I have watched my grandmother do a lot of amazing things.
I remember going to the village in the 80’s and seeing her and other relatives actively sorting out large volumes of fresh fish, smoking it, packaging it, then getting some of my aunts and other women in the community to distribute it to various part of the country for a profit.
My mother has told me many stories about how she and my grandmother sold many things to make a living.

For over 24years, she took care of my brother and I, when my parents relocated to London.

Our first business venture was selling oranges I think, then sugarcane and nuts in a shell.
My grandmother will be up by 3am to meet the commercial trains that came with goods from other parts of the country. She will carry the sugarcane home, and I mean over 50 long heavy sugarcane sticks if I can call it that, on her head for about 10km if I am right. I will then take it to the butchers market for sale at 5am. I enjoyed selling and looked forward to selling oranges in the evenings and the nuts on the weekend.

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Grandma leaves to the market for our weekly grocery shopping at 6am and comes back at 6pm most times, so her nickname was sixtosix. She looked forward to telling me how much she paid for every single item and how she went back and forth to make sure she got a good deal.

I was quizzed every time I went to the market alone, and it came as no surprise when she found a way to ban me from going to the market. I didn’t get enough discounts!

My brother and I also nicknamed her Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.
She insisted on walking to almost everywhere in the city. She just says, “Its just here, we will be there soon.”

I learnt so much from my grandmother, I couldn’t even begin to list it. I do know she fueled my enterprising spirit. 

Thanks to her, waking up early is so easy. I am up at 4:30am most days.

Sometimes, I think I inherited my strong sense of memory from my grandmother.
Put me in a class to train or teach 100 or 300 people and I will remember everybody’s name or some story about them by the end of day one and I always remember them when we meet in the future. At nearly 90 years, she tells me about her family tree from both of her parents side, dating back 3 generations in under 15minutes.

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My grandmother is strong and selfless, a character trait I have picked. But, wanting to assert my independence meant we didn’t always see eye to eye, but we love each other in our own way.
We used to harvest water in an 8 foot tank and guess what? She will mount tables and chairs, so she can get into the tank and clean it before the rains start. By the way, she insists on washing her own clothes even now.
We clashed on so many things; mindset, worldviews, but we found a way to adapt.

I recall how she started selling iced water and will complain about how the younger kids will out compete her when we moved to a new neighbourhood. We discouraged her and told her to stop, because:

1. We didn’t think she needed the money

2. We found it a little embarrassing to be honest

But she paid no attention to us and will go back every day to make a sale. I guess selling is just in her blood and was never afraid of rejection. Her actions taught me valuable lessons about rejection, resilience and not listening to naysayers, and boy, there are so many of them.

She took risks and tried so many things. Some worked and some didn’t. I paid close attention and learnt a lot about risks and strategy. If you ever see me venturing into something else, you know why.
The women in my family are like termites, we never stop, and I will never stop, until God himself stops me.

I forgive and “release” people easily and I am a no nonsense person who is very confident because, I have seen my Grandma feel bitter about some things, allowed people to walk all over her and had her confidence crushed by people.

Her greatest regrets she tells me, were her father not taking her to school and getting her baptized. The baptizing can be fixed. :-)

Because of her lack of formal education, she keeps every single paper she finds and asks me or my brother if it is useful. She has made me a hoarder of books, magazines and papers.

You should see how her eyes lit up when my brother told her he was off to China to study for 2 years. Contrary to what my Mum and I were thinking; that she will say “its too far, I won’t be seeing you in a while”, she actually said “Go, go, my son go! That is wonderful news, go and study”.

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If I ever tell her I will be on TV, she instructs my little cousins to put it on that channel and no one dares change it until she has seen me on it. And of course she watches with a sense of pride and does a little dance when I come on TV.

My Grandma didn’t go to school and made me realize it was a privilege to do so and I took it seriously. No wonder, I am an educationist.

Thank you Adzovi, aka Daavi. I am grateful for your life, the lessons and the sacrifices you made for my brother and I.

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One day, I hope my story will inspire someone to believe, as well as take baby steps into greatness, as I tell the world how it all started at age 6, selling tapioca, “yoryi”, peanuts, oranges and later at age 10, I will take sugarcane to the butcher’s market at 4:30am and be back by 6am to get ready for school. No, we were not “poor” and please it wasn’t child labour. I just hassled my mum and later my grandmother on most market days to buy me something in season so I could sell.
For the most part, people will never know your back-story.
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Lets face it, Facebook doesn’t tell the whole story, because “we” spend hours editing and showing the world (friends and strangers) the perfect pictures, so “we” wrongfully get the glory. All that I am, and all that I hope to be, I give credit to God. The same God who as an undergraduate in 1998, put the vision and desire in my heart to start SPEC Consult Limited.

Fews days to Christmas 2007 and I was still at the office after 10pm painting.

Fews days to Christmas 2007 and I was still at the office after 10pm painting.


It has been 8years since I finally took the plunge to run my own business. I am glad I did, because at the last count in 2013, I have trained, coached and mentored over 5000 Ghanaian graduates. I have stopped counting for now. I now focus on training coaching and mentoring the next generation of African leaders to be superstars in their chosen career path. Whether its through employability skills, business know-how or entrepreneurship, the bottom-line is, I am coaching superstars for the continent and the world through the Global Graduate Academy, another initiative by SPEC Consult Limited.
I started the Global Graduate Academy in my garage in 2012 and taught for 6weeks alone. God has brought me great helpers since and last week, we wrapped up the 3rd round of the Global Graduate Academy.
With the Global Graduate Academy class of 2015

With the Global Graduate Academy class of 2015


As I look back at my entrepreneurial journey so far, I am humbled to see how far I have come and I am full of gratitude for the resilience as well as for the helpers and everyone God has sent my way. Thank you everyone.
Back in 2008. We put in the extra hours and  stayed up till 9pm on a Saturday to redecorate the office. (l)Sandister now works for Aljazeera (AJ+)and Michelle is Studying in the USA

Back in 2008. We put in the extra hours and stayed up till 9pm on a Saturday to redecorate the office.
(l)Sandister now works for Aljazeera (AJ+)and Michelle is Studying in the USA


Phyllis congratulating me for pulling it off this year. She supported greatly

Phyllis congratulating me for pulling it off this year. She supported greatly


I just hope that someone out here is encouraged to step up and pursue their dreams. Don’t worry, help will come. Just know that some people will hang around you to just look good, laugh at you, not with you, mock you, disrupt and even try to steal your ideas and your shine, but stay focused,AND smile because the real ones will stay for the right reasons and for the long haul or even show up at the right time.
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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

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!

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

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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