Friday, March 24, 2023

Why entrepreneurs need goals

Last week, I explained what goals are. Today, we will tackle why we need them.  

Life is made up of infinite choice. But we have only one body and one life. Which means we can’t experience all the options before we die. Therefore we need to choose which experiences we will have. 

Additionally, within these infinite choices include positive and negative experiences. If we do not actively and intentionally go after the positive options, we run the risk of having the negative options. If we don’t choose the good, then we’re choosing the bad. There is no fence.

Why we need goals

Goals are a wonderful privilege because it’s how we exercise choice over which experiences we have. Choosing a goal is like browsing the store of life, and saying yes to the good options and no to the bad options. But that’s not all. Even within the good options, we still have to select which resonate with us enough that we want to commit to pursuing them. 

Therefore, my experience has taught me that goals have only one purpose, albeit one with far reaching cascading consequences. And it is this: the purpose of goals is to help us to make meaningful choices. To say yes to the specific options that mean something to us and say no to all the others.

We are always choosing, whether we realise it or not. Every day, God gives every one of us 24 hours. Filled with choices. The quality of the selections we make contribute greatly to the quality of our outcomes. 

Now you know why we need goals. I'll be back next week to offer an approach to help you determine your goals. Until then, enjoy your weekend and Nyame nka wo ho!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Do you feel stuck in your career? Is your business stagnating? Are you constantly working but not progressing towards your career goals? If you answered yes to any of these three questions and would like one-on-one assistance to get you moving again in the direction of your career aspirations, let's talk. 

In addition to the free insights on this blog, I offer a paid consulting service for entrepreneurs and their businesses.

The focus of my consulting practice is to three-fold. First, I help you pinpoint what is keeping you and your business stuck. 

With that clarified, I enable you to improve your performance by designing and assisting you to run innovative systems which unlock new value for all stakeholders - customers, business, investors, suppliers etc. 

Finally, we develop a plan to sustain and continually improve this performance.

Email me: Esi [at] to book a free 30-minute consultation to determine if my services would be a good fit for you and your business. 

Friday, March 17, 2023

Goals: what are they?

Last week, I shared the four categories of signs/symptoms that help us recognise when we need to better manage ourselves

To manage ourselves better then, is to work on those four signs [1]

For the next several weeks, our attention will be on remedying the first sign that we need better self-management : not having written down goals that we’re working on. 

There are three parts that need to be tackled in order to better manage this symptom. The three parts are the following:

Part 1 - The goals

Part 2 - The goals must be written down 

Part 3 -  We must work on the goals

In order to have goals, we need to know what they are, therefore this post will help you better understand goals.

What are goals? 

So what are goals? Goals are the things we want to be, create, experience, or have in our future. They are our dreams made concrete. They are the way we direct ourselves to a better life. Exciting? You'd better believe it☺

When we say goals are things we want in future, we can mean 10-20 years (also known as long-term goals), 3-5 years (also known as medium-term goals) or 1 year (also known as short-term goals. 

Today, I am talking about goals that usually cover a one-year period. 

The truth is that to live a meaningful life, your one-year goal needs to be tied to your longer-term vision for your life. But the other truth is that because visions are bolder and grander, and cover where you want to have reached by the end of your life, they can be difficult to tackle at the outset. When you are just starting out, it can be helpful to secure some wins by aiming for some easier-to-achieve one-year goals to bolster your confidence and your faith in the process before tackling your vision, and breaking that down into 20 year, 10 year, and 5-year goals.

Now you know what a goal is. I'll be back next week to tackle why we need goals. Until then, enjoy your weekend and Nyame nka wo ho!

[ 1 ] Management expert Peter Drucker has a book entitled Managing Oneself. I haven’t yet read that book. However, in preparation to write this post, I read his 1999 article of the same name published by Harvard Business Review. In that article what Drucker covers is how to manage oneself at work. He assumes that workers already have the more elementary kind of self-management which I’m going to cover in the next several weeks.

Friday, March 10, 2023

How to recognise if you need better self-management

 The purpose of all the posts in the self-management section of this blog is to help you better manage yourself. 

How can you know if this knowledge is something you need? How can you recognise if you need better self-management?

You can recognise that you need better self-management if you're trying to make progress but are being stopped by either internal or external forces? Being stuck. Also known as stagnation is usually a sign that you need better self-management. So look within yourself. Notice what is growing or getting better. Also notice what is dying or getting worse. What is true is that everything about you that’s getting better is getting better because you’re managing it well. The reverse is also true. If something is stagnant or getting worse, it is because that thing isn’t being managed very well. 

A sign of good management is good outcomes. And being stuck is a sign of poor management. 

If you self-diagnose yourself as being stuck in certain areas of your life, then better self-management can help you.

How can you know whether you are stuck or stagnating? Well, there are many symptoms but they can be grouped into four main categories: 

Some of the symptoms I had when I was managing myself poorly were the following:

  1. I did not have written down goals that I was working on.

  2. I was not well organised. The most visible sign of being disorganised is when spaces such as your room or your desk don’t stay neatly arranged for more than a few days after you straighten things out. Another is mess. Being messy is when even though you may know how to clean, you are not able to set aside consistent time for cleaning so that your space ends up being dirty. Not being well organised also shows up as lateness. Lateness is a sign of missing the mark. And when you repeatedly miss the mark, it diminishes your self-esteem just as repeatedly making the grade in anything improves your self-esteem. Even if you hide it, what matters is that you know. So your self-esteem is affected.

  3. I was not able to motivate myself to do what I need to do. There are many reasons for this and I won't go into all of them, but believing that some people were good at certain things and you are not is one. Not knowing why you should do things is another. Basically you can't see the benefits. Another is not having clarity about your future, and not taking action because you don't know what you should be doing. A lot of us are at A and we want to know what Z looks like before we take action. What I have experienced is that  action doesn’t simply move you from A to B. It actually improves your options. You now see Bx, By, and Bc which you could not see when you were at A. And all the B options belong to only those who moved from A to B. Someone still at A cannot access them. If you’ve read the book “Who moved my cheese”, B is the cheese available to only those who venture out of A. When you get to B, you can realise that even though you’ve been eating Laughing Cow cheese all your life, your favorite type of cheese is actually Edam cheese. By the time you move to G, you’ll be exploring how to make your own cheese. By Z, you'll be the world's best cheesemaker.

  4. I was not able to control or direct myself to get better results. 

    For example you're not able to learn complex subjects or develop more skills. Or you're continually in start mode. Starting gives us the feeling that we’re making progress but this is an illusion. It is continuing that is actually a truer sign of progress. So if you have a relationship, break up, and start another. Then you marry divorce, and start again. You start a business, it makes some progress then you get stuck. You start over. You take a job, get stuck. Quit and start another. You take a course, don’t finish. You start a different course, don’t finish. You start a book, don’t finish. Pick up a different one. Another is being addicted to things like food, drink, sex or all three for pleasure, satisfaction, or comfort. Addiction is a lack of control.

I don’t want to give you the impression that I have arrived. I am still on the journey to managing myself better. At my current stage, there are still symptoms but they have reduced considerably and as I work on them, by the grace of God, things get better. The places where I'm stuck have reduced.

So, do any of these symptoms describe any aspect of your current life? If so, you may be stuck. And if you’re stuck, learning how to manage yourself which I will be teaching in subsequent posts are for you.

Summary: In this post, I have shared one main idea. That idea is that the way you can recognise if you need to manage yourself better is that you’re stuck in some aspects of life. All stuck people show certain symptoms. In this post, I have shared several of them and grouped them into four categories. If you find yourself stuck, check this blog again next week to hear more.

Have a good week! Nyame nka wo ho.

Friday, March 03, 2023

How well are you doing at managing your life?

We're given a life when we're born. 

And for the first fifteen years, if we're especially blessed, our parents manage that life for us. They determine what our goals need to be and they set in motion the actions that will enable us to actualise these goals. Sometimes these goals aren't communicated to us but if we look closely at the consistent actions of those who raised us, we will see that they are there. 

At the same time that this is happening on the home-front, the schools that our parents choose for us will also have some goals for us. And those schools will also try to shepherd us to take the correct actions that ensure that their vision for us is realised. 

At the same time, our church will also have a vision for us. And if our parents' vision for us aligns with that of the church, our parents will encourage us to attend church however they can. They might set an example for us by going themselves. If they are able to, they might have a daily devotion at home to encourage us to become followers of Christ.

As far as I can tell, these three institutions that mould us all want what is best for us. And what might that be? I believe it is for us to grow into responsible adults. 

Then at eighteen, we become adults. We leave home and go to university. At this time, we begin to manage our own lives. 

It is at this time that the downward spiral might gradually begin. But because our pot of responsibility has hitherto been quite well stocked by our families, our church, and our schools, we often don't notice when we're letting the wrong flows in or when say our stock of faith in Christ is slowly depleting. Most people start to notice that things aren't going well at about age thirty when the stock has noticeably declined. Some also focus on only one aspect of life - education, and subsequently career and their success on this front at a stage when they have no other responsibilities make them believe that they are succeeding at life. Certainly that's what I thought. 

Here's what took me a long time to learn:

When we become in charge of our own lives, we're essentially given a management job. And how we do this job determines whether our lives will be profitable or not. 

How well do you think you're currently managing your life? Profits everywhere you look? Problems every where you look? Some profit and some problems? More profit than problems? When I speak of profit, I don't mean money. What I mean is good outcomes.

A well-managed life has many elements. See here for all the elements. By good outcomes, I mean: Are you maturing spiritually? Is your marriage thriving? Are you happy with your children? Are you healthy, however you define it? Are you proud of your character? If your life meaningful to you? Have you nurtured a few good friendships? How is your relationship with your extended family? Have you chosen a career? How well is this career going? Are you happy or chronically depressed? What is your quality of life like? Are you growing intellectually? Are you financially stable? 

Don't feel bad if you're not managing your life very well right now. Management is a skill and like all skills, it can be learned. If you'd already figured all this out, you'd have no room to grow. Also it never really ends. The top of one mountain is the foot of another mountain as the expression goes. You can start where you are and even though it's going to take several years to get there, I'm here to help you along your journey. 

I love management - both its study and practice. I hope that over time, you'll see why it's so awesome. And importantly, that you'll benefit from it as you apply its lessons to your life. 

Until next week, Adios!

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Home management

 Here, I will share some of the best ideas I've found for managing my home. 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Setting and honouring personal boundaries - a way bring balance to your life

We're eight weeks into 2023. 

If you don't have written down goals for this year, may I ask why not? If you do have written down goals, well done. What I can tell you is that your goals will stretch you, and if you "concentrate on your tasks, and persist in your efforts"*, you will achieve them.

I've had several insights into goal-setting this week. My intention is to share them with you in the hope that they make your own journey towards achieving your goals a little bit easier. What I realised this week is that what we're actually doing when we write down goals, and commit to achieving them is attempting to change our behaviour in ways that allow us to achieve those goals. 

Certainly if you change nothing about the way you behaved last year, then you will not achieve this years goals. You will simply relive 2022. This idea has been a breakthrough for me! 

Two weeks into 2023, on the 14th of January, I wrote this:

For the 2023 goals to be accomplished, I need to work on them. To be able to work on them, I need plans, and a specific time in the day  when those plans will get executed. In order to get that time, some things that used up my time in the past must be dropped. Or I must get help. I chose to drop some of the old habits in order to make room for the new. Like short responses to questions and requests on WhatsApp. Previously I was writing a lot. Now I'm writing little so I stick to the most important points. It is this new habit that allows me to have time to work on the 2023 goals so I'm motivated to stick to it. 

At the time that I wrote this, chatting less on WhatsApp was the only change I could see needed to be made. Whilst that was not bad for a start, I didn't have deep insight into what I really meant by "dropping old habits to make room for the new"

Still, I did what I knew to do and went full speed on executing my 2023 goals. I developed the high-level plans, and I scheduled my life on Google calendar. Although I'd attempted running my life by a calendar before  in 2021, and 2022, and I'd managed to use it as a guide for my daily routine, for 2023, I wanted to go not half-way but all the way. I want to fully live by my calendar this year. And so I did try. 

What my trying achieved was: by 6 weeks into the year, I was exhausted. I wasn't getting enough sleep and I was dropping balls i.e. some of my goals weren't getting executed unless I dropped execution on some of my other goals. 

I was so thankful when my children got a week-long half-term break because it gave me time to catch up on sleep and recover but I wondered how I was going to survive the year if I was already wiped out only six weeks into it? 

Half-term break ended and this week, they are back in school so I also picked up my routine again. But then I faced a hurdle. The hurdle was that I woke up on Monday tired because I hadn't gotten enough sleep on Sunday night. I mean I was exhausted. So much so that 15 minutes into my yoga session that usually lasts 45 minutes, I couldn't continue. How was I going to run the rest of my day? I needed sleep. So I took a 1 hour nap which was like a magic pill. Because when I woke up from that nap, I knocked all the rest of my activities planned for that day out of the park! 

From that experience, I was reminded that that's how I had done 2022. But even though 2022 had been good overall,  I didn't want to relive 2022. I wanted new capabilities in 2023 which would lead to new accomplishments. Then suddenly, sometime during the day, I had an insight! Taaaadaaaaa! I love when that happens. 

The insight was that what was keeping me from sleeping on time was poor personal boundaries. According to my calendar, my scheduled time of work was 12 pm-3:20 pm on Mondays and 11-2:30 pm all other weekdays. But I had allowed certain things to encroach on that time. So the work wasn't getting done in the time allocated to it. And because of that sometimes at night, after the kids had gone to bed, I would try to catch up on work. Wow! 

This insight led me to make three decisions:

1. I would truly start work at 11 am and stop work at 2:20 pm, and my computer would be turned off and left in the office at that time - It shouldn't find its way into our bedroom at night. God be my helper.

2. I would go to bed every night at 9:30 pm. By the indicated time, I should be tucked in and ready to sleep. 

3. I would wake up at 5:30 am everyday once the alarm went off. 

It's a miracle because living by these few decisions have taken away the tiredness and are allowing me to re-establish control in executing my 2023 goals.

But it did not happen without a glitch. In fact on Monday night, when I got into bed at 9:30 pm for the first time in perhaps ever, I could not sleep. I don't know if it was because of the nap I took or if it was because my body was simply not used to getting to bed at that time. I did not check how many hours I tried to sleep but it seemed like a very long time. This experience made me realise that I needed to give my body time to readjust to my new decisions. So I resolved to stick to sleeping at 9:30 pm for at least 1 month to build this new sleeping habit.

Tuesday night, I got into bed at 9:30 pm and promptly fell asleep. I was surprised, and happy the next morning. I've been able to sleep soon after getting into bed every night since. As it turned out, it was the decisions that were missing.

I'm so excited about these new behaviours because they certainly are part of the secret to actually making my 2023 goals a reality. I now wake up refreshed. I am also developing the discipline to live by my calendar. 

One of the benefits of these decisions is that I am able to blog.

The core ideas 

- If you wake up tired, you will struggle, as I did on Monday morning, to have a  productive day. 

- If you don't set and enforce personal boundaries, you will over invest in somethings and underinvest in others. In my case, I was over-investing in certain areas, and underinvesting in sleep. And the tiredness was my body's way of giving me feedback to correct things. 

- The other feedback I received was dropping balls. If your goals are realistic for you but some of your plans aren't being executed despite your trying, that is a sign that something is off.  Checkout my earlier post on how to become aware of and respond to feedback if you haven't seen that one already.

We usually hear of boundaries in terms of setting boundaries for other people. But in my case, this week, what I needed was to respect the boundaries I'd set for myself about the use of my time on my calendar and live by it. If my calendar says I work from 11-2:20 pm, then I have no business turning on my computer at 9 pm. And simply doing that, has been such a game changer for me this week. 

If you're serious about accomplishing your 2023 goals, there's plenty in this post that can help you. If you're just getting started on goal-setting, maybe your new habit will be to set goals. If you already have goals but no plans, then your new habit will be to develop plans. If you have plans but when they will be executed aren't scheduled on a calendar, then scheduling is what you need. And if you have all the three but have some of my initial symptoms, maybe what you need are personal boundaries?  

What I know for sure - to borrow an expression for Oprah - is that if you have set 2023 goals, you need some new habits to enable you to achieve them. I can't tell you what specific habit you need without knowing you personally but I know for sure that you need some of the ideas shared in this post if you really want to achieve your goals. 

I hope you find this post useful. Wishing you the best in running your race.

* The expression "concentrate on your tasks, and persist in your efforts" is attributed to George S. Class in his book "The Richest Man in Babylon

Friday, January 20, 2023

How God is taking away my anger and the effect it is having on me and in my home

 Life before Christ 

Before I became a follower of Christ, I had an anger problem. 

The anger made it so that even though I had some really good qualities, my light could not fully shine. 

For example, I really did try to give my children the gift of a wonderful childhood. I did this by taking one to the playground a lot. By God’s grace, our neighbourhood had a playground that saw little use. But we definitely maximised it. Every Saturday for a few hours, I would take her. I would sit by her whilst she played and sometimes even participate in the play. 

She became fascinated with dogs at one point and off we went, house to house to discover together which homes had dogs. 

When she was learning numbers, I would drive all around our neighbourhood so she could identify and recite the house numbers. Not once. Not twice. A lot.

I taught her how to enjoy doing things for their own sake. Not to impress others. Not to win brownie points. Just because it is a good thing to do.

So I wasn’t what would be considered in the eyes of the world, a horrible mother. But I had issues and one of them was my anger problem. 

How my anger presented itself 

My anger showed up occasionally as hitting. I would hit my daughter. I would feel terrible about it afterwards but I didn’t know how to stop. 

But the more pernicious one was the quieter daily expressions of anger at my children. The way that this quieter anger presented itself was that they would do something that in my opinion was not correct. Things like: Forgetting to wear their slippers when moving from the living room to the kitchen, wearing torn or stained clothes, leaving their room messy, leaving the living room untidy and happily staying in it. 

My anger came from repeatedly telling them not to do that only for them to do it again the very next day. Why were they doing things I had told them not to do?  When I would notice these behaviours, I would either shout at them, or angrily tell them to go do the right thing.

What I didn’t know was that these daily reprimands were destroying our relationship.

Advice from several quarters 

Advice #1

Some well-meaning people tried to warn me. But their approach was to report to me that my children don’t accept correction. The effect of that report was that I felt bad. Because it was a judgement on my inadequate parenting ability. At the same time, I felt that there was so much that was great about my children and so to hone in on their vulnerability alone was not a fair assessment. Still, I tucked it away at the back of my mind as food for thought and action.

Advice #2

Another well-meaning party gave me a different advice. The advice was to hang out with my children which I did by instituting Mummy and Daughter time - 30 minutes - every day after school. And also movie night on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Advice #3

A  third well-meaning party had told me that they were not impressed by my own ability to get things right. How could that be given that I have always been bright? This hurt to hear but I accepted the feedback in good faith. This time, I was able to respond that I was doing many things right. The answer lies in a concept from systems thinking, I knew that stocks take time to rise because flows take time to flow. It takes a long time to produce a more responsible adult. I’m actually seven years into my journey and yet it is only now that the results are becoming evident.

God’s work in my life 

God later led me to see that the failing that was so easy for me to identify in advisor number one was the same thing that I was doing at home with my kids. My home was low on  praise and high on criticism. 

God led me to see that I had a habit of looking over my kids when they came to me. And when I would notice something wrong, I would speak up. But when I noticed something right, I would not praise them. 

Gradually, God is teaching me to balance my feedback to my kids. Words like “you are beautiful”,  “You have a unique gift”,  “You matter”, “Well done”, “ Take a bow”, now circulate freely in our home. 

He also taught me that I was correct in wanting to discipline my kids. My intention was right but my methods were too harsh. He is showing me that discipline must be loving and the purpose is restoration not alienation. So when I do discipline correctly, the result is that at the end, we are closer than we were before the discipline.

God also opened my eyes to see that my anger was actually wrong in the circumstances in which I was expressing anger. The answer to my question: Why were they doing things I had told them not to do? Is that I was using the wrong tool for the job. 

Some things you need to tell your kids. Skills you need to teach them. Have them do it. Correct, Praise, until they have mastered it. We need to first of all learn how to get things right ourselves and then teach our kids how to get things right. 

God opened my eyes to see that whenever my children would do something wrong, those were teachable moments not anger moments. And so gradually my attitude began to change. And by God’s grace, I am now more able to seize the teachable moments for teaching, and instruction. I am enjoying teaching and they are enjoying being in an environment where their learning is made more possible. Their rooms are tidier, and they are taking initiative. 

The goal 

Recently God opened my eyes to see that one of my parenting goals is to raise responsible children. In fact the feedback that was initially making me angry were the early signs of lack of responsibility. And the reason the behaviour makes me angry is because I truly want a good outcome but I'm frustrated with not knowing how to achieve it. My anger is because I want to raise responsible children. So even my anger is rooted in love. But imperfectly expressed love is not God's intention for us.

For me to be able to raise responsible children, I now see that there’s a crucial part that I need to play beyond telling them what to do. And by God's grace, I am playing it. 

About a year ago, I got the idea that I wanted every morning to be a “good morning” and one of my best friends gave me a tip that along with my diligence, my beautiful mind and above all the grace of God, has helped us to actualise that. 

This morning, I even got a gift from one of my children. The gift was a positive signal to me of the emotional health of our home because her love language tends to be service, touch, and words of affirmation. So to get a gift from her signalled to me that she had had such a good morning that she felt so generous she reached further than she usually does to express love.

Encouraged by the success of our effort to have a “good morning”, we are extending it this year to a “good day”. Because it is the accumulation of many good days that make a good life. 

A message of hope

I currently believe that responsibility is a continuum. One needs a growth mindset to see it clearer. There are no useless people, just people lower down the continuum in their journey towards being more responsible. The truth of this assertion can be seen in how the same  people can assume higher and higher roles of responsibility. You can grow to become more responsible. Everyone can.

For most of us, home and school is where we’re first taught how to be responsible. But it must not end there. There is a point at which we have to fill the gaps of what our families and schools were not able to give us. Or we were not able to learn. Some people get eighty percent from home whilst others get ten percent. But whether you get eighty or ten, you can improve. 

God loves us and puts people in our lives to help us as he did in my case with my many well-meaning advisors. And in the case of my children by giving them a mother who wants the best for them. But for the help to work, we need to deepen our relationship with God. Without God, we’re not able to peel back the layers of all the feedback we receive to see that even the criticisms and the anger are rooted in love imperfectly expressed. None of us is perfect. But as we deepen our relationship with God, he changes us to more closely resemble him, and he is able to better use us for his work which is really to love those around us starting with our nuclear families and then extending outwards into the wider community.


Is your anger problem a little bit like mine used to be? Are you hitting your kids or shouting at them? Will you hand it to God?