A Very Good Place To Start

Gba, gba, gba! Gbim, gbim! GBIM!

Those were the sounds coming from our neighbour’s compound when I walked into my bedroom. They were the typical, annoying noises associated with construction works. It had been that way all week! One of the windows in my bedroom was right next to the fence that separated our houses so I was ‘blessed’ with the noise every time I went in. My sister was seated on the bed, watching Black-ish, I think, on her laptop, when I told her I was going to write about them for my blog.

Ahn’, my sister replied, confused. ‘What can you possibly want to write about them?’

‘These people for many years now have been working on completing their house. So many times, we always think we must have everything we need before we start anything. See these guys now. They have mastered the act of simple beginnings; they startedΒ small-small.’

‘Hmm. It’s true sha.’

The neighbours in question had begun construction about four years or so after my family and I had moved into our own home. They began by only fencing the land, a while later, they finished the construction of the building to its top floor. Many years after that, the roof was then completed. It’s a beautiful bright blue roof and if you know anything about construction, you’ll know it’s not ‘yam and beans’Β to roof a house. So I understand how it took them so long to reach and conclude that level. I’ve heard of stories of how the construction of a building couldn’t be completed as a result of the steep cost of roofing. This fact though, didn’t stop my neighbours from starting. I’ve not seen the interior of the house to know if it has been painted or not but currently, the exterior of the house has only been plastered. However, it’s already occupied by its owners, who are in the continuous process of fully completing the house.

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How many times have we dreamt of being something but discarded that dream because we thought it was too costly for it to come to be? How many times have we let go of an ambition because we feel we’ll get to a certain level and become stuck? So often, we talk ourselves out of taking a step towards starting a project because we want the current situation we are in to be ‘just right’ before we begin – we want our finances intact, we need the atmosphere to be perfect and conducive, we need materials of impeccable quality, etc. So many excuses reasons. I understand. Really, I do. However, the truth is, even if you do have everything just the way you want, you still need to start somewhere.

Wanting everything in place is a legitimate desire, but it’s dangerous. Why? It’s usually rare for everything we need to be available and in our wait to have all we think we need, precious time is being wasted. In Nigeria, for instance, for certain businesses, we don’t have a great number of resources available. We have to import a lot of them. Some of the existing ones are, unfortunately, sub par. Also, there are a number of things that work against the smoother-than-average success and growth of businesses here – unsteady power supply being one of the major factors. However, if successful business owners obsessed over the minuses, many of them would not be where they are today. Imagine if my neighbours had continued to wait to have all the money required to start construction, maybe they would still have only a fence surrounding their land.

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I’m talking to myself more than anyone one else to be honest. There will never be a perfect time to start that life-changing project. It will almost be impossible to have all the resources you require. Obviously, don’t just ‘put head’ as my fellow Nigerians will say. Don’t just dive in without doing ample research and applying wisdom. Ask enough questions. What materials do I need to begin the project with? If I don’t have everything I need, can I do a good job with what’s readily accessible? How much can I start with? Who else is doing what I’m doing? Can I do things in a way different from that person? Should I do things in a different way? Can I do it alone or is it a project that requires a partner? What group/s of people will benefit from what I have to offer? Plan, plan, plan. Ensure you have a functional structure. Then execute.

There is something else that is just as important, if not more so, than planning. Something that’s more important than all the hard work we are willing to put in – and that’s courage. Courage. It takes guts to start something new. We can plan from Monday to Sunday, but if we never overcome our fear of the unknown, we can’t ever move from where we are. We can’t find out if our ideas will be successful, or if they’ll fail. We can’t make mistakes that we will learn and grow from. We can’t fall to rise again, wiser, bigger and better. So, be courageous. Decide that you want it more than you’re afraid of it. You may never know the number of lives that are dependent on your stepping out. And please, don’t belittle your idea. As long as its creating a solution, it’s relevant. Also, if at first you don’t succeed, it doesn’t mean that your idea wasn’t meant to be. Try again, with a different strategy, perhaps, before totally writing off the project. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither can your big dream. So get moving, moving, moving. One step, one day at a time.

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