I recently finished reading a book by John Maxwell on intentional living. It reminded me that hope is not a strategy. Kenyans are known to portray themselves as hustlers full time. Even when one is doing well and you asked them how is Maisha? Or biashara, they say, “tunajaribu tu.” We have this ka fake humility where we floss our success yet speak like we are barely making ends meet. One of our peculiar habits is that we usually meet at the bar to share how tough life has become yet we still get high in the process after spending a tidy sum on our favourite poison. What a contradiction eh…
We were made to live a meaningful and impactful life. But we often get entangled with the challenges of life and lose momentum or worse still our vision. Life can be harsh and has been lately for most. Many are unable to overcome the challenges life throws at them while others seem to have extra reserves of strength to climb the adversity mountain.
So how do we pick ourselves up from where we are today and embark on living the life we desire and deserve? How do we claim back what is ours and get back on track? Mark Batterson has authored one of my favourite books, The Circle Maker. He says, “Destiny is not a mystery. For better or for worse, your destiny is the result of your daily decisions and defining decisions.”
Daily decisions are just that. The things you do every day. “Good daily decisions tend to have a cumulative effect that will pay dividends for the rest of our lives,” Batterson says. That was the thinking behind my word(s) of the year in 2020 – Normal Obedience. I wanted to up my game in all I do. Like, be my word not just keep my word. Whatever I commit to I need to finish it and do it to the best of my ability, even when it is just a small random thing like tidying up after a meal. I must confess though that my baby sharks were partly the motivation for that word. Children do what they see not what we say. Have to be a good example.
According to Batterson a good life is made of daily decisions and defining decisions. He says, “ We only make a few defining decisions in life, and then we spend the rest of our lives managing them.” when I think of my defining decisions, I have seen them as God-incidences. As I look back at the major choices I have made over the last four decades of my life (investments, family, occupation), most were not planned or extensively thought through. It’s like the universe (Sir God for me) conspired to be my PA (personal assistant). I still had to cooperate though or else I would sabotage myself. We may receive all the help we need in life but we are still responsible for what we do with that help. What defining decisions are you currently managing?
Whether we are making defining or daily decisions the key ingredients in my view are intentionality and follow-through. The more intentional we are the higher the chances of success. For instance, I stumbled upon a property years back as a referral from a pal. I checked out the ad, visited the place, consulted mummy shark and committed to buying it. I started feeling the weight of that decision when I started making payments for it. But I had to commit by adjusting a few things to be able to complete that transaction successfully. I’d easily have lost it and my deposit too if I did not follow through and make the sacrifice. Intentionality and follow-through are a winning combination.
My word(s) for this year is – keep moving. A few of you guys have shared your word for 2022 with me. Asanteni. They are strong words but if we don’t live with a sense of urgency to actualise those words in our lives then nothing changes. We will be left staring with envy at other committed folks progressing. Why should you be a spectator in the game of someone else’s life? Yet your own life awaits to unfold. I read a text that puts it well. “ if you become intentional with your growth you will outgrow almost everyone you know”. Imagine that. Start working on you folks.
John Maxwell challenges us to up our game even further. After committing to grow intentionally, we should make the commitment public. I know that’s a hard one for many, again because of our fake humility. We might be seen to be showing off and our actions taken negatively. I will leave that to each of us to decide the best form of making our commitment public. For me, I’ve said it here severally about my deep desire to use my speaking and influence to positively impact people’s lives and communities. My future is public service and I’m doing what I can to get there.
Making your commitment public as you grow intentionally will attract the resources you need to actualise your dreams. The universe will conspire again to be your PA. Lastly, the best success is the one that’s enjoyed by many. So carefully pick a few growth partners who will go and grow with you as you with them too. That way you remain accountable and are less likely to give up along the way.
May this be your year of intentionality folks. Live with urgency as life is short. But it can also be long if you have no goal to aspire to.