Have you ever faced your limit? The limit of your strength, your patience or your capacity to work?Sometimes we arrive at a place where we look up from our desk and we ponder, “Is there more to life than this? Is there something else that would give my life more purpose, meaning, joy and balance?” Some days we see our limits, and it is never easy to accept the distance between what we can do and what we want to do. “This is as far as I can go” is a statement of resignation that evokes frustration, grief and discouragement, but we often go through this for a good purpose. This purpose may be to better understand our limited capacity as human beings so that we may be humbled. When we are faced with our limits, we have two choices: to resign and say "this is as far as I can go" or respond to the call to expand.
This call has been an integral part of my journey to Ethiopia that has become the enlargement of my “tent”, the lengthening of my cords and the strengthening of my stakes.
I have become acutely aware that we should not be limited to what we already have. We need to try new doors and accept that this expansion requires work. Indeed, this growth does not come to the sluggish. This speaks of seeking new opportunities, without forsaking the old ones - it's adding, not replacing. Growth brings along new challenges, concerns and needs that will arise, but we must allow this work to happen. The inconveniences, sacrifices, difficulties, heartaches and burdens you are carrying will all increase, but the rewards will be far greater. We need to feel the strain if the work is going to make an impact. These burdens are put on our shoulders for a reason, they stretch us as we learn to lay down our own rights for the sake of others. In the process of growth, we simply can’t stop at what we think we can do, because if we stop there, we will not see the possibilities.We are being called not to hold back but to sacrifice in our quest for significance.
Most of us like the idea of being significant, to move from getting to giving. The challenge we face is to ensure that we do not wait until our life is half over before we work towards significance. We go through life focused on success that is represented by wealth, recognition, power and status. The reality is that true significance requires us to focus on the opposite of each of these symbols.
The opposite of accumulating wealth is generosity with our time, talent, treasure, and touch (reaching out to support others). The opposite of recognition is service. The opposite of power and status is relationships. If we just focus on significance (generosity, service, and relationships), we will always be amazed at how much success will come our way.
Life is all about the choices we make as we interact with others. We can choose to be serving or self-serving. Life constantly presents us with opportunities to choose to love and serve one another.
Leadership is loving our mission, loving our customers, loving our people, and loving ourselves enough to get out of the way so that other people can be magnificent.
This is why I removed my stakes, stretched my tent and moved to Ethiopia.
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.