The Sunday Mail
If you are not seeing opportunity, that does not mean that it does not exist. Opportunity exists everywhere, but it is not for everyone.
It is for those who see it and are willing to reach for it and tap into it.
The opportunity for greatness has GPS co-ordinates that locate you. Global Positioning System is a radio navigation system that allows land, sea, and airborne users to determine their exact location, velocity and time 24 hours a day, in all weather conditions, anywhere in the world.
When you know your GPS, you can keep moving and following your chosen trajectory despite the environmental limitations that you face.
Darkness does not mean that you should stop moving.
A storm does not mean you should park and be immobilised. If you stand in the right place, doing what you must, greatness will find you. The GPS of greatness includes location, leadership, language and learning.
There are opportunities that exist where you are located. Some opportunities are geography-specific. Never be too much in a hurry that you run away from opportunity and shelter yourself away from your greatness.
There are opportunities for greatness where you are. New opportunities are being born that never existed before. Never despair and feel that opportunities have been monopolised by any generation. There are opportunities for each generation and age.
Do not disable yourself from greatness through dis-empowering and flawed beliefs. Believe in opportunities and possibilities. See imminent possibilities and opportunities. Always imagine that you are standing on your acre of diamonds.
Always assume that everything is conspiring to deliver your greatness.
Do not be so scared of witchcraft that you stop thinking, planning and executing. Do not over-invest in superstition.
Problems are the seeds of greatness, not the prophecy of doom. The problems you see are opportunities begging for thoughtful attention and creative consideration. Africa is a sea of opportunity, with possibilities for many lifetimes. Right where you are, there are opportunities that do not exist anywhere else.
Right at this point on the calendar, there are opportunities that have never existed before that are begging for your attention.
Dig a little deeper, beyond the veneer of despair, and you will find them.
Search for opportunity in your location and they will start searching for you. Refuse to let other people come from far to show you the opportunities that you have always been sitting on.
I was facilitating a workshop recently in West Africa and afterward a participant came to me and commended me for a job he felt was well-done.
Then he asked me if I spoke French.
Sheepishly, I rolled my eyes as he continued to tell me how much he would have loved for me to come and work with his team that is located in a French-speaking African country.
Regrettably, my language limitations were a stumbling block to capturing an opportunity that already was in hand. Language ability gives you tools to converse, connect, relate and transact.
Language is a powerful tool for communication. If you ever have an opportunity to learn any language, grab that opportunity and use it well. There are some opportunities that are language-specific. Never despise any language.
If someone cannot speak a language that you have mastered well, that does not mean they are ignorant. You can never tell the possibilities and keys for greatness that the languages that you have mastered hold for you.
If you are willing, you can learn, improve and grow. Never think that all you have seen and experienced is the whole universe. Do not limit your canvas of opportunity by carelessly not mastering a language. Indigenous or international, language is powerful tool pregnant with possibilities.
Whenever you learn a new language, you get a new pair of eyes with which to look at the world and a new soul with which to feel new possibilities.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said: “He who does not know foreign languages does not know anything about his own.”
Whatever you learn opens doors for you and spreads out a canvas of possibilities for you. The key to greatness is life-long, continual and appropriate learning. You can never be made smaller by learning what you did not know.
Keep growing and maintain a very steep learning curve. Each book you read, each workshop you attend, each course you take, each journey you make is pregnant with learning opportunities that locate your greatness.
Never relax at your current level of knowledge or exposure. Open your mind and eyes to new possibilities.
Keep learning and growing.
If opportunity finds you without knowledge and skill, the opportunity, like a shining lamp, might reveal your nakedness.
Learn fast, learn all the time. Keep growing and challenging the limits of your ignorance. Those who know little are usually most arrogant.
Keep asking yourself: What is not yet perfect? What if what I learnt would take me to the next level? Do not be so obsessed with getting the certification that you forget to tap into the learning. You will have to pay your own way to learning most of the time.
Never be are unsettled by the cost of learning because the price of ignorance is far higher and more painful.
Leadership matters and plays an important shaping role in locating and facilitating greatness. All failure can usually be traced to some dysfunctional leadership somewhere. Leaders see the future and position themselves to capture it.
Leaders have their feet in the present, but they live in the future and are always creating new possibilities. Greatness is a creation. You need to see it and move towards it. Refuse to be parked in the present and not see the future.
Do not be so stuck in the past that you cannot locate possibilities in the future. Greatness belongs to those who embrace the future now. Now those who see greatness while in the storm, those who wake up while it is still dark, those who see order beyond chaos are primed for greatness.
Leadership is that element that shapes and locates things in the storm. When there is chaos, you need leaders not just chaperons of the present order.
In any crisis, the task of leadership is to define reality. It is easy to be so enveloped with your own narrative that you stop seeing reality.
It is easy to feel that you are moving while you are standing still or regressing. Leadership is the ability to see the reality that is beyond the reality that you wish existed. The purpose of reality is not to scare you from your greatness but to drive reality and help you have a solid baseline.
Leaders do not ignore reality — they refuse to be intimidated by it.
Leadership is the art of seeing greatness in people. It is the art of seeing a giant tree in a seed. Never be disappointed by the small seeds that you have today, they will grow. Consider today as foundation seed, ready for multiplication.
Never be dismayed by the little you have today, it will grow if you are patient. Never be discouraged by the little progress you are making, your momentum will pick up and grow. Great leaders encourage the hearts, inspire dreams and accelerate progress towards greatness.
When you find a great leader, learn all you can from him or her. When you get the opportunity to lead, do not knock over the people that you have. Grow and develop them into giants. Paint a positive and powerful picture of possibilities.
John Kotter, a leadership and change expert, once said of leaders: “They don’t make plans; they don’t solve problems; they don’t even organise people. What leaders really do is prepare organisations for change and help them cope as they struggle through it.”
Change brings uncertainty and sometimes pain.
Failure to change in a dynamic and fast changing world is doom and generational delay.
Leaders catalyse change and inspire great possibilities while spotlighting the minefield of opportunities.
Milton Kamwendo is an international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He is a strategy, innovation, team-building and leadership consultant. He can be reached at [email protected] and on WhatsApp number 0772422634