Forging your Business Ahead (a tale on opportunities)

One thing that aspiring speakers look forward to is an opportunity to speak at events. The bigger the crowd, the bigger the excitement; the higher the caliber of people you have in the audience, the better the opportunity.

I recently turned down one such opportunity. It was at an event that had one of Nigeria’s foremost and most notable speaker and consultant in attendance. Okay, maybe I didn’t turn down the opportunity per se, but I didn’t push for the chance even though it was somewhat presented to me.

The decision could have been motivated by either of 2 things- fear or wisdom.

The prosperity of fools will destroy them (Proverbs 1:32). I wasn’t prepped to make a presentation that day. If I had decided to just wing it, I feared that I’d flop it and make a mess of myself. I believe that It is somewhat wise to turn down opportunities you are not prepared for.

I believe that It is somewhat wise to turn down opportunities you are not prepared for.

A take home from that however is to always be ready. Wiser is the man who is ready for his opportunity when it comes. Like the 5 wise virgins in the bible, don’t wait for opportunity before you get ready, instead be proactive; be always ready!

**

Maybe I was ready; I was simply also afraid. Fear is a dangerous enemy. I have found it to be more dangerous than whatever caused it in the first place. Fear is a fierce thief that steals your willpower and prevents you from achieving things that aren’t beyond you. Often it starts little, but the more you tolerate it, the stronger it gets and the weaker your will becomes.

Fear is a fierce thief that steals your willpower and prevents you from achieving things that aren’t beyond you

A take home is that one should be ruthless when dealing with fear. Because fear never goes easy on you, don’t go easy on it. You’ve got to kill it before it kills you. How? Take courage. Courage they say isn’t the absence of fear, but taking action despite of it.

**

bold
Image Credit: Google

Bringing it home, how can you relate this to your brand or business?

Never be in a haste to get publicity. Always note that a good service will bring 3 more customers while a bad one will chase 3000. Make sure you have all angles covered at all times; you can’t afford to be scrappy. Soon your chance to showcase your brand big time will come; will the chance make you or ruin you? Preparation + opportunity (publicity) = success

failure is often a stepping stone on your way to success

Also, believe in your brand and the experience you have to offer. It is only then that others are permitted to believe in it too. Don’t be afraid to fail; failure is often a stepping stone on your way to success. Believe in yourself enough to share your gifts with the world. Many rewards await you.

Be great

Afolabi Soaga

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Baby Again: the future of the African child

Fear and the inability to take risks are man created. We were not born that way. We were informally trained to be afraid, to lack courage and to avoid risk. We were brought up to think that it’s best to always play it safe. But I have come to realize that although a ship in the harbor is safe; that’s not what ships are made for. They are designed and purposed to sail the high seas and surf through the turbulent storms; and they are specially designed to serve that purpose.

Risks are a part of life; boldness i  s often essential and it is innate. Fear though seems natural, it isn’t our default setting. We picked it up along the way and dropped the courage we were born with not realizing that although fear will take us to a destination faster and safer; often it leads to the wrong one and at when best, to a destination far lesser than where we ought to and could reach.

Take a look at a baby. Regardless of who her father is or how uneducated his mother is. Even if the baby is an orphan from theimages (1) poorest of families; when you place him or her in a room filled with the most honourable and noble dignitaries of the world, the baby would still end up doing whatever it is it wants to do. If it wants to cry, cry it would; or smile or make noise or cause trouble. A baby acts without inhibition and without fear. They are a great example of courage and boldness.

And each and everyone of us was once like that baby. We were all born that way. And that’s what we need to get back to being. Fear is a habit we learnt while unlearning courage and we need to reverse that to unlearn fear and relearn courage.

We were born that way for a reason. The world we are in is one filled with opportunities. But despite the huge opportunities that lie around, what we find also is great inequality.  The resources available are not equally distributed and no matter the kind of socialist system any government tries to run, they can never be. Resources are not necessarily scarce; or let me say scarcity is relative. Resources can go round but it just won’t.  I believe that an interplay of fear, faith, courage and boldness is what decides who gets what and how much of the resources available gets to a person.

It takes the bold and courageous to stretch forth and reach for his own share. It takes a lion heart to have a lion’s share. And that courage lies within your heart. You just need to find it.

And to young parents and intending parents especially my fellow African people i have this to add: We tend to teach our children not to speak where elders are instead of teaching them how to speak where elders are. We teach our daughters to be subservient to their male counterparts rather than making them know how to be achievers in themselves as well as humble afterwards. These are the things that sniff out the boldness and courage we were born with. Little wonder we are the way we are. I believe it is important that we change some part of how we train our children. No doubt our system has given birth to really strong and defiant people and time won’t permit me to name examples, but like always said, there is always room for improvement.  Ability to adapt and to survive are not the only things we can have. images (2)Courage, confidence and boldness could be added to the character of the African child.so we need to adopt systems that would model these traits in our kids. We need to make them start seeing that the white man isn’t better and that the foreign land isn’t more blessed. That they can compete against anyone in the world because they are equally as good as anyone else of any skin type. Our children must see beyond their immediate environment; beyond their history, they must see their future. The must see that they also have a role to play, an impact to make ; a contribution to give towards making the world a better place. They have a share in greatness, and we must show them the path that leads there.

I believe in the future of the African child. I see a future where we also contribute positively to the growth and development of this world. Where we are not just a spectator as to what happens; but rather active partners in change. But to reach that future, we must re-become what we were; re-discover the baby in us and find that boldness, faith and courage God equipped us with for the prize of greatness he has destined us for.

O dabo

Soaga Afolabitumblr_ngbu62KOXQ1rrnn7po1_1280

my pursuit of perfection and the fear of counter success 2

In my previous post, i started a discussion on the pursuit of a perfect life. in summary, i wrote that the perfect life isn’t a life without flaws but rather a ‘flaw-overcoming’ life. i also stated that nobody was born with imperfections and flaws but that we all picked those bad habits here on earth just the same way we pick up clothes; and that if we can change the clothes we wear, then we can also change our habits and inadvertently best our lives. i concluded on why a luxurious life isn’t evil; but that our pursuit and need of it shouldn’t be allowed to turn into greed. The full article can be read here: http://bit.ly/194si5D.

Now to the fear of counter success

People have different kinds of fears in life. A common one is the fear of failure(a.k.a atichyphobia), and a less common one is the fear of success(achievemephobia). Neither of this have really haunted me. The fear I had to deal with was the fear of counter-success. Becoming successful has never really been the problem for some people, staying successful has been falling-save-mewhere the challenge lies. The world is full of ‘used-to-be’s’ and ‘formers’. its common to hear stuff like “he used to have a great marriage”, ” he is the former world champion”, “he used to drive a nice car” or “she used to have a great body”.  Counter success has plagued many people both in biblical days and even in our contemporary age.

Two quick examples off my head are Rehoboam in the bible and Tiger woods of 2009. Both didn’t really have issues making it to the top. But when they both got there; with their own hands they pulled themselves down. So they did achieve success, but they pulled a counter success stunt successfully as well. While Rehoboam misused power, Woods’ case was in the abuse of sex.

Abuse of power and sex are not the only two things that lead to counter success, money is another major counter success causative. it must be noted just like in the earlier article that these things in themselves are not bad. Man was created to have ‘dominion’ and not be dominated and that’s why there is an unquenchable desire in every one of us to have some sort of power and authority. Money is good and necessary for survival. Sex is a physiological and sometimes psychological Albert-Florence's-Missteps-Colorneed in us. thus, If these things can be identified as needs, then they ought to be met. And there are legal and appropriate ways to go about it. But when the need for them turns into greed, then we have a problem in our hands because it will cause us to take the back door to achieve them. And there are always consequences for that- counter success!

Someone said once that the secret to success in life is to find one’s weaknesses early enough and deal with them. I believe that this is ideally the antidote to counter success. we all have our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. our strengths and talents regardless of our weaknesses and flaws can help us achieve success of some sort, but what will make us maintain that success is our ability to manage our flaws, weaknesses and excesses.

The first step towards solving a problem is usually identifying it. I like to say that a man who has a problem and doesn’t know that he has one, has the greatest problem in life. It is when we find those areas of vulnerability that we can take appropriate measures to resolve them.

For identified negative habits, its been suggested that what we consistently do for 21 days becomes a part of us. Recent research is proving to disprove that but then I still believe it could work. So we can start up personal campaigns against bad habits or pro good habits campaigns in an attempt to put off the ‘bad habit clothes’ and put on the good ones.

If you spend poorly, you can decide to watch how you spend for the next 21 days. If you desire to be chaste with the opposite sex, you can ‘fast’ them (i.e avoid them or circumstances that put you in an uncomfortable position) for that period. Conscious efforts such as these can rewrite the conduct code in our systems and over time change our habits. Practice they say makes perfect and repetition is often the key to mastery.

you don’t have to be an example of a man who rose to the top only to later plummet. you don’t have to take a nose dive after attaining the success you worked hard for. you can be successful and stay successful. You don’t have to fear counter success, you can prevent it while you work towards your success.  Find that Achilles heel and work relentlessly to overcome it. As you improve on your strengths, also take out time to work on your weaknesses too.

love you

Soaga Afolabi achilles' heel 2

my pursuit of perfection and the fear of counter-success. 1

Is the habitperfect and ideal life really an unattainable fantasy? Well I believe the answer to that would be based on our individual definitions of what the perfect life is.

To me, the perfect life isn’t the life without problems and challenges, but rather it is the life of a man who has learnt to overcome them when they come his way. Is it a life without flaws? I don’t think so. I believe it’s the life of a man who is consistently improving on himself and besting his life daily. In short the perfect life is not the one situated in a perfect world for such world remains evidently physically un-existent today, but rather it is the life of a man who is committed to being his best self daily.

By my definition, is the perfect life an attainable goal? Yes, most certainly. Not only is it attainable, it is a noble pursuit.

We live in an imperfect world and the imperfection of this world tends to rub itself on us from time to time. Nobody is born a thief, a murderer, a harlot, a liar, or a fraudster. People who become this were influenced at some point or the other. The negative influences from society and media makes it difficult for us to be our best self.10-habits

Change they say is inevitable. You can’t fight it; it will always occur. Wherever change isn’t found, death has found an abode. however, automatic change I have come to find, is never positive. The only change that ordinarily occurs with time is decay. So the best way to relate with change is to be proactive about it. As life is trying to rub all its imperfection on you, you should also be putting efforts to find your perfection back. There is no getting defensive about this by attempting to ‘avoid’ being corrupted by the world’s negative influences. That has never worked and it never will. The best form of defence is attack!

So just like clothes we wear, so also are norms and bad habits we pick up. The same way we can decide to change clothes, we can also decide to change habits. We can choose what we become just as we can choose what we wear. No character came with us from the womb, we picked them all up thereafter.habits

The pursuit of a good life is also a pursuit to meet needs; material and non material needs. Some of those needs are necessities while some others are luxuries. As you go about them, it’s important to ensure that we don’t allow society’s influence on us turn our needs to greed and like earlier said, this we need to be proactive about .

A wise man named Rajinikanth said ‘whether you have a maruti or a BMW, the road remains the same. Whether you travel economy class or business class, our destination doesn’t change. Whether you have a titan or a Rolex, the time is the same. Whether you have apple, Samsung or lava, people who call you remain the same.
There is nothing wrong in dreaming a luxurious life. What needs to be taken care of is to not let the need become greed because needs can always be met but greed can never be fulfilled’.

the concluding part of this would be posted soon. watch this space for it.

love ya dearly!_IL_OMOIKE George Osabuohien_NG__301641

turning threats into opportunity: a simple strategy

In the 1960s and 1970s, Albert Humphrey using data from Fortune 500 developed a technique that involves specifying the objective of a business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective. His technique is called a SWOT analysis. It is an analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. Although it was primarily applied to businesses, its principle could also be applied to products, places, industries and very importantly, people.
As humans we all have our SWOTs. Your strengths are those things or areas you can do better than others while your weaknesses are the reverse of that. Your opportunities are those things that you can explore to your advantage while threats are those things or situations that can cause you trouble. Peak performance in life requires that you seek ways to perfect and sustain your strengths, deal with your weaknesses, maximize your opportunities and protect yourself from your threats.
However, Eccl9:11 talks about the fallibility of strength. Strength without corresponding opportunities is a waste and likewise opportunities without strenght(empowerment/preparation) is also a waste. Benjami Disrealli said that the secret of success is for a man to be ready for his opportunity before it comes. But for the sake of today’s discourse, I’ll stick to talking about opportunities with an underlying assumption that we all have strengths of some sort that God has equipped us with. What many people lack is not ability, but rather a platform to exhibit it. All men are born equal, but differing opportunities come our way. The difference often time between the successful and the unsuccessful is what kind and amount of opportunity that life serve them. As it were, even strenght, skill and ability are sometimes the product of opportunity. If there is thus a way one could increase his opportunities, I believe such a one could also increase his success and one way we can do that is by turning your threats into opportunities. Stated below is a strategy anyone could apply.

CONFRONT YOUR FEAR.
We have earlier defined a threat as something that possess danger to us. They come in different forms to different people. What constitute a threat to a shy person might not be what is a threat to an extrovert. But whatever personality type we call ourself or whatever situation we find ourselves in, one thing common is that whenever a threat confronts us, our default response to it usually is fear. Fear is one of the most common and regular emotion in people. Though it looks normal to be afraid when faced with a threat but in truth, it’s the worst thing we do to ourselves. Because although a threat is what introduces fear, the fear it introduces is a greater threat than whatever threat introduced the fear in the first place. A man who is afraid is half defeated before the battle even begins. Have you noticed that champion boxers are usually good talkers? This is because they understand that if they can talk fear into the heart of their opponents, then their victory is half won already.
The first thing you should always bear in mind when faced with a threat of whatever kind is that whatever you are confronting is a lesser enemy than the fear it introduces. In fact, its strength is the fear. And so as it were, the strength of your enemy is usually within you. This is what made me come to a conclusion that whether I win or lose a battle is not of how strong my opponent is but rather how strong I am or can be before the match. And so If you can deal with your fear( which is your weakest link) and retain your peace, then there is really nothing you can’t overcome.

Confronting fear: become the boss
Fear exists in the common room of our mind. It is not real. Like defined in the movie ‘after earth’, it is False Evidence Appearing Real. You can confront fear by seeing things differently and taking a proper perspective to the situation you find yourself. What this means is that a student about to write an examination shouldn’t see an examination as an avenue schools use to fail their students but rather as an assessment of what they’ve been taught and thus an opportunity to show them what he has learnt. A shy person shouldn’t see addressing a crowd as a suicide mission but rather as chance to show the world what he’s got. Personally, I noticed that when I stand before a crowd with a mentality of being examined, I get frightened and nervous and that always affect my performance. But when I stand before a crowd with the mindset that they want to hear me speak and learn from me, I do it very differently and more excellently. The difference is not what I’m sharing; nor the crowd size or type; but rather on what grounds am I standing before them. So if I can programme my mind to think in a particular way about the challenge I’m facing, then I can decide what level of performance I’ll operate in. As a man thinks, so is he. And so even if I am standing before a panel which obviously means that I am to be examined, we have the ability to switch the scenario in our heads and act like we are not to be examined but rather to perform and that gives us a chance to show the great stuff we are made of. Once you can take control of the environment of your mind and customize the conditioning of it to suit your objective and not the objective of your opposition or whatever is confronting you, then you’d have turned what seemed like a threat into an opportunity.

This could be applied to almost anything. For me, I apply it to get over my shyness, others could apply it to a difficult examination Or any other challenge you might face. A crowd by default possess a threat to me. But when I’m faced with such as I do often these days, I remember quickly that I can turn any threat into an opportunity by ceasing the fear it introduces, gaining mastery over it, counter it with boldness and then release myself for a great performance. I urge you to try it out as well. Multiply your opportunities, multiply your success.
God bless.
Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.