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by Amina Chitembo 09 Aug, 2017

By Lwiza Mulenga, Diverse Cultures Publishing, 1st August 2017.

On November 28th, 2006, I moved to England at the age of 12 with my Mother and Brother. My mum had been offered a job as a nurse in England, so my brother and I had to move with her. This was going to be my first Christmas in England and I most definitely expected Snow as I had seen in films I watch back home in Zambia. Can you imagine my shock when I woke up on Christmas morning and there was no snow, but a whole lot of rain? Shocking! I was somewhat disappointed. Nonetheless my first Christmas in England was amazing. The streets decorated in beautiful lights.

‘Christmas trees everywhere and a whole lot of chocolate to munch on’.

We spent our first Christmas with Aunty B and her family, who made the experience unforgettable. Christmas was short lived and I was to start School in January.

I was excited to start school, ready to make some friends and just be a regular kid. However, nothing could have prepared me for my first day in a new school in a new country. As I entered my form room and was introduced by our form tutor my nerves grew every second. A room full of girls who all knew each other from the previous year. In the UK, secondary education starts in year seven, and grades change every September, whereas, in Zambia secondary school starts in year eight and grades change every January. This meant I had missed out on 15 months of British secondary school education.

I sat with three girls, still nervous. I reintroduced myself to them, to break the ice and start a conversation. They all looked at each other as if I had spoken some foreign language, then one of them spoke, and I was even more confused.

‘I really believed we were both speaking English but we were not understanding each other.’ There was such a big difference in our accents. This continued in class, I found myself not understanding what was being taught.

I had already missed a year and three months of secondary education and then I was struggling to understand what people were saying. Imagine how lost you would feel if you found yourself in such a situation? Your confidence is killed. Moving from the top of my class in Zambia to now not even comprehending what I was being taught, was crushing for a 12-year-old.

One day my Aunty B came to pick me up from school. She noticed I wasn’t the cheery girl she was used to seeing. She asked what the problem was. It was such a relief to explain to her what I was experiencing, opening to her basically changed my life, we talked for while which helped me feel better about myself. She told me she understood that me moving to a different country could be difficult. She advised me to start reading anything, I liked. This would improve my English and expose a me to a whole new vocabulary of words. Little did she know this would encourage me to write better.

For all you, millennials, you know the Twilight frenzy that encompassed our lives since 2005. Team Edward or Team Jacob? I was introduced to the Twilight book series in 2009. It’s safe to say I was a super fan, because eventually I started writing. I was so obsessed with Twilight that when I finished reading the books I joined a fan fiction website Twilight Fan Fiction. I read most of the stories.

When I was not satisfied with what others had written I started writing my own stories.

And that my dear friends, is how I started writing. So, I have three lessons to share with you:

1.       "If you don’t like the story, write your own" Chinua Achebe. This one of my favourite quotes and when I was 15 years old that is exactly what I did. If you don’t like the story, you can write your own story, do not settle for someone else story if you are not satisfied with where the writer left off.

2.       Strength comes from Struggle. You learn from your biggest struggles. If you are in any new situation and you are struggling, find someone to talk to. A lot of adults are willing to listen, you are not alone. Communicating with others who can’t speak a language will help them build their confidence and increase your language skills too, so it’s a win, win situation.

3.       Most change is hard, whether good or bad. However, it is what you do with the change that has happened to you. That is what will define you as a person. Writing is definitely a great way of coping with situations so write away!

Here is a link to my first ever story. Follow the link to read it https://goo.gl/FRWMuj

Diverse Cultures Ltd host a podcast series called ‘The Happily Imperfect Leader” Subscribe now here https://goo.gl/LdP3NB or on ITunes at https://goo.gl/TaC2s3 to be notified of new releases of trainings and interviews with industry thought leaders. There they also offer freebies so don’t miss out!

Want to talk to us? contact us www.diverse-cultures.co.uk

by Amina Chitembo 31 Jul, 2017

I'm back with day two of my alphabet challenge. The three words that I'm going for with letter B are Believe, Bravery and balance : so, what do I mean by that?

I will start with believe , so whenever you are thinking of starting a business or whenever you’re thinking of doing anything new in life you have to start with belief, believing in what you are doing, believing in yourself.

It may be a difficult road ahead, trust me it will be so much easier if you can believe that you can achieve whatever you want to do, no matter how ambitious.

 And yes by the way, make the goal ambitious and just start. So, believe in yourself believe in the capabilities that you have and where you don't know; as they say wing it until you know it. The most important thing is believing.

The second word is bravery , it takes a lot of courage and bravery to do anything that is new. A lot of people get stuck where they are. They're not happy but they just get stuck there because they don’t feel brave enough to take that step. So just start, just begin, you have an idea? start working towards it.

I'm not saying you start straightway, like you have an idea today and you start your business straight, you quit your job and get another one straight away.

What I'm talking about is having the ability to plan for yourself. You start with saying ok; this is what I would like to do, set yourself a target. Set yourself a goal for maybe 12 months ahead and say to yourself on that day. I will have achieved A B and C, then start working towards whatever the goal is that you have set yourself. Be brave enough to meet any challenges that come because challenges will be there.

Somebody that I trust so much Brendon Burchard always says when new opportunities come work beckon. So you have to be ready to do the work, you have to be ready to face all the difficulties and usually you will find that before you get to the end. There's A, B, C and D that's not working as you planned from the beginning.

It's okay be flexible enough to change your plans but make sure that you're brave enough to go through it, because if you don’t, you will always wonder what it would have been if you had achieved. However, if you begin and you just get on with it because your plan didn’t materialize, at least you can say I tried. I gave it my best shot.

This brings me to the third word and that's balance. You have to make sure that there's balance in your life, so that you don't end up burning yourself out and trust me I have been there when you burn out. You start wondering, you even forget where you left the pen that you're holding your hand. Make sure that you balance the goals. Make sure you balance the plans that you have with giving yourself enough time to rest.

Take a good night sleep and enough rest, whatever that is to you, it's all different for many people, they’re people that need more sleep than others but just follow whatever works for you, in terms of balancing your plans and balancing time for those around you. If you just contrite on your goal leaving out time for others.

You will find that you are on your own on the other side and all the friends all the family, you had have moved on. This may be because you didn't give them enough time, you're probably too busy with whatever you were planning. So… balance, balance, balance. That's important and you just must do it.

So, there we go those are my three words for today. I shall see you again tomorrow. Just remember:

·      You must believe, believe in yourself, believe in whatever it is that the plan.

·      You have to be brave because it takes bravery to go through and do anything in life.

·      You must Balance, remember to give yourself enough time to rest, because when you start a new project, it can be hard work and it might take up a lot of your hours, just remember to give yourself time to play have fun while you do it and that's the only way you're going to survive it because if you take life too seriously you will start getting frustrated if you don’t achieve your goal quickly, you will start to think it is not a good idea and give up.

Remember every plan can be changed, you don't have to be perfect and you take care now and I'll speak to you again soon, thank you.

 

Learn more about Amina Chitembo, The Happily Imperfect LeaderTM

by Amina Chitembo 23 Jul, 2017

“Passionate about providing access to clean water and sanitation's to Zambians led me to Water Engineering”.

by Amina Chitembo 18 Jul, 2017

I have been given a challenge today to say something positive from the alphabet, every day for the next 26 days as you know the alphabet has 26 letters so from A to Z, I don't know what I will say at letter x but I will give it my best shot.

So my positive words have to do with authoring and have to do with setting up your business and being positive in life as you know “ miss positive here ” we  will try no matter how hard life is we’ll try and be positive. So my first letters today obviously A , so it's Affirmation .

Affirmation is always important, you have to affirm yourself every day, life is too hard already as it is waiting for people to affirm you can be very difficult. So all I can say to you is give yourself a Affirmation every morning which means say something nice about yourself every morning.

I look in the mirror and I say, thank God I'm awake today, thank God I'm breathing today and thank god I am who I am and thank God, I'm making a difference to the people around me. So say that to yourself every morning.

And then I'll add another word in A because it's Accomplishment. So, accomplish something every day make it to a go every morning when you wake up to accomplish something good. So, whatever it is, it doesn't matter what it is, just do it, just go ahead as Nike says, “ just do it ”.

So, go ahead start something new, that thing that you've been putting aside for years that you haven’t accomplished. Today is your day, 1st of June, we're going to the last month we’re on the 6 months now, so the last of the half of the year, start accomplishing those goals that you set up at the beginning of the Year. If you have forgotten about them, it's time to pick them up and start again.

And you know what just write it, write them down it's much easier when you write something down to remember it. So, all I can say is going just do it.

My third word because I want to because you know me I'm all about people encouraging people to write, write, write, write, write. I’ve never used to write, I was so afraid of writing reports, I was so afraid of putting myself out there but now hear am I on Facebook and so I became an author. Authoring is the way forward and how you can do that is just write either you record yourself the way I'm doing right now, saying something or teaching something that you, that you're good at and when you finish teaching that, just transcribe it and then collect it.

That's how you author, that’s how you start authoring. it used to be difficult a long time ago that you had to write on the little notepad and it took a long time but now it's easy just record yourself, go to Google and just transcribe it using Google. So, if you have a MAC (computer), it's much it is easy, there's a YouTube video which is like 5 minutes, I'll post it for you which will tell you how you can use soundflower and you can use Google Docs to transcribe whatever you’re saying.

So right now what I'm saying I can just transfer it in the next five minutes into text and then all you have to do because it doesn't put full Stops, it doesn't put well I don't have a lot of Full Stops, When I speak anyway. So, it doesn’t put Full Stop. So you have to go back check it and make sure that the words that you wanted to say, but there you go, you got something that you were saying to yourself, you don’t have to record it live like I do because trust me remember by October last year I couldn’t even hear the sound of my own voice but now here I am speaking to you, so guess what will happened if you’re always recording something, every day record something, Yeah?

So, use google, Soundflower and now I’ve got to run because I got to run because my transfer to the airport is here. I’m going to airport, and I’m going back home from a long holiday. Thank you very much for my wishes yesterday and thank you very much for being there for me. I love you people, I love everybody who really likes my messages or here to listen to me even those that want to quit I love you too just go ahead and do it thank you bye, speak to you soon with letter b.

by Amina Chitembo 02 Mar, 2017
Are you tired of your current job and want to change it but the idea of being in front of the interview panel freaks you out and maybe scares the monkeys out of you? Or perhaps you are in a situation where you have been in the same job for a long time, and you just fear that it will all go wrong? You feel vulnerable.

Well, that was me in 2014, when I had a total life shift and wanted to move back into the Corporate world after running my own business for nearly 10 years at the time and being the boss.

I had to use a coach to help me with my anxiety. In just one session, I learned the one thing that I utilised in the interview and got the job. I have moved up into better jobs since. I have since used two more tricks, and they have worked even better. In in this video, I would like to share the 3 tips with you. I also want to share my secret weapon, the cover letter I use with slight tweaking and have got me more jobs than I thought I would ever get.

Part of the time in the year I take on some Interim Leadership roles to keep my skills up and understand my clients better. It means I have to attend regular interviews as part of my business, so far I have managed to get all the jobs I have gone for.

If you want to see this cover letter which I am excited to show you. hop on over to www.aminachtembo.com and download it one the free downloads tab.

Thanks again for watching this video, please feel free to share, it might just help someone get their next job!
by Amina Chitembo 29 Jan, 2017
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where the stress at work stresses you out so much that you take the stress home messing up the rest of your evening?

Watch my FBlive here

I recently had an interesting conversation with someone who was in and pressured situation at work; it was about managing workplace stress. Especially this time of year when there are deadlines to meet. Your boss is stressed, and that stress is trickling down to your level as a senior manager, your team is beginning to feel the stress, the environment is changing, and morale is going down.

How to do you stop that and turn things around? Here is what I learned and what I have done in such situations:

If no one is going to die, or the building is not going to collapse, don't sweat it. The best you can do is tell the person that is stressing you out that the work will be done, with the crucial tasks completed within the deadline. Say it with a smile on your face, if they are ranting at you, try to keep as calm as you can and let them say what they have to say.

Don't try to stop them, wait until they have finished then just say, we will be fine, we will meet the deadline. Whatever you do, don't try and tell the person to calm down, the stress they are carrying may not have anything to do with the work so don't get sucked into it. Don't give them a reason to continue and escalate it. Unless someone is crazy, he or she will eventually realise that there is a better way of dealing with the situation.

If you try and reason with them you have may end up stressing yourself, and then you also taking to your team and your family. In the end, productivity gets affected and then it becomes even harder to meet the same deadline.

So, what I am saying is, you can be the voice of calm in the storm and keep a happy environment.

I hope you can teach someone so we can all maintain good Mental Health in the workplace and at home. Remember, Mental Health (not mental health issues) with help keep productivity and profitability high leading to Financial Stability.

If you like this post of having any other ideas, please feel free to comment, like and share. You can also visit my website www.aminachitembo.com and feel free to connect with me on Social Media, until next time, remember to:

Demonstrate your creativity. Demonstrate your efficiency and effectiveness. Demonstrate your leadership. Show improvements made. Demonstrate your management skills.

Enjoy being the Happily Imperfect Leader because no one is perfect. Always remember #Inspire #Achieve #Goals #Balance.
by Amina Chitembo 20 Jan, 2017
I believe it is, even people who live the simple or modest life still need to pay bills and feed themselves to survive. If we are not Financially Stable, we develop problems, illness from starvation, struggles with creditors and bill companies, etc. Soon stress kicks in, and we start to struggle mentally. The struggle can lead to mental health issues such as depression. Depression has a huge potential of affecting our ability to gain the same financial stability we seek. There is a solution to that can help us gain Financial Turnaround and start working towards financial stability and mental well-being. We can set some goals.

Every year we want to achieve things in our lives which seem to be out of reach halfway through the year, and we give up. We start out wanting a healthier lifestyle, more money in the bank, learning a new skill and the list goes on. By February soon we fall back into old habits and forget about it all until December.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though if this time we choose to approach it from a different angle. Set some goals; It's never too late to start a new habit nor is there the right time to start. Why wait for December? Let's start now; we can do it!

One of my favourite books is Goals by Brian Tracy; Brian breaks down in a very easy way how we can set simple manageable. If you haven't read it, get yourself a copy, If you are a lazy reader like me, it’s in audio format too. Are you busy? Play it in the car as you drive to work. Trust me it will change your attitude towards goal setting. I have learned from his book to move around with a notebook and a pen so that I can write down new goals as I think about them.

Many of us are afraid of writing down goals because we don’t want to feel bad if we don’t follow through with them. In a training session I run about setting goals, I asked the people a question. What stops them from writing down their goals?

Most of them said; “Why should we bother setting goals? We never follow through anyway” Research show that when you write something down you have higher chances of remembering it and getting it ingrained into your subconscious. One of my favorite authors, Brian Tracy, author of the best-selling book goals talks passionately about setting goals and how high performers always seem to be those top write down their goals.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote down a list of 5 things that I wanted to achieve in 6 months. It is is the first time I took the time to write them down. Guess what? I surprised myself. I have followed four of the five, and I am now working on the 5th goal. The fact that I put them in a visible place after writing them meant that I was able to remind myself to do at least one small thing that would age me closer to my goal. Before long I already was achieving that I wanted.

For the record, there is no goal that is silly, stupid or plain. Whatever your goal, you can achieve it. The only things you need to do is to work on small, manageable tasks that will lead you to the main goal that you are trying to reach.

For example, If someone is tired of their current job, they are frustrated, they want to change and add some fabulociousness to their life. Yes; you got that right, it’s a new word I have created ‘fabulociousness,' it sounds good, right? They also want earn more than they do in the current job.

“A goal with no plan is a waste of time.”

~ Amina Chitembo

A few steps to follow to get to the goal would be as follows:

The first thing is to identify the goal, making sure the goal is positive and a timeframe in which this goal is to be realised. For argument's sake, I will say I want to get a job in which will pay me £50,000 pounds per year and will allow me to travel up to a third of the time. I want to move in one year. So in setting this goal, it is important for this goal to have an end date, that way you will be working towards this date and have a benchmark. It is okay to set a date and then have to move it forward at a later date. You will find that you will still have covered some ground towards the goal even if you have not achieved it. You can then set another end date.

Keep yourself motivated towards your big goal by breaking it down into smaller chunks so that you can see milestones along the way, You finish your plate of food by eating it a fork at a time, right? The same with anything else you in life. The best way of doing this is to make small milestones that you can achieve. These can be sequential or activities that if grouped at the end will have done the job! Let's just call them ‘sub-goals.' Remember to reward yourself when you reach a sub-goal.

People always laugh when I say “I am such a genius” after achieving something, no matter how small. The reason I say ‘I am such a genius” to myself, is not to be braggadocios, I do this to affirm to myself that I have done something that was not easy. I have achieved a small milestone in my life’s journey. I feel good about what I have done it gives me the zeal to move on to the next thing. Now, you may say that is self-praise, and maybe it is. Can I just refer you back to my number one point, self-love and self-appreciation?

A Challenge for You

I am now going to set a challenge for you. Please come back in 12 months and tell me you have achieved the goal I will give you a gift! Go on you can do it too, set yourself a goal for the next 12 months. Trust me I will be doing it as well. I will come back to this post and report every month!

As you are so committed to this here is an exercise to help you keep on track. Write down the answers in the spaces below and place it somewhere you can see. Trust the process it will pay off.

Step 1: Ask yourself these question these questions:

1.   What is the biggest go I want to achieve in the next 12 months?



2.   What will my life feel and look like when I achieve this goal?



3.   What will be happening in my life for me to know I have reached my goal?



4.   What do I need to start doing to get there?



5.   What do I need to stop doing to get there?



6.   Who’s help do I need the most to achieve this goal
by Amina Chitembo 20 Jan, 2017
The number of NHS organisations being rated as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission is on the rise. Is the problem with the leadership or the tight budgets that organisation have to operate with.

In my personal opinion, sometimes it is easier to put the blame on the leadership without really tackling the source of the problem early enough. The struggles with budgets are real; performance and morale are constantly affected. Disgruntled staff will leave and the cost of recruitment and retraining is also very high in most cases and ultimately performance is affected.

The leaders do have a role to play though; one of the issues faced by the Executive having a reactive approach to financial performance and not having a clear financial and sustainability strategy.

I have seen a number of aspirational targets set by the executives at times due to external pressures, when it comes to achievement, they fall short. Some programmes end up being shelved prematurely.

So how can the Leaders take a proactive approach to dealing with the above issues?

The following five key areas can help mitigate the problem (the list is not conclusive):

1.     Honest view of ‘as is state’ or ‘current’ of the organisation - Being honest and realistic about what is achievable.

2.     Cost Improvement Programme (CIP) – Developing clear CIP will ensure there is a clear differentiation between savings and cost pressures.

3.     ‘Early’ Turnaround Strategy - The overall goal of a turnaround strategy is to return an underperforming or distressed company to normal in terms of acceptable levels of profitability and solvency. Early Turnaround Strategy and plan will endure that the organisation does not reach the distressed state.

4.     Investing in skilled workforce – Skilled workforce is the major factor in maintaining the health of the organisation. It goes without saying that the best performing organisation are those that continuously invest in training opportunities for their staff.

5.     Knowing when to say no to unachievable demands and offering alternative achievable plans. This one is not an easy one as it sometimes means being steadfast and facing high levels of opposition. It can be done though. I have experienced success in situations where managers have been able to say no to a demand and come up with a different plan which proved more achievable in the end

The list above is a start of a turn for what can be done proactively. I would like to hear your views on this subject. Feel free to comment here or send me a message.
by Amina Chitembo 20 Jan, 2017
FINANCIAL STABILITY is at the core of life. You need to work and earn to maintain FINANCIAL STABILITY.
by Amina Chitembo 17 Oct, 2016

Have you ever wondered why some people just get on and do things and achieve great results, in a shorter time than there? Brian Tracy in his book “Eat that Frog” wrote that people are more likely to put off doing those jobs that seem very tough, but at the same time those tasks are the tasks that if we do them well, we will yield the best results. My understanding of the metaphor of eating the big frog first just means, if you take care of the toughest task first, then you will have a bit more time to relax as you take on any smaller tasks, leaving you with a fulfillment of your achievement.

 The problem with leaving the big tasks to the end it means you have every excuse to put it off until tomorrow because you are tired, there is not enough time to start it before it is home time or any other reason you can give yourself.

Once, upon a time I had the opportunity of running three months very targeted project which seemed fairly simple. I read the brief and thought I would deal with the smaller bits of the project first then leave the main part of the project to the end when I am very clear what I was doing. I did that and then before long other events took over. I went on and worked on all the other tasks until two weeks before the deadline. When I started working on it, I realised there were some parts of the project that needed me to get information from a business colleague in another organisation. When I contacted the organisation; guess what? He had left to go on Holiday the previous Friday. To add salt to the injury; he was the only person who could give me the information I depended on to complete my task because of his specialism.

Now you may think that is just an unfortunate coincidence, but if I had not left this big task that was the core of the project to the end, I would have realised the need to make contact and collect what I needed. In the end, I would have maybe finished within the three months. In this scenario, there was money involved, so the company ended up losing a lot of money. I got a reprimand for missing the deadline, and I did not get my commission for the work.

Lessons I learned that I could share with you:

  1. Always tackle the hardest part of the project, no matter how difficult or boring it is. Once you have handled this part, the rest will fall in place, and if you are running towards the deadline and you are unlikely to complete on time, it will be easier to ask someone for your team to help.
  2. Delegate the easier tasks - as you put all your effort into the hardest task in your project, you can hand over the smaller aspects to someone else. You will still be sure to get the best results, leading to less stress. You will also empower someone else in your team to develop their skills with your support. It’s a win, win situation.

by Amina Chitembo 17 Oct, 2016

The number of NHS organisations that are rated as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission is on the rise. Is the problem with the leadership or the tight budgets that organisation have to operate?

In my opinion, sometimes it is easier to put the blame on the leadership without really tackling the source of the problem early enough. The struggles with budgets are real; performance and morale are constantly affected. Disgruntled staff will leave, and the cost of recruitment and retraining is also very high in most cases, and ultimately performance is affected.

The leaders do have a role to play, though; one of the issues faced by the Executive having a reactive approach to financial performance and not having a clear financial and sustainability strategy.

I have seen some aspirational targets set by the executives at times due to external pressures when it comes to achievement; they fall short. Some programmes end up being shelved prematurely.

So how can the Leaders take a proactive approach to dealing with the above issues?

The following five key areas can help mitigate the problem (the list is not conclusive):

  1. An honest view of ‘as is’ status or ‘current’ position of the organisation - Being honest and realistic about what is achievable.
  2. Cost Improvement Programme (CIP) – Developing clear CIP will ensure there is a clear differentiation between savings and cost pressures.
  3. ‘Early’ Turnaround Strategy - The overall goal of a turnaround strategy is to return an under-performing or distressed company to normal regarding acceptable levels of profitability and solvency. Early Turnaround Strategy and plan will ensure that the organisation does not reach the distressed state.
  4. Investing in skilled workforce – Skilled workforce is the major factor in maintaining the health of the organisation. It goes without saying that the best performing organisation are those that continuously invest in training opportunities for their staff.
  5. Knowing when to say no to un-achievable demands and offering achievable alternative plans. This one is not an easy one as it sometimes means being steadfast and facing high levels of opposition. It can be done, though. I have experienced success in situations where managers have been able to say no to demand and come up with a different plan which proved more achievable in the end
The above list is just a start. How can leaders proactively plan their early turnaround to profitability. I would like to learn from your views on this subject. Feel free to comment here or send me a message.  


Thank you,

Amina


by Amina Chitembo 09 Aug, 2017

By Lwiza Mulenga, Diverse Cultures Publishing, 1st August 2017.

On November 28th, 2006, I moved to England at the age of 12 with my Mother and Brother. My mum had been offered a job as a nurse in England, so my brother and I had to move with her. This was going to be my first Christmas in England and I most definitely expected Snow as I had seen in films I watch back home in Zambia. Can you imagine my shock when I woke up on Christmas morning and there was no snow, but a whole lot of rain? Shocking! I was somewhat disappointed. Nonetheless my first Christmas in England was amazing. The streets decorated in beautiful lights.

‘Christmas trees everywhere and a whole lot of chocolate to munch on’.

We spent our first Christmas with Aunty B and her family, who made the experience unforgettable. Christmas was short lived and I was to start School in January.

I was excited to start school, ready to make some friends and just be a regular kid. However, nothing could have prepared me for my first day in a new school in a new country. As I entered my form room and was introduced by our form tutor my nerves grew every second. A room full of girls who all knew each other from the previous year. In the UK, secondary education starts in year seven, and grades change every September, whereas, in Zambia secondary school starts in year eight and grades change every January. This meant I had missed out on 15 months of British secondary school education.

I sat with three girls, still nervous. I reintroduced myself to them, to break the ice and start a conversation. They all looked at each other as if I had spoken some foreign language, then one of them spoke, and I was even more confused.

‘I really believed we were both speaking English but we were not understanding each other.’ There was such a big difference in our accents. This continued in class, I found myself not understanding what was being taught.

I had already missed a year and three months of secondary education and then I was struggling to understand what people were saying. Imagine how lost you would feel if you found yourself in such a situation? Your confidence is killed. Moving from the top of my class in Zambia to now not even comprehending what I was being taught, was crushing for a 12-year-old.

One day my Aunty B came to pick me up from school. She noticed I wasn’t the cheery girl she was used to seeing. She asked what the problem was. It was such a relief to explain to her what I was experiencing, opening to her basically changed my life, we talked for while which helped me feel better about myself. She told me she understood that me moving to a different country could be difficult. She advised me to start reading anything, I liked. This would improve my English and expose a me to a whole new vocabulary of words. Little did she know this would encourage me to write better.

For all you, millennials, you know the Twilight frenzy that encompassed our lives since 2005. Team Edward or Team Jacob? I was introduced to the Twilight book series in 2009. It’s safe to say I was a super fan, because eventually I started writing. I was so obsessed with Twilight that when I finished reading the books I joined a fan fiction website Twilight Fan Fiction. I read most of the stories.

When I was not satisfied with what others had written I started writing my own stories.

And that my dear friends, is how I started writing. So, I have three lessons to share with you:

1.       "If you don’t like the story, write your own" Chinua Achebe. This one of my favourite quotes and when I was 15 years old that is exactly what I did. If you don’t like the story, you can write your own story, do not settle for someone else story if you are not satisfied with where the writer left off.

2.       Strength comes from Struggle. You learn from your biggest struggles. If you are in any new situation and you are struggling, find someone to talk to. A lot of adults are willing to listen, you are not alone. Communicating with others who can’t speak a language will help them build their confidence and increase your language skills too, so it’s a win, win situation.

3.       Most change is hard, whether good or bad. However, it is what you do with the change that has happened to you. That is what will define you as a person. Writing is definitely a great way of coping with situations so write away!

Here is a link to my first ever story. Follow the link to read it https://goo.gl/FRWMuj

Diverse Cultures Ltd host a podcast series called ‘The Happily Imperfect Leader” Subscribe now here https://goo.gl/LdP3NB or on ITunes at https://goo.gl/TaC2s3 to be notified of new releases of trainings and interviews with industry thought leaders. There they also offer freebies so don’t miss out!

Want to talk to us? contact us www.diverse-cultures.co.uk

by Amina Chitembo 31 Jul, 2017

I'm back with day two of my alphabet challenge. The three words that I'm going for with letter B are Believe, Bravery and balance : so, what do I mean by that?

I will start with believe , so whenever you are thinking of starting a business or whenever you’re thinking of doing anything new in life you have to start with belief, believing in what you are doing, believing in yourself.

It may be a difficult road ahead, trust me it will be so much easier if you can believe that you can achieve whatever you want to do, no matter how ambitious.

 And yes by the way, make the goal ambitious and just start. So, believe in yourself believe in the capabilities that you have and where you don't know; as they say wing it until you know it. The most important thing is believing.

The second word is bravery , it takes a lot of courage and bravery to do anything that is new. A lot of people get stuck where they are. They're not happy but they just get stuck there because they don’t feel brave enough to take that step. So just start, just begin, you have an idea? start working towards it.

I'm not saying you start straightway, like you have an idea today and you start your business straight, you quit your job and get another one straight away.

What I'm talking about is having the ability to plan for yourself. You start with saying ok; this is what I would like to do, set yourself a target. Set yourself a goal for maybe 12 months ahead and say to yourself on that day. I will have achieved A B and C, then start working towards whatever the goal is that you have set yourself. Be brave enough to meet any challenges that come because challenges will be there.

Somebody that I trust so much Brendon Burchard always says when new opportunities come work beckon. So you have to be ready to do the work, you have to be ready to face all the difficulties and usually you will find that before you get to the end. There's A, B, C and D that's not working as you planned from the beginning.

It's okay be flexible enough to change your plans but make sure that you're brave enough to go through it, because if you don’t, you will always wonder what it would have been if you had achieved. However, if you begin and you just get on with it because your plan didn’t materialize, at least you can say I tried. I gave it my best shot.

This brings me to the third word and that's balance. You have to make sure that there's balance in your life, so that you don't end up burning yourself out and trust me I have been there when you burn out. You start wondering, you even forget where you left the pen that you're holding your hand. Make sure that you balance the goals. Make sure you balance the plans that you have with giving yourself enough time to rest.

Take a good night sleep and enough rest, whatever that is to you, it's all different for many people, they’re people that need more sleep than others but just follow whatever works for you, in terms of balancing your plans and balancing time for those around you. If you just contrite on your goal leaving out time for others.

You will find that you are on your own on the other side and all the friends all the family, you had have moved on. This may be because you didn't give them enough time, you're probably too busy with whatever you were planning. So… balance, balance, balance. That's important and you just must do it.

So, there we go those are my three words for today. I shall see you again tomorrow. Just remember:

·      You must believe, believe in yourself, believe in whatever it is that the plan.

·      You have to be brave because it takes bravery to go through and do anything in life.

·      You must Balance, remember to give yourself enough time to rest, because when you start a new project, it can be hard work and it might take up a lot of your hours, just remember to give yourself time to play have fun while you do it and that's the only way you're going to survive it because if you take life too seriously you will start getting frustrated if you don’t achieve your goal quickly, you will start to think it is not a good idea and give up.

Remember every plan can be changed, you don't have to be perfect and you take care now and I'll speak to you again soon, thank you.

 

Learn more about Amina Chitembo, The Happily Imperfect LeaderTM

by Amina Chitembo 23 Jul, 2017

“Passionate about providing access to clean water and sanitation's to Zambians led me to Water Engineering”.

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