We are afraid of events that may never happen. This often happens a result of not being sure of who we are or even what our purpose is. Knowing what your purpose is gives you confidence and energy, after all you’re doing what you love! Simply put, discovering your purpose gives you the keys you need to live your best life!
Every human being is unique be it in thought, abilities, bone structure or eye colour. We are designed to be attracted to different things and the things that make us each of us happy are different. We are also made to be good in different things and that is why not everyone can excel in athletics. It is the reason why no one can be better than you at being you. We think differently and we experience the world in special ways and in the same breath, each one of us has a special path to follow to achieve their purpose in life. A fish is designed to live in water and would die if it were forced to live on land; when a person is not living their purpose, they will always experience discontent, anxiety,confusion and uncertainty. Purpose leads us to passion and passion to true happiness.
So how do we find our purpose? That is the million dollar question that has troubled mankind throughout our existence. Only a few people get to discover their true purpose in their lifetime. Finding our purpose is like finding our way to a great treasure through a complex maze. It is the reason why most of us are always trying something different always hoping that this time we will find something we can build our lives around. How do we eliminate these time wasters and focus on what we’re really meant to be doing? To find our purpose, we must be ready to lay our lives bare. Self actualisation is the first and most important step. It also happens to be the most painful part of discovering why we are who we are. Understanding, learning and accepting who you are now is a tough but liberating process. Deciding to change the negative aspects of who you are is a major step in beginning the hard work of uncovering the layers that have formed over time blinding you from your true self.
Many of us go into adulthood without ever discovering our true purpose in life. This is the thing that creates our biggest life challenges. We make wrong decisions when we are unclear about who we are, be it in relationships, money, friendships, careers or even when choosing a meal from a menu in a restaurant! The happiest and most successful people in the world all have one thing in common. They are sure of who they are and are clear on what they want in life. I believe that our first and most important task in life is to find out why we exist as this is the key to true happiness. Many of us are living miserable and boring lives where all the avenues to our happiness are determined by someone else but us. I believe when you find your purpose you will find your passion. When you find your passion it will complement your desires and you will be truly happy.
As part of my journey of self discovery I have been trialling a new way of helping people discover their true purpose through creative inquiry and the results have been exciting. This process doesn’t need a qualified life coach or a seasoned motivational speaker. It just needs you and the people closest to you such as friends and family to help you on your journey to personal discovery. It involves answering a series of simple questions together and recording trends and significant themes in a person’s life. It is simply a behavioural diagnostic tool that gives recommendations on the things you can do to discover your purpose. Just to give you an idea of how powerful this could be I would like to challenge you to ask five of your friends (separately) to tell you what they think you’re good at. You will be surprised by the trends in the answers you receive.
In the meantime, I hope I will arrive at a practical and inexpensive way of personal actualisation that can be applied by anyone anywhere in the world. I am grateful to the people that have volunteered in my purpose experiment that I have been running the past two years. I have learnt a lot about myself from these people and though we still have a long way to go, I believe we will find what we’re looking for and publish the process for everyone to use. I also believe that through this experiment I will also discover my purpose.
I believe discovering our purpose is the biggest question in the the universe. When you discover your purpose, you start living your best life. I believe that out there there’s a tool (or a way of thinking) that we can use for ourselves and also for our children to start living our best lives and if we look carefully we can find it.
This post is dedicated to one of my friends (from my experiment) who recently discovered her purpose and is just beginning to live her best life.
“The stench of rotting flesh filled my car as we rolled down Waiyaki way looking for a spot we could dump the black garbage bags. Every time we thought we had found a spot, headlights would appear from nowhere and we would abandon our plan. We had been driving for 3 hours now and we feared we would be stopped by cops at any time…”
A few months earlier we were sitting in a restaurant planning on what we thought was the best money making plan ever. It would be short term and best of all, the proceeds would be tax free. We held our meeting in hushed voices and wrote out a sketchy plan on some white serviettes.
The project was going to take 4 months after which we would cash in and move on to other bigger things. The partnership was made up of myself and my long time friends Jimmy and Muba. We felt invincible and we were confident that we had explored all possible scenarios of the plan. Little did we know our venture would end up with lives lost. It would also turn out to be one of our most memorable business lessons ever.
We set into action by ensuring our finances were okay. We asked around and carried out due diligence by gathering successful case studies. To cap it all, we already had a willing buyer who I had gotten connected to by a credible source. The buyer was specific; every ‘package’ had to conform to a weight of 1.5 kilos, no more. Otherwise it would raise a red flag with his boss and the whole deal would be considered suspicious and eventually cancelled.
We wrote out a plan and swung into action with the vision of a handsome profit burning brightly in our minds.
We bought 600 birds with 100 of them as insurance against the unpredictable. In poultry farming you have to account for losses, some stemming from negligence by the handlers and others just from random acts of God. We carefully followed our plan and not before long we started to see our project grow into the most promising venture. The birds grew big so fast that they crossed the 1.5 kilo mark on the third month, even our farm neighbours could not hide their envy. We had opted to feed the birds with the highest quality of chicken feeds available and the good thing was, all this was still within budget. We had estimated that we would break even with the first batch of chicken and start making profit on the second batch.So I called up my guy the buyer and explained to him our weight problem. He brushed it off saying we needed not worry as he’d ‘sort’ it with his boss. The only condition he gave was that he wanted a cut from our sales. We gladly agreed.
So finally the day came for the slaughter and our my guy gave us the green light to deliver the chicken at his boss’ hotel by 8PM that evening. So we enlisted the services of this giant of a man who had a reputation of being the most efficient chicken executioner in Nairobi. He was this 6 foot hulk with the most scarred face and the coldest eyes we had seen. He always walked around with his tools of trade; a set of knives, string, a sheet of polythene (which he wore to to prevent blood spatter) and a pack of cheap cigarettes. He looked like a morbid serial killer. Anyway he looked like the perfect person for the job because it takes a lot of cold heart to slaughter 500 chicken.
He filled a drum with water and started a fire under it. Soon he was snatching birds from the chicken barn, snapping their heads off their bodies like dry spaghetti and throwing them into the boiling water. He made short of the work and in two hours the chicken were hanging upside down dripping a mixture of water and blood; all ready to be delivered to the customer in the next two hours. Now it was time for the delivery.
The load was almost a ton and I could feel Iris my old station wagon groaning under the heavy weight as we flew down Kangundo road in the open savannah towards the city lights. We dropped ‘the executioner’ along the way after paying him [much to everyone’s relief]. It had been very uncomfortable riding with him at the back of the car just staring into a crazy trance. All the time, he never said a word despite our repeated attempts at having a conversation. We couldn’t stop fearing he would go crazy and snap our necks from behind, then bury us in shallow graves on a lonely stretch by the road.
As we edged closer to the city, I called my guy to tell him we were almost there. That’s when everything went south. He pretended not to remember that we had spoken about the birds being overweight. He also indifferently asked whether we had a signed order from the hotel which obviously we didn’t. He then delivered the final blow saying that they had already gotten a delivery by their usual supplier and therefore they wouldn’t take our stock. It took me a while to process the whole conversation and at some point I thought I was having a heart attack. As I broke the news to my partners, I could see Jimmy almost tearing up the steering wheel in frustration and I could hear Muba laughing in the distance as he usually does when he can’t comprehend what just happened. We pulled over to the side of the road and took a moment to feel sorry for ourselves. This was turning out to be a really bad day.
After brainstorming, we came up with our first idea for mitigation. We would ride into town and sell the chickens on the busiest highway in the city. So we drove to Uhuru highway and parked on the side of the Nyayo stadium round about and went over our preposition for the millionth time; a chicken worth 700 shillings at a price of 250 shillings. We were sure it was an offer customers wouldn’t refuse. We targeted to sell at least 50 birds each between Jimmy, Muba and myself. The plan was to offload as much as possible and sell the rest to a restaurant owned by a sister to Victor one of the friends in our circle. Little did we know this would turn out to be the hardest sell ever. Motorists would roll up their windows whenever we tried selling them of the chicken. It never occurred to us that selling chicken stupidly cheap (and on the highway) was suspicious! Someone in a matatu even told the rest of the passengers that we had slaughtered the marabou storks that are usually perched on the trees along Nyayo stadium, and that’s why our chicken were too big! We got so desperate we even offered them to motorists for free. In the end we had disposed only 10 fat chickens with 490 to go!
We packed up and headed to Victor’s sister and sadly, she would only take 5. By this time, we had even bought ice blocks because the executioner had warned us that after 24 hours the chicken would start going bad. It was almost midnight when we got the idea of asking our friends and families to assist with storing some of the birds in their refrigerators but they could only take so much. We still had 400 to go. At 2AM we gave up and decided to leave the remaining chickens in the car hoping the ice would keep them fresh until morning.
The next day was a work day and as we left the house we couldn’t help but catch a faint familiar smell as we walked towards the car. This is when our real ordeal started.
The Thika superhighway hadn’t been built yet and so the traffic usually started on our doorstep. We had opened all the windows and we could see everyone on the road sniffing and trying to investigate where the foul smell was coming from. I had never felt so defeated in my life. As usual, Muba wouldn’t stop laughing and Jimmy eventually joined the laughing band. I personally was just in a daze. Clearly we were having one of the worst days of our lives. As Jimmy dropped us to our workplaces, each person went into their office carrying two chickens for ‘advertising’. To date we all agree that Muba had the most hilarious experience of all that day as he was suspected of murdering his boss but I’ll tell you about later.
Jimmy went ahead and parked the car under a tree at his workplace hoping the shade would slow down the decomposition of the chicken. By midday he had called us saying his workmates were reporting an overpowering smell of death.
That’s when we all spoke on phone and agreed that our business had gone bust and it was time to pull off the final act. Disposal. We decided we would buy garbage bags and wait for midnight to find a discreet dumping ground. We also enlisted one more accomplice in our circle Naito who would help us with pulling it off.
At midnight we headed out into the dark. At first we tried finding dumpsites along Thika road where we used to live but the mayor had done his work well that year. We couldn’t find any. So Jimmy suggested Waiyaki Way as the perfect place since he had grown up there and knew the dumping sites like the back of his hand.
The stench of rotting flesh filled my car as we rolled down Waiyaki way looking for a spot we could dump the blag garbage bags. Every time we thought we had found a spot, headlights would appear from nowhere and we would abandon our plan. By now we had been driving for 3 hours now, and we feared we would be stopped at any time by the police. That’s when it hit me that we had committed mass murder because thanks to us, more than 400 chicken had lost their lives for nothing. As morning drew closer we decided to go back home because the situation was getting risky and out of control. We were tired and sleepy and as we turned into the last street home, Naito made a comment about dumping the whole thing on the roadside just before our gate. Little did she know what she had just said was the best idea we’d heard all week.
The next morning we woke up to chaos in the neighbourhood. Somehow stray dogs had managed to rip the bags open and strewn the carcasses all over. The stench was overwhelming. Good thing no one knew who was responsible. We quietly slipped into our car which was still reeking and drove out to work. We had gotten away with murder. But we wouldn’t eat chicken for the rest of the year let alone look at it rotating on the grill behind the Kenchic joint window.
The whole event taught us some hard and important lessons. Firstly every business idea needs a proof of market before one invests their hard earned money. Secondly always have a backup plan to your backup plan because anything can go wrong. Lastly, always be cautious when someone offers to hook you up with a contact while saying “I have a guy”.
I’m fat. That’s a fact. I don’t want you to ever call me a ‘big guy’, ‘mzito’ or ‘big mike’ again because I know that’s what we call fat guys so they can feel better about themselves. I feel heavy that’s for sure, but I don’t hate my body or appearance. Why should I? I am too awesome for that. I’m able to do everything my peers can do except pushups; which is understandable because my belly just won’t leave the ground no matter how high I push myself. The last time I managed to do five I almost drained my intestines in my living room. My arms wouldn’t stop shaking for two days and I almost visited a neurologist. I decided to leave that part of self determination to YouTube athletes. However I can run further many fit people but then I also understand it’s about fuel capacity and efficiency.
I have to admit that lean guys get more perks in life compared to fat guys. Lean guys can walk up to any store and walk out with nice clothes or even an extra large pizza. For a fat guy it’s different. You have ‘your guy’ when it comes to clothes. And even with this [your] guy, you have to keep your fingers crossed because clothing manufacturers make really bad clothes for fat guys. The evidence is everywhere from polka dot shirts with spots which look like little mini-me’s arranged in a neat motif, to jeans with a low belt-line meant to show my crack every time I stand up. I believe there’s a worldwide conspiracy to force us into losing weight. We must be using a lot of resources and just maybe, we might be the original cause of global warming.
The airlines are doing it too. Fellow passengers cringe when you’re pace up and down the airplane isle looking for your seat number. And for a moment in the plane it feels like lean people have been forced into playing a game of Russian Roulette; fat guy being the bullet. Which unlucky passenger will have their side squashed by fat guy’s upper butt? Who will be the miserable passenger who will have to endure an eight hour flight next to a sweaty fat dude who’s evidently eyeing their food and asking for whisky refills throughout the flight?
In defence of fat guys, I wish to state that the mind has a way of making you appear smaller in the mirror. Every time I’m topless mirror I can swear there’s a six pack peering through my one pack. Ok, you need to get your dirty mind of the hairy man boobs if you really want to get my six pack story. Fat guys are often called good huggers because they actually look and feel like oversized dolls or as you would call them Teddy Bears. They hate it and love it in equal measure. Being a fat dude makes you appear somewhat friendly and dumb at the same time especially when you’re in oversized clothes. Fact. A fat guy should never go a day without a shower. Too bad they have to use more soap than the rest of the population. We should seriously consider signing up for a daily scrub at the local carwash.
So what to do? For most fat guys, the whole fat experience involves learning how to deal with yourself daily. It also involves pondering over some strange challenges in our lives. For instance, most fat guys miss at least one meal a day which translates to something like “My car can go on an empty tank every now and then”. Genetics? Gastric abnormalities perhaps? Are we even trying to lose weight in the first place?
So this is where I speak for myself. This year, I plan to quit being a fat guy. Not because I hate how I look; please don’t get it twisted. I can still get laid more times than you skinny guys can count. I’m just tired of panting every-time I have to tie my shoe laces. Hint: That’s why fat guys totally dig slip-on shoes. A big stomach can make the world literally disappear under your nose. Honestly I just wish I that one day I will see my toes again.
Though very difficult, I want to eat right, train right and have healthy hours of sleep. I want to dance all night in the club without having the waitresses follow me mop-in-hand. I want to show off in bed and not end up waterboarding my lay. I want be able to pick an meal from the menu without feeling like it’s the night before my final exams. Did you know that it’s very hard for a fat guy to get a job waiting tables in a restaurant? Not because we’re slow but apparently the customers always suspect the fat waiter of foul play whenever the portions come small. Moving on…
Now I know almost every lean person is always looking to give a fat guy their secret of staying lean. But this is the world cup baby. It’s much harder than it looks. For one, fat guys naturally try to lose weight privately which will often fail. Why? Because the world doesn’t adjust for you. The food will be always be floating in the air and the beer will always be the right temperature after every long day. I like how Kiyosaki views obesity as a condition caused by emotional and psychological factors but not food. I think he’s right. We ate candy and greasy chips every breathing moment when we were kids and we never grew fat. But somewhere along the way life got real and suddenly the body went into self preservation mode.
I can write different fat article everyday for the rest of my life because I have tasted life (sic) as a lean guy and eaten it with a big spoon (sic again) as a fat guy. Both have advantages but one has more disadvantages than the other. Trust me, you don’t want to be that guy that suffers those terrible night sweats and snores like Godzilla even when you involuntarily nap during working hours. So if you’re lean, just stay that way and I mean stay that way! If you’re fat and you hate yourself I have no advise for you. You can choose to sulk and look fat and miserable and be sure the CIA won’t save you. But if you’re fat and you love yourself and you feel like it’s time to get your breath back then make friends with like minded people. The road from fat to fit is lonely and hard; it only makes sense to walk with someone. Regardless, let’s raise our (water) glasses to always keep trying to get fit.
So the time has come to let go of someone that I’ve held dear to my heart for too long. Her name is Iris. I first saw her 10 years ago one day on my way to work and instantly I knew we were meant to be. I decided I would do everything just to make her mine. She was a bit too old for me but I didn’t care. At least she was mature and had a cool head. A month later I was the happiest man as Iris and I drove into the sunset to start our lives together.
We travelled all over the country to new places meeting new faces and making friends long the way. On the road she was the envy of many girls. They couldn’t understand how a girl her age would would still look so beautiful. She was always calm even when the going was tough. She hardly complained or broke down like all the younger girls did. The sound of her heartbeat has never changed; deep and strong like a raging storm. She was always ready to go regardless of time of day or where the journey led us. She’s taken us on the most memorable road trips of our lives. She has also accompanied us on some of the saddest times. She was always up to the task. She still is.
My friends love her. To us she represents all the good times we’ve had. She has always had room for everyone and everyone has had room for her in their pictures. My family doesn’t remember who I was before Iris and my nieces will kill me if they knew what I’m a bout to do.
You see though she can’t speak, Iris talks to me. Lately she’s been telling me that I need to move on to a new adventure. Every time I look outside the window I can see her looking back at me from the driveway. She also wants a new adventure. Don’t get me wrong, we are not fighting. We just understand each other. She just wants me to see what else is out there. “Go see the world, I’ll be fine” she says. She’s a classic girl. I know that feeling so as painful as it is, I will let her go.
It’s been a great 10 years and a lot has happened. It’s not easy to break off with a car that you have come to understand so well.
Therefore I am inviting offers for my 23 year old Mitsubishi Libero Wagon named ‘Iris’. She features one of the best engines Mitsubishi ever produced; a 1.8 litre 4G93 engine and full time 4 wheel drive system. The suspension consists of 2 weeks old monroe shocks running under a regularly serviced engine. It is advisable to buy Iris as a collector’s item and complete her restoration which is at 75%.
I’ve had Iris for 10 years. It’sad to let her go but it’s time for a new adventure. And yes, this post is just about a car.
To get my second gig, I had to convince a shopkeeper called Mwangi in our sleepy town centre that I was the best sign writer he would ever come across. The year was 1999 and I was 16. I told him that his kiosk didn’t have a name and that he was losing potential customers as a result.
To come up with a name for his kiosk I charged him 100 shillings ($1). To write the name of the shop I explained that I would charge him 10 shillings ($0.1) for every letter. Soon after I tabled my offer, I realised that my final pay depended directly on the number of letters I painted on his fascia board.To maximise my revenue I suggested that we name the shop Mwangi Shop & General Supplies Store Kamulu. That would give me a total of 470 shillings ($4.7) on completion of the job.
Mwangi agreed and I set off to work preparing the board and sketching out the text in pencil. But something inside me felt guilty about the the offer I had just made. I knew I was giving Mwangi a raw deal. I knew it would work better for him if we’d just named his kiosk ‘Mwangi’s Shop’ as this was easier to remember and as a result good for his business.
I had to make a decision. Should I do the job and walk away with my self serving pay or give Mwangi a good branding for his business by creating a memorable brand? I always walked past Mwangi’s shop everyday and so if I didn’t give him a working solution I would have to face my mistake everyday. Everyone would know that it was I who wrote that long sign that was hard to remember. And at that moment I realised that the money wasn’t as important as the outcome. I knew that if the board worked for Mwangi, I would get referral business from that one job and I would be proud to be known as the sign-writer who made his business flourish by giving it a memorable name. On the downside, this meant that I would now make only 200 shillings ($2) from the entire job; half of what I hoped for. Despite this, I chose my customer’s interests first.
The decision to choose integrity over my personal interests proved to be the best business decision ever. Mwangi’s shop became a known brand in the town centre. It even became a referral name for a bus stop which was very useful for a place so far out of the city. I got to write signs for several more shops in the area at a price of 30 shillings per letter and 200 shillings for images. I was 16 and just halfway through high school so this money was more than enough for me.
I learned what became my best lesson in design. That if you put your personal needs before the needs of your client, you will only profit once, no more. But if you put your clients’ needs first you will never run out of opportunities.
Secondly, learned that it’s hard to convince people to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself first.
Thirdly I realised that I had to re-think how I billed my clients for creative work otherwise one day I’d be forced to sell my kidneys to make ends meet.
Once long ago there stood a giant tree where there now sits the great stump. The tree was magnificent and could be seen from far and wide. It’s branches were strong and it’s roots ran deep through the earth down to the rock beneath. Towering over the whole forest, this was certainly the tallest tree in the land. So big was the tree that it cast a very dark shade underneath it and not other tree would grown under or near it for many miles.
This tree was home to many birds who were ruled by an old, evil, giant eagle. Every bird feared the eagle because of his sharp beak and powerful claws. So terrifying was the eagle that it was said he had eaten his own family. He also had a reputation of killing any bird that defied his orders. The tree was his kingdom and the old eagle guarded it and it’s inhabitants fiercely.
To keep the birds submissive, he would eat their eggs and their young to his fill whenever he pleased. The birds were unhappy but there was nothing they could do.
Since the tree was the only home the birds knew, none of them had an idea what lay beyond the thick mist. The birds lived a miserable life and wished that one day the old eagle would die. Eagles live longer than most birds, so sadly the inhabitants of the tree knew the evil eagle would outlive them all.
One day, the birds saw many humans on the forest floor milling around their tree. They were making great noises and moving about in a disturbing manner. One of them stood in front of the tree and was shouting to the rest of the humans. Afterwards they moved on and it was peaceful once more.
Two young weaverbirds [a male called Loki and a female called lulu] that had been observing the humans became very curious as to where these strange creatures had come from. Since no bird had ventured outside the tree except the eagle, the two weaverbirds were filled with an urge to find out. They became very restless and as they discussed the strange creatures they had seen, they wondered what else lay yonder. They hatched a plan to fly in the direction the humans had gone. They agreed to turn back if they felt they had gone too far and could get lost. So there and then they made a deal that they would start their flight at first light the next morning.
Anxious and excited, the two weaverbirds could not sleep that night and at daybreak, they started their journey. Following the path they had seen the humans take, they flew into the dense mist until they could not see the great tree behind them. They flew on despite their fear of getting lost. They had never flown this far from the tree and were terrified; but something about this trip made them feel free and excited. After a long flapping their tiny wings,they got tired and were scared that they had gotten lost.
Lulu started crying “Loki I’m scared! I’m afraid we are lost and we may never be able to get back home!”.
Though scared, Loki gathered his courage and tweeted encouragement to Lulu,
“Push on, we’re almost there”.
And suddenly without warning,the mist opened up and they came to the most beautiful sight they had ever seen since they were hatched. A breathtaking forest with the most colorful trees they had ever seen. There were sweet looking fruits and insects on every tree. This was nothing like what they had anticipated. They flew into the trees and danced around the branches pecking on the sweet fruits and tasty insects. This was heaven! They wished they had made this discovery much earlier.
Without wasting time, they ate to their fill and set off for home to tell the others what they had found. At first, no one would believe their fantastic sounding tale but eventually some birds did and went and came back to tell the others.
In the end all the birds moved from the evil eagle’s tree leaving him weak starving and starving since there were no more eggs and nestlings to eat. The birds had also discovered that the eagle could not fly as he was too old and his feathers had fallen off.
As the old eagle perched on his [now quiet and lonely] tree staring into the horizon, he felt sorry for himself. He had no friends and now it dawned on him how miserable he was. He thought the tree was his greatest possession but without the birds it was just a cold and empty place.
A few days later the humans came back and cut down the tree. Initially they had decided not to cut the tree because they felt sorry for the birds but now there were not birds living in it. The old eagle was killed as the great tree came crashing down on the forest floor. As for Loki, Lulu and the rest of the birds; they went on to thrive and live happily ever after. The forest had everything they needed and they also knew that they could always fly into the unknown if they ever got unhappy again.
You will never discover new forests until you gather the courage to lose sight of your great tree.
Dedicated to you, the person stuck in a place or situation that you can’t seem to get the courage to get out of.
There’s always that one friend who inspires you just by how they live their life. From them you get wisdom, perspective, focus, inspiration and of course entertainment. Such people exist to remind you that every thing happening in your life could be an opportunity or a challenge depending on how you look at it. They are normal people just like you and I but [they] live an extraordinary life, because they choose to make extra ordinary decisions.
They are characterized by their constant effort to play outside their comfort zone, and their ever present cheerful attitude regardless of the obstacles they face. They are a different breed because their life is based on ambitions that are simple, selfless and unique. These people keep at it making small progressive steps which often turn into big gains because of their consistency. To the normal person, they tend to come off as lucky and undeserving but in reality their lives are littered with more failures than success. The only difference is that they keep their dreams alive through constant effort.
I find the majority of these people to be very good natured and somewhat charismatic. They speak more of optimism than pessimism; they see the good in things that to a normal person, would seem of little value. They make a conscious effort to see life through a positive eye. This makes them very loyal and annoyingly honest friends; but then again, isn’t it what we all so desperately need?
These people work hard and the world pays them for it by giving them wealth, satisfaction and happiness. They are forever consumed by their dreams and it is no wonder they always seem to be doing the same thing year in year out!
Looking at my friend this year I have learnt one big lesson;the world will always step aside for you as long as your ambition is honest and selfless. We are human and so we are bound to make bad decisions every now and then but we will always succeed if our aim is positive and true.
For a while now, I’ve been fascinated by Einstein’s theory of relativity where in my understanding, it is very difficult for an object to move faster than light. But WHAT IF we could move faster than light? The theory states that the universe would adjust by expanding at the same rate so it would still be impossible to achieve the fit.
In the same breath I believe that a person whose ambition is true and selfless has a solid positive future, and as long as they consciously keep trying to do the right thing they will arrive at their destiny. They will make mistakes numerous times (because we are human) but the universe will always adjust to accommodate these failures because there are laws that dictate destiny.
Such people do not come into our lives by mistake. As humans we are created to always strive to be better, and one of the ways this is meant to happen is through inspiration. Inspiration triggers action and ensures that the human race is better equipped to survive as a species. We respond better to inspiration from live examples (especially people we know) than from books and movies. This is why we all need that one friend who stirs up our creativity and gives us the reason to believe in our dreams.
It is also the same reason why we need to be that ONE friend that inspires others by striving to be better everyday.
Maybe my friend doesn’t know it but I intend to keep them around for a long time.
Do you have that ONE friend?
Hi my name is Michael and I am creative director at a leading marketing firm.
It’s 6am and I am watching the sunrise at the waterfront on the beach with my laptop wide open and a blank page staring back at me. I feel inspired but not sure what to write about. I am on a fact finding mission to understand two different consumer groups on behalf of the organization I work with. With the information I collect, we will be able to generate insights that we we use to develop creative strategies for our clients. This is what sets us apart as one of Africa’s fastest growing below the line agencies. Personally I can’t help feeling lucky and undeserving because deep down I know that anyone can do the job that I am about to do.
Some people are born artistic; that I totally agree. But the notion that some people are born creative is the thing that I will never concur with. I believe that everyone has the ability to be creative and I also believe that regardless of what profession or walks of life we come from, we all need creativity because it’s what sets us apart in everything that we do.
Growing up, I loved drawing and painting and one of my greatest influences of my life was my mother. You see, when I first showed her something I had drawn, she immediately told be it was the best drawing she’d seen in her life. That made me very happy and I can only remember that from then on drawing became my oxygen. I’d draw everyday and everywhere just so I could make people happy. Looking back, I think the first drawing I showed my mom was the most horrible sketch ever. She just happened to know the secret of inspiring talent. She knew that her response should ignite a spark that in turn would open up a world of possibilities for me. And that is exactly what happened.
As I grew up I realized that the world was flooded with artists and good ones at that. In my three decades, I have seen amazing talent often unsung and appreciated. You will always find them in art centers and street corners, broke, spiritual, conscious and unmotivated. In the art circles we are always joking that an artist only becomes rich and famous when they die. Ironically this is true most of the time. As painful as it sounds, the world really doesn’t need art if it [art] doesn’t address any challenge. So art without purpose just breeds artists. Art with purpose gives rise to creatives and problem solvers.
When I was 18, I decided I would be a graphic designer. Upon trying it out I realized that it was harder than I had earlier imagined. The responses to my work were more brutal and hardly encouraging. This is because design is all about addressing challenges. I discovered that being good in art wouldn’t just cut it if no one saw it’s usefulness. The world wanted something that addressed ITS challenges. I was used to making art straight out of my heart and this was new ground; I had to create art that needed to address the needs of others. To save my budding career now under threat, I decided I would try to understand what it is that successful designers did different.
I discovered that successful designers had one thing in common. They were always seeking to understand the dynamics. I realized that all along I had been seeking to understand myself and that is why I produced work that only made me happy and thus ended up seeking only positive encouragement from others. This was my eureka moment that changed everything.
Nowadays I get offended when someone calls me an artist because I don’t make art, I solve problems. I am a creative.
To harness creativity, I learnt that I needed to absorb knowledge from the environment. Yes, it was as basic as reading the paper everyday or asking everyone the most awkward questions; always seeking to understand who everyone else was and what they needed. I noticed the change immediately as I started realizing how the world is overwhelmingly filled with opportunity.
I’d passed by the shoe shiner’s everyday just so he could tell me what was going on in the city. The newspaper vendor always knew the politics of the day and what was going to happen tomorrow. I discovered our teal lady at the office always had an opinion on the challenges women were going through and all this information just opened up my eyes to a world I had been blind to since birth. I began to understand why companies and brands were going down while others succeeded within the same environment. It became my purpose to always seek information. It changed my paradigm and made my work better and as a designer. I had started making real impact.
I realized that as a creative designer, my work determined the bottomline for the organization I worked with and also the value of the brands I worked on. As a result I firmly believe that in creativity, knowledge is power. The key to creativity is understanding the dynamics of the situation in question in great detail and using this information to produce fresh, exciting and impactful solutions. This realization has been my lifestyle since then.
I believe that regardless of what your profession is, creativity can give you positive results and lasting impact. Whether you are a brand manager, accountant, actuarial scientist, doctor, janitor you name it. The principles of creativity work in the same way. Everyone has the ability to be creative. First get to understand the dynamics well, then ask yourself how you can do it bigger, better, different and with a more lasting impact. Creativity expands the playing ground and increases opportunity. With creativity you have competitive advantage and an improved bottom line. To be effective, creativity needs to be part of our daily life. Creativity is not rocket science but rather a power that is within reach to all of us. Creativity makes what we do enjoyable because it fuels passion.
So everything you have put down on your to do list today is essentially an opportunity to tap into your creative potential. That my friends is creativity lesson 101.
Next time I will write about how we can inspire creativity in organizations for better performance.
While I was going about my business sniffing here and there, marking a bush or two with my pee, I kept wondering if there was a new way to hide my hard earned bones other than the traditional dig-a-hole-and-bury method. Where could I put my bones and watch them grow so I didn’t have to keep scavenging like the stray dog that I am? How could I become the most successful and happiest dog in the neighborhood just like Bosco the smooth furred happy-but-scary bulldog down the street? What did he do to become that confident and powerful? He sure is very ugly but why is his bowl always full? Why is his pack that big?
I decided to face my fears and confront the happiest and most confident dogs [that I admired] in the neighborhood and ask them what their secret was. I was surprised how warmly these happy dogs received me. You see as a dog you get used to being constantly chased off marked territories with your tail right between your legs so you can understand this was new to me. Anyway I asked them how they did it and they gave me five investment options to making my pile of bones grow and most of all being a happy dog.
Invest in yourself, the Bulldog said
Investing in yourself should be your biggest priority. How good are you at fetching? Can you sniff better than the next dog?Are your teeth constantly clean? What do you know about catching a rabbit mid air? Do you practice? As a dog you are constantly in a state of growth. The only difference between you and the next dog is your rate of growth. If you don’t grow you become irrelevant over time. Growth starts from knowledge; how to run without tiring, how to know what to chase and what not to waste your energy on among the things you should master. Knowledge becomes power because it changes the way you act and react. When you put an effort into gaining more knowledge you have understood the first rule of investing in yourself.
Investing in yourself should be your biggest priority. You wish you had a few less pounds so you could run faster? Or you with you had more muscle so you could be the better dog in the fight? Invest in keeping in shape by knowing how your body works and embarking on a training program that will suit you. Keep your fur clean so you can be confident. Keep your teeth clean and sharp and avoid eating leftovers. In our world dogs are attracted to unique dogs who posses unusual capability. What is the one unique thing that you posses that a pack will identify you with? Is it how you sniff? Is it how you hunt? What are you good at? Surely you don’t want to be the poor lonely pup that no one remembers for anything! Invest in your uniqueness and the world will reward you for it.
Invest in Family the, Pug said
I know a dog who knows a beagle who dedicated his life to fetching and collecting bones and in the process became very successful… and lonely. During his quest for tasty bones he paid little attention to his bitch and puppies because he convinced himself that he was doing everything so they could enjoy a never ending supply of food in the future. Now his puppies are all grown up and are always turning down his generous gestures because they feel like they are being bribed. His bitch left him and married an average retriever whose big heart compensates for his often empty bowl and they are quite happy. Our rich beagle is forever lonely and what’s more sad is that all the friends he has right now are there because of his pile of bones. It’s good to work hard, but it is also good to share your time with family.
Invest For Yourself, the Rottweiler said
After trying my paws at the numerous hunting ideas I got through friends and family, I have come to the conclusion that I will always sleep hungry when I follow another dog’s hunting idea. My point is, if the prey is not in your kill zone you can always let it go and hunt it another day. All in all knowing that a good hunt is hard to come by, it is very important to keep something for yourself because the future is never a kind friend especially if you didn’t hide your kill well. As with all forms of bone hiding, there are rules and the biggest one is don’t hide all your bones in one hole. To hunt you need energy and this can only come from the bones you saved from the last hunt so you can eat and share but always keep some for yourself.
Invest in Faith, the Poodle said
Yes I was surprised to hear this from a pampered dog that I have never seen hunting. But her point of view raised a very important point. You need to believe that the hunt will be successful. The success of the hunt must first happen between your flappy ears before it can be real. There are certain events in your life; good and bad that serve as evidence of a power that is always watching over us. Be thankful in advance and acknowledge the greatness of this power. Take time to feed your spiritual self by meditating on a successful hunt. By doing so you can strengthen your faith and live the quality of life you want. Faith is the beacon that always keeps us in the right direction regardless of the situations we face in our lives.
Invest in the Pack, the Terrier said
Along the way you will find canines of strategic importance. One of the dogs I interviewed was a terrier named Swish. He told me the main reason for his success was his pack. He likes making new friends and he has realized that every time he’s on an hunt he’ll always find dogs willing to help him track down and catch new rabbits. Why? Because he realizes every dog is unique. Some are fast, some are brave and others like him are smart. He genuinely cares for his friends. He will always visit a member of his pack and offer him a bone for no reason. He will call out his pack for a run in the fields just so they could feel the wind on their flapping tongues together as one. You see, being in the pack is not just about hunting, it’s also about family and support. Just because of investing in his friends, Swish’s pack is the biggest and most successful of all. They eat well and their furs are forever shiny.
The young man looked at his watch. It was only 2 pm and yet Monday seemed to have lasted an eternity. He looked through the huge glass windows down thirty floors onto the streets below. What he saw just made him more sick. There they were, people just like him. Shuffling back and forth like ants trying to get to their appointments and miserable jobs. He knew exactly how it felt, after all there was no difference between him and the people down below. Everyone was going about their business just because they had to; not because they loved what they did.
He had come out top of his class and that’s how he got this job. The pay was good and he always looked sharp in his neatly tailored suits. His family was proud and his friends were ever envious. It always seemed to swing girls his way whenever he mentioned what he did for a living. He was in a comfort zone. But even with all this flare the young man was not happy. He was good at numbers and after a couple of promotions in the company, he knew his life was set and he would never end up like his father. All the same, this definitely didn’t feel like what he was meant to do in life. However there was one thing that always held him back whenever he started down this road, fear.
You see over the years he had observed his father fall from grace and spiral into a abyss of drunkenness and hopeless fear and pessimism. He always seem to have a volume of reasons why this or that idea wouldn’t work. He was a proud man and therefore would not stoop low to venture out and find work; not after he had been an employer in his previous life. So he spent his days reminiscing about days gone by when he was ‘the man’ whom everyone wanted to be associated with. To the young man, his father’s attitude disgusted him but he knew all too well that people always have a high likelihood of inheriting the failures of their parents. He wanted something different for himself.
So the young man embarked on a quest to find out what his purpose was.
He first asked his mother what she thought he was good at and her answer made him sad. You see mothers always know when a man is toying around with the idea of making a drastic move and so naturally, she assured him that he was already doing what he was good at. The young man regretted asking his mother for such advise as he knew she was naturally protective of him and wouldn’t want him to make a mistake. She also was afraid that he would end up like his father who years before had made a gamble and lost everything he had. After that, she was always cautioning all her children against taking risks.
The young man then asked his girlfriend, “What if I quit my job to follow my passion?”
She was dumfounded and couldn’t believe his foolishness. She was proud that her boyfriend had a god job, flashy car and had everything looking up for him. She always made sure she told her friends how important and successful her boyfriend was in the company. Now here he was harboring the foolish thought of quitting a well paying job to to pursue a utopian ambition! She made sure that he understood that if he made such an unwise decision, their life together would be over. After all, who would want to be known as the girlfriend to the guy who dropped a great opportunity to follow a stupid passion?
The young man thought about asking his friends what his purpose was but he knew their answer. Over the years, he had lost the friends that he had before the job, and now his only friends were people who never knew the slightest detail about his private life. They were superficial and always in competition as to who had the best car and who was dating the hottest girl. Deep down he had sadly accepted that if he lost his job, he would lose his friends too.
So on a fine day after coming from having coffee with a client he stopped to buy a newspaper a few blocks from his office. The vendor was an old man probably in his late seventies who was clad in a dirty heavy coat even though it was sunny. As the young man paid for the paper he noticed the old man squinting at him through his thick pair of glasses.
“I know that look”, said the old man. “I had it through out my youth”.
The young man was baffled. “Pardon me?” he asked politely thinking that the old man was probably talking about his suit. But the old man went on as if he hadn’t heard the young man.
“I knew that I was meant for something bigger in life and yet I ignored the feeling all my life. I was afraid of letting go of what I had, to chase an urge that I couldn’t understand. I was afraid of losing and suffering the consequences of my choice. I was always afraid.
I kept giving myself more time to ‘be sure’ and asked advise from everyone I knew only to be discouraged. In the end I decided to stick to what I had because I thought it’s what I deserved. That was the biggest mistake I ever made. I became miserable and never once did I enjoy my job or anything else in my life. Can you imagine living like that for sixty years knowing you were meant to do something else?
So here I am, selling you a newspaper. I always wanted to travel the world and see new places, but now I can only read about them. I ended up doing this because when I was young I always dreamed of being a writer for this newspaper but I kept procrastinating to send a sample of my writing to the editor. I was afraid it would not be good enough so I never sent it. Now I can only admire the young writers who conquered their fears and are now living their dream. In the end my fear to lose my comfort is the curse I will have to die with.” And suddenly without warning he said “Read page three! I hear they are about to raise the parking fees within the business district starting tomorrow.” And with that, he went on selling his newspapers.
As the young man got into the elevator, he opened the newspaper and flipped to page three hoping the old man wanted him to find a clue. There was no story about parking fees but a basic full page advertisement by some furniture shop announcing a discount sale. The young man smiled and took a deep breath. He finally understood that finding his purpose was a journey he was going to take on his own.
This post is dedicated to you. You feel uninspired and out of place but are afraid to open that door that will lead you to a happy life filled with passion. For how long can you live like that?
When I first showed up at Capital FM for work I didn’t know what to expect but I knew what I wanted. I wanted to learn how to be successful. In my mind, there was only one man who I could learn this from, Chris Kirubi. This part of my life story started 5 years before when I was working for Tedd Josiah. He is one of the most iconic Kenyan music producers from whom I had learnt invaluable lessons that I still apply today.
It so happened that one day we were cleaning the studio offices at Blu Zebra Records when a card fell out of a magazine stack. On picking it up, I noticed that it was no ordinary card. It was ivory in color and it had an emblem that was raised on the card’s surface in some sort of waxy print. It looked sophisticated and the texture gave off a rather luxurious feel to it. The name on the card read Chris Kirubi and the details were arranged in a simple and neat manner that was laid-back-confident. The name was familiar, I knew this was one of the top businessmen in the country and I also knew what most people at the time knew about him; that he had a court case going on where he was being accused of having fleeced a state owned supermarket chain and cab company. Regardless, I held on to the card and went about researching all I could about his empire and what kind of man he was. In my quest to know about him I couldn’t differentiate what information about him was true and what was myth. In the end, I decided I would meet him one day and find out why he was successful.
Fast forward 5 years later, I was seated at the Capital FM reception waiting to be interviewed for a graphic designer position by the then marketing manager Angelique Bennaars. She took me in for the interview and later told me I had had been accepted into the company and that I was to start immediately as an apprentice under one Mark Mwera. I was led to my workstation that was tucked away in a corner. It was stuffy and hot but it was where I got my first lesson from ‘Chairman’ as everyone at the station called him.
1. Know your people
You see, CK has a habit of always visiting his businesses without notice and you would be surprised to know that he knows all his employees personally. On my first day as he was passing my corner on his way to the studio, he stopped and looked at me and asked me, “Who the hell are you and why are you using my machine?” I was dumfounded, and for a moment I didn’t know what to say. “I’m the new designer…” I replied in a scared voice.
“Did I interview you?” He asked now with his voice raised.
“No. But I was interviewed by Angelique”, I said trying to assert myself.
He came over and ordered me to leave my machine and get off the premises because he didn’t who I was. Anyway this scene replayed over the next few days until he realized I wasn’t going anywhere and so he let me stay and work. He also warned that he would throw me out the window from the 19th floor if I didn’t work hard and deliver outstanding work. In the end I got to understand the concept behind his actions because this is how he runs his empire. He makes an effort to know his people. From that time, he never forgot my name and made it a point to know what my life goals were. To date he remembers I told him I would accomplish more than he ever did [the challenge is still on]. I also realized that the man knows everyone who works for him, be it in his corporate businesses or even manufacturing plants. It’s hard to find an employee in any Kirubi’s companies who hasn’t interacted with the Chairman. As a result I have learnt that as a leader when you make an effort to personally know the people working for you, what you get in return is a sense of ownership towards your organization by employees. One feels motivated to perform when you know that your boss knows you personally and appreciates the role you play.
2. Only Buy Into What You Would Like to Own
On asking him what I should consider when buying stock his answer was simple. He said, “My approach to choosing the company whose stocks I will buy is based on a simple objective; owning the whole company. That way, my decision will be based on logical thinking and not emotion or speculation. When buying always ask yourself, is this the type of company I want to own? Does it’s business model appeal to me and is it easy to understand?”
Over the few years I worked in his company I studied his investment patterns and I realized the reason why he was successful in the stock market is because his investment style was long term and the motivation was to be the majority owner of the company in question. Later he would say “I don’t invest to make a quick buck because doing so defies the laws of nature. When you plant, it is only natural that you nurture your crop and patiently wait for the crop to mature. Harvesting before the right time will be robbing yourself off the greater potential of what you would have gotten out of your investment. This has always been CK’s approach when purchasing anything not only stocks. This year (2015) he made Kshs. 2.8 billion from the sale of his UAP Holdings stake after waiting for 10 years. Read the story here
3. Be Your Product’s Best Salesman and it’s Most Loyal Consumer
You will always catch CK selling and hawking his products shamelessly regardless of where he is.
Once we were having dinner in a posh restaurant and the waiter brought us a certain brand of bottled water which visibly offended CK. You see, CK is a shareholder of Nairobi Bottlers, a bottling franchise of the Coca Cola Company which produces it’s own drinking water known as Dasani™. The water the waiter had served us was another brand that was a competitor and CK’s loyalty to his brand is the reason why he was offended. Anyway he went on to ensure that the restaurant changed their brand of drinking water by selling the Dasani™ brand to the restaurant owner. The condition he gave was simple; if he was to dine in that restaurant again they had to be his customers first. It was the ultimate statement of loyalty in business.
On normal days, you will always catch CK stopping women on the streets of Nairobi to ask them if they have used his Haco hair products and what he can change or add in his offering. One of the most memorable quotes I got from him is ‘A good salesman will be rich. A good salesman who sells a product he can stake his life on will own the world’. As for his lifestyle brands, one would expect CK to use imported sophisticated expensive brands but you’d be surprised to know he uses the very products that he manufactures as proof of their quality. Check any Haco products and you will see his signature. It’s that serious.
4. Loyalty is Not a Word You Throw Around
After almost a decade working for this great man, I decided to move on and put into practice what I had learned. It was the hardest thing to do and I ended up leaving a big part of my heart at Capital FM. These are the people I spent most of my time with and eventually they had become my family. Nevertheless it was time. I had tried quitting many times before but would always change my mind the last minute because of one thing – loyalty. I had been treated well and the company had made huge sacrifices for me even when I didn’t feel I was worth it. What I learned from Dr. Kirubi is a lesson that every leader should take very seriously. Loyalty is proactive. You offer loyalty first before demanding for it. I remember one day out of the blue CK interrupted a Digital Media Department meeting and said “It would make me sad if even one of you turned out to be a failure in future. I will do everything in my power to empower you, be it in your work here at the company or even in your personal business” He then paused and added “Anyone who works for me is my friend and family and I am loyal to them regardless of what role they play in the company.” In the years I have worked for him, CK has always shown loyalty to his employees especially in their time of need. Even now after leaving Capital FM he is still loyal to me and it is the one reason why I will always answer his call and be ready to show my goodwill.
5. Every Member is Important
Every year in his companies, CK always gives what has come to be known as the chairman’s speech. It’s a special event for everyone who works for him because it is the occasion where he declares his stand. It has become a tradition that I strongly believe has played a vital role in his success. One that would recommend for every company. During this speech he reminds all his employees [whom he prefers to call team mates] of the vision of the company and the state of the business. He always assures his people that regardless of the state of the economy or business, he will do everything in his power to protect everyone’s job. In one of his speeches which I came to regard as my best he said “I feel rich and wealthy not because of the money we have made but by the fact that through you I have played a major role in bringing up all these families. That is the reason why I look forward to every new day”. He will always finish his speeches by mentioning every person by name (regardless of their position in the company) and telling the rest why this person is important to the business. This however is just a small part of what he really does on a daily basis. CK will always make impromptu visits to his companies and randomly pick on any employee with an aim to motivate them. He is one of the most powerful motivators I know and it is because of one small detail. Every member of the team regardless of their role is just as important as the next. His actions speak louder than his words.
6. First Get the Numbers Right. The Money Will Come.
CK says the difference between the current crop of young people and the young people of yesterday is attitude towards patience. We want to invest very little but have big returns and in a shorter than normal timeframe. When we first started developing the digital arm of Capital FM his first directive was for us to build numbers before we started selling our product. At the time we thought it was a risky move to spend three years just building and testing the platform while we looked for a strong audience base. It just didn’t make sense at the time because it meant putting money in and not expecting any returns for a long time. A four years later, we were probably the only digital media outfit making money from the internet locally. You see, many digital media companies don’t get to break even and it is very hard for them to admit. The reason is hidden in the numbers. When you have a big audience to talk to, your return on investment grows automatically. When you have a steady supply of quality content your profitability is extended by virtue of repeat usage and referral. We learnt this hands on. I later came to realize that this is how he approaches all his business ventures -Take time to prepare, test and fine tune your product as you increase your customer base and in the end money will be a by-product of your offering.
7. Your Presence Should Be Felt
When I was working for him I saw how CK carried himself in the presence of individuals who may be wealthier and more successful than he is and I learnt one big lesson. You are as important as you feel and people will treat you as importantly as how you present yourself. Most likely you will never be able to tell if the person CK is talking to is more successful than he (CK) is. Why? Kirubi walks with his own atmosphere and always owns any gathering he attends. He dresses fashionably and his scent always seems to denote power and influence. He makes sure he is the centre of attention and is eloquent so that his every word is solid and full of confidence. When visiting his businesses he will always put on one of two masks; rebuke or praise – employees usually cannot predict which mask he will walk in with. What this does is it creates this undeniable presence of a man whose every decision will have a heavy impact on everyone’s life. He can call anyone and ask about the progress of a particular project just to show you he never forgets. This keeps employees constantly focused on their deliverables without putting unnecessary pressure on themselves.
Asserting his presence ensures CK always has the upper hand in any deal and negotiation.
8. Your Life is Your First Business
Chris Kirubi will never involve himself in something where he does not stand to gain. Secondly he will never live beyond his means. One day he took a workmate and I for a drink at the bar downstairs. He started by clearly stating that we were only going to drink for an hour since he had guests who he was supposed to meet later. As we ordered our drinks I noticed him frown as I made my order and I instantly knew I’d done something that he didn’t approve. You see while he and my workmate had ordered a beer, I had gone ahead and ordered two doubles of a single scotch whisky.
“How can you engage in the same nonsense that the young man seated behind us is doing?” He barked while pointing to a guy in his thirties who was busy entertaining two digger looking type girls with a bottle of rum on the table. “You should never order a drink you can’t afford. I’m not saying you won’t be able to pay for this but I am telling you ask yourself what percentage of your salary you will have used to buy this drink.” I got him loud and clear because I knew he lived by this principle. In every aspect of your life you need to live within your means and this will be your best motivator to work hard to move to the next step. Likewise every action one involves themselves in should lead to an outcome of positive gain failure to which it will be time wasted.
9. A Leader Does not Delegate
Yes you heard me right. In the years that I worked for the man, I never saw DJ CK delegate work even once. Instead he used his skills as a salesman to sell ideas to his employees. He would come up with an idea or a challenge and start breaking it down himself in excitement. It was always fun to witness how his mind works. The surprising result of his proactive nature was proaction by his employees. Everyone wanted in on his project because he had sold it to them first and not ordered them to do it. Soon every team member would assign themselves duties and the job would be completed half the time it would have taken if we had followed a conventional format. It somehow always reminded me of the show ‘Pimp my Ride’ where the garage owner sells his idea to his team members who in turn share what their contribution will be towards restoring the featured car. I acknowledge that every company is different but I believe for any person in management, this principle will get you great results that are good on time and quality. When you delegate you are forced into an uncomfortable zone where you have to rely on mediocre business systems to drive your machines (workers) to produce.
10. The Eagle in the Sky Holds the Sharpest Vision
I have always been interested to hear people talking about the companies in which they work. One of the things that strike me is how frustrated many people are with their jobs. One would expect that these frustrations are caused by poor pay but surprisingly they arise from lack of a clear understanding of one’s duties and roles in the company. This is caused in turn by a leadership that lacks a clear vision that is easy to understand and explain. Many people often find themselves in roles they are not supposed to be playing and are not passionate about – this has become the source of their misery. CK has always had a clear vision of what he wants and how he will get it. He is always reminding his employees why they are in his business and the roles they have to play to achieve his vision. In addition to that, he is always asking employees to have a clear vision for their own lives. If you were to walk into Capital FM offices today, all you will find are happy faces of people who know what role they have to play towards the vision of the company which is clear and simple to understand.
There are many lessons that I have learnt from this man that would constitute volumes if I were to write them down, so this is just but a start. What have you learnt from your mentor lately?
I’ve talked to many people but sadly most of them don’t seem to know their purpose and what they want from life. I too have struggled with this question all my life and I still am. I hate that it has become the monkey on my back and I hate that I have to wake up everyday to look for myself. I can’t concentrate at anything I do and I have turned into a hopeless scatter brain. I feel like time is running out and the prospect of growing old and miserable, haunted by dreams that never materialized scares me. It makes me go into panic; a miserable state that can be observed by looking at how many things I’ve tried in my life.
I have tried starting my own business more than once and I have tried going up the ladder in my career and still, there is this nagging feeling that I am just not where I want to be.
When I’m at work I find my mind wandering to distant places and I am fearful that maybe those places are where I should be instead. I observe other people and suddenly it looks like everyone is getting onto their path. They seem happy and everything they do looks deliberate and based on a well defined purpose.
So is it that I have failed in finding my path or am I expecting [unrealistically] too much from life? Do I have the wrong paradigm of how life works? Is my purpose locked in this ‘uneventful’ job that I don’t seem to give the appreciation it deserves? Am I part of those who will never amount to anything? Is that my destiny?
On the other hand I also see many people who are like me. People who don’t have a clear plan of what they would do if they won a million dollars today. People who procrastinate and are always anxious because they are not sure of the future. One day you are excited about this new idea you’re pursuing and the next day you’re not sure if it is what you want. Your life goes in phases that come and end as fast as a flame on a matchstick. First there is the ‘I need to buy land phase’, then comes the ‘I need to start saving phase’ and today you’re on the ‘I need to start a business’ phase and the cycle never ends.
I’ve heard people say that you are always in the path that God wants you to be but I am beginning to doubt that. Why? because if this is where He wanted me to be, why am I not happy? Why do I feel like I am in limbo?
I have seen many of our parents live their lives in simplicity and mediocrity; retiring at sixty five and immediately going into the last phase of life where they miserably wait for their sunset. Somehow it has always felt wrong because [I believe] life is not meant to be a mere existence and a process that is predictable as to how it ends. What happened to dreams? At what point do dreams die? Is it to late for my parents to start dreaming all over again? Why I’m I getting sucked into the same cycle of broken dreams and surrendering without a fight? Why is this the more comfortable path to follow?
I’ve had a good career so far; it would be ungrateful for me to ignore that. Learning new things has been the best part of it all. Being challenged to do the impossible has kept my adrenaline pumping and like a junkie, I want more. I want more because there is this strong unshakable urge inside me that tells me I have a higher purpose. Something I can write my name on. That THING that I can do for free and not worry where money will come from because it will be automatic. That purpose that will make my life count for something. I want to be remembered for something great!
I have looked for it everywhere and I am willing to do everything to know why I am here. Sometimes I wish God would use my friends, family or even a stranger to tell me what is it that I am good at so I can dive into it NOW. Or maybe that’s not the way He speaks, maybe it is. But at the end of the day I just want a nudge in the right direction. Or maybe I have already been nudged but was too distracted to feel it? Where is that ONE clear hint that will show me which door to knock? Or maybe a hint is not supposed to be clear after all?
Whatever and wherever my purpose is, I have decided I’d rather die trying to find it. I can no longer sail blind in this darkness. I need to find a beacon and I need to find it sooner than later. I hate losing sleep over things I can’t decipher. I hate to be a person who always changes his dreams because he doesn’t know where he is going. One thing I am sure though, is that I am here for a purpose. What it is, I don’t know. So I’m going to start my search and I will hunt down my purpose to the ends of the earth if need be.
Last week I decided I will put all my dreams on paper because I had a feeling they will lead me to my purpose. It was a challenging experience to decide on what I want for my future, but it’s a start. After pasting cut-out pictures of what I want in life on a white page, I am starting to have this strange experience that I like. For some reason, I feel like I am on to something good and long term. For once I am pretty clear on my dreams and when I would want to achieve them. How I am going to achieve this is the billion dollar question. Whether this yields anything only time can tell, but I can’t shake off the conviction that this is probably what I should have done years ago.
You see when I was young, my mother taught me this trick and it got me my first car. She told me to write down what I wanted in future and keep it where I could see it every day. I bought a car a few days to my twenty fourth birthday -which is the date I had written down. When you are a child belief is raw and unadulterated, but as you grow older logic gnaws at your dreams and suddenly they become fantasies. I guess somewhere along the way I forgot the basics; that you have to visualize what you want because it’s the first sign that you can and will most likely get it.
It’s time I started all over again. After all, maybe life isn’t about finding yourself but creating yourself.
I’d like you to take a moment and ask yourself this simple question. Have I found myself?
Your gift will be your burden until the day you make the decision to follow that little voice that first spoke to you when you were a child. You will learn that people will always be ready to pay you to enable them accomplish their objectives but never yours. Therefore you will forever be a slave because of your fear of doing it on your own. A fear fueled by the threat of sleeping in the cold, hungry, naked and in debt.
You are gifted. A professional at what you do. You work confidently and diligently running your master’s ship but you are still uncertain of your ability to row your own boat. How then can you claim that you feed and clothe yourself? Is it not your master that owns the shirt on your back?
Every evening your master goes happy to bed and thanks the Lord for the blessings bestowed upon him. He smiles because he knows beyond a shadow of doubt that you will show up tomorrow early to till his land. Another step closer to his dream. Deep in his heart he knows that God created all men with an equal chance at happiness. Only some chose the hard road and the rest chose to embrace the warm bosom of mediocrity.
In mediocrity, there are three meals and a warm bath at the end of the day. These good tidings are not for a celebration but to sooth and rejuvenate your aching bones for tomorrows till. In mediocrity there is pride in being called a faithful slave and their is gladness in being trusted by the money lender. A slave; you feel accomplished and respected when the master places you in charge of other slaves.
Your gift will be your burden until the day you make the decision to follow that little voice that first spoke to you when you were a child. Now you have nothing to call your own. Your horse and brick house are the lender’s. A lender in a secret pact with your master to make sure your work to their benefit until your crown is grey. It is how the world works. Your horse will grow feeble and die before you have fully paid for it. Your brick house will crumble before you realize you were never meant to own it. And all the while the master and the lender’s children will be waiting to take the little you have left. Just like the vultures that prey a dying old toothless lion that lacks the strength to fight back.
As you watch the sunset in the squint of your weak eyes, you will always be in deep thought. A mixture of regret and despair. Were you not the slave that new the seasons by heart? Was it not your position to distribute rations to the other slaves? Didn’t the master always say that it is you he trusted the most?
Oh you good slave. Your gift is now your son’s burden because you didn’t follow that little voice that first spoke to you when you were a child.
You know my heart better than I do. I’m not afraid of dying. I’m only afraid of not completing the work you sent me to do. It would be a shame to come into this world to such pomp and celebration and to exit quietly having not made any impact. So I am here to remind you of my wish list as I have done every day since I was 5. Every breath out always feels like I’m blowing my birthday candle. In my heart I always make a wish that gets to you in a prayer. I know that I always ask the same things every time I pray, but I know it never gets boring for you. You’ve always listened and come through in the nick of time whenever I have needed something. I have developed a habit of asking you for the impossible because it is what you’re good at. Remember that dry dog year when I wanted to know if I should quit my job? I dared you to gather a storm and send down heavy rain only in the area where I worked, knowing full well that the whole land was experiencing drought. I was shocked and surprised in a good way when you drenched me in rain that afternoon. Quitting that job was the best thing I ever did. You have always stood by your promises even when I have bailed on you. I have done some bad things expecting to wake up in the absence of your eye but you never change. You always are by my side. By now you’ve already memorized my wish-list. Of course there are those items we have crossed out together over time but the list is ever growing. Sometimes I think I sound like a broken record stuck on replay. I ask for the same things every time; health, wisdom, family, friends, contentment and life. I want to be the best at what I do because it’s only then that I can pay you back and be sure to sleep at night. So far, you have given me everything I have asked or needed but I want more. I am at a stage in life where I need you to honor my list now more than ever. I need you make these, the first of the best days of my life. And for the record, I need you to respond urgently. I have always been okay with your ‘no and wait’ style of business but I would like you to make an exception this time. Just say yes. Show me my calling. My sleeves are rolled up and I’m ready to work. Show me the job and let me get my hands dirty. Put me on a wage per work basis. Let me work, see the results and get paid by you in full for it. A little heaven down here would be very welcome. That house on a grassy knoll would really make me and my girl happy. Help me to surprise and show her my heart every now and then. May we enjoy every moment with our families for many years to come. May we live to enjoy the blessing of old age and the miracle of watching the children of our grandchildren prepare for their first date. You know I love what I do and I am thankful for it. Please add more spark to it. You know how badly I would want to help those in need. Can you add that spice to this game too? I would sleep better. You created us equal and I would like to take care of your children. Like a spoilt child, I sometimes forget that you hold my future in your hands. I worry and I try to control everything in my life instead of letting you order my steps. I have tried to be a good person and I still do but you know how flat I fall at times. I still smell of the stench of my folly but that never seems to put you off. Guilt. I have hurt more people than I have healed. I have crashed many a dream and disappointed the trust others bestowed upon me. I’m not good enough but there’s peace in acknowledging weakness. I am stronger because I know I am frail. I am hopeful because every time I come across a challenge I know it’s just another fat candle I need to blow out. … I haven’t written in a long time and naturally, my heart would not sit still. In my silence, I have found my voice. In my absence, I found myself. I hope you do to.
It’s been a while since I blogged. The death threats and insults from my readers were too much to bear so I am back on the job. I will behave. I will update. I will work harder. If I am not careful, I might just end up being the biggest blogger on the planet! Precisely what I wanted to talk to you about today. If I am not careful, this might end up being the shortest post I have ever written. Not because it’s a Monday and I am in a lazy mood but because my message is simple, clear and requires action. I am speaking to you. My conscience.
The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is ‘the move’. The successful people simply make a move. The unsuccessful people never make a move. They think about it and sometimes talk about it but at the end of the day, do nothing about it. Let me explain what I mean by taking you on a ‘what if’ journey.
What if you were born a genius but without hands, feet, ears and eyes? Would you understand the world as you know it now? Would beauty still appeal to you like it does now?What if you woke up and you couldn’t remember your name, your family or even your closest friend? Where would you begin? What if you woke up one morning and realized you’d been in prison for twenty years on death row? How would you explain your shock and how you got there? What if you didn’t have a job? Would you be still be waiting for evening to rush to your local bar for a beer? What if your great-great-grandparents were alive? What would they warn you about? What about the children of your future, what will you advise them about life?
Sometimes I take stock of my life and I can’t help thinking that there are only two columns on my balance sheet. Opportunities and opportunities-never-taken. The latter haunts me because it is a constant reminder that my life would be a lot better than it is right now, had I made a move. What if I had picked up that call I ignored yesterday? Would it have changed my life? My mentor Mr. Manu always says, “The universe is ever trying to reach out to you to make you successful. If only, you would answer her call.” That gets me thinking and suddenly, I am thankful that I chose a career that wasn’t considered a profession 8 years ago. It was a ‘bad choice’ but it puts food on my table and I have been able to help others through it. What if I had chosen a career just because my parents wanted me to? I think I would be a drunk by now.
Why do things happen the way they do? Do you think your long lost friend called you last night by mistake? Why has that business idea been troubling you for the last two years? Why did you get a promotion? Out of hundreds of pedestrians, why did the beggar choose to ask you for a coin? We see the signs, yet we ignore. Everyday we all get a ‘call’. However, it takes a very open and conscious mind to notice a ‘call’. There is a receptor that is inbuilt that receives a signal so that by answering ‘the call’ we can discover our true destiny. When you see an opportunity, you should know that this call is for you. Life is giving you a chance. God is speaking to you. If you will only answer.
I finish by urging you to carefully observe the most successful people in the world today. Most of them have a very simple and straight-forward story. They simply answered the call.So go on, make a move! If you’re not careful, you might just get very successful.
I am writing this under heavy inspiration from one Beato, who recently answered the ‘call’ and started a financial consulting company. Her venture is a few days old but watch carefully as it unfolds into success.
By Michael Ngigi
Lake Tiberias, also known as Lake of Gennesaret, more commonly Lake of Galilee has often played a big role in world history. It is on it’s shores that Israeli song icon Naomi Shemer was born (at Ktvutzat Kinneret) and laid to rest. That may not be familiar but atleast you remember where Jesus recruited a quarter of his disciples. Ever heard of Simon, Andrew and the brothers John and James? Maybe you have heard about Kibbutzim, the coperative farming villages of Israel? Well this is where they began way back in 1909. This water mass happens to be the largest fresh water lake in Israel and also (get this) the lowest fresh water lake in the world! Anyway, I just thought you’d want to know…
You see, this is no ordinary lake. About 2000 years ago today, Jesus’ disciples are caught in a violent storm on this lake, in the first hour of one morning. They are thrown in fear and confusion and their boat is bashed by high waves. It is tossed about the water dangerously and there is eminent threat that it will break. They try to wrestle this unforgiving natural force and after a while they fall back helpless and wait for the end. It is at the third hour that they see the figure of a man emerge from the darkness walking towards them. Yes, walking. Peter is fearful and points towards the figure as he swears to the other disciples that what they’re are seeing is a ghost. They are terrified. For a moment, the storm is not their biggest concern. This ghost is.
Jesus emerges from obscurity and tells them to be courageous that he is there with them. They believe in him (Jesus) because they have seen him perform miracles. However, they are not sure if the man they’re looking at is really him. Peter thinks fast and comes up with a deal. That if this man should prove that he really is Jesus,by giving him (Peter) the ability to walk on water too. Jesus beckons to him and Peter steps out of the boat and starts walking towards Jesus. All the while, his eyes are fixed on his master. Halfway, his attention is diverted to the huge waves that keep rising at the corner of his eye. Immediately, he begins to sink and so Jesus has to save him. They climb back to the boat and the wind storm dies down.
I believe that Peter actually walked on water. I believe that man actually landed on the moon on the 21st day of July, 1969. I believe that Kipchoge Keino won gold over American favourite at the time, Jim Ryun, a year before. Have you ever wondered how men began to fly? Who thought that a piece of metal would fly us from one location to another? How about electricity? Who knew it existed? Who knew that one day it would be one of the most hardest ‘things’ to live without? Who thought you would become what you are today? Manu Chandaria was born in poverty and uncertainty, who would have thought he would be one of the most influential industrialists of our time?
Only yesterday, I told my friends that I will build a city that will be among the most famous in the world. Of-course it became a light moment. But picture this, I never thought I’d be able to own new clothes or even make a living, when I was growing up. But it happened so I have had to dream again. Dream higher. I wanted to own a car, now I’m thinking of a bigger car. I wanted a small nice house but now I’m thinking of a big house because I want to live in it with someone else.
Dreams are never realistic, but watch out, they may come true. Most of the time, what we fear (the bad dream) comes true. Why? Because we remain focused on it. Without knowing, we start inviting the possibility of our fears coming true. What if we did the same for our good dreams? Peter was able to take a few steps on the water because he was focused on his role model. Jesus. Do you have a role model? Every dream has a source. We wanted to fly but we had to get inspiration from the birds. Have you ever noticed the shape of an airplane? It just happens to be a large metal bird. It is essentially a bird.
When we lose sight of our focus, we perish. What would Peter tell you if he were alive today? What would he Tweet?
“Just walked on water! Now I believe! @DoubtingThomas”
Dreams are fulfilled by purpose. So purpose keeps us alive so we could live to see our dreams come true. How I deal with everything that I experience determines how far or close I get to achieving my dreams. Every second counts. The few seconds that we spend worrying. The minutes that we spend complaining. The days that we waste regretting.
Are we ever too old to dream? Never! I know of a wealthy man who became successful in his mid-fifties. He happens to be my mentor.
A dream is never realistic, after all, it is just a dream. That doesn’t mean that you can never be the biggest actor in Hollywood? Ask Djimon Gaston Honsou. Dreams are never final, they only beget bigger dreams. Dr. Manu Chandaria who happens to be my mentor says, “You stop dreaming. You die”. Dreams create success. Dreams are for the strong at heart. They determine all aspects of your life. At first, a dream is vague just like how vague Jesus was to Peter at first. It gets clearer as it draws towards you. It gets easier to walk towards it, the more visible it becomes. But the trick is to keep focused or else the sinking starts.
I woke up today feeling empty and lost. It feels like my dreams are taking too long to come true. But as I sat to write this article I realized, I have more to be thankful for. I have even more to look forward and be hopeful for. For now, I dream. I wait.
This note is dedicated to the men and women who toil and labor away from home; in pursuit of happiness.
By Jimmy Mwangi
Passion is not an actionable word. It is correct that those that do what they are passionate about do better, but that is not helpful advice…
The question therefore is, where does passion come from?
Passion is a result, Passion is an energy, Passion is a feeling you have when you are engaged in something that you love. It is the ‘thing’ you’d probably do for free and would find it hard to believe somebody could pay you to do it.
We often make the mistake of assuming that passion is something that we do in our private lives and not what we do in our careers. I am a firm believer that we are who we are regardless of where we are. Period. If you are different at home compared to when you’re at work, you must me the most miserable liar, to yourself and to the world!
The goal is to make anything you do at home and at work the most exciting thing to do.
So how do you find something that you will always be excited to do? Well, its actually easier than we think.
Two questions for you my friend. What are the things that you love to do? What are the things that you’d probably do for free? (Assuming that your choice will not be immoral). These are the million dollar questions for you today.
Now that we have answers, how can we create that feeling of excitement and get paid for it?
Here are words inspired by one of my favorite speakers Simon Sinek. I am amazed at how he brings out this theory.
So lets see. What are the things that I love doing? In my free time I love the arts world. You will find me on you tube for endless hours watching live music performances etc. Why? I love seeing how others translate the world. I’m inspired by the new ideas, thoughts and new ways of looking at the world.
Does this mean that I have to have a career in the arts, music and all? NO! It means that I have to have a career where new ideas are explored. Where people are experimenting and trying out new stuff out linking this passion to business. I want to explore and create growth strategies, new product categories, services or business models, which change the game. Create the very things that add significant value of consumers and organizations!
I want to dedicate my career life towards the creation of Kenya/Africa’s multi-nationals. I am therefore as excited going to work as much as I enjoy watching music videos.
I guess then the formula to enjoying what we do is simple. We should be doing something that we love.
We need to find it and build a passion around it.
By Michael Ngigi
What have you been up to lately? Are you still whining? Still angry that things never go your way? I bet you do have ambitions. Daily score sheets that never seem to serve their purpose. A hopeless picture filled with sad colors of the dreams that never came to be. Will you ever amount to anything? You’re always scared to jump into the unknown. To take the risk that will set you free. Are you afraid of getting hurt? Yes you are. Yet the world beckons to you. Showing you what you’re missing. Love. Life. Wealth. Health.
In the background you can hear David Gray’s faint voice singing Babylon. “If you want it, come and get it…“.
Have you ever stopped to count how many restaurants there are in a street near you? How come they open everyday and seldom ran out of business? Each one of them makes its own profit at the end of the day. How many beautiful fashion conscious ladies are wearing hot sophisticated black high-heels? Did they buy them in the same shop? How is it then that you will not believe that you too have a share of the world and all the good things herein?
You will never appreciate warmth if you have never felt cold. Happiness if you’ve never shed a tear or got heartbroken. Is it that your case is different? Is it that the girl you want to talk to wouldn’t like a guy like you? Maybe you’re right. But how will you ever know if you don’t try? You want to travel and see the world. When will you start?
You want a pay rise. Instead, you go to work everyday an angry girl. Snapping at everyone whose intention is just to check up on you. Will you walk to the boss’ office and make your plea?
Tell me oh cowardly dog. Have you seen the pyramids? Have you been to the moon? Are you dating the girl of your dreams? Do you have even have a bucket list? Tell me ten things you would want to do before you’re old and grey. The world is for the bold. Hunger sharpens the mind. Vision is good for your heart.
The body will never agree with willpower. The body blames everything around it but itself. Risk it,and you could get hurt or on the flip-side, you could get very successful. Pick up that phone, call her. The worst she could do is say no to coffee. Tommorow, meet a new girl. Repeat the process after learning what when wrong with the previous one. You will realize that the more you do it, the clearer your visions of this ‘super girl’ become. The closer you get to her.
The same goes with everything your heart desires.
Today wasn’t my day. I failed at most things I set out to do. Partly because I was afraid of losing. As low as it got me, I can’t help smiling that not all deals will go your way unless you repeat your quest everyday. To be better and not to make the same mistakes again. After all, it’s just business right?
I’ll call it a day. Tomorrow, I will strike again at the heart of my fear. If tomorrow doesn’t yield, then the day after. Until something gives.