Njuki Moments

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

is there such a thing as too much inspiration?

Every piece of advice we receive involves encouraging us to plan and research and find out what else had been done in our field of interest. We get that from history class, from bible school and from medical class(I guess). History is all around us. Those who know how those who walked before us did so, tend to perform much better. We look to our superiors for inspiration.
I am a book fanatic. Scratch that. I am a reading freak. I read practically everything and anything. It must have been nurtured from childhood. Both my parents were teachers and I learned to read before I went to school.( Quick math tel you I skipped nursery school.Which might explain strains of anti-social behavior)But I digress.

The point though is not when I started to read and how much I have read since then. I Picked up on the growing trend of self help books at some point after school .I don’t remember exactly how I dug in ,but the trend and the self help books industry is growing and so is my reading list. I know I speak to someone right now, It has grown to include podcasts and audio books too.

Self help books are those which are meant to encourage us, to press on, to inspire us to be better,by achieving, getting inspired or even break some habits. My favorites have been from Gordon Wavamunno,to Bill Gates and Donald Trump to Sir Richard Branson. From Russ Whitney to Ambrose Kibuuka to David Schwarz, and of course the legendary Robert Kiyosaki.

I have also attended an enviable number of seminars and conventions where earth moving speakers have presented. I have a collection of DVDs too and audio books. This is all healthy I fathom, after all I want to chart the water they have sailed. And so do you. Question Is.. How much inspiration is enough?

I know there are several faces I keep meeting at every speaker’s forum or every Inspiration event and they never change. They keep soaking up more and more information and skills from the professionals. However, there never seems to be any progress in their business life. They tend to tell the story of just about to start that business, just about to write that book, just about to do that project,let me just do a little more research. Yes

I had read all this for about three years before I decided enough was enough. You just can’t take directions all your life. You need to start on your own and start on your own journey. That is when I choose action against, well, more inspiration and repeating what Kiyosaki was saying about business. I know a lot of us have come across several useful guide books in business, and I congratulate you. You need a guide on this journey, but like an infant you need to be weaned of this habit if you are to begin. Especially if it threatens to become addiction and impede action and progress.
I confess, once in a while I go back to my collection of books, and it’s a quite a collection, for more inspiration; when I am down, when I am looking for a new solution but I had to put it aside to be able to start on my own. Do not substitute thinking with reading.

If you are in my boat then, where you read more self help than do business, stop now, please, and start working on your dream. Because I believe, yes, there is such a thing as too much inspiration. You need to create your own and move. Do that. Do not be held up by what they sometimes refer to as Analysis Paralysis, where you analyze too much, the finer details scare you and you don’t move on. It is such an idea killer. I know I have come full circle with my second business, I seem to find more reason to do more research and read one more book, but I should hide my collection for a while till I have taken some more steps in that direction. You should do the same, or if you have moved this journey, congratulations for having been inspired just enough to move on and begin.

Friday, April 15, 2011

tell me, do you really want to be a priest?

For the majority of my readers ,that can only come from a movie.Nah,not many of you even watch Padre Pio movies.It could only have come from a fictional book.Sixteenth Century perhaps.

For 15 year old Emma,that was a real question that put that real fear into him. The answer would mean chasing a dream or letting it fly.(Padre Pio is a saint by the way)

This young boy was two weeks late reporting to school at the minor seminary. All horror stories had been told about that place.Still he went. Two weeks late.

Even before he could settle into his 40 student's class,the biggest so far in a long history,he is hand picked for the worst student career killer ever in the whole school.A trip to the lake(also the worst punishment you could ever have)
Crime was asking just what the phrase :
"Tu periurare timeto -- commodat in lusus numina surda Venus" meant.

Subito(Latin for suddenly) a name given to a particularly mysterious teacher Priest finds me in action and there on my first day in school I am led to the lake for punishment.

Once there,the following conversation occurs,
"So young man,you have come to the seminary!?"
Knees shaking I barely whisper,
"Yes Father",
"And a few hours later you have your first punishment. Will you even make an average Seminarian?"(that asked with so much anger I wonder why,and a sneer to match)

I f I say YES,he will say,how then do you find yourself in this situation?,If I say No,I swear to God he will send me home. So I say,
" I will try"
......and he goes,
"Laba,Just trying? You will just try?" I don't think you are good enough."

Don't blame then when I chose to leave after a whole four years. My start was not the best. I tried.
And for you Latin starters,sentence translates as, "... fear not to forswear thyself. Venus makes the gods deaf to the plaints of the deceived lover."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gold Jazz in this city

It’s Thursday and it been a chilly day. After the government warning us on our phones of an impending drought, it starts to rain like this!I swear I still have the text. I don't want to be that minister or even the intern who sent us the texts! Drought planning committee indeed!

Its one of those days where you are looking for something to make your day, but with rain like this I decide I will make it myself. Off to bodaboda for the Nile Gold jazz night. Code9 is playing. You know how a beer goes down after a hard day. Sheer awesomeness.
I get to Garden City. I climb the steps, up, up. One by one. I am at Bodaboda. Now when you get to bodaboda, the first expectation is one of those beefy security guards at the gate. You want to be careful with them. Their chest says it all. So I empty my pockets, keys, ka-torchi phone,coinage and I proceed almost automatically, arms raised.

Mother of all surprises, I don't find them this time! Instead I find two drummers. Serious. A chick and a guy,enjoying the drums with this smile. Am I at the right place? I rub my eyes. I look again. Ah,so jazz evening starts here! They smile me through.
That's creativity.
That is ushering with a difference !
The mood caught on. I go straight to where the band is. Singing along to the entry drums.

Now,I am sure you are mostly used to watching performances below the stage while the band drums and sing at the plat form. Here,there are ringside seats if you like.Close to the action. You are like those 3D movies where you are inside the match oba?. Tip:next time go for those seats.

So,the band plays and the beer flows. I tell you,this music here is good. Not the usual jazz of tululululu...This is jazz you don't have to pretend to enjoy. It sips right into you..you can't complain. The evening wears on. Now, I may not be able to express myself fully about the crowd right now. I was concentrating on the music (ears and eyes) and the drink(other senses). I hope the same crown attends next time, so I will tell you.

I only hear the next day that there was a movie too. No! Why didn’t some one tell me?

If you dont tell ,how will they know?

My Rotaract Club (the Rotaract Club of Kampala City) meeting is every Tuesday at 6.00pm. Normally, we come from work and school and we sit together and we share fellowship (as we call it) fun and friendship and then go home .We do that every week. Most of us look to it as a rewarding moment when you go to catch up with friends and discuss all types of business, service(mostly)Club administration(sometimes) and other business, but not business.

It was one such Tuesday that I was asked to make a presentation about what I do for a living. Honestly I had never really got opportunity to share about my business ideas (then) and plans and how good the future of entrepreneurship could be. So I shared.
I started with the fact, " All of us shall at one moment need to create something of our own. The size doesn’t matter, but in our lifetime, we shall either choose to leave employment, or be asked to leave or we shall grow old and retire. A lot of times when any of those happens, we need back up and instinctively we turn to what we think pans out- ironically which we avoided most if not all of our working life-business."
In that very meeting, there was seated, my first partner in business, ever. It was not so much what I was doing but I guess what I had lined up to do that moved a few people. I got amazing reviews. My profile must have moved up. I even got new friends.

Truth be told, I had never thought, before that that my business or my business idea deserved any mention, much as it paid my rent and I had grand plans with it, I sold myself really short(before that). The only people who knew I was doing farming for a business either did not take me seriously or just didn’t take the idea seriously. They must have thought I would wake up from that trance and get a real job soon. Of course they never ever shared this with me in public (to mean in my presence), until after that presentation.
One gentleman comes up to me and says,
"My friend,I hope you didn’t mean what you just said! You can’t make money from farming. You are far too schooled to be doing this"

My eyes straight at his ,I tell him. "I meant every word I said there. That is what I do and I just shared my dream right there."

That presentation did not just get me a partner,but several businesses as well.

Each and everyone of us has a dream,one they are either working on or one they hope to work on.Truth is,no one else has the responsibility to grow and nurture that dream than you.You owe it to yourself.Promote your business at every opportunity you get.The advertising industry is not mega for nothing.Promotion is equal to sales and growth. And opportunities come from the most unexpected sources;don't pass on an opportunity. When you get to speak about what you do or how good you are or your plans for the future,you don't just convince your audience, you convince yourself too.So your subconscious keeps working on the grand dream you have and it keeps you posted with results,surprisingly in the same form you dream about. If we get to talk about how terrible the weather has been for ages and how high taxes and prices are or even how bad our bosses can be,we surely can talk with that much gusto about how grand our dreams are.

Several months later,and we have no guest speaker again. A friend and member of the club is asked to sit in and speak about what he does for a living. He declines. He said he was not ready,he was not prepared,people needed to have told him early. No type of cajoling would get him to take the stand.
I casually walk to him and say;
"This is the best opportunity you will ever get to promote you business and your idea to numerous people without a cent paid.Go for it."
For some reason,this got him going, and he delivered the best presentation I have ever heard about Architecture.

It worked for me,It worked for him.It has probably worked for you too,if up have tried it. Go out here and spread the message. People listen to whatever we tel them, and when we deliver it with passion and conviction,they are as sold as you are, and soon it turns into lived dreams.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

we don't get what we deserve,we get what we negotiate for...

Life has never been fair,and it's not about to be. We do not get what we deserve,we get what we negotiate for. In life,everything,and I mean everything is negotiable.Yeah,you know I am right when you remember the last time you negotiated. In prayer.Truthfully! You remember telling God how you'll turn from your sinful ways if he did you a favor.Got the tax guys off your back, perhaps? You see,we even negotiate with God!

It's a skill we cannot afford to ignore. As an entrepreneur,this only comes second to creativity.
Come with me, I share what I have picked up here.
1.Know that everything and anything can be negotiated(time salary,tax,rent,even prices).So when you think you can get a better deal on something,go for it. Negotiate more. There are also items and services which practically have no set price and how good a deal you get depends on how good your skills are.

2.Appear to have the interest of the other person in mind. We hate selfishness. Even if the truth is that you are negotiating for personal interest,give credit where it is due.Appreciate the fact that the other person too is looking out for their interest and respect them for it . The suave negotiator then, is one who comes off as not selfish but puts the other party's interest ahead of their own.Something like 'if I gave you Shs 2000 for this,would you make any profit?' Its a question with a concern and you are likely to get a fairly genuine answer. Instead of for example.'Me I only have Shs 2,000 or I go'.

3.The person who can walk away holds all the power. Be prepared to walk away.Even when you think you found the answer you have been long looking for but the price doesn't seem right,rather walk away and come back later.Once one party knows you have no other options,they close in for the kill.
4.Give some, lose some. You can't win it all.Even if you agreed on the price or preferred condition at first attempt,know that you can't win it all. Drop a condition in exchange for money or vice versa.That way every one leaves the table happier and you will be welcomed back for more business.
5. Know the rules of the game.Sometimes negotiating in a particular way is outright offensive.Inquire if you can negotiate.It doesn't kill.
6.Don't appear desperate.Be the calmest you can be. Appear conformable. They would rather sell cheaply to a rich man than highly to a poor man who wont buy again. Put your best impression forward.
7.Have some manners.Don't appear to have won a battle.Take it as an agreement instead. Everyone has feelings of 'I should have done better ' after every deal. Don't grow those feelings in them by celebrating wildly when you get your way. They will shun you next time.
8.What is your edge?Bulk,repetition,links? Have an edge.Or you are useless. What do I gain if I let in to your offer?
9.Don't say deal so soon.You may appear to have run with a bargain,even if you have ,really.Everyone wants to win.Let them feel they have won too.
10.On the flip side,don't be the cheapest in the market.You will be undercut and hence killed in the game.People also tend to associate low priced with low quality.So if you have a premium good or service.Charge premium prices. People will happily pay.That is why Lamborghini is still in business.

Rotaract beach volley ball

There is that song that was famous for getting people to do things on the beach. Not that one you ..... that one says other things. I meant. Let’s go to the beach baby,by ..I think oba Julio Iglesias. Google it.

Any way having listened to said song in my head. It’s still playing. I go to the beach as it says. The Rotaract Club of Rubaga was hosting its second annual beach volley ball challenge,at Sports beach Entebbe..The song doesn’t mention it. Sponsored by Club beer. So Club was 1 k,and all its sister beers.This information may be coming to you too late,but you may use it in the future. Yes, 1 k.

So teams assemble. It's yet to be determined whether the awesome attendance was due to the fact that it was the beach or they could have known of cheap beer or the fact that they think seriously of sport o r even all the above. I don't know. I am just reporting. But all those were in plenty.
Let the games begin.

And they began. The sand was hot,the breeze cool.The fish tasty,the Club chilled. And we played. You must have notices I said 'we'. You were right. I also played.As a dangerous substitute.That’s what my coach called me.

Having mentioned also earlier that the event was sponsored by Club beer,well and Rwenzori mineral water you could have though that the players would go for water to cool off the sweltering heat. No brotha. The Club looked more inviting.

And given the inviting price mentioned earlier,it competed favorably i n attention with the games. Thank God there were no such rules of drinking under the influence;uumm eer sorry, it must be the other way round ,playing under the influence.

Before I forget.Even the music was nice.And before I forget again. The Rotaract Club of Kampala Ssese Islands took the trophy for a second year running.

Now to other attractions.

Need I say more?

Photos courtesy of Andrew M. Eunice A. and Henry K.