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Like a Gust of Wind.

I can’t use one word to describe 2016. I can only say it went by so fast I was almost always in look back mode from the beginning to the end. Why did that happen? What was the feedback from this? Why did this person say that? And of course, as the questions built up, more events kept happening generating their own questions.

In this post I will try to share the results of my analysis of the year 2016.

Solving Private Ryan

This year it seems I grew much closer to people and grew apart at the same time. The common feedback was that I didn’t carry people along in my group work or in my personal life. I adopted the volunteer mode. Hey, if you don’t see the point of this, that’s really OK. I’ll do it myself. That sort of thing. Didn’t quite work out. Going solo in an economic recession (depression is more like the word for Nigeria) had its interesting results and I made a loss on several fronts, like most Nigerians did. Did this discourage me? Not at all. I only have to rethink my policy of not wanting to uncle anybody or micromanage anyone.

Honestly I enjoy solving problems. I’m very good at it. But this year I succeeded at solving problems that I got to the boss fight at the end of the solving problems stage: solving people. People who do not want to be solved. People who do not know they are a problem to be solved. People who show me that I am a problem that has not yet been solved myself.

At first I rejected solving people. It’s a hard and thankless task. I would rather solve problems with my gadgets. I prefer solving children and leading them by allowing them to discover things in their honest straightforward no-frills approach. Adults on the other hand…. I would rather wash my hands off. Not in the mood to share innovative thoughts or ideas unless we are ready to implement.

“The harvest is plenty, the (good) labourers are few”

This year it felt like everything had to be done. “There is potential in this country. We are sleeping on bike.” I thought this wayyyy more than I ever had before this year. But somehow, finding people to execute some of these dreams proved really hard. The interesting part was the “I volunteer!” people who would jump forward to help and then go silent for a month and never take a single initiative. And not for want of being paid. Even being paid didn’t fix it.

Oh wow. I was shown myself in a mirror. Not calling back, not giving updates or feedback on how stuff is going, not bringing problems you cannot solve to your boss so the project can go ahead, not appreciating the time value of money and the need for the business imperative of speed. All this behaviour is classic Efe. Seeing it in others this year was a good and a bad thing. It was a bad thing because I made losses as a result of not being able to recognize people like this. It was a good thing because I was finally seeing how my behaviour in the past at other visions that I did not originate had hurt projects in the past.

The power of 3

I thought in 3’s this year. Any time I wanted to list reasons for something, it came out as 3 reasons. Any time I was in a group of 3, things seemed to go much easier. (Don’t come to me with talk about the Holy Trinity). But it seems like a really valuable lesson for me this year was to find the 3’s in everything. Pick 3 of your most important tasks. Talk to 2 other people who can help you fulfil those tasks. Identify your three main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats each. Give updates to everyone and keep the communication lines open every 3 days. Review progress every 3 weeks. And only start major projects that are clearly defined 3 months in advance. The power of 3 for me (this might count as superstition but seriously I dunno what to call it) is something I will take into 2017 as one of the lessons from 2016.

Telling your story

This year I realized the power of a telling a story. So many people told stories on social media I had never heard before and it changed my outlook on life. The truth is, people do not know simply because they have never been told. If you haven’t told your story, don’t expect people to appreciate you and where you come from. Tell your story yourself and tell it well and plainly so people can appreciate you and value you properly. Nigeria does not have a story. My country’s story has not been told sufficiently to the people in my generation. I read books like Abigail Anaba’s Sector IV. I saw charities struggling to help disadvantaged children. I heard of the kids of middle class families having to stay at home because they couldn’t afford school fees. I heard so many new stories this year it feels like I am a totally different person.

Thus I committed myself to telling stories, and getting other people to tell theirs. I even am willing to tell stories in visual, audio and written form now. (I have a studio microphone, a 4k-capable camera, and websites to put all these things). When people would share remarkable experiences they had I would tell them of my blog and give them the SUBMIT link. When people testified of God’s goodness to them I would tell them to write it somewhere more people could read it (I’m thinking of creating a site specially for testimonies. Or where to put it on Stories).

 

Stories dot ng is not just a blog for me now. It is a window to another world. It is an imperative. Our stories must be told. Our identity must be shaped and balanced and rounded out. And if we do not tell our stories, they will be lost forever and we would be forgotten in a decade from now.

The Significant Others

I cannot talk about my amazing wife and my family support system (oh my days we had another boy this year – welcome Obatarhe!) and my office job, my superlative Roomies or my gadgets this year in this post. I can’t talk about my Christian life or TPL or Stories or my business plans for 2017 in this review. It would be too long. But somehow I have talked about all of them in short. I will tell you the story another day.

God bless you. My love to you all and happy new year.

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A very big Thank you to all the 65 people who wrote in the 2016 Guest Review on Stories. A very big Thank You to all of you that read and commented on all the review stories for the year. Thank you all so much and please keep on telling your stories.

P.S.: I hereby hand you over to Olatoxic for #30DaysHopeful

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