There’s a Swahili saying that goes ‘asiyekuwepo na lake halipo’. (Translation: If you are absent you lose your share) One thing I’ve always thought about these sayings and wise words is maybe the older folk should stick around for a while because aren’t they simply wise! I digress, sorry.
I have learnt that for me to get anything I just have to show up! Showing up for me is three things:
- Be there on time (the proverbial early bird). Wherever opportunity calls, showing up before time enables you to prepare and immerse yourself into that particular environment and shake off any nerves. This includes your regular job and daily chores; not just interviews and business meetings. When you show up on time or before time, you simply get fired up and ready to go for the day!
- Stand out – Get noticed for the right reasons. Your dressing and demeanor can get people curious, but add some flavor to it by participating and getting involved. Let people ask, “Who is that girl who poked holes in our research paper?” Don’t be like the furniture in the room, the world hates human furniture! Raise brows, for the right reasons.
- Make Contacts – in the business world we like to call this networking. I’ll let you in on how hard this was for me initially. Surprised? I know. So I used to show up, and I had learnt over the years how to stand out (not just by my height and big forehead J). However, believe it or not the thing I found hardest was the mingling part. “Hi, my name is Faith, I am an advertising consultant and I also run a salon/spa”. And then the questions would flow with people yearning to hear so much more from me that I felt it was a very vane exercise. I mean for how long can you talk about yourself. Until I discovered everyone in the room was constantly talking about themselves (Vanity Fair – no pun intended). To make it even better they’d walk you to someone else and go “Peter, have you met Faith? She runs…”. And I had to return the favour.
Honestly this exercise is very tiring and I sometimes find it very redundant. However, it is one of the best ways to create contacts, get business, get potential business but most of all LEARN. And there is so much to learn out there including sanitary towels are not only produced by multinationals like Procter & Gamble but also by ordinary Kenyans like you and I. Same goes for building pipelines and making cheese!
The world is full of lessons. Show Up! You will learn. Better yet, someone will learn from you. And knowledge, again wise words, is POWER!