Life is a safari.
It can feel like dangerous, exciting, exhausting.
But sometimes along the way you get an ‘Aha’ moment! And those moments change your life. I’ve had a number in my life that changed my outlook drastically. 7 to be exact. Well, there were more than 7. But these are the most significant realizations I had and I’d like to share them with you.
Realization 1: Cut to the Chase And Engage
When I realized that I learnt best by really engaging with what I was reading or hearing. It was either that or fall asleep in my physics class, which I did do for a year or two in high school. What, you mean you didn’t? I ended up getting the top marks in that class when I graduated, so all was not lost, refer to the my point above. I mean lets face it, Physics can be boring. But I also discovered when I engaged actively to understand the principles it took on a whole different meaning. It become interesting to me. Maybe as I understood it, I began to click, to ‘flow’. As I read it more, I liked it more. I got the principles.
Takeaway: You may have reads tons on life and career. About entrepreneurship. About business. It all feels too overwhelming and you’re not sure where to start. Don’t worry, there’s a whole community here to help you engage. On LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora. Read and watch stories, videos and interviews from the community. Learn the principles, the rock solid facts that can guide you. Let’s work together to break through the information haze that stops us from ‘Just Doing It’.
Realization 2: Know Thyself
When I realized I loved People Science more than I loved Computer Science. I was in 3rd year at University doing Computer Science and the assignment for my management class was on leadership styles. That’s where I stumbled upon the MBTI personality test. I proceeded to type and categorize everyone who would let me. My study group and family bore the brunt of that one (sorry guys).
What I discovered freed me beyond measure. For example, I realized that I am an ENTP, which means I love a challenge, and love to challenge the norm. I love to know the facts behind something. If you have brothers, big or small, you’ll relate with how growing up they could take apart anything electronic just to put it together again. Mine did. They had a whole drawer of taken-apart electronics. I like to do that with life. The most important way this realization helped me was with the guilt. We all have different forms of guilt in our lives. And women have a unique form ala ‘not being able to have it all’. I’m sure men do to.But I don’t beat myself up about who I am anymore. Sure, I get bored with long-windedness (am I boring you yet?), and I really love fast-paced projects. I hate to be restricted in my creativity and live in a ‘world of endless possibilities‘, sounds reeeaaaallllly endless. Apparently I’d make a great entrepreneur. But by knowing where my challenges and strengths lie, I can focus instead in becoming the best of who I am, on honing my strengths, overcoming my weaknesses. It you haven’t taken the test yet, there’s a free one here. I’d love to hear what your result is in the comments.
Takeaway: Before you start a journey, its important to count the cost, as the Bible says. That’s the same with your journey to fulfillment in what you do. Identify how you learn, what your style of taking action is, what motivates you. Do you tend to want to leave your options open? That’s also popularly known as procrastinating, by the way. Personally I like the first description more, as one who prefers to leave my options open too ;). So lets ditch the later one shall we? Where was I… do you tend to want to leave your options open? Or are you someone who prefers to get it done now, no matter what IT is? Let’s kill the guilt, recognize our strengths and motivations, and work with them. If you want to gain recognition and respect, or just help people because that what drives you, do that! If you want to be a millionaire by forty, or just earn enough to pay the bills, then do that! You’re not a failure, you’re you. And YOU can decide just how much you, you will be. No guilt, no coulda-shoulda-woulda, no regrets.
Realization 3: Connect With Like Minds
When my first date with my to-be husband was an avid discussion on the MBTI and making our mark in this world then he become my husband two years later. Yes, it was love at first sight *happy sigh*. And I learnt we connect with people based on what we love. And that we love the people that we connect with. Figures. Everyone says, you are the sum total of the 5 people you spend the most time with. I’m grateful to have been a part of some great groups and communities that continue to inspire me. Two that have truly inspired my entrepreneurial drive is the Zero to Launch Community of Ramit Sethi, NY times best-selling author of ‘I Will Teach You To Be Rich’ and more recently the up-coming Vendeve community of Lady-prenuers.When you are new to the game, it important to not go it alone, and to get support in your area of endeavor.
Takeaway: Be a part of a community. Want to interact, share and learn more about entrepreneurship in Africa, come be a part of my Facebook group. If health is your thing, come be a part of my Health community. Or find a community that you love, on what you are passionate about and get involved. Join the mailing list. Ask questions, interact. I’d love to hear from you what’s worked. Studies show that we are more inspired or motivated to act in a community.
Realization 4: Know Your Purpose
When I realized that life was finite and was not all about me. My birth mother died when I was 13 years old. And my oldest sister died 7 years later, and my father not too long after that. I have continually encountered my Creator throughout my life, but these times stand out to me as the time when I started to think about life and death and whether it was all worth it. I mean, if all I did was live my 70 years or so on this earth and then disappeared, that hardly seems worth it. Sure its lifetime, which is all we get. But we also get to leave a legacy which can last for eternity. I have been working daily since to make my life on this earth count, and to touch as many people as possible while I can. It helps that I have a somewhat idealistic streak which means I’m pushing for Utopia, defined as ‘an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect‘. Do you want to join me?
Takeaway: What is your purpose? Does it motivate you to want to live long enough to achieve it? The goal to be wealthy may be what many will start out with, but even greater is the goal to fulfill your life’s purpose. Why do you think the top millionaires turn their attention to philanthropy at one point or another?
Realization 5: Don’t Be a Victim, You Have Control
When I realized my little 3 -month old baby, my 2nd born, could either spend her formative years taking anti-histamines, or I could take matters in my hands and solve her health issues. I have PCOS, my husband wants to lose some weight, my 1st born daughter is borderline asthmatic, we are all far from perfect. And that’s really the average family these days. It’s the result of years of ingesting things humans were never meant to ingest, or just not in the right quantities. I’m pretty sure our great grandfathers never faced the same health issues.
The thing that gets me though is that the medical fraternity will drug you up before they point you to natural and holistic ways to cure your condition. It’s just yesterday, as I looked for a thermometer to measure my daughters temperature from a lung infection, that I realized just how long it had been since we had to go the doctor for any ailment. Case in point, I haven’t found the thermometer yet because I haven’t used it in that long. Contrast that with 2 years back and her getting bronchitis at least once a month like clockwork. Which meant doctors visits and antibiotics. Never mind if it was a viral infection… lets just add drug resistance to the list of ailments above shall we? I actually stopped taking her to the doctor for every cold, cough or flu and opted instead to dose her on minced garlic with honey, vitamin C, warming teas of ginger, lemon, honey, apple cider vinegar and menthol. It had an unbelievable effect. I haven’t taken them to the doc for a cough in over 1 year.
Takeaway: This can apply to any area where the experts have us at their mercy really. When it comes to your career, are HR execs telling you that you have too little experience and can’t get a good starting package, let along get hired without more on your CV? Haseeb Qureshi will disprove that theory, he doubled the starting salary he was offered in a few weeks. It took a lot of the right kind of networking. And you can too.
In the area of health, yours may be perfect now, but do you know where it will be in 2 years? 10 years? Cancer risk has increased at alarming rates. Or perhaps you are wondering why you can’t shed those kilos and keep them off and you know that obesity increases your risk of disease. I’m here to tell you that you have control. Just like Ty Bolinger of ‘The Truth About Cancer‘ shares, we can take back our health from the medical profession. And seek holistic ways to heal and cure.
Realization 6: Love The Journey And Ignore the Nay-sayers
My job contract ended in 2010 due to a desire not to renew it by my boss. And I had another job within 3 weeks. In the same building! I loved meeting my former boss in the corridors so he could see just how fast I was snapped up. I mean, don’t get renewed and that’s a slight on your ability. Unless of course there are budget issues, which in this case there weren’t. Get hired immediately (and still have raving reviews 1 year later) that’s a slight on his ability, he that fired me. Remind me to share that story sometime.
That experience taught me that I was the ultimate decision-maker in my life. It taught me not to panic when I was out of a job, which I have been many times since then. It taught me to embrace my passions, because my passion fed my personal projects that fed my skills and THAT was what got me my next job, NOT the work that I did in my 9-to-5. I realized though that other people may want to get you down, but only you can let that happen. And as disastrous as an event may seem, it’s never final till you are the other side of the grave. I could have let that get me down but the minute I heard my boss was doing all he could to let me go, I immediately started looking for alternatives. I was even willing to take on an unpaid internship as a fully qualified professional. When the world gives you lemons, you better have a great lemonade recipe!
‘ No one can make you feel inferior without your consent‘ – Eleanor Roosevelt.
Takeaway: No matter where you journey has led you, or what you have encountered along the way, you are a result of it all. So embrace it. As you go on your journey, It’ll help you focus on what YOU need to be focusing on, and ignore those voices, in your head or outside, that you’ve listened to that have stopped you from becoming the you that you want to be.
Realization 7: Just Do It!
I’ve wanted to make this Linked post for the longest time. And start my health blog. And start an online business. And I’m grateful for those around me that have encouraged me to just do it! I’m grateful for you too! Because you’re here, reading this and affirming my step as the right one (I’m a sucker for that). No really, I’m grateful for you that make it possible.
Mushiness aside, getting this post out and starting my health blog has been a seminal point in my life. I realized knowledge remains in your head until you implement it. So just do it!
Takeaway: You wanna get that next job? Get your business up and running? Start eating healthy to lose weight? Just do it! Set a target, look at that target every day and internalize it. Set up actions that lead you to your goal. Just do it! Get your CV into shape. Come up with your one-page business plan. Say no to that doughnut and whip out your hummus and carrot sticks. Just do it! Start with ONE thing at a time that you’d like to change. For example, if your goal is weight loss, one of the quickest ways to start loosing weight, based on the slow carb method by Tim Ferris, outlined in the 4-hour body, is to just stop eating all white carbohydrates, tubers included.