In golf, when one is playing impressively we say you are in the zone. This is when even wayward shots heading to the forest or out of bounds are brought back to the fairway by a tree branch or other object. It’s like your swing agrees with the golf course to reward you with a winning round. Sadly, such rounds are few and far between – at least for me. Most of my rounds are best described by a line my pal Chris uses, “When it’s the day for a monkey to die, all the trees are slippery.” My golf is largely slippery perhaps because of my being out of the zone.
This leads to the fourth point of our series. Start in small increments. Daskal says, “If you’re turning round something big, start small.” To illustrate this point, American professional golfer Tom Watson went through a rough period years back in his golfing career. He was playing poorly and his game seemed to have left him. He consulted a coach who gave him simple and basic advice that turned out to be the dawa he needed. He was told when on the golf course, walk slower, swing slower, breathe slower, talk slower and things will improve. This seemingly insignificant change led Tom to winning more majors in his career. He started to change his golfing fortunes with small incremental steps.
Having been in business all my life, I can testify that starting small while guided by a big vision was a rewarding strategy. Allow yourself to take small steps and you will build momentum at whatever you are aiming for. And remember to celebrate small victories along the way. That has worked for me. For instance, after toiling hard to host Kenya’s biggest golfing event of the year last month, I decided to reward myself with a weekend away to one of my favorite locations, Nanyuki, as my birthday present. It felt so good taking my family with me. This trip symbolized the life I want to move into where I’m not consumed with fear of lack and constant worry. I returned psyched up to do bigger and better things. The hashtag continues #onlybigthingsgoingforward.
The fifth strategy to change direction of our lives is to focus on the journey, not the destination. I remember meeting a pal from Lagos last year for a drink. As we sat at the counter catching up I recall my anxieties floating to the surface. I told him how concerned I was that everyone around me seems busy building their lives yet here I was feeling stuck without much to do. The response he gave me was some of the best advice I’ve received in this halftime period. He told me to enjoy the extra time I have now doing the school run for my kids, checking their homework and taking them for their sports activities on weekends. Including chewing on the roadside sugar cane we buy on the way home from school. That keeps the car wash guy employed because of the sticky mess we leave in the car.
I may not have the time to do all that when I fully land into my second half occupation. That counsel changed the way I look at my current season and as a result I am a more present father to my baby sharks. In fact, I’m cherishing the time I’m spending with them, including working from home on some days, especially now when schools are on holiday. Daskal sums it up well by saying, “Every step of the way has its own wisdom, lessons and beauty, so don’t miss out by getting ahead of yourself.”
The last thought for today is a common crutch for many of us irrespective of whether we are at halftime or not. Don’t make excuses. This seems to be the default setting for most of us. Many times I make excuses to make me feel better after I have goofed. I use excuses like Eno to get instant relief from a tummy ache. Only to realize that the ache surfaces after some time. It serves us better to own our mistakes, take them as lessons learned and move on wiser instead of covering up with excuses. I admit that this is easier said than done of course but we better start practicing it if we are to have a future of significance. For folks at 40, it should be easier now to own up and get comfortable with it. Our age allows us ama? Self-acceptance is like an original carni dawa (with the bamboo stick inside) after a long hot day. The more we accept who we are, the less we feel the need to make excuses for our actions. That’s a good place to be for sure.
These three tips form a good starting point to turning our lives around. It’s definitely worth giving them a try especially when our future depends on it. I look forward to your comments good people