Over five years of my sister’s nursing career I was yet to understand her love and fascination with the maternity department. It is until recently that I took deeper interest in her work by curiously inquiring on what really happens in this department that most of us stopped by on our way to this place.
Of the many lessons, one was of immense significance- that babies are born HEAD FIRST! Now this may seem obvious, but this biological process reflects a larger principle in life – the head represents focus, ideas, businesses or careers – it comes first and how it is handled determines everything. To emphasize, ask any medic what happens if any other body part shows up first during delivery. I asked this to my sister – her face changed, she said with a lower voice that “then you know the mother has ‘complicated’” – she then went into a brief trance like one forced to watch a sequence of graphic images.
This conversation took place in a time of inward battles as I was establishing my company. I recall that as of then, even as I peeped into the delivery room through her experience, the lessons only had a biological relevance. Six months down the line, I have realized that many aspects of life can COMPLICATE and more often than not, it has to do with your head. In my journey and battles of establishing The Bridge I have (and still keeping at it) tracked few lessons:
- Know who has your head
When we were born, it is not our mothers who held us first!
Mostly, the first hands that ever felt your head were not related to you at all. Therefore, prudence demands that we choose these hands wisely – like the delicate head of an infant, our toddling businesses or careers require a support system; the kind that feels your dream/idea/passion before anyone else; the kind that see chicken (companies, projects, careers) when all you have in your hands are eggs (ideas). As I was struggling on how to structure my company, I sought different experts and voices, but I truly made progress when I landed in the right palms- a mentor; a former colleague; a close friend and sometimes a stranger!
2. Get a good midwife!
Giving birth does not guarantee survival!
It was common practice at birth (I hope it is not anymore) to slightly shock an infant so that they can gasp for air- this marked the beginning of an infant’s use of her own respiratory system. Imagine a mother who passes out and continually clings to her infant instead of allowing the midwives to do their work. Before you jump out of that train, evaluate whether there are passions or ideas that really need their first inhalation but are dying latched on your chest. Identify midwives for your idea. Please note that they don’t have to be parents, but they understand what to do with something in its first hours of life. Find them!
3. Avoid Isolation – it kills passion!
A great speech in an empty hall will never witness a standing ovation!
Have you ever shared your idea or business with someone and ended up falling more and more in love with it? Do you have a business that is going stale because no one is hearing it? Or you probably doubt if your idea or business has a future because it only hears your lonely voice. Surround yourself with individuals that rekindle your passionate.
I should confess that I have tried to apply these lessons from a delivery room in my journey with varying degrees of success. I have noted that after finding the right handlers, being assisted in birthing and being surrounded positively, it still comes down to how you deal with your own head. How you handle this idea, business, passion or career. But the head is not a place we will always be inclined to operate from; sometimes it will be the feelings, the dispositions or the heart – I have been afraid of launching, anxious of funding and even tired of trying. While these places hold gems in themselves they are more prone to anarchy. I am learning to make regular reference to my head – what I am really hoping to achieve; why I am training graduates and who will be left better off. Try it sometimes, after all a person who does not operate from the head is a person without government.
Simon NDIRANGU MWANGI (MS) is the Founder and CEO of TheBridgeAfrica– an enterprise that works with employers, professional associations and universities to ensure career ready graduates.
The Bridge – Connecting the Workforce to You