Friday, April 20, 2012

Get Out of that Comfort Zone!

He was working in a government hospital as a medical doctor. He did not like the monotonous nature of the job. He detested coming to work every day and waiting for his pay cheque at the end of the month. He came from a family where most of his relatives shunned payed employment jobs because they prefer to start their own outfits.

Working for government most of his life and settling down for gratuity and pension did not appeal to him. He felt 'running his own show' will make him think harder and come up with more initiatives and creativity in the course of his work.

It was two years down the line, after he got his employment letter to work at Charanchi in Katsina State and he was not finding the job exciting.

It was not an easy thing to do but he had made up his mind...

And he threw in the towel. He went on to start a his private clinic at Katsina, the capital city of the state. The reactions he got from most of his colleagues and superiors were "Are you crazy?" "You are playing with your career" "You have just ruined your future." His determination made him turn deaf ears to their cautions.

"The first six months was hell. I only had a few patients patronizing the clinic. I was spending a lot of money running the clinic as compared to the little income."

"Many people failed me. A relative that promised to give me a loan came up with excuses. Another friend that had promised to deliver some equipment to me disappointed me."

He had to sell his car to pay some debts he accrued. He was between the devil and the deep blue sea.

"At a stage, I had to give out my apartment to someone interested to refund me the money I paid and I moved into one the rooms in the place I rented for me clinic." He said, as he recounted his experience.

He needed to achieve the dream. It was the same dream that led him to take the risky decision that made him quit his job. Unfortunately, with the turn of events, the dream looked distant and bleak. But he had been a dogged fighter all his life and he needed to prove his friends that thought he was crazy, wrong.

Where there moments that he thought of quitting? "Yes," he replied, "but I had no escape route because 'I had burnt my bridges and there was no going back."

"My big break came about a year after, during the cerebrospinal meningitis outbreak in the north," he said, "the vaccine was scarce and I was fortunate to have some in stock."

" A trailer load of infected patients from the border towns and Niger republic were brought to my clinic and the government public health officials were ready to buy the vaccines even at more than four times the cost."

"The work was so hectic at this period but it payed off and I still had more patients to administer the vaccines even after I ordered more drugs from Lagos."

Less than two months afterwards, he bought another car and started making arrangements to move into a new and better apartment. His clinic started booming. The disease outbreak had made it more popular and many patients had come to gain confidence in him. Today, he has a hospital and many thriving investments. He has also built a strong reputation as a general practitioner.

When he was asked about his colleagues way back his days as a government employee, he replied: "Oh! they are doing marvelously well. Many of them are getting set for retirement and some are already through and waiting for their gratuity. Many of them now commend me and salute my courage."

He braved the odds and he took a difficult situation that paid off. Everyone cannot be like him, it all depends on your mindset and what you want in life. But you could be succeed like him if you are convinced that you need to 'run your own show.'

Perhaps you are tired of your 9 to 5 job and your monthly pay cheque that is barely enough for you. You may have been nursing a dream about a business venture or project. Calculate the risks; now might just be the right time to take a leap of faith.

It is your life; live it to the fullest and it matters that you reach and stay on top of your game!

Picture, courtesy: and

Thursday, April 19, 2012

You Have a Bright Future!

I watched him limp around the clinic at various times to get a device for one procedure or another. Merie was a master of his art. The fact that he was physically challenged did not diminish his work because he was never found wanting.

"I have a bright future and God will keep taking me to a higher level," he told me, as we discussed when he finished seeing the patients at hand. It was obvious that he never or rarely thought about his disabilities. He told me about work, his young family, the wife that God blessed him with and how her prayers enabled him secure his a job at a time that getting employed was difficult because of the global economic meltdown.

As I watched and listened to Merie, I seemed to forget most of my headaches because they all appeared to be trivialities. I could walk straight, I could speak and hear well, I was physically alright but just the night before, I stayed awake for several hours thinking about the things I needed to get done. My problems turned to a flash in the pan as I looked at this young man who had to endure a remarkable physical challenge caused by poliomyelitis infection, which he contracted when he was just an infant.

"In my second year in the University, I made up my mind to quit. It was just too unbearable. I was the one training myself." His face was expressionless as he spoke, "My faculty head advised me against it. I persevered by combining studies and petty trading. And the rest is now history."

He had stubbornly refused to join a relative to learn a trade, instead he set up a barber shop to raise funds. "I had to use my little savings to buy a hair clipper.It was from the money I made from my shop, situated under a tree shed that I was able to take my senior school certificate and university matriculation exams."

My mind wandered to the various possibilities that could have taken place in the life of my friend had it been he did not set his mind on his ambition and persevered against all odds. He is an eye doctor today. Indeed, like he says and believes, he has a bright future.

Many of us are more advantaged physically. A great majority of us did not have to toil to train ourselves in the course of higher education. Yet we keep dwelling our minds on the things we do not have. Many times we go about as if life has short changed us. We worry, we play the blame game-forgetting our strengths and the opportunities that life has offered us.

A lot of lessons can be learned from Merie's life: Your present challenge does not mean you are finished, it is just a phase and your attitude as you face it, matters a lot. We would better enjoy our lives when we stop looking at limitations. Whether you are well or physically challenged; whether you are black or white; whether you are wealthy or just surviving or whether you are educated or illiterate- it is never too late to get your fire back and live your best life.

You can start it now by eliminating negative confirmations and limiting thoughts! For a start, you can take a cue from our friend Merie; say it and believe it, "I have a bright future and God will keep taking me to higher level !"

As you face your life and daily tasks with diligence and this kind of positive mindset, it would push you to rise above those limitations that have always held you back.

You have a bright future! You will win!

Picture, courtesy: