Monday, May 6, 2013

Know what you do. Do what you know

Back then when I was doing my residential house, a gentleman approached me while I was animatedly talking to the foreman about some work which was not satisfactory. He introduced himself as Oduor, the landscaper. I requested him to wait till I was done with the foreman.

Oduor is a soft spoken fellow, almost swallowing his words. He tried to explain to me how good a landscaper he is and he has done the work for years. He wanted me to give him that job because I had a spacious compound. I did not want to dismiss him because over the years I have learnt that the very best don’t look like it. We agreed that at a later date, he’d take me to sites that he had already done and was maintaining so that I could appreciate his work.

Two weeks later, Oduor showed up and with him an album containing pictures of sites he had landscaped. Very organized fellow, I later found out. So we went round the estate knocking of people’s doors and almost everyone we found was all smiles on seeing Oduor. Many instructions came his way regarding maintenance of those gardens. What I noted about Oduor’s work, it was not only marvelous but eye catching. A very meticulous hand like that of my Kinyozi. Cutting hedges to right angles, mixing flowers with a lot of thoughts. I could see that he was a man with a lot of passion for his job, after all the fruits were all there for me to see.

And so I asked him how he ended up in that business. It was a long story but its long and short was that he did a diploma but failed to acquire a job. He however used to work in their garden as a hobby. One day some neighbor visited their home and he was amazed when he saw the work Oduor had done. He ended up insisting that Oduor had to replicate the same at his home at a small fee. And as they say, the rest is history. The good word spread across the estate of a young man who does some extra ordinary landscaping. He never even bothered looking for any other job despite his diploma. The other day I met him he told me that he will not manage to maintain my garden any longer because he has so many homes in Karen and its environs. He however had trained some guy who inherited his interest in our estate. He is doing quite well I must say.

What lessons can we learn from Oduor?

1. He ended up doing what he loves and had lots of passion for….and he succeeded big time.
2. He discovered his real talent albeit under unexpected circumstances. As proverbs 18:16 says, "a man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men."

What is clear is that it is easier to succeed in a business that is in line with what one enjoys doing or has talent for.

More on start-ups in the next post.

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