The Power of Success in Failure

One of the most common scenarios I encounter on my day to day life online are queries on how to deal with failure.

Personally, I cannot count the number of times I have failed in life. It is surely normal to fail. It is given. But what happens consequent to failing is what matters. In business and professional life alike, one should expect to miss the mark once in a while.

Thomas Edison, America’s leading inventor, is said to have failed more than 9,999 times in his attempt to invent the light bulb. Any other person out there would have given up altogether in the first or second attempt but he chose to push on until finally he made the land mark discovery on how matter can light up when an electric current is passed through it. When asked how he managed to keep up the faith, he said that each time he failed, rather than he gave up, he appreciated that he had learnt one more way NOT to do it! Awesome, isn’t it?

It may seem easier said than done. But the crux of the matter is in how to deal with instances of failure. When failure occurs, what happens? Most of us focus more on the failure to hit the mark more than what is the converse – the learning point. Failure in itself, is a process of learning. Like for Thomas Edison’s case, it shows you one more way not to do it. It is a learning point of sorts.

Well, let us rewind a little. What do you do immediately you fail? There are two choices – either take it positively or negatively. Optimists do not see the end in failing. To them, they take it as a means of attaining their objective. They go back to the drawing board and re-strategize, reworking their procedure to firm up their points of weakness. This is the time they ask themselves why it did not succeed. They don’t pass the buck. They take responsibility. A person bent on success would try to re-engineer his methods to see where they can improve and make the project a success.  Would the tweaking involve adopting a new methodology? Maybe change the ingredients? Maybe involve a new approach towards solving the problem? All in all, what matters is adopting an optimistic mindset that no matter what, it just has to work! Mindset is the word.

In contrast, for those who are unsuccessful, as said earlier, failure is an end to itself. They resign themselves to fate and most probably, shift the blame elsewhere. They never take responsibility. To them, failure is given and a normal outcome. And this is where most of us lay. It is said that over 92% of people in the world fail to live up to their dreams due to giving up too early. But then, who said that it is going to be easy? Your guess is as good as mine – no one!

But our biggest folly is being mindful of the views and opinions of the external environment. We pay more attention to the world. We have cultured our minds to trends and systems that exist in the world. To us, life has to be in accordance with what is happening around us. And this is where we get it all wrong.

It is therefore not given that since someone else tried and failed, we too would. The world never works that way. We are all different. We are differently abled. And as such, our uniqueness plays out in the way we execute tasks. This therefore means that we cannot be all equal. All of us cannot have a similar outcome when we execute tasks or a project. It therefore calls for a sober approach to every project we undertake to accomplish.

What are your gifts, for instance? What can you do best? How else can you utilize these special abilities to accomplish whatever you desire? That is the power of creativity that every person is blessed with. Apply these to such situations.

It is therefore incumbent upon each of us to employ these skills that we are endowed with to accomplish whatever tasks lay before us, dealing with situations of failure included. Trust me, we are all equally ably skilled to sort out any limitation that is before us!

So, does failure in life qualify to be a blessing or a curse? I am an optimist- I take them as opportunities to learn, advance and empower myself. I was once paralyzed two years ago and I could not use half of my body from the chest down for a month and a half. This presented me with the opportunity to re-examine my life and do a self-discovery of my real life purpose. From my sickbed, I vowed that if at all I would survive (from my doctor had told me all patients he had attended to with multiple myeloma had either been terminally paralyzed or passed on before me), I would pursue my life purpose with no abandon. And that gave me renewed emotional energy to heal. Indeed, one and a half months after discharge, I started feeling my legs and my miraculous healing came through.

In business too, I have failed multiple times. But each event of failure has been a learning point of sorts. I have divested from ideas, I have re-strategized and re-set plans. I cannot yet declare am perfect but every time I come out of the experience as a stronger, more refined entrepreneur.

So let us purpose to change our mindsets and take failure positively. In the entire history of the world, there is no single person who made it in life without failing. Failure is given. Your attitude at the end of the day is what will determine whether you would transform the failure to success or terminate as a failure. Use this principle to make success your signature using this mindset.

******* END*******

The writer is an acclaimed business author of Passionpreneurship Demystified and Business Networking: How To maximize on your contacts for Business and Professional Growth. Both books are available on Amazon. He is also a Personal Branding and Business Coach with PBL Africa. In case you need assistance to give your business or profession a jump-start, he can be reached via the following contacts:

Email:       pblogix@gmail.com
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-okinda-9652b210a
Telegram:       @Mokinda
Telegram Community: https://t.me/joinchat/EkprBT6zCKCRUmQUaDD9cQ
Facebook:                       https://www.facebook.com/maikol.okinda

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Does Past Accomplishments Guarantee Future Success?

vision

The past two months have been a depressing time for me, being a celebrator of local ingenuity in business. Indeed, nothing is as depressing as seeing a business entity, you have literally grown with it since childhood and now, when you are almost in your midlife, you see it gradually go down.

Nakumatt is one instance. I first encountered Nakumatt, then known as Nakuru Mattresses as a small store in Thika in Pilot Estate while still a pupil at Thika’s Kiboko Primary School.  Then, we would sneak from school during lunch hours to go and wander in between the shelves just to awe at the marvelous displays of commodities. It even made Pilot based pupils to puff up their pride since there was no other supermarket nearby that equaled Nakuru Mattresses.

As we aged further, the outfit grew in leaps and bounds to be East Africa’s biggest retail outlet by branch footprint. It opened over sixty outlets in number across virtually all of East Africa’s countries with a workforce of over five thousand employees with most of their branch outlets operating 24 hours daily.

success

Indeed, the conglomerate that grew from a tiny shop in Nakuru with a few sales calls, had gross revenues of almost US D 500 Million. Conservative estimates put their market share five years ago at 20% in Kenya with their Brand Equity Index hitting a high of 55%. With it came many accolades and awards. These include the Price WaterhouseCoopers East Africa Most Respected Service provider for the year 2006 and 2007, Planet Retail ranking as top retailer outside of South Africa for 2008, Planet Retail Award as Second Most Innovative Retailer in the World for 2009, East African Super Brand for 2007 and 2010, recognition by the East African Community as a pioneer East Africa Investor in 2011 and its CEO recognized in the Financial Times Top 50 Emerging Market Business Leaders for 2010.

With all these accolades lining their cabinets, it was expected that the enterprise would be much more stable and vibrant. However, beginning over two or three years ago, cracks started to emerge. Suppliers were paid late, eroding the creditor confidence of the firm. In a flash, stores in the home country and away started closing up as most stores within the domestic market and beyond, further eroding the public confidence that was celebrated before.

But then when did the rain start beating Nakumatt? Many theories have been put through and deliberated. From their strategy to compete their suppliers through their ‘Blue Label’ strategy to their ambitious expansion plans which choked their working capital outlays.

But I beg to differ. I guess the management realized like the iconic Titanic, the firm was too big to sink. And they became lax with time. Internal weaknesses in controls went haywire and losses started building up. Corruption, inefficiency and lack of corporate governance ideals took over. In a way, it is not external factors that brought down this beloved retail giant – internal ones did.

Which brings me to what I needed to communicate – we most of the times take pride in our past achievements to the detriment of forging ahead and firming up our strengths.  Do past milestones surmounted give us a guarantee that our future would be rosy and good? Not at all. The past belongs to where it should be – the past.

Past vs future

This is the main problem most of us have – looking back and taking pride in past achievements and forgetting that we have a life to live ahead. We most of the times blame the external environment – the economic situation, the government, etc. for our own-caused failures.

To avert this, we need to always focus ahead and be mindful of the red flags raised as we trudge along this journey of living. And as I said, ignore what is past. Let it remain where it should be – in the past. Future success is only guaranteed when there are solid plans and commitment to realize the future vision. For whatever achievements you made back then is not significant in the present times. It is history! So do not make the mistake, either as an organization or at the individual level, to glory in past achievements.

 

The writer is an acclaimed business author of Passionpreneurship Demystified and Business Networking: How To maximize on your contacts for Business and Professional Growth. Both books are available on Amazon. He is also a Personal Branding and Business Coach with PBL Africa. In case you need assistance to give your business or profession a jump-start, he can be reached via the following contacts:

Email:                              pblogix@gmail.com

LinkedIn:                         https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-okinda-9652b210a

Telegram:                       @Mokinda

Telegram Community: https://t.me/joinchat/EkprBT6zCKCRUmQUaDD9cQ

Facebook:                       https://www.facebook.com/maikol.okinda

To Save Or To Invest: Which Way To Go?

There is a lot of talk of late about reviewing the year that was 2016 but then again, as most of us are, we have nothing to report about on the resolutions we made at the beginning. I know we will repeat the same ritual all over again: Get down with a pen and paper and pretend to be serious and note down “resolutions” for 2017.
One such resolution is creating a financial bubble for future contingencies. I have been involved in a lot of online banter about money and it’s good to note most are warming up to the idea of creating a hedge fund.
But then again, we have to get back to the drawing board and ask ourselves: why do we save? Literally speaking, why do we deny ourselves the pleasure of enjoying our earnings?  To spend or to increase its value?
And this is where we all go wrong. A pal of mine recently boasted to me that he had joined a chama that was involved in savings and lending. He contributed religiously every month and at the end of the financial year, he received his dividend of Kes. 30,000. Quite a tidy sum if you asked me. But he went ahead and used all of it in the Christmas festivities, flying to the coast for holidays. And I asked myself: what if he took 50% of the dividends and re invested back into the chama or better still, invested in some other portfolio like the money markets that are risk free and flexible? Another case I encountered online was a fellow who was wondering why anyone would save for an entire year and go chasing plots of land to buy. He opined that chasing the plots has become the norm nowadays. But then again, doesn’t land appreciate in value as opposed to the luxuries we go spend our cash on that bring in nil financial returns? Which still brings us back to the original issue: to save or to invest, which is the best way to go?
Saving involves putting cash away for a period of time completely safe and can be accessed after some time together with accrued interest. It is risk free. Investments are risk prone. The cash is put into some asset with the hope that you will get it back with some interest. However, the returns or compensation are higher than just saving. For instance, you can choose to put money under the mattress for some time, periodically topping up and get it back as it is in total. Or you can choose to buy into an investment vehicle and let professional managers manage it for you and earn interest and dividends.
Apparently, and sad to be true, there is no right way to manage your money: it all depends on your circumstances and your needs. If you want to keep money over the long term, investing would be appropriate. But note that there is a risk to it. Hence this should be the most critical factor to consider when choosing an investment option. Whether it is starting a business, buying stock, buying property, it is all about putting money away in the hope that the price of the asset will appreciate and you can get back your cash including accrued compensation. If you cannot afford that risk, then outright saving would be appropriate –either in a simple home bank or a savings account, whichever will deem fit.
Personally I recommend both savings and investments. Savings cater for short term needs and for collection of earnings and later, once the target is reached, invested to grow your net worth. At the end of the day, ensure your money is growing.
The biggest problem with holding cash is inflation. Money value deteriorates with time. Putting cash for mid to long term periods degrades its value and hence the importance of ensuring your money grows. It also would be beneficial in a way because the sum total value of your assets versus your debts (net worth) should always be increasing on the positive side. Financial freedom only comes when your sum assets can service your debts comfortably. Hence, to ring fence yourself, you have to ensure you are always growing your asset base as a safe landing in case any future eventuality.
Some people opine that it is necessary to save and spend after denying yourself the entire year. Well, why would you go the length of denying yourself in the moment anyway? Just earn and spend. But remember, no one knows what the future holds. The wise plan for generations to come. The unwise look forward to Saturday nights (and end year) to spend!
Life is short and you only live once (as generation Z say). YOLO is ensuring you make the right decisions now to live well even in your old age. It will start now by the choices you make. After you break that piggy bank or literally bust your savings account at the end of your saving period, apply wisdom. It will be worthwhile.

#WealthMindset

How To Be Known

Recently, I read a really encouraging snapshot of some corporate news- that McDonald Mariga has been appointed the Brand Ambassador of Safaricom Kenya Limited, Kenya’s top corporate and flagship telco and Fintech Company. The worth of the contract was undisclosed but I bet it was some good dough!

And I thought to myself, how comes Mariga was picked. Why not you, or me? At the end of the day, it was not because Mariga was the first Kenyan to play in the English Premier League. There must have been something that out of all the international starts our dear country has; it picked on only one  Mariga. It is his brand. The Mariga brand is what makes any corporate worth its salt is able to pour millions of shillings just to be associated with it.

I did a book on passion and I was amazed at the many prominent personalities who have employed the power of passion in the attainment of their life dreams. Take for example Michael Jordan. He is agreeably the best basketballer of all time. But apparently, he earns much more than the full time employees of Nike who work in its Malaysia factory eight hours a day, yet he has never been in the site for more than a few hours on any day. You would ask yourself how? He has apparel with his signature name and by playing his sport well, he endears himself to his fans and this in turn boosts his sales. In actual sense, he commands his payroll. And there are many examples of people who have discovered their passion and employed it to earn as per their life dreams.

To get back to the start, we ought to ask ourselves what really matters in life. Most of us are concerned with how the world perceives us. To most therefore, what is crucial is being accepted by the world. We always want to be seen to belong so that we are accepted into the social circles we hang out with and in effect, earn psychological satisfaction.

The more the reason we allow the external environment to influence us to an extent that we lose track of our reason for living and we ape others to live their dreams. I know of several acquaintances who had bright ideas for life but when they started out and got carried away by other people, they chose to abandon their life dreams and started copying what others were doing and got lost. Actually they have failed. It is a fact that one cannot ape another and succeed. The underlying reason is that each of us is wired differently and hence, therefore, our abilities are distinct. By copying another, one abandons his strength for the other and that is how they fail since they cannot perform as the originator of the idea.

But the worst cause of failure is lack of focus. I have seen many urge about the merits of undertaking several life dreams at nice. But it has been proven these serial dream chasers have slim chances of success. Focus gives you power to concentrate on one line of pursuit, learn to execute it perfectly and deliver.

It all is underscored by the reason why you exist. It is time we sat down and did an honest evaluation in order to better appreciate ourselves. Why do you live? Once you understand the reason why you exist, you will strive to live for that reason and that is when passion is created. You can only derive power from passion if you truly have discovered the reason why you exist. And that is what makes winners like Mariga to be who they are winners. A winner in life does not need to prove to be someone. His passion shows him to the word why he is and becomes his brand. Even businesses whose underlying principles of operation are values are the ones that become dominant.

Let your WHY be the reason you are known and you will not regret. Because your WHY is your personal brand. Let I sell you. So, what are you known for?


The writer is the author of ‘Passionpreneurship Demystified’, ‘Business Networking’ and ‘Face The Elephant’, all acclaimed business books. He is also the Lead Coach at PBL Africa, a firm founded on the Passionpreneurship principle. 

​The Story Behind The Story: How To Effectively Sell and Inspire

Whenever I am walking in the streets of Nairobi especially at night, I love going by those side walk hawkers who display an array of wares to the passersby. I came to notice that am impulse buyer to these hardworking Kenyans, at times, even purchasing stuff I did not need. I guess this is the reason why my little Princess has a lot of toys and usually celebrates whenever I travel back home from those trips!
But I came to realize that the buying is never out of a need to spend, nay. It is out of a conviction by these hawkers doing the selling. I read somewhere that we ought not bargain with these sellers since to them, the profit margins made is what makes them survive from day to day unlike supermarkets and other established retailers that have a fixed price and have economies of large scale supplies to run on.

So how comes I always come to buy from these street sellers? It is because, whenever they have an opportunity to face anyone, the first few minutes they indulge with anyone is to convince you about why they are doing so. To most, they say it is about survival, that the sale is about feeding their families and such and out of it, you feel obliged to spend to help them meet their basic needs! 

This brings me to my pet subject – entrepreneurship and administration. Why is it that some products are too hard to sell? Why are some leaders so uninspiring? Where do some products and businesses sell more than others albeit effortlessly?

Most probably the reason is they do not connect with the potential buyer.  People are never curious about just a story, but the story behind the story. A television channel once rode on this as its value proposition and everyone trooped to it to watch the story behind the headlines since they felt more satisfied with behind the scenes happening away from the normal stuff in the name of news. The story behind the story is the why of what is happening. It is the motivation or the reason why something is happening.

The WHY is the reason behind the creation of a product to satisfy a specific need. When a consumer goes to buy a product, all he is looking for is that connection with the motivation for the production of the output. If the motivation resonates well with the need he has, he seals a deal and completes a sale!

This therefore means that the seller has to find a way of communicating to the potential buyer the motivation for his product. And this is best seen in the company values. What does your company stand for in terms of consumer satisfaction? Is it efficiency? Does it appreciate the fact that inflation is high and that is why it produces cheap products? Then find a way to communicate that to the customer FIRST before going into the details about what the product is and how you will produce it.

Selling they say is an art it therefore can be learnt as a skill. It is also human  it is emotional. The seller has to connect emotionally to the potential buyer and inspire him enough to facilitate the buy off of the product. Where we normally go wrong is we start by rapping about what the product is and its features and it ends there. That is not inspiring enough  and hence, most people find it hard to sell.

Proper selling must start with communicating to the customer the motivation behind the production of the product. What motivated you to develop the product or service? How does that product deliver value to the customer? And lastly, all presentations should end with what the product is, in that sequence.

If all people, leaders included would start with the story behind the story, sales and inspiring members of an organization would not be a hard nut to crack. For the street hawkers, they have perfected this art  they start by invoking your emotions about how the products they hold is their way to survive and from it, seeing as it the product is what you need, you buy into it and hence a sale! It all boils down to the WHY of an organization- define it, communicate it and you are good to go!

It therefore means that people do not buy what you offer, but WHY you do the things you do. The more the reason we should never be concerned about WHAT we do, but WHY!

#WhatsYourWhy

#Passionpreneurship