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Poem – No one ever tells you…

No one ever tells you that the transitioning process from where you are to where you want to be can be so painful; so lonely sometimes and so confusing.

No one ever tells you that there are days when you question why you took a leap of faith in the first place, when you experience situations that cause you pain and opposition from those closest to your heart.

No one ever tells you just how really difficult the journey to your purpose is. Sometimes the questions you ask is…was this really worth me giving up my comfort? At least in my comfort I didn’t encounter such pain or I could deal with some of this pain.

No one ever tells you that there will be moments where you beg God to take you in your sleep because you felt like the transitioning pain was too much. To your surprise, you find yourself alive the next morning and you say to the Lord…I’m still here! Clearly you want me alive for a reason. Forgive me lord for my foolish request. Thank you for the gift of life. But Father I ask, how am I going to live through this and actually succeed?

No one ever tells you that the passion will be there but not the strength.

No one ever tells you that the opposition will be much; because it comes from those you love the most. How do you fully become yourself and conquer the world when you have failures and struggles in your own nesting place. How do you become Superman or Superwoman after defeating words been uttered to you?

But even if no one ever tells you…Just know God has already secured your amazing future, so despite everything that challenges you, know this one fundamental truth. The Lord has a great plan for your life and that plan will make you whole. So face your future with renewed hope because it’s going to be glorious.

 

Vow to listen…

I was watching an interesting talk show and the guest that day happened to be Wole Sonyika. I think when we think of Africans who have elevated the status of our continent, Wole Sonyika’s name features amongst the great. Sonyika is a legendary Nigerian playwright and poet. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in literature, the first African to be honoured in that category. The talk show host asked him quite a few interesting questions and his responses were also quite ingenious, obviously not shocking coming from a writer/artist.

But, there was one question that really stood out for me. She asked, ‘Sir, what did you learn from your childhood that has shaped you to be the man that you are today’. He sighed and paused for a while and then said “I spent a lot of my time with adults and around adults, just listening. I was fascinated by the discussions of my elders and that began to shape the way I viewed the world, so yes, listening”. He further went on to echo that it’s very important that people listen and reflect.

I immediately started connecting the dots in my mind recalling a conversation I had with one of my friends. We often raised our concerns about corporate and especially corporate meetings. We noticed that people don’t like listening in meetings. Most people just want to comment and not really listen. What we observed is that some of the comments were a repetition of what someone else had already said, the only difference is they were uttered in bourgeois English. Other comments derailed from the objective of the session.

Sometimes you would witness those characters who like cutting people in the middle of their presentations. If you are a person who prefers to listen attentively so that you completely in tuned with the subject matter and understand what your role is post the meeting, you struggle internally in meetings. There is this unwritten pressure/rule that you just have to say something in a meeting so that you can be seen as someone who is engaged and alert.

I think of my own life, in instances where I have listened I have done a great job. We all fall into the trap of not listening but just hearing. Listening is an effort to not only hear what is being said but listening ensures you analyse and engage with the information you hearing.

I love the scripture that says “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Great listening is a gift. I admire people who really do a lot of listening. I know in my life I have a few of those people and I must say the people who are great listeners are quiet brilliant and full of great wisdom.

As Paul Sloane also said…”Great conversationalists are great listeners. Also, when you listen you learn. When you are speaking you are not learning anything new. Make a conscious effort to focus on what people say. Show that you are interested by asking questions that support and develop the conversation; ‘What do you mean exactly?’,What happened next?’, ‘How did you feel about that?”.  (http://www.lifehack.org)

My enjoy life tip is this- if you really want to make a lasting impact in your business, in your industry and in your relationships, please take a vow to listen more. I Bongeka vow to listen.

Who are you accountable to?

My sister and I really enjoy watching the crime channel. But trust me when I say we have no intentions of becoming criminals, we simply watch it out of fascination. We are fascinated that there are human beings who think like that. Some of the crimes are so well planned but what shocks us the most is that most of the murder crimes are committed by people closest to the victims.

We always pose the question when we watch a gruesome act; don’t these people have a conscience? Do they not fear God? Do they not fear what their loved ones or the community will say?

I remember echoing to my sister that I am very afraid of someone who is not accountable to anyone, to a point that I will be very scared to marry someone who is not accountable to any one because that person could kill me. I am accountable to different people and I always think twice before doing anything, because I always think about the consequences of my actions.

I know this is very contrary and goes against what we often hear in our generation. We are constantly bombarded with the gospel of “do whatever feels right to you”. I have a bit of an issue with that. I’ve been in situations where I felt like punching someone in the face or getting a gun and shooting them and that felt right to me at that point because of the hurt I was experiencing. But, I didn’t because the consequences of my actions would have not contributed to a more peaceful society.

I think if we begin to live with the “accountability mindset”, we will act appropriately. If we have that consciousness even in our work environments we won’t abuse company resources and when we make mistakes in the projects we work on we can simply admit the wrong done and adjust our behaviour accordingly.

We live in a world where people just want to do whatever they feel and throw the “I have rights phrase” in your face and that is why we have so many challenges in our world today. I was reflecting and realised that in the periods of my life where I didn’t have the “accountability consciousness”, I made some really foolish mistakes. The minute I adopted the accountability mindset I changed my tactics.

Being accountable to someone does not take away your power, but rather it gives you the tremendous honour of subconsciously being of service to those around us. We often picture serving as a very domesticated act (e.g. washing people clothes; making coffee for someone at work; running errands for someone etc.), but I would like to argue that when we consciously think about our actions from an accountability point of view, we can really do great things collectively.

Even in the herd I want to be heard…

I was listening to this guy on the radio and he was talking about different parenting styles and he mentioned one that he considered most effective. He mentioned that most parents raise their kids like a herd, forgetting that each child is an individual with unique qualities. Sometimes parents solely focus on the academic side of a child forgetting that the child may not be strong academically but may possess so many other great attributes. They can place the child who is academically strong on a pedestal and constantly compare their other kids to this “faulty” standard. I just thought to myself, wow, that’s fascinating wisdom.

We have often been raised that if you don’t do well at school, there is something wrong with you as a child. The parents forget all the other amazing attributes that you have and forget that your intellect is only a certain percentage of your human make-up.

Unfortunately, this form of socialisation trickles down from generation to generation. It gets manifested in various environments. We meet leaders who often lead their team like a shepherd leading a herd. They have a particular way in which they like to work and if a team member compliments that style, that team member is considered to be excellent and trustworthy. If another team member is different they are considered rebellious. Sometimes leaders don’t get to the heart of the matter and try to understand that people are different and they bring with them unique working styles. No one wants to be just a number…we all want to be treated and celebrated as individuals.

I may be in the herd, but I really also want my voice; my own unique voice to be celebrated. There is nothing worse than being compared to those around you. When you compare me two horrible things happen. Firstly, I withdraw from my full potential and secondly all creativity is drained from me because of the lack of motivation.

My enjoy life tip is this: So, if you occupy a position where you seem to be the shepherd of the herd…please ensure that every voice is greatly celebrated.

Who is my customer?

Conventional wisdom tells us that one of the most important relationships, is the relationship between the supplier and demander. A well known speaker I was listening to reminded me of something I hadn’t heard in a while. He said “in order for something to be successful the supplier has to be at the mercy of the demander. You control the market by your hunger.”

I must concur that most businesses fail not because the concept is bad but because there is no demand. No matter how great your service or product is, if there are no customers demanding it…there is no point.

You don’t own the market…the customer does. We are increasingly in a period where customers have the biggest say. Business leaders are investing millions on their customer focus units. More and more corporate strategies are gearing up in ensuring that the customer is the focal point.

As much as this statement is true for business organisations it’s also true for all those of us who wake up every day to do something. Whether you a home executive or a business executive, have you paused and asked yourself who is my customer?

The customer is always King…and I am also asking myself…Who is my customer? I often echo that I feel really called to write and share everyday wisdom in the hope that it will encourage those who read to pursue their purposes. I am hoping that whoever will read this and other column’s I’ve written, will respond and articulate whether I have adequately supplied to their demands.

 
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