From USD 300 to USD 8,000 Per Month - The Success Story Of One Of My Mentees

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Five years ago, when I started mentoring him, he was broke and broken. He had been trying many odd jobs and was barely surviving. Though married, he was still living with his parents in a small two-bedroom house. In dire need, he approached someone he knew for a job as a blue-collar worker and was prepared to work for MUR 6,000 per month. His employer, being a fair man, offered him MUR 10,000 instead. A new chapter of his life was about to begin.

Fast forward five years later, he is now living in a cosy three-bedroom house with his wife, takes good care of his parents and knows that he has the potential to earn far more than he is presently making. In the last three months alone he made more than MUR 1m. I believe that one day he will make that amount each month. What changed?

Well, his whole life changed. His mindset changed. His exposure and composure both reflect the new man that he now is. It was not a sudden metamorphosis. Rather the change process happened over time, gradually, almost undetectable on a day to day basis…Here are key elements of his journey.

The mindset

Our mindset is forged over time through our environment, interactions and experience. If we develop a mindset of abundance, gratitude and positivity, we tend to see obstacles as challenges that can be surmounted and overcome. We get fired up by new challenges and look for ways to move forward. Through this process we tend to progress. On the other hand, people with a negative mindset tend to develop the victim mentality. They feel that they cannot change their circumstances and ultimately give up trying.

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The first step in changing his mindset was to embrace mindfulness. So many of us are living our days in a mindless state, not being fully present and mindful of our thoughts. We are oblivious of our thought process as it is something that happens automatically in the background. Yet, it can have such a drastic effect on our world, the way we view it and the way we engage with it. I once read a note on a famous local newspaper editor's desk. It read:

"Watch your thoughts for they become words, watch your words for they become actions, watch your actions for they become habits, watch your habits for they become character and watch your character for it becomes your destiny".
Exposure and guidance

Once he started exercising mindfulness he realised that he could control his choices. Very often he did not even weigh the choices as he did not even realise that he had choices. Many of his past decisions were the outcome of knee-jerk reactions. If you want to find out more about mindfulness, I highly recommend the work of Dr Ellen Langer, the first woman to be tenured in Harvard's Psychology Department.

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Through his exposure to the principles of GTD, he began to trust the choices that he was making. It was like having a menu and then picking the one that was most suitable. He experienced a paradigm shift in his response to situations, from knee-jerk reactions to informed decisions and choices.

We also looked at the people he was hanging out with and started to make choices about those he chose to be around.

"Show me your friends and I shall show you your future".

He started keeping the company of achievers, people with positive mindsets, those with a can-do attitude and those with a certain level of success. Inspired by his new environment, soon these qualities impregnated his own mind and his outlook and demeanour changed noticeably.

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A plan

Many people wander through life aimlessly and then wonder why they do not get anywhere. It is like getting in the car for a drive without any specific goal in mind and then wondering why the destination was not reached. Sure, things do happen by serendipity. But more often than not if one cares to look a little closer, one will see that there is a lot more than chance involved.

It pays to have a goal and a plan. How else would you know that you have arrived. As David Allen says:

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We therefore worked together on a plan of where he wanted to go and how he would get there. We identified challenges and how we could overcome these. For him the destination was to be in a position to own his own place. The plan helped him focus on what was important and what concrete actions he needed to take to get to his objectives.

Purposeful action

A plan not backed by actions remains a dream. In order to make it happen it is important to back the plan with meaningful actions. Often we confuse "busyness" and "productivity" when in fact we are just busy going nowhere. In this day and time, we have all sorts of equipment and contraptions to save us time and yet we often find ourselves saying that we are too busy or we do not have enough time. We have the same amount of time that our forefathers had at their disposal. Somehow they seem to have been better at utilising theirs. One reason could be that they were better at managing their attention and focus than we are.

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The plan that we devised was therefore action focused. It was backed by purposeful actions; those that ensured that with each one we moved closer to his objectives. Mistakes were going to be made and difficulties would be met on the way but the burning desire to get the destination backed by the purposeful action would carry him through these.

Grit and Perseverance

President Theodore Roosevelt's quote that "Nothing worthy having was ever achieved without effort" is one of these words of wisdom spoken by men who have experienced difficulties and then found ways to overcome them. Life's journey, and any worthy destination for that matter, is fraught with challenges. Without grit and perseverance nothing would have been achieved in this world. One of my favourite books is "GRIT - The Power of Passion and Perseverance" written by Dr Angela Duckworth. It is required reading for my son when he grows up.

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Over the last four years since we started the journey together, my mentee faced many challenges and has, through constant support and encouragement, stuck to his plan. His change journey took him, among others, through eighteen hours working day starting at three o’clock in the morning; this lasted for over a year. At other times, it involved sacrificing his week-ends or getting out of his comfort zone and approaching total strangers to sell his wares. Tough experiences that led him to savour one of his most rewarding moments when he made MUR 250,000 in one single day last 24th December. What a tiring day it was for him, standing on his feet for eighteen hours and finishing at almost midnight. Yet, what a sweet victory that many could only dream of!

Conclusion

Now in his early thirties, he has his whole life ahead of him to taste further such victories. His journey has only just begun; his objective firmly in sight. I am sure that with the tools in his toolbox and the dogged determination that he has developed, a bright future lays ahead of him. When I asked him permission to share his story, he was not too enthusiastic as he is a humble person. It is only upon being told that his journey could be an inspiration to others to embark on a similar one as his, did he feel comfortable.

I sincerely hope that his story will strike a chord with someone and inspire that person to do the same, if not better. Even if only one person's life is positively impacted by this story, I would have achieved my objective.


Swadeck Taher OSK is a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) and a Chartered Marketer (CIM) running businesses and coaching, consulting, mentoring CEOs and entrepreneurs ranging from startups through family businesses to established top 100 companies in Mauritius. He enjoys sharing the expertise he developed over the last thirty years at senior leadership/directorship level with his clients, business partners and other budding entrepreneurs.

Swadeck is also a GTD Practitioner and a Certified GTD Trainer. He helps others experience what the Productive Experience feels like and how they too can savour stress free productivity.

Sakeenah Co Ltd is the only Certified International Partner of the David Allen Company in Mauritius.

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company.

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