BACK-TO-SCHOOL SYNDROME

Posted: September 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

back-to-school“Waaaaah!” A loud wail rent the night air, waking me up with a start. I was startled and confused.

I struggled to open eyes, which were still stinging with sleep. What was going on? I couldn’t tell. I glanced towards my window to see any signs of the dawn. My bedroom was still dark.

“Wachana na mimi! Leave me alone!” The voice rang again. It was coming from the neighbouring apartments behind my bedroom window.

I fumbled for my phone, which dog-faithfully lay under my pillow every night, and hit the power button under my covers careful not to cause any alarm to the cause of the screams in the next building. 5:50AM was brightly illuminated on the screen.

“Waaah! Wachana na mimi! Leave me alone!” This time the voice sounded clearer in my ears. The wails were from a shrill, young female voice not older than 10 years old.

“Mum, nataka kulala! Mum, I want to sleep!”

Then it hit me, and I fell back on my pillow with laughter as the significance of this day dawned on me. Today was the 31st day of August 2015, the first day of the new school term. The little girl must be vehemently protesting the attempts by her mother to wake her up and get her ready for school.

I felt pity for the poor girl and her mother. Then I remembered my son who was sleeping in the next room. He had been having late nights and all-day cartoon and playing sprees over the August holidays. Was the struggle on the other side of my wall, what was awaiting me once the little one woke up? I wondered.

Right then, my son walked into our bedroom seemingly confused, eyes still sleepy, a gaping yawn on his little mouth. He walks over to me, lands on me with a thud, and with a sleepy slur asks, “Baba, leo ni shule? Dad, is today a school day?”

“Yes it is.”

“Okay, let’s go have breakfast. I’m so hungry!”

A wide smile crept on my face, I whispered a big thank-you to God, and quickly rushed to the kitchen with him to prepare for the big day before he could change his mind.

Congratulations to all the parents out there, who grappled with this back-to-school syndrome from their children as the new term begun. I thank God for giving you the strength you needed to get through this week as your kids acclimatized to the change in priorities.

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Gravity could not pin my lean body to my seat as I watched Kenya’s Julius Yego throw the javelin across the field for 92.72 metres, during this year’s IAAF Championships in Beijing, China. The third and final thrust of the spear, carried with it the 26-year old’s full momentum and energy that remained in his stoic form, solidly wrapping his once-amateur fingers around the gold medal in Beijing, China while leaving him sprawled to the floor. The history-making officer now boasts of holding the African and Commonwealth record with his personal best record recorded during these competitions.

Known as the ‘YouTube man’, Yego has defied all odds by clinching the top spot in a sport, which Kenyans were not known for in the past.

With history clearly showing where Kenya’s endowment lay when it came to track and field events, Yego’s dream for the field sport did not take any cognizance of this fact. His dream for the sport made him fly upstream against the athletic current in the country. Put in his place, many of us would have simply abandoned our dreams at an early stage and pursued other more established, tested or otherwise ‘known’ ambitions. And these are the choices that 98% of us make everyday – we play safe, and resign to mediocrity.

With no precedence, mentor or previous experience that could serve as a foundation for his accomplishments, Yego turned to the digital platform YouTube and this medium became his coach, trainer and mentor that enabled him refine his skills, prior to meeting his Finnish coach.

The young athlete’s first appearance on the international scene was in 2010 where he represented Kenya at the 2010 African Championships in Athletics held in Nairobi. He threw a personal best of 74.51m to take the bronze medal at the event. Today, he proudly walks about with a number of gold medals around his neck from the African Championships (2012, 2014), All-Africa Games (2011) and Commonwealth Games (2014), his future teeming with endless possibilities

Considering Yego’s experience, there are a couple of lessons that we can learn from him:

  1. Never limit yourself to only what you commonly see around you. Dreams are called dreams for a reason. They are an extrapolated reality of what you envision to achieve or make out of your life. If you find that your dreams are ‘different’ from those of the norms or society around you, don’t change so you can do something that is easily attainable. Stretch yourself and look for any means possible to make your dream a reality.
  1. With Internet readily available, never give an excuse for your lack of skills. The advent of the worldwide web has opened up the world to a myriad of opportunities and possibilities. Today, the Internet is jammed with all sorts of information – both useful and destructive. From a personal perspective, I have never once sat in a computer class but today I can comfortably design, write, code and do numerous other things just from opening up my mind to learning from the web. Therefore, instead of using your phone all examining your friends posts on Facebook, WhatsApp and uploading selfies on Instagram, why not join a free course on Coursera, or look for that baking YouTube video, or register for a free coding course on w3schools.com? Use the internet to better your life, skills, prospects and opportunities.
  1. Opportunity…and ultimately success…follows preparation. Julius Yego’s success continues to be attributed to his self-drive and ambition. However, a great opportunity came knocking after meeting Finnish javelin coach Petteri Piironen in 2011. The Finnish coach has so far helped him from 78.34 in 2011 to the record he holds today.

Why have I forsaken you?

Posted: August 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

Writing letter

Writing letter

Dusting off my pen. Drawing out the loose-leaf pads from my study table. It has finally happened.

I have been toying with this idea for what feels like ages now. Tomorrow I shall write, and every today slowly becomes a tomorrow. Every thought of the possibilities that exist beyond the words that will soon land on that piece of paper (or papers for that matter), bring a mix of boyhood thrill and uncertainty into the future.

Today is the day. I need to put this down and start this relationship all over again, I have convinced myself. Not once, not twice, not 10 times but countless times before. But today is the day it finally happens.

Our relationship begun on…..with a steamy beginning. Little encounters later, I stopped the romance, and our relationship faded. At times, I catch myself thinking of how you looked the last time I saw you, and this week I made a point of looking back at you to remind myself of your face and the history that we have experienced together.

I want to get back to you. Back to sharing with you my life and experiences. Back to a life of faithfulness to you. Back to the journey with you.

If per chance, our relationship gets to be loved and appreciated by others, well and good. And if it serves as a point of teaching, or encouragement, or instruction or path-finding (for those who may be lost), even better; our relationship would have served the ultimate reason for its existence.

Today is the day I get back to you, my blog.

Lessons from children

Posted: November 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

Yesterday afternoon, I had a meeting with a wonderful lady called Liz, who has just began a mentorship program for young people called Tweenage and Beyond. We sat with her in a 5 week class that taught us how to speak for profit. I am ashamed of mentioning it here because I haven’t done much will all that knowledge…thus far! But watch this space 🙂 Speak for Profit is a professionally run course that I would recommend any day to anyone who would like to understand how to transform their speaking passion into a business. For more information on this, check out http://www.passionprofit.co.

During our meeting with Liz, we shared a lot about our experiences working with young people…and in the process, I got to learn a couple of things that I’d like to share with you.


1. Children are usually confident about themselves when younger.

This had never occurred to me. But the more I thought about it, the more realistic it appeared before my eyes. If you ask a five year old what they want to be in life, they will quickly tell you ‘a doctor’ or ‘a policeman’ or whatever else they dream of becoming. Then at about age 10 to 13, most young people tend to copy what they hear or see from their peers. By the time they are settling in their teens, most of them are completely unsure of who they are and what they’d like to become.


2. When we are younger, life is all about service. As we become older, it’s all about money.

If you ask a child why they want to be a doctor, they will most probably say that they want to treat people and make them feel better. Likewise for the policeman,they will say they want to protect people. But when we become older, life stops being about service for many of us, but more about the money.

These two truths made me sit back and re-evaluate my life for a moment, and I urge you to do too. Why do you do what you do? Is it for money or service? How is your confidence doing? Do you know your purpose or are still floating around?

In the age of YouTube and Facebook, of endless smartphone apps and modes of communication, work has become a daunting task. Procrastination used to be a cigarette, now it’s a four-hour navigation through your ex-girlfriend’s or ex-boyfriend photo album. And though it’s frustrating she didn’t have that two-piece while you were dating, there are more important things you could be getting done. There are calls to make, reports to build, a loose screw under the sink, and you were supposed to start your fitness training three months ago. Adrenaline and a couple of energy bars might get you through the last order of business, but for the other tasks, it’s time to buckle down. So, without further ado, here are 10 career rules for the modern Individual like you.

Start with number 10..

Rule No. 10: Keep To-Do Lists
It sounds a bit juvenile, but it doesn’t make it less effective. You can spend an hour trying to recall what it is you had to do. Write a list first thing in the morning or even one for the whole week, and you’ve always got it in front of you. You can even make little check boxes for when you complete the task. And if you’re really doing a great job, you can reward yourself with stickers. That might be taking it too far, but we all have a lot going on in our lives, and it’s the little things that will simplify it. On the other side of the note pad, list Things NOT to do..Yes, Things NOT to do.like watch all local news, gossiping for two hours, Facebook chats for three hours. You know them, deal with them. Remember we form our Habits and Habits form us. Make your choice every day.

Rule No. 9: Get Enough Sleep
Pulling all-nighters and drinking three pots of coffee are great if you’re bringing the NASA shuttle back from orbit, but for most people, you’re better off getting a decent night’s sleep. That’s not an invitation to hibernate through October so you can be productive in the November, but never underestimate the rejuvenating powers of a solid night’s sleep. Don’t struggle to stay up and finish a project that might be better suited for the morning. Get your rest, set the alarm and above all, lay off the snooze.

Rule No. 8: Delegate
We don’t all have a team of subordinates taking the menial tasks off our hands — at least, not yet. Just because we’re not staffed like kings doesn’t mean certain jobs can’t be delegated elsewhere. No one can do it all themselves and if they can, ironically, they usually get secretaries. Don’t be too proud to shift certain responsibilities elsewhere. A coworker or a family member might be able to lend a hand in the times of heavy workflow. Be wary, though; “delegating” shouldn’t replace “doing.” It’s simply a matter of tapping into your resources for some assistance.

Rule No. 7: Keep A Notepad With You
You might feel like a beat journalist from the 1920s when you’re walking around with a notepad, but there’s no denying you’ll always have your story straight. And if you think a pen and paper are archaic, go electronic; just make sure all your notes are in one central location. You don’t want to be fumbling around a pile of post-its or reading off the palm of your hand when you need to get Jimmy’s quote from the meeting. Jot down actions, ideas, doodle your name in bubble letters — just make sure these items are stored in places other than memory.

Rule No. 6: Set Milestones
It’s nice to have grand aspirations and goals in life, but it’s also effective to set milestones along the way. If you’re ever taking on a big project, the idea of completion can be too overwhelming to really be productive. Whether it’s putting together a report to show the bosses you’re not a putz or you’re looking to complete the memoir you’ve always dreamed of writing, your best bet is to set smaller goals within the process. Have the first few slides done by noon, complete three chapters by May ,put 200 USD or Ksh on Investment per month, meet ten clients per month– you’ll be done in no time.

Rule No. 5: When Stuck, Move On To New Tasks
It’s easy to become so fixated on a problem that the whole day slips by without anything to show for it. Hours of frustration and three servings of nail-biting aren’t a good use of energy. When that begins to happen, simply move on and find an easy task to check off on your list. A couple of those and the mind is fresh, the confidence is there and you’re a new man. You’ll know when you’re ready to get back on the horse and jump the bigger hurdle. And if you’re not much of an equestrian, just use a different analogy.

Rule No. 4: Block Out Sections Of Your Calendar For Work
You don’t have to be able to see into the future to know how much time a task will take; even Nostradamus couldn’t predict when he’d have time to do something. Schedules fill up fast, and the most effective way to find time for a job is by blocking it out in your calendar. Time is a precious commodity, and no matter how hard you try to squeeze more than 24 hours into a day, it’s not happening. Optimize with what you have, and you’ll manage. Noon to 1 p.m., send client e-mails; 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., finish report; 4:00 p.m. to 4:05 p.m., possible bathroom break.

Rule No. 3: Take Your Breaks
It’s great to stay focused, but a man needs to take a break every once in a while. You can’t sit in one position and finish a big project without getting up to collect yourself. The quality of your work will diminish as fatigue sets in, and then the whole machine breaks down. If you ever find yourself frustrated, like you want to smash your computer into the wall and set the office on fire, take that as a sign: It’s time for a coffee break. You’d be amazed at what this can do for a man’s soul.

Rule No. 2: Schedule Email Checks
An email inbox can be like your mother’s basement: It just accumulates until one day it’s overloaded with junk and you can’t find your skis. Don’t let the unread count get so high that you become Doc Holliday on the delete trigger — that’s how you miss something. The easiest way to manage the constant influx of mail is by scheduling check-ins. Pick one or two times a day to really clean out your inbox. Respond to the important ones, flag those that need special care and delete the ones for free prescriptions.

Rule No. 1: Don’t Wait On Others
The waiting game is a career-killer. Sending out an email and waiting for a response is the perfect excuse to search funny dance videos for the next three hours. Don’t do it (even though those darn dancers are cute). You need to be persistent and proactive with your correspondence. If that’s not working, ask yourself, “What can be done in the meantime?” or “How can I work around them?” Don’t allow yourself to rely on their diligence, because the longer you deal with others, the more you realize they just don’t get things done. You have to do it yourself.

Remember, GTD – Get Things Done…

Good Luck!

 

Compiled by,

Bernice Kanini – Client Relations

bernice@dolphinsgroup.co.ke

Dolphins Training & Consultants Ltd

Dolphins Group

You’ve probably heard the adage, “Make every minute count!” But count toward what? How do you know if your minutes count?

To know, you have to measure your time and effort against something. That something is your purpose. Without a compelling purpose, you are just putting in time. Your mind might be engaged, but your heart will not be. And if you want your team members to make every minute count, give them something to be passionate about. When you get your team members inspired about a purpose, their hearts will follow.

 

The Fundamental Four

Your purpose needs to answer the most fundamental question, “Why do we do what we do?” If your organization has a stated purpose, connect your team’s work directly to it. If no one has yet painted the organizational picture, don’t wait. Take the initiative to define a purpose for your team.

First, step back and look at the big picture. Consider how your team members improve conditions for others–what differences do they make? Be bold. Your team’s purpose should stir emotions. At the same time, keep your purpose real and relevant, because people can commit only to what they understand.

Then, you must answer the fundamental four questions that every employee asks, whether or not they ask them aloud. 

  1. Where are we going? (Goals)
  2. What are we doing to get there? (Plans)
  3. How can I contribute? (Roles)
  4. What’s in it for me? (Rewards)

To paint a clear picture of your purpose, you’ll need to be intentional about answering these questions. Some of our clients even use the questions as a checklist to ensure that the content of significant communiqués addresses each one. As a result, the passion in their organizations is palpably higher and their results greater.

Answering the fundamental four creates a bridge that connects today’s tasks to the broader team or organizational purpose. Without purpose, team members may achieve short-term results, but they won’t have the heart to go the distance. With purpose, they naturally will be more passionate about their work and more motivated to stick with the plan, because they’ll clearly understand that they are part of something bigger.

Article by: Lee Cohen (Published in Inc.com)

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Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228313#ixzz2hyrGCzUQ