If you are like me, you most likely spend significant time on social media, whether for news, entertainment or just catching up with friends and family. The weekly screen time report I get on my phone has consistently shown that social media is the third most time-consuming activity on my phone after productivity and reading. The report indicates that I spend an average of twenty-two hours a week on social media via the phone.
This was the case early in the year when I stumbled upon a Facebook post calling for applications for the 2020 African Bible Leadership Initiative (ABLI). Having missed a similar opportunity in 2019, I was keen to sign up for this one and in no time, my application was complete. A fortnight later, I received the news I had been waiting for- I had been accepted to be part of the 2020 cohort.
We are encouraged, challenged, motivated and inspired by men and women who have a mastery of their respective subjects and deliver with great humility.
Then came the unprecedented and unexpected, Covid-19. The pandemic hit our nation and its effects were slowly being felt in every home, office, school and church. Soon after, all forms of public gatherings were suspended, throwing our planned classes in disarray. Traditionally, ABLI sessions would be held in a brick-and-mortar location with all participants physical present but with the preceding situations, we had to go virtual, the digital shift triumphed.
This is the sixth week of the program, and it feels like I have been at it for months. The infill of knowledge, self-discoveries, eye-opening interactions and invaluable networks are what makes ABLI the best thing for anyone to invest their time in. It has been said numerous times ‘You cannot lead others if you can’t lead yourself.’ This underscores the reason why personality types had to be the first of the eighteen sessions wrapped in seven modules.
Thanks to the session on emotional intelligence, my group members and I now understand that our own feelings and the feelings of others affect and contribute to effective management of our emotions in the different relationships we all have.
Everyone has a story and it is important to own your story. Heal from its pains, forgive the wrongdoers therein, learn from it and as you rise from the ashes, cast your vision. The session of storytelling and life mapping has helped me look back at my past with nothing to regret but great pride about how far I each have come from, the many mountains I’ve surmounted and the successes within. Through storytelling and life mapping, I can now pour out my life into the younger generation in fifteen minutes or less. I also can now clearly see the patterns and influences of the decisions I make today. What this means is that I am at a better position to know what to avoid, embrace and chase.
When was the last time you wrote yourself a letter? Whether you wrote it to your younger self or future self is still worth applauding. I personally was taken decades back to my sixteen-year-old self. I was just joining high school, and behind me, I was leaving a tainted reputation. A reputation characterised by dropping out of school countless times, gambling and general lawlessness. This came with shame, scorn and alienation. However, looking back, I realise that age sixteen was my turning point, hence the reason I wrote a letter my younger self. In that letter, I encouraged myself to forgive myself for my juvenile errors, forgive my foes, reconcile with the distant and face forward with readiness to conquer the next decade.
Today, I am glad I joined ABLI. Even with the disruption caused by the global pandemic, we are moving on as if nothing happened. The sessions on Zoom are just as lively and meaningful as though we were meeting physically. I must commend the ELF team for convening such a resourceful faculty. Week after week, we are encouraged, challenged, motivated and inspired by men and women who have a mastery of their respective subjects and deliver with great humility. Their preparedness shows in every slide and sentence.
On our WhatsApp group, we’re family. Though we’ve never met physically, we already have such great bonds. We discuss everything, from the sessions we’re having to current affairs to common leadership pitfalls.
I thank God for granting me this opportunity. Now I pray that you too will be led to grab it in the next calling.
Do not be afraid to take up leadership training and positions. As John C. Maxwell said, “Everything rises and rests on leadership.”
James Sakwa, ABLI 2020