By Wale Akinyemi
This week, we were privileged to host Chris Kirubi, one of the wealthiest men in Africa according to Forbes magazine, at our Inspire to Inspire leadership mentoring class.
He shared inspiring insights with us, and spoke extensively about his humble beginnings and how he made his money. He shared his struggles and his ultimate success.
The class erupted in laughter when he said: “Despite my humble beginnings, you are writing with pens that I produce, drinking bottled water that I produce, sitting in a building I own, and above all, you are listening to me.”
Another funny moment was when one of the participants was about to ask a question and he was requested to state where he worked. He replied: “I work for you sir.”
My daughter had attended the class. She had insisted on coming to listen to Mr Kirubi. As we drove home after, I asked her what had caught her attention the most. Her reply was very interesting.
She said she had noticed that every financially successful person she had listened to had a story to tell of how they rose from either humble beginnings or how they bounced back from some failure. She went on further to tell me that she believed no one had an excuse to be down. She said that people stayed down because they refused to get up.
Listening to the analysis by a 14 year old girl made my day.
She had been an eye witness to the days when we could not pay for her school fees and she had to stay at home. She had witnessed the days when getting a mathematical set for Sh80 was a major prayer point in our lives. She had witnessed the Christmas when we had nothing to eat and a friend sent us Sh2000 to buy food.
She is now witnessing the other side, where we seek venues and invite people who want to be inspired by our story and learn from us, and where we sell books and DVDs because people appreciate what we want to share. She is witnessing us grow in different businesses in different nations.
The worst thing you can do when faced with challenges is to focus on the challenge. If all you focus on is the problem you are going through, it will reproduce itself in your life.
When faced with problems focus on the possible solutions. As you focus on solutions, remember that what you behold is what you become. Never give any situation the power to rob you of your dream.
Challenges are a constant in life. They come to the king and to the street cleaner. Though they come in different measures and proportions, no one can escape facing situations that they would rather not face – situations that task their endurance.
Unfortunately a lot of people allow their problems to define them. They get so engrossed in what they are going though that they lose their vision of where they are going to.
Look beyond the challenges. Look at possibilities. Remember, challenges are things we go through, not go to. They always come to pass and not to stay.
In the midst of the storm, look ahead and let the possibilities of the future inspire you out of the conditions of the present. Take your bearing not from where you are but from where you are going.
Sometimes where we are may not inspire us, but we can seek inspiration from where we want to be and use that inspiration to shorten our stay where we are.
The words of a 14-year-old that people stay down because they refuse to get up are powerful. No matter where you are now, get up and reach for more.
Success is a journey and not a destination. We are constantly growing and improving, and therefore a place called success, for the progressive mind, is an illusion.
Keep at it. Keep thinking. Keep growing. Keep reading. Keep trying. Keep listening to great people. Keep telling yourself that you are great.
No one can keep you down if you insist on getting up. Let us be the generation to fill the history books with great African success stories that will be shared around the world.
You can truly be the next big thing. But remember, that won’t happen unless you believe it yourself. Africa is in search of great leaders. Look in the mirror. You are looking at one of them.