Reflections From 2015

“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” - Jim Watkins

We had done what I considered the most challenging part of the journey. Thirty kilometres of nothing but hill climbing, moving from 1800m (Nairobi) to 2300m (Limuru) above sea level. I had assured my son, David, once he made it through that, the rest was easy. But the reality remained that he had 130km to cover to get to Nakuru on his bicycle, and, I later realized, he had a lot more climbing to do. So much so that at some point I asked him if he wanted to end the race halfway. His response was as surprising as it was encouraging: ‘Dad, I am finishing this!’

 

Thirteen and a half hours later he cycled to a receptive audience at Kunste Hotel in Nakuru. Tired. No, exhausted. Totally beat. But extremely satisfied with his accomplishment. He had persevered a hard ride, but he had eventually reached his goal. The longest he had ever cycled, and the slowest I have ever driven!

The Year 2015 was a hard year for most people in business. Perhaps, the pressure was felt through all sectors of the economy, beginning with Government and their attempt to cope with cashflow challenges occasioned by the huge spending required to run this behemoth of a government that Kenyans created in the 2010 constitution. Challenge in government spending trickles down to business given that government is the biggest consumer of goods and services in any country. As such, many business people I have talked to, as well as individuals, tell me the year was a very difficult one.

As I reflect on 2015, I cannot help but think about Davd and his 160km ride at the tail end of the year. He had started the ride knowing he had never covered such a distance before, he needed to learn the route and adapt accordingly. He started knowing he had to finish, no matter what happened. He kept going with one comforting thought – his dad was with him!

These three things are similar to our journey in life, business, and career. We start off knowing full well we have not been there before, hence we cannot be all confident about the journey. Be it your career growth or business venture, you have not travelled that route before. Every new day is NEW to you: new experiences, new challenges, new lessons. To succeed and go far, we must be lifelong learners.

But the people that carry through to their goals are those that start off with only one objective – to finish the race! Along the way the challenges will discourage us, even friend sometimes wonder whether we should not give up on our quest. However, the water eventually gets to the sea, not by might but by mere persistence. To reach our goals we must be unyieldingly persistent.

And finally, even our own minds sometimes will say it – ‘why am I doing this?’ It is at such times that we need a friend, a cheerleader, a number-one fan! They tell us we can make it. They make us believe in ourselves when we want to give up. They give us the extra mental mettle to carry on. To persist persistently, we must have a cheer squad.

To a blessed and progressive 2016!