How to overcome a setback and make a major comeback

Comeback 1
There is nothing as exciting as a comeback—seeing someone with dreams, watching them fail, and then getting a second chance. (Rachel Griffiths)

Parties are really nice, especially when you are familiar with the host and some of the invited guests.  But if you happen to be one of the invited guest’s ‘plus 1’, then things can be a bit tricky.  This is because the main guests in most cases know one another, which means that the ‘plus 1” mostly ends up being in the midst of strangers.

Well, recently, I happened to be a ‘plus 1’ guest at a house party to mark the 50th birthday of the wife of a friend—to my friend (who had invited me).  After greeting Joe, the host, and the birthday lady and a few guests, I was abandoned by my friend who as expected, went to mingle with others.

It was not long before I realized that I was in the middle of the crowded room, gazing at nothing and no one in particular, with a slight grin on my face.  For some strange reasons, it felt like I did not know what to do with my hands, so I held them suspended mid-air, and just stood like a sculptured statue.  “Woiiii!” I said to myself.  “I   f-e-e-l   a-w-k-w-a-r-d.”

At this juncture, I quickly started scanning the environment, when my eyes landed on a lady who was dressed in a bright red blouse, and from the way she stood, I immediately knew that she too was a ‘plus 1’ guest, so I walked over to her.

My new found friend known as Violet, tuned out to be the cousin of one of the guests.  She was very chatty.  A good thing, because there were no awkward silence moments for us in between sentences, and so we ended up talking about this-and-that.

“Have I told you that Joe had once lost everything, when fire gutted down the building where he used to run his business?”, Violet said, in a loud whisper and leaning towards my face.  No, I replied.  She then went on to say that because Joe did not have an insurance cover, he was not compensated for the loss, and things were so rough on him and his family, that they ended up being homeless and had to take refuge at a relative’s place for some time.  She further said that what I was seeing of him that day was his comeback, after close to five years of toiling in hardship to rebuild his empire of a successful business and life.

According to Violet, Joe had to start from scratch, and this meant that he had to find new ways of doing business.  For him, failure was not final, but the start of his comeback.  He strongly believed that whatever happened, his comeback had to outshine his setback.  Joe believed in himself.  He knew that he had the necessary skills to succeed, and to do this, he had to invest his time and efforts to make a major comeback.  It was a lot of hard work.

Out of Violet’s story about Joe I learned that if you want to overcome a setback and make a major comeback, you need to:

  • Go through the emotions of feeling disappointed, defeated, frustrated and disconnected—BUT only for a short time. Whatever you do, do not get trapped in self-pity.  Joe knew that because he did not insure his business property, he had lost everything.  He admitted this fact and started all over again.
  • Forget past failures, learn the lesson, and move on. This may not be an easy thing to do, but you must realize that the past cannot be altered.  It is what it is.  The good news is that your future certainly can be changed.  Joe knew that he could not make a comeback by dragging around his past mistakes of not getting an insurance cover for his business property, so he left his past where it belonged—in the past, and moved on to rebuild his life.
  • Make the change. You have to take action, otherwise there will be no comeback. Change happens when you gain new knowledge, and you begin to see things from a new perspective.  Joe was able to pursue new opportunities, and no matter how difficult the situation was, he stayed committed to the process, and this enabled him to make a major comeback.

When making a comeback, you must be prepared to face new challenges.  Out of these challenges, you will gain new wisdom that will turn your past failures into something great.  All the best!

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Four things to do when transitioning to a new chapter in your life

Preparations
Success occurs when opportunity meets preparations. (Zig Ziglar)

The news of Wang’s nomination to give a presentation at the TED Talk made me so happy.  I remember reading her post on Facebook that day, and nodding my head with much approval for her nomination.  I did it so vigorously, that the tip of my chin almost touched my neck, because I knew she deserved the recognition.

While still reminiscing the good times I had had with Wang while working at the same organization years back, by sheer coincidence, I received a call from Pato, whom I also used to work with.

“Have you heard the news about Wang?” Pato said, and before I could respond to him—without planning, we both burst out shouting in unison, “Prepare to win and you can expect to win.” These used to be Wang’s famous phrase.

What followed was a discussion about Wang and how she had studied abroad, and when she came back to the country, she was employed for some time—and that’s how we met her—but after a short stint, she left and transitioned to self-employment.

Wang is a hard-working person who expects to win—by preparing to win big time.  She taught us that before transitioning to a new chapter in your life, you should carefully prepare the actions you need to take.  She always told us to prepare like we had never won, because the preparations will safeguard you from poor performance and outcomes.

Whatever you aspire for in life and you choose to go for it—marks the beginning of a new chapter in your life.  For you to succeed, it takes a lot of preparations.

From our discussions on how Wang had successfully transitioned from being employed to self-employment, we came to appreciate that preparations for high success need you to:

  • Stay committed to attaining your goals, by being clear about the things you need to do and what you need to sacrifice. And you will succeed.
  • Gain more and new knowledge in your area of focus, by discovering new things, improving ways of doing things, and experimenting new ideas. And you will be motivated to soldier on.
  • Avoid negativity which wears out the excitement you had when you started the journey of transitioning to a new chapter in your life. This will help to reduce your stress levels, boost your confidence, and help you to stay positive as you accomplish your goals.
  • Take charge of your life because no one will achieve your personal goals for you. They might help, but they will not do it for you—because they are all busy with meeting their own needs.  By doing this, you will unlock your full potential.

Truth be told, it takes a lot of preparations to transition to a new chapter in life and succeed.  Sometimes the experience can be unspectacular, but the outcome will always be spectacular.  You attract what you are ready for, so prepare and you will overcome the fear of failure, knowing that you have made all the necessary preparations!  Much love and all the best!

How to shift from fear of the unknown to a strong position of on your mark get set go

Overcoming fear of the unknown2
We do not fear the unknown. We fear what we think we know about the unknown. (Teal Swan)

“At this point, I was crawling on my knees with a bank loan that I could not service, paralyzed with fear of the unknown, and wondering what was going to happen to my business,” mama Sayo said to me, as she explained why she had to close one of her restaurants.

As I stood in silence next to her, I blinked my eyes a couple of times with my mouth slightly opened, trying to process her words, because it was hard for me to relate between the image of her old self, crawling and confused—and her present self, standing erect and beaming.

I first met mama Sayo four or five years ago at her restaurant, where I used to frequent a lot during lunch time.  The food was fresh and reasonably priced.  We soon became friends, and whenever she missed seeing me for a couple of days, she would ask where I had been.  Then a couple of months ago, when I went to the restaurant, I noticed that the food tasted differently, and the faces of the waiters were new to me, but I did not make much of it.  Then by coincidence, a week or so later, I received a phone call from mama Sayo (by the way, where I come from, some women like to be addressed as ‘mother of so and so…’).   I was a bit surprised and wondered where she had gotten my number.

“I want to invite you to the restaurant where I’ve moved to,” mama Sayo said.  “And please come with your colleagues.”

The next day, I went to mama Sayo’s restaurant, and to my surprise, the place was much bigger than the other one, and everything was well organized.  I also saw some familiar faces of the waiters who had moved with her.

I remember arriving at the restaurant and mama Sayo walking happily towards me, and we stood to exchange pleasantries for some time.  It was at this point that she explained to me that she had to close the other restaurant because it was making huge loses.  As an entrepreneur, it was not an easy decision for her to make as she was afraid of failure and humiliation, and that things would not go as planned and she would live to regret it.  Until one day, she overcame fear of the unknown.

The other restaurant was not easy for customers to locate, but this one is located on the main road and has plenty of parking space.  “Now I am able to pay full attention to this restaurant, instead of having divided attention on two—one of which was making huge loses, mama Sayo said.  “Look at me!  Business is good, and my customers are happy!”

During our conversation we talked about fear of the unknown, and how it leads to inaction, even when you know that what you fear to do is what you need to do, to improve your life.  When it comes to making tough decisions, it is very common to deny the existence of fear and you may choose to remain positive.  But the problem of doing this is that you tend to convince yourself that things will work out—yet you do nothing to make things to work out.  According to mama Sayo, if you truthfully and accurately respond to these four simple questions, you will shift from a state of feeling paralyzed with fear of the unknown, to a strong position of on your mark, get set, go!

  • What is it that I want to do that I have been putting off out of fear?
  • What am I waiting for?
  • If I did what I want to do—what is the worst that could happen?
  • What are the immediate and gradual benefits of doing what I want to do?

Once you answer these questions, the next important thing to do is to go out there and get busy with planning and implementing your health, finance, and relationship goals.  And you will be just fine.  No, actually, you will be super fine!   Much love and all the best!

How to Get Unstuck When the Going Get Tough Using the 3Ds of Reality Check

Reality Check2
It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped. (Tony Robbins)

I remember that day as if it was yesterday, when Nimo burst out on the other end of the phone, speaking excitedly, “Have you seen today’s newspaper?”

“A a a h !   W h a – W h a t ?” I responded half asleep with a frown on my face, as I was not amused.  It was the beginning of the weekend.  My day to sleep in late.

“Did I wake you up?” Nimo said, trying to sound apologetic—but knowing her too well, I knew she was laughing inside her heart because she knows how I love my sleep.

After pulling myself up to sit on the bed, the best I could do was to use my elbow to support the weight of the upper part of my torso, then used the left shoulder to rest my head at a tilt angle, while holding the phone to my ear.  Then I listened to Nimo explain to me how one of our mutual friends, (I will call her Risper to protect her identify) had featured in the newspaper as one of the top nominees of a prestigious fashion designers’ award of the year.

I was so elated to receive the news, that I happily sprang out of bed to make myself a nice cup of tea, as we continued talking.

We were both very happy for Risper’s recognition because she had joined the fashion industry later in life.  Since we met in high school, her passion had always been in fashion design. She always dressed very well and gave us the best fashion advise—but for some reasons, she just wanted to be a pilot.  So, she studied for it, and worked for a couple of years with a few humanitarian organizations, yet she always felt stuck. Then one day, she took matters into her hands and did a reality check on herself, and that is when she realized that the only reason why she thought she wanted to be a pilot was to follow in her father’s footsteps.  And not for any other reason.

Just like Risper, there comes a time when you feel stuck.  Should this happen, do a reality check on yourself.  A reality check is important because it gives you a chance to think about what really matters to you.  It is a time to reflect and pay attention to what is happening in your life and your surroundings—giving you an opportunity to develop a new roadmap for your life.

According to Risper, you will know it is time to do a reality check on yourself when: a) You keep putting off making an important decision that you know you need to make; b) You force yourself to think positive about crappy things that are happening to you; and, c) You keep trying new things in your life, but always end up getting the same lame results.

Simple steps to follow to get unstuck when the going gets tough, using the 3Ds of reality check.

  1. Discover.  Find the clarity you desire by becoming self-aware of your needs.  How?  By asking; What am I in denial about that I did not realize till now?
  2. Decide. Stop wasting time worrying and losing sleep over the same old issues over-and-over again.  Instead, understand your problems and find a lasting solution.  How?  By asking; What are the consequences if I do not change?   
  3. Do. Set goals that will improve your life and be committed to attain them.  How?  By asking; How can I change to avoid painful consequences identified in point 2 above.

Remember, we are all on earth to do the same thing called life, therefore, it is necessary to keep checking to see if your trajectory matches your goals—and you will be just fine.  Much love and all the best!

Pitfalls to avoid for you to stay committed to the big picture you have for your life

Big picture3
Sometimes you need to step back and think about what is really important—the big picture is a lot more important than temporary indulgences. (Ashton Morris).

I recently bumped into Njoro in the streets and he had really transformed from the person I used to know.  “You look great and you seem to be doing well, what is your secret?” I said to him, and his response caught my attention.  “Looking at the big picture.”

As he explained what he had been up to with his life, my mind went to flashback-mode, and I recollected how I met Njoro at my first job where we instantly hit it off as friends, out of pity for me—and not because he liked me.  I say this because my boss at the time was not easy to please, so, whenever I did something that he did not like—this guy would look at me and shout on top of his voice, “ W h o   h i r e d   y o u ? ”

It was a tricky question.  The person asking was the one who had hired me.  Ha-ha-ha-haaaa!

And so it became the office joke, and whenever Njoro met me along the office corridors, or when he came to my desk to inquire whether my boss was in the office, the last thing he would say jaywalking and giggling away would be, “ W h o   h i r e d   y o u ? ”  And both of us would laugh so hard that the muscles on our ribs would hurt so much.

Back to my small chat with Njoro at the shopping Mall, and he was now talking of how thinking in terms of the big picture he has for his life, guides every action and decision he makes, and this has helped him not to be a quitter, even when the going gets really tough.  He further said that when you focus on the big picture, you are able to create the life of your dreams, because it helps you to pay attention to what you want to achieve, rather than what you fear will happen to you.  “And most importantly, you will stop chasing the wrong things, which means you will end up at the right direction,” Njoro said as he slowly moved his face close to mine.

As we concluded our conversation and I was feeling so inspired from what Njoro had shared with me, I asked him what he thought were the pitfalls to avoid for you to stay committed to the big picture you have for your life, and this was his response:

  • Avoid overreacting to each unpleasant situation you encounter, otherwise you will end up becoming panicky and indecisive. The best thing to do is to analyze the situation, then you will be able to make calculated moves towards solving the problem.
  • Avoid crowding your ‘list of things to do’ with appointments and activities, to stop feeling choked—like you do not have enough time in a day to get everything done. Instead, set aside a few hours a week in your ‘list of things to do’, to rethink, plan, and strategize how you are going to attain your big picture goals.
  • Avoid isolating yourself from people who have the resources you need to attain your big picture goals, by withholding information. When you withhold information from the very people who can help you—you deny yourself an opportunity to brainstorm and bounce your ideas around to get advise.  The best thing to do is to identify someone or people who have the expertise you lack, so that they can help you with the information and resources you need.  You can also use them to challenge your thinking and assess whether your idea will work, and how you can make the necessary adjustments to your plans.

When you have a clear vision of what your big picture in life is, two things will happen.  One, you will start believing more in yourself—and know that you are good enough to do the things you want to do.  Two, you will be smart enough to know your limits.

Remember, it is the small things you do in life that add up to make your big picture.  Much love and all the best!

Lessons from a man his son and a donkey on the importance of sticking to the plan

Stick to the plan
Stick to the plan, your dreams will follow. (Shubham Kumar).

Growing up gave me very fond memories that I still treasure to date, including a story that I loved hearing over and over again about a man, his son, and a donkey.

The story is about a man who decided to go to the market to sell his donkey, so that he could get some money.  He was accompanied by his son.  The man was well known in his village, and as they walked to the market, which was quite a distance from their home, the man would occasionally stop to greet and chat with his friends, who would ask him where he was going and what he was going to do there.

This kept happening whenever he met his friends, forming a pattern of walking-stopping-walking.  After some time, the man realized that the journey to the market was taking longer than expected.  Somewhere along the way, he met a former schoolmate and after exchanging greetings, the man mentioned to his friend that the journey was taking longer than expected.  In response, his friend told him that may be the son was walking slowly because he was hungry and tired, and should ride on the donkey to save time.  After thinking about it, the man thought it was a good idea, so he helped his son to get on to the donkey’s back.  About an hour later, the man met with another friend of his, and he complained again about the journey taking longer than expected, to which his friend responded that may be the son should walk so that the man could ride on the donkey.  After thinking of how tired he was, the man felt that it was a good idea, so he helped his son to get off the donkey and they switched places.  About an hour or so later, the man and his son came across of a group of people who told off the man for letting his son to walk bare-feet on the hot sand, under the scorching January sun, while he rode on the donkey’s back.  When the man explained to them what had happened earlier, and why he was riding the donkey, they told him that if he really wanted to get to the market fast enough, the donkey should be carried.  After thinking about it, the man tied up the donkey with a rope, and using both ends of a pole that was attached, he and his son carried the donkey.

But guess what, the donkey got so scared and struggled so hard that it managed to free itself and ran in to the forest and disappeared.  The man had lost everything.  He had no donkey and he had no money, so the two of them headed back home empty handed.

This story teaches us the importance of sticking to your plan.  Had the man stuck to his original plan—of waking up early and walking to the market with his son and the donkey no matter how long the journey took—he would have attained his goal of selling the donkey and getting some money to support his family.  Riding on the donkey is not a bad idea by all means, but if it had occurred to the man before starting the journey, he probably would have made the necessary arrangements, and placed a saddle on the donkey.  But it was not his plan.  So, why did he allow people to distract him to do what he had not planned for?  Does this sound familiar?

It is good to have the flexibility to alter a few things when implementing your plan, but a lot of caution needs to be taken, so that you do not end up getting the wrong advise.  Nobody knows you more than you know yourself, which means that you know what is good for you, and why you need to come up with your various plans.  To help you stick to your plan until fully implemented, you need to:

  • Know the reason behind the reason. This simply means that once you make a decision to do something, also known as having a plan, you need to really focus and keep reminding yourself what you are doing, and why it is important for you to do it.  The man knew he wanted to go to the market to sell his donkey.  Had he focused on the fact that once he sold his donkey he would have money to support his family, he probably would have kept walking at a comfortable pace, and minimized getting too distracted by people who gave him all manner of advice.
  • Set a timeline and keep track of your progress. One of the last things to do when making a plan is to consider the resources you have, and use this information to come up with a list of what you need to do and by when—for you to know that you are heading in the right direction.  In the man’s case, because he knew that the journey to the market was long, he probably should have set simple milestones like covering a certain distance within an hour or so.  This way he could keep track of the progress (or lack of progress) made along the way, and made the necessary adjustments.
  • Always have plan B. In life, it is very important to apply methods and processes that work for you, and not what works for everybody.  With this in mind, in addition to having your master plan that you have spent so much time to develop, always have plan B, and the best way of doing this is to ask yourself, if_ _ _ does not work by the time I _ _ _, then I will_ _ _.  If the man had a plan B, the moment he realized that his son was slowing him down, he could have decided in advance that instead of taking a day to get to the market, one and a half days would be his plan B.

When growing up I was also told that a person who does not have a plan plans to fail.  Have a plan and stick to it and your dreams will turn into reality.  Much love and all the best!

 

Essential interior factors to adapt and practice that lead to success

Factors
Don’t push growth: Remove the factors limiting growth. (Peter Senge).

“What I love about life is that everyone has a fair share of what works for them to be able to succeed in business,” Maggie said, with her left elbow rested on the table, and index finger lightly placed between her upper lip and the nose, as she took a long and deep breath.  She was in a pensive mood, as she explained to me about her journey—and the harsh realities of starting a new business.

Four years ago, Maggie’s start up business was at the verge of collapsing, and she could not understand why.  This is because according to her calculations, she had invested enough money into the business, had rented an office in one of the best locations in town, and had even bought custom made furniture for the office, from Dubai.  “I was so confused at the time,” she said, “It just didn’t make sense to me!”

Deep into our conversation, Maggie explained how in her own wisdom, and after speaking to other entrepreneurs and a few trusted friends, she came to the conclusion that success in business—and in life—is dependent on factors that come from ‘outside of you’ like capital, assets, etc., and factors that come from ‘inside of you’ like habits, positive attitude, and beliefs.  It was at this point that we both went very silent, and I remember gazing through the window that was behind where Maggie was seated, that I watched a bird seated on a branch of a tree singing away.  Pripri-Pripri-Pripri.  On-and-on the bird sang.

“So, can these two factors be classified as exterior and interior factors?”, I asked Maggie, while still watching the bird, and she said yes, rather excitedly with both her eyes wide open.

According to Maggie, the reason why her business almost collapsed four years ago was because her focus was solely on exterior factors.  Out of ignorance, she had completely overlooked the interior factors—yet both play a key role in pursuit of success in life.  She truly believes that the day she made a stern decision to pay attention to interior factors as well, things turned around for the better, and she was able to save her business from collapsing.  Today she runs a successful clearing and forwarding company.  From our discussion, the topmost interior factors to adapt and practice consistently that lead to success are:

  • Have good time management skills. This will enable you to organize and plan how to divide your time when implementing different tasks.  When you perfect the art of good time management, you will get more done in less time, even when time is tight and you are working under pressure.  Simply put, you will work smarter and not harder.
  • Prepare for each task beforehand. Doing this will place you at an advantage, so that instead of being reactive to problems that come your way—you will better manage the problems faster and efficiently in a proactive manner.  This is because you will have had a chance to think through any potential problems and how to address them.
  • Have patience. Did you know that being impatient with yourself is equivalent to self-sabotage?  Yes, it is, and you end up looking desperate and people will avoid you, and worse still, you begin to start thinking of quitting.  Patience on the other hand is a virtue that develops your skills and talents, and it also enables you to learn from your failures, as well as to remain calm even when the going gets tough.  With patients, you will soldier on with life, knowing that good things take time.
  • Have self-confidence. One of the surest ways of failing is when you try so hard to please everyone.  The fact of life is that, critics will always be there whether you like it or not.  So, the best thing to do is to ignore people who try to put you down or demoralize you, focus on what you have set your mind to do, and prove them wrong.  Surrounding yourself with people who encourage and support you is also very necessary and important.

The good thing about interior factors is that they are free, easy to learn and acquire, and the best thing is that the more you practice, the better you become.  Much love and all the best!