Turn down the noise (2 mins read)

Sometimes you don’t need to turn up the volume, you only need to turn down the noise.

A couple of weeks back I was driving on my way to work and in true multitasking fashion I was also listening to a talk on the car stereo.
My wife, sat in the front passenger’s seat, started a conversation and at that time I was trying to get the point being made by the speaker on the stereo.
My first instinct was to increase the stereo volume to drown the conversation but that would not go down very well for me so I resisted and this time turned down the car stereo volume so I can converse with my partner. 
By so doing, I had safely avoided the wrath of my partner and the dire consequences that could follow.
As we conversed, my thoughts raced as I tried to interpret what had just happened.

Many times we try very hard to focus on a task and fail only because we are too distracted.

We lack the ability to focus because we’ve got our mind on so many things at once.

We try so hard to get  at whatever we do and get frustrated.

We only need to step away from all the distractions and noise around us to truly focus on a single goal.
Sift through the mundane conversations, the humdrum activities, not all endeavours are beneficial, not all relationships are useful.

How to identify what you are good at

Some of us were fortunate enough to be superstars from childhood.

We were put down a specific path in life. Our parents took us through a regimented lifestyle. Our lives revolved around, say, the golf course, music lessons, swimming classes etc. Little wonder we turned out to be excellent at these.

Tiger Woods was introduced to golf before the age of 2 and beat his father at golf when he was 11.

Beyoncé won her first singing talent contest at age 7.

Some of us were not so lucky. Even at age 20, we have not the slightest idea of what we are good at. We begin each year with a fresh passion, a new idea. We tell ourselves ‘this is the one I am good at’ but before long we lose steam and interest. This might not be for us after all.

We can’t all be great golfers or musicians or bloggers.

We all have different paths in life. Our paths are as different as our finger prints – no two are alike even on the same hand. Even twins born within the same womb have different paths in life. The question, and the point of all this, is ‘how do I identify what my path is, what am I good at?’. It does help when our parents help us by identifying certain traits and natural tendencies, like an ear for music, and directs us appropriately.

I believe that we were born with a distinct music playing in our soul. A common theme that resonates everywhere we go and in whatever we do. Something that makes our heart beat faster, something that evokes emotion in us. That thing that we can do with minimal preparation. This is our natural gift or talent. We were born with this. It does not matter how small it might seem. You might have a great smile – this could be your gift to the world.

The other side to it is what we can become good at by choice. The human mind can be likened to a programmable computer. We can train ourselves to become good at what we choose to do. Even the Tiger Woods and Beyoncés who seem to have found their natural gifts and talents early in life still put in a lot of time to hone their craft. This is the power of choice and will.


So I worry a lot…

We all have different marks on the worry scale. While how little some people worry is in itself worrying (pun intended), some others worry like they studied the art of worrying till university level.

I remember once being worried at the thought that I would not get enough sleep and that in itself kept me awake (insert smiley face here).

Worrying is one of many responses to current or imminent situations. Mostly unfavourable situations.

While the two extremes of the worry scale are concerning the ‘worriers’ seem to be the group with the least health benefits.

While I do not profess to have the solution to worrying neither have I overcome the monster called worry, I have learnt some simple and obvious truths over the years.

99% of the things I worry about never happen.

We both know this, then why do we still worry? The answer is simple! Some of us like worrying! We think to ourselves “I cannot help worrying, it is what makes me who I am” or “I am a mother (or father or whatever you are) and I must be seen to worry”.

The truth is we mustn’t worry. No one is made to worry.

Worrying dries up your creative juices.

So what have I learnt to do when Monster Worry comes knocking on my door? I keep it shut. Ok, seriously, I see worry as a warning signal. For example, I find that I am starting to get worried about having nothing to say at an event where I’m a speaker. It’s an indication that I have left things too late and better start getting ready.

I also find my faith to come in handy whenever worry comes around particularly as it relates to issues beyond my control. I simply hand it over to my Maker.

On a final note to all the non-worriers. Don’t worry if you don’t worry enough. You are doing just fine.

I’ve got one life to live (short read)

Very recently I have been thinking about the topics of time and purpose. I had an incredible time last sunday sharing about time, purpose and destiny.

We gained a deeper understanding of the importance of time and how it can be used for our advantage. Indeed, time is a gift and like any other gift it is to be used for our benefit and those of others.
We understood that ‘where purpose is unknown, abuse is inevitable’. If the purpose of time, and indeed of our lifetime, is not understood then abuse is inevitable.
Time on a daily basis and on a lifetime scale can either be abused of effectively utilised. A life with #purpose will make the most of time on a daily basis.
Purpose can be distilled into goals and goals into actionable steps. If you use time to your advantage by attaching timelines to your goals it is very easy to see how far you have come over that period – this is good for assessment.
I chose a long time ago to make the most of my life. I am determined to fully explore all my gifts, potentials and talents to my profit and the profit of others. I encourage you to do the same.
It is in reaching out to others that you discover your life’s purpose. No one is meant to be an island. When we help others succeed we grow.
No excuses are tenable because ‘you are the master of your own fate’ and only you can decide to be the best you.

Be Brave, Be Fearless

A few days ago, I had an appointment which I had to walk to.
Just stepping out I realised it was pouring rain (in my part of the world this is quite the norm!). Just then, I was gripped with fear.

Not fear of being run over by a truck or slipping and breaking my leg but fear of getting wet!
Over the next two minutes, I contemplated the option of postponing the appointment for the fear of getting wet!
You might ask “What are umbrellas made for?” Indeed using an umbrella would certainly solve the problem but I didn’t even think about it in that moment.
Suddenly, I remembered the great invention called umbrellas, proceeded to get one and was on my way.
As I walked on, I reminisced on what had just transpired and the implications of it.
~Fear cripples one from seeing the obvious solutions to problems.
~Fear can make us live below our potential.
~Fear can prevent us from reaching our goals.
~Little, inconsequential things can seem gargantuan if fear is involved…
But how can one avoid the shackles of fear?
The answer is faith! Yes, faith. Fear and faith cannot co-exist. Replace your fear with faith.
The Lion is the King of the jungle, not only because of it’s strength but also because it knows it is strong. Knowledge is a vital source of faith.

The Lion is brave and fearless and it knows its prey is weak and fearful. It thrives on this knowledge.

Another post about productivity (short read)

We’ve all got 1001 things to do in a day. I certainly do!

For example, I work a 9-5 and after 5 I write, read, be a father, be a husband (together with running all the errands), prepare for talks or lessons I may be giving at the weekend, make and receive calls, the odd DIY…the list goes on.

Let’s face it, strict to-do lists and calendars are good but when your hot water system packs up in  the middle of your day that’s the end of your to-do list.

Something I’ve started to do recently is to make the most of my ‘loose time’.

This is time when I’m alone (the rest of the family are soundly asleep and for some reason I can’t sleep!). I will, for example, write or read or fix that broken lamp. Loose time could also be time when a planned activity can no longer be carried out within the allocated time (for example your bestie cancels coffee on you).

The wisdom about consciously allocating your ‘loose time’ to some productive activity is that if you don’t, you will subconsciously use the loose time for some ‘unproductive’ activity. I’ve got nothing against Netflix or box sets but they sure do eat a lot of time!

The other thing about productivity is identifying the time of the day when you are most productive at a given activity. For example, If you are reading this, I suspect you may be a blogger so you could identify when you are most creative and cram as much as possible into that time.Create a bank of blogs from which you can draw-down whenever you like thereby making free time for something else.

Let’s hear your thoughts on the issue of productivity.

Why you must not give up…

If, like me, you woke up today to the thought of the futility of certain endeavours my message to you today is that you don’t give up.

To the one starting a business, pursuing a dream of financial independence – don’t give up.

To the one trying to lose weight, putting in the hours working out and the results don’t seem to measure up to the effort – don’t give up.

To the one who is trying to keep their home and relationship together – keep praying, don’t give up.

To  the one who is trying to get a job – keep applying and don’t lose hope.

To the couple, trying desperately for a baby – don’t give up.

Great things start small. The results today may not seem proportional to the effort you put in but remember that the sturdiest trees have got the deepest roots.

Great edifices have solid foundations.

Be patient.

Be encouraged today. Know that you are not alone in your struggles. Many have been through the exact situation you are passing through and there are testimonials of people who made it.

Also be strong for yourself and your loved ones. They are people looking up to you and draw strength from your own strength.

Be encouraged today and remember ‘tough times never last but tough people do.’

Vision… (short read)

Opportunities are boundless to the one constantly seeking opportunities.

In the end we will be judged not by the risks we did not take but the lives we did not change when we had the opportunity to.
The mind is an amazing and powerful organ. Like a Polaroid camera, it can only develop negatives (eventually into pictures) it has captured.
A long time ago, the Master of the Universe made a promise to a man named Abraham. The promise was simple; “Look as far as your eyes can see of the stars in the sky. These will be the number of your offspring”. There was one small issue.

The man, Abraham, and his wife, Sarah, were long past the age of child-bearing. To cut a long story short (and if you want to know what happened in between see the Bible or just google it ), the man eventually had offspring.

What we can achieve is only limited by what our minds can conceive.

If so, then can we be intentional about what our minds can conceive? Can we raise the stakes by looking at the stars and building our dreams?

We belong to one of two categories; those who are programmed by what they are shown and those who are programmed by what they choose to see.
Choice, you see, is the single most powerful prerogative of humans and what you choose to see, or let your mind see, is your exclusive reserve.

How I managed to secure multiple job offers

No success story is complete without the stories of failure which came before.

I have been very fortunate to have never been out of job. I recognise that this is not common place and would like to see more people share similar experiences of success in the job market. I do believe in entrepreneurship but I also believe that being an entrepreneur is not everyone’s path.

Last week I managed to secure 4 job offers over 48 hours. One of them was based purely on referral with no job interview nor job advert.

Lets go back to the beginning…

I am also fortunate to do what I enjoy doing which is to solve complex problems for large energy companies using specialised set of skills acquired over many years.

However, the energy (oil and gas) industry suffered a severe blow some 4 years back when the oil price came crashing down. This led to cost cutting and massive lay-offs. The once vibrant industry became a shadow of itself. My discipline suffered as O&G companies stopped funding new projects and focused on cost cutting measures only.

Prior to this time, my discipline/skills were highly sought after. I was usually head-hunted because of the peculiarity and scarcity of the skills required for my discipline:Assure hydrocarbon flow to minimise risks and maximise profit.

Find a unique skill, related to something you care about and hone it.

About a year ago, I began to look for a change in direction of my career. I wanted more than I was doing. So I began to search for my next adventure. And all the doors were shut…For the first time since my grad days I was making applications and was not getting a single interview. From being head-hunted to now not even entertained for an interview.

I began to look inwards. I began to make use of my networks. I made a list of people I had worked with a different points in my career and began to reach out to them via LinkedIn and doors began to open. I even reached out to my former bosses.

Build networks. Ensure you build strong relationships with people on your team. Don’t focus on what you can get from them but focus on how you can improve others.

Never burn old bridges, always leave with the door open.

I updated my profile on LinkedIn to carry keywords which were searchable for recruiters.

I began to receive invites for interviews. They went really well but I was informed that other candidates were selected over me on a couple of occasions. I was encouraged because this meant that the tides were turning and I saw those as opportunities to sharpen my blunt interview skills. See Top Interview Tips.

Always seek feedback no matter the outcome of the interview.

Never see disappointment as failure, instead see them as opportunities for improvement.

I had heard somewhere that, depending on the industry, you secure a job after an average of 3-5 interviews.

With each interview, my confidence was building and I realised I was just being prepared for the ones destined for me.

As the industry began to recover, companies began to hire. People who I had reached out to previously began to put my name forward when asked “Who would you recommend to join our team?I had consciously built a reputation of excellence over the years  wherever I worked and people could vouch for me. This was how a hiring manager connected with me on WhatsApp and ended up offering me a position without an interview. “Many people on my team speak highly of you“, he said.

Build a positive reputation wherever you go. Reputation is an asset.

The tempo of the interviews changed. I was in the driving sit many times. I learnt to research the roles and understand the need of the company. I then tailored my responses and statements to their specific needs which always resonated with them.

The one who does their homework that gets the job.

This post would not be complete without the role of faith. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and divine intervention. This, I believe, is the difference between my experience and that of someone else who does same but has not received the same results.

As you play your part, beckon on Heaven that it’s doors may be open over your endeavours.

Money and how to attract more of it

So I recently had a new insight regarding money and wanted to share it with my followers. The truth is that money is attracted to the one who handles it with care.

The truth behind the assertion can best be understood if money is compared to a lover that is being courted.
You would do everything to earn their trust and affection. You treat them nice enough and they begin to trust you with their heart, secrets and love.
On the other hand, if the lover is not treated with respect and affection chances are the relationship will not progress to the next stage.

So, how do you ‘treat money with respect’?
1. Handle money with care. Don’t squander.  Save.
One time tested principle of ethically wealthy people is a habit of saving. Expenses must always be less than income. Enough said.
2. Don’t eat your seed. Like the farmers’ harvest, not all income is to be spent. Retain a substantial portion for the next sowing season. In layman’s terms,  Invest some, spend the rest or whatever else you choose to do with the rest.
3. Be accountable. If you find yourself not being able to give account of majority of your income and expense then there is something fundamentally wrong. You don’t care about money.
4. Learn about money. You would go great lengths to know more about the lover you court. You learn about everything else in School except how to handle money. It is your duty to understand money. Read  books on the subject. Get some education. Learn the basic principles of money.

The Lapel Pin

The lapel pin, also know as a boutonniere, has been around for as long as there were weddings and comes in all shapes and sizes.  These days, however, they have become more regular accessories than a once-in-a-life time suit prop.


Courtesy: Harrington Flowers

New designs, more minimalistic, have made them less flamboyant and more versatile. They can be used as a casual accessory or for more formal functions.

They are made of different materials such as cloth, ceramic, metal etc and can be attached to the suit or blazer by different mechanisms like using a pin or magnet. The one common feature to them all is where on the suit they are adorned. They are adorned on the lapel! That’s pretty obvious.

Again, it is all about combining the right colours with what you are wearing and other accessories. Coordinated well, they could easily blend with your Pocket Square.

Courtesy: Eden Vogue

I have a range of styles and colours and use them depending on the occasion. They are very common with groups like wedding trains. They can also be great gifts for men.

To add more sophistication and uniqueness to the range of lapel pins we’ve handmade them in Scottish Tartan fabrics in a beautiful array of colours.


My Weakness? I notice everything (1 minute read)

I’ve seen this statement several times on social media but only recently did it dawn on me.

Yes, I notice everything as would most  introverts and for sometime now I’ve seen it as a burden.

But as I pondered on it I realised that it is indeed a strength and not a weakness!
Everything is about perspective, you see.

There are certain vocations which require you to practically ‘notice’ everything. If you pursued such a career path then you can only thrive.

So what does this mean? It means that what you might consider as a weakness might indeed be a strenght in the right environment and application.

The fishs’ inability to survive outside water might be considered a weakness by it’s predator. But when both fish and a non-amphibious predator are put into water, the fishs’ ability to swim becomes a strength at the predator’s loss.

Next time you are asked about your weakness, sell it off as a strength because thats exactly what it is!