CHANGE YOUR WORLD

Everyone one of us was born for a purpose. You are not a biological accident or a historical mishap. It was by divine foreknowledge and set purpose that you were born within that particular family at that particular time. It is for that reason why it is not braggadocios for you to claim that you were born to be great. You were born to create and fix things in your world. You were born to make a difference. God’s methods are men. You were sent to represent the agenda of your Maker in this world. Your point of greatness is your point of relevance. Some things must change in this world because you came. You represent a solution to the world around you because you were born for such a time as this.

Change Your World

Your world represents your family, community, neighbourhood, church, country, business or workplace. Purpose in your heart to do something wherever you are. It could even be planting a tree, adding something new to alter the landscape. Develop a new product, a new song for the choir, volunteer your time or knowledge or pray for your country. You cannot pass through a place and not leave a mark. When future generations come will they see any of your footsteps? Will they see monuments of success or ruins of failure? Beacons of hope or signposts of doom? Add value rather than destroy value. Your world must change because you were born for such a time as this.

Inspirational Dissatisfaction

Do not be content with the way things are. Instead of being despondent and negative, develop an inspirational dissatisfaction with the way things are. Develop a knack for progressive change. If things are bad, make them good, if they are good make them better, if they are better make them best. Instead of folding your hands in surrender, roll up your sleeves in defiance. Look at every challenge as an opportunity for you to be relevant. You make a difference when you develop inspirational dissatisfaction. Things must change because you were born for such a time as this to cause the change.

Generational Burden

The course of nations, politics, families, churches and businesses has been changed by individuals who developed a generational burden. Each generation receives the baton of responsibility. It is incumbent upon the current generation to continue the race. As we stand on the shoulders of previous generations, we have a responsibility to do better. When you develop a generational burden, you know the purpose of your generation and play your part. You need to have a burden to set certain things right in your generation. To perpetuate intergenerational weaknesses is irresponsible. If you inherited poverty from your father, your children must inherit wealth. Develop a burden to architect a new vision for your family, community, business and nation. Your generation must be the one to set up future generations for lasting success. You were born for such a time as this.

Not Under Your Watch

Once you receive the baton of generational responsibility there are things that must never happen under your watch. The company you are working for should grow because you are there. Your business should prosper under your watch. Your church should go to new levels under your watch. History must record that under your watch, family generational poverty was eradicated. It must be recorded under your watch, no more broken families. Under your watch you made the family name great. Under your watch you put the business on the map. Your generational legacy must be that you contributed to building a great nation. You were born for such a time as this.

DARE TO DREAM

We need a dream today. A dream of a place where people are not judged by which country they come from but what dream they have. People are not judged by who they vote for, but what they aspire for in their dreams. Many years ago, there was one young man. His name was Joseph. He “dreamed a dream” about himself being a great man. This dream did not please his brothers who conspired to kill him. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery not before being first thrown into a pit. His new masters took him to Egypt where he was a slave. While working as a Houseboy in the Governor’s house in Egypt, he worked so well, he was promoted to be the Director of State Residences.

After some time he ended up in prison after being falsely accused of attempted rape by the Madam of the house. In prison Joseph was so diligent he was promoted to be a “prefect” of the other prisoners. While a prisoner Joseph nurtured his special gift – he was dreamer. I imagine he would dream all sorts of nice things including seeing himself as somebody one day. He never wallowed in self pity or despondency. He kept on dreaming and even developed an uncanny ability to interpret dreams. All the fellow prisoners would come to him for “dream consultancy”. Talk about increasing your product range!

One day the President of Egypt (Pharaoh) had a worrisome dream. He needed interpretation. All his men of wisdom, clairvoyants, seers, soothsayers, and astrologers could not interpret the dream! It took, Joseph the prisoner to interpret the President’s dream! He managed to interpret the dream in social, political, economic and strategic terms. This man with a coat of many colours was truly amazing. That was his ticket out of prison to become a Prime Minister in a foreign land! Time will fail me if I talk about Daniel who was also in exile in Babylon, but used dreams to be promoted. Dreams work! Let me share some lessons from this story.

Lesson 1 – Dare to Dream

Woe to those who are at ease in life. The future belongs to those who dream. To make a difference in life you need to dream. A dream is a picture of your future. It is a preview of what lies ahead. It is the bridge to where you are going with your life.

Lesson 2 – A Dream Brings Opposition

The day you decide to be someone, is the day great opposition starts. The day Joseph said he was going to be a great man. His brothers hated him so much that they even conspired to kill him. Some of you, your dreams have even taken you to places and through processes you don’t like, but hold on to your dream. Your dream is more real, than reality!

Lesson 3 – Dreamers Walk Alone

The day you set to dream, you become an outcast. Joseph’s dream took him away from his own family and country of birth. You cannot be everything to everyone if you are going somewhere with your life. Dreams put you on different level than everyone else. Like an eagle you soar above everybody and everything else. Your dream becomes your company and your obsession.

Lesson 4 – Dreams Set Your Priorities

Joseph never flinched even in the face of great adversity. He had a dream to be a great man so he acted like one. When he was a Houseboy in the Governor’s house, he worked with diligence and excellence until he was promoted to be the Overseer of the Governor’s house (Director of State Residences). He did not let prison contain him. He imprisoned prison. He conquered prison by working hard and he was promoted to a Prison Prefect. His dream set the context of his priorities. When you have a dream you are like a woman carrying a baby in the womb. Your diet changes, your routine changes, your sleeping habits change.

Lesson 5 – Dreams Follow Due Process

Sustainable dreams follow due process. The longevity of your greatness is a factor of the process. If your dreams are microwave dreams, they are just a mirage and only last a short while. If your dreams go through a refiner’s fire, then they will last a whole legacy. Joseph earned his stripes whether in the pit, in the Governor’s house or in prison. If you gallivant at work and dream of promotion, please think again. If you are a briefcase businessman and just wheel and deal, be more serious otherwise you will remain a fly by night. A dream is found on rocky ground, anchored in due process and established by action.

Lesson 6 – Dreams Liberate

It doesn’t matter where you are today. Under tyranny, selfish employer, in exile or diaspora, financial mess, marriage prison, suffocating relationship? Start dreaming while you are there. Dream your way out. I am tempted to share about Martin Luther King. He had a dream. If you can conceive it, you can achieve it. A dream is what the eye of faith has seen in the land of hope ahead. Dream!

TIME FOR A MAKEOVER

A significant event happened on the weekend. The British Labour Party suffered its worst electoral defeat in 40 years. Make no mistake, the Labour Party is a great political party,– but have they transformed themselves to be in sync with the aspirations of their constituencies? The answer is in the ballot results. I would like to share some few points which I began to reflect upon.

Don’t Live In The Past

If you drive your car by looking in the rear view mirror you will soon crash. The mood of the hour in Britain was aptly captured by former Home Secretary David Blunkett who said: “We’ve got to get a grip and we’ve got to build on the progress we’ve made but we can’t rest on what we’ve done.” His point was very simple, the Labour Party has to stop living in the past, but to set an agenda for the hour. While the Labour Party was busy sharing about the old Labour victories, the Conservatives were quietly preaching a simple message – change. Change works! I would like to exhort you today to stop celebrating the past and look at a new agenda. Get a grip on your life today, set new milestones, new challenges and new adventures. Are you ready for today’s challenge? Instead of reminiscing on past victories reflect on future milestones.

Images of The Future

I am not very sentimental about the past, but I am fanatical about my future. I want to encourage you to do something practical today. Go and pull down those old photos which remind you of your past. Replace them with pictures of your future. What you keep looking at you become. This is the psychology of advertising – the more you look the more you want to buy it. In my bedroom, I have cuttings of the kind of house I would like to move into in the future pasted on the wall. I see it every night before I go to sleep, and every morning when I wake up. It is being formed in my spirit as I call it forth everyday. The same goes for my office – I have a cutting of the kind of office I would like to have. I like to surround myself with images of my future. This energizes my spirit and feeds my motivation. At a business level, the vision and mission are images of the future of your business. Where do you see your business in future? Live your life with images of your future surrounding you. As you do that destiny is birthed in your heart, and soon it will manifest in the physical.

Reinvent Yourself

A political party which holds on to an ideology for over forty years runs the risk of becoming irrelevant. I have just finished an article for the Black Business Quarterly (BBQ Magazine) where I am a columnist. I wrote, “The last decade has witnessed seismic changes in the business landscape. Old business maps, beacons, tools and processes are fast becoming redundant in the hurly burly of a globalised business environment” The point I was making is that businesses must be adoptive to change. Like a business you must be constantly repositioning, reengineering and if necessary rebranding yourself. The way you are positioned and the way you are branded (read my article on You Are A Brand) determines who sees you and what opportunities come your way. If you were a political party which tries to sell a 50 year ideology to an 18 year old, I bet that would be a hard sell. Time honoured notions of “this is how we do business” do not work anymore. Try time sensitive notions. Reinvent yourself for relevance.

Challenging Yourself

You need to visit a nice restaurant even if it means all you will order is water. It opens up your thinking. Last year I spent a weekend in the world renowned Michelangelo Towers Hotel with my wife (home was just 10 minutes away!). Boy, I felt like a king! It was a single experience, but life changing and life challenging. I am not a hotel junkie, but I certainly want to come to a point in life where I can afford that experience whenever I feel like it. There are certain faculties of your mind that are triggered by a different environment. Take a drive in a nice neighbourhood and check out the houses. Peradventure, you might be challenged. You cannot begin to change until you have been exposed to triggers of change. Go to that car dealership, test drive that German machine even if you know you don’t have the money. Just tell the car “One day I will drive you”. Challenge yourself by going to places where you think you do not belong. Peep, sneak, gatecrash…you are in the makeover process.

MENTAL TOUGHNESS:COURAGE UNDER FIRE

A few months ago I wrote an article on “A Call To Leadership”. In the article I highlighted the need for a new leadership paradigm in every sphere of our life – church, politics, business, family among others. At the time, Kenya was burning. Today as I write Zimbabwe is experiencing a constitutional crisis. I salute Zimbabweans for their sense of humour in the face of great challenges – all the jokes about children named “Harmonised, Rigged, Ballot, Free and Fair (twins)”. However right now what’s happening there is not funny. Every Zimbabwean and indeed the whole world have been on an emotional roller coaster over the last 2 weeks. How can one survive an adverse environment? I want to share about a quality which makes you a champion in any environment – Mental Toughness.

Mental Toughness

Mental toughness is the ability to consistently sustain one’s ideal performance state in spite of competition or environment. It has roots in sports psychology. In competitive sports the winner is not always the most skilful, but the one with the highest threshold in terms of mental toughness. In practical terms, it is your ability to overcome challenges, through controlling yourself, commitment to your goals and confidence in your abilities. Mental toughness is learnt, not inherited. The ultimate measure of mental toughness is consistency. I want to share with you the 4 C’s you need to become a champion anywhere, any day.

 

 

 

 

 

You Savour A CHALLENGE

Champions revel in challenges and not problems. A challenge is the extent to which you see problems as opportunities. It is also known as change orientation – to what degree are you willing to change yourself to overcome your environment and competition. To play against the best soccer team is a challenge not a problem. It is an opportunity to also become a champion. To compete against Tiger Woods is a challenge and not a problem. To run a business in a hyper inflationary environment is a challenge not a problem. Having no money in your bank account is a challenge not a problem. To be diagnosed with HIV or diabetes is challenge not a problem. Are you a champion?

You Are In CONTROL

To be a champion you need to control yourself and your environment. You need to have attention control. It is the ability to tune to what is important and what is not important. You are not sensitive to everything including what your environment , mind or your body is telling you. The newspapers and TV might be saying all sorts of negative stuff – so what! You are not controlled by sickness, lack or criticism – you take instructions from the Head Office in your heart. You attention is on the right success triggers. You also have attitude control. The right attitude produces emotional control and right flow of energy. To overcome low attitude control, identify positive and negative attitudes. Control negative emotions like fear, anger, envy, frustration and temper. Negative energy results in inconsistency. Be energised with joy and determination. It helps you to maintain the required arousal level to achieve peak performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You COMMIT To Your Goals

This is “stickability”, which is your ability to carry out tasks successfully despite any problems or obstacles which arise whilst achieving the goal. Champions concentrate their energy and efforts on what they want, blocking out anything or anyone who threatens that focus. You need to concentrate on the attainment of your goals with an intensity that borders on obsession. Once the goals are set, put mental blinders on and move forward with dogged persistence and ferocious tenacity. Let it become your food and drink. Commitment means it is the only thing that matters to you. You rise above politics, economics and social factors and soar to your destination.

You Are High In CONFIDENCE

This is the self belief to execute goals successfully. You can develop self-confidence with practice. The key ingredient is belief in self. You develop self-confidence by elevation of self-image, learning to stay calm, goal setting, positive thinking and self discipline Confidence feeds into self motivation which is a source of positive energy. It helps you to endure pain, discomfort and self-sacrifice. The majority are primarily motivated by extrinsic motivators, such as money and rewards. A champion like you is motivated intrinsically by dreams, desires and passions. This is a fire that cannot be put out. A fire that burns hot in the coldest night! The key to finding the true power of the individual lies in the deep recesses of the psyche. There is vein of gold in you – just digger deeper. This vein is an emotional high point, known in performance circles as the white moment. The white moment is the strongest emotional driver of performance. It pushes far beyond your threshold of pain, to accomplish feats that to the common man seem impossible.

Champions dwell on the rewards of success. Losers focus on mistakes and failure. Do what’s necessary NOW. Be in the present. Then you don’t have to worry about what happened yesterday or what’s going to happen tomorrow. Thus, two-thirds of your worries disappear. You can’t control what nature and others do. You cannot control politics and economics. You can control your response to what happens.

Soar like an eagle above all the storms! O seh shalom bimromav. Hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu V’al kol Zimbabwe (May He who makes peace in High Places, make peace for Zimbabwe).…. Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces

REAL MEANING OF SUCCESS

At the beginning of the year I was faced with two choices. I had an opportunity to either study for my PhD or go to the School of Ministry. I chose the later, and I have no doubt I have made one of the best decisions in my life. As I reflected on this I realised that success is not necessarily what we all see. I discovered a new definition of success. A PhD would present great opportunities for me right? I would be considered a success by society right? Wrong! Why? Firstly, you do not succeed for the world to see you. Secondly, success is not just about getting opportunities for yourself.

The conversation of this week’s article is to take a closer look at success. Make no mistake, I believe in a great education and will soon pursue the PhD after graduating from school of ministry. The lesson is that you need to prioritise the things which are in line with your purpose first – that is success. But let me share with you what success is not, to determine what success is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Success Isn’t About Being Somebody Else

It’s not about having:

· Bill Gates’ wealth

· David Beckham’s popularity

· Albert Einstein’s brains

· Walt Disney’s imagination

· Mandela’s grace and charm

· Bishop TD Jakes’ dynamism

Many of us see success as being the same as someone else but we can’t be someone else. If you’re trying to be someone else the best you can be is an imitation of them and you would be missing out on reaching YOUR potential.

Success Isn’t Wealth

John D Rockefeller, a man so rich that he gave away $350 million, was asked how much money it would take to satisfy him, he replied: Just a little bit more! King Solomon of ancient Israel, who is said to be the richest and wisest man who ever lived said: ‘Whoever loves money never has money enough, whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income’. Greek millionaire Aristotle Onassis said ‘After you reach a certain point, money becomes unimportant. What matters is success.’ The pursuit of wealth might be a wild goose chase if success is not the goal.

Success isn’t Happiness

Billionaire Donald Trump said ‘The real measure of success is how happy you are. I have a lot of friends who don’t have a lot of money, but they are a lot happier than I am, so therefore I say that they are probably more successful.’ Yet many of his happy friends think he is the successful one. If you make happiness your goal, you will never be successful because life is uncertain and emotions aren’t stable. Happiness is a temporary feeling that comes from your “happenings”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Success Isn’t Possessions

Success doesn’t come when you possess something you’ve always wanted such as a 5 bed roomed house on a golf estate or driving a Hummer. Possessions may give you a temporary feeling of having made it, but the feeling soon wears off. I remember the first car that I drove was a Mazda 323. Coming from driving a “Footron”, I thought I had arrived. Alas I was wrong. Within a few months I wanted to drive the Mazda 626. But soon after I drove the 626, I thought I was driving the lousiest car in town. The point is possessions are not the mark of success.

Success Isn’t Power or Achievement

Power is not success. It is a tool that can be used to build up or destroy. Powerful people are not necessarily successful. One ex president once said that “Power is sweet”. In his selfish pursuit to get drunk with power, the country was famishing with poverty! Achieving goals doesn’t guarantee success or contentment. You may have achieved all the goals on your list, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. The question is are those goals worthwhile and are they for the good of many?

So, WHAT IS SUCCESS?

According to John C Maxwell, success is:

1. Knowing your purpose in life

2. Growing to reach your maximum potential

3. Sowing seeds that benefit others

So you can all be successful. How? It is a journey which starts when you discover your purpose! What are you cut out for? What are you wired for? Pursue that purpose while serving others in the process. Tell me if in doing so you will not meet with success! I have a ‘money back guarantee’ on this one. The secret of success is that there is no secret. This is it!

May the blessing of God overwhelm you on your success journey.

 

STARTING STRONG

The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand – Sun-Tzu

Sobering Statistics

The year has just started. A lot of people desire to be better, achieve more and make a difference. A research done shows that only 3% of people write down their goals and work towards them. This group achieves great success. The next 10% just imagine or think their goals, but never get to write them down. 60% set short term goals such as the where to go on holiday, what shoes to buy, et.c. This group which has the majority only has people who are getting by without making a difference. They are slaves to life. The last group of 27% has no idea about what they want out of life. They are just coasting through life going nowhere. These statistics are sobering. In which group are you? The difference between those who will celebrate success at the end of the year is in planning and goal setting. I would like to challenge you to plan and set goals for your life this year. There are 4 pillars of success which I would like to share with you as we begin 2008:

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.Vision

The wise King Solomon said, “Where the there is no vision, the people perish”. This was true then and even more today. Without a vision your career, marriage, finances, business, ministry, politics, anything and everything is doomed. Vision is the friend of every leader, helping you to keep perspective and stay the course. Without hope in the future, we lack power in the present. A vision is an overall conception of what you are striving to become. It clarifies intentions and aspirations. It is an aspiration that is massively inspiring, with an overarching sense of purpose. A vision is important in that it provides a rallying point to motivate you and galvanise your actions. You need a vision for your life, so that you can stand against the winds and the waves that fight your destiny. Have a vision that goes beyond meeting your daily needs. If you have a vision to buy a house or a car, then it is too small. A great vision should be an aspiration that touches many and outlives you.

  1. Goals

A vision should be supported by worthwhile predetermined goals. The goals are specific milestones or targets which you want to achieve e.g US50 000 in savings, degree, revenue, profit. Once you are clear about your goals, set out to attain them with unshakable singleness of purpose and forceful zeal of a crusader. The goals should be specific, measurable and time bound. Add a burning desire and consuming passion to the goals for a good measure. With controlled attention, sustained effort and concentrated energy we will soon read good things about you. Set clear goals which you want to achieve in every area of your life – FAMILY/HOME, FINANCIAL/CAREER, MENTAL/EDUCATIONAL, SPIRITUALLY, SOCIAL and HEALTH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.Values

Values are the vision and goal anchoring behaviours. Strong businesses and communities have strong value systems. Values shapes actions, and mould behaviour. Collectively they form a value system. They are standards, principles, ideals and morals which help in regulating systems whether social, commercial or spiritual. It is not enough to have a great vision and goals, you need supporting behaviours to anchor it. Values are what will make your vision tick, and thrive in the present and the future. Values run deep. They are the DNA of success.

Values can also be viewed as a philosophy of living. If you have weak values, your vision and goals are greatly exposed. The values which I personally cherish include staying power, power of execution, discipline, positive attitude. These inform my actions as I execute my goals.

  1. Priorities

Success without harmony is a disaster. True and lasting success should follow the law of priorities. It is important to establish a clear order when it comes to pursuit of success. If the order is not established, the success can become a pain (you don’t enjoy it) at best or a disaster (you completely lose it) at worst. For that reason, my priorities are as follows in that order – God, Wife, Family and Business. If at any point any one of these priorities threatens the other, alarm bells ring. We all might have different priorities for different reasons but the most important thing is to ensure we get them right.

I believe that if at this time of the year you put these four pillars in place, you will set yourself up for great success.

To a great year!

MIND OVER MATTER – PART 2

Embracing New Paradigms

 “…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” – Romans 12:2

To be steeped in tradition is death. To live in the past is mortal. To hold on to old paradigms is fatal. A religion that does not change people’s minds is a cult, creates robots and leads to doom.  Progressive societies and individuals embrace change. The renewing of the mind means the continual refining of thought patterns and processes. It means being born again, a renaissance. One symbol of dynamism in the contemporary world is the IT industry. I am a gizmo and gadgets freak so I marvel at the fast pace of technology.  In 1980 mainframe computers where as big as a cold room – one had to literally get into the computer to fix it. Today, computers are as small as a cellphone complete with Windows Mobile software!

I have worked in the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) industry all my life, and I know that investment in IT systems (hardware and software) is both a strategic and competitive imperative. For example the old telecom model of fixed lines is faced with extinction, with convergence even cellular companies have to change their mindset and move into broadband. The ICT industry is the caricature of the ever changing dynamics which as human beings we find ourselves in everyday. If your mind is stagnated in yesterday’s paradigm you become obsolete. Your mind, like a computer needs to have continuous “software” updates. Your knowledge repository needs to be constantly updated so you have a complete and functional database.  Once in a while, it is even better to change the whole operating system. This means embracing new paradigms, new thinking and exploring new possibilities.

The Phronesis of Success

The embracing of new paradigms is about thinking differently. You are transformed into a new being. Whereas you used to think defeated, weak, beggarly, sickly, poor, downcast, you need to come to a place where you draw a line. Enough is enough!  Aristotle, one of the greatest philosophers of all time distinguishes between two intellectual virtues: sophia and phronesis.  Sophia (Greek for “wisdom”) is the ability to think well about the nature of the world, and is used in our attempts to discover why the world is the way it is.  Phronesis is the ability to think about how and why you should act in order to change things, and especially to change your lives for the best. To come to that place, you need to control the six elements of your brain which are:

1. Your Ego

This is the source of willpower. It acts as the ultimate judge, with the power to modify, reverse, change or remove the work of all the other elements of the brain. This critical part of your brain needs to be controlled. Your ego can stand for anything you value from sickness and poverty to your greatest desires. Your ego can be weak and timid or over inflated. Your ego and self esteem go hand in hand. It is about the value you place on yourself. There are certain places which you should declare you can’t live in, clothes that you can’t wear, car you can’t drive et.c. I know some of you might be thinking to ‘have an ego’ is pride. No. It is a God given faculty that is meant to drive your success. When David slew Goliath, his ego was saying “I can’t be defeated by this uncircumcised Philistine!” It was the Jewish/Israeli ego at stake. Every successful man and woman has an ego. Their success is protected by their ego. Likewise protect your ego from negative ideas. Do not let anyone or anything pollute it with thoughts of fear and worry through negative comments.

2. Your Emotions

The second element you need to control is emotions. I sleep peacefully everyday because I do not worry or fret over problems I cannot solve. No money in the bank, or no food in the fridge, work or car problems, I still sleep easy! In life there are two problems: one you can solve and one you cannot solve. The ones you can solve get on to solve them immediately. The ones you cannot solve shunt them to a sea of forgetfulness. Our upbringing has conditioned us to think that worrying over problems is responsibility. It’s not. When you worry you attract negative energy. It destroys your creative force, undermines your initiative, disturbs your faculty of reasoning and confuses your whole brain. To be successful, you need the self discipline of closing the door on fear and worry and open the doors of faith and hope. It is this character that makes you look cool like a cucumber even when challenges heat up in your life. Create an atmosphere of success in your life.

Your Reason

If the ego is the supreme judge, your reason is the judge of appeal, who deals with routine judgments. It is the master of opinions and judgments.  This part of your mind is the one that teaches you to be circumspect, to be rational and make decisions which are sound. Your emotions can tell you to go and invest in a particular business, but your reason will tell you to consider all the substantive facts and fundamentals. This part of the brain is trained by observation, study and analysis of the truth. Like a judge you need to act having looked at all the facts presented before you. However only learned judges make rational and sound decisions. Therefore you need to train your mind to reason out things.

4. Your Imagination

This is the wellspring of ideas. All creative effort is birthed in this part of the brain. Your imagination should be aligned to your purpose, and not fantasies like winning the lotto. The wildest of ideas that have ever happened in the world originate from imagination. Think about Walt Disney. He imagined a theme park, where children would be playing while parents are laughing. This led to the birth of Disneyland. Or Ray Kroc, the milkshake machine salesman who imagined a MacDonald Restaurant at every suburban corner. Or the mother of all imaginations, Thomas Edison and the light bulb. You cultivate this faculty by challenging things, questioning things, possibility thinking and seeking out things. In a war zone, social or political quandary, financial quagmire – imagine your way out!

5. Your Consience

This is the moral voice of all your actions and thoughts. If you listen to this voice and take its counsel, you will forever be esteemed and have a sense of self honour too. When you sear your conscience you with a hot iron, it becomes dead. Success without a conscience is like a whitewashed tomb – glorious on the outside, but empty inside. This week I read that global warming has become a real threat to the world. Years of decadent and irresponsible success especially in the West is now causing serious unintended consequences. Don’t kill, steal, lie, bribe or buy your way to success. What is the point of winning a battle if you gonna lose the war?

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Your Memory

One of the reasons why many people fail to move forward is because they are living in the past. You find a grown up man still grieving over a father they lost when they were still a young boy. Or you are still brooding over that lost opportunity, failed relationship, and divorce, lost business or job. Delete it from your memory – you are wasting space for good memories. Yes you can learn lessons from those past experiences, but going back to them takes you nowhere. However positive memories are anchors for success, so cherish them.

MIND OVER MATTER – PART 1

The Poverty Paradigm

This month 10 years ago in 1997, the government of Zimbabwe gave veterans of the liberation war, once off sums of ZW$50 000 each (to give you some perspective a recent graduate earned $3500 per month in 1998). Therefore $50 000 was a tidy sum, back then in any currency. My nephews Boaz and John also got this amount. We all celebrated it, because we felt it was recognition long over due. But alas, if only we knew we would lose both of them within a few years after that, we would have turned away this money. They went wild, changing women, deserted their families and went on a drinking binge. In short they completely lost it. Their story is one of the many. Some went and bought cabbages for their cattle while others bought wrist watches for their dogs. A few hired metered cabs (taxis) on journeys that could best be served by buses.  Why? Why? Why? They had not developed the mind to handle $50 000. It was better to give them $10, because this was familiar territory for them! This explains why some people whenever they get a lump sum, they spent it until they get to their normal threshold, and then they come back to their senses. If they get $1 million today, and their normal threshold is $200 000, they will blow the $800 000 until the ‘demon’ goes away, then their heart starts beating normally again. It is a mindset. $50 000 could have started a business, or invested in stocks, or even build a house. It was literally thrown away. Poverty is therefore not the absence of resources, but the absence of a resourceful mind.  Resources can never be a substitute of what we do not have mentally. You become poor twice, first in your mind, then in reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wealthy Paradigm

I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big – Donald Trump

Donald Trump is an American billionaire. During 1990 Trump was forced into bankruptcy over USD$2 billion worth of loans that he could no longer afford to pay. He basically lost everything that he had. He was in the negative to an extent the war veteran with $50 000 was richer. However within 2 years Trump had made a rebound. He was a billionaire again. How did he do it? He had a wealth mindset. He was thinking from a different paradigm. Trump never stopped believing that he was rich. He would tell himself and everybody who cared to listen that “I’m the biggest developer in the hottest city in the world.” Noone today will doubt that Trump is big in property in New York City. He had it in his mind, before it was manifested in reality.

You become a billionaire twice – first in your mind then, secondly in the bank. To be wealthy is not reflected in the state of your material resources. It is a state of mind.  The presence of lots of material resources does not indicate wealth. How many people got free farms in Zimbabwe? How many have been successful farmers? Why has Zimbabwe gone so hungry, yet land is in the hands of many? The poor are not made rich, by pampering them with resources; they are made rich by changing their minds. Thomas Edison (electric bulb inventor) had only 3 months of formal schooling, yet he is the greatest inventor who ever lived. He was operating from a different paradigm – a position of abundance than deficiency! Think wealthy and become wealthy. Think poor and you remain poor. It sounds simple, but it is indeed that simple. I have always said that it is better to see yourself as a rich man discovering your wealth than a poor man trying to be rich. It makes a big difference.

Mind Matters

In the foregoing we have settled the fact that poverty and wealth are all the result of the mind. Why am I sharing this with you? It is because I want you all to be a people of means and substance who can make a difference to their generation. One of the things which the West and the advocates of Afropessimism have done to Africa is to engage Africa at a physical level – resources. Africa has been reduced to a subject about poverty, war, disease, bad governance et.c. They even have a Poverty Conference for Africa. O mon Dieu! Every conference is about the bad. Is it not time that we also have a conference about the good that can come out of Africa? There is need for a new agenda for Africa – changing the mindset of Africa. That is the import of this article. Our minds need to change. Big offices, cars, houses, do not necessarily makes us big people. Making a difference in life can be more serious than that. The reason why time and place cannot affect our success is because the success triggers all come from the mind than our environment. The mind is made up of six elements – EGO, EMOTIONS, IMAGINATION, REASON, CONSCIENCE and MEMORY. In the next article I would like to teach you about how you can control these elements for your success. The mind matters.

BUILDING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

The Sower Comment: Last year I wrote about “You Are A Brand”. In this article Seasoned Campaigner takes it to the next level. Please enjoy, learn and share!

Just as building a powerful corporate brand is the key to differentiating a product in the market­place, and thus building a successful business, so creating a strong personal brand is the key to differentiating yourself from your competitors, thereby ensuring your own success as well as that of your business. Your personal brand deter­mines how people respond to you, whether they listen to you, whether they buy from you, how much they buy, what they are willing to pay, and so on.

You are your most important product! As such, you already have your own per­sonal brand. You might think of it as your image or your reputation. It is how people perceive you; the values, virtues, qualities, and attributes they ascribe to you. It is not a ques­tion of whether you should have a personal brand image, because you already have one. Rather, it is a question of whether you choose to consciously create your personal brand or merely leave it to chance.

If you are running a small entrepreneurial business, your personal brand will have as much influence over the success of your business as will your corporate brand. You should very carefully think through how you would like people to think about you, and then make sure everything you say and do is consistent with this image.

There are two elements of personal branding: the promises you make (i.e., the image you project) and the promises you keep (i.e., your reputation).

Promises You Make

Your personal brand makes a promise: “If you buy from me, you will receive a specific value in return.” This promised value will be born from the values, virtues, qualities, and at­tributes by which you become known. For example, you may want to create a personal image – a brand – of a person who always operates at a high level of integrity, consistently walks the talk, is an exemplary leader, and goes the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction.

Your decision as to precisely how to brand yourself will have two bases:

1. It must be an accurate picture of the person you are, or the person you are committed to becoming.

2. It must reflect the kind of person who will elicit in a prospective customer a strong response: “I want to do business with this woman or man.” In other words, your per­sonal brand should reduce or eliminate any sense of risk in dealing with you in the mind of the buyer.

Who is your ideal customer? What values, virtues, quali­ties, and attributes will he be looking for in a supplier of your product? Do you match this profile? If not, do you have a burning desire to be this kind of person? Are you committed to transforming yourself into this kind of person? These are the key questions you must ask yourself when beginning to build your personal brand.

Be brutally honest with yourself. In any relationship, to try to fake who you are is a recipe for failure. To be authentic is to create trust in all of your relationships, both personal and professional.

Promises You Keep

Unmet ex­pectations are the arch enemy of any relationship. This is no less true in the relationship between you and your customers. Your brand as a person is determined in large part by whether you consistently deliver on your promises. Do you keep your word? Do you follow up? Do your words and ac­tions match with the image you want to create – that is, with the values, virtues, qualities, and attributes you claim as your own?

Constantly examine your behavior. When you slip, re­solve to get back on track. To build and sustain a powerful personal brand, your message must be an accurate reflection of you, the messenger.

The Whole Package

Pay close attention to your entire image. Of course, your character is of paramount importance. But you make an im­pact on people in other ways as well. Your appearance – the clothes you wear, your personal grooming, your posture – has an enormous emotional impact on how other people see you, think about you, and relate to you. Your attitude is vital. If you are genuinely pleasant and cheerful in your interaction with others, they will enjoy being with you. They will be more inclined to trust you and do business with you.

Your overall behavior strongly influences the impression others have of you. Be punctual for meetings and appoint­ments. Be absolutely reliable, always keeping your word and your commitments. Should you fail in this area, communi­cate with the other person as quickly as possible, offering your apology, explanation, and assurance that it will not happen again. Be responsive to the needs of your customers. Get back to them promptly. Develop a sense of urgency. Be­come a “Do it now” kind of person. Develop the reputation of being the “Go to” person when a customer has a problem or needs something done quickly and well.

Pay close attention to the quality of your work. In the long run, there is nothing that will so determine your success in building and sustaining a powerful personal brand as turn­ing out high-quality work, over and over again and over a long period of time.

There are seven laws of personal branding you must mas­ter, if you are to drive your business to new levels of excel­lence and profitability.

The Seven Laws of Personal Branding

1. The Law of SpecialisationFocus your brand on one specific area of achievement in your work. Avoid diversification. Do not try to be all things to all people. Select a specific industry, product, service, or skill in which you can excel.

2. The Law of Leadership. Become one of the most knowledgeable, skilled, and respected people in your field. Be the very best at what you do. Consistently strive to become better and better.

3. The Law of Personality. Your personal brand must be built around your personality, in all its aspects. The most important part of personal branding is that you be perceived as a nice and trustworthy person. Be pleasant, positive, and cheerful. Treat everyone well, no matter what the circumstances, and always do what you say you will do. Be sure your customers enjoy their interaction with you and know they can depend on you.

4. The Law of Distinctiveness. Once you have created your own personal brand, you must express it in a unique way. Everything you do must be part of the “package.” Sometimes a small factor, like sending cookies to a customer, can brand you in a distinct way. Why? Because no one else does it. Your goal is to be perceived as unique, thus differentiating you from everyone else vying for the attention of your prospec­tive customer.

5. The Law of Visibility. To be effective, your personal brand must be seen repeatedly and consistently. You must be busy and active. Join business associations in your industry and attend meetings. Introduce yourself and hand out business cards. When you call on a cus­tomer, introduce yourself to other people in the office. The more you are seen in a positive way, the more powerful your personal brand will be.

6. The Law of Congruence. Your behavior must be con­sistent, both publicly and privately. Everything you do behind closed doors should be consistent with what you do in public. People should feel that there is com­plete alignment or congruence between the public person and the private person. Both must be au­thentic, not merely a false persona adopted for the purpose of impressing or manipulating others.

7. The Law of Persistence. Once you have built your per­sonal brand, you must now sustain it. Never deviate from it. Give it time to grow. Stick with your personal brand through thick and thin until it sets like hardened cement in the minds of other people.

The time and energy you invest in building a powerful, positive, personal brand will pay huge dividends. People will trust you and willingly accept your suggestions and recom­mendations. They will buy from you more readily, again and again, and even pay more for your products and services than for those of your competitors. They will gladly provide you with referrals, open doors for you, and create opportuni­ties not available to others. A positive personal brand will enable you to more readily secure credit and borrow money.

Remember, “Everything counts!” Everything you do ei­ther enhances or detracts from your brand. Every word you utter either adds to or takes away from the quality of your personal brand. Your responsibility is to ensure that every­thing you do and say is consistent with the perception you want others to have of you. This is the key to building a powerful, positive, personal brand.

WALKING ON THE WILD SIDE

Enter The Red Dragon

A significant event happened on the African economic landscape last week, when the Chinese bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) bought 20% of Standard Bank. This is significant in a number of ways in that it represents the single largest foreign direct investment in Africa to date USD5.5 billion. Secondly, it shows the Chinese mean real business and they are not ready to give up on Africa. The Chinese have been busy investing in commodities in Zambia, DRC, Cameroon et c to secure raw materials for their growing industry back home. Now they have just bought a bank to make structured deals and trade financing easy for them! The purchase of the Standard Bank stake, gives them the financial avenues to structure deals in the emerging markets of Latin America, Asia, Africa and Middle East (of which Standard Bank is in more than 38 countries). In a single swoop, they will be in more than 38 countries! This is smart business by the red dragons. For all the big talk, America and Britain have been overtaken by China as the biggest investors in emerging markets.

Walking On The Wild Side

I remember watching the comic, Lion King, when Simba remarked that “I laugh in the face of danger. I walk on the wild side”. Simba was a young adventurous lion cub who decided to check out the “really cool place” as advised by his wicked Uncle Scar. The cool place was an elephant graveyard full of hyenas. Although risky, the adventure satisfied the curiosity of the young lion cub. Doing business in emerging markets is exactly not fun – the political, economic and regulatory environments are a minefield. Just think of MTN being asked to pay USD50 million mobile licence in retrospect for a small market like Benin! It is very risky. The flip side is also to think of MTN making more profit across the border in Nigeria than all its operations in Africa (including South Africa) and the Middle East combined. I have greatest respect for people like Strive Masiyiwa who are trailblazers who went to places like Nigeria when it was a lions den. They are the forerunners of a cadre of Afro entrepreneurs who we need to take this continent forward. When the West carry out due diligence of emerging market businesses, the results are negative. They walk away…not so for the Chinese, they run in! African assets are a real bargain when one looks at the price to earnings (PE) ratios. The West will see risk, the Chinese will see return. Even in portfolio risk theory, you learn that the investments with the highest risk, offer the highest return. Your risk appetite can determine how far you can go in life.

Cris-atunity

The Chinese word for crisis, “wei chi” translated literally means “dangerous opportunity.” The Chinese pictograph for crisis is made up of two characters, one standing for opportunity, the other for danger. In one of the Pauline letters it is recorded that, (paraphrased) “…a great door of opportunity has been opened for me, but the adversaries are many….” The great Paul had doors to fulfil his mission at Ephesus, but the opposition was so intense. He did not give up. At Ephesus he had one of the biggest successes of his ministry, as he would write later to them exhorting the Ephesians “…having done all to stand, stand ye therefore…” There is any eternal conflict between our destiny and opposing forces. The forces could be the economy, government, adversaries, sickness, lack. Is there a crisis in your country, your job, your family, your business? Let me encourage you – having done all to stand, stand ye therefore! Don’t give up on that country, business, job, relationship, marriage. Use your shield of stubborn faith to quench the fiery darts of the opposition to your destiny. Behind the crisis is an opportunity. Forget about the crisis look for the opportunity in the crisis…cris-atunity. It is darkest, just before dawn. The brightest star shines on the darkest night. Keep shining!

WALKING ON THE WILD SIDE

Enter The Red Dragon

A significant event happened on the African economic landscape last week, when the Chinese bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) bought 20% of Standard Bank. This is significant in a number of ways in that it represents the single largest foreign direct investment in Africa to date USD5.5 billion. Secondly, it shows the Chinese mean real business and they are not ready to give up on Africa. The Chinese have been busy investing in commodities in Zambia, DRC, Cameroon et c to secure raw materials for their growing industry back home. Now they have just bought a bank to make structured deals and trade financing easy for them! The purchase of the Standard Bank stake, gives them the financial avenues to structure deals in the emerging markets of Latin America, Asia, Africa and Middle East (of which Standard Bank is in more than 38 countries). In a single swoop, they will be in more than 38 countries! This is smart business by the red dragons. For all the big talk, America and Britain have been overtaken by China as the biggest investors in emerging markets.

Walking On The Wild Side

I remember watching the comic, Lion King, when Simba remarked that “I laugh in the face of danger. I walk on the wild side”. Simba was a young adventurous lion cub who decided to check out the “really cool place” as advised by his wicked Uncle Scar. The cool place was an elephant graveyard full of hyenas. Although risky, the adventure satisfied the curiosity of the young lion cub. Doing business in emerging markets is exactly not fun – the political, economic and regulatory environments are a minefield. Just think of MTN being asked to pay USD50 million mobile licence in retrospect for a small market like Benin! It is very risky. The flip side is also to think of MTN making more profit across the border in Nigeria than all its operations in Africa (including South Africa) and the Middle East combined. I have greatest respect for people like Strive Masiyiwa who are trailblazers who went to places like Nigeria when it was a lions den. They are the forerunners of a cadre of Afro entrepreneurs who we need to take this continent forward. When the West carry out due diligence of emerging market businesses, the results are negative. They walk away…not so for the Chinese, they run in! African assets are a real bargain when one looks at the price to earnings (PE) ratios. The West will see risk, the Chinese will see return. Even in portfolio risk theory, you learn that the investments with the highest risk, offer the highest return. Your risk appetite can determine how far you can go in life.

Cris-atunity

The Chinese word for crisis, “wei chi” translated literally means “dangerous opportunity.” The Chinese pictograph for crisis is made up of two characters, one standing for opportunity, the other for danger. In one of the Pauline letters it is recorded that, (paraphrased) “…a great door of opportunity has been opened for me, but the adversaries are many….” The great Paul had doors to fulfil his mission at Ephesus, but the opposition was so intense. He did not give up. At Ephesus he had one of the biggest successes of his ministry, as he would write later to them exhorting the Ephesians “…having done all to stand, stand ye therefore…” There is any eternal conflict between our destiny and opposing forces. The forces could be the economy, government, adversaries, sickness, lack. Is there a crisis in your country, your job, your family, your business? Let me encourage you – having done all to stand, stand ye therefore! Don’t give up on that country, business, job, relationship, marriage. Use your shield of stubborn faith to quench the fiery darts of the opposition to your destiny. Behind the crisis is an opportunity. Forget about the crisis look for the opportunity in the crisis…cris-atunity. It is darkest, just before dawn. The brightest star shines on the darkest night. Keep shining!

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