Monday, November 28, 2011

Choose Purpose...

Just a few days left in November, and for most of us tensions are rising.  Are you feeling it?  Tension about how our long list for the year has not been accomplished and we are wondering if we will get a few more weeks to move as fast as we could to try and at least tick off some of these items so we can feel good that we did our best in 2011.  I do hope that works out somehow.  But my counsel will be, to take time out and focus on 2012 and begin to set our minds on what we will do with our year and how we intend to do it.

On today’s post, I want to tackle the issue of those who say “I have no passion.” Yes, I have come across those who are not able to emphatically say that a particular thing is their passion, they say something like “well I can do a number of things well, but nothing really excites me like that.”  And then they ask, so what do you suggest is a dream that is organic to me?

On the other hand there are also those who know for sure what it is that they are passionate about and have actually stepped out for years to pursue their passion.  They come to me and say something like “so and so is my passion, and I have worked on it for a number of years, while I am doing well at it, I still feel there is something more I could be doing.”

To both parties the answer is simple… Get Purpose! And someone is wondering, “Really? Isn’t there something more scientific that can be recommended?”  The truth is no, there is nothing more I can personally ask you to consider.

If you can do a whole lot of things well, but none of them excites you enough to be counted as a passion, then maybe you need to take a hard look at where you are, ask why you are planted there, and assess which of your gifts will bring the best value to your place of planting.  For instance if you are a mother and a wife, and you know how to cook, sew and maybe even bake, but none of these things excite you enough to be referred to as your passion, and you are wondering what you can do.  What you need to do is to look at these three strengths you have vis-รก-vis the value using them can add to your family and your purpose as a mother and wife and deploy it. 

Purpose is about service, adding value and doing good, so if I have skills as a wife and mother but cannot say I have a passion, I just take my purpose and use my skills to live it out. Before you know it, the excitement of being able to add value is bound to ignite some passion one way or the other in you.

For the man who has a Passion, say for art, and has spent years either studying art or following trends in art but has not been able to add value and find fulfillment, the issue is the same; you are pursuing a passion which if you do alone, can only feed your flesh and be about you alone, without adding value to another.  My counsel is therefore, take time and think again, about where you are, and what value you can add right there.  Which means if you are a father and husband and pursuing your passion in art has left your family living from hand to mouth with no direction or respite in sight, you want to step up to your purpose as father and husband which is primarily to ensure that your household is well taken care of and provided for. If art cannot meet these needs then, you need to begin to check your other skills and determine which will best serve your purpose.

As you begin to step up to the plate and live a purposeful life which can no longer be selfish or self centered, the excitement of adding value and doing good, will galvanize you and you may even in the end be able to tie art to your quest to add value.

The verdict today therefore, is if you had to choose between purpose and passion, please choose purpose. This is a higher level of living, where you live more for others than you live for yourself.

You will make it NeverTheless. You will…


Sistar B

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Calculated Recklessness

What I mean is we set out to ensure that our dream is giving more than it is taking, but we must have an expectation that the dream will give back to us.  How do we ensure this?

1. Make sure your passion will continue to drive the dream, profit or no profit.

2. Ensure that you can and others can see the effect or impact of your value.

3. Ensure that your dream has within it the capability to release others into their dreams.

4. Determine who needs your value and device a way to reach them directly.

5. When you reach them, make service the point of your contact. I mean make them know you are there to serve them. Make yourself vulnerable before them.

6. Understand and accept that you deserve to profit, thereby price your service accordingly.

7. Expect your gain and look out for it within the value you are creating and giving.

What all of this means is that yes you are running a business or pursuing your dream with what some people will term as reckless but because you have taken the outcome into consideration and actually know what it is you are expecting, you are actually calculatedly reckless.

If you run this way, I can assure you that you will get what you expect, NeverTheLess.

Till next week, keep touching lives as you pursue the dream of your life.

You will make it, NeverTheLess.


Sistar B

Monday, November 14, 2011

More on Gain vs Value

Welcome!  I’m sorry but I just could not put up a post last week, I had a few things to sort out and that kept me out of the office through the week.  Thanks to all who have one way or the other sent feedback on posts on this blog so far.  I really appreciate your feedback. 

Someone asked me what a business is to do to make gain, while creating or giving value that outshines the gain.  Another respondent wanted to know if what I meant in the last post was that it is wrong for people to want to make gain.  On this post I will try and answer both questions and hopefully the issue of gain versus value will become clearer for us all.

The issue is never that a man or woman makes gain, the issue as I see and understand it is that the urge for making gain could be so strong that one is willing to bend the rules, compromise or even harm the other person, and this becomes the mindset of gain at all costs.  What I am proposing in the alternative is that we set out with the intention that whatever we are doing and will do, will carry a value worth more than any gain or money we may make.  Please note that what I am saying is not that we price ourselves, goods or services below cost and profit margin, but that we can make profit while still ensuring that what our clientele or customers enjoy as value from our goods or services have by far more lasting impact than the money they have to pay for it.

The point therefore is that we ensure that those we deal with have a pleasant experience that makes whatever amount they pay worth it. It is a mindset thing if you ask me.  It is a determination that people will pay for the experience they will have for every time they come in contact with us, rather than just for the goods and services

Now to the question of what does a person do to ensure that they get gain from the value they create. The answer is simple, if we are setting out with the mindset that we want to add value, to make more gain; we just need to increase the number of people we are able to serve with the value mindset. To explain it, let me use Effectual Magazine as our example. When it became clear that we were called and created to add value to women in this peculiar way, we started to service through teachings that attracted a handful of women per meeting.

We were making impact but we also knew that for our dream to make gain then it needed to serve more women.  What we then did was take the teachings and put them into newsletter formats and started to spread them to a lot more women than we could reach with our meetings. Ultimately, we realized that the women were being blessed, but we could reach a whole lot more women and that was how the magazine was born. Even with the magazine, we have constantly looked for ways to reach more women, and today our readership transcends the shores of Nigeria and Africa. 

The secret is out, if you want to make more gain, find a way to serve more people and you will be amazed at the volume of lives you touch as well as the extent of the value you are able to create. The more people you can touch with value and impact in mind rather than money and gain, the more your gain and profit goes up.

For everyone already living their dreams out there, try this simple principle and let me know how you have fared. 

Till next week, you will make it NevertheLess… I promise.


Sistar B

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Value vs Gain

I had a meeting today that kind of put me out of sorts.  The information that I received at the meeting was not in any way news to me, but today it came very close to home, that I am forced to take a really hard look at myself and the things that I do and ascertain if I can say someday it has been worth it.

In 2008, I fell ill and was diagnosed with a condition I didn’t even know existed up till then.  It was not terminal, but for someone who stayed away from any kind of diagnostic findings this was not good.  To make matters worse within a week, I went from a size 14 to a 10, to the extent that people who used to know me didn’t recognize me.

That experience made me take time out to ask myself the question that I am asking today and hope that you will be able to ask and answer in the affirmative when you do.  My question then was and today is, “Does the Value that my life gives, outweigh the gains?

Some people argue that you may not be able to ascertain what the volume of your value is in comparison to your gain, especially when you provide a service and do not sell goods.  I believe however, that it doesn’t matter what it is we do, we can always tell the weight of the value we create.

For anyone who wants to pursue or run with a dream, this is a question you must ask even before you begin.  I know that I said two posts ago that you must ask the question, what value it is you are going to create with your dream, which is a great question to ask. 

However, today, I thought about it again given my peculiarity and realized that Value is great, and everyone is trying to give value these days.  What separates a great dream chaser from a good one is the volume of the value that is given.

To take your dream to the league of really great and successful ones, there is a need to be able to answer in the affirmative that your value outweighs the gain.  I remember an analogy drawn by one of my sisters of people who spend a million naira to renovate a school block and spend 5 million to announce it.  The noise, which is the way I classify the announcements, overwhelm the good that had been done.

If we start our businesses from the premise that we will ensure that our value every time outweighs the gain, there is no reason why we will not end up successful.  The noise and the hype in my opinion distract and take away from the good that we are trying to do.

Remember that questions help you think through the process before you set out.  Ensuring that you are able to establish how your value will outweigh the gain is bound to put you in the league of great dreamers.

This is not a call not to make gain, but this is a call to start out with the mindset that the gain is not why you are stepping out.  In the words of Bob Burg author of The Go Giver, “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”

Gain is good, because every business or dream that will endure will have to make gain, but let it be clear that you are sure what your bottom line is, and be sure that your bottom line is what is truly important.

I know you will make it, NeverTheLess.


Sistar B