What does it take to lead a meaningful and successful life? To dig out the answers, NJOKI CHEGE taps into the wisdom of four trailblazing women

SUE MURAYA — Director, Suraya Property Group

“Diligence and hard work pays.

Enjoy whatever you are doing and do it with diligence.

Use your personal evaluation and prioritise. The way you see things is not necessary how others do.

Be honest with yourself and know that there’s something special in you.

Disengage from issues or people who have negative agendas.?

Learn to listen, digest the good and block the negative energy.

Always voice your opinions. Don’t be silent as you may be the person God has inspired to make a difference at that moment in time.

Honour your word and your obligations even though the other party may fail to honour theirs.

Give everyone a fair chance and the benefit of doubt. Never forget that God has a purpose for your life.

PATRICIA ITHAU — Managing Director, L’Oreal EA Ltd

“Make the most of every opportunity!

Reflecting on my life with all humility, I would say I had a modest upbringing, but my parents worked hard to make sure we had the best education.?Growing up, I interacted with people from all backgrounds, an experience that boosted my self-confidence and belief that you can achieve anything if you are focused.?

Yes, a good education gives you a foundation, but only that.? There are many people with the best education, but they have not made any significant impact in the world.? In business language, they have given a low return on that investment.?

So my first lesson is, make the most of every opportunity you get.

Second, have values and stay true to them.? My husband and children are my first value.? Before I make any decision I must first consider its impact on them.?

Integrity is also an important value to me. Anything that crosses that line is a no no. I love to keep my word and that is called dependability.? These values have propelled me to where I am today and earned me the trust of many people.?

I may not be that brilliant, but I do know that when given a responsibility, I will deliver with excellence.

The third lesson is that in God’s eyes we are all equal. I also avoid keeping grudges and keeping in my heart things that are vexatious.? Life is too short. To travel further, you need to travel light!?

I sum my life’s lessons in this quote, “It takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

It’s not what you have in your life, but whom you have in your life that counts. Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.”

NANCY WETTSTEIN — Managing Director, Pivot Point Kenya

“Have a dream, and run with it.

In the early 1980s, I left Kenya for the UK to study hair and beauty. Many people thought I was crazy, but I had a dream to revolutionise the hair and beauty industry. Before I left, I promised my mother that I would make her proud.

My first lesson to young people is to always have a dream and run with it. When I came back, I started Beauty Clinic Ltd and my first salon at Maendeleo House in Nairobi.

 From this episode, I learnt the value of starting small and never to despise humble beginnings.

Life has also taught me the value of hard work and being an early riser. When I started off, I used to wake up at 4:30am, exercise and prepare myself for work. I was in my salon by 5:45am waiting for my clients.

Ladies, it is important to work for your own money. I have learnt the value of independence and having my own money — it is liberating.

Life also taught me the value of patience. After 15 years of operating a salon, I decided to open a beauty school — Beauty Clinic — which closed down after a year.

But I did not give up; in 1995 I started Pivot Point-Kenya, which is now doing well.

If you are a young entrepreneur starting off, be patient because success is a gradual process.

Do thorough research before you venture into anything. Be prepared for great opportunities that will come your way one day.

I have also learnt the value of work ethic. This is particularly important for the young people whose careers have just kicked off. Keep time at work, meet your deadlines and be consistent. That way, you will live to enjoy the fruits of your labour.”

AGNES MURGOR: Senior partner in charge of commercial section in Murgor & Murgor Advocates

“Family is the very essence of our being.

My number one lesson is to put God first in all circumstances and situations.

Second, I learnt that family is the very essence of our being. Growing up, I learnt to treasure the love, care and concern from my parents because it gave me the confidence and self-esteem I needed for a fulfilling life.

As a parent, I always encourage my children to discover their strengths to achieve their full potential.

Sacrifice and perseverance pays. Young people assume that other people are luckier than they are. Later in life, they realise that every human being has their own unique challenges. We all have different opportunities and it is up to us to grab the chances that come our way. I learnt very early in life that one must put in the time and effort to attain their objectives.

 I am definitely not an athlete, despite my name (Murgor), but in primary school I was selected to run in the obstacle race on Sports Day. Each day after school, I would go home and practise in a sack. I cannot remember how many times I fell down, but eventually, I mastered the art, and excelled come Sports Day. This early lesson has shaped my personal and professional life.

You will definitely meet failure on the road to success. If you have never failed, it means you have never tried to do anything. Do not dwell on failures, missed opportunities or regrets. Instead, explore different solutions and alternatives, or adopt different strategies.

Learn from every experience, for each is just another of life’s lessons.

Build on the positive aspects of difficult experiences.

Trust your intuition. I always advise young people that if they find their heart’s passion, they should go for it.”