Along the journey of life, i am sure there have been events that have made us want to give up, moments that have made us question our very on certainty and pain that has made us believe that perhaps the sun will not come out tomorrow. Many of us are driven by something other than money. For some, it is recognition for their efforts, for others, it’s to create something of meaning and have an impact on society. From the book, Lets do this! Kevin Ngo says “It’s during our failures that we discover our true desire for success.” But what happens when you excelling but not fulfilled? I had done everything right.
Three years ago I had a heart to heart talk with one of my mentors. What does it mean when you are making good money, you see your vision come to life, you are changing lives and somehow you are not quite happy? As the discussion progressed he said, “have you ever considered that perhaps you have outgrown your environment?” You are restless, eager and hungry to make a real impact with your career and currently, that need is not being fulfilled. You have been there for five years, I have seen you grow and transform but somehow if you seem to be drowning in shallow waters. Having been cautioned of being impetuous several times. I smiled at him and said let me go think about it and will come back and discuss this in detail. Just as I was about to leave he said Hazel one more thing “it’s not enough to come up with great ideas, the organisation needs to position itself to absorb and act upon those ideas.” Remember a good leader creates a culture of innovation but a great leader creates a culture where innovation thrives by being a change catalyst.
How many people do we know who always seem to have good ideas and yet doing nothing with them? How many people do we know who are charismatic leaders with unrealized potential? After giving it some thought the seed of going out on my own was planted, my calling to the land of Entrepreneurship had finally come.
With my accounting degree in tow and over ten years experience in consulting and advisory, I knew what I wanted to do and how to go about and somehow that first step never took place. I formed a transformation strategy club with friends and I thought perhaps this will ease me into the world of Entrepreneurship and somehow that did not go as I had planned. I helped several people start businesses and yet I was still employed and still not fulfilled.
With favour from the Gods above fate stepped in and I was appointed to a new position and my life did an 180-degree turn. I found myself with the freedom and financial support to create new products, services, systems and best of all I did not have to follow the usual protocols. I was in my element, I was part of the Innovation committee, I headed up HR and loved working with people and seeing them grow. I become the champion of transformation and I fell in love with Corporate Social initiatives. Skills development gained a special place in my heart but area where I found my greatest fulfilment and drive was the enterprise development projects. I suddenly understood an article I heard sometimes go “The rise of the intrapreneur.” I was transforming lives and organisation from within. I had a two in one deal “employee+entrepreneur” and my calling backseat, for now, i was fulfilled.
Two years later, fate willed its magic wound and I found myself moved to another position. Engaged, innovative, transforming, building a corporate culture through communication was the dream for the new role. The reality was resentment, resistance, unrealistic protocol expectations, no culture for innovation but I think the worst part of it all was the change that resulted in no change. I found myself back again drowning in shallow waters. Where had I gotten it all wrong? I was all set, I had an amazing job, that pushed me through the discomfort, moulded my character and appealed to my strengths. Work energised me and I was happy. Certainly along the journey there had been some amazing highs and emotional lows along the way, but surely how could people turn their backs on a change that would improve their lives. What was I doing wrong?
Puzzled I went back to my mentor and asked what had I done wrong? He reminded me of a horse named “Go for Wand,” she was once a champion two-year-old filly in America. In 1990 she got back up after breaking her ankle and crossed the finish line on three legs. Learn from the Horse, why did Go for wand get up and finish the race on three legs? What drives you? What is your purpose? Sometimes in life, we get distracted by the temporary and lose focus of “the bigger goal.” Emotions cloud our judgement, we create mountains from speed bumps and we fight for events of the past and not for our future.
Your greatness and your ability to progress in life and in business should not be determined by yesterday. We choose not to be responsible and accountable for our actions but rather we make excuses day in day out. We find people to blame for our insecurities instead of challenging ourselves to push that uneasy boundary of the comfort zone. In my case it was easier to say people do not want to change, I do not want to be in this position I am not happy. We always have a choice, I could either choose to remain in the new post and complain about how unhappy I was. Or I could say its been an amazing 5 years but its time to move on.
Why do you think so many lotto winners end up broke or worse off than where they began? There had no purpose for that money. Purpose is not just vision, purpose is tenacity, drive, determination, purpose is channelling all your energy into achieving your goal.
A lot of us say i am not successful in what I am doing because I don’t have money. I need that one break and I will be set, I need that one tender and I will make things happen. If only I had my old position I would be happy. We cannot create our life events but how we respond to them is up to us. A lot of us are like lotto winners, we get consumed by the idea of If I win the lotto I will do XYZ, we fall in love with the general, buy property or invest and never the specifics such as what kind of property, where is it, how much?
Who plays the lotto here….
If you were to win it what would you do with the money?
Are you prepared to win that money today?
Taking a page from my book, practice what you preach, I started Kayiya Dot Com. I decided to create a job that I loved and was passionate about. I had already had a taste of what truly makes me happy and through that, my mission developed “to transform lives so profoundly that changing back to the old way is not an option.” Has the journey been easy, certainly not but it has been worth it for I have become fearless? Being Fearless does not mean the absence of fear but it means I will be bold, I will be valiant, I will allow myself to have doubts, I will give myself permission to ask the sanity of certain decision and actions in my life or business BUT I will not let them be my barrier to success. Purpose does not make it easy but it does embody resilience, tenacity, and fulfilment.
Once upon a time, i had the support and influence to shape and transform lives at the organisation that I worked in. My once upon a time has come and gone but that does not mean my life is tied down to that once upon a time. Sometimes you will make a wrong judgement call, you will lose money, you will hurt you will have to start again, you will be disappointed in business. I moved into a new position that certainly did not pan out to be what I thought, so I learnt something. Every event in life is an opportunity for you to learn to grow, know your worth, be confident, be bold.
I certainly learnt I love being a driver of innovation from within and am focused on processes within. During my tenure as Corporate Services, i learnt the aptitude to recognise and solve important problems. Had to see trends and understand where the company needs to go before anyone else does. Have the ability to analyse several scenarios and choose the best way forward and be able to think and behave like a business owner within the company.
What I learnt from the new post, bigger is not always better. If you do not understand who you are and what makes you happy you risk the chance of developing the Peter Principle. Laurance J Peter believes “When you’re great at something, you might get rewarded with a promotion, into something you’re terrible at.” Incompetence may be because the required skills are different, but not more difficult. I found myself having to manage projects instead of contributing to them. I started spending less and less time working on tasks that I loved but rather things I found tedious and boring and did not add value. I had forfeited the things that thrived for the promise of a better-looking tomorrow without properly examining all the facts. It is very important to know who you are and what drives so that you are able to pick the path that allows you to thrive and not sink.
As for me, Entrepreneur or Intrapreneur, I love to wear both caps because my purpose is to transform lives so profoundly that changing back to the old way is not an option. Are you being true to yourself, or have you fallen into the Peter principle?