“Dear Future Self…”

Dear Future Self,

You’re 35 already! Goodness, can you believe it? Happy birthday to you my darling. How do you feel today? Excited? Happy? Hopeful? Scared? I really hope you are not growing grey hairs on your head already (laughs). But hey, I’m sure they would still look good on you.

The year is 2020. And I am typing this letter on a friend’s computer – because at 25, I still have many borrowed things. As you can imagine, this hasn’t been your typical year – let’s not even talk about the pandemic, Covid-19. But you see, even amidst all that, God has been so good to me. For starters, I now have a ‘Madam President’ prefix to my good name. Yeah-yeah, it’s just a class leadership title, and nothing close to the grandiose first-female-president dreams you had at 17. But it’s close enough. A mark of possibility, you know.

You have always been passionate about developing young African leaders. Just do it! Pour yourself into the next generation of leaders.

Alright, back to 2020 and the goodness of God.

There is this class I’m taking with the Emerging Leaders Foundation and the Bible Society of Kenya called African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI). Honestly, it’s been one of those things I didn’t know I needed, until we crossed paths. Two months in and my life is revolutionized. I already feel better at leading myself and others. I am finally catching up with my potential and that is exciting! Oh sorry, I don’t mean to bore you with stuff you already know. But allow me to highlight two things out of my ABLI experience so far, as I hope to crown your 35th birthday with delightful reminders (Smiles).

First, I do hope you are where you dreamt you’d be at 35. If you are not yet there – because woman, you have had fierce dreams – I would like you to always remember, as Dr. Funson Somorin would say, “You have enough mass to cause a ripple or domino effect to the world around you.”

Oh yes, you do!

You are an amazing African Woman. An amazing African Christian Woman and there is nothing small about that. I know the years between 25 and 35 have put that to test in unthinkable ways; with a little too many confused moments trying to reconcile your womanhood to your faith and your vision for a better world. Mistakes? I guess those have been there too – all humans have a sprinkle of some. But I would like you, today, to focus on the substance of your identity. You are a woman of conviction, because you are a woman of faith. That has always been your X-Factor. Never lose sight of it. And I pray you won’t ever be ashamed to shine your light. Your world needs it.

You will sit at tables that will have you question your worth as a woman. Demands will be put on you to prove yourself. I hope in those times, you will feel anything but small and insignificant. Because you my darling, are a world changer and pacesetter.

And no, 35 is not late. Please shake off that lie. Wait, you have a family already, right? Is he a fine man? Are you transforming the world together…? I digress. And my time here is running out, unfortunately. What I mean to say is, 35 is just about the right time to start sowing back the good seeds sown into you over the years. You have always been passionate about developing young African leaders. Just do it! Pour yourself into the next generation of leaders. That way, you will live on even beyond 105 years.

I got to go now. But I must say this, I am proud of the woman you are Mutethya.

Happy birthday.

Submitted by:
Agnes Mutethya, ABLI 2020

 

The Journey: Redefining Leadership

What makes a leader really? Leadership is one of the most widely covered topics and with so many definitions of a leader. Earlier this year, in the process of checking out my social media updates, I came across a call for applications for Africa Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI) 2020. I must admit, it was intriguing that such an opportunity existed. I decided to just make an attempt. “What do I have to lose?” I said to myself, unaware that it would be one of the most transforming programs I have come across so far.

I have learnt of the importance of developing good leadership habits and replacing negative habits with positive ones.

For the longest while, I have been on a journey of self-discovery. I have made discoveries on my capacities and my role in affecting my surroundings. It is a beautiful thing when success meets preparedness. Around the time when I came across the ABLI 2020 application, I was genuinely seeking an opportunity for structured mentorship in leadership and career development. ABLI has given me the opportunity to re-discover not just myself but leadership in itself.

Leadership begins by leading self before leading others. Reflecting on my story and mapping out my life, I have discovered many instances where I have been a leader without a title, but a leader nonetheless. In the first module on self-awareness, I discovered my personality and how it has influenced my leadership style. People are different and mutual understanding eases and harnesses leadership. Being able to apply emotional intelligence as a leader has taught me that more than doing the right thing, I need to do things the right way.

Sometimes wisdom is hidden in retrospect and everyone has a story. I have learnt the important of constantly being in touch with the development of my story as a leader. Many of the experiences that make up my story have prepared me for my present and future moments.

“Dear younger me.…” If you were to write a letter to your younger self, how would it read? Many times, wisdom does not find us in a vacuum with no experiences. Making peace with the past is one of the key things that an effective leader must be keen to do. As I have learnt from one of the sessions, I need not to allow past mistakes and regrets hold me back from becoming the leader I ought to be. It may not have been my fault that particular things happened to my younger version, but it is definitely my responsibility to seek healing and be free from the pain by forgiving and letting go – even forgiving myself.

We are creatures of habits. An effective leader builds evidence of their leadership through habits. As part of redefining leadership, I have learnt of the importance of developing good leadership habits and replacing negative habits with positive ones.

As my journey of leadership continues with ABLI as an Emerging Leader, I continue to have Leadership Redefined and become more refined. I am grateful to ELF, BSK, the ABLI Team, and my fellow leaders in ABLI 2020 for every opportunity and equipping. I encourage other emerging leaders to be set for the next opportunity to journey with ABLI. The journey continues!

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures,” F. M. Alexander.

 

Submittted by:
Kelvin Irungu- ABLI 2020

Diana Favour Chepkorir: Advocating for proper sanitation across all ends.

Three years ago, Diana Favour Chepkorir found herself lucky, as one of the initial members of ELF’s county program, Tunaweza, pulled out of the first training in the with a few hours. This presented her with an opportunity to explore further and put in practice her passion for youth leadership and engagement. Since then, her journey has not been the same. Currently, Diana is one of the most efficient members of Tunaweza, Kericho county.

I started a civic education program to ensure that citizens have the right information.

Her time with the youth-centered program has seen her work with a youth advocacy group that is leading the way in calling out the county government and participating in various governance processes to ensure that issues around the youth are well addressed and worked upon. Recently, she was part of the team that drafted the youth bill in the county.

Besides good governance advocacy, Diana is an advocate of proper sanitation in her county. She is working towards ensuring that there is good sanitation from the family level to public facilities, identification of sanitation gaps and help in addressing them. This include ensuring that homesteads have latrines and are using them, and everyone is constantly keeping hand-hygiene at all critical time.

Her acts do not end at the field of advocacy, she is also involved in civic education in her county to promote social accountability.

“I came together with a few friends and started a civic education program to ensure that citizens have the right information at the right time especially on the budget cycle and public participation. We also created a youth network from my sub-county where youth can share their issues at that level.”

Owing to her ELF training, Diana started a business and has seen her business grow overtime.

“I don’t depend on white collar job to earn a living, the business sustains me comfortably and I enjoy being my own boss.”

We celebrate Diana for her advocacy efforts at the county level.

“Nurturing diversity through humanitarian actions brings richness and vitality to the world,” Jolyne Jelimo

With over 5 years of experience, Jolyne is passionate about children, youth, and women. Her commitment to these special groups reflects the deep-seated sense of humanity which has seen her devout countless hours and years positioning them to be fit for the future through technology, leadership, and economic empowerment. She believes that nurturing diversity through humanitarian actions brings richness and vitality to the world. She is a transformational leader and a social change agent who believes in turning community vision into reality through strategic coalitions and harmonized action.

She is a passionate volunteer and currently serves as the Vice President and Country Chair for Global Goodwill Ambassador (GGA) Foundation in Kenya as well as a facilitator and a mentor at GGA’s Youth mentorship program. In her capacity, she has promoted and strengthened humanitarian leadership while taking lead in documenting the progress and challenges that continue to hamper effective humanitarian actions. While leading the team of humanitarians in Kenya, she has advocated for defending and upholding of humanitarian principles and transparency as a prerequisite for constructive co-existence.

ELF helped me to seek intellectual excitement, and I was able to learn exhilarating truths about the how and why of leadership in an international and national setting.

Jolyne honed her leadership, capacity building and youth development skills at ELF’s ABLI program and she credits the program for her current intellectual development in form of deeper knowledge in critical thinking, problem solving capabilities and abilities to understand complexities and ambiguity. The program also helped her achieve great personal and social growth through enhanced moral reasoning, personal efficacy, interpersonal skills, intercultural competencies, and commitment to social service to her country at large. This has enabled her to affirm and explore her passion in serving humanity.

“ELF helped me seek intellectual excitement, and I was able to learn exhilarating truths about the how and why of leadership in an international and national setting as well as answering my curiosity on whether there are other ways of leading multicultural teams while understanding cultural context without being unduly constrained by it. This has aided me to stretch my mind beyond its previous conceptual boundaries hence expanding my knowledge on leadership which is exactly the context within which I learnt the most during Elf program,”Jolyne adds.

Owing to her ELF lessons, she has been instrumental in the designing and implementing courses and projects that encourage youths to indulge in noble deeds of humanitarian activities that will make their life more meaningful. So far, the project has reached over 1000 youths and their target for the next 5 years is to impact 5000 more youths who will be nurtured, coached, and stretched beyond their comfort zone to maximize personal and professional excellence.

 

She is also aiming to increase the participation of youths and women in leadership and decision-making processes in their community, society, and the country at large. “I believe that by advancing and addressing women and youth’s differentiated needs and aspirations, a generation will be saved and with it, community’s hope, prosperity, peace and security.”

“I want to be part of several learning experiences such as professional behaviour, communication skills and occupational interest patterns that will form the foundation for sound career decision making and opening up new opportunities to develop new skills and have new experiences which will be used in impacting and making a difference in the society we live in,” Jolyne Jelimo.

When the Goal is Bigger than the Odds; My Journey so Far

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.”

Submitted by:
James Sakwa, ABLI 2020

What if I embraced myself earlier on?

What if I believed?

What if I stepped out boldly, unafraid, and just launched out?

What if I stopped falling into a comparison trap?

What if I embraced myself?

I do not know about you, but I have asked myself such questions. As a young girl, I have felt not good enough and trapped in the prison of self-doubt. Guess what happened? Self-esteem hit the bottom sea; fear choked my every being; self-doubt curled my heart and mind into shambles. I admired to be another. I felt others were always better than myself. Even after knowing how I am shaped differently, I still hid in the cocoon of, ‘They are always better than me.’

My story has an influence, I should own it, embrace it, and share it proudly, it might inspire someone

Well, this year something happened.

After vehemently praying for a spirit of boldness, I resolved to BE ME and unapologetically explore opportunities and dive in with a committed and intentional heart. I was convinced and convicted of taking charge of my life, take it by its horns, in faith, and keep moving forward. Do you know what? We do not become by feeling sorry about ourselves. We become by taking responsibility for every minute of our lives and making it count. I am glad I chose this path. I have made my youthful life count by joining ELF’s program African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI). Here, Emerging Leaders are discovered and trained to be responsible changemakers in their personal lives and in the society.

As an emerging leader, I am uniquely designed to effect and affect my spheres. Since God has specially crafted me to fulfill certain purposes, I can only realize them when I get to know myself. Self-awareness is a doorway to unraveling all that I am intended to be in this life. Through this lesson, I understood my personality, embraced it and right now, I am more aware of myself and actuating ME in my passion and work. I am different amazingly. Notably, I have intentionally decided to embrace people and not disregard them because of our differing personalities. We are molded differently and the best we can do is accommodate and learn from our amazing divergent personalities.

I love stories, more-so analogies that make a write up interesting and easy to understand. Well, thinking through my life story, sharing it, and retelling it to a close buddy is relieving. I am more grateful for every season of my life, something I couldn’t even think of a while back. The beautiful, the not so good to mention, the highs and lows moments, they all make your story beautiful. This has enabled me to look back, reflect on past life happenings and reminded me of how my journey Iis this far. My story has an influence, I should own it, embrace it, and share it proudly, it might inspire someone. That makes an Impactful leader!

Every lesson has made sense. Writing letters to self has reminded me of my passion, my strengths, the bold girl from the village who is fearless and against all odds has scaled heights in the most unlikely environments. “How could that be princess? Through the difficulties, you have conquered. You have made it over time because God’s wall has continuously shielded you from storms. Keep conquering, won’t you?” I wrote to my 12-year-old-self.

These reflections have kept my heart tuned to whom I have always been. Reminded me of how much potential I have and how much I’m yet to achieve.

I am BECOMING.

 

Submitted by:

Susan Ndiangui-ABLI 2020

POSITIVE PEER PRESSURE IS KEY FOR GROWTH

“People who don’t eat avocado have a special place in hell.” That is how her speech started in a public speaking class. She hit below the belt because I am not a consumer of avocado. With all the stories I have heard growing up about hell, believe me, it is the last place I want to go, leave alone having a special place there as insinuated by the speaker. 

Each new day comes with its own experiences and pressures. Learn how to identify and shun negative pressures in life. 

The two-minutes speech pressured me into wanting to learn how to eat avocado. I understand that they are yummy and nutritious to the body and has numerous functions; Some use it as a fruit or food additive, face masks, hair oil, etc. Despite all this, it has just never appealed to me. I almost succumbed to the pressure, but then thought ‘It’s never that serious’, it is just a speech. 

Pressure, ‘Peer’ or not, can influence us positively or negatively. Some pressures, we impose on ourselves after an experience, watching a movie, or reading a book. 

After reading the book titled “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, I came across the quote “The poor and the middle-class work for money. The rich have money work for them” I wanted the latter. I wanted money to work for me. I pressured myself into learning Financial Management, investing to gain knowledge in that field. In this journey, I have gathered some insights I would like to share with you. 

  1. “It is not about how much money you make. It is not about how much you save. It is about how much money you invest” ~Tim Denning 
  2. Make saving a habit. When you receive an income, save then spend what is left. That is being intentional in saving, just like tithing 10% of your income 
  3. Always budget for your income – Start with what you cannot do without, and if you cannot afford something, you rather wait than get into a debt 
  4. If you are in debt, create a plan to clear your debt, and be committed until you are debt-free 
  5. Have an emergency fund – Put aside funds for emergencies. Ideally, your emergency fund should be able to take care of you for at least 6 months in case your income stops 
  6. Create a retirement plan – You need to think of your retirement in terms of; where you want to live, and how much you will need to live a comfortable life, then start saving towards that. It is never too late to start saving for your retirement 

Recently, I was privileged to attend a zoom session on Financial Management facilitated by Ann Nakhumicha where I learned how to, and the importance of reviewing your Financial plan every six months. As shared by the facilitator, below are questions you need to ask yourself in the review and act accordingly. 

  1. What steps did you take to push you closer to my goal? 
  2. What things happened that put you further from your goals? 
  3. What money mistakes have you made in the last month? 
  4. Why did you make those mistakes?
  5. Are your financial goals still realistic?
  6. Is your emergency fund fully-funded? 
  7. Are you saving enough to retire comfortably? 
  8. Are you meeting my short-term goals in terms of savings and needs? 
  9. Are you on track with my savings for my children? 
  10. What steps can you take to ensure you have a better month? 

This can be a full plate for you if you do not have a Financial plan or never thought strategically about your finances, but the good news is that when you know better you do better. There is always a starting point and with intentionality, you can achieve whatever it is you have set your mind to. 

What kind of pressure have you succumbed to? What pressure did you triumph over? Each new day comes with its own experiences and pressures. Learn how to identify and shun negative pressures in life.  Appreciate and embrace positive pressures, which help you set new goals, propel you to achieve milestones in life, and empower you to better someone else’s life. 

#PositivePressure 

#MoneyMatters 

Submitted by:
Stella Cheboi– Programs officer, Leadership Development 

Why Mentorship Is Really Worth Your Effort

Life is a game that needs to be played, a tune that needs your best dance. This same life happens in seasons, some of which are awaited, and their arrival is well known but some, arrive unannounced; Unannounced because we were distracted, and they caught us off-guard or they arrived earlier than expected. Just like every human is peculiar, so is how each handles these seasons in life. While some individuals slide into every season with grace, adjust and flourish, most of us need awakening, a tap in the back, a whisper giving a clue of what we have that will validate our survival for the season.

At birth, you were so fragile, vulnerable and were dependent on your parents/ guardians. As you grew, you gained strength and skills to do most things and with time you became independent. In learning institutions, we interact with educators who teach us the skills we need in our specialty, after which we graduate and by the powers vested in us, go out to serve the world. One season that is most confusing in life is when you get your first employment. Mixed feelings fly at this moment because not only are you a starting new, beautiful season as a taxpayer, but you are so naïve and clueless on what is expected of you since the curriculum in learning institutions omitted this training.

Training and orientation are crucial for new entrants in all industries, but things on the ground……are different. To cut on costs, most companies and organizations welcome new entrants with just a few explanations and leave it up to you to figure out the rest as you go along. This is literally baptism by fire. If you are lucky, you will get a kind colleague who will patiently guide you and familiarize you with the process. On the contrary, if you find colleagues that have bad attitudes and are a frustrated lot, who are unwilling to offer you support, then you fry your way to enlightenment.

Do you have a mentor in life? How are you making use of that gift of mentorship?

Whatever your case may be, it is up to you to determine how you will show up, thrive and overcome all the setbacks you will face. This is where mentorship comes to play. See, in every industry, there are professionals who have years of experience, who have executed they duties with integrity, who have failed forward and gathered lessons that come in handy for newcomers. These professionals are often, individuals who are willing and interested to share the in-depth knowledge of the craft with youngsters that come after them; that will confidently approach them and express their interest to learn and to be mentored. These professionals will gladly set aside time to walk with you, to show you the tricks, to share their life lessons and it will be their pleasure to give you an opportunity to create yourself, as Steve Spielberg would allude.

So you have approached a professional you look up to at work, or through ELF’s Leadership Development & Mentorship Program, you have been paired to a mentor according to your area of interest; for your relationship to thrive, you need to practice some of the tips shared below;

  1. Be teachable – Show up and respect your mentor’s time. When you agree on a date and time to meet, show up on time and ready for the session
  2. Be very clear regarding your expectations – In your first interaction with your mentor, clearly outline what you struggle with and need mentorship in, and your clear expectations from the mentoring relationship (It is always about the mentee, so it is up to you to drive the conversation)
  3. Honesty – Always voice out any concerns or doubts. If you feel you are not gaining any knowledge or growth from your mentor, have that candid conversation with your mentor. Going back to the drawing can guarantee better results
  4. Commitment – You need to be intentional with the mentoring relationship to guarantee your growth. Submit any assignments and your progress report to your mentor. It doesn’t matter how much potential your mentor sees in you, if you are not commitment to the process, you will remain stagnant.
  5. Ask the right questions – “The answer to any problems preexists. We need to ask the right questions to reveal the answers” ~ Jonas Salk
  6. Be present in the moment – In the engagements with your mentor, you should be interested, listen and take notes. It is in those ‘By the ways’ in experience sharing that real answers reside. Through stories, you will learn important lessons from your mentor e.g. You can learn how to deal with frustrations, haters and competition in the workplace.

I would like two celebrate two professionals who have given of their time to guide me, point me in the right direction and cheer me on; my mentors Ms. Patience Nyange & Ms. Bianca Malata. Thank you for your passion to grow the next generation of values-based, thriving leaders. I honor you for your service of Mentorship to the world.

Do you have a mentor in life? How are you making use of that gift of mentorship? If at all you are being mentored, have you picked up the challenge to mentor one or two students in Primary or high schools? Are you passing on what you have learnt and giving time to mentor, in order to create a ripple effect?

Food for thought.

#ThePowerOfMentorship

#FailingFoward

#RelationshipBuilding

Submitted by:
Stella Cheboi-Programs officer, Leadership Development 

Your Network is Your Networth

Think for a moment, how many new contacts have you created in the past five years? How many of those have you been in touch with? Better still, how many have you had a hearty conversation with over hot chocolate or lunch? When you get stuck; be it in need of advice, someone to talk to, in need of a job, want a partner to start a business with. Can you comfortably approach any of the contacts you created five years ago to sort you out?

Despite the ever-evolving technology and rise of social media platforms for human interactions, there are several traditional ways individuals get to meet and interact. These include learning institutions, trainings or conferences, weddings, funerals and other social gathering. Often, individuals are quick to exchange business cards with the promise of keeping in touch and catching up soon. Sadly, such business cards are never looked at after being tossed in the pocket of the receiver.

It is always a pleasure to get to learn about other people, their life stories, what drives them, their passion and ambitions.

What we often forget is that most solutions to our current problems and challenges; lack of employment or capital, volunteers for our initiatives, book reading partners or mountain climbing buddies can all be found within our networks. I confidently speak on this from my experience as an Alumnus of Emerging Leaders Foundation. Walking into the training room as a Cohort two participant, I had the curiosity and intention of getting to interact with each participant. It is always a pleasure to get to learn about other people, their life stories, what drives them, their passion and ambitions. It all lies in asking the right questions, listening emphatically and being present in the moment.

One intention we had in common was building relationships, and below are some of the benefits that came with that:

  1. Birth of a book Club – A lean team of dedicated book lovers in our cohort were able to start a book club ‘Mustard Seed Book Club’, which meets monthly to read and discuss works of various authors. This has in turn  inculcated a reading culture amongst us. One of my favorite books  from our earlier reads is I know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and my favorite quote from this read is, “Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”
  2. Investment Group – After reading books for a while, we decided to do more and started an investment group. Through our able leaders, we opened a savings account and started monthly savings as each team member explored possible sectors we could invest in and get great returns.
  3. A family – We are each other’s support group, a go-to team. A place to pour your heart out without fear of judgement or ridicule. Sleepovers were birthed. We opened our private spaces to each other. There is magic in preparing a meal and dining together, making time to freely engage in topics that are not spoken about yet they keep hurting the society and being each other’s accountability partner.
  4. Travel & Exploration – With the fast-paced life in the city, it is rare for individuals to take time to rest, rejuvenate and re-energize. As a team, we decided that part of our group savings would facilitate our travel across the continent, two capital cities each year. Last year (2019) we visited Kampala, Uganda and Kigali, Rwanda. This was to get the team out of the rush of the city; to relax, analyze and evaluate our goals in life, progress made and forge a way forward. Travelling also accords us time for play e.g. Karaoke, table topics, bicycle riding among others.

All of the above came to fruition out of intentionality to build relationships. Asking yourself what you can do for the other person and what you can collectively do to make communities better. It is a blessing to have a support team that cheers you on as you start up a business, open initiatives or get married. Emerging Leaders Foundation taught and trained us;  we discovered ourselves, connected with like minded young leaders and strived to create positive change in our own small way,starting with what we had and not necessarily waiting for the ‘perfect’ time because at times, it may take long or never come.

The mentors we were paired with didn’t disappoint either, they played a major part in guiding us to be the leaders we are today; thank you ELF and the mentors that serve under you. After ELF’s training and Mentorship, Alando Kelvin has created several business ventures and in turn employed several young individuals; Kibe Kimani who practices small scale agribusiness is training other young people in his village best practices in agriculture as well as engaging them in meaningful topics on leadership and accountability; Isaac Odhiambo has started a YouTube channel to sensitize citizens of Kenya on Leadership and voter awareness tohelp reduce ignorance; Sonnie Gichuhi a staff at Strathmore University mentors her students to be the best versions of themselves and Cheboi, founded an Initiative, ‘Narrafiti Locale’ which introduced Storytelling, Journaling and Creation of Reading Clubs in rural schools in Kenya.

As a young leader who has created networks over the years, as an Emerging Leaders Foundation Alumni, what are you doing with the network you have created? Are you birthing brilliant ideas over coffee dates as Oprah Winfrey would put it? Are you collaborating to ensure mutual benefit for all? Are you leveraging on each other’s strength to positively transform your communities?

Food for thought!

Submitted by:
Stella Cheboi-Programs officer, Leadership Development 

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.