One of the beautiful things about life is that it offers you continuous opportunities to learn, once you are breathing, you can learn something new and exciting. Whether simple or great, lessons cannot be overrated, for they enrich us for better living, empower us for making informed and wise decisions, and prepare us for our journeys ahead.
During my years at GDB, every conflict, every discussion, every crisis and every turbulence, worked as tools rubbing against my character; with every friction came pain, discomfort, fear of the unknown, doubt and at the same time, faith, hope and determination.
I am now one day old as a non-employee of the GDB (feel a little sadness here) and honestly, I have no regrets. Instead I have cherished memories and lessons that I would always hold dear to my heart.
I can say a lot, but I need to focus on just enough, allowing you to digest quickly as you read. May you be encouraged to keep pushing against the tide, when all odds seem to be against you. Remember your success requires perseverance!
- As a youth, in the early years of your career, seek to associate yourself with experienced and accomplished persons who are willing teach you unconditionally. In life we need sincere mentors who would not seek to exploit us or help us expecting something in return. I pray that you will be able to know the difference. I was blessed to meet some great professionals as a “just-starting” professional. These relationships helped to steer me in the direction of advancement and eventually success.
- Don’t ever let others’ incorrect perception of you mar you or define you. There have been times when I doubted the core of who I am. After some wavering, I found my balance and started to believe again in who I was. My solid upbringing as a child and my godly foundation was in tact after all. I had to know me and believe in me, even in the times when no-one else did.
- Think the best of others first (always). Be very careful when your colleagues at work come to you with complaints about others. Remember, as much as we try to be good, as human beings we have sinful tendencies. It takes practice and discipline to report a matter correctly and objectively when you are offended, experiencing jealousy, fearful, angry or even in a state of un-forgiveness or bitterness. It seriously blurs your vision and hinders your ability to think clearly. So when your work-mates approach you in such a manner, seek to listen carefully and remember many times there’s more to the story or even less.
- Despite how many times you feel put down, rise up to the challenge ahead; you need to ensure your energy is being well spent. I was foolish enough sometimes to give-in to the occasions when I felt put down; I was wrong to give in. I eventually learned how to direct my energies to positive thoughts, despite the temptation to slump in self-pity, and focus on the work I had to do on my desk, my annual goals and my personal achievements.
- When you are able to receive criticisms gracefully, whether the motive is to build you up or break you down, you have achieved greatness, especially when you are able to see value in the criticism and value in the person criticizing you. We can choose to complaint about what others are saying or how they are saying it, or we can choose to accept that there are some things we cannot change and instead look for gold and silver among the junk. Look deeper! Look pass the faces and the sound of the voice.
- If you have started the process towards achieving a particular goal, don’t dwell on the process, focus on the prize. I love focusing on the goal, the result, it always looks good and inspires me to keep moving. We can choose to whine about the spills, the sleepless nights, the seemingly difficult people, the exams, the need to practice, the need to study, our supervisor or our boss, or we can keep our eyes on what looks really good, the prize, the goal. I know it is easier said than done but it really keeps us focused and moving.
- Listen to others even when they do not listen to you, do it sincerely. If you are patient, change will eventually come. I expect that this lesson would not make sense to some of you and you may have good reason to think that way. I have practiced it however and it has worked. Life is about building relationships, it is about denying ourselves the first word, the last word or any word at all. In building relationships we must learn how to control our emotions and just be still. I think there are three main reasons why someone may not listen to you but just want to be heard; 1) They feel that they have not been heard; your body language suggests that you are not interested or have not been giving them undivided attention. 2) They do not think what you have to say is of any value to them and 3) They have come to you in protection mode (their defense is up), they are seeking to protect themselves from something about themselves that they prefer not to have explored or exposed. Patience and understanding is required here.
- Finally, when the stressful moment comes and the seemingly impossible situation comes your way, remember that this too shall pass. Breathe and think about the time when it will be all over. Seek help when you need it, but never give up as if it is the end, because it is not. It is up to you to dig deep and find ways to survive the tossing waves. You can still learn to swim.
I do hope these eight lessons would inspire you to face life more positively, especially at work. Don’t let the negative forces influence you, see every moment as an opportunity to grow, to shine and to build a legacy of pure loyalty and commitment.
I write this article with special thoughts of Jinaele Douglas, my former assistant, who has had to whether many personal storms. May this article give you strength.
Featured picture is a drawing of me, done by Jinaele Douglas. What talent!!