“People say they want to achieve things, but then don’t show up for the things that would help them get there. They want to be writers, but don’t show up at the word processor. They want to own a business, but they don’t show up for the educational seminar. They want to be actors, but then don’t show up for the audition”. – Lyman Reed
You never know how much time you have lost until you look at your list of goals five or ten years ago and see the dreams that you have left to waste. Think of heights you could have scaled, or achievements that you could have bagged had you done the things that you had set out today.
The other day my eleven year old son came across the list of personal goals that I had set for myself five years ago. He laughed loudly highlighting how I had failed dismally on two of the goals. I agreed. The truth of the matter was that though I have done well in the other six areas, I had hardly moved on these two key areas. I felt naked and vulnerable at this harsh reality.
But why was there no progress on these two goals? Truth be told I had just thrown them into my list as good ideas, maybe wishes or desires that I had but I did not create an action path to achieving them. I therefore did not do anything on them on a daily, weekly or monthly basis towards achieving them. The other problem was that the goals were quite ambitious and they probably scared me into putting them forward for the future. I procrastinated ladies and gentlemen. I slept on the job and I can imagine how much time I have lost since then. This year, I have redesigned these goals and I promise myself that I will not let up.
Its a good time to think of the goals that you have been setting every year and take time to interrogate what worked and what did not work. Not working may mean like me that you did not show up to do the work or you were not clear on what work you were to inject in. If the reason is the latter, then take time to break the goal down into monthly targets that you can work at achieving. Out of those monthly targets you can derive weekly and daily measurable things that you can do to get there. If your reason is the former, meaning that you have just been sleeping on the job, then use the small daily actions to motivate yourself on what is possible. If that is not good enough, then let the thought of five to ten years of not acting on that goal scare you. The regret that would come with the thought that ‘I squandered all that time and I have nothing to show myself and the world’ can weigh heavily on your heart. I am talking from experience. I am sure that you have your experiences too.
We also have an opportunity to learn from what has worked. How and why did it work? What did you do? Let those assist you grow and become better. Personal goals are just that. They are personal as we all invest at getting better in various spheres of our lives. Must we set them? No! No one obliges us to neither set nor work on them. But since human beings desire to grow and progress, it is a good idea to set personal goals and act on them. Ultimately we remain the true beneficiaries of our achievements and those
achievements in turn then inspire us and others to dream and yearn for more.
And yes, like Eliud Kipchoge, setting personal goals and achieving them teach us that, ” No human being is limited”.
Have a bountiful Year!
After a lot of effort in putting together this huge meeting for managers and leaders, the conference finally kicked off in this beautiful Naivasha resort. Day one was great and as the Moderator, my team and I were delighted that the delegates appreciated the great minds that we had invited. The conversation was fresh, inspiring and mostly authentic. The morning of day two started equally well and as we broke for lunch I was confident that that the last speaker of the day would be a nice icing on the cake. As soon as I introduced the afternoon speaker, I quickly took to my seat eager to savour his presentation. One minute into his presentation and I knew that something was not right. His body language was not stable. The gesturing was all over the place and his speech confirmed that he was not together. He was intoxicated! In the two or so minutes I observed him on the podium I was enraged. How dare he spoil everything that we had toiled for? How could he drop the ball and indeed the conference momentum from a fever pitch high to a rock bottom low? What an embarrassment! This was the barrage of emotion that was welling up in my inside. In this disposition, I ‘knew’ exactly what to do – I briskly walked to the stage, grabbed his hand and regretfully led him outside and left him in the hands of my colleagues who led him to his room.
I then came back to conference hall, apologized fervently to the delegates…..mumbling something like …choices have consequences….openly denoting a lot of disapproval for his bad conduct. I then led discussions in the afternoon session which I must admit went on great. In the course of discussions however, a few people lauded my response to the situation, which I appreciated but I veered off what had just happened because I did not want the incident to dominate the critical leadership discourse that we were to have.
But this one comment from a delegate changed my perspective. All this time, mine was a story of pure judgement! In my single perspective, this guy’s behavior was plain and simple – offensive. All I cared about at that particular instance was my image and that of my organization and of course the great experience that I wanted my delegates to have from the Conference. In that moment, I lacked empathy. It did not occur to me to think of this resource person, an accomplished leader and what he could have been going through or what could have happened to him within the one hour of lunch break. I judged him! I condemned him!
As I reflect on this incident now, I can’t help but think of how our conclusions of someone or an issue can summarily determine our actions denying us the opportunity to empathize, reach out or even be of help to others. In any case, there is always a second side to any story!
Before you judge, seek to understand! It is Mother Teresa who put it in a more profound way – “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
If you wondering what happened; the following day in the morning, the same resource person took to the stage and made a great presentation that was met with a thundering applause from the delegates!
Disclaimer …..This story (though edited for confidentiality) is about me and not about my subject![Top]
Recently I watched a news items that got my attention. It went on to validate that ‘thought are things’. The items was about some two graduates who are now working as guards having failed to get jobs that are in line with their degree training. One of them said, “my ambition was just to work in either a financial institution or anything dealing with my area BUT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE”. He further added “I had to take it (The guard job) because I HAD NO OPTION….. Getting a job is NOT THAT EASY.
Just listening to these words, I sympathized with these two gentlemen on two counts. Firstly, that despite their degree qualification they have settled for lower cadre jobs that do not require much training and secondly and probably the most important that their words powerfully conveyed the eye through which they looked at life. Words are certainly powerful. When you say something it impossible, then impossibility becomes your reality. If you believe that you have no options, then it becomes very difficult for you to see options.
This is not an attempt to disregard the professional choices made by the two graduate guards. Neither is it an attempt to underrate their effort to search for job opportunities. Far from the truth. In fact with a very competitive market place and so many graduates seeking job opportunities, getting a job is not a walk in the park. I believe that want distinguishes between those who get those opportunities or create opportunities and those who settle for jobs so that they can pay their bills lies largely in ones belief system or simply put philosophy. If you want to be a winner, you must continuously sell to yourself thoughts such as, “it is possible to make it”. You must believe that out there lies an opportunity created for you to exploit your talents and potential and more opportunity you must seek that opportunity without wavering or quitting. Words have profound power. What you say is impossible is surely impossible and what you say is possible will become possible.
Just like an athlete who envisions himself at the podium receiving a gold medal at the Olympics long before the Olympic Games, you too should see yourself having achieved your goals. If your goal is to get the corner office then you should see yourself in the corner office. If your ambition is to start a business, then you should see the business empire as already done. The clearer the vision, the more the enthusiasm to seek it regardless of the challenges.
Today, I challenge you to watch your tongue. Say only those things that motivate you to achieve your dreams. Napoleon Bonaparte says “Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.” Words are expressions of your deeper convictions. They explain your inner world and the same is a reflection of your outer world. Words explain your beliefs, your inner thoughts and feelings and generally your philosophy. They are the roots that feed the fruits in your life. If you do not like the results (fruits) that you are getting in your life, it is time you interrogate your roots.
It is only a change of what is inside that you can change what is on the outside.
By Khami Chege[Top]
How far would you go to get a life of your dreams? Lessons from witness 604
Just to what extent would you go to achieve a life of your dreams? “The whole hog of course,” you might say. What if this extent requires that you compromise on your integrity, would it still be a worthy sacrifice to make?
The other day I was listening to witness 604 at the ICC Case against the Deputy President William Rutto and I was just amazed how low a human being can go to achieve a life of their dreams. The narration was just but a tragic drama. “She (a woman witness) told me that the evidence I gave did not have to be the truth and all I was required to do was to give the statement and I would get a lot of money, my children would go to good school abroad and I would be able to pursue further studies…..my earnings were very low and I found the proposal fantastic…. the idea of my children going to good schools abroad and a good life outside Kenya and all I needed to make was a statement”.
I totally agree with the thought that success has a price and one must be willing to pay it in full and in advance. Only a few chose this path. Many of us prefer success that comes with expediency. We are in a rush to be wealthy, reduce weight or to build healthy relationships. We want all the good things ‘pap’. It is no wonder that many of us rush to cash on pyramid schemes, seek the services of witchdoctors or fall prey to all sorts of conmanships. When ‘Babu wa Loliondo’ came calling, hundreds if not thousands of Kenyans and those in the region rushed for the miracle herbal drug. Many are cashing in on our vulnerability for instant results….instant weight loss, love, loans name them. The same drive pulled the ICC witness 604 to cash in on the instant goodies. Suddenly his life was going to be transformed for the better and there was no way he was going to forfeit this ‘fantastic’ opportunity. In his opinion, life was extending to him an elevator to his dreams and he must have said to himself to who needs the sweat up the staircase?
I look at what the witness was to get in exchange of his statement; a lot of money, education abroad for his children, his own further studies and a good life outside Kenya. Granted that this could be what is in the wish-list of many Kenyans but a few questions linger in my mind. What pride is there to see your kids or yourself graduate on soiled money? How do you explain to your young kids who have been seeing you struggle as you put food on the table that now you are boarding a plane to live in some exotic destination. How would you explain source of your new found good fortunes or windfall? How would you discuss your ‘new opportunity’ with your spouse and would they agree to take that route and be part of this grand scheme of a lie?
I guess it is the struggle of life that creates heros in us. It is every diligent brow of sweat and back ache and scars that tell the story of where you have been to create the life that you have and continue to create now into the future. It is the story of triumph, of conquering great temptations, of sacrifice or pain that make you stand and walk tall and say this far I have come. You could have fallen here and there but you woke up and step by step pushed on to be where you are. This is a story of pride
No one is perfect and maybe it is time that as we read this, we take tally of all the shortcuts that we could have made in the past to get ahead and heal ourselves of the guilt and make a solemn vow that we shall never exchange the full process of paying the price in exchange of a lifetime of shame and guilt that comes with shortcuts.
Disclaimer: This article is meant to provoke thought and should not be misconstrued to be contemptuous to ICC.