We had another long weekend last week. I usually don’t fancy public holidays because it automatically means I pay my staff more. Working in the events industry means when people are resting, we are working. I feel as a nation we have so much catch up work to do that we shouldn’t have this many holidays. I can see my employed readers picking stones to shut me up. Tuko Pamoja good people.
On Monday I happened to be on my usual kazi rounds. Gava has decided to rehabilitate most of the roads (plus Ngong road) in my hood so we frequently encounter traffic even on weekends. As I sat in my car, I tuned to Hope FM and stumbled on a leadership chat with pastor David Oginde. He was talking about legacy. I was searching for some soul music but for some reason my search through the many FM channels ended there. Since there was traffic, I became a captive audience of sorts.
That talk caught my attention because all the things I’m trying to do could be summarized as the legacy I want to leave behind. Pastor Oginde gave some wise counsel from his years as a leader of a big church. I particularly loved the examples he gave to land his message. One was about our past president Daniel Arap Moi.
To many of us president Moi didn’t leave a good legacy. At least that’s my impression. I was four years old when he became my president so there’s no denying that I’m a full mtoto wa Nyayo. From the free primary school milk to going to sing for him at the national schools’ music festival. I recall the 1982 coup vividly. We lived in Donholm Estate then. We were having breakfast on that sunny morning when army soldiers crashed into our house to check if we were hiding any mutineers. My uncle who had come visiting received their wrath when they found him asleep and thought he was hiding. They ruffled him up and after some interrogation confirmed he was just visiting from shags. This are some of the memories that formed my opinion of Moi as I grew up. Not a very nice president. Is that a legacy he left or is it a legacy of my memory of him?
Pastor Oginde said something about the former president that shifted my view of him slightly. His encounters with Moi revealed that he was a strict timekeeper. On two occasions President Moi was to visit Christ is the Answer Ministries and Bishop Oginde was involved in the planning. On both occasions they asked the protocol team doing the recce what time they should expect the president the following day. The answer they got surprised them. The head of protocol then said on the first day he would arrive at 9.23am and 10.27am on the second visit. As expected, they waited eagerly to see if that will happen. To their surprise the president was coming out of his car at exactly that time on both occasions.
I imagine those who were close to Moi can say he left a legacy of time keeping among others. By the way can one have more than one legacy? I wonder. Legacy is who we are more than what we do. It is not an event. It is a way of life that over time defines what we shall be remembered for. We are remembered for the small uneventful things we do consistently. This may lead to an event where we are feted for the cumulative effort resulting from repeated small kawaida actions. The event just amplifies what we’ve been working on quietly for long. But it’s not a legacy in and of itself.
A classic example here is Eliud Kipchoge. ENEOS 159 challenge has made him one of the most celebrated humans on earth. He beat the two-hour mark but what we might forget is that this man has been running almost all his life and is already a world champion. I heard that Eliud would run to school bare feet every day which was about two miles away. I will not claim to know his journey well but I’m sure he has had many trying moments along the way. Maybe that’s why he appears not too phased by his historic achievement. Because he knows how the long arduous journey to this point has been. This confirms legacy is more of who we are than what we do. And what we do makes us who we are because we become our habits.
This realization got me a bit scared because we can unknowingly pick up self-defeating habits and thought processes that undermine our potential. Many a times the biggest hurdle we need to overcome is in our minds. Eliud puts it well when he said, ‘’if you don’t rule your mind then your mind will rule you’’. About four years ago I was the SI unit for negativity. I would confess repeatedly how hard things are. That I don’t have money and business (and life) is tough. What would follow is a manifestation of what I confessed.
It took a lot of effort to turn that narrative around because I was headed downhill on the road to a negative legacy. I had to make that shift like my life depended on it because it did. I desire to leave a legacy that keeps my personal mission statement alive way after I’ve left this group called life. My personal mission statement is to – use my speaking (includes this writings) and influence (leadership) through public service to impact and improve the quality of people’s lives and communities.
Writing down my mission statement was a huge step mentally but living it out requires even more effort. Folks I think whether we are aware of it or not we are writing our legacy as we do life. If we practice positive deeds daily, then we end up with a positive legacy. On the other hand, if we are driven by selfish and shortsighted actions daily then no prizes for guessing what legacy we will end up with.
I hope this motivates us to be our brother’s keeper in what we do kila siku. And may we not see any small deed as insignificant especially when it’s done to help people. Remember Wangari Mathai’s hummingbird story. That’s how she perceived her deeds but look at what a huge legacy she left behind in our eyes. Build your legacy intentionally through your small daily tasks. Keeping time may be a good a good place to start, just like our past Prezzo.