5 Tips You Need for Successful Personal Development

Sometimes, I wonder why some of us go through life without a plan. Would you have a tailor do your outfit without a plan? Or a contractor build your house without a plan and figuring it out as they go on? I bet you wouldn’t. Why then do you then fumble in life without stopping to think on where you’re headed? You need to plan on where you want to be clearly and make deliberate decisions on the direction you want to follow. The journey to personal development begins with self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to understand one’s thoughts, behaviors, motivations, weaknesses and reactions and everything else that makes us unique. You must actively seek to understand your strengths, weaknesses, emotions, motivations and your reactions to various situations. According to Maslow (1970), people have an inbuilt need for personal development which occurs through self-actualization.

For you to be successful you have to study what successful people do and apply it.

Life is competitive and unless we become tougher, we won’t be able to achieve anything.

  1. Set Goals

Personal development is interesting. Having a clear plan of where you want to be in future is part of personal development. It is easier to improve when you have a purpose of doing so.  Write down your goals in order of their importance and constantly review them.

  1. Assess Your Skills

You now have a clear vision of where you want to go but do you have the necessary means to take you there? First, you need to assess your skills to see whether they are in line with your dream. Constantly work on the skills you have to master the unique ones. Then list all the skills you should improve in order to realize your goals. Do whatever it takes to acquire the skills you are lacking.

  1. Discipline

After you have assessed your skills and acquired new ones, it’s now time to hit the road to your destination. Discipline is the ability of getting started regardless of your emotional state. Self-discipline is nothing but empowering your will and training the brain. After drawing your goals and acquiring the necessary skills, set a target and concentrate on it. It’s all about getting out of your comfort zone.

  1. Hard Work

Success doesn’t come on a silver platter, you must work hard. Personal development takes time and hard work. Understand how much work you need to put in in order to fully function. Employ a fixed schedule that you will commit to. Commitment has a positive effect on self-development.

  1. Be Unique

Often in life, we meet people who leave a very deep impression on us and make us admire everything about them. While it is in order to draw inspirations, avoid comparing yourself with them. Ask yourself who you need to be to become in order to be successful. Do what is in line with your vision and avoid the unnecessary pressure that comes from comparing yourself with others.

 

In a nutshell, personal development is a life time investment that seeks to improve your productivity and quality. When you put time and effort in developing yourself, the results are amazing. Personal development helps you manage yourself regardless of the situation you are in. Pick those tips and build on them. Life is competitive and unless we become tougher, we won’t be able to achieve anything.

 

Submitted By:

Shalom Musyoka, Cohort 8.

Susan Wavinya: Bringing Back Hope in her society

Being a mother at 17 was the turning point for Susan Wavinya Wairimu. She didn’t let her dreams and visions to be daunted. Susan, who is currently her cohort’s president decided to try a hand at ELF to see feed her curiosity on everything that goes on in the organization and understand herself in a better way.

“I remember applying for ELF in 2017, half-way though I gave up but found myself applying for the same 2 years later. My passion for leadership, mentorship and governance just couldn’t let me surrender on this chance.”

Susan decided to forward her name as a presidential candidate for her cohort, where she was the only lady contesting. “I didn’t think of myself winning, let me be honest. During the elections I was very impatient and pessimistic. Some of my fellows were raising my hopes of winning; I had to keep calm and wait for the moment.” The elections provided valuable lessons to Susan but one of the greatest lessons was strategy; coming up with good strategies is important not only when seeking votes but in life.

No one is answerable for your failure, if you have faith and purpose then God will surely see you through in what you desire to achieve.

Currently, Susan is a Human Resource Management student at Ngong Technical and vocational College and serves as the charter president of the student’s council at the same institution. Besides this, she formed an organization – House of Hope- that mentors, motivates and advocates for the rights of young mothers in Ngong Mathare slum, where she grew up. In November last year, Susan had her first mentorship session for young mothers in the area and she was able to reach 77 young mothers in the area, did a menstrual talk and distributed sanitary towels. She looks forward to hosting another session this month to celebrate women and gift them with clothing to appreciate their beauty and the efforts they put to raise their kids and sustain themselves.

“I believe that no woman should be discriminated or criticized for making the choice of being a mum at a tender age, what we have to do is give them a shoulder to lean on and allow them pursue their dreams. I am looking forward to having several activities that will help young women earn a living and get into leadership and have soft skills,” Susan

Further, she also leads in the mentorship of young girls who are in school.

“The training that I got at ELF and the sessions that we had also boosted my knowledge and helped improve how I carried out my duties.”

Despite all challenges encountered along the way, she desires to be an ambassador for the youths and young women at the UN or any other organization that will believe her dreams and welcome her to be part.

Susan is not ready to give up on her dreams, she believes that one must fight through all challenges that come along. “Many are the times when we give up on our dreams by complaining about lack of resources but my encouragement is keep pushing for it, if I am able to achieve and impact lives despite all that I go through, then pursue your purpose passionately and the resource and rewards will follow.”

“No one is answerable for your failure, if you have faith and purpose then God will surely see you through in what you desire to achieve.”

We celebrate Susan and her efforts in creating impact in her society.

Another chance at life, Thank You ELF

As I type this, I can gladly say that ELF saved my life. But how? You must be wondering. Well, let me tell you my story. Exactly one year ago, I had hit rock bottom. My hope was completely at zero and as each second passed, more and more suicidal thoughts crossed my mind. I had just lost a child through ectopic pregnancy and I was in a very dark space. It was even worse because my parents forbade me to talk about it.

Being an extrovert, I thought my parents would notice that something was wrong with me as I had become completely withdrawn which was unlike me. I was drowning in pain and everybody was moving on with their lives like nothing happened. I opted to slitting my wrist as a way of channeling the pain that was inside. One evening, the pain was overwhelming, and I couldn’t slit my wrist anymore because I already had too many bruises. For me, suicide was the only way out but to be honest, actualizing the thought is not as easy as it seems.

If anything, I felt relieved; I felt at home. I felt loved and I knew that ELF was now my second family. Here, I made friends for life and I knew that this was my second chance in life.

I lay on my bed with tear-filled eyes scrolling my phone with no agenda. My dad sent me a link to a YouTube video, and I thought to myself, “Let me watch this video first then I can think of a good way to commit suicide.”  As I think about it now, I can’t help but laugh. My dad knew how much I liked public speaking and he had sent me Caren Wakoli’s speech at St. Andrews Turi. As I watched the video, I couldn’t help but admire how well Caren articulated her speech and I got curious about this smart lady. Remember, at the back of my mind I wanted to complete watching this video and still think of a smooth way to end my existence. God works in miraculous ways.

After the speech, I decided to google and know more about Caren and that’s when I bumped into ELF. Little did I know that my focus was slowly changing from suicidal thoughts to curiosity about ELF and what it does. Amazingly, recruitment for cohort 8 was ongoing and I made my registration. At this point suicide was out mind since I had turned my focus to be part of ELF. Nonetheless, I still used to slit my wrist from time to time, as a way of coping. During the cohort 8 open day, is when I knew that I had really found a place to call home. Stella Cheboi was the first person I met and if you know and have interacted with her, you must agree that she gives the warmest welcomes. You know those deep welcomes that are hard to ignore, those that you’d think someone has known you for a while. I heard Jim India and Stella Nderitu speak and I couldn’t help but admire how well they picked their diction and articulation of words. It was impressive and at that moment, I concluded that I am in the right place.

As Sofina took us through the first session of life mapping and storytelling, I knew that I was in a safe space and that was the first time I shared my story with complete strangers and didn’t feel judged. If anything, I felt relieved; I felt at home. I felt loved and I knew that ELF was now my second family. Here, I made friends for life and I knew that this was my second chance in life.

Thank you, ELF. Keep impacting and changing lives because you never know how many more lives you will save.

Joyce Selim, 

ELF cohort 8 Fellow.  

Oliver Barasa,”Embrace any small opportunity that comes your way.”

A Christian of strong faith, a liberal thinker, a biomedical laboratory scientist by profession working with Gertrude’s Children Hospital at Muthaiga. Besides my profession as a medic, I also actively engage in different projects with young people who are like-minded and ready to champion change in their area of influence.  I am passionate about matters leadership and governance, especially political leadership. Currently, I am a member of Young Aspirants Kenya, whose aim is to shape the political path for young people to engage in governance so that they can be able to chat their future through policy making.

Following my training at ELF, I feel renewed and transformed as a person through the informative sessions I undertook. ELF allowed me to define and understand myself. This is a milestone step which has enabled me to step out with confidence and boldness.  I was able to understand the importance of personal branding and effective communication. Before joining ELF, I had failed in interviews due to lack of communication skills but after going through the program and devoting myself to reading books, I am proficient in handling such situations.

One of the biggest reap from ELF was getting a mentor. I got a mentor who is passionate on better healthcare for our people. Currently, through my mentor’s initiative and partnerships with other consultant doctors, we are running an advocacy on health especially on the rampant cases of misdiagnosis and training people especially in rural areas on health matters.

Through ELF, I was able to join a group of young people who are passionate on policy development to address the issues concerning county government leadership. Currently, I partly help Imara Africa run a project on social accountability audits in the health sector in Kericho County. This was a success after redefining my values through ELF training and also having taken a pledge that I will use my passion to help those around me and to serve my society using my voice to speak for the voiceless.

To every young person; when life gives you a lemon, always make a lemonade out of it. Don’t let opportunities go past you, embrace any small opportunity that comes your way.

I have also recently joined Tunaweza programme, Bungoma county, where we are involved in matters of advocacy and empowering youths to participate more in governance.  I have also started a mentorship programme for young people. I resolved to use my free time to meet, chat and guide young men on self-leadership and career guiding.

Business-wise, I’m working on improving a medical clinic that I started in Bungoma. This is down to the entrepreneurial knowledge I got from ELF on how to build a brand and how to strike partnerships. In health care, I am working on setting up a facility to help mothers deliver safely and end maternal deaths.

I live by Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

To every young person; when life gives you a lemon, always make a lemonade out of it. Don’t let opportunities go past you, embrace any small opportunity that comes your way.”

 

#Never give up.

 

What it takes to be a global citizen

One thing we can all agree to is that we live in an increasingly interdependent and interconnected world. As a result of this, all we see around us are young people starting to identify more as global citizens. Think about it for a moment, from the time your day begins to the time the sun sets, you may have interacted with several international brands already. Just analyzing from your clothing, the labels could already represent two continents or more. It could be in the food you eat every day especially the imported spices used to create that unique flavor, or even the citizenship of the people you interact with on a daily basis. It could be just through the internet whereby at the touch of a button you literally have access to the world. So really, what does it mean to be a global citizen?

There is an upcoming term that you may have heard of in ad campaigns, a company’s mission statement or when making an international scholarship application. Although we do not have a definitive definition of what global citizenship entails, there are common elements that qualify one to be a global citizen. Kathy Short, a professor in the University of Arizona’s said, “Global citizenship is a stance or perspective that we bring to our interactions across cultures. That stance is first and foremost a stance of open-mindedness and stands in contrast to narrow, self-absorbed judgments that are based in unexamined and biased assumptions about others.”

Unlike a normal citizen, a global citizen may participate in international debates on social media, cross-country forums on international policies or even sign petitions towards a given course in a different country.

When talking about a global citizen, it’s important to understand what is a global community? It refers to the connections you encounter in your individual life, the local space and the larger world. Therefore, to be a global citizen you have to be aware of your global community. Be wary of how the world works and respect different cultural and values diversity. This could be simply appreciating the diversity of different religions and sexual orientations. A global citizen, after being aware of their surroundings, takes up an active role in taking responsibility especially of their actions on both the global and local platform. It could be joining a social enterprise or conducting networking on an international scale. It’s learning to speak against social injustices and taking relevant action to make the world more sustainable and equitable. Unlike a normal citizen, a global citizen may participate in international debates on social media, cross-country forums on international policies or even sign petitions towards a given course in a different country.

In conclusion, I could say that global citizens care enough and hold themselves accountable to ensure that human rights are protected and upheld around you and all over the world.

Having this in mind, are you ready to take up that torch of global citizenship?

 

Submitted by

Sofina Merinyo,

Assistant Programs Officer-ELF. 

 

 

Daud Warsame, “A challenge can always lead to an opportunity.”

Somalia born Daud Warsame couldn’t allow his refugee status deter him from working towards his dreams. It is for this reason that he joined ELF’s Leadership and Development (LDP) program to sharpen and nurture his knowledge and abilities on impact creation. Currently, Warsame is a part time student at Southern New Hampshire University pursuing his Associate of Arts degree. Warsame is passionate about refugee issues, youth education and advocacy and it is through this that he strives to see the lives of refugees at Kakuma refugee centre, where he grew up.

Upon completion of his ELF training, Warsame was appointed as an assistant executive director of URISE Initiative for Africa, a refugee run community-based organization (CBO) that helps young people find meaning of life through skills, social and economic empowerment. It is at URISE that he uses his skills to develop and train his fellows in the organization and the camp who are not in a position to attend training at ELF.

“Challenges could sometimes be an opportunity to be great”

“At ELF, I learnt the importance of discovering oneself, contributing the betterment of others and standing up for your own rights in a peaceful way and refrain anything that are un-African such as conflict and violence.”

He credits much of his knowledge and know-how to his ELF training.

“My knowledge and skills were bettered. I also got counselling on various issues and learnt more on becoming more productive in my small space.”

Warsame believes that young people from marginalized areas have an opportunity and space in bringing change back to their communities if they are well empowered by giving availing more skill-development trainings that are highly needed in the development of young people and those in leadership.

He lives by the quote ‘Challenges could sometimes be an opportunity to be great.’

 

 

Opportunities Galore: Conserving the Environment While Saving for the Future

In 2017, William Wanjohi who was then a student leader at the Maasai Mara University, partook in a mentorship programme, Changamka, with the sole aim of improving on his public speaking skills. William, however ended up gaining more than he had anticipated in different areas.

“To me, the program was so outstanding. I came to understand my strengths and weaknesses, my personality and life measures which I had never discovered before.  My lifestyle changed, I became a new ‘me’ and the only way to shape the path was to let the things I used to do fade, break and disconnect in order to discover myself more, follow my dreams, be an ambassador and be an impact driver,” William.

According to the him, ELF’s training was a noble course which marked a turning point towards his success as an individual. Since leaving the programme, he has started several community-based organizations and youth groups in areas that he is really strong at.

At the ELF, I got to pick a lot. I could write a 500-pager book on my lessons. But in brief, I got to learn much on Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Governance, Public Speaking and Advocacy.

 

Having undertaken environmental planning in his undergraduate studies, he opted on using this as a tool to advocate for Climate Action in Murang’a county, where he hails from. In 2019, he founded a youth group. Platinum Youth Group, whose main objective is to engage youth in community activities and to help address the issue of unemployment amongst the youth. Through this group, he has managed to start a Community Based Organization (CBO), a tree planting initiative dubbed Green Rural Society, which seeks to address matters around climate change. So far, he has managed to donate over 5000 trees to primary and secondary schools and also to individual. This year, Green Rural society has planned 5 tree planting activities, 4 in Murang’a and 1 in Nairobi county.

Through the same group, he has also started an investment club, Platinum Youth Group Investment Club (PYGIL), which is a savings tool and is used to resource for loans among to help support registered members in various issues. Since its inception, the investment club has been able to support 5 people in starting their businesses. He credits this to the entrepreneurship session that he had at ELF.

“At the ELF, I got to pick a lot. I could write a 500-pager book on my lessons. But in brief, I got to learn much on Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Governance, Public Speaking and Advocacy. After training I decided to practice some of these skills and I can say that they have really worked for me.”

William hopes to have a fully resourced center that will accommodate more youth in developing their skills, ideas and engaging them in leadership and governance and addressing matters environment in his home county. In his words, “We have all what it takes to see the next generation breath fresh air.”

At ELF, we celebrate William and his commitment in conserving the environment and passing on knowledge on topical issues in his community.

 

 

OVERCOMING LOW SELF-ESTEEM

The 1990’s generation is deeply suffering from low self-esteem and many young people feel like they have lost it all. As I pen this down, I want to strongly assure our generation that we have the ability to create new champions in ourselves.

After last year’s training at ELF, I have thought about self-esteem in relation to Emotional intelligence and I can now clearly define it as an emotional opinion about oneself, how one feels about himself/herself as a person.

Many define self-esteem as ‘feelings of worth based on their skills, accomplishments, status, financial resources or appearance.’ However, from my school of thought I believe our sense of being a good person should not depend on what we do but rather on who we are in Christ (this is a Christian world view).

Our society seems to have it all wrong, there is a big problem with the society’s focus on self-esteem. The problem is that this focus involves measuring oneself against others, rather than paying attention to one’s intrinsic value.

Research shows that basing one’s self-worth on external factors (including academic performance, appearance and approval from others) is actually harmful to one’s mental health. The same research found that students who based their self-worth on internal sources (the unique qualities that make you- you) not only felt better; they also received higher grades and were less likely to use drugs and alcohol or to develop eating disorders.

From ELF’s training, I have learnt on how to apply a healthy view of myself and I can only achieve this by avoiding placing self at the center as the be-all and end-all of existence.

Iyanla Vanzant once said, “so many of us invest a fortune making ourselves look good to the world, yet inside we are falling apart. It’s time to invest on the inside.”

There are simple ways to help you increase your self-esteem and build confidence in yourself:

  • Challenge bad thoughts about yourself
  • Take care of yourself
  • Be sure to relax
  • Try new things
  • Surround yourself with people who make you feel good
  • Accept yourself
  • Set goals for yourself
  • Help somebody else out
  • Take a different perspective
  • Keep visual reminders of things that make you feel good

Each and every one of us have self-esteem. Self-esteem is made up of the thoughts we have about ourselves and plays a role in almost everything we do.

Having healthy self-esteem is really important as it helps you make positive choices in your everyday life, gives you the courage to be your own person, have good relationships and helps you deal with difficult situations.

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, spontaneous delight wonder, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

In conclusion, I believe that this piece will motivate someone and boost positive living. It’s not easy to like every part of the way we look, but getting stuck on negatives can really bring down your self-esteem. It’s important to believe that you can change. Change doesn’t necessarily happen easily or quickly, but it happens.

 

 

Submitted by

Stephen Muasya-cohort 8

7 non-negotiable leadership habits every leader must have

Leadership is defined differently by different people depending on different scenarios. To some, leadership is having top positions in work places while others relate leadership to politics. Fact is, leadership is wide and applies to almost everywhere in our daily lives. Some of us associate leadership with top management. While they may be highly skilled and good at their jobs, that doesn’t make them leaders. During a session at Emerging Leaders Foundation on leadership, the speaker defined effective leadership as transformational. Such leadership creates visions, inspires people and helps a team to effectively achieve that vision. Effective leaders create a picture of their visions in ways that everyone can understand. After a successful mentorship program at ELF and interacting with different leaders there, I can confidently call my self a leader.

  1. I’m more proactive than before

I have learnt to take responsibility of everything happening in my life. Every responsible leader must take time to plan and put measures on how their team works to prevent problems from happening. This means identifying all areas of risk and implementing measures that will prevent or reduce the impact of problems. Being proactive means planning accordingly. In return, it increases productivity and creates a cheerful work environment.

  1. I prioritize

As a leader, I must put first things first. Things that matter the most should never be at the mercy of things that matter. Leaders must be guided by principles. This will help in organizing and executing the most important priorities and not just be guided by the organization’s agendas.

  1. I have a mission and vision in life

We all have goals of what we would like to achieve in future. When we were young there’s who we wanted to be when we grow up. Are we where we’ve always wanted to be? If not, what happened? Could it be that our steps took us to the wrong places? Most likely yes. That was me before I partook in the mentorship program. I did everything blindly including starting businesses that couldn’t last two weeks. Having a mission and vision means having a clear image on the direction you want to take.

  1. I think win – win

This is a habit of mutual benefit. It means working with others to achieve the desired results. Win-win constantly seeks for mutual benefit in every engagement. However, most of us base our win on competitions (win-lose). This means if I get a bigger share of something you get less and vice versa. If I win you lose and if I lose you win and if it’s not a win for us, we both lose. Have we thought of us all winning? As leaders we must embrace a win-win habit. Win-win leaders are emphatic, considerate, brave and sensitive.

  1. I seek first to understand then to be understood

How may times do we listen to reply than we listen to understand? If you all can agree, it happens almost all the time. By doing so we end up missing important aspects. Effective communication is very essential in life. Therefore, as leaders we should seek to understand first before we share feedback.

  1. Synergy

“Synergy is better than my way, our way” Dr. Stephen R. Covey. This is a combination teamwork, cooperation and open-mindedness as a way of finding solutions to problems.  It is working together to achieve the set goals. Combined effort is greater than individual effort. To achieve this kind of leadership as modern and effective leaders, we should work together in mutually enhancing ways to accomplish both organizational and personal goals.

  1. I continuously renew myself both professionally and personally

This habit is commonly referred to as sharpening the saw. Do you sharpen your saw? How do you balance between work and your personal life? A friend once shared on how they collapsed due to work burn out. Constantly seek to renew physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

 

As I wind up, just remember that everyday is a new opportunity to make a change. The 7 habits listed above are from my own experience and can have a long-lasting impact on both personal and interpersonal growth.

 

Submitted By:

Shalom Musyoka, Cohort 8. 

Dennis Leiyan: Leading Change in Kajiado County

“I decided to try my hand into leadership as the president of Cohort 5 so as to put into practice all that I was being taught at the ELF. This would help me learn and polish my shortcomings as a leader and as an individual. I am privileged to serve my cohort as their president.”

Dennis was part of ELF’s leadership program in 2018 where he got a chance to serve as his cohort’s president.

He has previously served as the chair of Young Diplomats at the USIU-Africa and also served as the chair of African Model of the United Nations which he helped lead a bid to host over 400 youth delegates from Africa in 2017, at the UN offices in Kenya. Additionally, he successfully led his cohort in organizing a visit to the Compassionate Hands for the Disabled Foundation located in Ruai.

Right after his ELF training, Dennis started a number of initiatives in his home county, Kajiado. In his pioneer project, Dennis leads a sanitary towel drive for young student who can’t afford them in Kajiado county and he has been able to directly reach at least 300 girls in government day schools since he started the drive. He also came up with a bi-annual football tournament, Changamka Cup, where he uses the tournament as a platform to discuss youth agendas and governance in his constituency Through this, he has been able to unite a number of football coaches in the area who help him improve football in the area. So far, Changamka cup has had two successful tournaments with the most recent one having over 1,000 youth in attendance.

“At the ELF, the greatest lesson that I learnt is that one doesn’t need to be great to bring change. All you need is to show up and do your part”

He has also partnered with youths from his Kajiado North constituency to form Kijani Ustara which he serves as Chairperson. The organisation deals with environment issues in the constituency.  Dennis also mentors’ youths from his constituency into leadership by partnering with Taifa Teule organization. Through this, he has his sights on consolidating young people who have interest in leadership. This is to help in making sure the youth agenda is not lost in the midst of politics.

“At the ELF, the greatest lesson that I learnt is that one doesn’t need to be great to bring change. All you need is to show up and do your part”

Dennis has set his sights on mentoring more young people to be enlightened and empower them with knowledge and skills to help them be agents of change.

His favorite quote is by Tom Mboya, “There is no superman. It is up to us.”

We celebrate Dennis’s determination and persistence to be an agent of positive change in his county.