February 8, 2019 Lone Felix

Fight for your Place at the Table

I’m one of those people who have a thousand ideas flowing through their head each day. So, I have tried my hand at countless things. And sadly, the new thought will always look and feel better. It will always appear like it has its chances of success greater than the other.

This is a story of many of us, first you start by planning a meetup with friends, then you wonder if you can co-invest, then toy with an idea on Agriculture, then a small blog, then a job application, then to start an NGO. A year down the line, you have been very busy, but nothing has been done.

So I’ll tell you a small story. In 2014 then I was a student leader at Kenyatta University. I preferred getting to the office by 6 and that has remained my habit to date. As the day would progress, I would get caught up. You know, a student walks into the office, you listen to them and decide I need to sort this now. So by 4 PM, You would have been busy all day, and maybe resolved an issue or two, but you haven’t touched the bigger plan you set out to.

Out of Campus, I started running two start-ups, and oh God, was I not busy, but a deal was never closing.

One day when talking to one of mentors. Many of you would know him, Mr. Meso, he literally asked me to stop jumping around and focus. First, on low hanging fruits. And his analogy was pretty basic, you really cannot manage a million shillings, if you cant find value in one hundred. You cant manage a 100 acre farm, unless you can manage one.

From here, I learnt the art of low hanging fruits. When designing a project, do not seek to wait until you have all the money you need in the world to start it off. Instead, look at an element that requires zero cost and start with that. If your idea is to Start a Foundation that pays school fees for children, start first by assembling those children and talking to them about the importance of education.

If your idea is to start a business, don’t look at the ten million deal, first bring in 10,000.

There is something that happens to you as you record small successes. You get the motivation to take an even greater step, and before you know it your dream is in sight. It is called GROWTH.

Now, Growth is a process. So many times, young people walk to me with a proposal of doing something. The Most naïve of expectations is that they will get instant money to start off. When you ask the third question about their idea, they feel you are a dream killer. Or when you ask them to get back to you having reviewed their idea, you probably won’t see them again.

One day I’ll tell you a story of how it took, one year of Meetings to finally secure Funding for a project. One year, of email after email. When you feel you have addressed everything, a second question arises, and it tears you apart. As a young person, please know that you will have to prove your worth sometimes even ten times.

Learn how to defend your ideas. Modify them, but stretch and fight until you see something, happen. Stop chasing a million things, you will never solve every problem, Focus on one thing. Get it done, and if its steady, move to the next. Learn to tell your friends, my hands are full now.