When is the right time to help?

“There are rare people who will show up at the right time, help you through the hard times and stay into your best times… Those are the keepers.” – Nausicaa Twila

As mentioned in the last article, review of GRIT by Angela Duckworth, I alluded to a question that I was recently asked by a close friend of mine on when it is right to help someone. For start I was thrown off being I didn’t understand the context until he expounded on it. The question was at what point one should offer help to another in any particular pursuit. Should it be after they’ve exhausted their options or before they get to exert themselves to find a way around the solution? Over time I’ve often found myself getting to support at different phases. Some when I get a clue of what they are going about and others further down the line when they actually ask for help. Over time I’ve come to realize that the best way to support others is by first giving them a chance to explore their options and help when it’s necessary. The aim of this approach is to let them learn and handle challenges on their own and find their path.

In the recent past as I was reading GRIT, I got another nudge at it through this conversation looking at what it means to be of help and got to realize that as much as it is necessary to be considerate of the point at which one offers help, the how is also important. In helping if you take it up to do whatever it is on behalf of the individual, you deny them the chance to learn and grow on their own account. It is therefore important to support them through guidance to ensure they have a way of doing it on their own account enabling them to learn, grow and take pride in their ability to solve their problems.

May we know the times to help, how to help and be willing to help in the right way to nurture a generation that thrives sustainably.

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Book Review: GRIT – Growing grit from outside in (Part 3)

Drawing from Part 1 and Part 2, I’ve presented a case for why grit is important in helping us realize our potential and how as individuals we can play a critical role in developing grit in ourselves. However, as alluded to earlier, there is the place of the society in nurturing grit in others and supporting them realize their aspirations through grit. In Angela Duckworth’s book, she argues for complimentary ingredients from the society that contribute to our grit i.e.,

  • Parenting – writing as a parent she reflects on her journey raising her daughters and the nature of activities she exposes them to and draws on interviews with other parents where she acknowledges that parenting is critical in nurturing gritty people. Question is how? She presents a case for parents to understand their children and adopt a balance in the parenting matrix that covers for permissive parenting, neglectful parenting, authoritarian parenting and wise parenting which she recommends graded on a scale of level of support and demand on children. Reflecting on this and acknowledging the critical role of parents as the first individuals we come into contact with in life and who help us make sense of our world, they have a substantial role in molding us. How parents nurture children determine how they interact with the world and how they take advantage of the opportunities as well as deal with obstacles in their paths. In parenting, it is about letting them experience some level of hardship but always being there to guide them when they are ultimately stuck. I’ll be writing the next article on this drawing from a question I got asked last week.
  • Playing fields of Grit – In order to develop grit, in Part 2 I presented a case for practice as argued for by Angela Duckworth in her book. Drawing on this, it is critical to acknowledge that for consistent, deliberate and impactful practice there is need for discipline, order and coaching. On this account, Angela argues that parents need to get their children to activities that require high levels of discipline, commitment and obedience to ensure they develop their perseverance. The same applies for adults who would want to gain mastery in certain skills, you have to get into a field where there are rules and be disciplined enough to follow through. Some of the fields she argues for include ballet recitals, dojo, basketball etc. Being engaging activities one builds the perseverance and follow through needed to be gritty. The transferable skills gained such as discipline may be used in other fields even if not for the particular training.
  • Culture of Grit – Finally, in arguing for the role of the society in nurturing gritty people, culture is at the center of it all. Considering grit is about resilience and perseverance, the dedicated follow-through in a task towards the realization a particular outcome, the environment in which we operate determines whether we become gritty. Using examples from sports teams, the culture adopted in the respective teams embody a level of commitment, a sense of identity and commitment to excellence which enables individuals succeed in their pursuits in the respective fields. I believe the same applies for companies as she narrates reflecting on the leadership of Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase CEO. It is about creating a culture where individuals want to be better than they were yesterday, have a purpose in what they do and commit to the success of the organization by working towards it.

Having grit doesn’t translate to not failing but having the confidence and courage to pick yourself up when you fall. In conclusion, she draws from a statement from her father; “You are no genius”, and confirms that “if we define genius as being able to accomplish great things in life without effort, then he was right: I’m no genius, and neither is he. But if instead, we define genius as working towards excellence, ceaselessly, with every element of your being – then in deed my dad is a genius, and so am I, and so is Coates, and, if you’re willing, so are you.”

I hope we pursue excellence with unwavering commitment and dedication until we achieve all that we wish for, and as we do this may we create an enabling environment for others to follow through on their pursuits.

Book Review: GRIT – Growing grit from the inside out (Part 2)

“To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven times, and rise eight.” – Angela Duckworth

As discussed in Part 1, being gritty is important in helping us realize our aspirations and become successful in life. The challenge often times has always been about finding out what to pursue or commit to and how to be come successful at it. Drawing on the principles of social behavior change: awareness, understanding, commitment and action, Angela Duckworth shares with us four (4) elements to help us grow grit in ourselves. When we watch athletes exhibit extraordinary skill in their crafts we may wish we had such mastery as well and often we wonder how they got to know they were that good in the sport etc. I can recall growing up in the village I used to enjoy soccer but not that much, running but just to get home in time for lunch and not be late in school among other activities. Maybe I’d be an expert in any of these but I’m not. There are various drivers to these including lack of access to resources needed to identify & nurture such skills which I’ll write about in Part 3. In developing grit in ourselves, Angela Duckworth proposes:

  1. Interest – We all are accustomed to the common saying that we should find our passions and pursue them. It would be great to find your passion for then you’d be certain on what you can realize in your life. Unfortunately, we are not born with “passion cards” handed to our mothers so that we know which path to follow. It’s a challenge for us to explore our environments, realize our interests in the things we do daily and when we find something we are really interested in, we focus on being good at it. It is therefore important for us to make the best of our exploration phase for it is in this phase that we determine where to invest our time, energy and resources. In this phase, I believe there is the dimension of becoming aware of options. In a recent phone conversation with my sister, we discussed how to nurture my nieces and key for me was to help her expose them to as many activities as possible so that they find something that interests them upon which we can help them grow in that. Limiting their horizons blocks them from identifying something which may their interest. We have to keep in mind that interests change over time and therefore we also have to be open to the fact that at one point we may find something else that makes us happy & fulfilled and be willing to change our trajectory.
  2. Practice – To be great at anything we need to develop our talent/interest into a skill. Practice – deliberate practice – makes us gain the mastery in whatever it is that we intend to do and therefore we need to commit to practice. Angela Duckworth talks of deliberate practice as the commitment to achieving particular targets e.g., if in running you must know whether you want to improve on your speed or resilience (distance covered) etc. Without a specific target in practice you won’t be certain on whether you are building your skill or not. You might be doing so much but it’s not translating to results ultimately leading to frustration. We have to build our practice muscle and commit to it long term to observe whether we are advancing or stagnating. This goes to physical activities as well as intellectual work. You can’t be an expert data analyst if you never analyze any data. Get to practice, by reading more about the subject, doing actual tests and data analysis work and gaining mastery over time.
  3. Purpose – the intention to contribute to the well-being of others – as Angela Duckworth describes it is our big picture view of our interests and their place in the larger context of the life we live with others. It is noted that individuals who associate their careers or vocations with a greater purpose in terms of contributing to something larger than themselves are more engaged, fulfilled and productive in their vocations. They are more likely to achieve their goals and aspirations because their vocation is in tune with their being. Linking our interests to a purpose and committing to pursue these through practice is critical in helping us achieve our successes in life.
  4. Hope – Some people define hope as the expectation that the future is going to be better than today. However, according to Angela Duckworth, he argues that hope that builds grit is the expectation that tomorrow will be better than today because of what you as an individual do to make it better. Without playing your part today to create the future you hope for, there is no chance it will materialize as you wish for it and therefore there is some level of individual responsibility and accountability to hope. She argues that with this kind of hope, we adopt a growth mindset, develop optimistic self-talk and persevere over adversity as we exert ourselves to overcome the hurdles towards the envisioned better future.

I believe that it is possible for us to be the better versions of ourselves if we commit to continuous improvement in our different pursuits. By exploring our interests and investing in skills development through practice we will gain mastery. Applying our skills in tasks we find meaning in, we realize our purpose and achieve the success we hope and wish for. May we master the art of nurturing grit within ourselves as we work towards our goals.

Book Review: GRIT – Why Passion and Resilience are the secrets to success (Part 1)

“Consistency of effort over the long run is everything.” – Angela Duckworth

GRIT – a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state (a powerful motivation to achieve an objective). According to Angela Duckworth, the author of the book, GRIT is passion and sustained persistence applied toward long-term achievement, with no particular concern for rewards or recognition along the way.

In the last month, I’ve been glued to this book day and morning with a keen interest in learning from the studies and experiences by Angela Duckworth. Partly, this was informed by the trends and general talk of grit and resilience on the backdrop of hurdles, hardships and challenges. The question always is how does one deal with insurmountable challenges and become successful at whatever they do. In most interviews of people we consider successful, there is often some level of sustained commitment and investment to a particular cause which later materializes to be an achievement in their lives. In an earlier campaign by Safaricom, largest telecom company in Kenya, they had the GRIT as the drive behind their offering loosely abbreviated as “Greatness Requires Internal Toughness.” According to Angela Duckworth, internal toughness is part of the equation but not the whole. Question would be why would we want to be gritty individuals? Why does grit matter? This is what I intend to delve in for this part 1 of the review.

We all have aspirations and goals in different facets of our lives. Often times we get discouraged or demotivated to continue our pursuit of these goals for we feel the level of effort need to accomplish them maybe too much. In some other instances, it might be associated with our inherent desire to avoid pain or persistent commitment to a particular with no visible outcomes e.g., the same way you’d hear people ask why you’d train for soccer just to keep being benched every season. One may quit while others persist. Those who persist have a better chance of earning a slot in the team and ultimately growing in the field. There’s no way you’ll ever win unless you are part of the game and in being part of the game, you have to commit to train, get better at your skill or craft and ultimately demonstrate your ability in order to realize your goal. Nobody gets paid for showing their skills in training, but in actually performing a task in real life e.g., doctors are not celebrated for dissecting cadavers meticulously but for performing life-saving surgeries explicitly well. Footballers are not hailed for great dribbles and scores in trainings and friendlies but by their performance in tournaments.

GRIT as a the ability to commit to a particular pursuit over an extended period of time is important in helping us horn our skills, gain mastery and ultimately secure an opportunity to demonstrate our capability. I recently got nudged to listen to a poem by Shane Koyczan in which he talks of his struggles with bullies in school, writing poems he never had the confidence to show anyone or even read out loud. These later became the pieces that awakened the poet in him when he had the confidence to come out of his hiding. If he didn’t play his part writing and mastering his art, it’s almost obvious he wouldn’t be the person he is.

I believe that in doing something deliberately, we get the nudge to learn more about it, improve our skill and ultimate become successful. Whichever way we define success, we all want to be great at something and our way to it is through persistent commitment to the cause. Reflecting on the book, she acknowledges that often times when people perform exemplarily well, we attribute this to talent which definitely can’t be downplayed but without practice they wouldn’t be as good. In the grand scheme of things, talent plays a part but efforts plays an even greater role in helping us realize our goals. She proposes an equation which I believe holds true to a grander scale of things;

Talent x Effort = Skill

Skill x Effort = Achievement

With this in mind, I believe our sure way of achieving our goals and aspirations is through dedicated pursuit through skills development and demonstration of our abilities through action. If you learn and don’t practice, you’ll never know whether you are good at what you’ve learnt.

“True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done. No moral man can have peace of mind if he leaves undone what he knows he should have done.” – John Wayne

Why NHIF has to rethink its operating model

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) over the last couple of years have been on a reform agenda including change from hospital insurance to health insurance fund. As these reforms drive much debate in the industry among service providers, policy makers, patients are to an extent not getting involved much. The cost of this is that the ultimate reforms may not serve patients but rather provide an additional revenue stream to service providers while not serving the critical needs as should be the case. Another concern is that for those patients being involved, they are keen on specialized services in critical cases which is not the bulk of our healthcare needs. This in turn drives apathy from the general public with few members signing up to the fund. Anchored on these, I believe the NHIF needs to rethink it’s operating model factoring the following:

  1. The fund is driven by membership contributions and therefore the higher the membership, the more the funds they are able to raise. And as insurances work on the principle of spreading the risk, more members signing up translates to a higher margin considering those who will fall sick drawing a substantial amount from the fund may not be substantial. This will help the fund to be sustainable and to meet the needs of more people. In order to do this, the fund needs to look at ways of driving membership which in my perspective should be driven by a focus on our healthcare seeking behaviors and patterns. If I am the kind of person who when unwell goes to the pharmacy, chances of taking a cover that doesn’t enlist pharmacies to offer healthcare services is dismal. This ultimately works against the fund and NHIF has to think through this.
  2. According the epidemiological patterns in the country, different regions face a substantial burden of certain diseases compared to others and therefore in each location or through a harmonized service pool, the NHIF needs to ensure that all disease areas are covered. When the fund fails to cover for certain diseases, regions affected substantially by such conditions will have fewer people signing up and thus disparity in care especially when they are not able to afford the cost of care.
  3. Through the national scheme, outpatient services are reimbursed at a standard capitation rate which only covers for consultation services in most of the healthcare facilities. In most cases, the co-payment is always substantial compared to the individual contributions that one would rather not consider having a cover in the long run. It is therefore imperative for the fund to reevaluate the services being covered through capitation covering for the diseases which may be managed through outpatient clinics and probably even cap the amount that can be used for outpatient services per year to ensure a member derives value out of the cover. Perceived value will help build on the membership even for those who may not use the services entirely throughout the year.
  4. Healthcare services work within an ecosystem which includes healthcare professionals, health facilities, health products and technologies and policy instruments that put these different building blocks into a functioning framework. NHIF as a social insurance needs to have overarching interest in these other pillars and actively engage with stakeholders in driving development of the same to ensure ultimate service users get services conveniently, reliably and of the right quality.

Reflecting on a quote by Jeff Bezo, consumers will always want quality products, conveniently and at the lowest price point. If you can hack this, you are assured they’ll always be your clients to serve. NHIF is failing to view members of the public as conventional clients who need quality healthcare services conveniently and affordably. The role of NHIF is to guarantee them that by signing up they are bound to enjoy these benefits. There’s work to do on this and I hope the ongoing reforms will factor such key business principles.

Our Propensity to Associate with Success is the Route to Our Downfall: The Sakaja Debacle

“Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.” – John F. Kennedy

Success is a mystery but everyone wants to be successful in some way or the other as I wrote in this earlier article. Over the last week we’ve been accustomed to having Sakaja Johnson Arthur on our dailies and news briefing as a constant feature. This is attributed to the challenges ascertaining he has a degree which is a requirement to be cleared to run for Gubernatorial seat as he intends to. From claims of having graduated with First Class in Actuarial Science from the University of Nairobi to producing a degree in Bachelor of Science in Management from Teams University in Uganda, the genuineness of the case for or against Sakaja has not been concluded and I’ll leave it to the authorities to handle.

My concern at this point is with institutions considered to be credible who fall victim to our social desires to associate with success. The University of Nairobi (UoN) earlier had Sakaja listed on their website as an alumni to portray the level of success or excellence associated with its alumni. This is definitely poised to encourage others to consider pursuing their education at the university as that’s the caliber of their graduates. The worrying bit is that when the controversies came up they went to their archives to ascertain that he didn’t actually graduate and edited their website. Question is whether they had done their due diligence before creating the post or it was convenient to sell the narrative? Shouldn’t the university be sued for false representation?

Our desire to associate with success is a shortcoming in having us be honest with each other. The quick and easy wins are our desires and marketers all over the world use this as a narrative to get us hooked on their products promising successes we may never achieve in our lifetime but it’s made look easy. Why do gambling companies market winners? To fool our primordial senses that want to associate with wins. We ultimately get to be fooled. In the case of UoN, I believe it is a failure in their part not to have done their due diligence and falling victim to such well calculated lies which wouldn’t have been detected were it not for the current drama. Institutions should hold themselves to higher standards for individuals bank on them and count on their credibility in conducting business with them. We can’t be sold lies our entire lives.

Education and Professionalism Under Attack: Professional Societies Can Save the Situation

“Professionalism is knowing how to do it, when to do it and doing it.” – Frank Tyger

In the current political season in Kenya, integrity has been put to question to a great extent partly in relation with academic qualifications of contestants running for respective offices in government. As much as this is worrying, the more reason for concern is that we have learned individuals question whether leaders really need academic qualifications in the form of degrees to be leaders. I believe the question we need to ask ourselves is what the basic measure or way of ascertaining one is able to conceptualize, apply his knowledge & judgement in making necessary decisions to act in the best interests of the persons they serve. I believe the universal standard as at now is academic credentials backed by the fact that our education system is set to ensure individuals are equipped with the skills to perform particular tasks and apply their faculties in making sound and intelligent judgements. As people are questioning the need for education and academic qualifications, they are not only attacking education but also professions which are anchored on the very education. This is the basis upon which I believe professional associations need to act and sustain their activity in this discourse. Unless professions are respected and given the latitude to operate and uphold professionalism in the space, every Tom, Dick & Harry will venture into these practices compromising the quality of outcomes while at the same time putting recipients of these services at risk. In Kenya we are not unaware of circumstances of quacks causing more harm in our communities under the guise of being doctors. None of us would want a quack to operate on us. Why would we then expect a quack to lead us?

These very leaders are the ones who will make decisions on whether your doctor has the necessary supplies to perform certain functions including surgical procedures on you. If your qualified doctor asks for what they perceive as too much, what security do you have that they won’t just ask for a cleaner to perform the procedure? Do they care as much if they can cheat their way to that status? We have to be objective and forthright about the value of education and professionalism.

In calling professional associations to the task, I believe their angle of action should involve:

  • Outspokenly defend education and academic qualifications as a requirement for leadership and excellence in practice. Sitting back and being complacent to the ills of the society does not only affect the masses but also the professionals who expect services from these very leaders. There is no way an individual can be masquerading as an Actuarial Scientist for the longest time possible without actually the professional societies questioning or trying to ascertain the authenticity of such claims. If genuine, they need to be registered as members otherwise they stop being considered professionals in that field.
  • Ring fencing their professional turfs to weed out quacks or any individuals who do not meet and abide by the academic qualifications of being in the practice. In so doing, any individual with an interest in practicing the profession will not only have to go to school but also abide by the professional code of conduct.
  • Foster a model of continuous professional development (CPD) to ensure that all their members are qualified and up to date on current trends & dynamics of the industry. This can be pegged on licensing for practice by any professional to ascertain they uphold excellence and continuous improvement as a core aspect of the profession.
  • Explore, envision and venture into new frontiers including in collaboration with other professions in the industry to drive development in the industry. This should be cross-cutting in terms of engaging other specialties and professions in alignment with the new ventures to ensure collaboration and sustainability of such ventures without lowering guard on what’s possible and what’s not possible within professional practice.

We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard if we need change in our societies. I believe professional associations have a role towards this future as argued for in my earlier articles here and here. Let us embrace professionalism as a guiding principle in our practices and call on every individual to respect, defend and uphold professionalism.

Education on 4C’s: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century Book Review

“Humans could never predict the future with accuracy. But today, it is more difficult than ever before because once technology enables to engineer bodies, brains and minds, we can no longer be certain about anything – including things that previously seemed fixed and eternal.” – Yuval Noah Harari

I am a believer in education and continuous learning for that matter. Over time I’ve committed and gave myself out to pursuits that support education. Being raised by teachers and ultimately being a teacher at one point in my life, I’ve never found a more fulfilling vocation. Being able to nurture another to be better versions of themselves and see them thrive at that. In the recent couple of days I’ve been finishing my read of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari, a book that took me more than any other book I’ve read partly because of conflicting engagements. In the books as he envisions a future and the skills needed for this future he talks about education.

Education as we know it is about nurturing and equipping individuals with skills to be able to comprehend certain phenomena and perform certain functions/tasks. This has been the basis of our education systems from the industrial era with need for industrial workers who could operate machines, execute functions and sustain the engine of these corporations running. As we venture into a new era supported by and anchored on technological advances, there’s more to hope and wish for in this future. One thing we however must change is our education system. As he argues for the integration of the 4C’s i.e., critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity as the required skills in our common future. People need general purpose life-skills more than the specific technical skills. Arguing for this he alludes to the fact that as we grow in our carriers most people are likely to make lateral moves in their professions letting go of the core technical skills they needed for those functions but adopting the general project management skills i.e., transferable skills. This is what we need in this future and I earlier did a short video on this for pharmacists where I did posit on why Project Management is the future of Pharmacy Practice.

Early this month I attended the 42nd Annual Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) Conference and in one of the side talks with some colleagues we delved into the challenges our young pharmacists were facing. Some of the critical issues revolved around being too technical with focus on applying technical knowledge which is good but the conceptual skills to be able to apply the knowledge in performing non-technical roles was more desirable in the market. Additionally, communication and critical thinking skills which were lacking among them was a drawback especially when they are made to interface with non-technical individuals in practice. This is the basis upon which we are improving on our YPG mentorship program with the hope of facilitating the acquisition of this kind of knowledge.

In the same line with Yuval Noah Harari, we need critical thinking, creativity and collaboration in order to function better and this is the precipe upon which we need to anchor our education system. If education is to help us run our lives effectively and address challenges in our society, it then needs to equip us with the ability to think, conceptualize and ideate on ways of doing all this rather than giving straightforward answers which is the current model.

“Education should train on how to think, not what to think. Education should equip you to engage your reasoning faculties rather than your remembering faculties. There’s no new knowledge in remembering but in thinking afresh.”

Mentorship Essentials – What mentees need to know

“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” — Bob Proctor.

I am a proponent and a believer in the value of mentorship in professional and personal development. Reflecting on my journey, I have benefited from mentors helping me realize the potential that lies within me, guiding me on how to leverage on this potential and most importantly when stuck helping me with the how and where to put it to use. This is the reason I have over time taken up mentorship roles in various spaces including with the PSK Young Pharmacists Group (YPG) that I earlier wrote about here & here and other spaces including Ryculture Health and Social Innovation.

Early this month I was at the 42nd Annual Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya Conference for which I’ve shared my reflections here. Other than the professional conversations and scientific presentations, I was keen to explore ways of supporting my fellow young pharmacists better. This was through the YPG mentorship program where we work to facilitate mentorship by pairing mentors and mentees based on their interest areas both professionally and in personal development. As I earlier alluded to, I’ve benefited from mentorship opportunities and this in some way is associated with me being outgoing and able to engage with mentors where they are. I am in the dancefloor thus getting a dance partner isn’t much of a hustle. We understand that not everyone has such a predisposition and therefore to support them grow, we intentionally and strategically send some dancers to them in the form of mentors who are willing to handhold and guide them on the journey. There is some positive traction but also with a certain level of drawback. One key challenge that was posed to me was on why is it always me and my leadership calling out for support to the young pharmacists yet they never do the asking. No hungry person sits in the house waiting for food to get to him, you either make it or order it from wherever you can. Key is, you must take action. Mentorship is for the benefit of the participants i.e., mentee and mentor who have to actively nurture the relationship.

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey.

In this article, I’m keen to outline some of the aspects that I believe mentees need to know and these are;

  • Your personal development journey is your responsibility and you have to work on it. We can only help where we can based on your need that’s communicated.
  • Mentorship is a two-way traffic. You have to bring something to the table. Bring your perspectives to the discussion to challenge each others’ thought processes. Staying stale like you are in a church doesn’t help anyone. It instead makes the relationship one sided which leads to its failure. Upon being assigned tasks, take them up and follow through.
  • Mentorship has three specific roles: help you realize the potential that lies in you (knowledge phase where new information is shared – awareness creation), engage you on how to put your potential to use and guide you in putting yourself to meaningful productive use. Whether you are clear or unclear on your professional journey, you have a chance to get a mentor to help walk this journey. Take the first step.

A child walks by falling over and over which comes from trying, try your hand on something and get the support you need just like a child holds on tables, chairs and people to make the first steps.

“Spoon feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon” —E.M. Forster.

Iron Sharpens Iron; And Change Begins with You

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

Personal development and desire to get better is always close to my heart and as accounted in an earlier post when I wrote about my passions which you can access here, I’ve kept on with this. This evening I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a colleague, friend and inspirational young pharmacist, Dr Cohen Andove where I had a moment to reflect on my professional journey. It was an insightful evening with recollections on how our journeys have evolved starting from our campus days where we actively invested our time and energy in championing for students’ affairs through professional associations and students’ unions. As we transitioned out of school, there are different dynamics but some key insights we recollected on are worth sharing. I hope these will inspire, enlighten and encourage a young professional somewhere to give their best to realize their aspirations.

  1. Extracurricular activities you engage in during your school years expose you to the industry helping you learn and network. These networks become critical in your days after school especially with dwindling opportunities.
  2. Once you graduate, job search starts. It is a challenging experience but you’ve got to keep your pursuit. In every room you get into, have it in mind that your employer might be in the room and the only way to know is by expressing you are job hunting and open to opportunities. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and yeshall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you – Mathew 7: 7.
  3. Give yourself time and keep pursuit of your aspirations. I earlier wrote about this here. As much as we aspire to be successful in life, we need to acknowledge that it takes time and those people we aspire to be like, are almost double our age if not. Take time and keep on keeping on it will one day come to be.
  4. Being proactive is a skill we need to master. As much as opportunities open up, it’s about the people who go for them and make the best of them that get to reap the fruits of such. How are you putting to use the opportunities presented to you?
  5. Build those networks of peers. People you can call on to bounce ideas, hold each others hands and invest with banking on a long term vision of what you aspire for. It’s doable but you have to master the art of staying still, pragmatic and collected.

Such moments help us reflect on our journeys and some of it is outlined in this article I wrote about awhile back. For all that we aspire to and hope for, we must work to make the difference and as we do that, collaboration is our silver-bullet.