About 16 years ago, I almost died. I was living at what was then the middle of no where. I was home alone with my grandmother, but a quick phone call and the kindness of my dear friend Sandra changed everything.
I had malaria and my temperature was a shock to the doctors and nurses. I took several showers at the hospital for my temperature to drop. Even that, was a miracle.
Thank God for the Sandras of this world. She has warned me to stop telling the story, but I just can’t. It’s my story too. It’s one of the stories I don’t ever want to forget. I call people like Sandra, Destiny Helpers. I don’t want to imagine what the story would have been.

With Sandra last year at her dad's 80th birthday and book launch.

With Sandra last year at her dad’s 80th birthday and book launch.

So when another friend told me last Saturday, that I was her destiny helper and an answer to a prayer, I was humbled, touched and almost cried.(In fact I did cry, much later).
The next day, I saw a book on my brother’s desk titled “Destiny Helpers”, hmmm, what a coincidence, I thought. Then I picked up a prayer booklet on Monday and randomly opened a page that took me straight to a topic on “Destiny Helpers”. Oh dear! This must be my date with destiny then.
There is even a forum on the Internet for destiny helpers. I had no idea!

It made me think deeply about how our destinies are connected to other people.
People we know or don’t know yet. People we have met or about to meet.
(I got to know Sandra only 2years before I got ill. I got introduced to her by another friend Cynthia, who I have known since was about 6 or 7 years old!)
I think of the famous story of David and Jonathan in the bible. Jonathan was David’s destiny helper. He held David’s hand and taught him the ways of the palace.
When it was time for David to be king, he already knew a few things.

When I look back at my life, I see the many people who have helped me in diverse ways. People who have held my hand, just like Jonathan did.
I read somewhere, there is no need to look back, because you don’t belong there. Although it makes sense, sometimes you have to look back and just be grateful and appreciate everyone who influenced your life. It might be negative or positive, but whatever it is, you come out with critical life lessons.

In my life, many people have hurt me, rejected me, laughed at me, laughed with me, smiled at me, disappointed me, offered me friendship, showed me the way, prayed for me, talked about me, abandoned me, gave me their time, money, food, home, a place to sleep, redirected my path, open doors, closed doors, encouraged me, discouraged me, gave up on me, respected me, took me for granted, always stood by me, showed me unconditional love, seriously, love with no strings attached. The list is very very long.
How can I not be grateful for the good and bad people or the good and bad situations? Situations that has built my character and given me the “can do, I don’t care what you think attitude”. I am very grateful for everything. Thank you all so much. Everything and everyone was ultimately shaping my destiny. And I know they still will.

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In the same way, I know as they have done for me, I have and will do for others.
My only wish is that, I make a more positive impression, not a negative one.
If your experience with me was a negative one in the past, gosh, I am so sorry I hurt you, do forgive me. Sometimes, I really had no idea.

If you take anything at all from this post, I hope that, first of all, know you are someone’s destiny helper, because your life is really not yours alone. So, whatever you came to this earth to do, do it! Someone’s destiny is connected to yours. Use your craft, your talent, your voice, your skills, your smile…

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Secondly, when it comes to our destiny helpers:
May we know them
May we thank them
May we connect with them
May we pray for them and with them
May we help them
May we never take them for granted
May we recognize them
May we forgive them even if they hurt us
May we celebrate them
May we find one
May we be one

Originally posted on SPEC Consult Writes:

I was dreaming, thinking, praying, planning and preparing for this, for over 5years at least, (and I still do) but it was time to just get on with it. Just as David Mahoney aptly said, “There comes a moment when you have to stop revving up the car and shove it into gear”. At the launch of by books in May 2014, I said that I wanted my company or I to be the first to come to mind, if any serious international or local organisation is looking to recruit graduates who are well-groomed superstars in the making.

So on the 1st of August 2014, I turned the talk into action. I started the Global Graduate Academy. An intensive, practical and competitive world-class mindset and skills development programme, that will run for an entire year. And every year, I hope to actively dedicate my life to this cause.
Sandy and the students after a Global Awareness Session Myself,Sandy and…

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You’re shocked, disappointed and frustrated. You begin to think life is so unfair. You did all the research required. You were even asked the exact questions you practiced. It really was a great interview and “all” went well. Or so you thought. But by some mystery, you did not make the final cut, even though they said you were good.

How could they not hire you! You are tempted to call and tell them they either made a mistake or even worse, it’s their loss.

Paul Arden, and many others think differently. In his best-selling book “IT’S NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, IT’S HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE”, Paul Arden shares a true story of how his ad agency was one of six companies to be short-listed for a government account. His agency spent three months working on the campaign. They were due to pitch their concept on a Friday, but at 5pm on Wednesday, they were told their agency didn’t make the cut for the final three.

Do you think they gave up and said, we were not lucky this time, maybe next time? No, they didn’t!

Instead, Paul convinced his CEO to tell the client they had another campaign prepared and they were willing to show the client at 9am on Thursday. Matter of fact, they didn’t have any new campaign. They lied. But they made sure the team met at 8am the next day and worked through the feedback the client gave on why their original campaign did not make the cut for the final 3. They then came up with a new campaign. Guess what? By Friday, they had turn things around and their agency ultimately won the account.

My question to you is, do you think you can get over the disappointments and ask if your best was really enough? Probably not. And that is where most people miss it.

But, I hope for your own sake that you do ask why and find ways to improve and be better.

Paul Arden’s story goes to show that it’s not just about the preparation before, but the analysis after is even more crucial.

 

Take, Bobby Fischer for instance. He was one of the best chess players of all time. He was talented, but he wasn’t exactly the best player growing up.

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At he age of 13, he “disappeared”. He went into hiding and thoroughly studied all the games played in the 17th century. When he reappeared to play, he became great. He adopted some of the “old-fashioned” methods from the 1850s, but he would infuse his own little improvements he had developed along the way.

He “disappeared” again after he was US Champion. This time, he spent time learning Russian so he could read all the Russian chess magazines. He will study his matches after and analyze how he can make it even better next time.

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How much time are you spending honing your skills? Do you assume you have “arrived”, so you don’t want to learn anything new or revise the old? Or you truly believe in not fixing anything that is not broken.

If all you have are the old skills that got you wherever you are now, don’t assume it will automatically get you further next time.

Einstein aptly puts it this way; “there is nothing that is a more certain sign of insanity than to do the same thing over and over and expect the results to be different”

Mick Jagger’s band, The Rolling Stones made over $600 million on their last tour, but when they started over 50 years ago, they would perform at over 200 places yearly for almost no money. They were honing their skills.

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The Beatles also played for about 20 hours a day, 7 days a week at various strip clubs in Hamburg, West Germany from 1960 to 1962. They were honing their skills.

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Benjamin Franklin said, “I haven’t failed, I’ve had 10,000 ideas that didn’t work”

Thomas Edison also notes that, “Of the 200 light bulbs that didn’t work, every failure told me something that I was able to incorporate into the next attempt”.

If you want to be great, achieve mastery, dominance, world-class status and to be known as the best, then go through your various experiences and analyze them piece by piece.

Anything less, will make you good and soon your good will not be good enough reducing you to average.

Life might not be fair, but be fair to you. Learn, unlearn and relearn. Do the work, piece by piece.

Photo credit from http://www.longlivesomaliland.com

Photo credit from Google images

I am angry. I am crying for my race and my continent.
Can we all do our bit? Let’s ask questions and find answers.
Let’s change the narrative. Let’s just try.

Enough of the low self esteem, mediocrity and accepting the status quo.

Where did all this nasty and selfish attitudes come from?

Where are our priorities?

Why did we stop getting hungry and thirsty for knowledge to make things better?

To whom much is given, much is indeed required. We are living in exciting times with loads of advancements in loads of fields. What is our excuse?

Do you think if you close your eyes , the situation(s) will go away?

If you are waiting for “governments” and “leaders” to fix things, it will be a long wait.
We put them in power, but we don’t demand change. Why?

We are sometimes not objective, but rather religiously praise our respective political parties even they they don’t deliver. Why?

You can start from your neighbourhood. Yes, some people will sit and watch and even mock you. It’s not about them.

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Let’s fix things, let’s get to work. Yes, let’s get governments to be accountable, but it is not enough just blaming one political party after another. This can be a useless trip to no where.

Oh! citizen of the land, what are you doing? What rent are you paying for using the planet?
Where from the apathy?
Don’t be a dead weight.
Don’t get busy doing nothing.
Don’t just watch and complain.

Do something. Just try.

The situation is bad, but not hopeless. You and I are hope enough, if we decide to think and do and not just talk.

My focus is on education. What is yours? Health ? Environment ? Agriculture? Technology?

I know some try, but can MORE people please try?

Get angry and find a solution. Don’t give up. You give up “you die”!

Start thinking and start doing!
By all means do something. Let’s keep moving, but let’s strive for excellence.

Let’s just try!

edemadzaho:

The everyday things we do!
Delali, I am humbled to know I influenced your life positively.

Originally posted on Miss Dee writes:

The three inspiring ladies The three exceptional ladies.

Saturday, March 8, marked International Women’s Day (IWD). I went through a list of all the ladies I have met, and decided to write about three of them. These ladies, I believe are different in every way, but have managed to challenge and shape my thoughts as an individual and a lady for that matter.

Edem Adzaho- CEO, SPEC Consult (photo credit- www.specconsult.com) Edem Adzaho- CEO, SPEC Consult (photo credit- http://www.specconsult.com)

Edem Adzaho – I had an encounter with Edem during a Barclays Bank and British Council organised programme for graduates, about two years ago. She is the CEO of her own company, SPEC Consult. This tall lady walked into a session, very confidently while I sat admiring. She challenged the class to more inquisitive, adventurous and target the global market as graduates. She admonished us to look for opportunities all over the world.  Spotted in blazers and high heels, this lady shared her…

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It’s my birthday month and when I am blessed to see that day, I don’t want to invest precious time worrying or asking silly little questions.
Of course questions are good when put in perspective, but I won’t be asking sad ‘why me’ questions. Matter of fact, I don’t have those questions to ask anyway.
I will rather be figuring out more ways to be an even better human being.

If you’re my age or whatever age you are, did it come too quickly? Have you ever taken the time to evaluate how you used that time? Well, I invite you to do a life audit with me. Don’t wait till 31st December.

Take it as a feedback by you for you. You can be your own shrink. It’s about time you pat your self on the back or chest or make amends. More importantly an audit will give you the confidence to step into the “next chapter”.

There were things I wanted to do. Oh! lots of things…

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In hindsight, I am glad I didn’t do some of them. I remember clearly saying how I wanted to get my Master’s degree by 25 and start my own business before 30. I have done both and happy I did.
I still have the energy, drive and ambition to still do some others. All I need is life , continuous health and the Big man up there watching over me :)
Do I have regrets? Yes, just one, that I haven’t seen as much of the world as I will have hoped. I know some people will find this odd, but I spent a lot of time in my 20s in London trying to reconnect with my parents and getting an education. These of course are very important things, but I could have done both if I had prioritised well and not spent a fortune on seemingly important things then. Things I will cringe to own now or even worse don’t even remember owning now.
To be fair , at least two of those years turned out to be possibly the best years of my life , forming friendships that have lasted till this day.
I am grateful for those years , a huge part of who I am now is the relationships I formed along the way, the people I had to cut off from my life, the really tough times I had to endure and the choices I make daily.

I have been taking care of my self since age 11 and I have come to discover, that though I am pretty disciplined, I am very much a free spirit and like to set my own rules. I don’t conform. More importantly I have never found the need to be popular amongst my peers. I don’t compete in that kind of contest. It’s a total waste of time.
My non-conformity also led to a “rebellious” streak that has served me quite well. My purposeful rebellion comes from knowing what I want to do with my life and living my life just the way I want it. Is it selfish? I doubt that, but only time will tell.

Like most parents, mine had “big ideas/plans” for my future and if I had followed my parents plan , I will have done well. Undoubtedly, I will have possibly made more money than I probably do now, but I will have been miserable.

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My dad had specific plans for my life. He had me at age 26 and wanted me to get married same age as he did , after I had gone to Oxford , gone to Chile to volunteer and learn Spanish ,then Japan to study for another Masters degree as well as the language ,then to Harvard for an MBA and then work in Investment Banking with Goldman Sachs.

Mum, wanted me to be a nurse or a lawyer and when there was so sign of that happening, she suggested IT and made her disappointment clear when I decided to study Tourism. She doesn’t remember all that now. :)
Only time again will tell the kind of parent I will be.
I will always remember dad saying ,“whatever you want to do, make sure you are the best” . I agree totally. Its a tough call, but doable and I try to raise my standards all the time, something people will find difficult to handle in their dealings with me.

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I feel like I have a second chance and these are some of the lessons I have learnt so far and try to live by:
· That it is important to find out who you want to be early in life and at least try being that person.
· Choose who you listen and don’t listen to, because you can learn a lot from their failures and successes.
· By all means listen to other people’s thoughts, opinions and perspectives, but never let them choose for you. It is okay to “rebel” and choose your own path.
· I have learnt to pack my own “parachute ” and to be very resourceful. If you also took care of yourself at age 11, you will have no choice than to be independent and resourceful.
· If you’re married, please communicate your needs to the person you are in the marriage with, not just your friends or family. It’s okay to have someone listen to you, but I think your partner has a right to know how you feel, what you want and how they can help.Then again, who am I to advise on marriage when I haven’t been married before? I can only speculate my ideals.
· Single girls are not always a threat. Were you a threat, when you were a single woman?
· If you’re single, enjoy it, there is nothing wrong being single. I enjoy mine and every now and then its fun to be “introduced” . Introductions are okay as the parties introduced will figure things out on their own . What I dislike though is when “friends” think they are doing you a favour and try to “fix” you up, dare I say , with unsuitable men, men they will never choose themselves if they have to do it all over again.

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They play cupid and think “time is running out”. I am not broken and the wrong man won’t “fix me up”. The wrong man will just destroy my soul. I have dated enough good , bad , terrible and ugly men to know what I want and don’t want.
· Being single can be a consciously deliberate choice , that requires no explanations to others. Since when did getting to know yourself before the right person came along  became a waste of time? Your biological clock might be “ticking”, but getting desperate is disastrous and the more you worry, the more stressful you will be and the less chances you will have to conceive if you’re unhappy or stressed when the time comes. Research has proven this.
· Not every man who says “I love you ” is worthy of your love. Do you love them too? If not release them.Let them go if you REALLY believe in love. I have “released” people and I bet they are grateful now that I did. I am glad I got released too. ;)
I know people who loosely say “I love you” in my part of the world without having the faintest idea what it means to love. They “love” you on their terms and will not negotiate . It’s so bad , it’s ridiculous.

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· God always has a better idea for you. Concentrate on what you have and be grateful for them. Stop focusing on the things you don’t have
· You have a child or children because you want to, not because people think you should. You don’t have kids for people.
· Be deliberate about your life and choices. Going with the flow can be a myth. Have goals and dreams, but know the cost of your dreams. What price will you pay for your dreams? Make sure you ask yourself that.
· I used to think I could help everyone, but I am not God. I am also learning it is okay to take and not just give all the time.
· Much as I am loyal and kind to a fault, and will forgive easily , I have no worries disconnecting disloyal people from my life.
· It will hurt sometimes, and although the idea of forever is great, not all friendships are forever, we evolve and want different things at some point.
· No one wants to hang out with a depressed soul, it is exhausting and if you are always down, the world will make sure they walk all over you. Get back up!
· Self-confidence is really sexy, so is a smile. It has nothing to do with the clothes you wear. If you feel awful when those clothes are off then work on your self esteem.

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· Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Admire them, but don’t compare.
· Please lets not judge people. You don’t always know the whole story.
. It pays to be patient sometimes. Just know when to choose your battles.
· Live, because you could be gone too soon.

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I started to come alive in Berlin.
The history , culture , art and architecture can be intoxicating.
There is so much to do and see in Berlin.

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Oh! I think I have some of the best photos from Berlin . Way too much to even choose from.That is what you get when one of your host is a super talented photography and film graduate.

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I was hosted by 2 Schneiders , both I met on separate ocassions in Ghana and have known each for at least 6years. Although they lived in Ghana at the same time , they never met. It was time to introduce these two lost “cousins” as they later started calling themselves cousins. They are not related :)
The first Schneider who was in Sierra Leone when I visited in 2010 , made it quite clear I shouldn’t even think of coming and not seeing him.He came for me from the bus station and we headed off to get the obligatory curry wurst to catch up. Being a lawyer and one of my interviewees for my book we talked non stop.

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I really enjoyed Berlin this time around ,but was shocked by the disgusting attitude of an obnoxious guy on the train , who called a woman probably his mother’s age, a fat pig, when all she asked was for him to make room for her to sit.
He had occupied all the seats by putting his gym bag and his feet on the seats making it quite clear no one was allowed to sit next to him.
But of course my other Schneider friend , the photographer and I decided to dethrone him. He wasn’t happy , but not brave enough to cross an overly excited me and my eccentric friend with the longest blonde dreadlocks he’s probably ever seen.

In Berlin I met an Angel. Okay , a human angel when I needed it most. :)
I was returning from Prague alone late at night and tired too. Some familiar stations on my route were closed because of ongoing construction work. I was feeling a little lost especially as my friends were against the Prague idea , then I heard the calmest voice ever in English asking “can I help?” “Are you okay?” Stefan , made sure I was okay and got me on the easiest alternative train connection.I found out later as we connected on Facebook he is also a big traveller ( http://redcat-travel.com/about/ )
and writes and runs a cool travel site on http://redcat-travel.com , you should check it out.

In Berlin , I met so many other travellers. An Australian who lost everything except his passport , when he and his friends went for a swim at 2am in Ibiza. (loosing my phone earlier in Antwerp was nothing after all).
An Argentine and Mexican who didn’t know where Ghana was. Oh! The Australian didn’t either. But now they know. :) I wish my fellow Ghanaians were there. They would have died in shock horror. :)  We Ghanaians  have a sense of pride and think everyone knows and should know who we are as we claim to be Africa’s friendliest people and “the gateway to Africa”.

Lessons from Berlin?
1. As much as I love my friends and appreciate their hospitality , there is no need to overly discuss my travel plans and next destination with them. I will in the future just tell people where I am off to on the day and when I am due back. They nearly discouraged me from going to Prague and Lithuania. They live in Europe and I don’t. They had already forgotten, how extensively they travelled ,when they lived in Ghana.
Plus , I had a plan , that I was paying for with my own time and money not theirs.
2.People always think they know what is good for you and how to live your life. It is really important to know what you want for and from your life
3.Life is sometimes full of  “almost”  situations and choices. I guess you take what you get until you maybe get a clearer picture

4 .There are human devils and angels everywhere.

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