I was the de facto leader of a youth group at PCEA Nyamachaki Church in my hometown of Nyeri in 2002. I loved working with youth – I still do. The palpable energy, the daring dreams, the fresh ideas, and the chaos. It taught me so many virtues and values that I still hold dear today. I learned to creatively grab and sustain the attention of young people, to collaborate with diverse stakeholders each using their strengths. I was a bridge between two generations, elders and youth, each with glaring disparities and perspectives. It was an education on empathy and mediation.
My biggest desire was to empower the youth to find their value – their gifts and talents – and use them to create change in their spheres of influence. I was a decent writer. The pen was going to become my tool for inspiring these young people. I quit my job as a retail salesperson and started publishing a Christian youth newsletter. The newsletter needed a name that would challenge and inspire young people to take their power and use it to create impact.
“Leadership is influence, nothing more nothing less.” This quote from John Maxwell’s ‘21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership’ struck the right cords. After all, I was a leader by influence, not by title. After considering name suggestions, the publication was christened ‘The Influential’ with the credo – ‘Add value to your life.’ I thought it was pretty catchy.
I had no computer, no business experience, no mentor, and no coach. All I had was a dream and lots of grit. I would ask to use someone’s desktop computer during their idle time to compile my stories, design the layout and then take the finished work in a floppy disk to a printer. It was a one-man show. I had prepared enough material for the first two publications but I needed to onboard more contributors for variety if the venture was going to be sustainable.
The first issue of The Influential was published in April 2002. I walked the length and breadth of Nyeri town talking to everyone I knew. It must have paid off because I broke even. The second and third issues followed on schedule. I broke even three months in a row. However, It was taking a toll on me. I was burned out. I could not grow a team quick enough to share the work let alone keep churning content. There were not too many eager contributors because I couldn’t afford to pay them.
I didn’t know anything about start-ups, raising capital and there were no suitors to partner with. There was also an issue with legal compliance. I had to face the reality that my business had to close. The Influential publication was counted out.
A series of disruptions and transitions followed over the next 18 years. I became a singer releasing an album in 2003. I got married and became a parent. I went back to school, got a Bachelor\’s in Business Administration and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Entrepreneurship. I took a job and quit after 12 years. I took another job and was made redundant in under 2 years. In those jobs, I was led and I also led teams. I will revisit my employment journey in subsequent blog posts. I added to my toolset certifications in coaching, training, and speaking.
My experiences and training shaped my attitude, refined my skills, and molded me into the leader I am. In my disruptions and transitions, I found what I call my X factor, my superpowers. I facilitate order in the chaos of transitions for teams and organizations. I found my influence and became an international transitions coach, speaker, and trainer. It was time for The Influential to be re-born.
18 years in the making, we are better equipped, experienced, tried, and tested. The Influential has gone full circle. We facilitate order in the chaos of transitions. We co-create a proper team mindset, equip teams with the requisite tools and skills to find their superpower to create greater impact. We have impacted over 5000 people in 5 continents. We are fired up and ready for the next chapter of helping people and organizations find their X factor in their transitions.
Are you experiencing disruptions or transitions? We can help. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org