Self Help

Education is undergoing a remarkable transformation. While these transformation present unmistakable challenges to scholars on the continent, the promises are equally enormous!

If you’re a student in Africa today, you should be worried – very worried.

Why?

The robots are coming and they’re taking over the workplace!

Presently, factoryretail and repetitive manufacturing jobs are increasingly being automated to enhance efficiency. According to McKinsey, mortgage origination, paralegal work, accounting, and back-office transaction processing are categories of activities that increasingly can be done better and faster with machines. Further, automation will displace nearly 13 percent of South Africa’s current work activities by 2020. Ethiopia, one of Africa’s manufacturing hubs, is facing automation in several key employment sectors like agriculture and textiles. In Botswana, robot workers are increasingly diminishing the bargaining power of labor union. Accenture Nigeria predicts that within five years, more than half of consumers and enterprise clients will select products and services based on a company’s AI capacity, instead of its brand. On a global scale, the World Economic Forum predicts a net loss of five million jobs to AI by 2020.

These are interesting times for employers on the continent. With rapid demonetization in technology, a continuous redefinition of work and the preeminence of digital natives making once expensive products/services way cheaper — and sometimes free, employers across industries and regions are left with no option than to “innovate or die.” CNBC’s  October 8, 2018 publication chronicled 14 global brands that no longer need employees to have a college degree.

While these accelerated change and overwhelming complexities present unmistakable challenges to scholars on the continent, the promises are equally enormous. With that backdrop, this article seeks to help students and early career professionals prepare for the days ahead.

  • Create your own future with self-education

Selfeducation is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.Isaac Asimov, American writer, and professor

Nesa by makers on Unsplash

If you’re reading this, by now you’re aware of the fact that education systems around the world have not kept pace with the changing nature of work resulting in companies not being able to get access to skilled workers. Further, the ongoing dialogue in Davos has revealed that the growing disparities in incomes of families around the world is traceable to the education one gets. “Literacy is no longer about extracting knowledge but about constructing knowledge.” In short, knowledge has become the real form of money and power.

Although unemployment is still rife, digital tools like freelancing platforms and networking websites like LinkedIn are rewarding smart, talented professionals with jobs and business opportunities by the minute. And, these platforms are also helping us understand some of the highly prized skills for thriving in this age of automation.

Progressively, there has been a unanimous consensus on the fact that soft skills like communication, leadership and critical thinking are needed for navigating today’s world of work. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “Soft skills—which are needed to effectively communicate, problem solve, collaborate and organize—are becoming more important for success as the workplace evolves socially and technologically.”

Hence, I strongly believe there needs to be a do-it-yourself approach to educating yourself today. If we could pay attention to choosing what we wear and what we eat, wouldn’t it make more sense to create our own direction? Doesn’t it make more sense to put your skills before you and manage them, instead of leaving it to chance?


Workers of the future will spend more time on activities that machines are less capable of, such as managing people, applying expertise, and communicating with others. The skills and capabilities required will also shift, requiring more social and emotional skills and more advanced cognitive capabilities, such as logical reasoning and creativity. – McKinsey & Company


Today, our challenge is not scarcity of information – we live in a world of super-abundant information – the real challenge is in excavating the right knowledge to help you remain relevant. Therefore, you can no longer wait to see what happens. Take advantage of the abundantly free and low-priced materials around us and prune your talents! Moreover, as the shelf-life of skills continues to shrink, if you’re not progressively improving your competencies, you will be left behind. According to LinkedIn, 90% of executives say that talent is the number one priority at their companies. Subscribe to get started with a personalized education on Readyforwork Career Coaching Program.

 

  • Learn how to learn new knowledge and skills

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. — Alvin Toffler,  American writer, futurist, and businessman

Image result for gif about learning

To begin with, these six guides shared by Michael Simmons can help you master any skill, and put you at a position of advantage in today’s digital economy:

  1. Identify valuable knowledge at the right time. With maturity and reshape of technology across industries, he says, there is often a deficit of people with the needed skills, which creates the potential for high compensation.
  2. Learn and master that knowledge quickly. Opportunity windows are not static, therefore, you have to spot the trends as quickly as possible.
  3. Communicate the value of your skills to others. Two people equally skilled at the same craft could earn very different salaries and fees. It all depends on their ability to sell and market themselves. Says Simmons, many people spend years mastering an underlying technical skill and almost no time mastering this multiplier skill.
  4. Convert knowledge into money and results. The value of information is the ability to use it and enrich your life.  Don’t just learn to have information, get value for your education by applying it in “finding and getting a better job, getting a raise, building a successful business, selling your knowledge as a consultant, and building your reputation by becoming a thought leader.”
  5. Learn how to financially invest in learning to get the highest return. “Each of us needs to find the right “portfolio” of books, online courses, and certificate/degree programs to help us meet our goals within our budget,” Simmons says. If knowledge equals capital, then it makes sense to apply financial intelligence to your education.
  6. Master the skill of learning how to learn. Simmons stressed that our learning rate determines how quickly we can compound information over time. “Consider someone who reads and retains one book a week versus someone who takes 10 days to read a book. Over the course of a year, a 30% difference compounds to one person reading 85 more books.”

In her article entitled The Protégé Effect, Annie Murphy Paul, the author of Origins, gave a brilliant account of how teaching what you learned is the best form of learning. “Students enlisted to tutor others… work harder to understand the material, recall it more accurately and apply it more effectively. In what scientists have dubbed “the protégé effect,” student teachers score higher on tests than pupils who are learning only for their own sake,” she wrote.

To quote Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD, “we used to learn to do the work, now learning IS the work.

  • Transcend your environment

With the rising digitization in today’s world and the ubiquity of the internet, ignorance is no longer acceptable. Tony Elumelu, Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Group Chairman, UBA Group

Tony Elumelu engages associates of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) in an interactive session

When I was in college, I always told my colleagues that the competition we’d face in the job market is not from students in Ghana but those elsewhere like Europe, America and so on. I always thought that we now live in a global village and internet penetration has removed most of the barriers. Therefore, you can longer assume that all you see in your immediate environment is all. That is the reason I left Nigeria to come to Ghana for my college education.

In the last few months, several headhunters from around the world (especially, India) looking to fill different roles have reached out to me on LinkedIn. The internet has given talent professionals access to a tremendous pool of candidates, thereby shifting the resource pool from industry or location to a higher-quality global population.

If your college or workplace does not have that form of global perspective, you can transcend your environment. It’s your responsibility to immerse yourself in global conversations. Don’t limit yourself to your coursework or job description. Don’t be hemmed-in by society, location or nationality. Create your own reality, develop your voice and find your place in the world.

Here’s an idea: Make out time to take part in community events and programs. Be part of a cause that’s bigger than yourself. If you cannot find an organization that serves your purpose, can you form one?

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from; it doesn’t matter whether you’re 24 or 42, if you have the skills for the future of work and know how to market it, you’ll win! In a time when many people are complaining about not finding work, I know several others who have more jobs than they can handle.

As I write this, software developer training and outsourcing company, Andela, just announced a $100 million Series D round funding to further scale their program. If you asked me, what is education today? I’d say it’s an ability to take ownership of your aspirations and grow in confidence that yields success. I believe we’re in an “alternative education” era when education is no longer about degrees or accolades. It’s about developing the capacity to solve problems – and getting adequate consideration in that process. Education today is a reprogramming of the mind.

Stop complaining; no one is listening. Take control of your life. You’ve got this!

Get started with a personalized education on Readyforwork Career Coaching Program.


About the Author

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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“It wasn’t until the early part of 2017 that it dawned on me: impostor syndrome could follow me the rest of my life if I didn’t make a change!”

Part of my job at SFAN – the one I enjoy so much – is being a connector: bringing innovators, thinkers, corporate executives, and co-dreamers together to spark off a meaningful career or business conversation.

Regardless of the theme, there’s usually that moment when someone talks about his or her struggles with impostor syndrome. There is usually that moment when someone recounts how he or she grappled with the fear of being exposed as a fraud at work.

Looking back at my own life, I remember my struggle with the feelings of insecurity. As a teenager, I had several internalized fears that I was not good enough.

It got prevalent when I came to Ghana. There was an occasional reminder that I didn’t belong in some groups at school due to some of those pervasive stereotypes about Nigerians. This translated into life after college as I decided to continue building SFAN instead of going back home. There was that constant on-and-off struggle with being an outsider. And, when coupled with the pressure of creating a sustainable growth engine for my business and leading my team, the result was constant anxiety because of my limited knowledge.

It wasn’t until the early part of 2017 that it dawned on me: impostor syndrome could follow me the rest of my life if I didn’t make a change!

Tony Robbins once said that if something is important to you, you have to make it a study. So I decided to study how to work on my mindset and face this monstrous impostor syndrome.

Here’s what worked for me:

1. Embrace Who You Are

“There are many challenges in life, but do not be imprisoned by your own thoughts and fears.” – Strive Masiyiwa

women's blue and white floral surplice neckline camisole
Angel Wings by DESIGNECOLOGIST

At the early stages of my career, I thought the best way to overcome the impostor syndrome was to be “twice as good.” But, the harder I worked, the more I felt that people around me did not acknowledge my contribution.

And it bothered me – almost to the point and often to the point that I considered changing my name to a Ghanaian name just to fit in.

Come to find out, about 70% of people across cultures are affected by this same feeling of being a fraud at something. In fact, highly successful people like Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Natalie Portman of Hollywood all suffered from impostor syndrome at different points in their career.

But instead of living in denial, they chose to make peace with that feeling and over-index on their truth. When you are true to your core, you stifle the inner conflicts that often make some people “fake it to make it.”

In my own life, I had to come to grips with the fact that my only limitation is my mind. I am a Nigerian entrepreneur in whatever context I operate from and that’s not going to change. Regardless of certain skewed narratives about my country, I am comfortable introducing myself as a Nigerian. And, I am comfortable being under the microscopic eyes of people that feel some of my results are too good to be true.

For the record, there are negative people in any part of the world.

People are people everywhere – the most important thing is to keep an open mind and silence the negative voices in your head.

Says Wayne Dyer, “if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” As entrepreneurs, the biggest challenge we face is often what goes on in our heads. What you complain about today might just be the physical equivalence of the thoughts and images you’ve been harboring in your mind. In other words, “what you focus on expands and becomes real for you.”  

If you have been feeling pinned-down by your mistakes and insecurities, it’s time to embrace who you are without a sense of guilt. It’s time to stop letting the impostor syndrome be a liability and make it an opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive!  

2. Build Your Self-Confidence Through Positive Self-Talk

There has been considerable emphasis on the fact that positive self-talk is an effective strategy for enhancing learning and optimizing performance.

It’s true; what we say to ourselves has more effect on our perception of control, confidence, and spiritual wellbeing.

David Goggins is considered by many as the strongest man alive. Goggins is the only member of the US Armed Forces to complete SEAL training, US Army Ranger School, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. He was also the Guinness record holder for the most number of pull-ups done in 24 hours.

He attributed a major part of his success to a concept known as a Cookie Jar. The Cookie Jar is a secret weapon which contains every setback he has overcome in his life. And in times of struggle, he’ll remember how he went to three hell week as a Navy SEAL and completed two. He’ll remind himself that suffering is just a test. With that constant reminder, he is able to attack whatever obstacle life throws in his path and win.

Says Goggins in his book, Can’t Hurt Me: “Remembering what you’ve been through and how that has strengthened your mindset can lift you out of a negative brain loop and help you bypass those weak, one-second impulses to give in.”

People with impostor syndrome often fear new challenges because they feel unworthy, inadequate, and incompetent. Click To Tweet

Create your own reality and reinforce that picture by speaking words of courage and power to yourself. See yourself handling your challenges, building your business, getting the contracts and becoming an influencer.

If you’re new to this type of thinking, it might feel like a lie at the beginning but that is where the fun begins. Impress that thought to your mind through positive affirmations and it’ll go to work in shifting your energy to put you at a peak state.

At this point, your brain will begin to shift from victim to victor mentality. You’ll dress better and feel more confident. You’ll begin to think like a global citizen. You’ll have more ideas on how to improve your work and the lives of those around you. You’re not worried about competitors because you’re your own competition. This is what psychologists call a mental and emotional breakthrough. And once you’ve tasted that feeling, nothing else can satisfy.

3. Deliver on Your Commitments

“Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.” – Michael Jordan

white ceramic mug with coffee on top of a planner
Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Too many people don’t honor their commitments.

Why?

They lack a sense of character. Their words do not mean much to them. They have no resolve and they have no issue wiggling out of their commitments because deep down, they don’t believe in themselves.

They prefer to drift along instead of stepping across the line because of the fear of uncertainty. They prefer the comfort of mediocrity to the uncertainty of daring incredible things in life.

Their language is “I will try.”

Successful people don’t “try,” they either do it or they don’t do it at all. They deliver on their commitments no matter what happens. They know that their word is their bond so they are selective about what they commit to.

In the language of research, commitment means binding yourself to a course of action. It means you’ve passed your point of no return and you’ve burned your bridges.

Tony Robbins breaks down the labyrinth involved in actualizing this strategy in three simple steps:

  • Make a decision while you’re in a high emotional or peak state
  • Commit to your decision by removing everything in your environment that may conflict with it and hold yourself accountable through multiple channels
  • Make up your mind that your decision is final and it will happen.

When we were planning the inaugural Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana, there were many obstacles we had to overcome. At one point, I felt like we didn’t have what it takes to create an event of that magnitude. But we were fully committed. It was obligational, not conditional.

Be aware, when you make your decision, your resolve will be tested. There’d be times when everything that could go wrong will go wrong. This is when you must remember the reason why you got started in the first place.

Your resolve must be strong.

There is an emotional juice that comes from results and a sense of knowing that “you earned this.” It makes you feel good about yourself. It builds up your credibility and you love your work more.

You give more thought to nuancing your delivery and your results will correspond with your new state of mind.

Before long, people will take notice of your excellence and pay you more for your services which will lead to creating more top-rated work.

There is a higher calling for each one of us. At some point in our lives, every one of us has seen our “other self;” that inner man or woman of substance. But many people choose to be hemmed-in by society and stereotypes instead of liberating themselves from the clutch of limited thinking to be all they could be.

To be completely honest, there are still moments when that little voice of impostor syndrome makes me feel unworthy of my results or certain aspirations. But I know better now. I know how to wear my identity like a badge of honor while progressively improving my personality, results, and outlook on life. 

You too can do the same!


About the Author

Tom-Chris | #Readyforwork

Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you enjoyed reading this article, consider sharing it so that others can find it! 

Featured Image by Collins Lesulie on Unsplash

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“Congratulations, you are now a 2018 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur!”

If you received the above message a couple days ago, this article is for you. If you didn’t, use these tips to improve your chances for the next cycle of the entrepreneurship program coming up in 2019.

According to The Elumelu Foundation, more than 150,000 Africans from 114 countries worldwide applied to join the 4th ‎cycle of The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s 10-year, $100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. If you saw your name as one of the African entrepreneurs with the most innovative, high-potential business ideas, your journey starts now.

Being selected is the first phase of the process, the next phase which is the determinant factor to getting your seed funding is the 12 weeks of intensive online training. I can assure you right now, it’s not a walkover and some entrepreneurs don’t make it through this stage. To help you avoid this nightmare, I am sharing a few lessons from my experience that might be of use to you in getting prepared and essentially get your funding.

  • Take All The Lessons As Soon As They Are Released

During the online training period, there will be weekly lessons and exercises on various topics – from team building to finance to marketing. They are usually concise but can pile up if you don’t take the courses just in time. Therefore, don’t wait until it’s too late before completing your exercises and more so, be sure you’re not just winging it. The lessons are carefully crafted to prepare you for growing your business; whether you’re already in business or just getting your ideas together, the contents are proven business development tools that equip you with the knowledge and skills to succeed in your entrepreneurial journey. For those of us that’s been through this process, it is like an entrepreneurship MBA!

  • Leverage The Mentors And Community Support

Another beautiful thing The Foundation has done is to pair candidates with mentors in their line of business. Be sure to reach out to your mentor at every stage of your training as they will help make your learning experience a great one. If you realize that your mentor is not responsive, reach out to the admins and request a change of mentor. Also, The Foundation has made provision for you to utilize your external mentors in the case there’s no immediate replacement. Learn how to make the best of your mentor-mentee relationship with valuable tips from this article.

Again, your fellow entrepreneurs can be very vital in knowledge sharing. Participate in conversations, ask for help if you need one and provide assistance when you can. The entrepreneurial journey gets lonely at times and having people of like minds in your community is a valuable asset and an important component of the program – to help you connect with innovators like yourself.

  • Craft A Strong Business Plan

Here’s another tough one, if your business plan isn’t approved by Accenture – one of the implementing partners – you won’t get paid. It could be a daunting process if you don’t plan for the task. So, the smart thing to do is to gather the business plan documents as you take the courses because, eventually, your business plan will be judged based on an application of the lessons from the 12 weeks online training. And, don’t ever miss the deadline for submitting your business plan for anything in the world! Although you might get a grace period afterward, the pressure can be incredibly overwhelming.

Ensure your financial projections are also telling the same story as the other parts of the business plan. You will be given some chances to rework your stuff if otherwise. But in the case that you don’t get things sorted out after the given period, you will be disqualified.

Don’t be afraid to ask for your mentor’s second opinion as long as they are not writing the business plan for you. And finally, ensure you submit the required documents like your business bank account and business registration details.

In the words of Tony Elumelu, entrepreneurship is not easy but nothing worth having ever is. This is a great opportunity to make your entrepreneurial dreams happen. Take advantage of it and create your empire!


If you need further assistance, reach out to us to request a meeting with one of our coaches via info@sfanonline.org. Get our bi-weekly email of inspiration, career and business insights. Subscribe here.

Image Credit: Tony Elumelu Foundation

A science-based blueprint for achieving 10x faster results

We’ve all experienced that moment of great excitement as the New Year approaches —we’re pumped, the world looks small, and we can’t wait to do great and wonderful things!

Some of us make lofty resolutions like:

This year, I will be a millionaire.

This year, I will be the manager of my organization.

This year, I will find my Prince Charming.

But, as the days roll into weeks and weeks become months, the euphoria of the New Year gradually wears off.

And so does the motivation to achieve our goals until we’re so tapped out and counsel ourselves to forget them.

I’ve often wondered; why is it that many people seem to know what they can do to change their lives but don’t do those things. Why is it that some people succeed where others failed? What is the secret to achieving great results?

Come to find out, it’s all based on a simple formula — so simple that some of us ignore it.

If you are among the people who have a laundry list of excuses for why they can’t achieve their goals, well my friend, the time for excuses is over. After you read this post, there will be no reason you can’t achieve exponential results in anything you want to do. Likewise, if you want to take your result to the next and higher level, I’m about to provide you with a template for creating massive success. The principles shared herein is science-based!

How to Achieve Faster Results: A Simple Formula to Follow

Step 1: Multiply Your Goals By 10.

“Wherever it is you want to go, there is a long and conventional path, and there are shorter, less conventional approaches.” — Benjamin Hardy.

Incremental success is possible, and it’s possible for everyone. But, it takes a different mindset to actualize it.

If you want to change your life and results, you cannot set conventional goals. You have to set goals SO HUGE that it beats your mind how you can achieve it — goals that require strong faith to believe the possibility of making them happen. Richard Branson said, “If your dreams don’t scare you they are too small.”

The size of your goals determines the trajectory of your life because it raises your awareness and fuels your creativity.

Big goals attract big people. They attract the people and resources that resonate with that frequency. The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it, Michelangelo said.

He was right.

Anyone that has achieved anything worthwhile will tell you that what they had was clarity of what they wanted to do, not the process. You need to commit first and figure out the process as you go along.

Commitment produces clarity and clarity drive action; it helps you persist and persevere. In the language of research, commitment means binding yourself to a course of action.

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable. Christopher Reeve

Step 2: Multiply Your Actions By 10.

In his book, 10x Rule, The Only Difference Between Success and Failure, Grant Cardone reduced the labyrinth of the key to achieving incremental success to a) setting targets for yourself that are 10x greater than what you believe you can achieve and b) taking actions that are 10x greater than what you believe is necessary to achieve your goals.

Says Grant: Never reduce a target. Instead, increase actions. When you start rethinking your targets, making up excuses and letting yourself off the hook, you are giving up on your dreams!

Most people give up the moment they hit roadblocks in trying to achieve their goals. They become trapped in a state of “a knowledge-action gap;” where they know what they should do but cannot do them.

As they indulge in this limiting process, their brains create patterns that strengthen the habit.

It’s what behavioral psychology calls, associative conditioning; where our brains stop us from taking actions it links to pain or reinforcing actions it links to pleasure.

This distinguishes people we call winners from losers. It’s all in the state of their consciousness.

You may have these incredible ideas and you think what’s missing is motivation. But that’s not true because the way our minds are wired and the fact about the human being is that we are not designed to do things that are uncomfortable or scary or difficult. Our brains are designed to protect us from those things because our brains are trying to keep us alive. — Mel Robbins

Stop waiting for motivation and start chasing your goals. Prime your mind that obstacles will arise — people will call you crazy, old friendships could fail, the wheels might come off — but you must keep pushing the status quo!

The question is no longer how bad you want it. The real question is; how much work are you willing to put in to actualize it?

Create an intense demand on yourself that you can’t help but respond. Hard work is your first guarantee for achieving your goals.

When you rid yourself of average thinking and average action, you improve your self-worth and metacognition.

Step 3: Set Time Aside For Re-creation.

Edith Harbaugh, the CEO of LaunchDarkly, shared her most transferable lesson from riding a bike to building startups and software with The First Round awhile back. She said, “every ride starts with zero. Once your direction is set, begin each day with a blank slate.”

But, beginning every day with a clean slate requires that you set specific time aside to measure your results and to refill yourself.

The creative process is an inside-out approach.

Like Benjamin Hardy said, mental creation always precedes physical creation. Before a building is physically constructed, there’s a blueprint.

Create a ritual that helps you to evaluate your work, reassess your strategies, realign your thoughts and redirect your energy.

Performing at your best and being in a peak state requires you master your mind and your body. The easiest way to achieving mastery over your mind and body is through good diet, proper exercise and rest, prayer and meditation, and reproducing your ideas. Science confirms your best thoughts come to you immediately following a good sleep or in an activity that pushes you to the limit.

Your mind has all the answers you’re seeking for; what you need to do is trigger the impulse that generates what experts call “fluid intelligence.”

In the words of James Allen, bestselling author of As A Man Thinketh, the mind is the master power that molds and makes, and man is mind, and evermore he takes the tool of thought, and, shaping what he wills, brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills. He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass.

Therefore, make your mind an ally and milk those thoughts through productive work every day.

Step 4: Build A Support System.

Napoleon Hill popularized the concept of a mastermind group through his classic self-help, Think And Grow Rich. In the book, Hill defines a mastermind group as “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”

Great leaders in business and corporations have known this. Though the practice and terminology may change from culture to culture, the principle remains the same: other people’s expectations of you influence how you end up.

Professor of Cognitive Robotics and the Philosophy of Knowledge, Mark H. Bickhard, wrote the following in his thesis entitled, How Does the Environment Affect the Person?

It is generally assumed that human beings perceive and understand the world through the senses and that that epistemic connection with the world occurs via the transmission of information from the world through those senses into a mind. The converse perspective on this same assumption is that the environment influences individuals, both microgenetically and developmentally, via the information that is generated in that environment and transmitted into the minds of those individuals.

Your environment has to do with who you are. Therefore, surround yourself with people who believe in you and hold you to high standards — people who help you grow and become your best self.

Surround yourself with people who help you nuance your thinking and overcome your inhibition.

If you’re the smartest person in your group, you probably need another group. Always, put yourself in a position that makes you feel like a little fish swimming in a big jar.

You grow and learn.

You become wiser.

You aspire to catch up with everyone else and your zeal to succeed will silence your fears and the desire for complacency.

Says Grant Cardone:

You have to be obsessed. Nobody has ever accomplished something incredible without obsession. The ability to be obsessed is not a disease, it is a gift. The saying “under commit and over deliver” is stupid. Instead, over commit and figure out how to show up at a higher level. Success is like a garden; you must constantly tend to it and care for it. Don’t worry about how much work it is; think about how great the results will be. Challenge traditions and established ways of thinking. Approach everything with the attitude that it can be done. Believe that you will figure it out. Don’t follow the pack; lead the pack.


Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Simple steps to achieving success in the New Year.

The reason for the failure of many New Year resolutions and goals is because they are not anchored on a clear vision.– Femi Banigbe

To help us explore how anyone can position himself/herself to thrive in 2017, we hosted two high-profile business leaders: Femi Banigbe, Managing Partner, Silver Rock Technologies, and Akosua Annobil, Founder, AB2020 at the second edition of #SFANLiveChat.

Here are four takeaways from the chat:

a.) Create a vision for the year, not just goals

Many people confuse goal setting with wishful thinking, Femi says, “a goal is simply a plan with a timeline while a wish is a fantasy without clear intention. Achieving your goals in 2017 will require you to clearly define your objectives.”

But, to translate your wishes into concrete actionable goals, you need to be intentional about what it is you want.

Being intentional in your goal setting requires that you “define exactly what those goals are; what the purpose behind them is and define the bigger objective. What are your goals linked to? If you can anchor them onto a bigger purpose you’re more likely to stick to them. Identify the people and activities you truly want in your life. Make quality plans and put dates in the diary,” Akosua explains.

When you have a clearly defined vision for why you want to do what you plan to do, you get to strengthen your resolve.

Your vision gives you the “why;” a purpose for what you’re doing and your goal is backed by your purpose.

“When your dream is big enough, the odds don’t matter.”— Les Brown.

b.) Leverage relationships and tech

AB2020 is one of the premier carriers of global business news, events, missions, and Africa-focused business content. A key component of Akosua’s success strategy with this venture is leveraging relationships and technology. At the end of the day, she says, “business is relationships. Networking is a must! But, it’s not a one-way street. What do you bring to the room?” Building strategic alliances with people that are pursuing similar goals with you is of vital importance.

On technology, Akosua noted that tech has provided tools, platforms, apps, and other resources that can enhance productivity at little cost. But “as much as leveraging mobility and collaboration tools is important, most of the time what you need are simple tech-based tools that can help you focus, plan, learn and manage execution. Don’t make the mistake of complicating your life with advanced tech tools. The Key phrase to remember is ‘Keep it simple,’” Femi highlights.

c.) Create a balance

Before co-founding Silver Rock Technologies, Femi worked for different fortune 500 companies in different executive positions including as the Network Support Group Manager at Ericsson, Director of Operations at Airtel Nigeria, the Chief Operations Officer at Millicom Ghana, etc. At each of these levels, he always managed to find extra times to contribute to the community by either serving as leadership and life coach or as a motivational speaker at conferences across Africa.

“The question of balance can be elusive to many,” he explains. “It’s simply focusing on what is important at each phase of your life. Balance requires self-management – ensuring that you are in control of how you use and invest your time. It involves giving appropriate amounts of attention, time, energy and resources to the important aspects of life. Be flexible and don’t be unrealistic. Sometimes we need to work a bit harder and sometimes rest a bit longer.”

d.) Think as big you can, but start small

Akosua’s job at AB2020 involves being the eyes and ears for what’s going on in African business space, and, communicating this in an inclusive manner. This could be a daunting task sometimes. She believes that to avoid being overwhelmed by your goal, you must “do whatever you can with what you have. Ask others to help…whatever you do, don’t focus on what you haven’t got!”

“Having BIG dreams and NO resources are common excuses people make,” Femi says, “big dreams are achieved in small steps. The resources you need to take the first step in achieving your big dreams are available to you if you look deeper. You have all it takes to take the first step towards your dreams. The first step opens a door that leads to many doors.”

“Every artist was first an amateur.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Conclusion

If you want to thrive in 2017, you need to focus. “Your plan will need your attention, and this may require sacrifices. To quote one of my favorite songs, ‘life is what you make it’. Whatever you have planned for 2017, start today,” Akosua emphasizes.

“2017 like every year is full of opportunities, go all out to succeed,” Femi concludes.


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