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How Prepared Are You?

December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas to you and everyone around you!

I hope you are enjoying the festive season spending time with family and friends, and getting some time to catch up on some lost sleep. I don’t know about you but this holiday has come at a very timely moment. I’m tired and just needed some time to rest and recover from the challenges of 2017.

Speaking of challenges, I had challenged myself to conquer Mt. Kilimanjaro but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to. It was one of my “challenging things to do for 2017” but due to some unavoidable circumstances, I wasn’t able to because during the month I had planned to go a lot of monumental changes were happening in my personal life and so I first had to deal with that. I am now moving this milestone to 2018 and hopefully, I will accomplish this dream.

I was actually thinking of the stuff one needs to carry when going mountain climbing, especially a mountain like Kilimanjaro in order to make it to the top with the least struggles. Of course struggling is a must because first of all you’ll be exerting yourself to do something you don’t do daily. I mean, it is not every morning one wakes up and decides to go climb a mountain that is over 5,000 meters above sea level. Besides, it takes some days to get to the peak and back, and during those days, your strength, resilience, toughness and willpower will be tested to the maximum.

Owing to the challenges expected when one is going for mountain climbing, one is expected to make a very careful selection of the things they pack for the trip. You are only required to carry things that will assist you on your journey, and not those that deter you from achieving your goal, which in this case is getting to the top. So imagine what you would do if someone you are going with for the climb decides to pack his 58 Inch plasma Tv so you guys can go watch Tv in the evenings as you are resting. Or instead of packing his stuff in a suitable backpack, dude decides to take his Louis Vuitton travel suitcase to the mountain; I’m talking about the suitcase with wheels and a handle. How now? Forget about what you would tell him, but can you imagine what the designated tour guide for that trip would tell you all?

The thing is, a mountain is a perfect example of how life is. A mountain has different peaks, each with its own set of challenges to conquer before you get there. It also has different valleys, each with it’s own kind of obstacles. There are those that have all manner of creepy crawlies and small mammals like the mountain rats. Then as you go higher the vegetation changes and you start seeing some weird plants that can only grow at such high altitudes and under such weather conditions. The thing is, the experience for each peak is different from the next. Some peaks are easy to scale around but some are really dangerous and crazy to get to.

Whatever the peak, the one thing that is common in all of them is that there are ups and downs, valleys and sometimes rivers to cross, creepy crawlies and wild animals to beware of, rocks and cliffs to avoid lest you fall and break bones or even die, etc. However in the midst of all that, if one has a proper tour guide, and is well prepared for the expedition in terms of resources needed and mental preparedness, then no matter what happens that person will get to the peak of whichever mountain he or she decides to go up.

The ecosystem of a mountain depicts exactly how life is. For you to get from one peak of  the mountain to the next, you will have to go down the previous peak, into the valley, then up again you start climbing the mountain to your next peak. Every level of your life is a peak waiting to be conquered. In the same way you prepare to climb a mountain, it is the same way you will require to prepare for your next level of life. Each level requires a different level of physical, mental and even emotional preparation and engagement to get to it.

The old adage, “the higher you go, the cooler it becomes” is so real when it comes to both mountain climbing and level ascension in life. As you get promoted from one level to another in your office or in your business, you realize that the atmosphere up there will change in the sense that the challenges will be greater. So the higher you climb in your different levels of your life, the more resilience, determination, focus, dedication and discipline you will need.

In my view, every new year we get is like a new mountain to conquer.  We have to prepare for it well if we are going to scale its height and get to the peak (s). There is what we must do and there is what we must avoid in order to get to the peak. For instance, like I already mentioned earlier, you must pack the right stuff for your expedition. You must have the right tools for your specific mountain. You must have the right gear for climbing  specific mountains. For instance, some mountains are rocky and need more sophisticated gear. You also need to dress accordingly. I would be crazy to go there dressed in high-heels and a short-skirt! Though I do look very appealing in such an outfit, the mountain is not its place.

Bringing my thought process home, 2017 is just about to come to an end. If you are like me, there are many peaks (goals) of the mountain 2017 I had planned on scaling and I had even written them down as my goals for the then new year. Like I said, climbing mount Kilimanjaro was one of those things but it didn’t happen this year. This last week I spent some time reflecting on how this year was for me and why I missed some of my goals and I realized there are various reasons why.

One of them is that I had a lot of un-necessary baggage I was hauling up the mountain. Like the example I gave earlier, I had a 58 inch plasma TV (figuratively speaking) on this journey, something that is not bad to have only that it was not fit for that journey. There are some associations I had that were dragging me backwards more than they were propelling me forwards. There were some habits I had that I now realize pulled me backwards instead of pushing me forward. There is some information and knowledge I needed to have but I didn’t and as a result ignorance cost me a lot. At some point I realized figuratively speaking I was not “dressed the part”. I was dressed for a party but not for the journey up the different peaks of 2017.

To avoid missing my goals this coming year I have had to be honest with myself and readdress the real issues that deterred my progress. I have purposed to deal with them and avoid them totally in 2018. Such a decision calls for very tough choices to be made but without choices, there is no progress. Remember, you are where you are today because of choices you made in the past. The choices you are making today, have you considered how they will affect your 2018?

In short friends what am I trying to say? I am trying to creatively say that in order for you and I to have the best year yet, we must be fully prepared to face the truth about why we did not achieve what we wanted to in 2017. Take time and really assess every area of your life then determine to make different choices. Different choices simply mean change has to happen in 2018 in order to see progress in your life. “But until a person can say deeply and honestly, "I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday," that person cannot say, "I choose otherwise.” ~ Stephen R. Covey from his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Be intentional about the changes you will apply to your life so that as you start 2018, you will be hitting the ground running. 

In my last article of the year 2017 which is next Sunday, I will touch on the changes we all need to make in order to experience a difference in the 2018. In other words, what do we need to do in order to prepare for a successful year?

For now, I just want to encourage you to do a self evaluation in between plates of pilau and chicken breast. Get to know yourself and set your mind to prepare yourself to change what needs to be changed. Like Idowu Koyenikan said in the book Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your ability, “Opportunity does not waste time with those who are unprepared”. Thus, prepare your mind, your plans, your goals, your tools, your everything, in order to take advantage of the opportunities that are about to come your way in 2018.

Let’s meet again next week as I look at what it will take for us to be prepared for 2018. I hope by then you will have done a self-evaluation to see where and why you missed it this year.

Once again a Merry Christmas to you all. Don’t eat to much and have too much fun until you forget the reason for the season.

Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Be the best version of yourself you can ever be.


PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 24th of December, 2017, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".




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