Ego, The disease of ME

In my earlier years in my career I rarely backed down of an argument. Naturally, I love a good argument, I love defending my ideas and thoughts. As I wrote in my Behind The Resume` journal entry, I would have made a good lawyer, or so I was told. I vividly remember my days in debate club in high school (Not Alliance Definitely, I would title this article – I went to Alliance if I did), my days in the MBA Class at The Strathmore Business School (here we go) and earlier in my career. I truly relished any chance for a good discourse.

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” – Rick Warren

As a young man, there was nothing more gratifying to me than being “seen to be” smart and eloquent. To date, I still struggle with letting go in arguments. Although I have made great progress, I still believe there is more ground to be covered. But in the battle of egos, the loser always wins.

In the battle of Egos, The looser Wins

In our daily interactions, we encounter so many opportunities, to either feed our ego and walk away feeling we have won or embrace humility and therefore learn by acquiring knowledge. Especially in the corporate world and more so in the space I play in – Technology /Engineering, time and time again we go into discussions of design and architecture which sometime quickly deteriorate into ego wars as opposed to sessions to discuss and come out with optimal ideas, in so doing and when the noise is out, more often than not, most positions are held strong not because of their substance but because of either the volumes in which their owners proposed them, the gender or title of those who proposed them or simply those who had the biggest egos.

These differences in opinions fueled by “the disease of me” aka egos, can generally deteriorate into toxic levels within teams if not handled in mature and egoless manner. As a general observation, I have always seen that whenever we tend to have little knowledge or appreciation of what we do not know in an area, our egos tends to take the front seat. This is not only detrimental to our ability to learn , but it also damages the relationships we have with those we interact with and particularly that are more knowledgeable in the areas in consideration.

“Ego=1/Knowledge ” More the knowledge lesser the ego, lesser the knowledge more the ego.” ~ Albert Einstein

As those in Leadership roles, it is particularly important that we keep our egos in check. For the good of not only ourselves, but also that of those we lead. Our position of privilege as leaders or managers, makes us particularly more prone to want to have our way which can eventually lead to what I referred to here as “Unhealthy Silence or Malicious Obedience”.

In the end, keeping healthy relationships is not about avoiding conflict or fights, it is more so about ensuring that at the end of that interaction, each party involved comes out as a better person than they went in. Each interaction is an opportunity to appreciate that which we do not know and gain knowledge. The only way to do that is to realize that as Ego increases or rises, knowledge decreases at an even greater rate.

In the war of ego, the loser always wins

Plus, Minus, Equal Formula

In order to put our Egos in check, I find the advise from one of the greatest fighters Frank Shamrock quite apt. Three key individuals or groups of individuals can keep us in check – Plus, Minus and Equal. In his book, “Ego is the enemy” Ryan Holiday gives three key areas or stages upon which our egos can show up. During Aspiration, When we Succeed, and finally when Failing.

“For each fighter to be great, they need to have someone better to learn from, someone lesser they can teach and someone equal they can challenge themselves against.” – Frank Shamrock

  • The Equal: This is someone who constantly challenges your abilities. The Equal is who we need during your Aspiration stage. To me, as an armature writer, I am constantly reading articles written by friends or LinkedIn connections, I am constantly benchmarking with some of my peers even in terms of career progression and in a positive way striving to learn from them. I must however point out that the greatest equal or benchmark is to compare yourself to who you were yesterday, and not to whom someone else is today. It is a paradox of sorts, but when done with the right intentions, an equal can ensure that we set our aspirations high enough, and see whom we could be, when we select the right equal, then we push each other to greater heights.
  • The Plus: This is those better, and more successful than us. Everyday reflection and appreciation of how small we are in the grand scheme of things and appreciating that there is always someone better than us at whatever stage we are in, is a great way to silence and quiet our Ego during the Success phase. Maintaining confident humility is important in this stage as well as in these interactions. Confident humility ensures that as a leader I am able to know how little I know and also how much I am capable of learning.
  • The Minus: This is where the greatest growth comes in my view. The minus forces me to spend more time to find ways of improving. This is when I am failing or when I have failed. When we fail, we have a choice to make, learn from it or be crushed by it. In the war against unhealthy ego, our ability to first admit our failures and then learn from them and eventually teach them can prove valuable. Constantly evaluating that which we did wrong and appreciating those lessons keeps us grounded. Through teaching, and mentoring others , It also makes sure that we truly appreciate the lessons from that encounter or process.

In Summary, ego is the enemy, as our ego increases, our knowledge decreases and mostly at a much faster rate. In the war of ego, the loser always wins, so find those three people or groups, the Equals, the Plus and the Minus and work tirelessly everyday at maintaining an attitude of confident humility.

Lord, Let me be smart enough to know how dumb I am, and give me the courage to carry on anyway.

Yours truly,

The Imperfect Leader.

Reflections: The Jar of Life

Consider an Empty Jar to be filled with Golf balls, Pebbles, sand and Tea, which one goes in first?

Recognize but for a moment that The Jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the most important things – Family, Friends, Health and Your Passions. The pebbles are the second in line your Job, your Home, Education The Sand is everything else, really the small stuff…

Now if you put the sand first in the Jar, then you won’t have room for the golf balls and the pebbles. The same is true for your life, Of you spend all of your time and energy on the small stuff you won’t have time for the important things that matter.

Pay close attention to the things that are important and critical to your Happiness, take care of the golf balls – e.g. Show kindness to family, make time for them always.

Set your priorities right starting with the important things – golf balls. Then follow up with the pebbles and then everything else is just sand.

However, no matter how full your life is, there always is time for a cup of tea with the one who makes your heart beat – that one person.

Adopted from an old tale

Yours Truly,


No Matter What | keep Moving Forward

“No matter what, we don’t stop, we keep moving forward”

When I first took up my role as a Practice Lead , I went hiking with my immediate boss. On this particular day, it was quite chilly in Longonot and so it would be quite challenging. However, we were determined to climb. So my boss and I set out to hit the top, make one lap round then come down.

As we began, we had a series of conversations with him some of which revolved round the challenges I have faced thus far and those that I would be facing. In a way, I was taking up a path he had walked for long (Both literally and figuratively ). In the midst of our conversation, I was getting quite exhausted and so I believe he figured this, so I decided to ask ” NK, Could we slow down a bit?” he responded with “Sure (Pause), no matter what, we keep moving forward”. Three lessons I learned on Leadership:

Know your Team and their environment of engagement

As a leader, you ought to be fully aware of your team. This applies to individuals and not a generalization. Aspects like the team Morale as well as any challenges they are having delivering their core responsibilities. Creating and fostering relationships with each member of the team is critical for success. Like my boss, he was keen to understand from my request to take a break that I was losing morale, as such, he didn’t dismiss it but found a more effective way to address it. He says “Sure ” this is affirmation, he understood that being my first attempt at Climbing Longonot, I would have challenges, just like a first time manager, then he proceeds to say, “no matter what, we keep moving forward” -Encouragement, with a clear goal in mind – The Summit!

Inspire Through Clear Vision, Goal and Commitment

As a leader you must have a clear Vision and Commitment. Great Leaders are committed to their course and ensure that their team members understand and see that commitment from them. Through Commitment to the Vision and Goal – which for us was reaching the Top, as a leader I must find ways to inspire and motivate each member of my team. “No matter What, ” this statement shows his commitment to the vision. He was aware of the challenges, but with a strong will, he sought to assure me that we will “keep moving forward” that we never lose sight of the goal or mission because of challenges.

Be clear on what we won’t do

As much as a leader is clear on what we will do, a leader ought to be clear on what we as a team and hi or her as an individual won’t do. It is NOT success at whatever cost. As a leader, your character is always on the line and whatever you do, is under watch. This doesn’t mean you cannot make mistakes, however, mistakes must just be that – Mistakes. “No matter what, we don’t stop,” It was clear to me and to both of us, stopping was not an option. We would rather slow down but keep moving forward. However, we don’t stop. Dag Hammarskjold, once remarked ” Never “for the sake of peace and quiet” deny your own experience or convictions.” A leader must be a man of conviction.

In summary, as a leaders, we have the responsibility to inspire our team members to become more, learn and do more. We can only do this through conviction and commitment to the clear vision that we have defined. And no matter the challenges, we always keep moving forward.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Next: When You don’t Give Up | You Can NEVER Fail

Growing In Character


Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. This verse shows the importance of character in ones life. Especially a christian. It is on this verse that our mission to Kahuho Uhuru High School was hinged on.

In reviewing the message, I will base my writing in three sections; WHY is Character important to me as a follower of Christ? HOW do I develop my Character as a christian to be Christ like? – Which is the actual meaning of the word Christian. Finally, WHAT do I do to reflect Christ?

THE WHY: When God Speaks about me, what does He say? Can the Almighty boast about me like Job?

This question is addressed in reference to Job’s story, a man whom God was so proud of and well pleased with. Job stands out in God’s sight and He says; Job 1:8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”  So WHY? Because our Character distinguishes us. It is our walk in righteousness and obedience to God’s word that He takes pride in. As Christians, our Character ought to reflect the teachings of Christ. We must therefore strive to reflect and live the teachings of Christ. In so doing, when our heavenly father looks down, He is indeed well pleased.

Quote: When you have a good name, it sets you up for riches. A bad name on the contrary would result in loss of even what you have – Paul Wafula

Consider Job, the richest man in his time, yet his humility stands out both in the face of good and prosperous times and in the times of great tribulation. In his suffering, Job’s  Character is brought out as a man whose hope and trust is deeply rooted in the eternal God. Romans 5:1-5 Paul asserts that our faith and hope makes us glory in suffering for we know that our suffering produces Perseverance, and perseverance Character and Character Hope.

Quote: Through Pain, Character is developed-Paul Wafula 

Character2THE HOW: As a Christian, by what means do I develop Christ like Character? Does the Bible offer me any help?

Colossians 3:5-11 By putting to death whatever belongs to my earthly nature, and canal mind, my character is developed. The best way to exhibit good character is to behave to others as I would them behave to me, this is what love is about. When our hearts are full of love for one another, then our behavior, our character is informed by love as it is what dwells in our hearts.

Quote: Christian Character is not informed by Outward compulsion, but by inward conviction – Paul Wafula

By constantly filing our hearts with love, we ultimately express it in our daily character. It is a heart and mind full of love that will inform how we behave and act. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So both our actions and words will be informed by love.

THE WHAT: As a Christian, what are my action points? After knowing WHY and HOW, so?

Galatians 5:22-26 When we belong to Christ, we crucify our flesh and its desires and passions. Since we now live by the spirit, we ought to keep in step with the spirit. The moment we as Christians realize WHY we need to be Christ like in our character, then the Holy Spirit would inform HOW we behave and treat others as well as situations and circumstances through WHAT we do.

It is WHAT we eventually do that shows who we really are deep down.

Quote: The Ultimate Good Character is exhibited when we love – Paul Wafula


In Summary, as Christians we:

  1. Always and Constantly examine ourselves against God’s standard
  2. Realize that some times Good Character Comes out of suffering and pain. That through difficulties we develop character.
  3. Need to realize that the Key To Christian Productivity is Character
  4. Must realize that we live for eternity.

QUOTE: If you live just for life, you are the most pitied person on earth. – Paul Wafula