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MY STRUGGLE WITH SUCCESS - THE FOUNDER’S BRIEF STORY

Introduction

Hi! My name is William Kaboro, the founder of successbook123.com. I come from Kenya, but I have also become a citizen of the world. I take this opportunity to welcome you, most warmly, to this social networking website, successbook123.com! This website is, actually, a public forum for success. Its aim is to make success for ALL easy. As easy as counting: 1, 2, 3! To INCITE you to go more aggressively after success. I shall give you here a brief story of my own struggle with success – professional and general success in life. It is this long struggle with success which led me to start this public “forum for success”, successbook123.com, as you will find out from the story that follows. Welcome to successbook123.com!

I am an engineer by profession. However, I have always felt a deep calling to serve people and my God. I decided long ago, while still in lower school, that I needed to be “successful”, in order to be able to help others. I therefore decided to strive to achieve personal success in life as early as possible. “Super” success. I was sure it would happen. I was convinced. Positive! I was doing well in school, apparently even without trying much. I went through school easily and graduated from university with a degree in engineering. I got employment straight away after graduation. But, alas! 5 years, 10 years ... My “super success” was nowhere in sight! What was happening? What was I not doing right? Who, or what, was blocking me? Unbelievable!

From this mental turmoil, anguish and soul-searching, the idea of successbook123.com was born:a result of my long and bitter struggle to achieve “super success”. The basic idea was to mobilize practical and real-life information, knowledge and motivation to help my children, other young people (and other not so young people!) to avoid the pitfalls that I may have gone through in my struggle with success. I have been looking for answers for the apparent failure of my plans for achieving “super success” EARLY IN LIFE. I was getting increasingly worried: might my children repeat my mistakes, whatever they may have been, and fail to achieve success early enough in life? My desired success has always appeared close, yet has remained so far! I had the education. I was sure that I had the potential and necessary natural abilities. I was accumulating experience and knowledge continuously, from my career, social organising, wide and general reading and general exposure in life. However, all I seemed to achieve was a career (engineering) and a “normal” life for myself and my family. That is not what I had set out to achieve! A heavy feeling of embarrassment and sense of failure hung over me like a death cloud: my core ambition in life was slipping away, fast!

My Original Plans

I graduated from university, towards the end of the year 1985, I went to work as an engineer with the Ministry of Public Works of the Government of Kenya. Hey, was I raring to go! The world was bright and inviting. Behold, O Wide, WideWorld, here comes William, the Conqueror!

I was driven into my career (engineering) by my personal vanity, at that time, not by career advice from anybody. I wanted to get into the ‘toughest’ field of study known to me at that time - engineering (Watch out, youngsters – get career guidance!). I planned to first achieve the status of “Professional Engineer”. That done, I wanted to start my own engineering consultancy firm, providing engineering services to the government, private businesses and organisations. I visualised my own large engineering business, providing consultancy services in Kenya and Eastern, Central and Southern Africa regions. I planned to invest my wealth from the engineering business in “real estate” business, developing and selling properties – houses, business premises, etc. Then, I would go into my life’s passion - “social work”, guiding young people, tackling joblessness among the youth and providing solutions to general hardships in communities.

Possible Reasons for My “Failure”

I started my training to become a professional engineer in November 1985. I was very excited and enthusiastic. I wanted to complete my training in the shortest time possible. However, I soon started feeling that things were moving a bit too slowly for me and also moving unpredictably. The government of Kenya was coming under a crushing attack from the agitators and crusaders for more “political, social and personal freedoms” and from the vibrant local Kenyan civil society, clamouring for the same. The international “donor” community seemed to be on the side of the opponents to the government. Funding for government development projects seemed to be drying up, steadily. The scholarships that we used to hear about, while studying at university, as being available in the government departments, were coming in a miserable trickle. Too few for all the graduates in government service! Training within the department was taking long, as development projects to work on were getting fewer and smaller. Looking around town and in up country areas, I could see that the real winners and stars of the economy, under the conditions prevailing then in Kenya, were the people doing “ordinary things’’: operating small shops, running “matatus” (private passenger vehicles), street hawking, operating corruption rackets at work places in government departments, etc. It was a maddening era for our country, Kenya. Deep inside me, I knew I was not cut out for that kind of business. None of these “profitable businesses” was anywhere near my idea of “success”. I had planned to participate in rebuilding of my country and to help my people, especially young people! This was the primary reason why I had joined government service directly from university, rather than join the rumoured “big-salary” private sector employment. Alas!

I really agonized under this unexpected turn of events in my life. I eventually achieved my “professional engineer” status, after my post-graduate training period. OK. Done!Now was time to start my private engineering business.Then, surprise, surprise!I started becoming painfully aware of serious financial constraints blocking my way to getting quickly into self employment: not enough savings, limited loan options/facilities, a single source of income (my job) – my wife was not working - and having no other income generating business apart from my job.The thought of “jumping” from employment to meaningful, legal, self-employment on a single source of income became a waking nightmare for me. I could not see myself raising enough savings, any time soon, to enable me and my family to survive long enough for a new income generating business to get established. Good grief! What was happening?

Then, one morning in 1997, in the midst of near-despair, I saw an advertisement in the Kenyan “Daily Nation” newspaper for an engineering job in Botswana. Wow! It sounded so “cool”. A lot of exciting development projects in a vibrant economy and an opportunity to work as an expatriate! My feelings of despair were gone in a flash. I started dreaming again!

I applied for and easily got the advertised job in Botswana.I found the work in Botswana exciting, invigorating and resuscitating to my ego once again.I was experiencing satisfaction as an engineer.However,soon I realized that as an aspiring self-employed businessman, there was a major challenge facing me! The expatriate jobs available were on 2-year contracts. Apart from the salary, you could only take a small personal loan from the bank, repayable within the 2-year work permit length. This put a serious limit on the amount that you could comfortably borrow. The work permit regulations did not allow you to do any other business, apart from the job under which you obtained the work permit. Also, working as an expatriate on 2-year contracts, gave a sense of “temporary” status in the country, making planning to start a business complicated. Good grief! I started yearning to go back to Kenya and “start small” in private engineering business. But, Alas! The economic and political conditions in Kenya did not appear inviting at all. So, there followed a period of “wait and see” – a period of just looking after my family and “keeping my business ambitions on ice”. I got into social organizing and leadership of the sizeable Kenyan community in Botswana (more than 1000 families), rising from executive secretary to chairman in a period of three years. This gave me some satisfaction, giving service to my people, but my ambition for “super success” kept bothering and nagging me, seriously.

I also realized that another major challenge that faced me in my efforts to get into self-employment, en-route to “super success”, was having a “split focus”. Here I was, pursuing my dear engineering career, “for the progress and comfort of mankind”. At the same time, I was planning to set up and run a major engineering business side by side with my career. I was also doing demanding social work: organizing social functions for my community, including fundraising to support the needy and helping in personal emergencies. I also noted that I tended to get absorbed in the day to day work chores at my place of employment, leading me to lose focus on my personal business plans side. This would lead to abandonment of one business plan after another, as a result of not being personally available to implement the plans and also not having sufficient funding to employ others to help me to implement the plans. My involvement in social work also proved to be a big drain on my time and personal savings!

Conclusion

What concerns us more in life than “SUCCESS”? Success in what we do every day and success in life generally? I would like others to use this story to learn how to pursue success: learn what to do and what to avoid. I would like you to use my story as a PROMPTER to help you stop and check how you are doing, so far. May be you are doing fine. Congratulations! I would like my story to inspire others towards success. I believe that the success of individuals is success of the community and success of the country and the world as a whole.

I invite you, with excitement, to share your success stories and your struggles with success, to learn and also to inspire others. Let us also invite others to share their experiences on this “forum for success”, successbook123.com.

Successbook123.com is a “living” source of ideas, information and motivation on success and life in general. It is not like a normal book, with a “fixed” content or quantity of information. Material on successbook123.com continues coming, flowing, growing and increasing every day, as we all (including the experts) keep sharing information, ideas, opinions and life experiences, on the successbook123.com social networking site.

So, every time you visit successbook123.com, you can be sure that, (as the Americans say) ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet!’

Now, please go back to the “Succeed in Life” page of successbook123.com, and, start sharing your stories, advice and tips and life experiences on success.

You will also find lots of entertainment on the other page on the site, “Entertainment” – jokes, games, etc. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

Be blessed, all!

Yours Truly,

William Kaboro, Professional Engineer