WHY REJECTION IS GOOD FOR YOU

Rejection. I love that word..said no one ever! It reminds you of that feeling you get when someone says no to you. A horrible crippling feeling. The kind that makes you want to crawl into bed and never get up.

Where has this come from you ask? I had  a conversation about my perfect studio set up with a friend of mine on Monday. It went something like this.

Me: I think this set up is brilliant, I’d love to have it.

Vincent : Why not ask for it?

Me:  We both know that’s not going to happen.

Vincent : What gives you that idea? Did you talk to the relevant people and they said no?

Me: Not yet, but……

Vincent: so you are assuming you can’t get it, and you are not even willing to ask? What is the worst answer? A no. Right. Then? Will the ‘No’ be imprinted on your forehead?  Will we all hear the ‘No’ echo through the walls? NO! The worst thing you can do is deny yourself the chance to know the actual answer. If the answer is NO, Ask why. That way the no makes sense. Again, you could get a yes. Then what?

To prove his point, He went ahead, talked to someone and I might just get it.

He didn’t get a No, He got a maybe.

See where I’m going with this?

Immediately after that he shared Jia Jiang’s video.

I watched it once, twice,thrice. And a few more times the following day.

We want to be better people, fearless people. Gladiators. The kind you read of and watch on TedX with amazing stories. How do we expect to be these people if simple things like walking into a boss’s office to asking for something scares the hell out of us?

Jia Jiang and Vincent got me thinking. Next time…I’m not going to be scared.

Why, because I’m walking away from great life lessons.

Here are 7 I thought make sense.

  1. Becoming a better person. If your outlook on life is positive,you’ll learn from what you’d perceive as failure.
  2. Appreciating success more. Imagine getting a yes after 5 Nos.Its an amazing feeling right?
  3. Being more resilient. The strength to regroup and come back again isn’t for the faint
  4. Re-evaluating yourself and your plan. If your initial plan,didn’t work. write a new one, find a new angle. heck find a couple.
  5. Getting another chance. Tomorrow, You’ll go back stronger,better.
  6. Helping others. Your experience becomes a great lesson to someone.
  7. Being more courageous. Something that doesn’t come easy.

 

Happy watching.

 

Cheers,

Cynthia Mwangi.

 

 

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HOW TO BOUNCE BACK LIKE A BOSS

This year, like every year…I sat down and wrote down my resolutions. Yes…I did. I called myself for a meeting, we sat down me, myself and I. In this meeting, a few things came up:

  1. Despite writing down my resolutions every year, I usually accomplish about 40% of them, so something has to give this year.
  2. We are past saying ‘I’m young and I still have time’.  Not even the next minute is promised to me. So grab every opportunity to grow.

So I decided, sorry WE decided, that we’d be doing our resolutions quarterly. * insert cheers here*  I know, WE are pretty excited about it, however the pressure to deliver in 4 months is real.  Between working with my team and working on my vision of Cynthia Mwangi, there is really no time to waste.

But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48

(David Muriithi, thank you for this reminder)

That being said, A couple of months back I had the pleasure of moderating a panel during  ASENTI 2016 at USIU. And it was important for me to find out as much as I could about the panelists. One of them was Chris Mureithi, who had been featured on Engage Talk –  The bi-monthly Engage platform focuses on the power of engagement to foster learning and transform minds and lives.  I watched a few more but I loved Beatrice Imathiu’s story.  She took me on a journey of her life. Her highs, her lows, her really highs and really lows. It cant get more real than this.  We Fall. We Rise. We Soar. She had it all but she dared to want more.

A few things I’ve learnt about bouncing back like a boss :

  1. Have a strong support system. (She was kicked out, out of love you know) It will get you through tough times. We are not islands.
  2. Celebrate little wins, appreciate the good things in life. Be grateful for what you have constantly, you’ll notice not everything is going wrong.
  3. Look for growth opportunities constancy. You don’t want to be caught in a failure rant. Keep yourself going, no matter what happens.
  4. Failure does not  reflect who you are.
  5. Trust the process.

Happy watching!

and being the Kenyan I am, Happy new year!

 

 

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THE DECLARATION

25-beautiful-sunrise

We all have morning rituals be it reading the Bible/Koran,praying,reading a book, listening to music or even a particular song, hitting the gym, podcasts. Here is something I added to mine,  The Declaration. A Poem by Robin Sharma 

 

The Declaration

Today, I declare I am strong and brave, not timid nor weak

Today I declare that my past will no longer limit my future and just because I couldn’t achieve something yesterday doesn’t mean I won’t do it this day.

Today I declare that I’ll honor my talents, express my gifts and reveal my creativity to everyone around me.

Today, I declare I’ll be loyal to my values, respectful of my mission and fiercely focused on my dreams.

Today, I declare that I am a maker, a giver and a visionary.

Today, I declare that I will always be part of the solution and never part of the problem.

Today, I declare that when I fall, I will certainly rise and when I’m in doubt, I will persist.

Today, I declare that I will cherish my health, feed my mind and nourish my soul.

Today, I declare that I am surrounding myself with people who are smarter, faster, stronger and better than me so I am uplifted by their models and inspired by their examples.

Today, I declare that I set the standard in my work, am becoming the icon of my industry and a legend at my craft.

Today, I declare that I adore my family, am grateful for my friends and am an encourager to all those who are blessed to cross my path.

Today, I declare that today is MY day. My time to grow, excel, laugh, love, win, believe, persevere and serve, knowing that I am truly the leader of my fate, the owner of my results and the hero of my destiny.

 

Good morning!

Regards,

Cynthia Ythera Mwangi

 

Image courtesy of google.

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WANT TO MAKE A MILLION IN ONE DAY?

millionaire

Its been a minute since I shared something, I feel very guilty considering we are already half way though the year!

While I’ve been away, I’ve had the pleasure of being part of an amazing group of young women under 30 who are armed to the teeth with information and passion to make a difference in their lives, and the country. Most are entrepreneurs running  or have partnered to run businesses.

I like encouraging people to venture into business, growing their talents and making money while at it. Let’s be honest, white-collar jobs are not what they used to be. Who knew you’d make money off running someone else’s social media accounts? who knew you’d one day get paid to go around restaurants rating food?

Majority of those working now have been in that office for a minute, so as you train, whose job are you planning on taking exactly? Companies are downsizing and even shutting down. So where are you getting that job?

Here are a few eye opening facts we’ve seen this year.

As applications for the second cohort of Tuskys internship programme came to a close on June 30th, the reality of joblessness in Kenya became more apparent. According to results of the applications, majority of applicants were masters and undergraduate degree holders seeking to intern at Tuskys, Kenya’s second biggest retail chain in terms of turnover.

“The fact that even holders of Master’s degrees are looking for internships is a pointer that we have a huge role to play in filling in the skills gap,” said Tuskys CEO Dan Githua. “It shows that experience is as important as academic qualifications in the employment market.”

But it also shows how desperate the jobless market has become with thousands of graduates chasing fewer jobs in the market. So few that candidates are resorting to applying for jobs and opportunities they are overqualified for to increase their chances of being considered.

http://www.businesstoday.co.ke/masters-degree-holders-scramble-for-tuskys-internship/

An unsettling fact; 80% of unemployed Kenyans are below 35 years.

“The challenge of youth unemployment is compounded by the fact that 90% of all unemployed young people lack vocational skills, said Sicily Kariuki, cabinet secretary for youth and gender affairs in the Ministry of Public Service. “Addressing youth unemployment therefore calls for innovation, investment and commitment among all stakeholders.”

Unemployment is a major challenge that affects youth across Kenya. Approximately 800,000 young Kenyans enter the labour market every year and youth unemployment is estimated to be as high as 35%, compared to the overall national unemployment rate of 10%. Furthermore, 80% of unemployed Kenyans are below 35 years old.

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/mar/02/tackling-youth-unemployment-in-kenya-through-public-private-collaboration

future mill

I’m sure most of you have read this in various WhatsApp groups and fb posts.

If your boss paid you 30,000 every month and you saved all that money without touching a coin, you would need to work for 36 months to get 1 million.

But if you convinced an organization like The UN to give you a printing job for only 5000 umbrellas and you made Ksh. 200  from each umbrella that  would be  5000×200=1,000,000. In only 1 day.

It becomes crazy if you want to become a Billionaire. Say your boss pays you 1 million per month and you saved all that money without touching a single coin, in a year you would only have 12 million and you would need to work for 84 years to get 1 billion (How old are you??).

However, there are 40 + million people in Kenya if you supplied salt to 12 million of them once per month making 10 bob per packet, it would only take you 1 year to be a billionaire.

A lot of people may punch holes in this, however what is key here is the lesson.

Times are changing, I’ll tell you this, companies hire people who can perform more than one task. The disruption is real, and its happening fast in Kenya and in Africa. We need to shape up and catch up fast.

My two cents on this:

  1. On top of what you already studied for, add a few more skills, that always wins.
  2. White collar jobs aren’t what they used to be, if you are below 30, you fall under the  entrepreneurial generation so get off the couch and do something.
  3. With Africa becoming a ‘continent of interest’ you don’t have to think going abroad will save your life, now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities coming in.
  4. Tender-preneurship is a thing now, jump on it.
  5. Take advantage of the youth,women tenders already set aside. If you don’t, who will?
  6. Nothing will come easy,that we all know, so brace yourself for tough times.However, it will be worth every minute.
  7. For the record, Farming isn’t shady.

 

Have a beautiful thought-provoking day 🙂

 

Cheers,

Cynthia Ythera Mwangi

 

 

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CINDERELLA,THE LIZARD AND MY AHA MOMENT

As 2016 year started, I found myself watching a re-run of Cinderella , (yes yes I’m one of those) oh how familiar this story is. And every fairytale from here to King George’s kingdom . The beautiful girl is married by the prince and the evil step sisters bite the dust. YES? Of course… And for a long time, I thought most of the fairly tales were about that…love. As a little girl I hoped my prince charming would come in and swoop me off my feet too and we’d live happily ever after in a big castle ( I know allow a girl her moments)

As I watched it, little things started catching my attention. Like this simple conversation :

cinderella

Cinderella: I’m frightened, Mr. Lizard.
Lizard Footman: Oh.
Cinderella: I’m only a girl, not a princess.
Lizard Footman: And I’m only a lizard, not a footman. Enjoy it while it lasts.
[Ella smiles then with a breath of courage starts making her way inside the palace]

   Then it all came together. It was always about being courageous, believing and taking risks. The answer the footman gave was what we may refer to as the pep talk before a big match; Before taking the first step into your happily ever after. Scared as you may be, courage is necessary.                     Have courage,

 I watched as Cinderella’s step-mother squashed every chance she might have had to meet the prince. However, when the time came, nothing could stand in her way. Her step-sisters laughed and mocked her but she still hoped. Something she never lost. she was determined, she held on to her dream, her spirit wasn’t crushed. You should have seen me scribbling down these words right after the movie. My light bulb moment gave me something I think was slowly dying; Hope. I was awakened, in that moment, I saw hope.

In 2016 May you be reminded like I was, to be hopeful, courageous, believe and taking risks. When an opportunity presents itself, no matter how insane it looks or feels, no matter how small, take it and Enjoy yourself.

Happy-New-Year-2016

Now I can wish you a Blessed New Year 2016!!

I look forward to hearing about the chances you took. yes? Brilliant!

I’ll leave you with these words : Have courage,  be kind and all will be well

 

Cheers,

Cynthia Ythera Mwangi

#IAMMALALA SOILA MAASAI GIRLS RESCUE CENTRE

Together For Soila girls

On 17th Oct 2015, I made 4 new friends. Virginia Muya, Carol,Leah (met her a week before at Sitara cancer brunch with Njeri Olang’)  Led by Tuta Mionki, we embarked on a journey to Soila Maasai girls rescue centre in Suswa. We were so anxious about the visit we had an “are we there yet” conversation every 10 minutes!

On arrival we got a wonderful welcome from their deputy head teacher, who gave us a tour of the school and home. The centre has 50+ girls at the moment, with 11 of them sitting for the KCPE exam 2015.

The Soila Maasai Girls Rescue Centre at Suswa in the Rift Valley, Kenya, was launched by Kenya Children’s Home in 2005 as a refuge centre for young orphaned or destitute Maasai girls.

With the co-operation of the local Chief, the centre was established to save the girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early arranged marriage – still a common practice and tradition in the Maasai community of Kenya.

Through the Suswa centre, the girls are offered a home and an education as an alternative path in life to FGM and early marriage, and in turn they receive the chance to empower and change their lives and those of generations to come. In all cases, the girls’ guardians have given their permission for their daughter to embark on this new way of life.

The project has grown significantly over the years and there are now more than 60 girls aged between 7 and 15 at the centre, for whom KCH provides full care.

The refuge centre is run as a partnership between KCH, the Balcraig Foundation and the local community of Suswa. KCH contributes staff, medical and educational supplies, and Balcraig Foundation provides the set-up and running costs, and manages the Suswa Project.

   The welcome was wonderful with a rap, poem and a traditional dance that landed them in the National music festivals 2015! the girls can shake their mabegas! The song is titled mabega (shoulders) from the luhya community.A rap poem about them  standing and demanding their right. A right to education, to life, to being children.; saying no to FGM and early marriage.

These girls are no ordinary girls. They have braved the shame and discrimination that comes with saying no to FGM and early marriage. You never really get the picture of how real this is, until you come face to face with them.

malala-yousafzai-1-w724      We shared the story of Malala Yousafzai, #IAmMalala. We felt this was an ideal story to share with them. Malala, a girl’s decision to seek education at all cost.  Something we felt they all associated well with.

We had general talks about their growth, joining high school, changes in their body, the birds and the bees. I remember my first lesson on the birds and the bees was at Kijabe Mission Hospital, they chose to focus on STDs ; images and videos included. I’m sure you get the picture.  From 12-15yrs girls start growing fast, accompanied by a lot of questions that they shy away from asking.

Having finished that session, we broke into groups. From the previous visit, Tuta noticed they opened up more in smaller groups. We handled questions about how to prepare for their main exam, handling subjects they felt were a challenge. Truth be told, they are a bright pack of girls. I wondered if i was ever as well prepared. They are taking exams from different counties every  two weeks. And of course, how to deal with the stigma that comes with being “uncut” and not married.It was a tough session I must admit, no one is ever prepared for certain questions from kids, because they are just that, kids. They were honest enough to share their previous experiences. How they are looked down upon, people from religious bodies from their home areas may allow them to come and worship together but they can feel the rejection. Their age mates refuse to interact with them, and those who do its in a very hush manner.

SPEAKERS

The centre also caters for those who are called to secondary schools i.e they cover their school fees and anything else they might need. However, they have to go back home or be placed with relatives who support their education. About 10+ girls are in secondary schools across the country. This for them is a great achievement and motivation.

CARD AWARDING

Carol and Leah presenting cards to the 11 candidates. The head teacher(in the 2nd and 3rd pic was an amazing host)

We may not have exhausted all the questions they had, but we did our best. As we left, they shared some of their worries.

1.How do they deal with segregation and victimization from their married age-mates, relatives?

2.What happens as they wait to join high school?

3.Who will be there to walk with them once they exit the centre?

4. Is there hope for them outside their community?

5. How do they help those who’ve gone through the cut, have families but want to do more for themselves?

 

As we left, they shared a song that they love singing :IMG-20151018-WA0019

I am fearfully and wonderfully made ,

I am fearfully and wonderfully made, 

when I think of creation that was made,

when I think of creation that was made,

I going to stand up( oohhh), i raise my hands up,

I’m going to sing a song and then I do like this!  * here you touch a part of your body*

(the part that is fearfully and wonderfully made  🙂

 

The team that made the visit possible included :

Tuta Mionki

Virginia Munya

Leah Muithui

Caroline Mwaura

Caroline Gatimu

Linet Ayuko

Njeri Olang’

Brenda Wabule

Cynthia Mwangi

among others

 

p.s

Its taken me a while to write this post (Njeri I can hear you asking for it)  because their worries have become my worries. I didn’t know how to explain that after completing class 8 they have to go home and wait for results; The homes that they were rescued from.  I really hope we can work towards expanding the rescue centre so the girls can continue with their stay even after clearing their exams, and move on to high school. Nothing will ever beat a place you feel safe enough to be yourself, be a child with no inhibitions and just grow.

 

Enjoy your day and say a prayer for my precious girls. We might be joining them again on 3rd Nov 2015 for the candidates prayer day.

Regards,

Cynthia Ythera Mwangi

 

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DAN SCHAWBEL ON PERSONAL BRANDING

dan-schawbel

When I started reading about personal branding 3yrs ago, My dad sent me a link to personal branding by Dan schawbel. I loved that he understood what it is I was slowly becoming, and made it his business to make sure i grow. I thank God for my folks!

Today, I share something Dan wrote as he talked about his book ME 2.0

How do you define personal branding and why is it important? 

Dan Schawbel: Personal branding is how we market ourselves to others. Each and every one of us has a brand because we are constantly being judged based on first impressions. Also, we are forced to sell our ideas and unique abilities to all stakeholders inside a company or as an entrepreneur.  Personal branding is critical in a world filled with clutter, competition and ambiguity.  To be a brand means to use similar branding strategies that corporations and products use to create an experience – a friendship – with an audience.  People trust people, and will therefore be more inclined to purchase your product or hire you based on their relationship with you or what they hear about you.

me2.0

What are the benefits for building a brand?

Dan Schawbel: Just like corporate brands, people can demand a premium price (a higher salary).  Also, you will become more visibility and recognized by your peers, hiring managers and other successful business people and entrepreneurs.   With visibility comes speaking engagements, jobs, clients, celebrity and much more!  Aside from self-promotion, you will establish a professional and social network, which will protect you from an uncertain work environment.  You will also learn how to own your Google results and protect and secure your online identity.

How did you get involved with personal branding? 

Dan Schawbel: In high school I recognized that I needed to stand out from everyone else to have a successful future, so I stopped going to summer camp and took my first internship at an internet company.  When I was applying for colleges, I got deferred from my first choice, which made me work twice as hard senior year, take an interview at the campus and write a letter to help me get in, which I eventually did.  Sophomore year I realized that it was going to be very competitive to get a job in marketing when I graduated, so I build a development plan that linked me to a series of internships in all marketing disciplines to set myself up for graduation.

The first few I got through connections, but then I had the audacity to go for big names, such as Reebok, Lycos and LoJack on my own.  To each interview I brought my Personal Branding Toolkit, which contained a custom resume, cover letter, CD portfolio, website and business card.  I stood out and graduated with 8 internships, 7 leadership positions and straight A’s.  I thought I was the perfect candidate, but lacked a strong network, which I had ignored previously, so it took me eight months of hard work to get the job I wanted, as a product marketer at a Fortune 500 company.

After a year in this company, I started experimenting with social media, launching my Personal Branding Blog on March 14th, 2007.  I realized that I was passionate about marketing, mentoring young individuals and all things social media, so when I read Tom Peter’s “Brand Called You” article, I knew it was written for me.  From the blog, came the Personal Brand Awards, then a TV podcast series called Personal Branding TV, some freelance writing for magazines, and my own Personal Branding Magazine.

The result, after 6 months, was a press article in Fast Company. This article was found by my company’s PR group and sent to a Vice President. Instead of being interviewed, I was able to co-create the position, which aligned with my passion outside of work. Once this happened, I knew I had a story. My motto was “the goal of personal branding is to be recruited based on your brand, not applying for jobs.”  That is exactly what will happen to you if you read this book!

dan-schawbel-office-hours-fast-track-2

 

What is your four-step process for building a powerful brand?

Dan Schawbel:

  • Discover: In order to really understand who you are and carve out a career path moving forward, investing in self-discovery is critical. In fact, if you don’t spend time learning about yourself, your values, personal mission, and unique attributes, you will be at a disadvantage when marketing your brand to others. Start by removing yourself from distractions and ask yourself, “Who am I?” and, “If I could do anything, what would it be?”
  • Create: Your personal branding toolkit may consist of a blog, Web site, business card, résumé, reference document, cover letter, portfolio, or even a LinkedIn profile. Each piece has to be consistent with the next and reflect the brand you discovered in Step 1.
  • Communicate: Now it’s time to use everything you’ve created to let people know you exist. By attending professional networking events, writing articles for Web sites, and putting on your “personal PR hat,” pitch bloggers and traditional journalists to start gaining attention and recognition for the brand you created in Step 2.
  • Maintain: As you grow, mature, and accelerate in your career, everything you’ve created has to be updated and accurately represent the current “brand you.” Also, you need to monitor your brand online to ensure all conversations about you are positive and factual. You can do this by using a combination of tools, including a Google Alert for your name.

 

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Regards,

Ythera Mwangi