Mentoring and Coaching

How I Became A C.E.O | Lessons in Creating Opportunity

“Talent is Universal …Opportunity is not”

So yesterday I was telling my children about some of my childhood stories. We laughed so hard my eldest fell of the chair with laughter. A few things struck me in my story and I picked up some patterns, pregnant with life lessons.

Let’s rewind to 1990 – I had just finished my junior certificate (Form 2). I arrived in Harare for the first time – yes first time to visit my brother who was already working. After a few days in Harare I got my first “job” working for my uncle – Bamnini Bevan who had a carpentry shop in Magaba in Mbare. Every morning I would wake up early and go to “work” – I was only 14. After working so hard he never paid me as agreed! Bless his soul. I was never bitter – we even laughed about it.

Fast forward to 1992 I completed my O levels. Even before the results were out I went to Gweru for the the first time – this time I went to stay with an Uncle – Sekuru Munhanda. He owned a small college which was a Pitman exams Centre so I started studying Accounts & Finance during the gap period! When O level results came out I suspended the studies because I had to go and do A level studies.

While at University, I invested about $500 of my payout in a recruitment business. Two smooth talking gentlemen – Phillip and Patrick talked me into it. I was naive I lost everything and was almost beaten up following up on my “lost investment”.

Years later the year is 2008, I am now working in South Africa – I am just a few months in a foreign country and I got myself a side gig as a columnist in Black Business Quarterly (BBQ) magazine. In no time I was already getting qouted in the respected IT Web’s i-Week(www.itweb.co.za) and national broadcaster SABC as an expert in my field.

When I was recently studying (2 week block release) in Kenya in 2013 I offered to go and teach Strategy at a local university for FREE- it was an exciting lecture. In 2014 I also helped a technology company in Kenya set up their Strategic Programme Management Office (SPMO) and I did some cool consulting stuff for them in my spare time for FREE. In short this is how I became a Creator of Empowering Opportunities (C.E.O) of my life.

Let me share some insights:

1. Don’t wait for opportunities – create them. Talent is universal – opportunity is not.

2. It’s okay to start small – my first job I was a carpenter crafting wood…now I am a strategy expert I shape organisations

3. When you go to a new place don’t think of checking out the fun places only – invest in networks, connect with opportunities. First time In Harare I picked a job. In Gweru I picked a new skill. In South Africa I build my personal brand. In Kenya by offering my skills for free I put a down payment for opportunities I may need to go and close one day!

4. You don’t always win or earn – sometimes you learn. I lost $500 in a bad investment

5. It’s not where you start that matters, it’s where you end up – I started working in Magaba-shed and now I am in the C-suite

6. Don’t be driven by the PROCESS (what, how, when)…be led by your PURPOSE (the WHY)

7. A skill is a seed. Don’t waste it invest it.

8. If you only link the value of your skill to a salary you will never grow your influence beyond job titles and job grades

Lastly because of an attitude of being a Creator of Empowering Opportunities (C.E.O) most times I don’t have to apply for jobs…I am given work. You can too!

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Don’t Create A Monument of The Past : Insights On Moving On

“So Moses, the disciple of the Lord, died …. and the Lord buried him in a valley near Beth-peor in Moab, but no one knows the exact place” – Deuteronomy 34:5-6

It is instructive that God buried Moses out of sight. The children of Israel up to now do not know where the grave of Moses is. It’s pretty clear God wanted the Israelites to move on and possess the land and not be sentimental about Moses the deliverer.

A few insights as I read this scripture:

1. Emotions take you to the past. Motion takes you to the future
2. You were created for movement, not monuments
3. Aim for attainment not sentiment. Sentiment affects your mood but brings no good
4. Not everyone who starts with you must finish with you
5. Move on…you are not a robot. Your feelings don’t always get it

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Don’t Settle For Less When You Can Have More

If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said, “let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan. – Numbers 32:5

INSIGHT

The Gadites and Reubenites wanted to settle before crossing the Jordan. Moses rebuked them. Although this land was good…it wasn’t what God had promised. Imagined they begged to settle for less. A few thoughts crossed my mind:

1. Don’t settle for less when you can have more
2. Not everything that is good…is godly
3. If you are hunting for elephants don’t be distracted by rabbits

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A FLOWER IS A WEED WITH A GOOD ATTITUDE

Another masterpiece from my 7 year old daughter. I will add my poetry to her art:

Flowers O flowers, beautiful flowers
I could smell you for hours
A flower is a weed with a good attitude
A weed is a flower without gratitude
A flower chooses to bloom
A weed chooses to gloom
Flowers rise in blossom
Weeds fall to the bottom

Today choose to be a flower!

You Have Broken Eggs … Make An Omelette

My 7 year old girl was recently hospitalised. She has such an unshakeable spirit. While in the ambulance I asked her how she was and she replied “This is so cool Dad…this is like a fireman’s car” A few hours in the hospital she asked that I bring her colouring kit. Instead of wallowing on her hospital bed she has decided to put her gift to great use. She has made several awesome paintings from her hospital bed amongst her best to date! The picture in this blog is one of the several she has done. I am inspired and challenged.

A few lessons to ponder about:

1. Masterpieces are born in moments of adversity
2. When life throws stones at you build a foundation. When life gives you clouds make some rain. When life gives you broken eggs make an omelette
3. You can’t decide what happens to you but you can decide how you respond

Have a great weekend. Remember your situation is not your destination. Where you are is not who you are.

I also share some of these key life lessons in my book How To Rise Like An Eagle which is available on Amazon.

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”

If I Were A Boy …Not Just For A Day

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Disclaimer: This blog article bears no resemblance to Beyonce’s song not in the spirit or the letter….now read on.

I bet you almost trashed this blog before reading on. If you have just read this sentence you are doing so well…read on.

Let me take you back to the past – the year is 1980…am still a young boy. I think my father’s Peugeout 404 station wagon is the best car in the world. We live a simple house and I think we are in a mansion. Having chicken and rice once in a month is a big deal. Wearing my Sunday best crowns my wonderful week. Life is great. Life is simple. When my older siblings give me the crust slice of the bread – it’s an act of great favour – and I must be so thankful. I believe that my mother is my guardian angel – if I trip myself, she faults the stone, if I cut myself, she blames the knife. Life is beautiful…life is simple. All things are possible.

Oh the simplicity of being a boy.

Fast forward, 2014. Things must make sense first before I can do them. How we complicate our lives. If God wanted us complicated, He would have created us confused. He created us simple – made us in His likeness so we would never be confused about our identity. He gave us the measure of faith so all things would be possible.  He gift-wrapped us in hope so all things would work.  He gave us the gift of love so all things would be beautiful.

This is the simplicity of life as God created it. Let the girl and boy in you come out. Keep it simple. Believe the incredible, hope beyond what you see and love without reservation. Life is simple.

Lessons to reflect on:

  1. Life is simple, don’t complicate it
  2. All things are possible
  3. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
  4. Have the faith of a child

Have an awesome day and remember simple does it!