Plans, Purposes, and Pursuits

imagesPlanning is so important that even God in all his might doesn’t fail to plan. He always has a plan- A plan for the whole world and a plan for you and i. That’s why he is way ahead of the adversary because the next set of moves he’d make are plain before him. He is never caught off guard. (Jer 29:11)

So if God makes plans, why don’t you?

Some take consolation in verses in Matt 6 which advices that we take no thought of what we will eat and drink and of our tomorrow. But really, that verse had no reference to planning! What Jesus was addressing in that portion of scripture is worry; and even though there is a thin line between both, there is also a huge difference between them.

So if God makes plans, why don’t you?

Worry is negative. It drains you. It is an abuse of your imagination and as such should be avoided. Planning is positive. It requires you to stretch yourself, task your imagination, and exercise your faith in God and his abilities in you and through you.

In Luke 14:28 Jesus advises that whoever who set out on a project must first sit to count his cost to see if he has enough to complete it. He said that whoever fails to do so is at risk of failure and shame. Planning is a preparatory act that can’t be ignored. Opportunity only favors the prepared; the man who has planned.

Many people refuse to plan because they don’t want to risk failure. They have probably set goals in the past that they failed to meet and are afraid to repeat the same. I heard once that If you aim at nothing, you will hit it a 100% of the time. Refusal to plan and set goals for those people will never make them better. If you refuse to take risks, you might not fail, but you’d definitely not win. So I advise that you set those goals. Really, you have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

Opportunity only favors the prepared; the man who has planned.

When you make plans and set goals properly, you’d most like succeed at them. Properly means that you set appropriate and worthy goals and that you map out strategies to score them.

Other people fear making wrong plans that are contrary to what God has planned for them. In someone’s opinion, why make plans for myself when God has already made some for me? My question to that is- is that a submission to fate or a confession of faith? The former I dare to say. God indeed has plans for you but he won’t force them on you. He needs you to take those plans for yourself and work them out through his help. Proverbs 16:3 (GNB)- Ask the LORD to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out.

is that a submission to fate or a confession of faith?

My plans? I want God plans! So do I. Nothing stops you from making God’s plans for yourself. God is always trying to let us on in on the plans he has for us. Php 2:13(GNB) says God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey his own purpose. Isa 55:8 wasn’t referring to you. It is the wicked man that God asked to forsake his ways. Yes, God’s thoughts and plans are higher and better than the ones we can make for ourselves. But God wants us to know that we can attain those thoughts (1Cor2:9-10). He has no glory in hiding them from us but takes all glory in us living them out.

So, don’t be afraid to make plans for your life. Set BHAGs and pursue them. Commit your desires to God who is able to do immeasurably than you can plan for yourself and watch him do wonders through you and for you. You’ve got nothing to lose!

 

Afolabi Soaga

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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.

**

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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

that stroke of luck

I am from a country in which a poor boy several years ago was christened Goodluck at his birth. Strange name right? Today, that boy serves as the president of our country. When he told us his story, he attributes part of his success today to that little stroke of luck. As a boy he had no shoes, as a man he rides a presidential jet. His name has truly been a prophecy for his life. Little wonder today we have had many more parents name their child Goodluck because they are also searching for that stroke of luck that would make all the difference in their life.

Of course, not all these children bearing that name today will be presidents tomorrow. Moreover, President Jonathan was not the only person to have been named Goodluck the year he was born. Where are the other Goodlucks today? You can’t really blame our people though; who doesn’t want to be the father of the president of the giant of Africa?

I’d be discussing luck today and I’ll take my observation from Hollywood stories to drive home a point. Let me start by painting the regular scenarios we find in movies.

The good-guy-bad-guy fight. This is usually reserved for the last part of the movie. Almost always, the bad guy is usually more than enough for the good guy. So he beats him up pretty bad such that the good guy is bleeding all over. Then at that instance that he is about to deal the good guy the last blow, the good guy manages to reach a gun that is left with just 1 bullet which was some time ago out of reach but now that he is about to die is now somehow near enough for his dramatic full arm stretch to reach. And so before the bad guy can finish him off, he gets the gun, shoots the bad guy dead and the good guy wins.

My next scenario is from the amazing spider man 2 movie released earlier this year; two planes were just about to collide into each other because electrode who is the bad guy here had tampered with the electricity in the city. The planes were flying blindly because they could not communicate with the control room at the airport and Just when they were about to collide, someone somewhere pushed a button just as someone else somewhere else connected some wires together and that led to the electricity being restored back in the city. If all that process had been delayed by a fraction of a second, the two planes would have ran into each other and spider-man would not have saved the day.

Or, you must have seen instances in action movies where several bad guys are shooting at just one good guy and then they all miss. The bullets would be seen to literarily touch everything else apart from the good guy and then with just 1 round of ammunition, the good guy kills all his enemies.

Then there is the common classic bad guy error in which he has the good guy cornered into a place and when he ought to just finish him off once and for all, he begins to tell a tale nobody is interested in #story4thegods. and while he is still explaining away his plans and un-gotten victory, the good guy gets some weapon somewhere and strikes him dead.

I could give countless of similar scenarios from Hollywood movies I’ve seen. The end is always similar. The good guy wins but then when you look at it closely, you can see that they always attribute his victory to some stroke of luck. I mean those bad guys might be wearing dark shades but they are certainly not all blind. If that is not luck, I wonder what it is.

Every action hero or movie star character has his or her own story of luck. Of how they were close to losing and then suddenly they won.

However, life funnily is very different from hollywood stories where there are always happy endings because not everyone always gets lucky. In real life, good guys die, planes crash, full sighted people don’t all miss their target at the same time, and bad guys don’t talk before shooting (they do it after the kill), people stay divorced, and some things you find kevin hart do won’t be seen as funny but rather stupid. Reason like I said before again is that not everyone gets lucky.

Luck I have come to see only finds those who needs it the least. There are plenty people who have been playing the lottery for years and have never stroked a jackpot even once. Even Hollywood tells such stories. People who hit luck in casinos were usually the un-expectant. It just happened when they weren’t counting on it.

So even though you can count on luck to save you if you were a character in an Hollywood movie, you can’t do so in real life. Mother luck is just so not dependable.

In real life, though not everyone gets lucky; but everyone gets an opportunity. A 1st century roman philosopher named Seneca remarked that luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation. So what we should be on the lookout for is not luck itself but rather opportunity.

The way you look out for opportunities and make the most of them is to be prepared for them. George clason said that opportunity doesn’t waste time on the unprepared. Remember the story of the 10 virgins and the oil from the bible. The five that got picked were not just lucky. They were prepared for the opportunity of luck.

If you look more intently at even those scenarios I’ve even painted from the Hollywood stories, you’d still see some trace of interplay between opportunity and preparation. Someone did some hard work to get lucky. The truth is that a man who is not prepared for luck won’t even see it when an opportunity presents one to him.

In conclusion, let me just say for the record that I am also a kind of believer in luck. But like Thomas Jefferson observed, I also find that the harder i work, the more i have of it.

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun.

AP: lincoln’s real secret to success.

Probably the greatest example of persistence is Abraham Lincoln. If you want to learn about somebody who didn’t quit, look no further. But is persistence the only lesson we can learn from one of the greatest presidents america has ever had? I don’t think so.

Here is a sketch of Lincoln’s road to the White House and underneath it is a brief comment on some other things I think we can learn from him.
1816: His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
1818: His mother died.
1831: Failed in business.
1832: Ran for state legislature – lost.
1832: Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
1833: Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
1834: Ran for state legislature again – won.
1838: Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
1840: Sought to become elector – defeated.
1843: Ran for Congress – lost.
1846: Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.
1848: Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
1854: Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
1856: Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – got less than 100 votes.
1858: Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
1860: Elected president of the United States.
 
Lincoln himself once said “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure” For a man who lived the life just narrated above, its clear he was speaking from experience and that he lived his own advice. I however believe that his discontent with failure not only moved him to try again, but also to learn, un-learn and re-learn certain things.

Ordinarily, we’ve been taught that persistent was the major tool he used in his life and somehow we have believed it was the only tool. But I discovered that persistence alone can’t achieve much. A wise man commented once that “it is foolishness to do the same thing the same way and expect a different result”. If you persistently do things the wrong way, you’ll consistently be wrong and you’d consistently fail.

I discovered that lincoln was a progressive learner. He learnt new strategies and increased in wisdom. And though he was persistent in his pursuits, he understood the importance of growth. He didn’t allow failure at one exam stop him from preparing for another. He kept on advancing and progressing, seeking greater things. Contesting for higher positions showed that he didn’t remain at one level of development as what is required to contest at stage 2 is always higher than that at stage 1.

We need opportunities for success; and opportunity comes to everyone. But opportunity alone is not enough, as opportunity without corresponding strength, ability and preparation would end up being a waste. Benjami disreali said that “the secret to success is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes”.

There is such a thing as active patience(AP). Its something we all have to learn. It is what makes persistence profitable. It means doing the required things while being persistent. It is taking the bull by the horn and not just waiting for life to swing luck your way. It is understanding that opportunity is attracted like a magnet to those actively positioned for it. This is what distinguished lincoln and what made him a success. Whether you fail or succeed, there is always something you need to do to maintain or repeat success. Success is never automatic.

So the message today is this: keep learning, growing, and improving. Acquire new strategies, there are times when winning strategies fail (for the first time). Don’t just relax and call it persistence. Great men who make impact and register themselves in life’s history books are always on the offensive. Lincoln was a learner; you should be too.

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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.

pathway to fulfilling your financial fantasies

The 2 paths to Financial Freedom.
On the mind of mind of most people I know, we are constantly asking ourselves, how can I make more money? For many of us in school that are about to graduate or have just graduated from college, we are pondering what next. We all want to find that path that leads to our land of freedom. Where we can maximize life and find happiness.
This perhaps prompted a classmate to ask me which category I fall under. Job/career seeking or business starter. That got me thinking about which one is better. Is it Finding a good paying job or risking suffering loss or gain in Business. Well these are my thoughts:
A job gives you security, a business Gives you opportunity. If you have a good job and you are doing your job, you can be rest assured that regularly you’d have something to fall back on. Something steady you can plan on. And always rely on.
A business however is quite different. When you about to start, it doesn’t give you security, only. Promises. Its like planting a seed today. It might germinate and it might not. If it doesn’t, its your big loss and you might have to go hungry tomorrow for it. But then, just as a seed. planted poses a risk of not germinating, it also avails you great opportunity. You can count the number of seeds in a fruit, but cannot count the number of fruits in a seed. There is usually opportunity at the other side of the coin of risk. And starting a business offers you that. Businesses are often possibilities rather than final-ities. They have potentials of helping you fulfill your greatest financial fantasies and desires. A quick look at the richest men you know, and you’d see that they all run businesses that one day was only like a seed- risk and opportunity.
For a young person about to enter the adult world of self dependency and responsibility, or someone else who is contemplating quitting his job or starting a business, you must recognize that both are quite important.
There are times when being secured and ensuring your family’s security is all that matters. But there are other times when we need to seek something better than being safe. Things like experiencing the world that is more than ourselves and probably creating security for others other than ourselves are very commendable and self rewarding.
My answer to my dear friend was this- I am for both. I’m in school to get a degree and I intend to pursue a career I’m passionate about but also well keen to have my own business. I take one of my biggest learning on earning from billionaire investor warren Buffet: don’t put all your eggs in one basket; always have a multiple stream of income.
On whether it is possible to combine both effectively? Answer is yes. At least for a start. Till your business can effectively provide you the kind of security any job could. You only need to set your priorities right. Getting a new job will require you. To focus on it and make it a top priority. So if that’s your option A, nothing stops you from having an option B. Afterall there are 26 letters in the english alphabet. Only remember that A always comes before B.
There is a great world of opportunities waiting just for you. Take it! Go for the best and never settle for less. There is not a scarcity of money, only of men who REALLy have it. Do more than wish to be one of them, become it.
Job seekers seek to play it safe but business owners are risk takers. When we only play safe, we deny ourselves the opportunity to live. While we strive to make a honest living, we must however ask ourselves whether we are honestly living or just bearly existing and surviving.
Man was not created to just survive, he was created to live; he wasn’t created to simply manage life and its resources, he was designed to rule over them. Always remember, no matter how crowded the top seems to be, there is always an extra space to accomodate you….only be interested enough to go for it.
Much love!
Please feel free to share this and drop your comments too. I would really appreciate it.

our strange visitors

What and who exactly are our strange visitors? In this context, opportunities are. Opportunity comes to everyone, only that it takes different forms wheN it appears at our different doorsteps.
For some, it appears in the form of a Job offer, for some others as an information, while for a few as an idea Springing up from something they saw in a Movie or on the radio.
Only those who recognize it get to utilize it many without even realizing it. They wisely utilize it only to later realize it for what it is long after enjoying its benefits.
Those that don’t recognize it, remain unaware that it came knocking. They are the ones who keep on complaining it never came. And all the while, while waiting at their doorposts, opportunity keeps thinking, if only they had the kind of eyes that makes wise.
eyes that look are common, but eyes that see Are few. You no longer need to wonder why there are usually few people at the top of the rung and tons others at the bottom taking others from them.
Bill gates when answering questions about the facts discussed in Malcolm Gladwell’s outliers said something remarkable about opportunities:” I was not the only one born in that year”. Where are the other’s. Who had the same priviledges he had?
We all are left without excuses. God gave you working eyes, it is left for you to use them to see. It is high time we stood up and take responsibility. You too can be Great!