Why Dream To Walk When You Can Dream To Fly by Cherise Scott (Director of Pediatric Programs: TB Alliance)

Cherise Scott

For the last two years, I have traveled along an intentional path of personal growth because I felt limited in life to a point where I could only get so far with my goals and yearned to figure out why. We all have with us different size dream bags that contain the currency of our desires, our values, and our visions. Some of us have really allowed ourselves to fill our bags to the brim and others can fit theirs in their pocket. When it feels like we are not able to spend our currency and realize those dreams even the smallest ones, it causes a feeling of burden and an inability to really take off. Often times we blame the circumstances of life for keeping us down–it must be the weather that has us grounded. This reasoning often falters when we find out people who had it the same or worse seem to be flying all over the place and even doing tricks in the air. So who or what is to blame? The answer is you, you are your wall, you are the barrier, you are the closed door. I say this not so that you beat up or mistreat yourself, but so that you focus your energy and efforts in the right direction.

With the knowledge that I was my greatest limitation, I begin to search for and try as many tools and obtain as much wisdom from successful individuals transversing a similar flight path as mine. Even though the methods and resources may be different for each of us as we work on ourselves and work out our limitations, there are common themes and principles that should be a part of that journey:

Recognize that you don’t know you. There is not one human being on this earth that knows the fullness of who they are. By the time we reach adulthood, we are defined more by others than anything. It is important to test and push against labels and categories that are placed upon us by family, society, church, school, work, or ourselves. We are not what we do. We do based on who we are. The potential for what you can do is infinite. It does not mean that you can do everything. The challenge I give you is to go out and have fun finding out what you can do instead of focusing on what you can’t do. Don’t be afraid to fail because each time you try anything in life, you discover something about who you truly are.
Dream as if you had unlimited resources–a blank check or a trillion dollar bank account. Dreams were never intended to be equal to our present. Dreams are another world, another dimension. Dreams are our juice to keep us going and allow us the force of will to go high and stay high. Several years back, I worked for a public health program for adolescents in a rural community. There were high teen pregnancy rates and a cycle of poverty. We often used a quote from Marian Wright Edelman, an advocate for children’s rights, that said “Hope is the best contraceptive.” To hope is to dream. The more you allow yourself to hope and to dream, the decisions you make will support and align with those hopes and dreams. Be sure to write them down in detail and keep them before your eyes.
Your enemies are fear and doubt. Other people are not your enemies, because they are trying to live this life just like you. You will have adversity, challenges, and tons of problems come into your life as long as you breathe. How you handle fear and doubt will determine your fate and will determine how rich your life is. If you want to achieve victory, acknowledge and get to know your fears and doubts. Know when and where they pop up and work to understand why they do. If you try to ignore them or dismiss them, you are giving them the go ahead to wreck havoc in your life. You diminish their power when you look them dead in the face and tell them you see them. This is where counseling can provide a great resource in helping you see and conquer your true enemies. This fight is not just one battle but a lifetime war. It is okay and don’t be discouraged because you will be reaping so much glory and reward along the way and you will never be fighting alone.

A wise woman told me that we have our dreams and desires for a reason. If they were not possible, we would not have them. Take the reigns off and fly.

Crafting the entrepreneur in you by Carl Manlan (COO of Ecobank Foundation)

(Carl Manlan writes in his personal capacity.)

In many respects, when one thinks of entrepreneurship, the focus is on the business venture, risk and making a profit. It is most often about starting a new business. While this is important and a pathway that has been reinforced in the context of limited jobs and opportunities for young adults, it is important to pause and define the most important piece of the work: the mindset.

As such, for a very long time, I basked in the idea that life will happen to me in a linear way. A linear approach that mainly exists in mathematics. I could not necessarily understand the reason why one should craft his or her own narrative of change. But life has a unique way to remind us that we hold the keys to our internal transformation. Transformation begs for constant renewal based on content.

When I started at the University of Cape Town in 1999, three years after completing high school, most of my peers had made progress in their journey. I was at the beginning of an extraordinary journey that I can contemplate in hindsight. I was disappointed then but I was not defeated. Through this journey of discovery, I started to explore at the limit of my boundaries defined as new country, new language, new environment, etc. In doing so, I started to redefine my boundaries at a pace that I could absorb.

One of the key features of my apprenticeship, was to redefine my world with English as the medium. In Zimbabwe, I discovered African literature through Things fall apart of Chinua Achebe. The narrative I engaged with gave me a glimpse of what possibilities could be once I had mastered the language. I made it a personal venture to master English because I understood the impact it would have on my chosen path. The perceived delay in time elapsed between high school and my first day at university no longer mattered. I was becoming a conscious designer of my enterprise through content. Fast forward to 2017 and I am working across the African continent to enable prosperity in Africa.

There are three things that I think are critical in crafting the entrepreneur in you:

1. Patience in one’s ability to develop capacity while taking informed risk. Moving from Abidjan to Harare was a required step in developing my intellectual capacity to embrace inner transformation through content.

2. Knowledge of self and others to seek new ways to engage with ideas, prototypes to turn them into bankable solutions to transform the community.

3. Purpose in life is connected to the community. The greatest achievement of an entrepreneur is to have enabled prosperity in the community that translates into impact driven changes.

Ultimately, entrepreneurship is about challenging the stable mediocrity that creeps in and makes talented young adults underutilise their potential. I am still crafting the entrepreneur in me. It is a lifetime commitment to contribute to transforming communities with a shared value proposition: enabling prosperity in Africa.

Ultimately, crafting the entrepreneur in you is a lifetime commitment to act that everyday finds us farther than today.