How Changing My Attitude and Thought Patterns Created Purpose and a New Beautiful World.
Speak Your Mind: Baobab Summit 2021
Every year, Mastercard Foundation Scholars have a chance to enter the Speak Your Mind contest, where they share personal insights around the theme of the Baobab Summit. This year’s reimagine theme is one that resonates strongly with Scholars. From spoken word to speeches, from dance to videos, each piece is poignant, compelling and deeply personal.
Uganda registered its first case of COVID-19 on Saturday 21st March 2020 and on 1st April 2020, the government implemented the first nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. At that time, I was down with a tough cold and cough which turned out chronic and life-threatening. With no car and schools closed (where I run a mentorship program), I became stressed out and desperate for opportunities. I wondered what the future held for me in terms of career and consultancy opportunities. It all seemed like a dead end and the difficulty in transitioning to remote working wasn’t easy.
A week later, I woke up in the silence of the night for self-talk and deeper reflections on my life. I concluded that the time had come for me to look at life differently as nursing negative thoughts were only sabotaging my dreams. I searched for mental health resources online and discovered great videos which helped me reinvent myself to create a new, beautiful and purposeful world by changing my thought pattern.
My newfound positive aura raised my energy levels and determination to search for career opportunities and luckily, in a matter of weeks, I got an offer in a consultancy firm. Once I got the offer, imposter syndrome reared its ugly head and I started questioning myself as the job was in the knowledge Management field whereas my tertiary education and skills were in the area of public health. Nonetheless, I accepted the offer as I saw it as an opportunity to learn, overcome new challenges, and build new skills.
The orientation week at my new workplace included an intensive online course and reading books on knowledge management to understand the industry and work from an informed standpoint. One of the key deliverables for my role was to sell consultancy services and courses to clients and institutions. Knowledge management is a relatively new field in Uganda and I spent a lot of time reading and perfecting my sales pitch and marketing strategies so I could appear informed, confident and convincing.
While selling these consultancy services, a colleague shared an opportunity to design a knowledge management system for a multinational client in the agricultural sector. Initially, I had doubts about my ability to execute the project, but I approached the project with open-mindedness and took up the challenge. I developed and submitted four proposals (technical and financial) for the Knowledge Management bid and in the end, my team won the bid to implement the project. As project lead, I worked in a multicultural setting where I coordinated eight consultants across Africa and Europe to implement projects in East and Central Africa. Through this experience, I gained skills in implementing projects, coordinating human resources, and built skills in stakeholder engagement as I had to interface with organisations like the World Bank.
That one night during lockdown when I decided to have a change of thought and re-imagine my realities, I have been able to build a mini–dynasty. I currently have a wider and trusted business network and am more open to learnings on technologies and innovation. I see life differently, bold and ready to take on the world.