Monday, February 19, 2018

People's Influence in Achieving Your Dream.

First and foremost, let us look at what is a DREAM?

Source; online search;
  1.  A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Wikipedia 
  2. A cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal. 
Our dream moment can happen in any stage of our life, and from the start the dream can happen at any time of the day not necessarily at night. We live in a purposeful space where majority if not all, have dreams that they would want to turn into reality, the fact is that we might have the same dreams, but the way we walk through into the reality pathways would definitely be different and of course there is a list of factors that can make us succeed or fail.

I want us to look at the external party in our dream as much as we have the biggest role in making it happen or otherwise. Think of people around you for example; your parents, siblings, co-workers, relatives, spouse, friends, teacher, mentor, etc.

The question is are they supporting you in achieving your dream? And did you know what people say about your dreams might either motivate you, even better see many possibilities in your dreams or in worst scenario lose momentum?

I can classify this situation into two personalities; Dream Shapers and Dream Killers. There are many things that can be classified as either dream killers or shapers. My journey building Wilsen Initiative (Wi) I attribute the success achieved so far to people who believed in me and have continued to support the ideas moving to the next level. Just to mention a few my family, my wife, my mentors, co-workers, Wilsen members and my students.

They made me feel that I was on the right path and should there be any ideas out of the box that could compliment the effort they shared with an open heart to see us all succeed and whenever I failed they still came to my rescue to offer the next ladder for learning.

In our dream journey we are most likely to meet the two people as Dream Shapers or Dream Killers. In my journey I have been lucky to work with many dream shapers as opposed to dream killers in the context of personality. Let me elaborate further who are these people and what influence they might have in your dream pathways.

Seven things your need to know about Dream shapers and Dream Killers;

 Dream Shapers – People who assist or you might partner in reaching a dream. 

  1. They listen more to other peoples dreams and see where there is connection to partner or even offer referral. 
  2. Their key value is EMPATHY. 
  3. They are good candidates for mentors.
  4. Nurture the idea to the next level and they understand the dream journey.
  5. Very are objective in their feedback loop. 
  6. Invest resources that would support their dream and in connection with others. 
  7. Open to new ideas, with a good balance of reality check. (SMART Model). 
 Dream Killers – Refers to people who might pose threats or blocks in reaching your desired dream. 
  1. They ask why not them.
  2. Might compare their journey with yours not necessarily to help but to QUESTION? 
  3. Their resource is limited to themselves.
  4. They are not a good candidate as a mentor.
  5. Impossibilities is their language and attitude in understanding the dream journey might be a challenge. 
  6. It takes them time to believe in other people dream.
  7. They don't motivate you to be in their company. 
I know there are many factors that can address this subject (dream killers versus dream shapers), but I believe in a dream that is nurtured among people then followed by surrounding circumstances. You need to believe in yourself before other people believe in you, and think of what makes your character, habits and behavior align to the dream you want to achieve.  Build and encourage a community based on a set of values to shape your dreams which at some point is interlinked by either experiences, values, desire etc.

 Inclusion don’t just cling to a dream because it's your own, but run it through the SMART test before you start the journey into realization. SMART Test; S = Specific M = Measurable A = Attainable R = Realistic T = Time bound 

Here is a nice article to read further on Ten Dream Killers and How to Avoid Them 
Get in touch with me for a live session with your youth group. Write to me wilson.masaka[at]

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Three Stages of Talent Development

Many kids in the informal settlement live in an environment where their talent discovery process goes through 'unstructured' routes. It is a situation where everyone tries to do almost anything that come their way, talk about role model and the story is still the same on how they grew up in a tough condition not knowing if what they were doing could pay off one day.

 Growing up as a kid, I used to love soccer, which was triggered by my late dad who was a sportsman (he played hockey and soccer). My dad used to take us to the big matches to watch him play and sometimes watch other top clubs play in the national stadium.

This isn't the same for all the kids, most of the parents' time is hugely consumed in fending for the family daily needs. Talking of grass-root soccer majority of the kids are enrolled into teams that are managed by young coaches who can only provide limited support, especially providing a ball for the team.

On the other side, organizations that deal with soccer activities are also overwhelmed by the growing numbers of talented kids whom they can't find space to promote to the next levels because of the required resources. This situation has left many talents untapped unlike in Europe and America where there are good structures to support the talent from a younger age while also linked to the education system.
My son Adrian Kalotu 5yrs - at early stage of spotting

Even though there are some little signs of hope in some soccer academy models coming up in Nairobi, many deserving kids from informal settlement still can't afford the fees to attend the trainings.

In my pursuit of finding where do we need the most support, I came to realize that there are three stages in talent development as follows:-
  1. Spotting stage
  2. Nurturing stage
  3. Promotion stage 
 Spotting Stage 

This stage involves identifying what the kid likes. In some cases it might come out from what you expose the kid. The only best way to realize this is to spend quality time with the kid and empathize without forcing anything into them.

Nurturing Stage

This is where you buy him/her the required kits. This is an inspirational moment to discover and also join other kids with the same passion. Promotion Stage This stage requires more exposure for example, playing in a competitive league, get enrolled to a professional academy, more local and international exposure. Not forgetting building career, following the passion and turning talents into a meaningful profession that will earn them a living as professionals.

It is unfortunate most kids in the informal settlement don't pass beyond the spotting stage due to lack of adequate support from both the government and the private sector. My vision is to help the kids to go through the three stages successfully through Wilsen Initiative (Wi) platform.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Five Things You Need To Know About Freelancing

 If being employed is tough, then being self employed is even tougher. I have met many young people, especially in the creative sector who say they are freelancers or they want to become one. Whenever I engage them further why they want to dive into the world of freelancing, one of the obvious answer is that they want to be their own boss.

Did you know the biggest test as a freelancer isn't in what people see as your great portfolio, but the road map towards achieving that great portfolio. Below are the five main things that I consider important in mastering your journey as a freelancer either as a graphic designer, web developer, fashion designer etc.
  1. Your Pricing Model. 
  2. Your Process (Work Flow).
  3. Client Relations
  4. The quality production. 
  5. Time management. 
Your Pricing Model 

The perception most clients have is that because you are a freelancer your cost should be below the market rates. This isn't true, if you offer quality production why not also be competitive with the market rates?. The challenge is when you have no credits or portfolio some client will always attempt to play below what is reasonable for business, the solution is to have a pricing that targets different projects and understand the scope of work before you provide a quotation.

Your Process (Work Flow)

At this stage you need to understand how the production cycle goes from the initial meeting to different sign off stages. Remember to attach this process with your pricing model to avoid exploitation by the clients who might decide not to pay. Always ask for a percentage before you start and have a signed agreement of the project expectation. If the client is your friend having something written even in the form of an email will still work. I have an experience where clients provide never ending revisions at random stages as a result stagnating the process without cost revisions to accommodate the time and resources used.

Client Relations. 

Always stay professional, and create some standards on how you will communicate, respect the deadlines and outline the process clearly during the briefing session. Always evaluate if you can handle the project alone or if you will need third party support to complete the project successfully. Be honest and share your schedule in case you have another client project running on the side, I rather have one happy client than to have many unhappy clients due to poor quality and shifting of the goal post.

The Quality Production.

There's nothing satisfying like having a happy client. One thing that will make your client happy is achieving the desired goal with the greatest quality. In some unavoidable circumstances, you might need extra hours to complete the project, if that happens, you will be required to timely communicate to the client, but while also doing the planning always allocate time for testing and handling unexpected outputs. Quality production comes first, followed by your process (work flow) and your pricing in building a strong brand that will attract the next client.

Time Management. 

Apart from quality and communication, time management is a crucial skill to master. This cut across many factors, for example from attending meetings, deadlines, planning, etc. The scope of work also determines how much time you will take versus the cost involved doing the same.

If you don't do it right, you will end up handing a small project over long unexpected time frames because of not having a clear process in place. Sometime delays are caused by the client not following the agreed schedule, in this case always inform them at the start that should there be delays from their part the project timeline will have to be extended with the same time to fit in the appropriate schedule without compromising on quality. A small fee might be charged for clients delay on a reasonable basis. My point is open schedules are very dangerous, you might end up doing one project for a year.

 #GoodRead Becoming a Successful Freelancer – Learn the Key Attributes Image source: 

All these five key areas in the freelancer's life are interlinked and the best thing is to keep learning with an open mind. Always understand your clients needs before you start. I hope you have learned something in my journey feel free to share with your network and should you have a session I would love to come in person and share with the class.

 #ImAFreelancer #TheBootleNeck

Friday, February 2, 2018

Skill Up and Plus One Talent Boot Camp Training

Wilsen Initiative (Wi) is a non-governmental initiative registered under the societies, that seek to empower young people to use the acquired skills and talent for prosperity. The platforms connect professionals, students, innovators, artist, etc. through building a creative economy using Skill Up and Plus One Talent program. How many times have you switched your career?

Do you know your career choice makes your acquired skills or knowledge relevant or irrelevant? Some of the things we learn, especially in school doesn't mean we will use them all. Our knowledge bank is full of savings are waiting for the next explorations to become who want.

Through informed and proactive approach we shall reach at the level of our unique self with a defined purpose instead of copying what other people are doing without understanding the WHY is our journey. Many youth has been trapped in the puzzle of not knowing how to discover their full potential through talents and skills acquired, leaving many to succumb into the pressure of life without defining how success looks like.

At Wilsen Initiative (WI) we use our experiential program to unlock the youth potential through self discovery, guided by an approach that will promote quality learning and lifelong learning.

We conduct master classes in: - Business skills, Soft skills, Digital Marketing, Technical Skills, Web Development and Graphic Design, Team Building, Personal Branding, Painting classes, Financial literacy, Blogging, Photography and Internet Research. Our facilitators are passionate practitioners with good understanding of the market trends as users and innovators.

Skill UP Master Classes and  Plus One Talent:- Offering 21st century skills training using eight approaches;

  1.  Problem solving
  2. Design Thinking.
  3. Participatory learning
  4. Case studies
  5. Interactive learning
  6. Collaboration and teamwork. 
  7. Creativity and imagination
  8. Critical thinking. 

Skill UP - Boot Camps / Master Classes

We target young people who have finished their secondary, college education ready for the job market and pursuing further education. “Ready To Work”. We also work closely with young people currently in school offering multimedia skills, personal branding and career guidance courses.

Plus One Talent. - Doors Of Expression 

We offer painting sessions, games and life-skills training for class 1-8 pupils (6 years – 14 years). The main goal of the program is to develop both the mindset and skill set at an early age that would also form a great value system of how to become better citizens. We tackle topics like leadership, peace building, team work in the most creative ways using music, painting and games. We provoke new value systems (empathy, courage, teamwork etc) starting with inside out approach, this is a platform of expression that will lead to positive self esteem of young people.

We call up well wishers to join us in the journey of transferring skills to the next generations. There are three ways you can be part of the journey.

  1.  Organize with us a session (Co-hosting) :- Link us with a group that would be ideal for the skillUP or Plus One Talent training. 
  2. Donate your time and skill in conducting a session ( Master Class Tutor) :- Facilitate some of the mentioned modules as a master trainer. 
  3. Sponsor a session by paying / donating for space, material and other logistic for a group to be trained.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Death Of Education Is The Key, It's The Foundation.

We are living in the most competitive and amazing time where the majority have been educated, but are still unemployed or under-employed especially the young people. On the flip side the window of opportunities continues to open up to anyone who is ready to adapt despite their education levels, especially in the IT industry and the Small, Medium Enterprises (SME).

It's high time we shift our paradigm in our we view life holistically. During my primary and secondary level, we used to be encouraged by our teachers, parents and also there were many praise songs towards education because by then a big percentage of both the old and young were uneducated. I can remember this Kiswahili song “... someni vijina muongeze pia bidii, mwisho wa kusoma mtapata kazi nyingi sana” in translation this means young people get educated so that when you're done with your education you will secure many jobs.

I don't know if this is the situation at this time of age, and do we have enough jobs for all the graduated every year? In my reflection I'm wondering if the philosophy is still valid in comparison to our economy that has been facing challenges in matching the number of graduates versus the opportunities created by public and private sector and more importantly how many startup ventures by graduates for job creation.

I think it is high time we start to encourage the youth through lectures that foster quality education and lifelong learning, but also not forget the other spheres of life, especially thinking job creation, talent nurturing, partnership, lifelong learning attitude, entrepreneurship mindset, personal branding etc.

The reason why education isn't the key in my philosophy, it's because with the changing times the key is shifting in different sphere of our life even after acquiring the best education possible. Let me use an analogy using the house, we have the door, roof, window, key, walls and the foundation. For stable house one needs to do the foundation right.

 I support SDG4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

Here is more insight about the house analogy;
  1. Education = it is the foundation and everyone should get a quality education from the start.
  2. Your brand = You need to develop a brand that people would love to be associated with. This becomes the wall 
  3. Your certification = Get the best qualifications and certification because this is what opens the door of opportunities. 
  4. Your experience, portfolio & network = To open the door of opportunities there are many padlocks and your key is what you say and what you can do (show and tell). 5
  5. Your vision & aspirations: What aspiration do you have and what about your vision. This become the roof. 
  6. Your career: Your career choices is also a window of many opportunities. 
 This is a philosophy which I believe if adapted at an early stage will develop the DNA of young people to think entrepreneurship, start-up and job creation rather more on job seeking. I wish you all the best in your journey.