1. Master YOUR craft – It’s 2017 and we have had a thousand and one ideas since the start of the year. How many have been implemented? One? None? It’s great to think of a bunch of things you can get involved in. It’s nice to start up various businesses. But even better, is seeing ONE all the way through. I can’t count how many things I have started up in the last year or two, but I can’t put my name to any of them today. Thankfully, (and hopefully!) Operation #SaveSpendInvest is here to stay. They say it takes 10,000 hours to master something. You think of that number and it seems bigger than you. OK so let’s forget the number and get the point. The point is, whatever it is you’re doing, you better do it well. If you know how to sew, learn all the shapes, textures and types of things you can sew. Practice till your hands bleed (not literally). Attend workshops, seminars and find people in the field you can learn from. Perfect your craft and be known for it. The bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:10 in ESV “Whatever your hands find to do, do it with your might.” NLT version says ‘do it well’. We must have heard that phrase before – now is the time to put it in practice. Before you think of another idea to start, focus on just ONE for the rest of the year and master it.
2. Get knowledge – Fortunately for me and a lot of other people, I work in an industry where knowledge is power and so the more I know, the better I am at my job. The better I am at my job, the higher my salary. There’s a direct correlation, albeit sometimes it can take a while to get to the top but slow and steady here will win the race. African parents love accumulating qualifications like they’re trophies. An Undergrad in Business Finance, MSc in Financial Management , PhD in Organisational Behaviour, ACCA, MBA, CFA, CTA … ALL of the qualifications, we got it. Fair enough for them, back then the more titles you had before your name the better. Things haven’t changed very much since then, knowledge still is very valued. But titles here and there is not where what we’re necessarily going for. What you want to do is get knowledge of your field. When people have questions about anything, let them come to you for the answers. You don’t have to take all the exams to get the information. A short course here, a conference there will get you very far. I’m a big book lover. I love to read (but I dread exams, yuck). My own way of getting knowledge is therefore to immerse myself in as many books as are relevant. If books aren’t your thing, how about videos? Podcasts? Whatever way you can, get knowledge. More knowledge = more money. Cha-ching.
3. Be skilful – I have a friend who is very skilful. He would decide he wants to learn Spanish in 6 months, book a personal tutor over the period and do just that. Every year he adds more and more skills to his CV. I absolutely admire him. Over the years, his technique started to rub off on me and I too found myself doing the same thing. When I got into full time employment, I was afraid I’d get stuck doing the same thing. So I decided to do something else I could add to my CV. This year, I decided to add the skill of languages – Spanish in particular. Although I can’t speak it fluently now, my two trips to Spain this year has by no means been wasted. Prov 22:29 says “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings: He will not stand before obscure men.” Get skilful – acquire a new skill in anything that tickles your fancy. From languages, to sports to even IT skills, whatever you can do to be more valuable to your employer, do it and do it well. Spanish just might come in handy when they need someone to send to Barcelona for a new project ?