When I grow up..

“When I grow up I want to be an astronaut.” I thought about many careers when I was a child.  I had a new one every year at some point. What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you that or is it still your aspiration? Maybe like me you found your path and it was different from what you thought of as a kid. For the record, an astronaut was not even on my radar as an option when I was growing up. I thought about becoming  an accountant, pharmacist, doctor and a stream of other professions. Continue reading

Is it one of those days?

Are there some mornings that getting out of bed seems like the biggest challenge of the day? Or maybe you need to get started on a project and you can’t for the life of you seem to get that push to jump start the process? It reminds me of a nursery rhyme (yes, I listen to quite a bit of those with our daughter and I may find myself adding them to my repertoire of music if I don’t watch it)..Anyway, the nursery rhyme is about lazy Mary who’s name on some days could be replaced with Wendy. Lol! As always nursery rhymes and children’s songs are simple and repetitive. See here: Continue reading

Six packs don’t happen

“Do you think you’ll wake up one morning with a six pack?” He yelled. And no, he wasn’t referring to a six pack of alcohol (ahem..or soda). It was a trainer at the gym shouting at us as he gruelingly demanded another 10 crunches. I was thinking that he was taking his job way too seriously. I was panting like a winded dog and every muscle in my body was trembling from the strain. “You’ve got to work for it! So come on, push yourself. You can do it! Five, four….”. Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

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

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

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

Celebrate little victories

Boy don’t I love the feeling of crossing out all the items on my to-do-list on any given day at work. That feeling of a day well spent is priceless. Last week I wrote on the issue of self-criticism. Self flagellation of sorts. Today I am thinking of the other side of the coin. Reward. When you achieve a goal, no matter how small, do you reward yourself? Even a simple pat on the back or a little jig counts.

I am reminded of the carrot and stick idiom. Back in the days of donkey driven carts the “driver” would hang a carrot just out of the reach of the donkey and would hold a stick threateningly behind. The donkey moved forward spurred on by the motivation of trying to reach the carrot (reward) while avoiding the stick (punishment). Without motivation change is almost impossible. If losing weight has no advantages then what’s the point? If getting that degree has no benefit then why bother staying up late studying? Continue reading