Celebrating My YouTube Journey So Far

About two months ago I started a YouTube channel. First off, I am glad I simply started. Sometimes we wait to be perfect for too long and realise later that perfection never comes. I am happy that I am growing. I am on a journey to being more regular by doing series and posting a video per week. Some of the lessons I have learnt so far are:

  1. Simply start and grow along the way.
  2. In the beginning, you’d rather do short videos of not more than six minutes because you are gaining an audience and growing into your voice. For my first video that was about nine minutes long, the average watch time was about two minutes. I noticed that from the analytics, and also got advice from a mentor that shorter is better as I learn to create better and more engaging content.
  3. Celebrate every milestone. I can confidently report that I have 37 subscribers after posting two videos. Also, My next video goes up in a few hours so don’t miss it this Saturday. I will provide a link right after the first video of my current series(coming up) which I know you will enjoy.
  4. You grow in practice. I know that I had the latent potential to be a good speaker in front of camera but I would’ve never known that if I didn’t simply jump and start practising. I am becoming more confident in front of the camera. I still have to do lots of takes but that’s okay because the growth is evident. TED, here we come!
  5. Create a channel about something you are passionate about. I love, love, love my channel because I love, love, love the reasons behind the channel, which are all purpose-driven in my mission to nurture and grow creatives as I grow too.
  6. IT’S ABOUT THE PEOPLE. Every single like, comment, share, retweet, subscriber represents a human being who truly believes in me and wants to hear what I have to say or contribute in some way to my content. I HOPE TO NEVER EVER GET LOST IN THE STATISTICS. IT IS ABOUT PEOPLE, ALWAYS! I do not take the people for granted.

On that note, how about we watch a video?

For a link to my channel, click here. While I wait for you there, this video is a gift for reading to the end. See you soon on these streets. I’m signing out with love as always. Until next time.

Rich People Spend Lots of Money

The title of this blog post sounds obvious, doesn’t it? However, this was a revelation for me this week; not because I didn’t know this before, but because it sank deep in my soul in a way that it hadn’t before.

I am doing a leadership course at the Harvest Institute and part of the tasks in this course is to self-fund a trip by air to Nairobi for the Fearless Summit. This comes with looking for your own accommodation and food, in addition to paying for the summit itself. In between, there are many other small things you may need such as toiletries and whatnot. I tend to think of the details. I wished this was the only extra thing apart from tuition fees for the course but no – it isn’t! In addition to this, there are costs for publishing and printing a book, royal gifting, transportation for the monthly classes, and so on. When you add up all the money needed, it could easily end up around 6 million UGX.

My strategy coming in was to do my best to economize as much as possible and hope for as much miracle money as possible to be able to meet the financial obligations. However, God wanted to teach me something else. His agenda was to teach me abundance. 

That is why when I received the poster below, there was an inclination towards signing up for it. I dismissed this inclination though because I felt I could do this on my own – book the ticket, look for accommodation etcetera. Later in that same week, I interacted with a friend who said she was paying for this package. She spoke about how convenient it is and the fact that one wouldn’t have to hassle. She also reassured me that the people organising are trustworthy and legitimate. She actually told me the name of the founder. My inclination towards this increased. However, I did not commit to it. photo

A few days later, God further prodded and directed me because that week, someone else shared a testimony with me about their experience with Speke & Grant. He had used their services last year for the very same summit and was so impressed. He had absolutely no bad thing to say. I still didn’t commit immediately.

I waited. I told God that the bills were high and I didn’t know whether I shouldn’t just hassle it out and save about 200,000 UGX or slightly more by doing my own bookings and follow-up. Then He highlighted to me that the rich live in convenience and abundance, which my friend had alluded to.

I still tarried. Then, He reminded me that this year I had committed to breaking the back of a poverty mindset for good. He said, “But what kind of money do you think the rich spend? You are scared of spending 6 million but the rich spend lots of money!”

I was stunned! It hit me that if I’m going to become rich, I’m actually going to have to spend WAY MORE than I currently spend, rather than way less, in the name of “economizing”. The point is, spending huge sums of money should not be something that scares me! Why? Because I am rich and the rich spend lots of money!

You can now see why it was a revelation for me. I have since then committed to the no-hassle package, despite not having a cent towards the package yet. I am perfectly peaceful about it too because I know I am rich and that whole package is already provided for.

Furthermore to this, our lead pastor did a teaching on “the blessing” and my attention was drawn to Abraham, in the bible who had a prosperous household of thousands. Clearly, his “bills” weren’t small.

My attention was also drawn to some of the most powerful cars I admire on the roads. I often feared to even look too long at these cars because, in mind, this was ” a thing for those people”. One day while I was riding on a boda boda, a sleek black car that looked like a range rover was turning the corner ahead of me. I was thinking about how expensive that car is, along with all related bills such as fuel and maintenance.  And God whispered in my ear, “That’s normal for a rich person.” I could swear that something within me vibrated. I could see that the poverty mindset was being challenged! 

In conclusion, the rich spend lots of money. Of course, they do not spend it unwisely, or they wouldn’t be rich in the first place; but the truth is, they don’t think cheap and they don’t compromise convenience and efficiency over a few bucks. 

I am rich and I spend lots of money wisely. The same applies to you. 

With love and sincere desire that you be released too,

Keziah.

WEEDING

For a long while, I didn’t understand what God was doing and why I seemed to oscillate around the same area even when I thought I was making progress. And then God revealed to me during season 21 that He has been weeding the garden. See, there are many things I needed to unlearn and get a new revelation about in all areas of my life: areas where complete forgiveness had not yet taken over, and areas where I simply needed to learn new truths.

 

One of the things that happened in this oscillation season is rebuke. God has been rebuking me in love about certain things and oh, have I disliked it! Very much! And yet, I know that He is my God and loving daddy so I’ve been like a kid that has been spanked, who goes into a corner to sulk and returns almost immediately to be comforted by the same parent that spanked them. I’ve done so many things in the past that I know were stupid, some out of pure ignorance and some out of stubbornness, and mistrust of my daddy. And yet He has waited patiently knowing His child well, knowing that she has to grow.

 

I have come to a place of surrender. I know that this Christian walk is a place of continual surrender so I do not claim to have it all figured out. I know the weeding journey is still on-going as I unlearn certain things and awaken my mind to new truths. I know I may still not be happy in certain areas where the weeding is happening. And yet, here I will stay, in my daddy’s arms because I know that there is no other place for me. Here is home. Here is love. Here is the very best place. Here I will grow daily in Him. Here I am daily manifesting more of what He created me to be – A PRINCESS, DAUGHTER OF THE HIGHEST KING.

 

God will not allow you to go to the next level with old mindsets. He will wait patiently as you unlearn and relearn certain things before promoting you. THE WEEDS ARE NOT WELCOME IN YOUR NEW GARDEN. He will not let it happen, and He won’t allow this, because HE LOVES YOU!

 

There is no room on the next level for certain defeating attitudes. He wants your acceleration to be unhindered.

 

With love,

Keziah.

NB: Featured Image is from mountaintoplawn.com and this blog does not claim ownership of this image.

The InsomniART Knight

His name is Emmanuel Mawero, otherwise known as the InsomniART Knight. I met him in Architecture school at Ardhi University in Tanzania. He joined three years after me but guess what? It wasn’t his first first-year in Architecture school. He had studied Architecture before in a Kenyan university and had been discontinued, not in his first or second or third year but in his repeat-third-year. Now, Architecture school is already hard enough. It’s also rather long: five years in most universities. At the time he was discontinued, his mother had just bought her car, his younger brother Roy was in college and his younger sister had just joined high school, so they had already spent quite a bit.  Part of Emmanuel’s school loan from HELB, the Kenyan loan board had been set apart for helping with the home expenses and then suddenly after these events, it wasn’t there anymore.

He says, “The thought of mum taking up another loan to help with my fees at ARU was too much, considering Roy was also in college. Looking back, I’m in awe of how far God brought us.”

God has indeed brought him from far because he not only went back to first year of Architecture school and completed all five years, he has also bagged over three years of working experience and has completed his Architecture registration. See, for those that don’t know: after Architecture school, one has to get a minimum of two years work experience and sit a fresh set of exams before they get registered to practice officially. So basically, this whole process is longer than what medical doctors go through. And yet his was almost twice as long.

Having the setback in his life meant he got the opportunity to achieve most things after his previous classmates, such as graduation, work, even marriage. That delay seemed to have slowed him down. But he didn’t give up.

He currently works for EDG & Atelier Ltd. He is also a fine artist and writer. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter. (https://twitter.com/InsomniartK and https://instagram.com/insomniart_knight). To go to his facebook, click here.

I’m so proud to call him my friend.

Emmanuel’s story inspires me so much because it is a story of grit, of persistently pursuing that which you are convinced God has assigned you to, despite the challenges. 10 years after being discontinued from his first ARCH school, he’s achieved so much and even surpassed people who were ahead of him, despite having to start all over and “losing time”.

NEVER GIVE UP! Be faithful with your journey and assignment. (The text in the first image embedded was written by him.)

Keziah Elaine Ayikoru

InsomiArt Knight 1InsomniART Knight 2InsomniART Knight 3

REJECTION? Take No Offense

I’m subscribed to John-Paul Iwuoha’s emails. He is the founder of Smallstarter Africa whose website link I will share at the end of this post. I recommend that every entrepreneur follow this website and subscribe to their mailing list. You will learn a lot!

One of the attitudes he suggests an entrepreneur should have is a “win or learn” attitude. He says there is no losing, only winning and learning. I agree with this and I know firsthand what this means.

When you put yourself out into any situation, you take the risk of being accepted or rejected. I regularly apply for many growth programs for both personal and business growth. Sometimes I get accepted and other times, I get rejected. But one thing is certain – I learn something new about myself and my business every single time I apply. The questions asked in the applications and the interviews spur me to think of new ways to solve existing problems and further improve or highlight strengths.

Earlier this year I was shortlisted for the Mandela Washington Fellowship. That in itself was an achievement because about three years ago I applied and wasn’t even shortlisted. This showed me that growth has happened since the last time I applied. I walked into the interview room at the embassy confident having revised and prepared. The first question landed like a hammer on my head though. It shook my confidence almost immediately. I can’t remember my answer but I did my best to answer as best as I could in that frame of mind. Throughout the rest of the interview, I kept on feeling rises and falls. I know I answered some questions well but I also know I truly did terribly in others. The interview brought all the great, good, bad and ugly out into the light. Bit by bit I could see the things I had done well and also the things I was failing at in the business at that point.

I didn’t get in for the fellowship but that interview pushed and stretched me in so many ways. The positive results will stretch on for a long time and the solutions I am working on in the business right now will leave a lasting impact. I learnt.

I have also applied for other programs and been accepted such as the British Council Creative Enterprise Program happening this week. I can’t wait to soak in all the knowledge and chew on it so that I can apply it to the business and pass on what I have acquired to others too.

As an artist, my work is subject to people’s opinions and comments quite often. In addition to being a fashion designer; I design buildings (architecture); I write and perform poetry and sing. I have a few song melodies and original compositions sitting idle gathering dust but I will dust them up soon and show them to the world because kept to myself, my work has no power to impact any one.

We must keep putting ourselves, and our work out there. We must keep sharing and looking for growth. Some people will applaud us while others will frown at us. Not everyone will appreciate what you do, and not everyone is supposed to anyway! Everyone has different tastes and preferences. Every program has its guidelines and requirements. Every client has different needs.

We are not entirely responsible for the reception of our work because even when we do our best to present it in the best light, the other party is always a variable. They come into the equation with their own backgrounds and experiences. We are only responsible for the way we present our work and ourselves. We are responsible too for our own perspectives and the way they shape our growth.

So the next time you face rejection, take no offense. There is no losing, only winning and learning.

As promised, here is the link www.smallstarter.com.

Wishing you a lovely week with the warmest of regards,

Keziah.

Living in the How of Now

If you must live, live purposefully.

Live wholesomely.

 

Don’t waste your days dwelling in the unknown tomorrow.

If you do, someone else, your days, might borrow.

 

Live in the now.

Live in the how.

 

If you must breathe, breathe happily.

Life is not meant to be lived grumpily.

 

I am speaking to myself too, you see

I have been living in my tomorrows

And dwelling on my yesterdays

 

So I was seldom in the moment

Letting today’s joy pass me by

Letting yesterday’s pain cripple me

 

I have lived in the now too

But what if I always did?

 

What if you and I were to pause

Not project or postpone but right this second repose

Find rest, find refreshment in simple words transferred

From my mind to yours

In a heartbeat, you, feel what I feel

Drawing from anything these words instill

In this instant you and I can live together

 

For once this instant is gone

It is gone forever.

 

And in the coming minutes, breathe on, live on.

For if you must breathe, breathe gladly

If you must live, live delightedly.

 

Not waiting for the accomplishment of your dreams

Not waiting for the end of the storm

But right here, right now

Stop and smile

Breathe in, breathe out

Live in the how of now.

 

While wondering what to post today, I reflected on my own recent activities and “busyness” and how we often get so caught up in doing activities that we often forget to just be fully present wherever we are and take in the moments as they are. More than this, we forget to enjoy life and pick something positive from every moment. It is true that not every moment will be pleasant and yes there are moments where enjoyment is extremely hard. It is natural to feel both the ups and downs but it is not natural to dwell forever in those moments.  To dwell on something is a choice. To choose a perspective about something is also a choice and depending on our chosen perspective, we can turn negative things into positive. I’m sure you’ve seen two people who are in the exact same position and the only difference is in the perspective and choice made to either overcome or be subdued by the situation. We can, by choice, make the most of every situation.

Most importantly, when you have happy moments, enjoy them with everything in you. Laugh, roll on the floor.

Be truly present with your loved ones. Enjoy them.

And finally, to live in the how of now wherever you are and whatever you are doing, give it your all and your best in that moment. That is how you empty yourself of your purpose, dreams and destiny – by being your best, always. So whether you are relaxing with family, at your job, in your business, at a wedding or at a funeral, be present. Always ask, what positive light can I add to this moment? Be love, be wisdom, be encouragement, be strength. Be JOY – a quality of contentment that remains unchanged in and out of season.

Live in the how of now.

Have a joyous and life-filled week.

With love,

Keziah.

P.S. Feature photo by Daniel Msirikale.

NOELINE KIRABO’S STORY final part

We’ve arrived at our final installment of Noeline’s story. There is even more to learn in this final segment. If you missed the first two, you can read them here and here for the first and second part respectively. Enjoy reading today’s post. 

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Along the growth path of your different initiatives, what are some of the challenges you’ve experienced?

“The biggest challenge was funding. It’s tough coming from the security of a paycheck to figuring out how to make it work. As a social entrepreneur, you are driven by the passion. You want to make a difference but then you realize it’s going to take money to run the venture. In the early stages, it’s really difficult to secure funding especially for purely local startups where you don’t have links to the US…or any other country. Secondly, you don’t have any record they can track for impact so it’s hard because possible funders are always asking for impact. So it becomes hard for you to prove yourself in that early stage. It does get better with time though.

Getting the kind of staff you need is also a challenge. You end up having to outsource many things because you don’t have the money to hire full-time people. This affects the quality.

In addition, the workload is really crazy. In my first year, I was doing jobs for like six people. You’re the accountant, the manager, the PRO, the HRO…yeah, so that was a very big challenge for me. The bigger challenge was in that initial start up phase. I’d say for people who are starting out that you just have to hang in there. The start is rough but it gets better with time.”

 

 

What was your lowest moment during the period of running your businesses and is there a point you wanted to give up?

She laughs at this point as she tells me there was not one low moment but plural – moments.

“There are moments I cried my eyes out. There are times I’d wait for all my staff to go and I’d just stay behind. I was frustrated. You see how hard your people work and you want to offer them better remuneration but you can’t and it kind of nudges you. They were really committed and I wasn’t able to offer them better money. Those were frustrating moments. And yes there were moments when I literally wanted to give up.

I got through those moments first, by speaking up. I learnt to speak up and ask for help and that’s where I’ll say that it’s important to have mentors and people that believe in you and also for me, the board that I have are not just people with profiles but they are my friends too. So I learnt to fall back to the support system I had. I once called a meeting and told my board I was done. They empathized with me and also appreciated what I wasn’t seeing and helped me see how much positive work I had already done. In addition, they committed and said they were sticking there with me and did all they could to help me. That helped me to cast my burden. You don’t have to carry it alone. I actually met Moses Mukisa in one of those times when I had a burnout. He sat me down and gave me a serious talk and told me I couldn’t live my life like that. He also gave me some useful advice and new angles for the business as well as useful links and contacts of people who could help. So that helped.

Furthermore prayer helped. When I was reading about kingdom business, I learnt the concept of having God as your CEO and business partner whereby I would involve God actively in the business. In that process, some ideas were birthed in prayer and He’d impress it on my heart to go approach some people and they actually helped. So, having a support system and prayer have helped a lot.”

At this point, I was amazed by all the knowledge I had gleaned. It appears to me she has already achieved quite a lot. I am curious to find out what she’s cooking for the next steps in her life.

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What are your future goals, dreams and plans?

“I aspire to become a CEO of a group of companies. One of the things I have discovered about myself is I am a starter. I have the grace to start things. So I see myself starting many companies and then training and equipping people to run these different companies.

In addition to this, one of my goals is to empower 10,000 startups.

My dream for Kyusa is that it becomes an international model which can be used anywhere and by anyone. So we can create tool kits for startups whereby one can log in and have a self-paced program which an individual can implement. That’s one of my dreams; to see what we do become a model that can run online and can be replicated in different regions.

One of my personal ambitions is to have written 60 books by the time I am sixty years. One of the people who have inspired me to write is Mike Maddock. I found close to 500 books of his and his writing model is to use smaller books. Some are as small as 30 pages but they give one a lot to think about. You have young people that are turned off by big books but they are desperate for information so I want to create 60 books that anyone can pick up and read.

In addition to this, finally, I want to travel the world.”

As I wound up this interview down, there were only three more things I wanted to ask.

 

What’s your personal mission statement?

“To empower people to identify their life purpose and turn their passions into skills for fruitful living”

 

Any favourite quotes? 

“If you can envision it, you can achieve it.”

“As a man thinks, so is he.”

“If you believe it, you can do it.”

“The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.”

n5

 

Your most impactful books? 

As a Man Thinks by James Allen, In Pursuit of Purpose by Myles Munroe, Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and Little Black Book for Stunning Success by Robin Sharma

 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed sitting at Noeline’s table and soaking in her journey and lessons to learn.

Keep shining and keep on keeping on.

With the best of regards,

Keziah.

NOELINE KIRABO’S STORY part 1

IMG_1134Noeline is an author, writer, motivational speaker, life coach, career mentor, trainer, social entrepreneur and business development consultant. 

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It was a cloudy and threatening-to-rain day when I made my way to Kalerwe to the Kyusa offices. Noeline’s directions were precise to the dot and I got to the right office without any hiccups. Okay well, almost no hiccups. I almost went toward the wrong door until I spotted the Kyusa poster on the first door. Her welcome was warm. She sat next to an open window that showed an overgrown wild bush in the neighbouring plot. I had looked forward with anticipation to chatting with this vibrant young lady. Seated opposite her, I started asking her some questions. Her answers flowed like a river and her joyous laughter was plentiful.

Tell us a bit about your background and early childhood

“I was born in Jinja, then we relocated. I grew up in old Kampala for the biggest part of my life. It was an urban slum community and quite an experience because from a young age I got to see people hustle. I saw the challenges that people go through, the suffering and pain, the vulnerability and young girls becoming pregnant and eloping. That is where my connection comes from when it comes to community work because these are things I’ve seen and experienced. It is not something I read and researched about.

I was very sickly growing up so I had my own dynamic. On one side I was very fragile while on another side I was very adventurous so the combination was a big twist for many people. You either knew one side or the other side so my mum would go to school and argue how her daughter is purely innocent and the teachers would look at her with a you-have-no-idea-what-your-daughter-can-do look. I was quiet and reserved yet quite naughty. You’d walk into class and think ‘it can’t be her’ and yet everything tells you ‘it must be her’.” She laughed. 

“Also, because I was sickly, I was exempted from many things such as punishment and the hard work. So at some point I took the same laissez faire attitude with my academics. I knew that even if I flunked, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. This went on until either P.5 or P.6, when I was forced to repeat a class and that was a wake up call for me.

I was taller than most of the people in my class so it was on that basis that my sister insisted I don’t repeat because it would kill my esteem. She advocated for me to change schools. At that time, I was in Mengo primary and I was moved to Bat Valley primary. It was at that point that I woke up and improved my academics. I wanted to prove myself and I realized that if I just put in a little effort, I’d actually get stuff done. I was very good with the Arts. Mathematics was my biggest challenge, (laughs) I guess still is, but I’ve come a long way.

WhatsApp Image 2018-04-01 at 11.23.38For secondary I was put in Wanyange boarding school and that was a whole other experience because being sickly, away from home and having been pampered all my life, there I was. I had cousins in higher classes who watched out for me but that was my transition into independence, just learning to be able to stand. At first I became a bully then I outgrew it. I would get people to do stuff for me. Then I found my way into a leadership space though sadly at first, I used that to still get people to do stuff for me. Then I think it’s in my A level that I got to really serve and not to just get people to do stuff for me.”

 

Curious, I ask her what sparked that urge to change and use leadership for real service.

“I’d grown up in church all my life but it’s at that point that I became really serious with God. It was during my senior 4 transition. My mum fell sick and it’s in that moment that my faith meant more to me than anything. By the time I got to A-level I was really grounded and that’s what changed my perspective. I’m now a leader not to get privileges but basically to empower and mentor other people. I was a head girl and head of scripture union fellowship in my A-levels.”

How did your journey proceed after high school?

“After I did my high school, I passed and was admitted to university as a private student. I was super excited. However, I realized I wasn’t able to go to university. Mum was sick and going through chemotherapy. There was no money for university. I was brought to a place where I had to drop out not because I was daft or I didn’t want to study but because of matters out of my control. So that put me on a totally different path. To build my first CV, I did a number of online courses and that’s how I got a job which gave me formal training.”

What inspired you to get up and move forward from that discouragement of not being able to go to university?

“During that time I spent a lot of time with my mum in hospital taking care of her. Cancer, as a disease in Uganda was only starting to get on the rise and the perception toward it was similar to that of AIDS whereby it was assumed that when you get it, you die. But interestingly, my mum refused to die and it is something she verbalized. She said ‘I refuse to die’ and it would annoy me like crazy because I thought that it was her fate due to the general perception. A year later my mum actually pulled through and she is one of those cancer survivors that has no side effects…for me that was a miracle and the fact that she said she refused to die and that she needed to see her grand children, it was proof that her will kept her alive. So that’s where I picked the will to push for my dreams, to know that no matter where you are, you can actually push against the tides. I had seen her practically do it.

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I had wanted to be a journalist or lawyer so at that point I asked myself what it was about those two professions that I loved. I realized it was that I wanted to speak for the vulnerable and bring justice in some way. So I started reading very wide and realized I was more interested in humanities and that took shape for me. I hate it when people are marginalized and I want to do my part to make a difference everyday.”

So how and when did you start the different initiatives that you run and what was the progression from one to the other? Did it all happen at once?

“Definitely not all at once. My very first initiative was Kyusa which I started in 2014. I left my last formal employment in 2012 and took a gap year in 2013 where I got a scholarship to go to India and do a course in social entrepreneurship. That helped shape the idea of what I wanted to do and this led to the launch of Kyusa, my first organization that I started from scratch. It’s been an experience and it was my first baby.

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In 2015, I started getting offers from people who wanted me to do consultancy or training for them that didn’t fit within the Kyusa framework. This led to the birth of Newen consults, a company I started in partnership with a friend. Newen Consults does personal and business development consulting. Kyusa still remained my main focus though.

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Around that time, I was mentoring and coaching young women and there a was period when seven women approached me for personalized coaching and mentoring around the same time. I knew that it would be a stretch for me. I prayed about it and that gave me the idea to do group mentoring. After that group mentoring pilot, there were people on the wait list already. This gave birth to the New Generations Mentoring program. This program was branded under Newen Consults. This has been running since 2016 and now we are in the fifth cohort. It’s been an amazing journey.

While doing business consultation, one of the things that bothered me was how there was little space for faith as a woman within the different business transactions. It was this that led me to read and research about “Kingdom Business” and interestingly there was not so much information about it. I had questions like at what point do I tithe as the business? At what point do I uphold my faith in business? Is there room for it because I can’t be one person and then another when it comes to business. So for a year we had this whatsapp group where we basically discussed business as women. We talked about tithe, prayer in business, sharing the gospel with workmates and so on. The network itself just grew over time. It’s not something that I woke up and decided to do. However, because I had started the initiative, I came on board as the founding president. We structured and registered it as the Christian Women’s Entrepreneurship Network and put in place a committee that runs it. This took effect in 2017.

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Next in 2017 when I wanted to do my book launch for Find Your Significance, I published my book under Newen consults and now in addition, we offer this service as well as nurturing and training upcoming young authors and helping them launch their books.”

zcamera-20171216_102506I had more questions and there is much more wisdom to be gleaned from Noeline. Let’s drink in this knowledge together slowly and fully. The second part of this interview will be published next Sunday on this same blog.

I believe you are looking forward to it too 🙂 .  

See you next Sunday. 

Best regards,

Keziah.

PRECIOUS SOMEONES: Celebrating People

I’m particularly excited about the next few weeks for we are going to be diving into the journeys and lives of some awesome and inspiring people. I am enjoying the process of learning from them and I hope you will too.

The first blog post I did on this platform had one of my favourite quotes:

There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

-George Matthew Adams-

My prayer is that as you read these stories of strength, courage, hope, love, faith, determination etcetera, that you will be encouraged and strengthened. I pray that these words will enter into the make up of you and that this will cause a great growth in you, and add to your foundation and faith in your ability to make it through anything and achieve all you want to achieve.

I love people.

And I love reading, watching and hearing people’s stories.

Humankind has an inherent strength that radiates from deep within one’s soul. No matter a person’s background, embedded within is the natural desire to be more and to do more. Many people around the world are conquering different mountains and rising above to excel greatly in all they put their minds to. Telling their stories is how we get the rest of the world to learn from their journeys.

Telling people’s stories and passing them on to the next generation is a form of education. Those that come after us are able to connect with people that came before and apply lessons learned relevantly to their own journeys.

Connection is another important aspect of sharing stories. Other people get to understand that they aren’t alone in their struggles and therefore, they too can overcome.

Last week I heard a phenomenal story of a young lady who had a troubled past. Let’s call her Shanty. She is opening up and continues to share to her story. Through sharing her story, a lady who is in a similar situation that Shanty had been in decided against committing suicide. From Shanty’s story, she got the courage to live because she found out that her situation did not have to be the end of her life. That’s the power of sharing stories of hope and strength. They cause transformation, revolution, renewal and they literally give dry bones a new lease of life.

I encourage you to tell your story.

I also encourage you to learn from other people’s stories.

The first story I’ll share is of Noeline Kirabo, a young and energetic Ugandan lady. She is an author, writer, motivational speaker, life coach, career mentor, trainer, business development consultant and social entrepreneur. If you feel she does a lot from this list, there is still much more. How did she become all this? How does she manage to do all this? How did she start? Where do her passions lie? She answers these questions and so many more.

Join me on this journey. I’ll be sharing quotes from her most recent book “Finding Your Significance” all through the week on this facebook page. Watch out for her interview next Sunday, same time, same blog. Until then, have a great week.

Best regards,

Keziah.

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

Of Entrepreneurs and Depression

Depression, with reference to mood, is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being. It usually occurs due to external stimuli and internal conflicts that may affect an individual negatively.

When I did a blog post about my personal depression experience last year, I had no idea that so many entrepreneurs were/are in a similar boat. Below is an excerpt from a piece I read by John-Paul Iwuoha, an amazing African Entrepreneur and Writer who runs smallstarter.com.

“Did you know that almost 50 percent of entrepreneurs struggle with depression and anxiety? 

I have always known entrepreneurs suffer from emotional rollercoasters.But I never knew the problem was this serious or severe.

In fact, studies have found that nearly three-quarters of entrepreneurs and business owners have concerns about their mental health.

And several top CEOs are now opening up about how they’re battling with problems like bipolar disorder, substance abuse, and OCD.

But do you know what is really surprising?

Most entrepreneurs prefer not to talk about this problem because we want to be seen as “normal”.

Our society tends to glorify the success and achievements of entrepreneurs.

That’s why most entrepreneurs are not comfortable talking about their struggles.

We don’t want to be seen as failures in the eyes of others.

But the fact is, starting and running a business comes with a lot of pressure that most people around us just don’t understand.

We shoulder personal risk, work longer hours, and encounter higher stress than most other people do.”

Reading John-Paul’s words rang so true. Ever since I decided to walk an entrepreneurship path, it’s been a roller coaster. There have been wins along the way but the challenges are waaaaaaaaay way more than anticipated, and more than once I have wanted to quit. I’m not alone though, I’ve discovered. Many are facing similar struggles. Until you’ve been in these shoes, it’s close to impossible to imagine how we feel.

The more important matter at hand though is HOW CAN WE SUPPORT OUR LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS?

I’ll offer a few suggestions:-

  1. Understand that they are on a hard path and be supportive morally with your words. When they do well, appreciate them. When they do a bad job, let them know, but in a way that builds them rather than tears them down. Offer useful and helpful suggestions for improvement. They are on a path of growth and will get better and better.
  2. Please, please, please don’t ask for unreasonable discounts. By the time an entrepreneur sets a price for a product or service they are rendering, they’ve calculated a number of costs and included them in the overall price. By asking for an unreasonable discount, you are eating away their profit and leaving them in a disadvantageous position.
  3. Do NOT delay with your payments. Please. When you do, communicate. Don’t just keep quiet. We don’t run charities, we run businesses, or at least that’s what we are attempting do.
  4. For your family and friends that are entrepreneurs and may be struggling, don’t tear them down even further. Find out how you can help.
  5. Be a bit more understanding when your entrepreneur friends aren’t being the most social creatures. I will tell you first hand that THINGS CAN GET SO HARD from all angles. Offer to meet them where they are, if you can and when you can.

FINALLY, to my fellow entrepreneurs, one of the most important things I was told during the depression period I went through is, “to get joy, rejoice”. Employ an attitude of gratitude and praise God even during the tough times. When you go against depression with positive words, you are going against the grain of your feelings and instead standing on faith and a positive mindset towards different challenges that may be staring you down. Over time, this sparks a renewal. Your moods will catch up and before you know it, you are overflowing with positivity.

In addition, allow me to reiterate what an article on inc.com said;

“TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT BUSINESS ASSET YOU HAVE.”

This says it all. At the end of the day, you need to be well. Take breaks for you. Breath. Laugh. Love. Relax a little. Sleep well. Eat well. (I’m speaking to myself too)

At the end of the day, YOU are the most important NEED you have and you NEED YOU TO BE HEALTHY PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY.

***Persevere, learn, grow and enjoy the process. We’ll make it.

With love and concern, Keziah.

(Post edited for this blog by writer herself, most of it first featured on muwado.com.)

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

Accountability, A Necessity

Before October 2017, I was inconsistent with my blogging. I wanted to write more frequently but always seemed to come up with reasons why I couldn’t do so. I had good intentions but those only went as far as the thought. My actions told a different story.

In October though, I made a decision that changed my blogging forever. I asked a writer friend, Ernest, to keep me accountable to post every week on Sunday by 3:00pm. He agreed, but warned me that he is very strict and would “divorce” the commitment if I didn’t post three times in a row. I agreed to his terms and the journey begun. The first few weeks were easy because I was fired up…and then it started becoming increasingly hard to make the time commitment. It was either that some work or meeting came up or that I had internet issues etc. They were all genuine reasons. However, on one beautiful and sunny Sunday in early December, Ernest told me to either clean up my act or choose a different act. He recounted something his first boss told him when he kept giving excuses for not meeting deliverables.

“Excuses stink,” his boss said.

Ernest suggested I choose a different time to post if that time didn’t work for me. At that point, I could have chosen to look for an easier/more convenient way out but I insisted that I could still make 3:00pm.

“What do I do if you fail to keep your chosen time?” he asked.

I smelt that trick question a mile a way. I replied by saying that if I did not meet 3:00pm consecutively for the next three weeks, he had every right to walk away.

My circumstances did not change; my work patterns and general schedule remained the same and in some cases even got worse. However, I was on a mission. I thought to myself, I couldn’t afford to lose the grand opportunity I had to have a good accountability person. More importantly, writing is really important to me and I desire growth in it. So I wrote and posted by 3:00pm each of the next three weeks. I wish I could say that every week after that has been perfect but I can’t. However, I can say that my two late posts were both before 3:30pm. The rest have been by or before 3:00pm since that discussion in December. That is a record for me!

The concept of accountability people is one that is easy to avoid because of the perception that they will be like those annoying teachers breathing down your neck and asking why you did not do a, b, c, d and e. Accountability comes with a perception of laws and rules that will bind. This couldn’t be further from the truth though. Having people you are accountable to is healthy.

Accountability systems are inevitable requirements for progress to happen.

“You can not audit yourself,” my brother Caesar once told me, with reference to financial management within business. This rings so true beyond financial auditing though. You simply cannot be your own auditor. A third party must give an objective and neutral assessment for you.

Accountability systems enable you to consistently practice good habits. Good habits build up over time and compound to great successes.

In addition to this, these systems help you build and grow the area you are focusing on. You can improve a craft or improve a venture.

Finally, and most importantly, accountability systems teach you to honour your own word. When you say you are going to do something and you do it, you reinforce your belief in your ability to get things done. You build character and trust in you. Achieving whets your appetite for more growth and more success in different areas. It’s like the ripple effect when a stone is thrown in a still pool of water.

What do accountability systems look like for you right now? Where do you need them the most? What areas are you procrastinating in and how can you use an accountability system to help you grow in those areas?

I hope you choose to make that difference.

Regards,

Keziah.

P.s. Ernest is a super amazing and funny writer. His blog is www.silliedance.com .

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

IT TAKES TIME!

I was sitting across my mentor when she said to me, “It takes time”.

She was referring to growing a business. It takes time to nurture it before it can produce lasting fruit. Consistency in the market place builds trust in your business, when people see that you continue to exist and progress year in year out. Eventually, you begin to attract more clientele and start to thrive. Trust is seldom built instantly.

At that moment though, “it takes time” was not what I wanted to hear because I was exhausted. And yet, strangely, lying in those three words, I found comfort and reassurance. I found a calmness of mind and a call to patience that settled my heart.

When starting any venture, it’s important to recognize that you are entering a new realm of experiences. As such, you will need the ingredient of patience with both yourself and your venture.

Foundations                                                                                                                             Depending on the venture you are building, take some time to build the appropriate foundations you need. They will serve as an anchor when times get tough. More importantly, good foundations are a consistent solid base upon which everything else stands. Get the right people around you and on your team. Seek out the right life-giving ideas and plans to get you on the right path.

Flexibility of Design                                                                                                                  There is always room to adjust something that you may have got wrong previously, especially in the initial stages of your venture. Pace yourself. It’s your venture. Just like design, which is fluid in nature and goes backwards and forwards during the process, you can adjust the plan and activities as you go along.

Commitment to the Journey                                                                                                        There is no way to over-emphasize a commitment to the journey. Be in it for the long haul. Play the long game and don’t be distracted by short-term and temporary wins or loses. Celebrate the short wins but keep moving forward, not allowing them to puff you up with pride. Learn from the loses and pick yourself up very quickly and keep moving onward and forward. I have addressed the importance of the journey in better detail in  The Process Matters .

Know this: most things that are worth a lot will require their due labour. The value of hard, smart and persistent work cannot be underestimated. Most people that eventually succeed do so not because they are the most brilliant but because they applied persistence and patience over a certain period of time while traversing different challenges. Victory usually comes after a fairly won battle.

When I established The House of Kea, I was stepping into new territory. I have come a long way. I am not where I want to be but I am certainly not where I was. My victory will come from learning the lessons due from this season and using them to propel forward. It’s still taking time but there is progress and growth, and that matters most.

So be encouraged, it takes time.

Love,

Keziah.

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

The Process Matters

Have you heard the saying, “The end justifies the means”? It is commonly used to excuse an erroneous process of achieving something, claiming that all that matters is the end product. How true could this statement be?

Well, in Robert T. Kiyosaki’s book titled Increasing Your Financial IQ, he says, “…the process is more important than the goal”. He argues that the process is what refines a person’s mindset and enables them be able to achieve a certain goal.

Furthermore, Bishop T.D. Jakes in one of his sermons said, “We want promotion without process.” He spoke about a prevailing microwave generation that desires quick results without the strenuous journey of growing and building, and yet it is the process we go through that enables us to mature and place ourselves in paths of significance, where we can finally achieve impact, holistic success and worthwhile recognition where it is due.

I also believe that holistic success relies heavily on a correct process. There are no shortcuts. But what is a correct process?

First, a correct process requires a certain dying to “self” so that a new and bigger thing can be born. John 12:24 says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” This means you may need to unlearn certain habits and learn new ones. You may have to move to a new location, change the company you keep, and so on. The basic principle is making a big shift in your mind so that you are open to new ways and new possibilities. It is leaving behind old things for new things. This dying to self is not a one-time thing for success is not achieved in one go but rather a continual process that requires sensitivity to the seasons of life, so that you make decisions with wisdom within season.

In addition, a correct process inspires growth and builds character. There is an element of overcoming challenges by solving puzzles. The victory rests in perseverance and endurance. Romans 5: 3-4 says, “…but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” While a shady and dubious process such as bribing your way through may attain you the final goal, it will most likely leave you with little to no growth or true fulfillment. What’s more, you won’t even have the confidence to confidently share your journey for fear of being discovered. Let us instead adopt a problem-solver’s mindset and perseverance with the right attitude.

George Matthew Adams, an American newspaper columnist and founder of the George Matthew Adams Newspaper Service, once said, “ Character is greater than talent, genius, fame, money, friends – there is nothing to compare with it. A man may have all these and yet remain comparatively useless – be unhappy – and die a bankrupt in soul.
” We are building character when we tackle different challenges and endure the process faithfully without taking shortcuts.

In addition, a correct process involves a form of good mentorship directly or indirectly. I have never heard of a happily successful person that said their path did not include a precedent in the form of a person or a word. Either, they watched and learnt from a successful person’s path, listened to guidance from that person or read wise advice from an article or story. There is always a guidance factor whether it is a one-on-one close-knit mentorship, or a learning of good practices from different places. Sometimes mentorship happens by accident but a wise person will seek it out actively.

One of my favourite all time quotes is by George Matthew Adams.

He says, “There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

The journey is the most important part of our aspirations for it molds us. I know the process may be frustrating and many times we may be tempted to give up. However, let’s hold firm knowing victory lies on the other side of the challenge. Let us actively enjoy the process it will take for us to arrive at our due promotion.

Have a beautiful week ahead.

Regards,

Keziah.

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.