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TRANSFORM TO PERFORM IN 2014: LESSONS FROM A SEED

In my morning devotions I was drawn to Paul’s writing on resurrection. He uses powerful imagery of a seed to make his point:

“…When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t a grow into a plant unless it dies first…You plant a “dead” seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant” 1 Corinthians 15:36 (NLT)

A seed is dry and looks almost lifeless, yet it has much potential. When a seed is planted in the darkness of the soil, it soon breakthroughs the soil into a glorious plant. Without going through this transformation process , this seed will not perform as a plant.

A few lessons to ponder as you start this week and looking ahead into 2014:

1. You have great potential in you. You may look nothing like it – dry, wilted and struggling, but there is something great and alive in you
2. The circumstances of life are the soil in which the seeds in you will be birthed
3. A seed is not ‘buried’ but ‘planted’. When going through transformation process you are not dying but being changed. You may not like the process, but it’s what brings your progress.
4. A photo is developed in a dark room like a seed. The negative experiences of life are the dark places where your potential is developed

Transform from dry seed to a lively plant. If you don’t transform you will deform. If you transform you will perform.

Declare: I have the seeds of greatness in me. I flourish where I am planted. I am productive and fruitful.

You can get a copy of book Seeds of Greatness to fully appreciate the success lessons from seed.

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SMALL STEPS TO SOLVE BIG PROBLEMS

There is a proverb that says “You eat an elephant piece by piece” This is an approach that you can use to tackle some of life’s goals and challenges in 2014. It’s good to set big goals at the start of the year. The enormity of the goals can be overwhelming if you don’t apply wisdom. There is a common story in which Jesus fed 5000 from a boys lunch of 2 fish and 5 loaves. How did he do it?

“For they were about 5000 men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by 50 in a company” – Luke 9:14

Let’s look at simple practical steps of solving a big problem:

1. Know your problem – the problem in this instance was hunger
2. Establish all the facts – the depth, height and width of your problem. They counted 5000 mouths to feed
3. Sit your problem down. A problems looks big if you “look up” to it. Look down at your problem
5. Organise your problem into small chunks. The 5000 was broken down into groups of 50

You may be facing a big problem or goal to today. Relax – problems gravitate towards solutions. You are a solution bringer. Go ahead and solve it!

Declaration

I am a problem solver. I create an opportunity for the supernatural to happen in my life by being organised. No problem is too big for me to solve. I am ready and equal to every task and challenge.

THE MORNING AFTER: LESSONS IN KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE

What do you do the morning after your dream is dead? Do you weep? Do you pity party? Imagine the headlines declaring your dream is dead. Everyone is thinking its game over for you. There was a group of determined women – the morning after Jesus’ death – they decided to go and preserve their dream. They had myrrh, perfumes, frankinscence and all the required preservatives.

At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women CAME to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had PREPARED. They FOUND the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb – Luke 24:1-2 (MSG)

REFLECTION POINTS

1. Faith works like a motion sensor door – it opens when you move
2. When you walk towards your goal, your goal walks towards you
3. When you step out in faith, God steps up His faithfulness
4. Faith prepares! The women had prepared their preservatives and perfumes
5. Faith does not wait for perfect conditions – it perfects the conditions. The women went at ‘crack of dawn’

Keep the dream alive. Step out. Walk towards your goal. Faith is a door opener.

DON’T CROWDSOURCE YOUR PROBLEMS: SHUT THE DOOR

I know this post is a bit unconventional. Well the conventional does not always work. I was reflecting early this morning about how sometimes we need to shut the door. A simple story in the Bible about a woman whose only child died comes to mind. The death of the child is not the big story. The big story is her response.

A response is different from a reaction. This was her response:

“The child died …and she went up, and laid him on the bed…and shut the door …” 2 Kings 4:21

The child (dream/vision) died. The woman SHUT the door. She did not tell anybody, all she said was, “It is well” The prophet Elisha arrived to pray for the dead child:

“…Elisha came… the child was dead…He went in therefore, and shut the door …and prayed unto the Lord” 2 Kings 4:32-33

Things happen in our lives – loss, death, sickness, debt, retrenchment, demotion, dismissal or divorce. Do you respond or react? How you respond makes a huge difference.

There are some points to learn from this story:

  1. Don’t take it to the PHONE, take it to the THRONE
  2. Don’t look for a PITY PARTY look for a FAITH PARTY. Pity sympathises, Faith empathises
  3. Pity cries with you. Faith stops your tears
  4. Pity says “oh SORRY!” Faith says “oh GLORY!”

Today I want to encourage you. Just shut the door. God hears! Whatever you are going through today shut the door and just say  ” IT IS WELL”

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BREAK UPS LEAD TO BREAKTHROUGHS: MATURING THROUGH CHALLENGES

I always marvel at how people react when they face challenges. Many choose to be bitter instead of being better. Others choose to give up when they should press on. Paths without challenges don’t lead to anywhere important – Joseph became prime minister after passing through the prison and the pit. I have heard many people say they want to be Nelson Mandela – that is great. But I have not heard anyone saying they would also like to spend 27 years in jail.

An egg breaks up so that the chick can break through. An eagle flutters and stirs it’s nest so that the eaglets can learn to fly. A seed dies in the ground so that a new plant can be born and bear much fruit. A few thoughts to reflect on:

1. A set up can lead to a step up if you choose to step out
2. Change your perspective and see the opportunity in the challenge
3. The process is not always as sweet as the outcome. If you don’t understand the process or method focus on the outcome.
4. Success is sometimes understood in hindsight – keep walking!
5. To go to the next level, you need to pass a test – sometimes you write it in your sweat, tears or through great pain

HOW TO TRANSFORM YOURSELF TO SUCCEED (PART THREE)

Crossover Stage – ‘Go Over’

In previous articles we looked at the Passover Stage and the Makeover Stages of transformation. Today lets talk about the Crossover Stage.

Can you imagine if billionaire Richard Branson of Virgin Group would keep saying ‘I had acute dyslexia when I was a kid’, or if Nelson Mandela would always talk about spending 27 years in jail? They would never have moved on in life. In order to crossover you need to forget what lies behind and set your eyes on the future. Today I would like to share a few lessons on the instructions which were given to Joshua to crossover and takeover Canaan. The Israelites had been in the wilderness of confusion, drought and lack of progress.

“Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross {over} this Jordan River…to the country I am giving to my people” : Wipe them tears Brother Joshua, life goes on! Watch carefully the kind of language and words used here:

Forget The Past – “Moses my servant is dead”

In other words, forget about the past, do not pity party about how things were bad in your social, financial, economic or political wilderness. If you hold on to the past, you will have no hands to grab the future. You might have had it rough and tough in the wilderness – no electricity, no good schools, no running water, no jobs, no fancy food, no fancy clothes. You have passed over that now. Your wilderness experience might be a bitter divorce, retrenchment, rejection, betrayal, bad deal, broken promises, financial loss, grief, past successes, trophies or victories – so what? It is all in the past – IT’S DEAD!

Do not make a funeral of your past. It is instructive that there is no mention of Moses’ funeral – or mourning period. The living have no business with the dead! Point at your ‘wilderness’ and say “Thank you but no thanks, never again, I am crossing over”

Keep Moving – “Get Going. Cross over”

A man who is released from prison does not hang around the prison gate – he moves away quickly to enjoy freedom. Joshua is told clearly ‘get going’. There is kinaesthetic feel about these words – there is bodily movement and muscle engagement. In simple terms there is ACTION.  What is it that you have always wanted to do? Start today. The crossover transition is a game of faith. In the wilderness you deal with the familiar – in the crossover you deal with ‘unknowns’. You may not even know what awaits you on the other side – just do it! Let’s get practical about things now – write that application, register for that course, publish the book, start that project, get your visa, make that important phone call, send that vital email, set that key appointment or make that crucial visit.

Without crossing over you cannot takeover. When you crossover you need a specific toolset and unique set of skills to deal with uncertainty and the unfamiliar. I will share those in the next instalment in this series in the next article on Takeover. For today get going. Just do it. Keep walking until you crossover for your takeover…

IF YOU WANT TO LEAD YOU MUST READ

I had an opportunity to sit down with one man who has been in church ministry for over 50 years. His name is Bishop Ezekiel Guti. As we were talking I asked him how he had managed to achieve so much over the years and build a ministry in almost every nation on the earth. I thought I was going to get a big lecture. No. His answer was so simple “It’s in the book” He then explained that I must read his book. He then said something anecdotal : ” If you want to hide anything from an African, hide it in the book” If you are reading this, let this not be your portion.

I was reminded how in my early years as a young employee, entrepreneur and philanthropist Econet founder Dr Strive Masiyiwa once shared with me ” a leader is a reader” and how we must have a thirst for knowledge.

A few points to reflect on:

1. Everyone has a right to not have a degree, but no one has a right not to have an education
2. Learning gives your life a multi-trajectory of opportunities
3. You can’t lead beyond your skillset and knowledge set
4. You can’t lead beyond your ability to learn
5. Your learning power determines your earning power

Enjoy I have to go back to some learning – wrote this quickly over a lunch hour at a summit where I am learning!

DON’T NEGOTIATE WITH A TERRORIST

2 Kings 18:35-36
“What god has ever been able to save any nation from my power? So what makes you think the Lord can save Jerusalem? But the people on the wall remained SILENT, for the king had instructed them to say NOTHING”

In the world of business and deal making, your greatest leverage is when you take control of the conversation. If you give this away you weaken your ability to control the outcomes. In a fully fledged conflict such as the one the devil has declared on God’s children you can’t negotiate. It’s typical of adversarial bargaining where there is no room for compromise. The devil is an adversary and you can’t compromise or try to cut a deal with him.

The devil is not at your level, so he has no right TO talk to you. You can only talk AT him. Many times our faith is shaken when we try to negotiate with the devil. He is a thief and robber and must be neutralized immediately.

Life is a big deal, close it! Life is a conversation…control it.

A few key lessons from the scripture above:

1.Never listen to the enemy’s sermon. Fear comes by hearing, hearing the word of the enemy
2.Silent sometimes is louder than words
3.When the enemy provokes you to his lower level, invoke your higher level by ignoring him.
4. The devil thrives on an audience. If you ignore him, he will sulk and walk away
5. If you make the enemy your DJ, he will play songs of hell

LIFE LESSONS – KEYS TO SECURING A GREAT FUTURE

The future is guaranteed. You have all you need today to do better tomorrow. Really? Yes! You have it all within you. Phone maker Blackberry has been struggling for the last few years. In 2008, the company had a market value of over $80 billion. As of now, it’s only $3.1 billion today. Sad! Blackberry made some serious strategic mistakes. It kept its app ecosystem closed and the whole operating system proprietary. Its strategy was to go for corporates and lock them in long-term contracts – it completely ignored the emergence of strong demand for consumer smart phones and cross platform apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and open operating systems such as Android.

They failed to create a future for their business because they had limited vision. If I was to sit with the Blackberry Board this is what I would share with them to be architects of the future of their business. I would ask that they wear three types of goggles to see things differently:

See Before – Telescopic Vision

Each one of us has given you the gift of foresight. This is the ability to foretell and forth tell your future. You are the best prophet for your own life. To outsource your future to political analysts, government, economic analysts or employer is at best naïve and at worst irresponsible. Chart your own course. The decisions you make today are the input into your future. The life you live today is a result of what you did or did not do yesterday.

To create your future you need to have telescopic vision. This means anticipating the future and positioning yourself for advantage. The best way to create your future is to be preemptive and proactive. You set the context of what happens to you, how it happens and when it happens

See Beyond – X-ray Vision 

Foresight alone is not good enough. You need insight. A prophet with insight can predict the future, but without insight cannot decode or understand it. While foresight makes you anticipate the future, insight is the ability to understand issues. It is the ability to join the dots, identify relationships and underlying currents. Even in business, you can not just do a SWOT analysis alone, but use other tools such as PEST analysis, BCG Matrix to get a grip on contextual issues and your business drivers. Things are not what they appear to be. Make sense of the nonsense. Shed light on the darkness. You need to have a different perspective, incisive analysis of issues and an investigative probing of challenges. The future is in you. Apply your mind, your intellect and spirit and see the future beginning to unfold before you.

See Bigger – Magnifying Vision 

A good prophet does not see all doom and gloom. To look into the future with eyes of fear distorts your vision. One Caleb from ancient Israel, once went to spy on the land of Canaan. He came back and said, “Guys, what a land, lets go for it”. Those who were with him said “Don’t even start”. They were afraid. But not Caleb.  Even at 85 years Caleb asked for a whole mountain of land because he had the energy to work on it. What audacity! He had foresight and insight so his vision was big. How about David vs Goliath? Everybody thought “Goliath is so big, we can’t get him”. David, thought, “Wow, Goliath is so big I can’t miss him!”. A vision of courage magnifies opportunities while diminishing threats. There is so much global inflation, liquidity and credit crisis, employment woes and more. So what? With the gift of foresight and insight you look before and beyond all that. You do not quake with negative energy and do nothing, but itch with positive energy to do something.

Create your future today – see BEFORE everyone else and see BEYOND everything else, the great future beckoning.

HOW TO TURN YOUR DREAMS INTO REALITY

There is a story from ancient Israel of a man who was paralyzed for 38 years. He lived by a pool that was called Bethsaida. This pool had healing powers. An angel would come periodically and stir the pool – if any sick person jumped into the pool at that time, they would get healed. This man for 38 years desired to be healed. Jesus turned up one day and saw the man. All the man could tell Jesus was “There is nobody to help me into the pool”. He was looking for a pity party. Jesus responded with three verbs: “Stand up, pick up your bed and walk” The gap between wholeness and 38 years of lameness was just ACTION!

Many dream few execute. Many desire and few perspire. Action must now succeed where words have failed. Action is the spark in your dream. I want to share with you four principles critical to executing your dreams.

Principle One – Change Your Mentality

You cant be winning in life if you are losing in your mind. The lame man had a dependency mentality. For 38 years he was waiting for someone to help him get into the miraculous pool. It never happened. Execution of your dream is one thing you can never delegate. Your dream hears your voice. What YOU can conceive YOU can achieve. You have the power to turn your dreams into reality.

Principle Two – Change Posture

Position determines possession. The man had been sitting for 38 years. Jesus asked him to change his posture – “stand up!” Execution sometimes requires that you change your methods.

Principle Three: Change Your Focus

You become what you behold. For 38 years this man focused on his inability to get into the pool. He had a deficit inquiry than appreciative inquiry approach to issues. He looked at what was not working rather than what could work. Positive focus is the force that turns dreams into reality.

Principle Four – Action, Action and Action

Action is the bridge between your dream and reality. It is instructive that Jesus did not make a hell shaking prayer or sing a powerful hymn for this lame man to be made whole. He gave a simple command – stand up, pick up your bed and walk. 3 verbs! Therein rests the greatest key to executing your dreams – action. I want to persuade you to turn the great ideas from thin paper to thick action. That song must be sung. The book must be published. That business must get busy. The project must get off the ground.

Rise up; pick up your ideas and fly!

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