Author Archives: rshumba

40 Vital Life Lessons I learnt in 40 years

Rab@40

The19th of July marks an important milestone in my life. I turn 40 years. I have been running a series under Rab@40 Series. Enjoy this collection

1. Always be willing to take responsibility for your own actions and decisions – I have made mistakes in life but I ensure that I learn from them. I don’t blame others for what I know I did.
2. Any dream you have will face persecution and adversity – In my journey to make a difference, I have faced rejection, wrongful imprisonment, ridicule yet I keep standing.
3. Anyone can achieve mediocrity; excellence is what propels you far – I made a decision to strive for excellence in all I do. I rather not do something if I know I am not prepared to be excellent.
4. Be careful of the standard you settle for – Everyone should benchmark themselves in terms of where they want to be in times to come. Have people around you who challenge you to think big.
5.Build lasting relationships throughout life – Don’t be in the habit of burning bridges. I learnt this lesson when I left my 1st employer without notice. I felt bad for years. I still had to work with them in another forum. I noticed that we need each other throughout life.
6. Challenges come to us all but we must take them head on – Life was never meant to be rosy. If you can take every challenge as an opportunity to test your capabilities you will be amazed. Every challenge has an underlying solution to it and reason why you should face it.
7. Cherish the support of those around you – When you face challenges it’s easy to withdraw into yourself yet many want to stand with you. If one person stands with you that’s all you need.
8. Criticism is not always meant to bring you down. Use it – I am thankful to everyone who has taken time to disagree with me and offer constructive criticism. It is because of critics that I always drive towards excellence. Without them I would short-change myself to think I have arrived.
9. Do what is right no matter how much pressure or temptation comes from the majority.
10. Education is good to the degree that you are willing to apply it. There is no use being an educated fool – I am using all I have learnt to propel my vision and dreams further.
11. Hard work pays off all the time. It pays to persevere when it does not make sense to do so – I give myself tough writing targets and penalise myself for non-delivery. I have to write daily.
12. It is pointless to have great ideas that are never implemented – God has blessed me with great ideas. I try by all means to make those ideas a reality that benefits humanity.
13. It pays to rest so that you can do more when revitalised – I used to push myself to the limits without adequate rest. The body will do more for you when you also give it attention.
14. Know what you are good at and capitalize on it – At times we worry about things we can’t do. You can never be good at everything. I continue to discover my strengths and I deploy them to good use daily. I did not know I could write and when I discovered that I decided to go all out.
15. Life is a series of seasons; they not all the same – It is what you do in each season which will determine whether you survive or perish. I have faced seasons all seasons and survived.
16. Manage your time wisely – One resource that is always running out is time. I try to ensure that nothing that I never planned for “suddenly occupies my time. It is increasingly getting harder to get impromptu meetings with me unless it is absolutely necessary.
17. Maturity is knowing when to hold on and when to stop – Sometimes we have to hold on when it does not make sense but at times letting go can save us. I ran a business during hyper-inflation. Held on in it all. In 2010, it was time to let go and follow my purpose.
18. Money is good but not the ultimate priority – You will be frustrated if you live to chase the next deal and the next. I realized that your purpose may not pay your bills but it is all that fulfilling.
19. Never despise people based on their appearance; they could open doors for you someday – Some of the greatest leads and opportunities have been given to me by people who would be down trodden and seemingly unimportant. I cherish everyone.
20. Never look down upon where you came from. Your past was not by accident. Use your past to build your future – I grew up in a rural village from where I draw a lot of inspiration.
21. Never underestimate the value of networking – I am personally a networker by choice. I am forever growing the base of those who know me and those I know. Networks are important.
22. Not every opportunity that comes your way is yours – I have stopped crying over missed opportunities. I am probably alive today because I missed opportunities that could have killed me.
23. Nothing is worth losing your life for; value life always. At one point I contemplated suicide because I thought life had lost meaning. It was before I discovered my purpose.
24. People believe in you to the degree of your believe in yourself – Many times I would carry a sad, stressed sorry face and would wonder why people would not listen to me. I was draining their energy.
25. Plan beyond your present circumstances – It’s easy to slide into survival mode forgetting about the future. I manage today’s situation with a clear goal to build things that last.
26. Purpose propels you into high productivity. There is not much you can do outside your purpose – I discovered my purpose 3 years ago & have done in 3 years what I failed to do in 37.
27. Serving a nation is not merely for civil servants; it is everyone’s responsibility – I am aware that I can serve my nation by doing what I do to the best of my ability.
28. Success could be in things you are yet to try – I am not afraid to try new things, concepts and ideas. I would rather not succeed after trying than waste opportunities that come daily.
29. The greatest battle you will ever encounter rests between your ears – If you can manage your thoughts, you will be a great manager of life. My greatest struggle in life was wondering what other people would say or think. When I overcame this, I live a stress free life.
30. There is nothing you can do without faith – Everything I have achieved in life is not because I am smart or “lucky”. It is simply because the Lord has guided me. Finding my faith is the best decision I have ever made in 40 years. Everything else follows from there on.
31. There is power in forgiving those who wrong you – When you harbour unforgiveness you put pressure on your emotions. Forgiveness is not forgetting. It doesn’t also mean that the person who wronged you shouldn’t face consequences of their decision to wrong you.
32. Use your God given talents and resources to better the lives of others –I am more fulfilled when I help others to achieve even more than I have done.
33. Watch the baggage you accumulate over time – Many times the way we are treated by others in life begins to shape the way we treat others. I watch the way I speak to other people.
34. When you do good to others, avoid raising your expectations for reciprocal action – I have learnt that no one owes me a favour. If they remember me or they don’t it is still fine.
35. You are never rewarded for intentions no matter how good; you are rewarded for results – Working for a multinational corporation I got promotions for the results I produced.
36. You can lose physical material but never lose hope. Always tell yourself that it will get better. In 2008 I lost almost everything I had. I never lost hope that one day I would regain them.
37. You can only go as far as your awareness takes you – It is easy to be ignorant for life. I make it a habit to travel, read widely and meet/connect with different people. I raise my awareness always.
38. You will make better progress when you have people to learn from – I have made strides in my career all because I targeted a number of people who had made it in specific areas who I desired to be mentored by. I have mentors for every facet of my life. Find your mentors too.
39. You will not always make great decision; keep making decisions anyway – I have made great & dumb decisions but I do not bury my head in the sand. I keep making more decisions daily.
40. Your competitor is not your enemy – I value people who strive to do what I do because through them I get to do even better. Without competition, I doubt that I would maximise my potential.

40 Perspectives for Building Great Relationships.

Rab@40_Relationships

  1. A relationship that can stand the test of trust, distance, time, external competition and interference is strong. Most relationships fail largely because of these forces.
  2. Always be careful how you treat people. The world is too small. You are only a few people away from anyone you have always wanted to relate with. You could be ill-treating your future boss.
  3. Always seek clarity about what brings and binds you together. Doing so will help you be wise about your expectations & to be careful enough not to crack the relationship building blocks.
  4. Avoid giving favors with hidden expectations. It is better to be open about what you want and not get it than hold people at ransom by your gift wrapped bribe.
  5. Be careful not to inflict injury on others as a result of bad emotional seed in your past. Wounded people can injure others unknowingly. Shed off baggage that’s not worth carrying.
  6. Be careful who comes near you as they have a higher chance of hurting you. Watch out for matters you view as trivial and yet others are sensitive about them. People are different.
  7. Be selective about who you allow into your own life. Not everyone you meet should occupy your inner circle. Exercise discretion and know that you can only relate closely to a limited number.
  8. Be watchful over the words you say.  You may never take back the words that have left your mouth. Words can damage the receiver. Before you speak, make it a habit to step into the receiver’s shoes.
  9. Be willing to learn from others. You do not know everything there is to know. No one wants to be around a person who repels the contribution of others; be it counsel or caution.
  10. Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. It is how conflict is managed that determines the lifespan of the relationship. Conflict can be healthy as it brings together different perspectives.
  11. Disagreements will come. Avoid thinking that all the people around you need to always agree with you. Learn to disagree amicably. You actually grow better with people who think differently.
  12. Forgetting the people who helped you up the ladder of life is irresponsible. Acknowledge those on whose shoulders you stood over the years no matter how small their contribution seems.
  13. Great relationships have constant communication at the centre. If you cease to communicate then you will soon grow apart and the pulse of that relationship collapses.
  14. Humanity is possessive when it comes to achievements. It is unfair to only think of others in times of turmoil. Relationships should be unconditional. Anything outside this is exploitation.
  15. Hurt me with the truth than please me with lies. Truth can be painful but it is better than deception. Don’t give a false impression as people will make critical decisions based on it. A friend who doesn’t mince his words is a great asset. Truth builds. Lies create fragile fantasies.
  16. If you desire fruitful relationships fulfil promises you make to others. Avoid creating expectations when you are certain you can’t deliver. You measured against them so think before committing.
  17. If you have a challenge trusting other people then you will struggle to initiate relationships. It is a risk to be vulnerable to others yet it is a step you have to take.
  18. Keeping a relationship alive will cost you time and effort. If you are not willing to invest in a relationship then be assured that you will soon be on your own.
  19. Learn that forgiveness is essential in cementing a relationship. People will err and so will you. If you hold grudges then you will soon not have anyone around you because mistakes will happen. Forgiveness is the best cure for dents in relationships.
  20. Love is a powerful force, bringing together two strangers with their history to a common undertaking. The journey of love is a journey worth taking and a lifelong adventure.
  21. Manage relatives that you work with in a professional environment by setting boundaries. Do not let your personal association affect your professional deliverables and conduct.
  22. Never cry for people to respect and value you when you treat others like insects. Respect flows in the direction it came from without you having to choke or squeeze it out of people.
  23. Never despise doors that people who are seemingly ordinary can open for you. They may access people you don’t know. You will go far if you learn to relate even with those with no titles.
  24. Never inherit other people’s enemies. My friend’s enemy can actually be my customer. As far as possible refuse to be contaminated by the relations and experiences that other people have had with each other. Stop adopting other people’s issues and making them your own.
  25. No matter how good an individual can be, mere association with bad individuals corrupts one’s value system. If you can’t influence your friends positively you are better off keeping your distance. People that occupy the bulk of your time should justify their space.
  26. No matter how much counsel a person requires, leave them to make the final decision on next steps. You can’t take over their decision making. Don’t be offended if your counsel is discarded.
  27. One big mistake people make is running away from those they owe. Running away gives you temporary comfort but the truth remains (you owe). Keeping your line of communication open, explaining the position each time is the best way to manage relationships.
  28. Relationships can propel you beyond where your intellect, money or even experiences have taken you. Relationships are more valuable than all of these items mentioned.
  29. Selfless people tend to make greater progress than selfish ones. It does not cost you money to make another person smile. Take stock of relationships you have abandoned and mend them.
  30. Sometimes we fail to appreciate those who are close to us because our sensitivity to them is dampened by our increased familiarity. You take for granted everyone you are too familiar with.
  31. Strong relationships feed on honesty and truth. There is no relationship that can feed on falsehoods and survive. A façade is never a good ingredient for great relationships.
  32. The money you will ever desire to make is in the relationships you build. You can wish for success all your life but without relationships you struggle. You are as big as your network.
  33. The quality of our lives is the sum total of our associations and aspirations. It’s crucial who you share your life with because they can dampen your drive towards the life you want.
  34. The strength of a relationship is seen in the nature and magnitude of problems that the relationship solves. A sound relationship can prescribe solutions to its own problems.
  35. The survival of a relationship is a joint responsibility of all parties involved. When a relationship is left to one party to keep alive, they will struggle and soon give up.
  36. True friends aren’t those who come to your celebrations only but those who faithfully identify with you when your world falls apart. Don’t count your friends when your purse is  overflowing.
  37. Unwillingness to identify with someone’s pain and suffering disarms you from seeking last minute affiliation in the person’s successes. It’s important to be wary of opportunists who specialize in sensing your good seasons & creeping in just in time to benefit from you.
  38. You are not in a relationship for what you can benefit but for what you can contribute. If you are possessed by a consumer mind-set then your relationships won’t last. Rather walk alone than be caught up in a forest of deception.
  39. You have to learn to compromise. When differences of opinion come you seem to fail to disagree amicably, it is time to strike a compromise.
  40. Your greatest asset in life are the relationships that you build. There are people whose lives have been impacted by your existence while you have also benefited from relationships.

40 Power Lines to Ignite your Purpose

Rab@40_Purpose

  1. A slap in the face which awakens you to the reality of your purpose is better than an encouragement that causes you to miss destiny. It is easy to trade ultimate purposes for temporary preferences.
  2. Always be careful for you may spend time looking or waiting for what you already have. It is your responsibility to always seek to know what you have so as to maximize your time.
  3. At the end of life, your joy should be from seeds sown and legacy passed on. It is costly to humanity if you exit full of inventions that we will never see simply because you chose not to live your purpose.
  4. Blessed are those who walk in the path of purpose for they shall experience the joys of success. A purposeful life is a life worth living.
  5. Complaints are assets for observers. If you won’t work towards a solution, it is better to endure your present discomfort till you do something about it. Purposeful people are action oriented.
  6. Courage and determination are major contributors to greatness. Some achieve great influence simply because they dare to move in the direction that others are running away from.
  7. Desiring the purpose of another person brings confusion and frustration in your life. Your destiny is tightly woven to your participation in what you were created to do.
  8. Don’t make crucial life decisions based on what the majority is doing. You may not have the inside information on how they are managing. Always follow your unique path and purpose.
  9. Endeavour to stand taller than the image you carry of yourself. Chances are you may not have the correct mental calibration to tell the truth about who you are and you capabilities.
  10. Forgive those who coached you to believe that you will become a failure. You would be in error to listen to everyone’s interpretation of your purpose. Close your ears to those who think you will never succeed. Look forward to success even if the present story has no sign of it.
  11. Greatness comes as a result of knowing your purpose. Many wander in self-imposed exile because they try to live according to other people’s purposes. Act on your passion.
  12. How can you succeed unless you try? How can you try unless you are willing to take the risk? Success will not come on a silver platter. Following your purpose is a risk worth taking.
  13. If you have to put extra effort you need to watch closely that you are in your area of calling, expertise and purpose. When you are correctly placed; you should not struggle to achieve.
  14. It is a waste of energy to apologize for living out your purpose. You owe no-one an explanation. What matters is the fulfilment of your assignment before the end of your life.
  15. It is always too soon to give up. Be watchful that you will quit at the tipping point. Never take pride in quitting what you are convinced is in line with your true purpose.
  16. It is better to take time to identify your purpose than rush into the realm of diversified passion with no meaningful result or direction. It is a sure way of wasting valuable time.
  17. It is easy to ask others about their purpose and not even stop for a moment to reflect on your own. You can become the world’s life coach when your own life needs more attention.
  18. It is fraudulent to desire success yet you detest your purpose. Your purpose breeds your ultimate success.
  19. It is wise to delay making your aspirations public until you have started implementing them. Those who publicize dreams prematurely lose them to critics. Keep the most treasured issues of your life to yourself until the appointed time. Your purpose is not meant as a bragging tool.
  20. It takes great maturity to accept faults that are pointed out to you by other people. It is easy to carry bad habits and be comfortable with them as they become your second nature. Like bad breath, some attitudes are easily picked by others. You will succeed if you can listen objectively.
  21. Just because you desire it does not make it useful or vital for your livelihood. Sometimes we misdirect our desires because of what we see in others while our true purpose suffers neglect. Success is in our pursuit of true purpose which is not always glamorous.
  22. Just because you don’t know it does not mean it does not exist. Just because you haven’t done it, does not mean it cannot be done. Embrace possibilities but do not magnify your limitations. If you do not know the reason why you exist the next best step is finding it out and not retiring.
  23. Just when you feel you have hit rock bottom, look around and examine the bedrock. You may have stumbled onto a diamond band. Examine your new circumstances objectively. They may be your pathway to successful living.
  24. Life is the gap between conception and death. It is important to make your life count by using your purpose to make a difference while you live. You can start today. Never too late.
  25. Many spend the bulk of their lifetime looking for keys to unlock their destiny. Destiny is not locked away. Create activity in line with what you feel most passionate about.
  26. Never pretend to be in your purpose when in actual fact all you are doing is finding excuses to pass time. Time is a precious resource.
  27. No one knows you better than you know yourself. You should never waste time seeking the approval of others on what you know you can do so well.
  28. Our minds are usually drawn to what we are familiar with. Breaking new territory is usually a challenge for an ordinary mind and yet it maybe the territory where your purpose resides.
  29. Passionate pursuit of purpose is the entry point to perpetual productivity. We live in a world where there is ever increasing diversity of things that desire our attention. Not all pursuits are fruitful or beneficial and yet all pursuits eat into your time and resources.
  30. Stars never wake up wondering what their purpose is. They just glow decorating the skies. Discover your purpose and pursue it. There is no time to waste being a wondering wanderer.
  31. Stay focused on what you have to do. Your destiny feeds on your determination to be where you are supposed to be. Find purpose and pursue it because your life actually depends on it.
  32. Success does not come easy. It takes a lot of commitment to remain with a resolve to accomplish great things regardless of any discouragement that may come your way. If you are not willing to push past the present pain, you will not enjoy the benefits of a purposeful life.
  33. The fact that other people may have failed in one area does not mean you will too.  Count yourself fortunate to have access to how others failed because you now know how not to fail.
  34. The fact that you are unique does not mean you are inferior.  It is not possible that everyone will have the same purpose otherwise others will lack relevance.
  35. The gap between challenges & solutions is one’s willingness and resolution to work towards the solution. Solutions are fueled by desire to stay in pursuit mode. Perseverance breeds success.
  36. What other people have or don’t have should never intimidate you from following your purpose.
  37. When it is your time, no one can stand in your way and prevail. Even your enemies will propel you to the top. Maximize the opportunity when the spotlight is on you.  It is simply your time.
  38. You can survive all your life outside your purpose but you may not be fulfilled in what you do. It is everyone’s mandate to make the issue of purpose identification their core business.
  39. You have to get used to criticism if you are serious about moving up the success ladder. People who have changed the world endured all forms of ridicule. Criticism must not make you stop advancing. As you pursue purpose, know that criticism is part of the process.
  40. Your breathing must purchase your purpose. Understand why you occupy space for you to be fruitful and fulfilled. Avoid frustrations by following your purpose not what is fashionable.

40 Guidelines for Effective Leadership

Rab@40_Lead

  1. Leaders serve, they do not wait to be served. If your desire to serve others is overpowered by your willingness to be of service to them then you effectiveness is compromised.
  2. Leaders are passionate about developing other pro-active leaders not just making followers who always wait for instructions like robots.
  3. Leaders are team players and team builders not referees. As a leader, desist from just being a spectator. Get your hands dirty.
  4. Leaders know that they will not do all the work alone hence they delegate tasks to members of the team. Through delegation they are able to see areas where extra coaching and mentoring is needed.
  5. Leaders take responsibility for non-delivery. They will not pass the bark. They will not hide from their own mistakes. Instead they come out to help fix problems even if they did not cause them.
  6. Leaders always strive for continual improvement. They do not rest on yesterday’s successes but rather they use those achievements as today’s pedestals.
  7. Leaders have vision. They are not stuck in the past but they always set their eyes on the horizon. They always have the future in mind as they build.
  8. Leaders are great at managing conflict. As a leader you will always have people around you. Multiple individuals in one space means conflict.
  9. Leaders have high integrity. You cannot demand that your team members be of high integrity standards that you are not willing to abide by. Do what you say you will do.
  10. Leaders are role models – Team members do what they see the leader tolerating not what the leader instructs.
  11. Leaders are strategic in their thinking and approach.  They spend most of their time plotting strategy of how to keep the organisation moving forward.
  12. Leaders have people at heart. People will work best in an atmosphere where they feel their leader cares about their well-being not just about results. A leader who nurtures others is productive.
  13. Leaders are great listeners. Leaders encounter people with issues from time to time. Take time to hear them before jumping to your pre-conceived conclusions.
  14. Leaders welcome ideas from those around them. They encourage team members to innovate and bring ideas to the table. They don’t stifle creativity.
  15. Leaders take time to discover their personal weaknesses and finding effective ways to counter or contain them. Self awareness is a crucial element of effective leaders. Before you lead others you must lead yourself well.
  16. Leaders are secure and confident in themselves. They don’t intimidate rising stars and neither are they jealous of them.
  17. Leaders are great communicators. As a leader you will always be communicating vision, goals and strategy therefore communication is a pivotal element for buy-in from staff and teams.
  18. Leaders are not consumed by titles but by creating value for the organisation especially through the people employed there-in.
  19. Leaders persevere even in the face of obvious persecution, adversity, pain and obstruction. They remain calm while focussing on keeping the dream alive.
  20. Leaders are not afraid of criticism. As a leader you are in the spotlight. Every move you make receives a response from those around you. You are therefore not immune to scrutiny.
  21. Leaders are optimistic. Optimists see mistakes as learning opportunities, not as catastrophes from which they’ll never recover.
  22. Leaders take risks. Developing great leadership stamina entails getting out of the seat of comfort by setting “stretch” goals that enable them to develop new skills.
  23. Leaders create a positive culture that drives organisational excellence and attainment of goals or targets. If your staff have a sour attitude, trace back to see if you did not encourage it.
  24. Leaders break barriers and walls of limitation. Great leaders refuse to be contained in a given space. They rather choose to define how far they want to go despite circumstances.
  25. Leaders spend quality time planning and even more time implementing their ideas. They are great dreamers but they are not hesitant to make their ideas practical.
  26. Leaders always raise the bar. Set standards and define expectations. Failure to challenge staff to aim higher and achieve more results in the organisation achieving mediocre results.
  27. Leaders are great at balancing their time between work, rest and other responsibilities outside the confines of their organisation. They lead a balanced life.
  28. Leaders always seek to expand their level of awareness and exposure. Leaders read and travel widely. They use every opportunity to learn ways to build stronger organisations.
  29. Leaders work with a succession plan in mind. They set their eyes even towards the period when they retire and begin to groom potential successors deliberately.
  30. Leaders are loyal to their vision and dreams. They will not hide or keep silent when others trample over their own exploits. They always find ways to safeguard their dreams.
  31. Leaders offer recognition of the efforts and achievements of their team members thereby inspiring them towards even greater achievements. They go a step further to reward performance.
  32. Great leaders are decisive and resolute. They make decisions and stand by them all the way. Team members become insecure around a leader whose decisions are never solid.
  33. Leaders manage information well. As a leader you will receive a lot of personal sensitive information. Learn to maintain confidentiality and publicise your staff’s information.
  34. Leaders develop relationships of trust with their staff members. As a result team members open up where they face challenges in executing their roles or even at a personal level.
  35. True leaders are selfless with their success. They reward those stakeholders who helped them to rise as well as making a difference in the communities they operate.
  36. Leaders are able to adjust to change but more importantly they cause change to happen. They are not stuck in the old way of doing business. They swiftly move with the times.
  37. Leaders have sharpened attention to see and seize opportunities. They do not wait for consensus while opportunities vanish. They enjoy meeting the needs of people and by so doing they create revenues for their businesses.
  38. Leaders go against the grain creating a new status quo. They are not comfortable by what already exists. They seek to venture into territories that others shy away from. That is how they become success stories.
  39. Leaders value people who think differently than them. They do not see that as disrespect. Rather they try to use alternative suggestions to sharpen their own ideas further.
  40. Leaders are not manipulative of those they lead. They let them have free space to exercise their own judgement and decision making power without fear of reprisal.

40 Tips that will position you for Greatness

Rab@40

July 2013 is the month when I will be turning 40. Yippie, life for me is about to begin. Got me thinking today about what I can give you as I begin my celebrations of this landmark in my life. I finally decided that I would empty myself of 40 tips which I feel are important as you seek to become a candidate for greatness. Enjoy this unedited version of my outpouring.

1. Be a continuous learner – This is a process that should never stop in your life.
2. Turn challenges into opportunities – Identify a need, meet it and see if you balance sheet will not improve.
3. Think beyond the present – If you can think of the future it will affect how you manage your life today.
4. Use your talents effectively – Stop envying the gifts and talents that others have. Identify your space and occupy it.
5. Be more organised – Success emanates from careful planning. Don’t just expect things to happen. Plan for them.
6. Be willing to work – Don’t be fooled; it is almost impossible to achieve greatness without working hard and/or smart.
7. Manage relationships – You were not born in your own planet, you have people around you that can propel you forward. All the money you want is in the relationships you are yet to make. Don’t burn bridges all your life. Seek help from those around you.
8. Be bold and daring – Greatness will entail that you take risks. Do things that others shun from. Attempt the previously impossible. You greatness is covered in that.
9. Cultivate an investor mentality – Realise that for success to come your way you have to invest your time, treasure and talent. Deploy your resources where there is return on investment you put in.
10. Be open to criticism – Criticism will surely come. It is how you handle it that determines how far you make progress in life. Be open to correction and counsel.
11. Manage your thoughts carefully – Your life is shaped by what you think about. If you can manage your thoughts then you can manage your life even better.
12. Implement your ideas – If you can transfer your thoughts to become something your hands can work on then you become a winner. Don’t sit on your ideas expecting them to undergo metamorphosis on their own. Don’t bury your dreams alive.
13. Have hope and faith – Whatever you lose, don’t lose hope, don’t lose your grip. Have faith that somehow things will turnaround in your favour.
14. Manage your confession – What you say to yourself daily is what you will believe. What you believe you promote, what you promote you become. Stay positive always.
15. Be excellent in all you do – Whatever you find to do, just add a touch of excellence to remain competitive so that you stand out. Anyone can achieve mediocrity. Don’t stay at mediocre level if ever you happen to find yourself there. Aim higher.
16. Learn to manage failure – You are not the first one to fail. Use every failure as a learning point to do even better on your next attempt.
17. Manage your expectations – Frustration is a result of false expectations. Be real with yourself. Don’t over promise yourself. Be objective in your expectations.
18. Manage your time and money – Be disciplined with what occupies your day and your budget. At any given time in life you are either managing time or money.
19. Sharpen your skills always – The world is forever changing which places a demand on our skills to also keep changing in line with the new needs of mankind.
20. Think beyond yourself – As long as you aim to enrich and lift just yourself up you limit how far you will go. Lift others as you rise.
21. Watch your friends – Find like-minded people who share your ideals and passion for growth. Your friends can grow you or bring you down outright.
22. Manage information – The information you have or do not have governs how far you will progress. Always seek to enrich your information power base.
23. Watch who you partner with – As you setup businesses, be careful who you select as your partner. They can either build your dream, steal it from you or simply mutilate it. No matter how well resourced they are, they have to share in the dream first.
24. Start what you plan and finish what you start – Don’t just settle for being a good starter. Rewards are for those who finish the mandates. Finish strong.
25. Be a great listener – Human beings love to hear themselves speak. However, take time to listen to your stakeholders (your customers, suppliers, friends etc.).
26. Be a good role model – Do all you can to ensure that what you do does not stumble others. You may not know it but other people are learning from you.
27. Honour your word – Your word should be your bond. You should not promise what you know you are not willing to deliver. Keep your promises.
28. Introspect always – Take time to carefully assess your own decisions, own progress and rate and appraise yourself objectively. Have “me times”.
29. Celebrate your victories – They may seem small but note them and celebrate them. Stand on every victory so that you aim even higher.
30. Have a mentor and mentor others – You will make better strides when you learn from those you admire and have walked the road longer. Just as you are mentored, take time to mentor others.
31. Manage stressful moments well – You will be stretched in life. Don’t bother worrying about what people are thinking of you. Stay on you track. Do the best you can with what you have. People have expectations on you but manage those situations with tact.
32. Be patient; shortcuts are not recommended – Follow the process. Greatness is not an overnight process. It may take varying amounts of time. Remain steadfast and resolute knowing that your chance to shine will come.
33. Be flexible; change is imminent – Learn to move with the times. Manage the process of change carefully. Change is said to be the only constant in life. You are forever changing physically, mentally, socially etc. Don’t change your values unnecessarily for the sake of change.
34. Manage your reputation – What do you want to be known for after you are gone? Spend time to ensure that you promote what you stand for. It is your reputation that sometimes gets doors to be opened without a single request from you. People will seek your advice just because of what they know about you.
35. Identify your purpose and live it – Your purpose may not bring you millions of dollars but it will help you to live a fulfilled life. Take time to know why you are occupying space. You are not your career. No one can impose purpose on you. You just have to find what you are passionate about and do it.
36. Stop feeling sorry for yourself – You are not a victim; you are not down trodden. You may be down but that does not mean you are out. Yes, you may fall from time to time but that should not define your end.
37. Take responsibility for your actions – Own up when you mess up. It can’t always be someone else’s fault. Your maturity is when you are able to say “I am the one who did wrong; I am sorry”.
38. Be decisive – Not all decisions you will make in life will be great ones but keep making decisions all the same. Every decision you shall make will have varying degrees of consequences but do not shy away from making them.
39. Be a consistent giver – You don’t need to be a millionaire before you can extend your hand to those less fortunate than you are. Making a difference begins with however little you have. Giving is not always about money anyway, you can give wisdom, you can give time to listen to a distressed individual. Just give of yourself.
40. Learn to be content with what you have – This is not a license for aiming low and settling for half achievements. This is a call for you not to exercise greed just because you want to look better than the next person. Watch the motive behind your accumulation.

7 Steps towards Good Decision Making

Decision MaingYour life is the sum total of the decisions you have made. Decision making is one responsibility that every human being has to realize they have. Every day you make a lot of decisions, from the time you wake up until you sleep. Some decisions made will catapult the decision maker to the next level of success while other decisions will cost the decision maker in terms of time, reputation etc. In life you shall make decisions on career choice, who to marry and become a life partner, starting a business, church, to grow up and who to work for. This is merely a fraction of the number of decisions you make in a day. Some decisions are made having gathered all the necessary information. Hence, it is called an informed or calculated decision. Some decisions will either be good decisions since they yield good outcomes, or bad decisions in the event of a negative outcome. Whether you like it or not, whether you are ready for it or not, you will have to be making decisions all your life.

Considerations:

1. What is the financial and legal consequence? – Weigh the costs. How much money do you need to make this happen? Every decision you will ever make has some level of financial impact. It will affect your income one way or the other. Someone needs to pay for it. Who is that person and are they willing? When you count the cost you are saying that you are prepared to meet all the obligations that come with the decision. You don’t want to make a decision today and be the one mourning in a few days about how hard and painful it is. Looking at the financial and legal obligations or risks in advance will help you to plan your decision in advance. I have seen too many projects that were started with the intention of being completed in one year but, because of misinformation, the same projects ended up taking 8 years as financial expectations were underestimated. Be thorough in your financial and legal preparations ahead of your decision. You will save yourself heartaches and frustrations.

2. What skills are necessary? – Will the decision call for your expertise? Do you actually have the expertise necessary to make things happen with excellence and accuracy without compromising the quality of the outcome? Too many times people realize much later when they are now involved that their expertise and experience is called for and they are found wanting. It is worse in situations where your expertise was a requirement and you made a decision to take part anyway, although you did not have the necessary expertise, because “it felt” like the right thing to do. If you fall short having made a decision, by all means skill yourself up in the shortest time possible. Find the relevant course and do it. A person having a good position while not meeting the right intellectual expectations is a recipe for disaster in that organization. Decisions will be made not based on expert knowledge but assumption and just the direction of the wind. It is way too risky to accept a responsibility when you know you are not going to increase your capacity through further education.

 3. Who else is involved in this issue? – You definitely need to know who is behind the issue you are making a decision on. Are they people whose track record you know and can trust? The credibility of other parties will cause you to either say yes or an outright no. Common examples are found in marriage: Do you know the values and beliefs of the family you are marrying into? As soon as you know that background information you are informed enough to take a chance or stay away totally. It remains a fact that where there are many people involved areas of responsibility easily become obscured. Hence, progress may not happen as desired. When you know who else is involved, you need to be bold enough to know what they are bringing to the table ahead of making the decision. If it is a shareholder, who else is involved? Where have they been involved before and what was the outcome?

4. How long will it take for results to show? When you have an idea of time frames, you are able to determine whether you will be able to stretch your patience that far or rather to let go of the issue on the table. You may be looking for investment opportunity and making a decision on your finances. Find out if the investment option gives immediate benefits or if they come in the long run. If the position is such that the time frame does not match with what you desire then you let those with the patience to wait go for it. The last thing you want is to make a decision for the sake of it and then regret it in no time. Sometimes quitting when you are already ankle deep can have a negative effect on others involved in the same decision and it may sound insensitive and unfair for you to develop cold feet later. If you go in knowing that for the next 20 years, our tree plantation requires investment while we are not expecting to harvest even one tree, you count the cost of waiting and decide accordingly. Do you have the patience and determination necessary?

5. What is the potential return for your effort? No one would make a decision in the direction of something that does not bring meaningful return. The expected return must be clearly communicated. Unless one is deciding to be involved in charity work where it is about giving. In general, people desire to know what is in it for them for the investment they would have made (Return On Investment). You certainly do not need to be an accountant to determine the difference between a good deal and one which is more of charity than an investment. It is important to not take promises at face value. There are people who are very good at advertising and enticing potential investors into investing into non-existent deals. Your return must be as clear as daylight.

6. Who will be affected negatively? Your decision is not happening in a vacuum. This means to every good decision you are making there could be others who may be affected negatively by it. When you have an idea of people affected by your decision, you are better able to cushion the effects of your decision in advance. If the place you are deciding to purchase to put a plant will cause residents to be relocated, it would be necessary to know who is really affected and how the issue will be resolved ahead of the decision.

7. What other priorities do you have on hand? As you prepare to make the decision to participate, take stock of other priorities you already have. Are you coping with what you have now? Do you have extra time which you are willing to employ in this decision? If you are already grappling for time, no matter how lucrative this issue is it simply means you have to either let it go or drop another prior commitment. In a majority of cases, decisions you take on are at the expense of prior commitments. You are getting what you want or have decided on but realize that in the same process you may lose what you had. If your new decision is not in any way standing in the way of previous commitments and priorities then it is worth your consideration. Sometimes people simply weigh the priorities and they remain with those that either bring better return or are less strenuous.

7 Issues Everyone Must Confront In Life

ShumbasOne thing most people shy away from is confrontation. Not everyone is wired or born with genes that encourage that. I am one person who was born an expert at running away from situations that require a head-on collision with situations, people and circumstances. I would find the smart way out, creatively avoiding confrontation as much as possible. As I grew up I realized that for my success and future prospects, I needed to be intentional about the things I needed to confront. For a long time I thought other people needed to help me confront the issues I had gathered over time but I soon realized it was my sole duty. Now I can tell others about it because I confront the issues below regularly. It is a life long process.

1. Past – Many fail to make strides into the future because they have literally given license and rights to the past issues to jump into the present. Face your failures and learn from them, look at your successes and aim higher. Don’t rest on them. Your past remains your past. You have no control over it. Today you have a chance to rewrite the “new past” that will be talked of in your future. Confront your issues so that you don’t keep blaming it on what happened before. Take responsibility with both hands now.

2. Purpose – There is no one who can stand with others and claim not to have purpose. It is there. You may not know it yet. Your job is to confront this issue genuinely seeking to find where your passions lay. You cannot roam around resting on the purposes of others. You have your own mandate why you occupy space. Discover it and run with it. The longer you take to confront the matter the shorter you may live a fulfilled life. You only get fulfilled when you do what you love best even without being paid for it.

3. Personality – no one can ever deal with your personality better than you. People usually shy away from who they really are when no one else is watching. A good personality is usually the one that stands heads and shoulders above others receiving so much favor with man. If you fail to confront your own personality you will always think people are hard on you. Be realistic about this issue. Your life depends on your person-hood or personality.

4. Perception of self – How you see yourself matters. Confront the mirror every so often. It is not madness. See your own perception. Hear yourself speak, see yourself smile. If you do not know what you are good at, people will take you for granted and ride on your low self esteem. Square your shoulders always and realize you are somebody.

5. Present circumstances – Where you are presently has a bearing on how far you will go in life and how fast that will take. Where you are now should be scrutinized in view of the vision you set for yourself. If you cannot interrogate your present circumstances then time will fly past and you are bound to be in the same place in the future. You can change your present circumstance for the better.

6. Plan for the future – You should not just stumble on your future. One should plan for it and ensure they walk into a defined and well envisioned future. If you cannot see yourself in the future then you will not be able to walk towards it.

7. Potential – You are as good as the potential in you that is realized. It is not good enough to say “I think I am capable of this” when in actual fact you are not prepared to confront what you are good at. Unrealized potential remains exactly that. It remains a pie in the sky, a wish never realized. Everyone is somebody even when no tag is put on your forehead. You have potential only if you exploit it to the maximum. Expose yourself to environments and situations that enhance your growth and development. Who says you are not the next best story.

7 Guidelines to a Productive Day

Hand check mark the listHow many times have you set to attack a day and yet towards the end of the day you could hardly account for the running you did all day? How many times have you entered a day with no clue what you wanted to achieve but in the end still remained frustrated and unproductive. These are commons situations that professionals face daily. One’s productivity is a result of intentional and deliberate decision to aspire for and work towards productivity. You can never attain what you cannot measure. You can never enjoy life in the absence of productivity. Life calls for you to be proactive and deliberate about your own happiness as a professional. Happiness is a result of all that is desired being achieved within the set time. This article was birthed out of several disruptions to my fruitfulness. I watched and monitored how my time had been wasted and sought to change the way I did things. It worked phenomenally for me and I know it will work for anyone who is deliberate and intentional.

1. Determine you major and minor goals for the day – The main issue is knowing which issues are important and which ones are secondary to the main purpose. If you fail to plan your day, anything that comes will destroy your attention and focus. You will be tired and everywhere and yet not have the desired result. Work with the desired result in mind. That is being organized.

2. Stick to your plan – It is one thing to have a meetings schedule, it is another ball game to stick to what you purposed in 1 above. It calls for a high level of discipline to do so. Avoid over stretching meetings unnecessarily. Stick to the point. Stick to the budget. Whatever was not planned for at the start of the day may not suddenly be the main focus for the day. There are exceptions to this but in general terms, what was planned should be accomplished. Prioritize issues based on importance and urgency.

3. Watch out for disruptions – While you are planning your day, other people are planning their appointments with you but the feel that there is no need to inform you. Watch out for such time wasters. People must get used to booking to see you. This is not for senior professionals. Anyone should have a diary that they can stick to make things happen. Watch out for unplanned visitors and calls with no real value.

4. Occupy the idle moments – There is a lot stuff you can cover in between meetings or while driving from one place to the next. You can use that time to listen to an audio book. You can use waiting time to catch up on the news and so on. There are things you would rather not do during prime time, when you mind is fresh. I made a point not to read the newspaper at the start of the day. Newspapers tend to carry depressing issues which can scuttle your effectiveness and focus.

5. Put reminders on the computer and PDA – alarms will ensure you don’t forget what you have set to do. I carry my phones with me as they help me stay organized. I set the reminders, synchronize my PDA, phone and other gadgets with my email collaboration system. It works like magic for me.

6. Avoid over-promising your stakeholders – Productivity is usually scuttled because you would have promised far too many people big things that are not attainable in the given space of time. Be realistic with your promises.

7. Measure, correct and journal your experiences – You can never improve on something you are not deliberately recording and revisiting. You should be able to measure or score against all given tasks how productive each day was. When you journal you are able to come up with lessons on how to make it better the next time

7 Ways to Maximize Your Potential

human-potentialEveryone is born with innate potential to do the best in life. Ultimately, it is everyone’s desire to become who they were born to be. It is however sad that sometimes some people discover when time is far spent what they are on earth for. By then it is of no use to them and those around. Time is a very precious resource which must be spent accordingly. This means every day that goes in life is as important as the one just passed. There are no moments to miss especially if they have to do with unveiling and maximizing what is stored within. Sometimes it takes other people to show an individual what they are made of. I have not always been a writer; it took the affirmations of others to finally realize that I had a whole career waiting to be exploited. Other people can observe potential in an individual. Coupled with the right affirmation and support, individuals may grow to become the best they can be. It also sometimes takes negative people to destroy every figment of potential an individual may have. Some people may not be happy to see progress in others hence they go to great lengths to stifle the potential in every way possible.

 1. Read Books – You maybe the next greatest carpenter the community has ever seen. You cannot rely on what you see in vision alone, you need to read books that have been written on the subject of your passion. Read widely in order to increase your relevancy level.

 2. Increase your exposure level – Exposure can be achieved through travel, research and meeting people. Your potential relies heavily on what you have been exposed to since birth. Endeavour to increase what your awareness of the environment, the market trends and possibilities even beyond the confines of your country.

3. Have mentors around you – Mentors help get the best out of an individual. I have a mentor who coaches me in the arena of book writing. I would not have achieved what I have done had it not been for him. I have mentors who expand my potential in other areas of life such as business, family and so on. If you have no one to stretch you, you will never know what you are capable of. You will settle for what you know of yourself.

 4. Attempt difficult tasks – One way to really maximize possibilities in your own life is when you attempt things that are seemingly hard by normal standards. If you always settle for the easy tasks, you could scratch on the surface in terms of what you can do. When I was with Anglo American, I attempted projects that were seemingly beyond my education and experience. Only after I decided to embark on them did I realize how easy it was.

 5. Enter into competitions and challenges – Competitions are important in life. I always attempt challenging competitions that test my resilience and determination. I have participated in the 4th marathon challenge to write 100 Articles in 100 Days by ezine in May 2010. I completed 201 articles in the 100 days to become among 68 people in the world to do so. I also took part in the 5th challenge. Challenging times bring out the best in me.

 6. Do something new – When did you last do something for the very first time? Your potential could be in the things that have not been discovered yet. Who says you are not the one to invent the next biggest thing. It only comes when you cultivate an unwavering desire to do new things and create new ideas.

 7. Follow through on your passion to limit – Once you discover what your passion is you need a determination to follow through. You need to increase the activities that are lined up with that passion in your life. Attend seminars, go to college, find a common interest group, build others in your area, engage the existing systems and so on

7 Gift Ideas this Season

We are in a season that is widely celebrated the world over, Christmas and ushering in of a new year. There will be festivities all over the world. It is in such moments that many exchange different gifts to celebrate one another. There are however those who will sit back and look at themselves as not able to give anyone a gift particularly where the financial position is not that healthy. I have good news for you. You do not always have to use money to celebrate others this season. I have a few thoughts you may want to consider.

1. Give of your time – spend time with family and friends catching up on times spent apart. Spend time with those who are mourning and those who are rejoicing. They say time is money hence when you spend time with someone, you would definitely have given them money.

2. Give your love (care) – They say it is never Love until you learn to give it away. You give love, you get love back. Call someone and wish them well. It is in this time that some will be feeling lonely after their own friends would have traveled on holidays. Share you love with someone.

3. Give you ear (attention) – In this busy world, sometimes people hardly have time to listen to others speaking. This is a time when there is no rush. Listen to the deep cries and anxieties of those needing attention. There are many who have been misunderstood all their lives, take time to listen to them too. Take time to answer any burning questions.

4. Give hope – Many feel hopeless, dejected and rejected. Take time to affirm someone that their circumstances are not unto death. The fact that they are living to enter this season means there is a purpose for their lives. Tell them never to give up hope but keep it alive. Visit those in prison and those in orphanages.

5. Give your wisdom – After listening to all the cries, the complaints and anxieties, take a moment to offer your wisdom. The fact that someone is pouring their lives out means you may have a word in you that will unlock their potential and position them for the new year. Offer wisdom and it will never run dry in you.

6. Give life – Take time to donate blood to save lives that continue to perish on the roads due to accidents. When you see others in trouble please stop and rescue them from perishing. Share the word of God with someone. It could be the only gift that they need to turnaround their own circumstances. Tell people of the importance of being alive.

7. Give others memories – Let others feel that this has been the best Christmas ever. You may never give them cash but give them memories they will live with for life. Take pictures to remember the moments you spend with family and friends. Make this a memorable season for generations to come.

I would like to personally thank you all who have been a source of encouragement for me in my quest to impact lives around the world. The nations that have hosted me in the recent past, I applaud you. Thank you to USA, Kenya, Uganda, Swaziland, South Africa to name just a few of those. I will be traveling more in the coming year to make sure you too are not left out from traveling on first class in the inspiration train.

Merry Christmas and a blissful 2013.

Rabison Shumba
Author | Speaker | Coach