The questions that people often ask themselves as they make decisions to leave their comfort zones and pursue their dearest dreams are enormous – who knows me, who would believe in me, who would choose nobody like me? There’s often this perception that except someone knows you, you can’t make headway, but that impression is a wrong conclusion. People always look up to something, thinking that seeing something makes them something – the only thing that makes you something is seeing your destination, and propelling yourself in the direction of your destined imagination. Christopher Columbus said, “By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.” There will be obstacles; there always is – there will be distractions; there wouldn’t stop being, but your push against inconvenience and genuine excuses will drive you home. Yes, I said genuine excuses – being disabled for instance, is enough excuse not to do many things, but we have seen a few disabled people beat the odds countless times. You can’t win a medal making excuses – you must get up to push yourself, nominate yourself!
Making a move takes you to the next paragraph of a page in your life. Being comfortable in one stage keeps you in stagnation. It isn’t always comfortable writing the next paragraph – you’ll have to starve yourself of so many things, you’ll have to brainstorm to get ideas, you’ll have to adjust to get used to your new horizon, but if you insist on staying put on it, you’ll get used to it.
So many people are stuck in limbo because they don’t want to try. A lot of great talents are languishing in penury because they don’t want to fight. Talent alone doesn’t do it – it is vision, direction and discipline that will make you a sung hero. Don’t think you’ll be discovered – no, you won’t. You are the one that will first discover yourself – if you do not discover yourself, no one will discover you. Besides discovery, you must position yourself – you get nowhere when you aren’t properly positioned. Positioning means building yourself, developing yourself and letting people know that you can. Telling people you can isn’t achieved by noise-making – it is achieved by doing what you say you can, and by putting yourself on the frontline when there’s a need to do it. You have to push yourself, nominate yourself.
You don’t get recommended except you first recommend yourself. On many fronts, I have recommended and nominated myself – I don’t wait to be called; I call myself – I don’t wait to be nominated; I nominate myself even if I’ve never done it. Sometimes, I don’t even understand what’s happening there, but I push my whole body in, and learn fast before they discover my ignorance. I remember in 2013, there was a vacancy for School Governor in one of London’s outstanding schools – I knew nothing about running a school but I wanted to serve my community, so I applied. There was a space for just one person but nine people applied, and amongst the nine was a doctorate degree holder that works for United Nations. That didn’t perturb me; I am not usually moved by people’s resume – I go for ability and doggedness. The conclusion was that I won the election – my personal statement gave me an edge, and till date, I am a member of the Board of Governors of the school. Next, the local government needed parent governors to be part of the scrutiny committee that runs their over eighty schools and also preside over everything regarding children and families – once again, I nominated myself, and sent in my personal statement. I was interviewed and offered the position. As I write this article, I had already nominated myself as governor in one of the best schools in United Kingdom. There were two spaces; four of us applied. Voting had taken place; I await the result. Who knows, I might just be elected. When I blogged for YAHOO, I nominated myself – I didn’t wait for recommendations. When I started writing for African Leadership Magazine, I sent them an email to say I can. When I started writing and publishing my own books, I didn’t wait to be known, neither did I wait for a publisher to sign me on, because they wouldn’t have. If you’re waiting for endorsement, you might as well wait forever because to be endorsed, you must first endorse yourself.
I am my own hero. I am the one who blows my own trumpet. I am my own boss and my own messenger. I am the entrepreneur who hasn’t earned much from his own business but wouldn’t stop trying. I design my life – my hope rests on me. With my imagination, I construct the road to my perceived future even if it looks impossible from where I am. I don’t wait for orders before moving; I order myself before everyone wakes up. I hardly sleep – I make no excuses for slumbering, and for that, I like when Giuseppe Mazinni said, “Slumber not in the tents of your fathers. The world is advancing.” The world isn’t just advancing, it is advancing very fast; far quicker than our imaginations. Technology has become extremely disruptive, moving with unimaginable speed of light. If we don’t move, we become static. If we move but too slow, we also become static. We must move with time, and sometimes beat time. We must disrupt ourselves before we are disrupted – that is the only way we can innovate and transform to cope with sporadic change.
“I was never upset that I did not get an Emmy. That I did get an Emmy nomination, I couldn’t be happier and prouder.” These were the words of Kylie Chandler. You may not win – you don’t have to, but still nominate yourself. You may lose the fight, but still get on the ring and prove that you are not a coward, and that beyond the casual, you are a bundle of irreplaceable energy. Get up and NOMINATE YOURSELF!