We rise by lifting people up. I rose by lifting people up.
I often hear my employees saying they don’t want to out smart me or challenge what I say or even correct me when clearly I have made a mistake because they should not seem to be “better” than me. I also hear a large group of young people passionate about what they do, face barriers to their personal development and ability to gain exposure within the community where they belong.
In Ghana, the sense of community is very strong, complex relationships and hierarchies sometimes oppress personal development or transformation.
People don’t want to leave where they come from, they don’t want to be better than the community’s average or better than those who try to stop them. In order to do that, they use family reasons, distorted moral standards and other irrelevant spiritual reasons to stop one from moving upward or forward until he/she gets frustrated enough to maintain reality as what it is and eventually become one of them and carry on the preventions on others who try to breakthrough the same way. At the end nothing changes, nobody changes. So are we good? Good to who? To society that we use the same well, same rough road, meet the same potholes everyday? To ourselves that we prevent other people from pursuing their dreams because somebody prevented ours? To our children or our neighbors’ nephews because they can live the same exact way we have been living for the rest of their yet to even start lives?
A good friend of mine, who is a Ghanaian CEO of a big time international real estates development company (I am sure the name would resonate with you if I disclose) often inspires me to release power reasonably to my out-performing managers so that I can have better things to focus on and he is Ghanaian, born and raised in Ghana. 2 years ago I wanted to expand my engineering services to a whole new level by taking up a new partnership. At the time, I was in charge of our Ghana operations of our traditional business. Then January 7th evening, we were chilling as usual, he asked me “Zoyo, why are you where you are today?” this question made me think. People, not only one, multiple people, gave me opportunities to try, gave me opportunities to exposures, some I screwed up, most I made through. It is a blessing, in fact, blessings. I have had people who were willing to lift me up, give me chances to perform, let me fail and stand up again.
As a matter of fact, any successful person, anyone who has something today, they have had people once backed them up, helped them grow, lifted them up. These blessings, we must spread them around and carry them on.
Imagine, you can be the best, the smartest, the most efficient in what you do. But how many chickens can you eat in a day? Empowering 10 of you, training them to do what you do best is multiplying the outcome you could have by 10 times. It is more efficient than keeping on doing a great job all by yourself. If you don’t lift people to where you are, then it means you have to always remain there where you are and you won’t have the capacity to go to the next level. You only have yourself. If you don’t remove your old self, you are not ready to receive a new self.