It all started as a passionate volunteer committed to service to mankind but it was to be for a short while as I pursue my dream of working with World Bank, Treasury or UNDP as an Economist. After my undergraduate and not getting immediate job opportunities I committed myself to be a regular volunteer with St John Ambulance Kenya and Kenya Redcross not knowing that one day my career would be built on this foundation, on the skills and knowledge I acquired as a volunteer. From a volunteer emergency first responder to owning firms that are now helping thousands of companies around the region to build and embrace a culture of Safety .
I have learnt to always Wake up with determination and Go to bed with satisfaction as I pursue this mission of ambassador of safety.
My friend, get out of your comfort zone! Don’t just sit and blame the government, system, economy or people for lack of opportunities. Go right out there and create them. I started Makinika Afrika Intl
with just a Facebook page and later a friend discovered my passion and stepped in to help me develop a website. We met at a medical camp committee meeting where I had committed to volunteer sensitize all those attending the camp equipping them with basic First Aid Skills. Same as the Nairobi Safety Shop
which I started with just a Facebook page and my first 3 clients were Fairview Hotel, Bhachu Ltd and Town Lodge Hotel and when they gave me business I didn’t have an office, receipt book or any company document leave alone even registering the company officially but they trusted me through the consistency of safety articles that I posted on Facebook and LinkedIn. Discover new places, new ventures, new ideas and new faces; I dare you. Yes, it might be scary, but isn’t overcoming the fear worth it? I argue that it’s the risks we take, the times when something is hard but we march forward anyway, that add spice to our lives and give our memoirs a little flavor. A good story never started with, “I woke up, ate breakfast and then received an LPO and current cheque for the rest of the day.” At least, not the kind of story that gets remembered.
If we, in the present, are a compilation of the experiences from our past, let me leave you with one question: Who do you want to be 10 years from now? What are you doing now to make it happen then?
Don’t wait for opportunity. Create it.
Sometimes you gotta do the things you gotta do to make life keep moving. You gotta get out of your comfort zone, get a little bit mad and pursue your dream with vigor.
If you want to excel in life, self motivation is essential. You must know how to motivate yourself. You must be able to keep your spirit high no matter how discouraging a situation is. That’s the only way to get the power you need to overcome difficulties. Those who are discouraged in difficult times are certain to lose even before the battle is over. You must keep the tyre rolling and never give up.
The question is: how do you motivate yourself?
1. Have a cause
There is no more powerful source of motivation than a cause you care about. Such cause can inspire you to give your best even in the face of difficulties. It can make you do the seemingly impossible things. My cause has always been helping build a culture of Safety and wellness as I help save lives. It has taken me to places and I have met people.
While other causes could inspire you temporarily, a cause that matters to you can inspire you indefinitely. It’s a spring of motivation that will never dry. Whenever you think that you run out of motivation, you can always come to your cause to get a fresh dose of motivation.
2. Have a dream. A big dream.
I mean a dream bigger than your ability.
Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.
Karen Ravn
Your cause is a powerful source of motivation but it’s still abstract in nature. You need to make it concrete in the form of a dream. Imagine how the world will be in the future. Imagine how people will live and work.
Having a dream is important because it’s difficult to be motivated if you don’t have anything to shoot for. Just think about people who play basketball. Will they be motivated to play if there is no basket to aim at? Or, would Eliud Kipchoge have ran and won the Ineos challenge if there was no any target? I don’t think so. They need a goal. You need a goal. That’s what your dream is for.
But just having a dream is insufficient. Your dream must be big enough to inspire you. It must be realistic but challenging. It must stretch your ability beyond your comfort zone.
3. Be hungry
Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.
Les Brown
To be truly motivated, you need to have hunger and not just desire. Having mere desire won’t take you through difficult times since you don’t want things badly enough. In many cases, hunger makes the difference between the best performers and the mediocre ones.
How can you have hunger? Your cause and your dream play a big role here. If you have a cause you care about and a big dream related to it, you should have the hunger inside of you. If you think that you are losing hunger, all you need to do is to connect again to your cause and dream. Let them inspire you and bring the hunger back.
4. Run your own race
I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.
Mikhail Baryshnikov
Comparing yourself with others is an effective way to demotivate yourself. Even if you start with enthusiasm, you will soon lose your energy when you compare yourself with others.
Don’t let that happen to you. You have your own race so how other people perform is irrelevant. Comparing yourself with others is like comparing the performance of a swimmer with a runner using the same time standard. They are different so how can you compare one with the other?
The only competitor you have is yourself. The only one you need to beat is you. Have you become the best you can be?
5. Take one more step
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Winston Churchill
When you meet obstacles along the way, there could be the tendency to quit. You may think that it’s too difficult to move on. You may think that your dream is impossible to achieve. But this is where you can see the difference between winners and losers. Though both of them face the same difficulties, there is one thing that makes the winners different: the courage to continue.
In difficult situations, just focus on taking one more step forward. Don’t think about how to complete the race. Don’t think about how many more obstacles are waiting for you. Just focus on taking the next step.
6. Let go of the past
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Believe it or not, one of the best demotivators is your past. Your past can drag you down before you realize it. Your past can give you a heavy burden on your shoulders.
I have made silly mistakes and have lost alot but have never allowed it to discourage me. I have learn to overcome all odds and break limits. I have a principle of Accept, Adjust and Advance.
The good news is it’s a burden you don’t have to carry. Take it off your shoulder and leave it. You might make mistakes in the past. You might disappoint others with what you did. But it’s over. It’s already in the past and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Today is a new day and you have the chance to start again. No matter how bad your past might be, you still have a bright future ahead waiting for you. Just don’t let the burden of the past stop you.
Get out of your comfort zone. Get a cause and a big dream, pursue it and enjoy the adventure. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Let your self motivation take you to excellence.

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About the Author


Amb. Steve Mbugua is an enthusiastic Ambassador of Safety and wellness with in-depth training, safety advisory and Workplace Safety Behavior Change Coaching experience. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Makinika Afrika Int’l , a Health and Safety Training Firm in Kenya  and Group CEO  Nairobi Safety Shop Limited, the largest Security, Safety and Health Store in the East and Central Africa and Managing Director, Stewa Safaris Kenya Limited a Premier  Tours and  Travels Company in Kenya.

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