Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Goal Achievement: 11 ways to overcome obstacles

By Virginia Mburu

Something that blocks you so that movement, going forward or action are prevented or made more difficult…

Who would want something that makes progress more difficult? However though obstacles make target achievement challenging, the process becomes more thrilling and motivating. We will now look into how we can manage obstacles by taking some lessons from one short, wealthy, chief tax collector Zacchaeus found in Luke 19: 1-10.

Step 1….Your target must be crystal clear and the why obvious
Zacchaeus’ goal was outlined in - Luke 18:3; ‘He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.”  

To ‘see someone’ and to “see who they are” have different meanings and demand totally different approaches.

Jesus’ popularity must have preceded his visit to this town of Jericho—His radical preaching, the innumerable miracles, the frequent run-ins with the Chief Priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, etc. More so for Zacchaeus- that he could accommodate the tax collectors and sinners.

He had even recruited a tax collector (Matthew) to be one of his 12 disciples! So, is your target clearly as spelt out as that one of Zacchaeus?

Please note that the goal statement included the obstacles he faced. "I Zacchaeus- the shorty- get to see who Jesus is Today, No Matter What!”
Step 2….Adjust priorities
This is especially so if this happens to be one of those impromptu targets arising from an impromptu visit by Jesus in Jericho (see another one here).

Take time to adjust priorities. Zacchaeus must have moved some of his tax collection appointments from the day’s schedule and it must have come at a cost!

Step 3…..Get a tight grasp on your emotions
Stop seeing the obstacle from the eyes of a vertically challenged, wealthy, chief tax collector who was resented by fellow Jews. Analyse the obstacle from a logical perspective. No blame game, No search for sympathy votes… Be Zacchaeus -focus on end result rather than perceptions!  

Step 4.….Map your way to the target but be flexible to allow for changes from lessons learned on the way

What solution exists? Adopt the attitude that every problem has a solution. We usually talk about going round an obstacle. What about going over or under it or even climbing it like Zacchaeus?

Thoroughly assess the obstacle, have a mindset that every obstacle is surmountable and your good brains will furnish you with unexpected alternatives. Be creative and persistent in your solution search. Think differently, question assumptions, norms, generalizations etc. How would other people view the obstacle?  How would your mentor view it? How would an assistant view it?

It would not be surprising if Zacchaeus borrowed the ‘climbing’ tip from some young boys  who were already atop some of the trees!  What about seeking help from mentors, coaches or experts to assist you craft the solution? 

While at it, desist from blame game or search for sympathy votes which make us operate from a point of weakness and unable to control our fate and destiny. Imagine Zacchaeus going like “Woiyee you guys, can’t you  allow the bilikimos (short people) to take the front row?”

Let’s take full responsibility over the obstacle even as we invite assistance.
Zacchaeus crafted a solution that was sure to attract Jesus’s attention. He defined where (he must have enquired to know the route Jesus was to take), which tree to climb to improve his height (Sycamore fig tree which was high above the crowd but low enough for him to be seen).

He must also have picked on the right time to run ahead of the crowd and climb the tree. What if you had a brainstorming session and wrote out all possible solutions until you have a winning formula?

Step 5..…Expect and identify obstacles in your journey
 If you averse to obstacles, then you better take note of this quote from Frank A. Clark- “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere”. And as mentioned above, you may decide to mention them in the goal statement.

      A.  Personal Obstacles
Physical attributes, thought patters, habits, behaviours, career, knowledge, skills etc. For Zacchaeus, his height and being an agent of the oppressor (Roman Authorities) were major obstacles. He must have been viewed as a sellout and ostracized.

It was an open secret that the tax collectors enriched themselves by collecting more taxes than demanded by the Roman Authorities. No wonder when Jesus decided to visit the home of Zacchaeus, the people “began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner’” (Luke  19:7)

B. Financial obstacles—Lack of or too much thereof
Whereas most people face the former, Zacchaeus fell victim to the latter -the wealth that was acquired through dubious means. 

C.    Social Obstacles
Are too many of you reaching for the same target necessitating that you run ahead of the crowd like Zacchaeus? How do people perceive you? Do they resent you like they did Zacchaeus? Are people discouraging you?

You may find out that like Zacchaeus, people around you or the culture you operate in is not conducive, is out-rightly sabotaging you, or the people are simply not capable of assisting you get over the obstacle. 

You may need to build better or new relationships. Correctly diagnose the scenario and effectively communicate what you want, how you want it done and expected result while ensuring they also achieve the other party’s desires in the process.

D.    Environmental Obstacles
Along the way, you may come across unexpected conditions, occurrences and circumstances that are beyond your control. For Zacchaeus, the crowds were huge. Do some scenario planning in advance and set up action plans which can be adjusted as you move along.

Step 6…..Set and stick to deadlines
Zacchaeus could have opted to wait for next time but then would he have seen Jesus again? Not on earth as Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem  where he was soon crucified.  This would have resulted in another unrealised personal target…

And by the way, why would you be missing your own deadlines unless you are busy assisting other people achieve theirs? Mind you, you might end up with a dangerous procrastination habit in your success journey. Not good, right?

Step 7…..Marshal the necessary support or resources 
What do you have and what’s missing? Zacchaeus could not rely on the support of the crowd. They detested him anyway but having criss-crossed this town many times, he knew a certain tree that  would do the trick.

So- Passionate Entrepreneur, what are the necessary tools, strategies, knowledge and the support we need to help us overcome obstacle successfully?  Keep an open mind…..even to a an often ignored sycamore-fig tree…….

Step 8…..Execute your plan-Fast…
Watch out for Henry Ford’s quote that "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." Wealthy Zacchaeus took this to heart and quickly gathered his robes and raced down the street ahead of the crowds and climbed the sycamore fig tree. Remember Jesus was “passing through” on his way to Jerusalem and time was of essence.

Step 9…..When one obstacle is resolved, another one comes knocking
Zacchaeus got more than he bargained for…. Not only did he attract Jesus’s attention but Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus home!  Luke tells us in Luke 19:5  “When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” 

Next was a spiritual obstacle –his sin LUKE 19:7 says that 
“All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner.'"
He was known to be unjust in his tax collection and now was time to change his modus operandi which he quickly did in Luke 19:8  “Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

Step 10…..It pays to assist others achieve their goals and gain a double victory
Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree because he was seeking Jesus whereas   Jesus was seeking to save the lost. Both Jesus and Zacchaeus reached their goals. Can your solution assist the other person achieve their objectives as well?

Step 11…..Don’t Quit
When the going gets really tough, you may want to take the advice of this unknown author who says that “Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer”. What would have seemed impossible did  happen to Sinner  Zacchaeus and other Jews  for in Verse 9, “Jesus Said to him “Today Salvation has come to this house….”

Over to you Passionate Entrepreneur;
Which obstacles have you faced in your progress journey
How have you overcome these obstacles?

Share your experiences, suggestions or questions in the comments section below. Who knows- We might as well  share a joint victory……..

Whatever you do, make sure it results in less work, more money and positive impact.


 Virginia Mburu
The Work Less, Make More Money Passionate Entrepreneurs Coach

Virginia empowers and motivates Passionate Entrepreneurs to realize their purpose and pursue it. She then assists the entrepreneurs to clarify, prioritise and focus on management and marketing strategies and action plans that will get them to work less, make more money and positively impact within one year.    Download some of her gifts- absolutely free lessons on www.biasharacoach.blogspot.co.ke

Virginia can support you  achieve business goals and  move your  business to the next level through the Biashara Coach programs under;

1.Improve your business performance  through "My Productivity Optimization Formula"

2. Achieve your business and personal goals through "My Goal Setting and Achievement System"

3.  Set up  formidable business structures through "My Business Foundations Model

4. Keep a customer for life through my "My Customer Lifetime Value  Optimizer"

5.Increase your customer numbers through "My Customer Multiplier Blueprint"

6.  Set up  a selling machine through "My World Class Sales System"

7.Design the lifestyle you  always envied through "My Inside Out Lifestyle Design"

Resolutions: 7 lessons from the farmer to make them stick

By Virginia Mburu
Remember Mwakazi….?

He is the Passionate Entrepreneur and owner of Makao Interior Designers.  What about his  wife Pendo, son Jabali and daughter Waridi?

During the Christmas holidays, they took a vacation for a well-deserved rest. The last time we met him, he was reviewing some motivation lessons he had learned the previous weekend. Now we meet the family holding a kamukunji (meeting).

Waridi, “Have you made some new year resolutions?” Mwakazi asks.  Waridi looks confused. “What are resolutions?”, Waridi asks. “Jabali, can you explain what a resolution is” asks Mwakazi looking at Jabali expectantly. “It is…eh eh eh, it is deciding to start or stop doing something."
“Great”….Pendo jets in… “That’s my boy”.  Now that you know what a resolution is, what  is your resolution,  Waridi?” Mwakazi asks. Waridi is now excited. “I want to improve my science grades”. Pendo joins in and asks, 
“Good, but tell us why”. “Because I want to be a doctor when I grow up.”, Waridi replies.

Mwakazi  interrupts, ‘Wow, you got it right there Pendo, when setting resolutions, one  must make sure  they get to the  basic reason why they need to make a change or start on something new.” 

What is personally motivating the change? This is what will keep you pushing on long after others  have given up. You also need to set a structure and system that will support the new resolution.

Furthermore, you do not have to wait for January 1st to make resolutions. You can make them any time a change is required.

Pendo interjects, “Yes,you sure need to actively support the achievement of the resolutions. That reminds me of this verse in Matthew 12: 33-"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” 

Jabali jumps up, “I will increase my football practice  because I want to be  the striker in my favourite club - Arsenal. And Dad, can you please enroll me in the newly established Makinika Football Academy?”  

“Hold it there Jabali”, Said Mwakazi. “Let us first see what we can learn from the verse Mum talked about. Let us brainstorm how we can  “make” our trees (resolutions)  and fruits (outcomes) good.

It seems that we largely determine the  fruit we  are going to harvest- the good, the  bad and the ugly- "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad.” 

Mind you, we  will all recognize what effort you applied to the outcome- “for  a tree is recognized by its fruits””

By the end of the session, they came up with the following steps to ensure a bounty harvest and enjoyment of  the most succulent healthy fruits.

Lesson 1…..Make the  environment good

How many palm trees are found growing in a cold place such as Limuru and   who has sighted a tea plantation close to our lovely beaches?  You may call it climate or environment or whatever. 

What matters is that the environment you are planting your resolutions in must be “right”. Have you had a close look at your ‘mind’ environment- Is it supporting or sabotaging your resolution?  

What about the ‘habit’ environment or the “physical” environment? Now think of this exciting ‘earn more money’ resolution yet you maintain the same old time wasters in your day plan? What outcome do you expect?  

Now let’s get to the actual spot where you will plant the tree. Whereas the general environment is good, the spot you plant may lack in sunshine. 

They say that fruit trees needs six hours of sun a day when it is growing.  Have you chosen the spot in which you can have your ‘six hour of sun’ per day and gloriously shine?  

Now that you have a ‘shiny spot’, you dare not forget that you need to space your trees. Yes- avoid chasing too many resolutions at the same time- prioritise and space them. 

Have you observed what happens when plants are planted too close? You may have to actually break down your main goal into smaller goals that can be easily and quickly achieved in succession all leading to the main goal. 

Lesson 2…..Make the seeds good

Select seed varieties that are good for your environment. Are you growing Katumani maize seed for low rainfall or the hybrids for the high rainfall areas? 

Is that new product/ service/ idea right for the environment (market/customer)? Have you done enough surveys to ensure fit? 

Once you ascertain the seed variety and environment match, now make the quality and quantity of seed good. Is the new product/ service/idea meeting the customer needs? Will it produce enough fruit for the market? 

Lesson 3….. Dig up and mix the soils

Which plants do better-the ones where a tractor dug up the soil or those planted where one dug up with a panga? 

Just as plants need a well-drained soil, so does the soils you plant your resolutions in. Have you “dug up” enough due diligence as to what it entails to succeed in that area? 

Lesson 4…..Water and feed the soils

Younger plants need more water than those that are mature as they are yet to develop extensive root systems. So will the resolution- it will need more effort time, resources etc. as you start. 

And please don’t forget to apply some mulching to conserve moisture. By the way, did you add the right fertilizer at the right time to ensure consistent growth of your resolution?  A refresher course, a new skill, a coach, a mentor, a reminder system such daily reviews, post its, etc. 

Have a   brainstorming session to identify all the waters and fertilizers necessary and apply them early- Remember you train a tree when its young! 

Lesson 5…..Tree pruning, thinning and weeding

Farmers know this too well. You have to do away with the weaker plants to give way for the stronger plants. Could some of those resolutions give way to others that have more impact?  

While at it, you may find that those left after thinning start growing some unnecessary/weak branches. Other branches may get damaged or even die off which follows that you need to constantly prune. 

Which branches of your resolutions are no longer helpful in the production of a good fruit? Prune them!  

What about those  weeds that  you did not plant but they will infiltrate your well drained, watered and fertilized soil whether you like it or not? Time to do away with all extras that do not support the production of the desired good fruit!  

Lesson 6…..Insect, pest and disease control 

Think of the diseases, pests and insects that damage the plant or the fruits. Now consider the attitude, habit, culture, system etc. diseases that compromise our resolutions.  

And the pests like theft, returns etc.   that eat into the fruits? What insecticides (systems and structures) do we apply to protect the already good fruits? 

Lesson 7…..Fruit thinning

You may have observed that trees have a natural process of fruit thinning. Immediately after flowering when fruits start growing, you are likely to observe that the tree sheds off quite a number of fruits. 

Some farmers go a step further and actually thin the fruits manually. What about you? The tree has now matured and produced many fruits. 

The question is- should all of them be allowed to grow and if so, will they all grow to be “good and sizable” fruits or should you do away with some and leave those that the resources at hand can support?  

Over to you Passionate Entrepreneur; 
  • Do you have the “WHYS” behind your resolutions?
  • What systems and structures have you put in place to ensure a bounty harvest of “good” fruits?”

Share your experiences, suggestions or questions in the comments section below. Who knows- You could probably be the customer who will benefit from the “GOOD FRUIT”!

Whatever you do, make sure it results in less work, more money and positive impact.


 Virginia Mburu
The Work Less, Make  more Money Passionate Entrepreneurs Coach

Virginia empowers and motivates Passionate Entrepreneurs to realize their purpose and pursue it. She then assists the entrepreneurs to clarify, prioritise and focus on management and marketing strategies and action plans that will get them to work less, make more money and positively impact within one year.    Download some ofher gifts- absolutely free lessons on www.biasharacoach.com

Motivation: How to Move your employee up the performance ladder (part 2 of 2)

By Virginia Mburu
Let’s continue with the next four steps on how to move your employees up the performance ladder.

Our case study is based on Judges 6-7. In the last article, we discussed  the first three steps namely;

Step 1….Be clear on what performance you expect 
Step 2….Note the non-performance and address 
Step 3…. Start a conversation and find the root cause avoiding bias

Now to step 4-
Step 4…..Work out a plan of action - together
Now that you have all the excuses and reasons, avoid telling the ‘Performer P’ what they need to do. 

You want to turn them into ‘Performer S’ who is self-motivated- which means the motivating factors has to come from within them.

Appeal to their emotions…..  

Establish what makes them tick… what matters to them? What do they value? How would they like their life to span out? What are their goals and plans in the main life roles e.g. their financial, career, education, family, social, personal development spiritual etc. 

Connect these goals to the expected performance e.g. How 123 more commissions means moving to a locality they have as part of their goal or better schools for their children etc.

What you are basically doing is appealing to their emotions such as fear of losing their job (demotivator in the long run) or positive emotions like excitement, pride, a sense of belonging, and the thrill of achievement.

Ask them to craft an action plan on how they can improve. While at it avoid pushing them to make a plan on the spot but allow them a few days to think, strategise, map out their plan and revert.

Step 5…..Time to offer your support
Do not be surprised if they seem not confident about the new expectations. 

Gideon literally asked for a sign- In verse 19-22 the Lord was to wait as Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak. The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared.  When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”

You know better what works given the job, personality, their goals, skill-set etc. You may have to coach, train, redeploy, add resources etc. 

Remember your reputation, your character, your behavior will inspire them more than anything else. Tell stories of how others succeeded to show them what they’re capable of becoming or of doing.

Step 6…..Time to challenge them.
Break the long term goal into milestones that can easily be achieved so as to build confidence. Let the milestones be challenges that will exert them, bring out their creativity, and require sacrifice.

Guide them on what is to be done and expected results but trust them with the nitty - gritty details i.e. do not micro manage them.

All the same, make sure the task is commensurate with the skills. See what happened in verse 25-28. “That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years oldTear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.” So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime. In the morning when the people of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!  
Note the details on who was to help, when it was done were left to Gideon!

Step 7…..Monitor, Evaluate, Provide feedback   & reward progress
Progress is powerful.  So is feedback.  Gideon’s success in this venture build confidence in himself and in the person who was sending him. 

He was rewarded with a new warrior spirit and thereafter won many victories as seen in verse 33-35.   “Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.

For effective monitoring, schedule performance evaluations several times within the year.  Some of us wait until the year end for the annual performance appraisal. 

Ditch this practice and possibly have quarterly meetings where you touch base and monitor how the employee is progressing towards the targeted performance.

Sometimes the best reward may be to release Performer P. They may not be ready for the challenge ahead as Gideon discovered in Judges 7: 3 “ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained”

There goes your previous Performer P who was thrashing wheat in a wine-press and thought he was the least capable warrior! Now he is the ‘Performer S’ calling out and leading other men to war!

And win they did as a team.  In the rest of the verses we see God, Gideon and the  warriors working as a team and gaining not just one victory but several such that Judges 7; 28  says concludes that  Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.”   

Go on... craft a sentence that is  similar to the  last applying  this to your business -“thus  non performance was eliminated ...... and did not raise its head  again. The business  expanded beyond ....."

Over to you Passionate Entrepreneur
  • How do you motivate ‘Performer P’?
  • What else can be done to improve their performance?

 Share with your experiences, suggestions or questions in the comments section below and help another Passionate Entrepreneur.

Whatever you do, make sure it results in less work, more money and positive impact.


 Virginia Mburu
The Work Less, Make More Money Passionate Entrepreneurs Coach
Virginia empowers and motivates Passionate Entrepreneurs to realize their purpose and pursue it. She then assists the entrepreneurs to clarify, prioritise and focus on management and marketing strategies and action plans that will get them to work less, make more money and positively impact within one year.  Download some of her gifts- absolutely free lessons on www.biasharacoach.com

Motivation: “How to move your employee up the performance ladder (part 1 of 2)”

By Virginia Mburu
We all know ‘Performer P’……

That one  who does not like their job but does love the payday.

Don’t you just marvel at the many excuses He/She comes up with so as not to report to work -especially the sick –offs denying your business the results you pay them for? Never mind that they are the ones who would make the most noise should that payday be extended by several hours!

Now to the other ‘Performer S’……

The one who cannot wait to get to work. Don’t you  again marvel at  the way He/She enjoys the challenges that come their way and produce excellently wonderful results? 

Don’t you keep praying your wish to clone them would be granted pronto! Please do not confuse ‘Performer S’ with  ‘Workaholic M’ who have   emotional issues- these ones are unable to stop working even when it is plainly obvious they do not love their  jobs......

Who is more motivated between ‘Performer P’ or ‘Performer S’?  Your obvious answer may be ‘Performer S’. Why? They are of course producing better personal and business benefits. 

Does this mean that what you the Passionate Entrepreneur need is to get ‘Performer P’ to increase their productivity and motivation will automatically follow suit?

If that is so, then it’s time to look at how to move ‘Performer P’ up the productivity ladder.

Let’s dive into our case study based on Judges 6-7.

Step 1….. Be clear on what performance you expect
You will have better chances of getting results when you clearly spell out- not just what to do but the why and the performance standards expected. 

Also make sure you have the right person for the job.  In short – Have the right skill set and a measurable job description that is understood and agreed on with your employees. 

 The community in which our subject under study (Gideon)  belonged to had signed a performance contract with clearly spelt out responsibilities, standards, benefits and consequences. 

They did not honour their part of the deal and we see them suffering the consequence in Judges 6:1-2 where “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.”

 Step 2….Note the non-performance and address it
This is where the performance measures come in handy. If you are continuously monitoring targets, you can quickly spot the variances in performance. 

The point to note here is that the ‘performance leaks” must be addressed early. Some of us do not like biting this bullet but you got to do it - NOW!
Mind you, inaction on your part will send a message to the other team members that it is okay to ‘slack’ while you get more stressed and irritated.

You might be relieved to know the poor performance is not news to ‘Performer P’   and they will actually be surprised if you do not act.

Do not be even be surprised you if they approach you like the Israelites did in Judges 6:6 where “Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help”

Step 3…. Start a conversation and find the root cause avoiding bias
While getting into this conversation, first get your emotions in check. You will need to be rational and objective. All the more reason why you should handle the performance leak before it starts to stress you!

In Judges 6:7-10, this conversation starts at a team level. We read that “When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

Then you take it to the individual. Make this conversation private for best results. Verse 11 states that “The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.”  It was not by coincidence that Gideon was alone.

Start by building a rapport.  Despite how badly Performer P is doing, look for something positive on which to build your foundation. Note   how the Angel greeted Gideon in verse 12 “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” 

Mighty warrior indeed notwithstanding the fact that that he was hiding in a wine-press! Then express your confidence in their ability  to excel.  “The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

Now be ready to hear all the reasons and excuses as to why they cannot perform.  Listen carefully and you will pick out things like-You are not supporting us as in verse 13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Prod a little further to mine and separate the reasons from excuses.

Or, I lack the necessary skills/ I am the wrong person for the job as in verse 15   “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

Come to an agreement on the root causes and barriers. Be ready to accept your contribution to the non-performance such as wrong deployment or lack of support.

Step 4, 5, 6, 7 in the next episode

In the meantime, share your comments on steps1-3 below.

Whatever you do, make sure it results in less work, more money and positive impact.

 Virginia Mburu
The Work Less, Make More Money Passionate Entrepreneurs Coach
Virginia empowers and motivates Passionate Entrepreneurs to realize their purpose and pursue it. She then assists the entrepreneurs to clarify, prioritise and focus on management and marketing strategies and action plans that will get them to work less, make more money and positively impact within one year.  Download some of her gifts- absolutely free lessons on www.biasharacoach.blogspot.co.ke

Business Foundations: 8 steps towards making gratitude (Philanthropy) part of your business culture

By Virginia Mburu
In the last episode Mwakazi- the Passionate Entrepreneur and owner of Makao Interior Designers  summarized the success clues to borrow from immigrant Indian entrepreneurs.  One of the   clues was strategic philanthropy.

To Now…It’s the usual  Monday morning traffic jams….He is driving to work while thinking how he can make use of those success clues. 

He tunes in to his favorite radio station and a voice over rings out - “Do you have a your personal gratitude account? How healthy is the account? Does its state make you happier or…..? Inject more deposits into this account and experience more positive emotions, better health & relationships……”
It is like someone somewhere is trying to aggressively drive a message across.

Was it not just yesterday that this gratitude issue was a subject of discussion through a case study based on Mark 14: 3-9? As usual he makes a mental review of the major take-aways he had noted in his notebook as under;

Step 1.....Actively look around and note the goodness around you
Take a break from busyness and myriad responsibilities and smell the roses. It costs you just your “involved self” and some time to note goodness in  or from people, books,  music, art, literature, daily life, history etc.  

Sometimes the goodness hits you like a grenade. The woman in the story is Mary, the sister of Lazarus- the one who was raised from the dead a few days earlier. Can this kind of goodness be ignored? 

Step 2.....Learn to be a good receiver of goodness
Raise your awareness levels and you will even notice the small ways that people show kindness toward you.  Many of us are subscribers of the philosophy that it is better to give than receive. 

Time we also wore the other shoe…unconditionally soak in the kindness and savour the positive feelings without giving excuses, being dismissive, evading the compliment or even looking away. If you happen to react as mentioned, check into your belief system. 

You may possibly believe you are not worthy of…… Mary recognized this mega goodness and made a mental note that she would…..

Step 3... Express gratitude for this goodness
Once we have noted the goodness, allow the positive feelings to grow and savour the goodness. We can now express our gratitude more deeply.

 Whereas a “thank you” would previously suffice, now we add a “hearty eye to eye” smile,  an “excited” exclamation or a  “spontaneous” jig!  The giver sees/ feels our gratitude and shares in our positivity- A mutually rewarding relationship no doubt.

 Mary expressed herself in a most unusual manner- an unusual gift. She knew that it was important to……

Step 4.....Choose your gifts- wisely
The gift may be a product or a service. You may decide to buy or create the gift personally. Either way, please consider;

  • The message the gift passes…..the receivers value to you, a work of sacrifice given straight from the heart. Mary’s gift was most unusual gift anointing with a whole pint of expensive pure nard perfume. John 12:4 says it was worth a year’s wages! Can you beat that?  Note that Jesus remarks- “She did what she could”
  • Make it valuable and personal…..Something the receiver will highly appreciate, personally use and if possible something they will not think of buying or cannot buy like your companionship. The whole pint of pure nard perfume was poured on Jesus’ head and feet
  • Make it memorable and impactful.....The fragrance of the perfume permeated the room, attracts everyone’s attention plus the supposed extravagance is registered. This is certainly an exceptional experience…
  • While at it, make the packaging great… Yea.. make it an alabaster (an almost transparent white stone often used for making  decorative objects)  jar!
  • The timing better be right…Mary may not have known it but Jesus made it clear what anointing symbolized “She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial”

 Step 5..... Understand that your definition of appreciation may not be similar to the receiver.
What if they did not smile back or are flat out indifferent? They may not respond as expected but they are just different though they still may be truly grateful.  

In our story, Jesus did appreciate the gift and says that “she has done a beautiful thing to me”

Step 6....Acknowledge negativity and respond with genuine appreciation and thanks

Wow… Were not some of those present indignant at this gesture? Possibly out of jealousy! Listen to what they said and compare to the response from Jesus. "Why this waste of perfume?  It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.” "Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me”The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Step 7......Make “gratitude” a lifestyle
While reviewing your day, make it a point to write 5 things you're grateful for every day. 

Make gratitude part of your social conversations. 

Always find something to be grateful about be it in a person, things or circumstances.  E.g. You may be grateful for the lessons you are deriving from a book you are reading, the author, the publisher, the distributors, the growers of paper used in manufacturing the book etc.

Step 8.....When giving as a business or an organization or as a group
Make sure the gift/ donation is in line with your strategic vision, mission and values
Have a clear understanding of the outcomes and impact of the donation and ensure they are aligned to your goals
Thoroughly vet the recipients capability to deliver the outcomes
Have systems that ensure you are up to date on the progress (time, scope, resource) of supported projects

Over to you Passionate Entrepreneur;

 How have you inculcated gratitude in your personal and business life?
 What other experiences have you noted that would be applicable in your life/business?

Share your experiences, suggestions or questions in the comments section below. 

Whatever you do, make sure it results in less work, more money and positive impact.


Virginia Mburu

Passionate Entrepreneurs Coach

Virginia empowers and motivates Passionate Entrepreneurs to realize their purpose and pursue it. She then assists the entrepreneurs to clarify, prioritise and focus on management and marketing strategies and action plans that will get them to work less, make more money and positively impact within one year. Access some of her gifts- absolutely free lessons on biasharacoach.blogspot.co.ke