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Knowing Christ

Knowing Christ

Photo c/o She Reads Truth

I’d say I’ve had writer’s block for the past few months more so because I wasn’t sure about the direction of my blog. I even started to question whether I was making any impact and to some extent I started to question my WHY. The sole  reason as to why I write is the mere fact that I enjoy it and having an impact is just but the cherry on top. 

Looking back most of the blog posts over the last 2 years have been about personal development and self discovery because I was so obsessed with being better. However, I feel like I focused so much on one area and neglected other parts one of them being my relationship with God.

This year I would like to strengthen my relationship with God and it’s one of those things that will always be an ongoing thing. I have always had a yearning to deepen  my faith but in the recent past I feel like I set it as a goal so as to fill a box. I have never been deliberate but working from home has brought me closer to God more than ever. It is safe to say that I have seen God as my father, comforter and best friend. It has become so clear because of the moments of stillness that I’ve come to appreciate.

The question now is how do I get to know Christ more and below are a few tips that I’ve heard time and time again from people:

  • Setting time aside to read the Bible and really delve into the word.
  • Setting time aside for prayer
  • Listening to sermons
  • Listen to podcasts, youtube videos or books
  • Being part of a church group where you can be free to share your journey and to serve as a support system.
  • Learning to be still so as to spend time with God and hear him.

It sounds easier said than done because faith is like a roller coaster, at times you are at the top and other times you are at the lowest point of the ride. However, the only thing that counts is that no matter how many times you fall off keep trying and keep moving.

Lessons from Survivor

Lessons from Survivor

I have been binge watching Survivor this month mostly because of the adrenaline rush that it gives me. It’s safe to say that it is one of those shows where you can draw so many life lessons and I don’t think it will ever get old. The winner has to OUTWIT, OUTPLAY and OUTLAST the rest of the contestants ro be crowned the sole survivor and win the cash prize. Here are a few lessons that I’ve gathered so far.

  1. It is not over until it’s over – The number of times people have come in from the bottom and won the challenges are countless. So long as the game is still on don’t give up, keep at it and keep moving. The same can be applied to your life so long as there’s still an open window keep doing whatever you have to do to win.
  1. Have a strategy – Never embark on anything blindly. Have a clear plan of what you want to do, why you want to do it and how you will get it done.
  2. Teamwork – It’s important to learn how to work with people. There is a famous African proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” You have to learn when you need to work with a team and when you need to work on your own.
  3. Learn who to trust – I recently came across the term Intuitive repulsion recently which is having the feeling that something is not right within the first two seconds. Learn how to make snap judgments of who you can trust, with what information and to what extent. It makes me cringe every time someone trusts the wrong person on that show. I am all for sharing but not everything is supposed to be told.
  4. Be flexible – Life is so unpredictable and it will throw you curve balls that you couldn’t  have foreseen. Learn how to roll with the punches and never lose your fighting spirit.
  5. Don’t take things personally – At first I used to root for the “good guys”. Those that play a safe game and don’t step on any toes but then I realized that it’s a game and if you are just cruising through life and riding on someone else’s game in my opinion you don’t deserve to win.
  6. Be careful with how you treat people – At the end of the day some of the people who are voted out form the jury that determines the winner. It’s important to play SMART and not DIRTY. If you rub the people that might in some way help you along the way the wrong way best believe you will not win.
  7. Take risks – It’s not just about taking risks but calculative risks. The game changes fast so learn to act fast.
  8. The Power of quiet – In almost all of the Survivor seasons that I’ve watched to date the “underdogs” mostly come out on top. It goes to show the power that lies in QUIET. You don’t have to be the loudest or strongest in the room, you just have to harness your strengths and know what your game plan is.
  9. Have fun – Never forget to have fun in everything that you do.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

It’s been a while since I’ve had a major braingasm but September just did that for me. The book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Bill Gates’ documentary on Netflix Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates had my mind stimulated in ways that I can’t even start to explain. I’ll talk about the book and you’ll just have to watch the documentary.

We’ll start off with the definition of an outlier from the book.

Outlier

1: Something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body.

2: A statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.

To bring it home a little bit when it comes to people it refers to those who have done phenomenal things in their different pursuits. If I would just name a few who fit that definition from my country I would say Eliud Kipchoge, Lupita Nyong’o, Wangari Maathai, just to name a few. The book references Bill Gates, The Beatles among others. It gives an account of the circumstances and opportunities that they all had to get to where they are. I was shocked to learn that Bill Gates started programming when he was 13 years but the story that is often highlighted is that of how he dropped out in his sophomore year to start Microsoft. By the time he dropped out he had been programming for seven consecutive years. (Think about that the next time you decide you want  to use that example)

The book sheds light on opportunities that the Outliers had and what comes out clearly is that opportunities are packaged in so many forms. The only differentiating factor is your attitude. One of the opportunities was that the high school that Bill Gates attended had a computer club with a time sharing-sharing terminal and not so many schools had that privilege. The Beatles had performed live an estimated 1,200 times before they got their first break. The book goes on and on with research, facts and data.

It got me thinking about whether I had any tale to tell on an instance of when I seized an opportunity. The one that stands out the most  is how I got my first and probably my last job. It my last week in University and I was going to one of the Deans to get cleared. While waiting for her outside her office there was a poster of a career accelerator program called Spire. They taught skills that were prerequisite in the workplace and later hooked you up with an interview. I took a picture of the poster and forgot about it for like two weeks.

After the Christmas holidays I started to get bored because I was not doing much other than bumming. I remembered the poster and applied using the link that was on there. When they didn’t get back to me on the date that they had communicated I called and they gave me an interview date. I guess I didn’t do well on the interview because the programme was supposed to start in a few days and I had not gotten any feedback yet. I called two guys that I had connected with during the interview and they told me that they had received a call back and they were supposed to report on a certain date. If I REALLY want something I usually do whatever it takes and it even shocks me at times. I called Spire again and explained that I really needed to be there and they gave me a reporting date. It was not free but the good thing about my mum is she trusts and supports my decisions even when she doesn’t fully understand what I am doing so she agreed to pay.

After the 6 weeks programme I got a job two weeks later that was supposed to be a 4 month reliever position where I ended up staying for 4 years. The one thing I am sure about is that I don’t interview well so there is a high chance that I would still be unemployed. Moral of the story is that we all have such stories however small that we can draw inspiration from.

Malcolm Gladwell at the end of the book says the Outlier in the end, is not an Outlier. Meaning that there is no magical phenomena behind it. Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize the.

We all  have what it takes we just to be brave enough to go after what we want. So decide on whether you’ll grab on to that opportunity or whether you’ll watch it pass by and live with regret wondering what if.

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Diary of an Entrepreneur: The Journey Begins

Diary of an Entrepreneur: The Journey Begins

It’s been three months since I left my job to start my own business and I saw it fit to document my entrepreneurial journey. At times I am a bit hesitant to use the word entrepreneur because it has become so overused that the meaning has become diluted. That aside I would say that this period has been mostly about trying to figure out how to maneuver through life without a set guide of rules. Over the last 2 years I had been attending entrepreneurship training’s and forums and I had gathered enough knowledge that would help me sail through or so I thought.

I spent the first month pouring my heart and soul on to the Workbook and if you haven’t checked it out please do. The amount of discipline that it took was on a whole other level. I have mad respect for authors because the process in terms of research, consistency and reviews just to mention but a few is not an easy one. It was an eye opener and I think when it comes time for me to write a book I know what to do and what not to. I even think I will take one of those three month cruises so as to get the work done.

Second month in I started concentrating on my business. Just to put it out there I help MSME’s (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) scale their businesses by providing them with systems, structures and financial expertise. I know it sounds rehearsed but that’s because I repeat it in the mirror more times than I’d care to admit. All (they are not that many but this is me trying to speak it into existence) of the clients that I am working with were referred to me by friends and it’s safe to assume that that’s not unusual when it comes to consulting, especially when it comes to someone trusting you with their finances. I would say that customer acquisition is my biggest hurdle right now more so because it is something that is new to me.

Third month in I went into a deep of downward spiral. For no reason my laptop stopped working. For like a whole week I had so much time and now I get why they say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. I started feeling like I wasn’t doing anything significant with my life. It was negative thoughts after negative thoughts and the noise in my head was so loud. During that week I was too lazy to even wake up and do anything. I am rarely broken but when it does happen it gets dark. By God’s grace I snapped out of it but It took so much willpower. As time goes by, everything is beginning to fall in place and I’ve heard it said so many times that it takes time so that’s what I am doing. Looking back, I think this is what I’d say:

I’ve been listening to a sermon series on Crazy Faith on YouTube by Pastor Mike Todd and I feel like the timing was just right because that is what I need. At times you are not sure what the outcome will be but you have to keep believing that everything will work out.

Learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable because trust me nothing and I mean nothing ever turns out as you had planned.

Have a strong support system. I have friends who are always calling to check up on me and I don’t think I’ve ever felt lonely not even for a single day.

The Impostor Syndrome will kick in and you’ll feel like you are not good enough or inexperienced but giving up is not an option.

I thought I would mention that the end goal has always been to own my own business and deciding on which one was another struggle on it’s own but that’s a story for another day. My point is when I left my job I felt like I was not growing and I just wanted to get out of there. I was not closed off to the option of another job but the more I do this the more I gain confidence and feel like I can hack it.

Just a dream; Hit and Run

Just a dream; Hit and Run

Running over someone with a car and trying to run away from it is something you don’t forget whether it happens in real life or just a dream. There are many theories that try to explain why we dream. Sigmund Freud’s theory of dreams suggests that dreams represent unconscious desires, thoughts, and motivations. Other common theories suggests that its the brain’s way of trying to interpret external stimuli; dreams clean up the clutter in our mind and another proposes that dreams function as a form of psychotherapy where the dreamer is able to make connections between different thoughts and emotions in a safe environment. If asked I’d say dreams serve the purpose of bringing attention to something that is in the subconscious. 

One thing that I must point out first is that am good at bringing out meaning in symbolism so since that is out of the way, let’s just dive into the dream.In the dream I am driving a new shiny grey Toyota Rav4 and my aunt and two of my uncles are in the car with me. Just like in real life, I also can’t drive in the dream but my family is rooting for me and their support is what keeps me on the wheel because I am learning as I go. All over a sudden a woman comes out of nowhere and I ran over her and I flee the scene of the crime without even turning back. We finally get to some sort of shopping center and we try to agree on whether I should turn myself in and by the time we come to a conclusion that’s when I wake up.

It might sound crazy to you but here is my interpretation of the dream. The new car represents the new path that I am on and that’s trying to build and grow a business. The fact that I cannot drive is a representation of the uncharted path that I have chosen because to be honest I have no idea what I am doing, I am just winging it as I go. My family represent the people that I have chosen or rather allowed to come on this ride with me. For me it’s important to know who to let into specific areas of your life. One friend might be good at relationship advice but might not be the right person to go to for let’s say career advice. The woman that comes out of nowhere and gets hit represents the unforeseen obstacles that I will face along my journey. Last but not least the decision on whether to turn myself in signify the doubts that I have at times on whether to just look for a job because it is way easier.

Like I pointed out earlier dreams have a purpose and for me this specific dream made me take time out and think about where I was mentally and emotionally when it came to that area of my life. At times it is easier to keep going at it and work on your goals but it’s important to take stock and see where your thoughts and emotions lie. Not all dreams have a meaning but it’s important to learn how to discern which dreams have a purpose and carry a message and ones that are just dreams.

To whom much is given, from him much is expected

To whom much is given, from him much is expected

This is the first time in my life that I have felt like I was truly giving back because I have not been doing it out of obligation but from a sincere and genuine place.I have learnt so many things and that’s what I’d like to share in this post.

The first place I had the privilege of visiting  this year courtesy of the Young Catholic Adults was The Nest Home in Limuru which commits children who are traumatized after experiencing crime or abuse and the arrest of and separation from their mothers. Upon arriving we were directed to what we learnt was their hall/T.V room and given a background of the home and what some of the kids had gone through. The kids were then gathered so that we could get to meet them and by their smiles they were so thrilled and excited to see us. After some games they were asked to pick someone from the group who they felt they liked at first glance and take them around the home. The joy in their little faces as they showed us where they slept, their clothes and even their toothbrushes is inexplicable.

I think that is why we are asked to be childlike. Kids are oblivious to what is happening which in this case is a good thing. After all the hardships these little souls have gone through by the grace of God they somehow choose not to dwell on the bad experiences but rather the little things that are right in front of them. The new faces that pay them a visit, the interactions and games and the treats. If we decided not to worry about the things that happened in the past, a future that never turns out as planned and what people thought of us we would be able to find joy in the little things. Your childhood is over but that doesn’t mean that play time is so go on and bring out the “child” in you.

A few weeks later we paid Olivia a visit. When I heard her story that’s when the memory of seeing her grandmother taking the hospital at 6.00 a.m came back. If I am not mistaken I was around 10 years and they used the same matatu I used to go to school. She is above 18 years now but she cannot walk, talk,  feed or even bathe herself. One side of her body grows more than the other. Her mother passed away when she was young and her grandmother is the only person she has in this world. She has the most infectious laugh I’ve ever heard. Her grandmother left farming to take care of her because of an incident where she left her with a cousin and she choked on food because Olivia is a slow eater and the cousin was not patient enough. They have a small back garden and that’s where they grow their food. The love that this woman has for her granddaughter is none like I have seen before. As she was narrating her story I tried to put myself in her shoes  and as hard as it is to admit, I don’t think that I have that much love to give. The more I thought about it the more I felt like it was her gift, to love unconditionally. To love without limitations or conditions.

The most recent visit was to Kamiti Youth Correction and Training Centre & Kamae Girls’ Borstal Institution. Most of the girls and boys are between the ages of  14-18 years and have been incarcerated for crimes such as robbery with violence, drug trafficking, ferrying of guns and defilement. When we first go there I felt like I was in high school and it’s not until they started sharing their stories that it dawned on me that I was in prison. Most of the cases are all tied to poverty and it’s heartbreaking. According to them there are no jobs and crime is the easy way out. A good example is a boy who stole Kshs. 5,000 from an Mpesa shop to help his mum out with his sister school fees. Something important was brought to my attention that day, we are at times victims of people, places or circumstances. DON’T JUDGE someone because their shortcomings are exposed. In the words of Terentius Lucanus “We are all humans beings and nothing alien to us.”  We are are all capable of both the good and bad and if a human being does something know that you have it in you to do the same. That however doesn’t change the fact that at the end of the day we are all children of God.

If we’d learn to take a few minutes everyday to look around and be grateful we’d learn that we are truly blessed.