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The willpower to succeed: error on positive float

Isaiah 40:31. But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

In this part 5 of willpower, I explore the reward for not giving up.

When I started a consulting business on 20 June 2004, I felt on top of the world being my own boss. I thought succeeding as entrepreneur was all about starting a business. I was naïve. Running a business is not easy as I later found out. The good thing is it helped me face reality and understand it takes hard work, persistent and resolve to make it.

If you live in a city, you know how tough life can be without a job.

I made one of the worst career mistakes –resigning a full-time job without another job and a clear plan. I had a bank loan and several bills to pay. Within three months on the streets I began feeling the impact of my decision. No one was willing to give me a consulting job. And to be honest: I lacked the skills needed to be a consultant. People in business (prospects) were already smarter. They needed role models with reputable names like the ‘big 4’ audit firms not the newbie consultants that had no experience.

Consulting is a business of confidence and self-worth. I lacked this quality then.

I spent over seven months plying Kampala streets looking for any consulting project, just any project, in vain. It was tough. I defaulted on my car loan. My house rent was in arrears. I needed money and now.

To make matters worse, I got an irresistible offer from the owner of a restaurant I used to frequent for lunch. It is my practice to get to know the people who matter in any place I visit thrice. And that is how the restaurant owner became my friend. Every time I had lunch there, I would meet him to just say hi to network. “I have noticed you love this place. I am looking for a business partner what if I gave you an offer?” I said sure, I would love it. He said “I am giving 20% shares in the restaurant for Ugx 10m (US $4,000). I told him that “let me think about it.” The truth is I did not have that kind of money. I tried calling few friends for a loan in vain. I tried banks, but without a full time job and collateral no bank was willing to give me money.

On the 5 August 2004, I boarded a taxi heading to Kireka (a city suburb where I used to live). In the taxi I sat next to an old man. He had an Obote like haircut and looked well educated. I just sat quietly. As we were approaching Spear motors junction, after a 10 minutes’ drive, the old man tapped on me and said: Hi, young man. What do you do? I looked at him and intoned:

“I am a consultant. I help people solve their problems.” He looked at me and quickly replied: “you look worried, why not fix your own problems first?”

To be continued next week in part 6 of willpower

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Mustapha Barnabas Mugisa is one of those rare people who provides business consulting and advisory to professionals and corporate entities who demand the very best. He is a prolific speaker and governance (strategy and risk) expert. His speaking involves making key notes at major conferences and business events on both technical subjects and leadership skills. A change agent and motivational speaker. Mustapha provides tools and proven methodologies to remarkable results through making people appreciate change. Visit Mustapha's LinkedIn profile to know more. Mustapha is the architect of #WinningMindset Leadership and #WinningTheGame strategy approach that combines Harvard Business strategy Playing To Win, with the Blue Ocean Strategy and Balanced Score Card to deliver a strategy that is easy to execute and monitor. Visit for special insights to improve your condition. Are you too good to be great?

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