Entrepreneurship And The Human Spirit – Talking Business With Chibamba Kanyama

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I know of a businessman who twenty years ago built a reasonably good business in Lusaka. Unfortunately, something horribly went wrong in his decisions. He had partnered with a foreign investor to supply power equipment to ZESCO. As is common in most business partnerships, the other party was not fully committed to the business and this was the beginning of the end to a promising business journey. The business went under.

Over the years, the businessman experienced personal and family problems as the financial situation deteriorated. He lost his Avondale home, lost his vehicles and I was shocked when I saw him riding a bicycle. His physical stature had decimated and I was convinced at this point the next destination would be Chainama hospital.

Human beings generally fail to comprehend failure or drastic change of fortune. Many have died as a result. I know of many former ministers who could not cope with a change of status. Some were ill-prepared for that moment of demotion. Life is not a straight road; full of ups and downs. When we have money, there is the general feeling that we will always have it. Our judgment suddenly gets impaired. What is important to remember is that failure will always be part of us. Posterity will never judge us for failing. It will, however, judge us for failing to respond with courage and determination.

In the case of this businessman, I observed that he was not prepared to fall. Every morning, he used this bicycle to deliver merchandise to homes. I do not know how he was responding to the neighbourhood gossip, moving away from a moderate mansion into a servants quarters; nice vehicles to a bicycle. What generally kills us when we lose our wealth is fear of chinwag from the neighbourhood. Many would rather resign themselves into an early grave for fear of being turned into the neighbourhood source of gossip. This entrepreneur did not seem to care. He moved on with his head and shoulders raised.

For over six years, the businessman vanished from my radar until last week. I spotted him by Manda Hill shopping mall. He was driving a new branded four by four, bearing the names of the same company. He looked healthy, the skin scintillating with features of success. The business has been revived. Men and women of vision never let go! As if by design, on the same day, I met another entrepreneur running a construction company that was once de-registered by the state. It gets worse in life when your business is blacklisted by the state.  No one, even your closest friend, wants to deal with you. You may succeed in acquiring a moment of appending a signature for a new contract after many years of drought. You are even sweating with excitement as you enter the office for that signature. Things turn sour the moment you knock on the door. You are suddenly greeted with an apology from your prospective clients, ‘Sorry, sir, something has emerged and we cannot proceed with the contract.’

The contractor I met on this day was blacklisted by the previous government. The statement was in the media and the whole nation had known about it. Fortunately, the resilient in spirit will always wait for their time. That is how it goes in business. You always have to be positive even when circumstances offer no cause for celebration. Today, everything he had lost is restored. Underneath that calm body is an enduring human spirit that will always fight for its space. When the human spirit resists to fall, the environment changes and black turns to white!

The human spirit is the backbone to successful entrepreneurship. God has designed human beings to contain an engine that becomes the real resource for achievement. The last thing to die under any circumstances is the human spirit. The human spirit offers appropriate responses to any situation. The human spirit designs the mission. In between the achievement of the mission and vision are various obstacles. Even under intense trials and tribulations, the human spirit offers resistance and resilience. Before His crucifixion, Jesus’ spirit was nearly broken. Satan knew that succeeding in breaking Jesus’ Spirit would put an end to the whole mission. Jesus nearly gave up as he sweated blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed to the Father to strengthen Him and also strengthen the spirit of his three disciples, who at the time had dosed off in distress.

As an entrepreneur, you can transform your human spirit from arrogance to humility, from laziness to a hardworking individual, from being negative minded and cynical to being positive, from depression to inspiration and from being unapproachable to possessing a very easy going and outgoing personality that helps you change the environment around you. Allow the God given and unbreakable ‘human spirit’ to drive your business activities. Take responsibility of situations and circumstances, believe in your capabilities, focus on things that build value, confront failure with courage and determination, focus on your strengths and skill, embrace the bigger picture that holds your business vision, do not drop your business philosophy when your competitors take gigantic steps that appear to dwarf you, be pro-active and action oriented (do not take comfort in theories and beliefs of others), be decisive in every situation especially about your business life and money and above all, never surrender. Remember, the human spirit is God’s gift for enterprise and this is what enables us achieve the impossible!

Chibamba Kanyama

Source – chibambakanyama.com

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