Of shoe sizes and pinches

Happy New Year!!! It is 2015! Just another 15 years to the realization (part or nought?) of the much mentioned Vision2030 in our lovely country of Kenya. Yeah, I am aware that it is already 3 weeks into the new year. But new it still is… And thus I begin my 2015 ranting.

Did you ever realize that your day tends to follow the pattern of your thoughts as you started out? Or is it just me? On a morning that you might be feeling like crap you may declare “This day is probably going to be pretty crappy”. And what do you get? You guessed it, crap! Continue reading

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Getting up after falling down

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For me it’s more like finding something to say after being quiet so long. I think all too often we (If there is anyone like me out there) wallow too much or too long instead of getting back in the game. My last post was 5 months ago! My head is struggling to remain held high as I type this. As I was driving to work today I was listening to the story of a woman called Njesh who lost her husband 6 months ago. He went out to the car wash on a Sunday after church and barely an hour later had died. Just like that. One of her closing statements was “You don’t know about tomorrow. What you have is today. So if you have something you’ve got to do, do it today. Today is all you’ve got.” So here I am.

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The antidote for falling short

Last time I wrote about the five reasons we fall short of turning our dreams into reality. This week I focus on the antidote for each of the five pitfalls. Antidotes are great because it means there’s hope of rescue; that you’re not damned. So if you’re feeling like a loser (I sometimes do) because you’re off the mark, far from the shores you visualized you’d be by now do take heart. You can make it better. It won’t get better on its own though so be ready to put in some work to turn your ship around.

Pitfall number one is fear. What’s the antidote of fear? I’ll give you a hint – action. If you wait for the fear to fade or go away before you try something new you’re in for a shock! You’ll die waiting.

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Five reasons we fall short

Do you remember what your goals or resolutions were at the beginning of this year? Have you made any progress? Are you happy with where you are at with respect to meeting the targets you set? A friend of mine challenged me with a question he put on twitter. He asked “100 days is almost up. How is your RRI coming along?”

For those of you who may not be familiar with what RRI is allow me to take up this paragraph to bring you up to speed. RRI stands for Rapid Results Initiative and is a results based approach to management. It is popular in our Kenyan government and every once in a while a ministry will launch what they call a “wave” of RRI. The wave typically last 100 days and the idea is that the institution commits to achieving certain goals through implementing high impact activities.

This question got me thinking about my score card and I had another look at my goals for 2014 to score my progress. On some I was doing really well and on others not so much.  Continue reading

Lessons from prison

Last week I was in prison! No I wasn’t sentenced and I am not writing from prison. I was there for work. To talk with them about sobriety and how they can use peer education effectively to reduce the use of alcohol and drugs in the prison setting. The information I’d got was that we’d be talking to prison officers. Turned out it was a mix of inmates and officers and the sessions were to be held inside the prison walls.

My heart started to pound as we walked into the prison, accompanied by two unarmed officers. This was my first time to visit a prison let alone a maximum facility – where inmates serve a minimum of about 6 years to life sentences. Continue reading

Do you say it enough?

What’s the magic word? What do you say? These are common questions we ask kids as we teach them the two important words. Technically one of them is actually a two-word phrase: thank you and please. I’d say many of us adults often need the reminder to use the magic words.

Pass the salt, give me that book, put that away…we’re too frequently giving orders. I remember a former boss once said words that stuck with me “Don’t expect a pat on the back for doing your job. 100% is what is expected from you. When you underachieve be sure you’ll get the punishment due. If you get 130% or more is when you are deserving of reward.” Not the best way to inspire your employees. We may not say the same thing in words but we demonstrate it almost daily. How, you ask? Read on.  Continue reading

Did I just say that?

Me and my big mouth! Ever found yourself wanting to take words back that you said in haste or anger? Or saying to someone “I didn’t mean to say that.” If you’re like me then you probably wish this at least once every two days (or more frequently).

A few years ago after church service I ran into a guy I used to interact with while he was in high school. I was a peer educator with a youth organization and every week we went to high school clubs and interacted with the students, teaching them various life skills. So anyway, this guy walks up to me and after saying hi and the usual niceties he tells me about a day (easily 8years earlier) when I visited their school. I was trying to get the students to be quiet and harshly made some remarks aimed at him. He told me that he found them really hurtful. I mean eight years later! Continue reading

Tomorrow never comes

I’ll call her tomorrow, I’ll study tomorrow, I’ll finish the proposal tomorrow, not snooze tomorrow, set up the meeting next week, start working out next month. And then tomorrow becomes …. You guessed it, tomorrow. Which never really comes. I loved reading sayings and proverbs in school – usually in preparation for creative writing. If you were in the 8-4-4 system you must remember how it was important to write compositions and we got more points for using similes, analogies and weaving in some sayings (in Kiswahili we’d write “Wahenga walinena”). I digress. One proverb that still rings in my head is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Intentions even when they’re grand are just that: intentions. Intentions don’t get things done, actions do. Continue reading

Surely not me, I am not good enough

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All of us struggle with feelings of self-doubt, especially when we are about to launch into new territory like start a business, get a new job that’s “bigger” than any we’ve had before, pursue a new opportunity. That’s pretty normal because breaking out of the norm is scary. In a good way usually. But when doubt keeps us from embracing these new opportunities then that’s dangerous. Continue reading

Achieve what you want

We are creatures of habit. From the days our feet started pattering across the house at age 2 (and even earlier for some) we develop habits. Good and bad.They are influenced by our environment: observation and modeling. I know someone who is never late because it was ingrained by her dad as they grew up. Punctual in their family meant 30 minutes before the stated time. If you weren’t there you were left behind. For some of us 9am means anything between 9.15 – 10.00 or whenever we get there.

According to research, at least 40% of the things we do every day are based on habits and not new decisions. Kind of like being on auto pilot. Think about it… When you wake up in the morning you have a routine (comprising of habits) that involves the actions you take from the time your alarm rings until you get out of the house. Continue reading