REJECTION? Take No Offense

I’m subscribed to John-Paul Iwuoha’s emails. He is the founder of Smallstarter Africa whose website link I will share at the end of this post. I recommend that every entrepreneur follow this website and subscribe to their mailing list. You will learn a lot!

One of the attitudes he suggests an entrepreneur should have is a “win or learn” attitude. He says there is no losing, only winning and learning. I agree with this and I know firsthand what this means.

When you put yourself out into any situation, you take the risk of being accepted or rejected. I regularly apply for many growth programs for both personal and business growth. Sometimes I get accepted and other times, I get rejected. But one thing is certain – I learn something new about myself and my business every single time I apply. The questions asked in the applications and the interviews spur me to think of new ways to solve existing problems and further improve or highlight strengths.

Earlier this year I was shortlisted for the Mandela Washington Fellowship. That in itself was an achievement because about three years ago I applied and wasn’t even shortlisted. This showed me that growth has happened since the last time I applied. I walked into the interview room at the embassy confident having revised and prepared. The first question landed like a hammer on my head though. It shook my confidence almost immediately. I can’t remember my answer but I did my best to answer as best as I could in that frame of mind. Throughout the rest of the interview, I kept on feeling rises and falls. I know I answered some questions well but I also know I truly did terribly in others. The interview brought all the great, good, bad and ugly out into the light. Bit by bit I could see the things I had done well and also the things I was failing at in the business at that point.

I didn’t get in for the fellowship but that interview pushed and stretched me in so many ways. The positive results will stretch on for a long time and the solutions I am working on in the business right now will leave a lasting impact. I learnt.

I have also applied for other programs and been accepted such as the British Council Creative Enterprise Program happening this week. I can’t wait to soak in all the knowledge and chew on it so that I can apply it to the business and pass on what I have acquired to others too.

As an artist, my work is subject to people’s opinions and comments quite often. In addition to being a fashion designer; I design buildings (architecture); I write and perform poetry and sing. I have a few song melodies and original compositions sitting idle gathering dust but I will dust them up soon and show them to the world because kept to myself, my work has no power to impact any one.

We must keep putting ourselves, and our work out there. We must keep sharing and looking for growth. Some people will applaud us while others will frown at us. Not everyone will appreciate what you do, and not everyone is supposed to anyway! Everyone has different tastes and preferences. Every program has its guidelines and requirements. Every client has different needs.

We are not entirely responsible for the reception of our work because even when we do our best to present it in the best light, the other party is always a variable. They come into the equation with their own backgrounds and experiences. We are only responsible for the way we present our work and ourselves. We are responsible too for our own perspectives and the way they shape our growth.

So the next time you face rejection, take no offense. There is no losing, only winning and learning.

As promised, here is the link

Wishing you a lovely week with the warmest of regards,



We’ve arrived at our final installment of Noeline’s story. There is even more to learn in this final segment. If you missed the first two, you can read them here and here for the first and second part respectively. Enjoy reading today’s post. 


Along the growth path of your different initiatives, what are some of the challenges you’ve experienced?

“The biggest challenge was funding. It’s tough coming from the security of a paycheck to figuring out how to make it work. As a social entrepreneur, you are driven by the passion. You want to make a difference but then you realize it’s going to take money to run the venture. In the early stages, it’s really difficult to secure funding especially for purely local startups where you don’t have links to the US…or any other country. Secondly, you don’t have any record they can track for impact so it’s hard because possible funders are always asking for impact. So it becomes hard for you to prove yourself in that early stage. It does get better with time though.

Getting the kind of staff you need is also a challenge. You end up having to outsource many things because you don’t have the money to hire full-time people. This affects the quality.

In addition, the workload is really crazy. In my first year, I was doing jobs for like six people. You’re the accountant, the manager, the PRO, the HRO…yeah, so that was a very big challenge for me. The bigger challenge was in that initial start up phase. I’d say for people who are starting out that you just have to hang in there. The start is rough but it gets better with time.”



What was your lowest moment during the period of running your businesses and is there a point you wanted to give up?

She laughs at this point as she tells me there was not one low moment but plural – moments.

“There are moments I cried my eyes out. There are times I’d wait for all my staff to go and I’d just stay behind. I was frustrated. You see how hard your people work and you want to offer them better remuneration but you can’t and it kind of nudges you. They were really committed and I wasn’t able to offer them better money. Those were frustrating moments. And yes there were moments when I literally wanted to give up.

I got through those moments first, by speaking up. I learnt to speak up and ask for help and that’s where I’ll say that it’s important to have mentors and people that believe in you and also for me, the board that I have are not just people with profiles but they are my friends too. So I learnt to fall back to the support system I had. I once called a meeting and told my board I was done. They empathized with me and also appreciated what I wasn’t seeing and helped me see how much positive work I had already done. In addition, they committed and said they were sticking there with me and did all they could to help me. That helped me to cast my burden. You don’t have to carry it alone. I actually met Moses Mukisa in one of those times when I had a burnout. He sat me down and gave me a serious talk and told me I couldn’t live my life like that. He also gave me some useful advice and new angles for the business as well as useful links and contacts of people who could help. So that helped.

Furthermore prayer helped. When I was reading about kingdom business, I learnt the concept of having God as your CEO and business partner whereby I would involve God actively in the business. In that process, some ideas were birthed in prayer and He’d impress it on my heart to go approach some people and they actually helped. So, having a support system and prayer have helped a lot.”

At this point, I was amazed by all the knowledge I had gleaned. It appears to me she has already achieved quite a lot. I am curious to find out what she’s cooking for the next steps in her life.

What are your future goals, dreams and plans?

“I aspire to become a CEO of a group of companies. One of the things I have discovered about myself is I am a starter. I have the grace to start things. So I see myself starting many companies and then training and equipping people to run these different companies.

In addition to this, one of my goals is to empower 10,000 startups.

My dream for Kyusa is that it becomes an international model which can be used anywhere and by anyone. So we can create tool kits for startups whereby one can log in and have a self-paced program which an individual can implement. That’s one of my dreams; to see what we do become a model that can run online and can be replicated in different regions.

One of my personal ambitions is to have written 60 books by the time I am sixty years. One of the people who have inspired me to write is Mike Maddock. I found close to 500 books of his and his writing model is to use smaller books. Some are as small as 30 pages but they give one a lot to think about. You have young people that are turned off by big books but they are desperate for information so I want to create 60 books that anyone can pick up and read.

In addition to this, finally, I want to travel the world.”

As I wound up this interview down, there were only three more things I wanted to ask.


What’s your personal mission statement?

“To empower people to identify their life purpose and turn their passions into skills for fruitful living”


Any favourite quotes? 

“If you can envision it, you can achieve it.”

“As a man thinks, so is he.”

“If you believe it, you can do it.”

“The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.”



Your most impactful books? 

As a Man Thinks by James Allen, In Pursuit of Purpose by Myles Munroe, Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and Little Black Book for Stunning Success by Robin Sharma



I hope you’ve enjoyed sitting at Noeline’s table and soaking in her journey and lessons to learn.

Keep shining and keep on keeping on.

With the best of regards,


Accountability, A Necessity

Before October 2017, I was inconsistent with my blogging. I wanted to write more frequently but always seemed to come up with reasons why I couldn’t do so. I had good intentions but those only went as far as the thought. My actions told a different story.

In October though, I made a decision that changed my blogging forever. I asked a writer friend, Ernest, to keep me accountable to post every week on Sunday by 3:00pm. He agreed, but warned me that he is very strict and would “divorce” the commitment if I didn’t post three times in a row. I agreed to his terms and the journey begun. The first few weeks were easy because I was fired up…and then it started becoming increasingly hard to make the time commitment. It was either that some work or meeting came up or that I had internet issues etc. They were all genuine reasons. However, on one beautiful and sunny Sunday in early December, Ernest told me to either clean up my act or choose a different act. He recounted something his first boss told him when he kept giving excuses for not meeting deliverables.

“Excuses stink,” his boss said.

Ernest suggested I choose a different time to post if that time didn’t work for me. At that point, I could have chosen to look for an easier/more convenient way out but I insisted that I could still make 3:00pm.

“What do I do if you fail to keep your chosen time?” he asked.

I smelt that trick question a mile a way. I replied by saying that if I did not meet 3:00pm consecutively for the next three weeks, he had every right to walk away.

My circumstances did not change; my work patterns and general schedule remained the same and in some cases even got worse. However, I was on a mission. I thought to myself, I couldn’t afford to lose the grand opportunity I had to have a good accountability person. More importantly, writing is really important to me and I desire growth in it. So I wrote and posted by 3:00pm each of the next three weeks. I wish I could say that every week after that has been perfect but I can’t. However, I can say that my two late posts were both before 3:30pm. The rest have been by or before 3:00pm since that discussion in December. That is a record for me!

The concept of accountability people is one that is easy to avoid because of the perception that they will be like those annoying teachers breathing down your neck and asking why you did not do a, b, c, d and e. Accountability comes with a perception of laws and rules that will bind. This couldn’t be further from the truth though. Having people you are accountable to is healthy.

Accountability systems are inevitable requirements for progress to happen.

“You can not audit yourself,” my brother Caesar once told me, with reference to financial management within business. This rings so true beyond financial auditing though. You simply cannot be your own auditor. A third party must give an objective and neutral assessment for you.

Accountability systems enable you to consistently practice good habits. Good habits build up over time and compound to great successes.

In addition to this, these systems help you build and grow the area you are focusing on. You can improve a craft or improve a venture.

Finally, and most importantly, accountability systems teach you to honour your own word. When you say you are going to do something and you do it, you reinforce your belief in your ability to get things done. You build character and trust in you. Achieving whets your appetite for more growth and more success in different areas. It’s like the ripple effect when a stone is thrown in a still pool of water.

What do accountability systems look like for you right now? Where do you need them the most? What areas are you procrastinating in and how can you use an accountability system to help you grow in those areas?

I hope you choose to make that difference.



P.s. Ernest is a super amazing and funny writer. His blog is .

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

The Know Yourself Sequels: Wrap-Up

How do multipotentialites manage to keep up with everything? The last two posts gave suggestions of how to manage various interests and activities and thrive.

From speaking to some multipotentialites, one thing is very apparent – you can’t do it without a schedule.

You can’t get very far without scheduling your different activities. We need to be intentional about how we spend our days and we need to have a plan in advance. You may not have every little detail worked out to the last T but have a rough sketch in the least. It is best to plan your whole week out at the beginning of the week and then make adjustments where necessary as the week proceeds. In line with keeping the end in mind, know what you want to achieve from all your activities in your long-term vision. This will help you have a clear focus and avoid you getting sidetracked.

A friend, who prefers not to be named, does business development at Deloitte full time and in addition, he is a writer. I asked him how he manages to find time to write.

He said, “It is a deliberate decision for which I create time. Writing matters to me…”.

He writes either early in the morning, or on his commute home from work. If you refer to the last post, you will notice that writing has been built in as a routine activity and slotted into a part of the day he sees best fit for this activity.

More to schedules, you need to rest, and put rest into the schedule too. Without rest, you’ll experience burnout. Our human bodies work like machines. At some point, they need to be repaired and refreshed.

In your planning, it is important to have SMART goals with grand and small milestones. Celebrate even the small milestones attained because they will give you energy to propel forward.

As a multipotentialite, you need to remember that your various interests and abilities are a unique asset to you. If you learn to harness all your “super powers” and thrive in every area, you become an even bigger asset to yourself, your community and the world at large.

According to Emilie Wapnick, a multipotentialite who gave a very popular TED talk on multipotentiality, here are a few benefits of being a multipotentialite: synthesis, rapid learning and adaptability.

Synthesis refers to the ability to merge different fields to come up with one new field. We can draw from our various interests and come up with new innovations at the intersection points of all our interests.

Rapid Learning refers to the ability to easily and quickly learn something new. She says multipotentialites are not afraid of beginning new things because they are often beginners when learning a new skill or venturing into a new area of interest. They are keen to soak up knowledge and learn.

Adaptability is a key ingredient for a multipotentialite because they need to morph easily and put on their various hats. Currently, my every week requires me to be a blogger, writer, architecture lecturer, fashion designer, business owner and director. I must morph from one to the next seamlessly. I have committed to these, in this season and must see them through on a consistent basis.  I regularly wear some of my other hats when the need arises however within my current season, the ones mentioned are my main focus.

To wind up, this has been a very engaging and fulfilling series for me. As I mentioned in my first post, watch or listen to Emilie Wapnick’s TED talk. It was a very big eye-opener for me when I first watched it. Here is the link

Thank you for reading.

Wishing you the very best in your eclectic and unique pursuits.


NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

The Know Yourself Sequels: The Third One-SEASON

My church, Worship Harvest-Jazzville, is amazing. I am ever so grateful that in this particular season of my life, this is the place and space where I go on Sundays to do some “garage time” as we call it.

We usually have a time in the service where you can talk to a leader and pray over anything. Perhaps over two months ago during this prayer time, I went to one of my church pastors with a matter I felt I needed prayer for. I told him I needed prayer for direction because I want to accomplish a lot since I have a number of varied interests and ventures. I needed to know how to do everything in the time I have. He asked why I was so concerned about time.

To which I said, “I am concerned because I feel I am lagging behind in certain areas and it’s hard to focus on everything at once.”

He gave me advice I’ll never forget. He said that God, who gave me all these abilities and interests is not worried about time. He made no mistake in giving me all the gifts I possess and has a purpose for all these gifts. What I simply need to be cognizant of is doing things within the right season. I should therefore ask God what season I needed to be in. Knowing the season would help determine my focus more.

I am grateful I received that advice. God is a God of seasons. He accomplishes different things in our lives at different times. The pieces of the puzzle come together eventually, in beautiful and wondrous ways. He knows the end picture. We need to simply walk in obedience and trust every season.

If you are a person of multiple interests and talents, knowing what season you are in, helps you focus on the right thing at the right time. It would have been severely damaging for me if I had started my fashion business in my fourth year of Architecture school when my fashion ‘light switch’ went on. My priority at that time and in that season was to excel in my Architecture school. I am glad I stayed on that path. Excelling in Architecture school opened up very significant doors in the next phase of my life after school. I got my first official job because of that excellence. And that job allowed me to think independently and grow even more. It is within the duration of that job that I started my fashion start-up on the side. My very first clients were my workmates. It is within that job that I concretized my love for both Architecture and Fashion design. The point I am making is staying focused on achieving the goal of the season you are in will ensure that you successfully move to the next season. Each time you learn something new, you are growing. It is important to highlight that all you willfully learn, even when it may seen unrelated will serve to make your overall unique story even more beautiful. The dots will connect even better than you could ever imagine. I know of a practicing lawyer who runs a successful interior design and landscaping business. Isn’t that amazing? Her story is unique and so is yours.

In my experience, I have learnt that different seasons come with different demands. I would like to classify, in my own way, some of the general seasons that I feel exist in any venture.

Inception: In this stage, your idea is conceived. You discover you have a love for something and that you can do it, and would like to pursue it further.

Incubation: This is the period when you are getting ready to launch your venture. A lot of research and planning goes on in this phase.

Launch: This is self-explanatory. It’s when your venture, whatever it is, has kicked off and is no longer just an idea on paper or in your mind.

Practice & Growth: This phase is characterized by a lot of movement. You are moving your venture forward by actively practicing it. Many unforeseen circumstances may arise in this phase. The key is to persist and stick it out.

Excellence: Here, one has achieved their goal and is moving even higher to greater things.

*Pause and Reflect: I really wouldn’t call this an independent season in itself. This is the time for you to reflect on your progress and hit reset or refresh if need be. There are times when things may not go as you planned. It is okay to pause and reflect. It will give you fresh momentum to proceed.

Different ventures have different seasons and they may overlap. You may be in the incubation period for one of your ventures while you are in the practice & growth period of another. For example, my inception stage for fashion happened in my fourth year of Architecture school, when I was already on the path towards a career in Architecture.

In addition, some ventures may have concurrent seasons. I currently lecture Architecture part-time. It’s a recent development. I do this while I continue to practice and grow my fashion business. They are both in the practice & growth stage.

To know what you need to be doing, and when you need to be doing it, sharpen your sense of recognizing the season you are in and learning the lessons that need to be learnt in that season. Excelling in that season is your key to moving to the next season.


I’ll end with the words of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything.”

Next time, we’ll look deeper at how to lay strategies to accomplish your varied interests.

Until then, with love, Keziah.

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

The Know Yourself Sequels: The Second One

It’s beautiful to be a multipotentialite and it’s okay if you don’t have it all figured out yet. Life is a journey and the pieces of the puzzle come together step by step.

The next step in this series is how to know which of your passions and abilities you need to focus on, the most. You may ask why this is important if you can achieve everything. Well, time is the most priceless resource that anyone alive has, so it is crucial to be cognizant of time. Living without an acknowledgement of the importance and significance of time is to live without any direction and lack of a proper use of your best resource. Your time has to have a value. That value is determined by you. If your time has no value to you, it will not have value to other people and they will either waste it or steal it. It is therefore paramount that you appreciate your time and choose which items will take up most of your time.

Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, mentions “begin with the end in mind” as habit number two. Before embarking on any task or venture, know why you are doing it and what you intend to gain from it, or what the outcome will be if you focus on that task. When you have a clear understanding of it and are happy about the desired outcome, it will give your venture more meaning.

So, with the knowledge that we need to be cognizant of time, begin with the end in mind and prioritize, I would like to propose a few practical ways in which to zero in on your main passions that you need to focus on as a priority.

Pompi, a Zambian musician says “purpose is found at the point of intersection between passion, talent and service.” I agree.

We’ll talk about service in a later post. However, with respect to passion and talent, there are things you are passionate about and not gifted in and others that you are gifted in and not passionate about. Prioritize the things which fall in the intersection of passion and talent. The things that you both love, and are good at, are your goldmines because you already naturally have the drive and passion to see them through. I will say though, that any amount of talent can be improved through practice. On the other side of the coin, when you have extravagant talent in a field and yet you take that for granted, and do not practice and perfect your talent, you are at a disadvantage. This is to say that having talent does not discount or disregard the need for practice and hard, smart work. Passion on the other hand is a non-negotiable element because it will help you keep the faith even when things do not seem to be going your way. For example, passion kept Tyler Perry doing his plays for many years without making any real money before he had his big break. Passion, and the drive it provides are simply non-negotiable.

So, your first exercise (yes, exercise) will be to take a deep look into your life and ask yourself which things you have both the passion for, and talent in. List them. Your list of things can be as long as you want it to be. Simply list them all. Be honest.

After doing this, you need to find out which of them should take absolute top-most priority. Here are a few questions to help you discover which ones you consider the top-most in terms of priority.

My absolute number one question is “If money wasn’t an issue and you had all the money in the world, which things would you still do simply because you love them?”

The second question is “If your life ended today, in which item on your list would you wish you had accomplished more?”

The third question is more flexible because you may not answer it accurately the first time and may realize the truth of the matter later with time. However, it still helps to answer it with honesty the first time. It is “Which of the things on your list do you envision a profession or business in, the most?”

Now that you know which of the items are your absolute top-most ones, you can further rank them in order of importance starting from the first to the last. Have an understanding of what each of them entails and a proper knowledge of why each of them is important to you.

When I first did this exercise about four years back, I realized that poetry, architecture, fashion and music are my absolute four main items. At that time, I further prioritized them and my order of priority was: Architecture, Fashion, Poetry and Music. This order of priority shaped the proceedings of my next years four years. Over time, my priorities have changed with the changing seasons. However, each time I have been intentional in making the changes happen. One needs to acknowledge the different seasons of life. I will elaborate further, in our next post.

Now that you’ve discovered your absolute main interests and which ones you want to spend the bulk of your time on, you can now delve further into how to accomplish the feat of succeeding in each of these things. It takes a lot of strategic planning but most importantly-practice and execution. We’ll explore this aspect in our next post too.

As a side-note though, once you’ve figured out your main passions and abilities, it does not mean that you throw the rest out of the window. It simply means that your priorities will help you decide what to spend the biggest bulk of your time on. The rest of the items on the list do not seize to have meaning. They will actually greatly help you improve the main passions. As an example: I love theatrical performances and fine art drawing but these were not in my major four. However, the fine art helps me greatly with Architecture and Fashion Design while the art of theatrical performances helps me greatly with my poetry performances. This should point out to you that some passions and talents are main while others are auxiliary depending on the person and context. We are all unique.

Until next time, keep believing in the validity of your dreams. YOU WERE BORN TO BE ALL GOD CREATED YOU TO BE.

Share this, it will help someone. Send me feedback either by commenting here or sending me an email at I would love to chat further with you if you are confused and have a few more questions about your passion, abilities and priorities. Also, follow the blog via email to get an instant notification for the next post.

With love,

Keziah Elaine Ayikoru

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.



Make a Plan

So, you know who you are, you know where you are going, you know which path to take. Next-you need to make a plan and write it down. Lee Iaccoca, a prominent American automobile executive said, “The discipline of writing something down is the first step towards making it happen”.

To make a good plan, consult successful people who have walked similar paths and learn from them. Find out what worked best for them. Do your research and decide what will work best for you.

Follow this by setting SMART goals. There is a lot of literature out there on how to set SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Realistic and Timebound.
It is generally accepted that the SMART acronym was first written down in November 1981 in Spokane, Washington. George T. Doran, a consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company published a paper titled “There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives”.
Many people use this system all over the world in making sensible and well attainable plans. For further reading on this, check out this link:
In making a plan, have a short term and long term plan. Your long term vision should be bigger than you. It will drive you and motivate you. I have heard some say “Your dream should be so big, it scares you”.
To achieve your long term goal, there should be other short term goals you can achieve that will lead to the bigger picture.
Make a plan and analyse it. Don’t rush into any venture or decision. Seek guidance. Get a mentor if you can.
Make a plan! It will become your road map.
-Keziah Elaine Ayikoru-