Slaps for Christmas

“Guys, anything and everything we become is really totally up to us. It’s all in our decisions.” This was Alex’s last minute motivation before the fireworks would light up the skies ushering in 2017. The year that was meant to be our year. The year that we all were hoping would springboard us to different levels in our lives. We were all pumped and just short of doing the “All Blacks Hacker” as the clock struck midnight. The night came alive with fireworks of all kinds lighting the sky, shouts and cheers of “Happy New Year” ringing through the air and there was a perceptible and palpable joy all around us.

The agreement was that at the end of the year, we’d all convene at the same place and go through our goals. These we had all written down and shared among the four of us. For every unachieved goal, one would get a slap from the other 3 guys. “Yeah! Yeah! Let’s do this” we all agreed in unison at the time, not really thinking of the repercussions. Maybe it was the optimism that comes with a new year, the feeling of almost getting a new and fresh lease to life. 365 new opportunities as some may call it. Somehow, this seemed like a very good idea then.

I literally hit the ground running determined not to get slapped but to be the one generously dishing them out come December. I was concentrating on three areas in my life; Self Development, Relationships and New Experiences. For self-development I set out to read at least 36 books, learn a new skill and reach certain milestones in my career. I was being intentional about making and developing into a better version of myself. They say the only way to live more than one life is to read. I did enjoy reading and I have learnt a whole lot. My perspective of life has be molded and changed by the authors of the different books I have read. Some of the most memorable reads are “Who Moved My Cheese”, “The Alchemist” and “Letters from the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”. I have learned take control of my life and not just exist but lead a purposeful life and how to deal with change. Reading has quickly become one of my favorite past time activity.

I also joined Toastmasters Club to work on my public speaking and leadership skills. This has been a very interesting new part of my life. I have met a lot of very interesting people who are very willing to help me become a better public speaker.  I have had to stand and speak in front of people and this has built my confidence over time. I am nowhere close to a good public speaker, but I sure am not what I used to be. It has been a great learning and networking experience.

On the relationship front, I decided to be a bit more intentional about my relationships. First, I decided to cut off the meaningless ones and reduce my circle quite considerably. I focused on friends who add value to me as I to them. I stopped hanging out with just anyone. Secondly, I concentrated on strengthening family and friendship ties. I would try and be there for my family and friends as much as I could and communicate as often as I am able to. This has in turn left me with better family relations and friends I can call brothers. It has also given me time to myself and better understand who I am.

Lastly, I have been chasing new experiences in new and old ways. New ways because I have purposed to travel to new places and just be in the moment and fully enjoy the true experience. I made a road trip to Kampala with my boys and flew to the states for about 3 weeks for my cousin wedding. The experiences I gathered are invaluable and memorable to say the least.  I made new friends and saw the world in a totally new light. I have made a promise to myself to travel to a new place every year henceforth. St. Augustine rightfully said “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” I chase new experiences in old ways because I have decided to be fully in the moment whenever I do seemingly common stuff. This has been mind-blowing as I have learnt so many different things about other people and different experiences but most importantly, about me. I have discovered I am not patient, I get jealous and I am a leader in very many aspects. This helps me to work on who I am and become a better me.

All in all, 2017 has been a very interesting year for me. I have surely grown in leaps and bounds. For the first time I feel I have achieved some of my new year’s resolutions. Nonetheless, I will still receive slaps for Christmas this year. I did not read 36 books. I am nothing close to learning a new skill neither did I hit the career milestone. These are slaps I will gladly receive as I know they have contributed to making my 2017 a great year. They were the little shove I needed to push me over the edge and out of my comfort zone. I have now over come to a certain extent the fear of public speaking, I have resolved to travel the world and have more meaningful relationships. So I would implore everyone to ask for “slap” for Christmas this year, maybe that is the push you need.

Post by: Bob Otiende

PHOTOS: Jez & Monika

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