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O Hail New Season | It’s Spring Time

Winter is gone. Spring is here in all its magnificent splendour. Summer is right behind like a best lady. I have been meditating on the meaning of the change in seasons. Winter has got a way of numbing us as we all retreat to find a niche of warmth. Spring has got a way of making us all bounce back. This morning I have been watching the red spring blossom of Msasa trees, hearing the enthusiastic chirping of birds all under a serene blue sky – what an explosion of edenic beauty. Flowers as if on some regimented cue, are all strutting their beautiful blooms at the slightest push of the gentle whispers of spring breeze.

All this we see in nature is a promissory note from the bank of heaven that nothing lasts forever even the coldest and longest winter has to give in. The destruction of the old brings the construction of the new. Every exit…is an entrance to somewhere… The sun sets today to rise tomorrow. Your situation is not your destination. Your temporary condition is not your permanent position.

If I had time if I had time…. I would tell you of one story that grabs me. A story of one paralytic man who had been immobile for 38 years… he had “a deep seated lingering disorder”:

John 5:5-8

There was a certain man there who had suffered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years. When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?] The invalid answered, Sir, I have nobody when the water is moving to put me into the pool; but while I am trying to come [into it] myself, somebody else steps down ahead of me. Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your bed (sleeping pad) and walk!

Jesus asks the man a question. I am reminded of the story of Job – for a good 37 Chapters God is silent. In the 38th Chapter, God finally speaks and asks Job questions:

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

“Who is this who darkens counsel. By words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.”Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. – Job 38:1-4

Going back to the Old Testament, instead of getting an answer God asks questions and tells a Job to basically zip it! Fast forward to the New Testament , the paralytic man who wanted to have a pity party was also told to zip it!

Friends today you are being asked questions as well. What is your answer? This ain’t time for a pity party. This is not time to feel sorry for yourself. BUT…

1. RISE UP (above negativity, from slumber), TAKE UP YOUR BED (circumstances, limitations) and WALK (pursue purpose, do what you couldn’t do)

2. Write that business plan, publish that book, go to that place, meet that person, read that book…do that which you have always wanted to do but couldn’t

3. Cheer up. Chin up. Head straight. Chest out. Square shoulders . Spring in your step. There is more in God…there is more in YOU

It’s a spring time!

Celebrating Heroes Day | My Personal Reflections

“Love urikugayei?” there would go the question. I would answer ” Ndirikugaya Makeyi”. The next question would be “Makeyi aendepi?”

“Makeyi aenda kuSobhaya” , I answered. This would be a typical scene at my parents shop at 37 Ross Avenue in Rusape, a place then known as Evergreens. This was in 1981 when my siblings and some of our staff would ask me why I would be in deep thought. I was just about 5 years or so and I was close to my dad and would be sad when he travelled for a few days. Makeyi was slang for Baba as I used to call my Daddy. Sobhaya was slang for Harare then known as Salisbury (Sby).

I have been reflective for a number of reasons. Tomorrow it will be 31 years after my father’s passing. But this week is also our Heroes and Defence Forces Holiday. Let me take you back to the trips my father was making to Harare a lot. My father had a number of shops during the war in Manicaland in places like Mandeya 2, KwaZindi, Vengere, Nyazura. Like many patriotic Zimbabweans he supported the liberation struggle with his substance. In his office when we went through some of his documents after his death we saw letters from Makomuredzi ( liberation fighters) written to my father. Some of the letters would read:

Wadiwa Baba

Makadii Baba. Tiri Vana venyu. Tinokumbirawo rubatsiro;

1. 10 X Kingsgate Cigarretes

2. 10 x Madison Cigarettes

3. Jeans & Jackets (Denims)

4. Matendafoot (Tennis Shoes)

5. Batteries for Radios (used to be called Wairesi – Wireless Radios)

….the list would go on.

Pamberi Nehondo! Pamberi NeGutsaruzhinji!

Wenyu Muhondo

Comrade Canada Dry

My mother confirmed to us back then as we painfully went through my father’s office and papers after his death in 1987, that this is typically the letters that would have been dropped off and passed on to her via the Mujibha’s or Chimbwido’s for Baba’s attention.

So why was my Dad travelling to Salisbury a lot those days? This was soon after the war and there was a talk that the government would ‘compensate’ business people like my father who had contributed to the liberation struggle. His trips to Salisbury where to go to some of the ‘offices’ to follow up. I don’t remember my father getting the compensation , but that’s not my point. On one of these trips Cde Canada Dry who was now a top military man even phoned and asked to speak to me and he said “Mfana tinaBaba kuno kuSalisbury, hold on and speak to him” That made my day and I can ever forget its effect on my impressionable young mind and heart then.

This is my point in sharing this:

1. The liberation fighters were respected and respectful people

2. The liberation struggle was a joint effort between the fighters and the people

3. Therefore let’s always celebrate days like these because of our common history as Zimbabweans

As I am writing this now, my little boy came and asked me what I was writing. I explained to him. It’s important that present and future generations are proud of their history. The past has got a way of informing the future. Our children will only be determined and courageous going into the future when they know their rich heritage as determiners of their one history.

Happy Heroes Day Zimbabwe.

JERICHO (READ ZIMBABWE) WE HAVE A PROBLEM | BRING SOME FLAVOUR

Going through my Bible this morning, I was just reflecting on how each of us is a solution to most of the problems we have at a family, business, church, organisation or national level.

As we bring our hearts (passion), heads (knowledge) and hands (skills) to every situation something begins to change. This is how we can change our condition and the state of the world around us.

Reflecting on my Bible reading this morning, I recalled reading this very same scripture on the 27 November 2017 so I went back to my notes and would like to share as is:

2 Kings 2:19-21

Now a delegation of the city officials of Jericho visited Elisha.”We have a problem,”they told him.”This city is located in beautiful natural surroundings, as you can see; but the water is bad and causes our women to have miscarriages.”

“Well,”he said,”bring me a new bowl filled with salt.”So they brought it to him.

Then he went out to the city well and threw the salt in and declared,”The Lord has healed these waters. They shall no longer cause death or miscarriage.”

Here are some few key lessons on the metaphor of salt. Take your own pinch …

INSIGHT

It is instructive that when there was a problem in Jericho, Elisha asked for salt to fix the issue. Today your nation, family, church, business could be in a similar situation be the salt:

1. Salt is a preservative. Things must never die under your watch

2. Salt is a flavor and seasoning . Add value wherever you are.

3. Salt is odorless but powerful. Influence without pomp

THE MORNING AFTER | BEYOND THE POLITICS

As the Presidential results are released tonight or whenever they are released I want to share some encouragement. There can only be one President at a time so I know some of you will celebrate and others will be sad at that point. Everyone wants their candidate to win. But I want you to know that worldly governments come and go but in the heavenly kingdom this is our kind of government:

“There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace…” Isaiah 9:7

A few eternal truths to hold on to even in these times and always:

1. Your destiny and success is not dependent upon the occupants of State House, but the One who sits in the Throne Room

2. Your times and seasons are in the hands of the Lord and they shall not be altered or adjusted by anyone or anything.

3. All things work together for your good, including the government of the day, even that Ward Councillor and MP from the party you didn’t vote for

4. You operate according to God’s agenda, calendar and timeline because your “times and seasons are in His hands”

5. Where you are is not who you are. Your situation is not your destination. You will flourish wherever you are planted even in 🇿🇼

6. Your blessing is not determined by politics or geography but by divinity

7. Your life is bigger than the politics of the day

Having established these truths what do you do? Good question. Here are some practical things to do:

* Have a plan to succeed/prosper regardless of who is in State House. Your destiny is too big to outsource to one person who is voted every 5 years

* Avoid toxic and negative conversations about why this or that person could be better as your Councillor, MP or President – you will live with them for next 5 years

* When the wind blows some build windbreakers others build windmills. Be the latter and position yourself

* Leave politics to politicians – rise above it and move on. It takes a heart to forgive and a head/brain to move on

* Don’t curse your country. Bless it with your words.

* Wake up everyday and tell yourself that “I am an answer to Zimbabwe’s tough and stubborn questions”

* Get up. Dress up. Show up and show up early…

Declare this prayer:

Dear Lord. You have given me a great work to accomplish. I war for the releasing of finances and all resources that belong to me. Every single plan concerning my life will come to pass. No more delays or denial. I call forth resources from south, east, north and west. I am ready and equal to every challenge and opportunity in this season. Amen!

LESSONS FROM THE DENTIST CHAIR | A DEAD TOOTH CAN STILL CHEW

As I sat down in the dentist chair for the 5th time with the same tooth I started to reflect on some life lessons. I rewound to a few months ago when I visited my dentist with this same sore tooth. She took a look and an X-ray too. The diagnosis was that the tooth was bad and the prognosis was that I was on a slippery slope to lose it sooner than later. There were three choices: a filling; an extraction or a root canal.

I am a corporate troubleshooter and I started to ask some questions to understand what we were  dealing with and what each intervention would mean. The ‘filling solution’ would only provide temporary relief and at some point I would lose the tooth to decay – infact this wasn’t an option anymore. The ‘extraction solution’ was a sure way to deal with the problem, but would leave one big problem – a gap and hey chewing bones and my favourite…chibage (corn) could prove tricky because this is a premolar (it’s a transitional tooth between the canines and molars – which helps with tearing and grinding). Hell no! The ‘root canal solution’ would deal with the root of the problem, but was costly, risky (you sign an indemnity form) and cumbersome. I chose this last option because I will still keep my tooth!

Here are some few lessons that came to my mind as the amazing dental team worked on my tooth:

1. Identify The Problem – you can’t fix a problem you don’t know. What is revealed is healed. The dentist took an X-ray and concluded that there was a problem with the tooth; and the specific location of the problem. Certain problems require going deeper – only an X-ray will do.

2. Deal With Root of The Problem – after identifying the problem, the preferred solution was to go and clean up the ‘canals’. In layman terms it means killing the nerves and cleaning up all the bad stuff. This step alone took 2 visits, and I recall my proud dentist remarking that she had fixed all the 4 canals. What is exposed is closed. In life if you don’t deal with all the roots of a problem, you will always suffer from it!

3. Protect Your Vulnerabilities – a few days after my root canal procedure, I was having muesli for breakfast, and I felt something break – it was my tooth tissue. I called my dentist in panic and was told that my tooth was essentially dead and brittle and if not “protected” it would basically crumble. To avoid this I would need to have a crown fitted on top. This would protect my tooth. Aha! Life is pretty much the same – never expose your vulnerabilities – protect your points of weakness.

4. Your Flaws Must Not Floor You – I no longer have a perfect set of teeth because one tooth is basically now dead and protected by a crown. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth — to cover the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance. This means the tooth will be able to perform normal function like eating ‘chibage’. This is the biggest lesson – if a dead tooth can still function. If a broken tree can still produce fruit. If a broken crayon can still colour the same. So can you. Unless I told you I have a dead tooth, you would never know. Many of us walk broken too in ways many people may or may not know. God uses a lot of broken people to leak His grace to others. The unction to function oils us so we perform in spite of our brokenness. God’s grace is the crown that covers our brokenness like a dental crown covers a broken tooth!

Disclaimer: Any reference to medical and dentistry terms is based on my basic understanding. For any issues about your teeth, please get help from a professional dentist. 

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!

GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN | LESSONS IN KNOWING YOUR VALUE 

“Now therefore give me this mountain…for thou heardest…that the cities were great and fenced:if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out…” Joshua 14:12

Significance is seldom small. Influence is infrequently narrow. Greatness is hardly inconspicuous. David did not play wrestling with Goliath – it was blood sport. Jesus did not tap dance with the devil – he disarmed him and publicly annihilated him. This evening as I read about Caleb, I can’t help but feel like saying “Give me this mountain” Caleb did not ask for a valley. He wanted a whole mountain. Let’s be clear this was not a game of marbles but a mountain mover league challenge.  

A few insights:

1. Don’t act your AGE, act your WAGE. Caleb did not behave like a 75 year old man…he knew his true value – there was more life ahead of him, than behind him. 

2. Easy roads lead nowhere. Caleb asked for a mountain. Don’t settle for less when you can have more

3. The best opportunities are protected. Caleb went for the “great and fenced” cities. 

Don’t play small. Dream big. Aim for the stars. Like cream, dream and rise to the top. Go ahead …say “give me this mountain”