Last week on Friday, I sent a friend an email and he noticed that I had changed my email signature to ‘Believer’. He called to find out what I was up to, believing that I was on to something. Well, I was.
I have been going through a moment of self-reflection.
I was raised by a single hardworking mother in Kaloleni, which is somewhere in Nairobi’s Eastlands, an area known for crime, drug abuse and poverty.
One weekend, I went to visit a family friend’s home. They were relatively rich, and I remember feeling uncomfortable when I went back home. Sleep didn’t come easy. I was only seven, but I remember thinking that I needed to find a way to get my family out of poverty.
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Days later, mum walked in from work; she was a fruit vendor in Nairobi’s Industrial area. As usual, I served her tea and as she slowly sipped it, I ate some of the fruits she had brought back before settling into doing some accounts. It was always my duty to go through her books and find out how much she had made or lost in the day.
I realise years later that this seemingly little everyday action roused the businessman in me. But that particular day, I asked her what it would take for us to be rich like ‘those’ people.
I remember her response like it was yesterday. She said most of the wealthy people had an education. But that if I had a skill, I had to start working on improving it and it would make me money.
I remember thinking over her words and since my academic reports were always great, I wondered when that education would give me money to uplift my family. In the meantime, I started rearing rabbits and selling them. I would use my snack money to buy what I needed for the rabbits. After some time, I made money and I would save it all. One day I offered all my savings to my mother to assist in the running of the house.
I remember my mum’s wide smile and her saying one day I would change the world. Hopefully these words will come true.
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Even through high school, I had a money-making scheme going on. I paid my own school fees for two of the four years, established a mandazi business and initiated a profitable talent search in school.
At 19, I could pay rent, electricity and meals for the whole family. I opened up a shop in the city at 20, had a clothing business and a graphics design company at 21, and held painting exhibitions and sold art pieces to global market. I also disrupted the music industry by launching an album as an upcoming artiste at a time when established artistes didn’t have any albums. I also met and had conversations with the then richest man in the world, Bill Gates. I did a soundtrack for an international sports brand that would later on use my song Ligi Soo for the Kenya Premier League. I became a business writer for the number one newspaper in Kenya, I was a business TV show judge alongside Caroline Mutoko, and was the only East and Central African brand ambassador for Remy Martin. I also worked with Wyclef Jean, Lonely Island, Cassidy, Tracy Morgan, among others.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I believe that you can think and work your ideas into existence. Because I have.
Create your ideas, actualise them, speak them into existence – but don’t forget to work towards making them a reality. Believe. Be a believer in yourself.