I was honoured as the keynote speaker for the Young Professionals of the Minerals Industry 2014 Conference, which took place from 11-‐13 March 2014 at Monte Casino on Johannesburg, South Africa. organised by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM). I spoke immediately after internationally renowned scenario strategist, facilitator, best-‐selling business author, lecturer and speaker, Chantell IIbury from the Mind of a fox who presented about the scenario planning approach. She captivated me as she narrated tactics of a fox versus that of hedgehog as well as the global and local scenarios. While she was busy delivering her address I looked around the room filled with young professionals and wondered if they knew how privileged they are to be exposed to such a world-‐renowned scenario planner at this early stage in their careers.
I also enjoyed presentations by young professionals who shared the research they are working on in contribution to the mining industry. I was very impressed especially given that some of them were presenting for the very fist time. I wish more students could have such an opportunity to present, network and be exposed to expert knowledge.
In my keynote address I shared the following five key principles for personal success with the young professionals:
1. Have a clear definitiveness of purpose
Napoleon Hill in his classical book, "Think and grow rich", tells us that the first and most important thing for anyone striving to achieve success is to have a clear definitiveness of purpose. This is about having a strong burning desire to solve a problem much bigger than oneself. The definitiveness of purpose must be a guiding principle around which most of one's life activities are focused. The definitiveness of purpose may slightly change overtime but it is very important that one can be able to articulate it clearly. I used my obsession with beneficiating our biodiversity as an example of my definitiveness of purpose at some given point. A quotation that hits home for me is by Benjamin Disraeli where he says: "I have brought myself, by long meditation, to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and that nothing can resist a will which will stake even existence upon its fulfillment".
2. Focus on continuous development
Jim Rohn reminds us that success is something one attracts by the person one becomes. The one way to become successful is to focus on ones personal development. There are various ways to learn besides getting certificates. Certificates are good in that they give us credibility but they do not guarantee one a job. Other ways to learn include learning from parents, role models, through reading in line with our passions, through journaling and most importantly through trying and failing. For one to be able to learn one must remember to continuously unlearn especially most of the limiting beliefs that hold us hostage. I gave examples about the fact that I spent 14 years in tertiary institutions learning and despite family pressure to go work so as to help my other siblings I became selfish and now I am able to help them much better.
3. Align and integrate your portfolio of passions
The principle here is that some people are not able to focus on just one thing as they become easily bored. They fall into the scatter-‐brains category like me and they get excited by juggling more than one ball. A portfolio of passions should be manageable and controllable and it is different from just starting many projects and not completing them. The portfolio should consist of demonstrable passions that are being practised and have been around for a very long time. I illustrated this concept using my own portfolio of passions which consists of science, leadership, music as well as entrepreneurship. It is amazing that always after my talks most of the professionals who come talk to be are themselves scatter-‐brains who are trying to balance their portfolio of passions. Most of the time they just want to be validated as they spent most of the times feeling frustrated by the fact that they cannot just focus on doing research only. I always encourage them to make their studies a priority and make sure they complete least they get distracted by other passions.
4. Understand and balance your motivational trigger
One wise man once said that knowing and not doing is like not knowing. Most people know exactly what they should do but they are not doing it. For example, we all know that we need to exercise to live longer but there are still people who don't exercise. We also know that we need to write our goals down if we want to be successful yet most people are not doing that. On the other hand, there are people who seem naturally motivated. The motivated ones understand their motivational triggers and know how to align their values with what is important. Most people have to be really disgusted before they can take action while others will wait until they are on a burning platform before they act. Working on increasing one's level of self-‐awareness is always a worthwhile investment. It is also important for one to balance one's extrinsic and extrinsic motivations so that the focus is not only on achieving money and big titles but to live a meaning life. More importantly, it is also beneficial to know which problems to hand over to GOD and which battles are yours to fight. Otherwise one may end up just depressed and solving problems that they are not meant to solve.
5. Write goals as well as share your story
This is an old time principle that does not need further emphasis. It's the one principle that you either or you don't. Once one makes it a habit, one will realise the benefit. I shared with young professionals the importance of writing and planning in the seven areas of life. I also shared the importance of sharing one's message with others. Steven R Covey reminds us in his book, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, that our role as leaders is to strengthen our voice and then help others strengthen theirs. Going to your old high school and sharing career advice with young students are some of the examples of helping others strengthen their voice.
I hope and pray that you will be able to apply some of these principles.
Dr Joe Molete is the founder of Dr Joe High Performance Academy, a platform that accelerates professional to positions of leadership, scientific excellence and wealth. This platform supports people to become high performing individuals who drive sustainable organizations. Dr Molete is available for speaking and training. He's on Twitter @drjoemolete.