I am the Problem

Are we still feeling hopeful for Nigeria? I don’t know! I seem to be at my wits’ end, but then that’s the thing, I am the problem!

Our children… Public servants, our leaders, those we voted and those who bought their seats (can’t seem to recognize the difference anymore)… they didn’t fall from the sky nor rise from the abyss. They were conceived, born and nurtured by mothers. They were taught the difference between good and evil (I use that very deliberately because we‘ve gone past bad), they were taught to live right, to be fair and just, sent to school to whatever level (now all and sundry have doctorate degrees). Teachers went on from where parents stopped, at intervals, neighbours and well-wishers, even bystanders dropped a teaching or two when wrong was done on the street. Back in the day, there was no minding anyone’s business, everyone minded it! A child was brought up by all, and parents were thankful for it!!

Our parents… Now, these individuals are our parents, and I say that with the deepest sense of regret, the ones who taught us about honesty, truth, integrity, sacrifice, love and loyalty. Is this a cruel joke life is playing on us? Has God finally decided to leave us to our wiles and allow us to destroy each other? At least there’ll be fewer people for Him to worry about!

Our workplace… In the work place these our parents are wolves, scroungers, thieves to make it plain… they will kill a project in a heartbeat without a thought to the merit it possessed to the ministry and the nation at large if their individual numbers are unclear. They want a morsel from your every project, they need to be factored in to your daily profits, they believe they’ve earned the right to reap where they did not sow, and they’ll do a hell of a damn lot to ensure they get it. God help you if you have more than one venture under their jurisdiction, they’ll push for the entire profits of one if not more. The landlord who’d rather his tenant couldn’t send his kids to school as long as he paid his rent and some.

Our fate… Alas, this is where we are as a country, our landlords, our governments, our lawmakers have sentenced us to live out the rest of our lives in their shackles without the possibility of parole. To be totally honest, when I’m not imagining their downfall, my heart bleeds for them , because you get to a point where you lose all self-respect for the acquisition of someone else’s wealth, where though you may get it, you become truly pitiful.

Our business… If you have the opportunity to leave Nigeria and you don’t, it better be because you are working smart and employing people to work hard in the private sector – the Private sector; oh the challenge of all sorts of incidental percentages in your financial model to make available a little “something something” for the EDs who get your huge facilities approved. Amazingly, these things are not even “thank-yous” anymore, they are now a right, with MOUs and MOAs on the side to govern the expectations. Does one truly go into arbitration over a “bribery” MOU? We have become that utterly shameless!!! The provisions are such that we can use English grammar to create an ideal transaction, and you better believe a judge or an arbitrator will preside over the nonsense, again using the tax payers’ money! What a colossal waste of time!

Our compromise… Business in this country is not for the faint hearted, and it is certainly not on the merit of your financial model nor your passion for infrastructural development and or sustainability. As it stands today, compromise is almost inevitable, after all, integrity does not add up on the ROI and certainly does not take anything out of your capitalized interest on bank facilities.

Our Nigeria… The Arab spring didn’t begin because some people just woke up one day, thought it a great idea and made it happen. It was birthed by long periods of frustration, and if you like, you can say the North African nations got tired and decided to spurt out some of their inherent nonsense even if it meant their own people! Maybe Nigeria will spit us out and start over when she has had enough! For some, we’ve been managing, we’ve been enduring, and someday soon, there’ll be an uprising!

Our ambition… Today, youths don’t talk about being millionaires, everyone’s desires are to be in the hundreds of millions and higher, and as many a preachers will say, if you want to be it, start living it!  We don’t wear Rolexes anymore, everyone’s watches, bags, shoes, price from the second half of a hundred thousand naira, for some greater than 50% of their monthly net take home. Toyotas are ordinary, everyone wants a Lexus, a Range Rover, luxury cars, and people convoy in private jets lest they need to quickly dash to another continent to grab a quick meal or catch a game, yet poverty deepens. Our reasons being that we are ambitious, we are determined, we are willing to work hard for our earnings, we are dreamers and doers, I hate to be the mean clown and burst the balloons (no, not really) but how sustainable are these expectations? Clearly, our remuneration and profits can’t suffice if we don’t pace ourselves! We are setting ourselves up for compromise to sweep through, and when it passes, there’ll be no character left!!

Our everyday… In our beloved nation, every day presents us with who we can be, what we have on our insides determines how we react to the circumstances that come our way and inevitably determines who we eventually become!!

Our people… I don’t believe we’re inherently bad! We don’t wake up every morning saying “Thank God for keeping me, today I’m going to swindle 4 people and make N10M on each”. I think generally we are better than that. If we’re ambitious, we wake up with hope that we’ll succeed, we’ll find favour, we’ll be lucky, that God’ll bless our hustle, then we go about our plans which ultimately aren’t meant to cheat anyone, but then the day commences in all its glory with all of its challenges and brings us smack before compromise after compromise with different levels of exposure, and we are faced with the choice of what next to do? Where else to go? How else to make it work? When we are strong we can let go of our best opportunities as a result of integrity, when we are not and faced with the fear of losing our dreams, we give in and become the vermin we blame for where our nation is and so it begins.

The circle… A new lifestyle is born; we have our children and teach them to do the things we don’t and to avoid those which we do. It seems smart to tell them to do as we say and not as we do, but these things seep out, they find a way, you can’t hide darkness in the open. And so our children learn to face the challenges of us, the workplace, fate, business, compromise, our Nigeria, our ambitions, our everyday and themselves, and if we’re not careful, they’ll react to these the exact way we did and we’ll all miserably come full circle of our selves.

Our dear Nigeria, you are what we make you to be because you cannot be better than your people, and we are a total mess…but if we lose hope in us, then all is truly lost!

 

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How to Step out of your Comfort Zone

Ok… I’ve talked quite a bit about defining your path, choosing your career and starting a business along the lines of your personality, at this point I doubt there’s any doubt as to whether you consider yourself a job creator or a job seeker given all circumstances of the Nigerian economy and dispersing all foundational excuses… So, what’s next?

I dare say, “The Next Step!!”

And what’s that?

I dare say, ACTION…

To be able to act, we must be willing to disperse our fears… We must as a necessity call upon courage, to pull us out of an ever growing and deepening abyss of fear!

If we think about that plan too long, if we ponder on that opportunity endlessly, we’ll find many reasons why it’s wiser to not go down those roads, causing us to experience analysis paralysis on every level – basically absolutely planning and never doing. More infuriating even is the fact that these reasons will appear more than legitimate.

We already have a lot of reasons, albeit, rather reasonable ones as Nigerian youths to do nothing, should we ponder longer, we might never recover!!

Still, that’s not to say one shouldn’t weigh options and risks before any and every venture against business acumen for profitability, but ever notice how you never hear good of yourself when you eavesdrop? Same principle!! Listen long and hard enough and you’ll hear exactly what you were thinking you would!!

Read quite a number of stories on a post called “A conversation with fear”, and I mean the comments actually made for a lot of interesting stories, they gave me even more insight to the damage fear can have on dreams and caused me to further appreciate the effectiveness of it’s personification.

…We say “face your fear” without quite realizing that we mean we should literally face our fears, stand up to and speak to it like a friend or foe, whichever suits your personality. Talk it down, or woo it, whatever it takes, but ensure it’s in sync with you on every venture you undergo because even after you successfully make the first move, it continues to influence your every step…

More often than not, we live in the sanctuary of our comfort zones, and tell tales of how we will start up what we want when we are good and ready. Unknown to the bulk of us, we are pushing forward that day when we will need to reckon with fear, and unfortunately for us, the longer we leave it be, the more courage we will need! And it’s unlikely that fear’s half sister, courage will do more than we give her room to!

So, regardless of how tough it may seem, how needless you may suddenly have convinced yourself that your venture is, you best rise above that overwhelming feeling of sinking in your ideas, and swim to your dreams!

….So my dears, as Nigerians we are known for our persistence. Get out of your Comfort Zone and make things happen for you!!                                               

How to define your Career

Appraising this on a foundational level will for some, bring them smack amidst being middle aged with nostalgia of the dilemma as to what directions they chose to take their lives professionally, for some, a melancholy of how they were whisked into a world of getting by with a reasonable package, and for others an honest-to-God “I had always wanted to do this and I did, I am so fulfilled”. Sadly, the latter is often the exception rather than the case. Most people look back regretfully at having done one thing or the other, or made a decision rather than another. Often times, it’s not the choosing of a career in itself that makes the difference but the reality that necessity is laid upon you to understand and define purpose in every sphere of your life.

To this aim, I choose to work with defining Career as

“progress or advancement through life”

Or

“rapidly moving ahead”

Both definitions demonstrate awareness as to an action that you’re going to have to take every step of the way as opposed to restricting it to one’s profession, which is independent of one’s thought input after making a choice. Thus creating an intrinsic notion that once that choice has been made, the deal is done. This is ambiguous.

I like to think of it as

…“an evolution of thought”

Yes, indeed I appreciate career as

…“an expedition towards a lifelong goal”…

Sure enough, we have a destination with many existent tributaries, how and when we get there however is entirely up to us. In our nation, the ideal always seems to be lacking in options. Expectations exist and you are simply projected to follow through. Go to college and study as you’re told, more often than not without a single thought as to why you’re reading what you’re reading other than the means to a livelihood; it’s not enough to study medicine because your father is a doctor or an engineering course because you think you want a piece of the oil company’s revenue. Honestly, if a niche must be carved, if a road must be paved, one must realize that that’s just not good enough.

True progress cannot be defined nor measured in one’s truly

confused state though one may be successful, a delineation must be made, thought must prevail, ideas must be borne, decisions made; all of which simply make for the voyage, the continuous progressive journey to a purposeful existence.

Let’s consider two 24 year old Nigerians in varied locations, shall we? One in Houston, Texas and the other in Lagos Nigeria: While the Texas bred, given the same opportunity for public higher education from 18 will have a first degree, probably working on a masters with her own apartment and a car along with a savings of sorts; In other words, for her, life will have begun. As opposed to the Lagos bred who will at this time be about  frustrated of the school system due to strikes, still be living in her father’s home with no sense of personal responsibility and almost no direction. If we make an honest appraisal of our economic situation, it simply does not give us any fair competitive advantage over our peers in other nations of the world. Do we then conclude we are destined to be despaired, or do we strive to create our own opportunities and re-write the stories from the way they are presented before us, at least from where I’m sitting? I’d take the latter, and I’d like that you do to, because unfair it may seem, the deed is however already done can not be un-done unless it is first rejected by you. Hence, you must decide that you will not accept nor tolerate mediocrity, you will not be merely be placid, and take everything brought your way but that you understand that you have to choose to either receive or reject what’s dished your way.

Taking the bull by the horns, choosing to chart your course, braving the natural winds of normalcy and expectation, going all out against all odds because and only because you recognize that your dreams are bigger than you, and nothing else will make for satisfaction!!!

…This for me defines a truly entrepreneurial spirit…

Leading Edge – Young Nigerians and Start up businesses

As a fresh out of school or unemployed graduate, there arises a need to be more than tenacious in your desire for new horizons, new challenges, and new courses to chart. It should be a time of great thought, a time to birth ideas and to in a sense truly discover oneself, this is miles away from the reality we see, and the helplessness we experience in Nigerian youths as a result of our nation’s seeming inability to provide ready jobs. Alas, it does not occur to them that no nation’s government can unilaterally provide for all its nations graduates, therein lies the effort of the private sector in entrepreneurs which account for a minimum of 50% of our nation’s graduate positions, and of course inherent in that process is the high level of competitiveness to recruit the absorbable absolute best academically, and to a large extent a bias which must exist to make room for one’s own. They are the business owners in any case, so dare we say they not leave room for their families and friends in a nation where the available entry level and generally junior positions are fast dwindling?

What options do the un-absorbable remaining then have? To say the greater jobless percentage are the not too bright “left overs” is a great misdemeanor. Yes, academic excellence generally does make a way for you especially haven read a technical professional course but that’s about all it does, give you a first chance in! That’s great, but it’s not enough! You have to have dreams and ideas, greatly thinking outside or worse without a box, before you can truly harness all it is you can be.

An Entrepreneur's Mind

Thought, the birth of ideas

Professional status is usually categorized as a career orientation or entrepreneurship, I like to think whichever you choose there will always be a need to possess quite an overlap of both character attributes to truly succeed. For this reason, it is imperative that we all take on self development as a practical way of life and hone our hobbies to the development of character which guarantees us sustenance in our chosen professional status.

I take a stand on entrepreneurial development, necessary traits of which I will be sharing, and you as an individual on a career path can actively learn from, most importantly with focus on performance and time management as it affects your specific industry

Leading Edge works through your personalities and or ideas attempting to first understand you, so as to be able  deliver to you,  the perfect business plan in response to your deep business desires and targets, thereby enabling you to carve a  business niche that is in sync with who you are. We understand that a business can seem like a burden when too far-fetched from your likes and interests, and base our strategy on the concept that you are more likely to succeed in a business which you totally enjoy.

Our services include birthing and honing business ideas, writing business plans, conducting market surveys, risk analysis, devising marketing strategies, managing projects from initiation to conclusion, and providing support services in the early operational phase of your business.

All at a reasonable and negotiable percentage of total startup or recovery costs with convenient payment plans.

For expertise and strategy in start-up and continuity of your growing business, give us a call today: 08083080527

Sink or Swim


The best laid plans, the brightest “light-bulb” ideas, the well thought of strategies, the most harmonized visions, and even the soundest objectives. All of these remain absolutely latent if they remain in your head! In a matter of clarity, they mean absolutely nothing!!

It’s not going to count for anything if you knew the answer and said nothing, in fact if you know and do nothing you’re worse than the completely ignorant. “I heard that in life the best thing to do is the right thing, the next best is the wrong thing, and the worst is to do nothing”… It’s really that simple!

To whom am I writing? You know yourselves, but yes, I am talking to us: The Nigerian youths, we who are ambitious for an unclear dream, have an almost undeserving desire to be wealthy, who say our Government has failed us, there are no jobs and you absolutely have to know someone to get in somewhere regardless of how insignificant the job is, have to pay inexpensive and unimaginable prices for opportunities that should be our birth rights… Yes we who complain all too clearly about what we don’t have but truly don’t know nor understand what we want beyond the material. We who yet are unwilling ourselves to do something.

A quick question I bet never crossed your minds, what are you supposed to do after all? It’s their responsibility to sort you out. Well, pardon my arrogance, but I will ask all the same because it’s a question as legitimate and as timely as they come; what have you done for yourself?  How have you helped in your smallest social unit, your family? What is your impact in your country? Yes, our nation owes us a whole lot, but we equally are duty bound to it and owe it much!

Think for a second… A country with rich resources, but someone has to harness them. In other words, the country won’t fix itself, a country is  a place divided by boundaries, a nation is what is developed by a people! Truth be told, our country can’t do anything for us by itself, other than re-create what we have done for it!!! If you see it this way you will understand that there’s a world of things truly within your control

Following this attempt to overcome social and governmental entrapment within our minds. I reckon we will each get to a point where we have to make a decision as to what we are going to do with and for ourselves, where we go beyond expectations and look within, where we go beyond wishful thinking and even thoughts of hope, a place where we have got to act. Many clichés, take the bull by the horn, drops of water make an ocean, a journey of a thousand miles beginning with one step and so on. Whether you choose to slowly live by those and allow them to unfold, or you decide to take action with exactly what it is you’ve got in your hands, the choice as always remains yours, and the consequences thereafter equally yours to live with…

So, my intellectual, hoping-for-a-better-tomorrow-and-waiting-for-the-government-to-miraculously-turn-a-new-leaf-and-make-a-quick-fix-ambitious-Nigerian-youths… Are you going to Sink or Swim?