I can’t explain how I feel now.
It’s been about three months and I’ve not made any post. So terrible.
I’ve been trying to do other things. So heavy. I started a project recently to have an online event for African Teenagers and we’re expecting global leaders to be part of it.
My team members have been working tirelessly to make sure we get a good result from it.
However, I’ve not forgotten my base here. As soon as possible, I’ll get back and we get rolling again.
Thank you for always checking to see new updates. I’m grateful. And there’s a lot I’ve learnt as it concerns building a personal brand as an employee.
2020 is going to be good if you take risk that’s beyond you.
Do something crazy. But let it be in line with your vision.
The least you’ll get is that you’ll learn and keep moving.
There’s no better time and book than this… Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way is important for our times.
What a title!
The book anchors on the Stoicism. In it, you’ll see how to use challenging times to thrive and get better instead of complain.
The complaining mind never gets clarity until it settles down to reflect.
One of the favorite stories from the book is about how Thomas Edison lost his entire laboratory to fire… Everything was gone from patents to experimental results to anything you can think about.
Yet, he went on to start again. Instead of morning his loss, he went in same year and amassed more than $10m in profit.
What a life!
There are a few things to keep in mind when faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. We must try: to be objective, to control emotions and keep calm, choose to see the good, to focus on what you can control and leave what you can’t.
Few quotes I’ll share from the book:
“We decide what story to tell ourselves. Or whether we will tell one at all.”
“Defiance and acceptance come together well in the following principle: There is always a countermove, always an escape or a way through, so there is no reason to get worked up. No one said it would be easy and, of course, he stakes are high, but the path is there for those ready to take it.”
“When you worry, ask yourself, ‘What am I choosing to not see right now?’ What important things are you missing because you chose worry over introspection, alertness or wisdom?” – Gavin De Becker in The Gift of Fear
“The phrase, ‘This happened and it is bad’ is actually two impressions. The first – ‘This happened’ – is objective. The second – ‘it is bad’ – is subjective.”
“Musashi understood that the observing eye sees simply what is there. The perceiving eye sees more than what is there.”
“Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective.”
“Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.”
“Our perceptions determine, to an incredibly large degree, what we are and are not capable of. In many ways, they determine reality itself. When we believe in the obstacle more than the goal, which will inevitably triumph?”
“There is good in everything if only we look for it.”—Laura Ingalls Wilder
“The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is the advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.”
“Once you see the world as it is, for what it is, you must act.”
“We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.”
“The only way you’ll do something spectacular is by using it all to your advantage.”
“Remember and remind yourself of a a phrase favored by Epictetus: ‘persist and resist.’ Persists in your efforts. Resist giving in to distraction, discouragement, or disorder.
“We don’t choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we feel about it.”
“Persistence is an action. Perseverance is a matter of will. One is energy. The other, endurance.”
Just a little story to buttress this truth and lesson.
The story of Abraham, the patriarch of the Jews, goes in a such a way that at age 75 he was without a child. His wife, Sarah, was old. Gone pass menopause. There was no way this couple could have a child again.
However, Abraham received a promise from the visitations of two angels that he will bear his own son, from his loins. He believed it and accepted it.
Time pass, he didn’t see any. And sure, I know he must have been having doing his part as a husband.
At a point, his wife suggested her maid get in the line of the family. He agreed and Haggai got pregnant. Thinking that this will be the promised child, he was happy, but not for long.
Quarrelling came in between his wife and Haggai. (Ladies can’t handle this… You can imagine being a maid and then suddenly, you now carry the child of your master.)
Abraham, I think was confused. He got another message saying that Ishmael (the son of Haggai) is not the promised child. Therefore, he will have to wait for that one child.
He stayed there. Believed it and finally got Isaac. Isaac came as a miracle child. Abraham was close to 100years and his wife, 90.
The fulfilment of that promise was seen.
Was it easy?
Go ask a 21st century couple… Not just that, ask a typical African woman what her mother-in-law had said to her.
The lesson from this is that for employees it is time to believe in the unseen realm of life. Whether you believe in God as I know or not, the unseen realm does exist.
From the Holy Scriptures, Hebrews 11 verse 1 puts it this way for faith:
What is faith? It is the confidence assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. NLT
THERE are dreams you have but you’ve refused to take steps.
Fear. What will they say.
Go back to all the lessons and see where you are missing it. Then take those steps of faith.
Now. Not tomorrow.
Queen Esther was a Jew in the days when Jews were captured and under the rule of King Ahasuerus.
A time came when a man, named Haman, planned to kill all Jews. Esther got to know about it. And she was thinking she will be spared yet her uncle, Mordecai sent messages to her that she had better open her eyes and do something.
Her life was at stake too.
After receiving the message from her uncle, she replied thus:
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me; and neither eat nor drink for three days, night and day. I and my maids will fast as you do. Then I go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.
Esther 4:16 (AMP VERSION)
She went into the chambers of the King and got freedom for her people.
Now, imagine what would have happened if Esther had stayed complacent?
Perhaps, she would have died with her people.
The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guarantees to fail is not taking risk.
Stop that. It is not possible. You’re wasting your time.
These and many are the words we hear from parents, friends, colleagues and senior fellows in the office.
People expect you to be perfect before you start anything. Covid-19 is proving that wrong and giving an old time secret fresh breath.
Why aren’t employees taking risks?
I mentioned a few reasons why we don’t. And it’s frightening.
Take a look at all those who lost their jobs and finally got a hold on their lives. They swarm into the sky, with hands wide open saying, like Queen Esther, if I die, I die, if I perish, I perish.
This is a time where you’ve got to spread your wings and enter the King’s Palace and demand for things.
For those believing in a CV, go ahead and submit to that organization, even in this layoff time.
For those tired of submitting, start something online. Get a blog. Get a website. Run your courses. Teach something and get going.
Remember the first lesson?
I’ll leave you with Pablo’s words:
I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
How many persons have been opportune to attend college?
The number is outrageous right?
How many come out and are stranded after college?
Another outrageous number I guess.
Why is it so?
I’ve sat down in a meeting where CVs of graduates were discussed. When you see what is written inside, you’ll marvel if these ones know what is happening.
I don’t condemn any graduate that comes out and is stranded. No. The system is what gave birth to such persons.
However, I’ll blame you if after one year, you’re still stranded. I’ll blame you. You should have known better.
Knowledge is power. That’s true.
But I ask, “What kind of power?”
I did physics in high school. Potential Energy is different from Kinetic energy – the former is energy at rest while the later is energy in motion.
Knowledge is potential energy.
Wisdom is kinetic energy.
Understanding is the mechanism that converts knowledge to begin to produce wisdom.
And in this covid-19, knowledge is good. But understanding is better. While wisdom is what will give you the result you’re looking for.
As an employee, don’t just read books, attend trainings (they are good) but start going deeper. Go for the more relevant substance.
After knowledge, you’ll get understanding.
Then, wisdom opens up. At this stage, you know what to do and you do it.
Knowledge is power.
Understanding brings strategy.
Wisdom produces result.
My third lesson.
Let me explain.
Prior to this time, we knew there were things that trended in the economy. Several jobs trended and perhaps people went for them.
Everyone is talking about it. Everyone is doing it. Everyone is investing in it.
The oil market received a big blow. And that affected the transport industry globally including the hospitality industry.
I can imagine a person trying to fit into any of these industries with hope that it will be hot and suddenly, covid-19 hits.
Losses upon losses upon losses.
So instead of going with what’s in vogue, think first. Understand what’s happening and then take a decision and go by it.
I think I’ve heard Warren Buffet talk about investment and he mentioned something like he doesn’t invest in what he doesn’t understand.
Let insight lead you not trends.
A very popular statement. However, with the fear and anxiety in the hearts of employees, you’ll agree that most didn’t see this coming. Most couldn’t plan. Therefore, the job loss affected them more.
I always want to put myself in the shoes of those who lost their jobs in this period.
Like I’ve said several times, I’ve not been to the office for two months and no pay coming in.
Do you think I’ll sit and watch life go on?
I also didn’t prepare for this. I didn’t. I was trying to when the floods came rushing and somehow I’ve been able to stand.
After the covid-19 lockdown is over… I beg your pardon, as the lockdown is on, the planning is already on.
Since we know we are responsible for ourselves we also know that we need to plan for ourselves as well.
Are you planning for yourself or waiting for someone to?
For certain reasons, I want to call these lessons, courses. Tutor? Covid-19. And they are free courses. But not everyone might attend the classes.
I have given more thoughts to work recently than other times.
I’ve also worked more – outside the office than any other time.
I read a story of how an employee was told that at 5pm of the day she was called that she will be off employment.
The person in question got the call from the director and these are few lines from the conversation:
“She said we are actually – have to d away with your position altogether because, you know, we do – we want to make sure that if something like this ever happens again that we will be prepared and being able to just work with the people that we have to…”
The truth is that even when it happens again, there will still be lay offs.
In the same line, another employee, who was laid off, was asked the question, “… how are you getting by right now?”
“You know, fortunately – and I got to say I’m thankful that I’ve – you know, I was able to have a little bit of savings – not a ton. But that’s mostly what I’ve been living off of here in I guess what’s been a couple of months.”
Can you see that?
Government too can’t help you fully. They are like you and I in so many ways. We know of corruption and all of that but they are like us in many ways.
What’s the the writing on the wall?
Covid-19 says, take responsibility for your life.
Don’t rely on jobs any more even after this lockdown. Get your feet up and your brains open.
Do something apart from having a job.
(Stories from https://npr.org/)
Most employees are scared of the word entrepreneurship. And I understand. But the truth is that you can be entrepreneurial without having a business-business.
Each time I talk with fellow employees, there’s a view they have for the word, entrepreneurship.
It feels like it’s for the great and might. Strong and gallant. Fearless and limitless.
They don’t think they can. They don’t even try.
While I understand that thrill, because I use to be there, can I tell you that you don’t have to own businesses to show that you are entrepreneurial. You don’t have to.
If you have a job, enjoy it.
But you can also try out things. Try out your ideas. Stop thinking you’ll fail even before trying.
Summarizing this, whether you have a job or you’re fired or whatever, try something.
Read yesterday’s post so you can understand this better.