I never could understand why rich and successful folks always seem distant especially in the way they engage with people needing their help. If you ever tried to get the attention of the most successful people you will remember that they appear to have four walls around them preventing you access. Trying to get an appointment with a Minister, a CEO or MD is daunting. In my life I have been fortunate to reach out to these people. In high school I reached out to newspaper editors and sub-editors with content for sharing through their newspapers. One time I became a feature on a column called “What’s on Air”; then early in my working life I reached out to the vice president of Zimbabwe then Joice Mujuru, went straight to knock at her offices. We ended at her assistants’ office as she was out on national business. I was 23 years old then and never thought how inaccessible these people were. Now I have met some influential people and I feel grateful. Some things I noticed which put a chasm between those at the top with those at the bottom are as follows:
Not Valuing Time
Generally the less a person has to do, the more time they will find on their hands. I see some people play games like Candy Crush always and I wish I had their time. The less successful one is, the more time they have available in their day. Choosing to walk a path of success requires time and lots of time. You find your list of “to do”growing quickly and despite how much you do there will be lots more. So those guys who have made it know the cost of time. I remember Strive Masiyiwa sharing of a young man who had an appointment with a businessman, he found him watching football. The young man was elated, they both supported the same football team so he sat and started watching forgetting why he had gone there. He was waiting for the business man to say “after the game we can talk your proposal” but alas before the match is finished his phone rang and that is how he left for another appointment leaving the young man to watch football. He never got a chance to have another business meeting; surely the businessman had learnt that this young man has no value of time.
|Time Wasted Is Never Recouped|
Being a Nuisance
When you don’t have much to do with time it is easy to waste it by being a nuisance to other people especially those you think are influential. In the mind of an ordinary person he/she believes the more conversations he/she has with a successful person the more chance they will remember them one day. So the best way to catch someone’s eye is to drop a WhatsApp, a BBM or Facebook message here and there. The conversation often goes like:
Successman:“Greetings to you too, how are you?”
Person:“I am fine. Sup”
Person:“I am watching wrestling with my friend”
Person:“So what are you doing?”.
Successman:“I am working on a proposal”
Person:“Ok that good”
The conversation then comes to an end. In the mind of this successman he is wondering why this person got in touch. Was it just to say what they just said? What this person did is kill his own time at the expense of the successman. Perhaps he will show his girlfriend the conversation and say, “look bae I have conversations with Bill Gates”. Do not be nuisances otherwise you might find yourself banished.
Not Knowing Your Story
You should not have a story to tell which story you do not have all the details. At school we were always tested on story telling through writing composition. Whenever you wrote a composition and the story had no clear start and ending, you would be heavily penalized and maybe fail the test. The punishment does not end in high school unfortunately, even in life you still get punished for having a hanging story. So you have come up with a brilliant idea and it is very awesome in your mind. In that excitement you rush to set an appointment with Eric Schmidt of Alphabet Inc. Your idea is good on the title so you are granted a meeting and Eric says “so tell me about your idea”. Then you say I was thinking of doing this and it will be great. Then when Eric gets his chance he asks you for the financial cost and revenue from the idea (is it profitable), the sketch of how everything comes together and whether it is feasible. You tell him you don’t have all this information and you want Eric to help complete the picture. Politely you might be told; I will look into it and get back to you. This will be the last time Eric meets you. It was only in the bible where a King had a dream and asked someone to tell it then explain what it meant. In real life no one wants to try and piece together your dream for you. Make sure your story is on point, if not reach out to friends or colleagues on your level. Fine you never studied cash flow or profit and loss accounting, find a friend or someone to do it for you. Your story must be complete.
Being Full of Excuses
There is a window of opportunity for having an excuse to every challenge that comes your way. Successful people probably had the chance to make excuses but realised they will remain at the bottom if they made excuses. So when they see you make excuses they will want to run as far as possible from you. As my friend list on Facebook grew, I began to learn the pain of excuses even to those not making them. Many people reach out to me, they want help to write a business proposal, they want to be taught to understand how stock markets work, they want to understand what software development is or how to master spread sheets. So they send you a message and you can tell this person deserves to be helped, you agree. The conversation goes on for 15 minutes back and forth. Then you ask for their email & the reply is “oh, sorry I last used my email in 2012, let me go open another”. By then I have already attached a document ready to send, I have to discard the draft. Another one says “Sir I saw you are doing a great initiative teaching us to code, however I have limited access to internet, can you send me all the lessons via email?” Then I have to advise the person that a lesson work book is already uploaded onto the group files you can download. “Oh I didn’t realise it’s there, thank you”. I am left baffled, what did the person do after joining the group. I think it is standard procedure when I am added to a group to check what it does, whether the posts match the group objective, what files are shared, group rules.
One day I thought how tough Strive Masiyiwa’s schedule is after he had read my comment and liked it. I thought this man must get thousands of mailbox messages. When I checked his page I realized you cannot send a message. I am sure the option was removed after a barrage of messages most of which were fit to be spam. If only people would reach out to successful people when it was absolutely necessary then we would all have access to the best mentors and help when needing it. I have drafted business plans for people who went on to abandon the idea. Then I realise time I could have put to other uses went down the drain. I remember meeting one businessman and his phone was on, he was expecting some urgent call from United Arab Emirates, he apologised that his phone might ring here and there. When I started doing my presentation the phone rang & said let me give my Personal Assistant so we are not disturbed. I realised what I had begun to tell him was so much that he needed to focus and not be disturbed but when meeting started he probably thought it’s another person here to eat my time away then realised this was serious. Always make your story so compelling that if someone is driving they will find a parking spot and say let’s talk my mind is 100% into it now. Give no man reason to discriminate other because you were the one to convince them people are time wasters and not organised.