Article was written by Monica Musonda
I recently came across a clip from Oprah Winfrey where she shared a reminder that you alone are responsible for your life. It’s about understanding exactly what William Ernest Henley said in his poem, Invictus
“…..I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”
This means that YOU solely have control over determining your feelings and your destiny despite the circumstances. Also we must strive to make each day a good one no matter what our circumstances. I remember when I was trying to make the decision to move back to Zambia (after being away for 13 years) to start a manufacturing business. I had a successful career in corporate law, having worked for very large corporates and which had rewarded me well. So I had a lot of people questioning why I would give it up to start something I didn’t know anything about. My parents were academicians and so it was not like I was walking into a family business or had any background in manufacturing, distribution or retail. But what I knew for sure was that I wanted to create impact in my home country – I wanted to build a brand that Zambians could be proud of and call their own. I knew I couldn’t sit on the side lines and expect things at home to change if I was not willing to be part of the wave of Zambians starting businesses, creating jobs and creating wealth.
So I started Java Foods, with limited knowledge but a whole lot of gusto, belief in self and commitment. It was not easy – we ran out of money (a lots of times), couldn’t get the financing the business needed when we needed it, experienced stocks out, thefts to name a few challenges. But I adjusted my sail each time and told myself this will get harder but then every step we take will be a bigger victory! So despite all the challenges (there were plenty – and still are!) – Java Foods is 8 years strong, 42 employees and manufactures leading brands eeZee Noodles & Supa Cereal. I have learnt so much and can safely call myself a corporate lawyer turned entrepreneur.
My advice to you today is put yourself in the driver’s seat of your own life and give yourself the control to choose your final destination. You are the only person with the power to decide the person you want to be. There will always be naysayers who will tell you you’re too old or that you don’t have what it takes. When you have a vision or goal it’s important not to be distracted by the opinions of others when you are captivated by your purpose. This isn’t about anyone else. Live for you and honour the vision you set out for yourself – whether you are employed, self-employed or thinking about starting a new venture. On your journey it’s inevitable that you will hit roadblocks and challenges that may seem too big for you in that very moment but it’s important to trust the journey, learn and keep the final destination in mind.
Remember despite the size of the obstacle that in order to get something you have never had, you have to be bold and step out of your comfort zone and do things that you have never done. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, think back to your purpose and “your why” and I guarantee it will inspire you to keep moving forward. I am currently reading “ Start with Why” by Simon Sinek – I would encourage you to read it as in life it doesn’t matter what you do but it matters why you do it!
Wishing you the very best on your journey.