Nothing happens to you, it happens because of you, part 4

The fourth and final D is to be DELIBERATE about creating impact at the workplace. Are you a freewheeling opportunist or a deliberate planner?

The fourth and final D is to be DELIBERATE about creating impact at the workplace.

Are you a freewheeling opportunist or a deliberate planner? I want you to turn to your neighbour and ask: what is your leadership orientation?

When you lack a plan for your life, you become a freewheeling opportunist. You wander from place to place without define direction. You cannot achieve great results without deliberate effort.

What many of you do not know about me is that I got my first job without having applied for it. You see, many people struggle to land their first job. When you do not have work experience, just fresh from university, you struggle to get your first job.

Not with me.

I was offered the job just like that. And so, I never appreciated it. It was George Strait who sung, “easy come, easy go.” And he was on point. The way I got the job was easy. I never took it seriously. I had this belief that it is easy to get another job.

After two years of working. I decided to resign from my job. This was one of my biggest career mistakes in life.

When you are working in the bank, you are encouraged to get a car loan and not a land loan. I later got to learn that many banks do it as a trap. You must continue paying the loan. Despite the car loan, I resigned. Having worked in finance, then internal auditor, and having been involved in bank strategy development processes, I thought that I had it all. I knew I had the skills to become a great business advisor. I was wrong.

The next two years were like hell on earth for me.

I started a company called MAK Advisory.

I moved from company to company looking for any deal in vain. It was so bad; I could not even afford to pay the car loan instalments! I sold the car and paid the balance on the loan. It felt so good to have the loan off my books. 

One evening I went to my girlfriend, in my small room, I said, love, what should I do. My career prospects are worsening every other day. What should I do?  She looked at me and said, “don’t forget about those bad friends of yours. All they talk about is football. You need them out of your life”. 

I said, fine. But what can I do, I am stuck?

She said, “go to the library and start reading.”

I said, why read? I just completed ACCA and was among the top 3 in the country! I am doing an MBA. Why now go back to the bookshop? I am already reading!

She fixed her eyes on me and said:

“Now is the time for you to go to the bookshop and read beyond academics because everyone reads just to pass exams. If you want to be different, read more. If you are not reading widely, you are dying slowly.”

I said fine, where is the nearest bookstore? She said I do not know. I have never been there! Can you imagine some people give advice that they never follow? She said, try Aristock on Kampala road.

Whenever I decide to do something. I do it. I remember that day, I had only Ugx. 40,000. I had already sold my car. So, I jumped into a taxi and headed to Kampala road. As I walked from the Post Office building towards Tropical Bank, I saw across the road so many ladies with books and newspapers. I decided to check them out. When you are looking for something, you see it everywhere. Same with me that day.

I was looking for a guide. I was looking for a magic book.

As I walked on the street, something strange happened to me. I had a strange feeling. And I hesitate to tell you this. I felt my body shaking as if something life-changing was about to happen. I walked and stood in front of a woman who had several books displayed by the roadside. I must have been standing at the woman’s display for a long time because she said, “Hey, are you coming to buy or you are just looking?”

I was looking for a sign and I found one. I saw a book, it was called “The greatest salesman in the world”. It was a small book. I said I want to be the greatest salesman in the world. Life is about selling. And if you want to achieve success, you must master the art of selling. I had failed at selling and this was the book for me. I said I want to sell.

I grabbed the book and showed it to the woman.

She said Ugx 45,000 only.

I begged her. I offered her Ugx. 20,000, she said no. She insisted on Ugx. 40,000. I bargained. She could not accept. I told her that I have Ugx. 40,000 but I need the Ugx. 5,000 for the transport back home. So, I offered Ugx. 35,000 which she rejected. I was becoming desperate. I told her that I seriously needed that book. I said, let me look for the money and return. I rushed to Aristock bookshop, asked for the title, and thank God it was on the shelf. I picked it and opened the first cover. I saw the price written Ugx. 80,000! I was speechless. I returned to the woman and told her; the same book is Ugx. 80,000 at Aristoc. I will pay her the asking price, but she should know I am going to walk home that day! 

The woman looked at me and broke down. She said, sunny, thanks for telling the truth. I will give you this book at Ugx. 30,000. I will increase the price for the other people since you have told me the real price of what I am selling. I grabbed the small book into my hands and as I turned to move away from the woman’s stall she said, “hey”, I stopped. I looked at her. And said what?

She said, “good luck becoming the greatest salesman.”

She was my sign. Because she let me know those six words. She made me know that when I take the first step, people will be on my side. That when I take the first step, the universe will be on my side.

I did not turn back to look at her.

Now I am not ashamed to say that I started crying. I am a man; I am not supposed to cry. I decided to walk away. But she said those six words to me, and they became my guide. I went back home and started reading. I read each word in the book. And I have never put the book down. That book led to the road less travelled. It led to the peaceful warrior who works and sees through whatever I start. And over the last 15 years, I have read over an average of one book per month. And it has changed my life in big ways I never even imagined possible.

And whether you do nor not, read.

I am saying to you today. Read. If you want to transform your life. It will change yours too.

As the great Charlie Tremendous said, “you will be the same person today, five years from now except for two things – the people you meet and the books you read.”

As I read, I started to get success and more income. And even I left all those friends of mine because they would not let me read. I kept reading. And reading. And I read myself into getting at Ernst & Young and then being selected to travel to South Africa to represent the firm.

I became at the top of the world.

When I returned from SA, I was so excited, but I felt empty. I kept thinking about the woman who gave me that book and said those six words that changed my life. And my wife, as usual, said, why don’t you go back to Kampala road and look for the woman.

The following day, I drove to town, parked, and started walking along Kampala road, trying to look for the woman who said those six words that changed my life.

I looked all over the streets, but she was no longer there, neither was other road vendors. Jennifer Musisi had cleared the city of street vendors and she was nowhere to be seen. 

And that is when it hit me. I was not supposed to find her. I was supposed to find you.

Good luck becoming the greatest salesperson in the world.

Every day you must sell yourself. You must be deliberate and be conscious about the value you bring to the table. Know the company strategy. understand the business dynamics and be deliberate about winning.

On the screen are the 10 life lessons from the book, the greatest salesman in the world, I want you to read them and start applying them today to your life.

Always remember, nothing happens to you. It happens because of you. What are you doing about your success?

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2021. All rights reserved.

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