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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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