Feature Article of Monday, 17 July 2017

Columnist: Steve Adjei-Laryea

Waiting for the big call? Prepare!

Sometime in July 2010, I had returned to work one morning from days off and typical of me, I was going through my emails to catch up on events and happenings during my off-site days. Then I saw an email from the General Manager’s PA.

I was not a regular recipient of her emails as she would mostly deal with my immediate boss, so when I saw her name in my unread mail list it got me curious, but it was the subject of the email that got my heart doing a few unregulated beats. ‘Australia Trip’.

‘’Dear Steve, are you aware that you are travelling to Australia in September? If you were not aware, then now you know. Kindly send to me your Passport, four passport photos and copies of documents of all properties you have for your visa application’’, the email read.

Immediately after reading this I became numb in my seat for some time. When I finally got the blood flowing through my veins again, I closed and opened my eyes severally just to be sure I was not having a sweet dream.

I had always said to my friends and myself that my first travel out of Africa would happen miraculously and that I would literally be chased after for the trip. Due to this strong believe and hope I had already obtained my first Passport when I received my first student loan during my school days 7 year earlier.

So clearly I had hopes of experiencing a ‘miraculous travel’ one day but I did not for one second think that my miracle was going to happen through the company I was working for at the time. I submitted what the PA had asked of me in the email and after a month or so my passport was returned to me with my Aussie visa.

It turned out that another high-performer from another business unit of the company had been selected to join me for the trip as well. I would call him John.

September came, I made it to Perth with no hassle. John could not travel with me because he apparently did not have a passport already and when he finally got one his visa application was refused because his new passport created suspicions. The company appealed and John had his visa, but late.

The day John got to Australia was the last day of the conference we attended and when he finally made it to the Sheraton Perth hotel, the last presentation had already ended. He missed out on all the great presentations and engaging breakout sessions. This was on a Friday.

On Monday, John was supposed to spend some days at the company’s Canning Vale Offices for training, whiles I was scheduled to be at the Hazelmere offices for same.

The Sunday before the Monday, John took ill and we took him to the hospital thinking it was the change in weather that was having a toll on him but no, he had malaria! In Australia, malaria is handled differently and seriously than we do here so John was admitted into a confined ward and he would spend the rest of his stay in Australia in a hospital bed.

I went through my training, did sight-seeing in the city, shopped and returned to Ghana leaving my colleague John in Australia and in a hospital bed. He flew back to Ghana the same day he was discharged from the hospital.

For the purposes of this piece, John’s problems started from the point where his visa application was rejected due to a suspicious rushed-through passport. I’m sure that up until that time he had had hopes of seeing the world in another country one day but he did not bother to obtain the one thing that was the first requirement of making that hope a reality, a Passport.

Some would argue that I was only lucky and yes I agree I was lucky but I recently read a book that changed my perception about luck. In The Richest Man in Babylon, it was said that "Good luck can be enticed by accepting [the] opportunity. Men of action are favored by the Goddess of Good Luck.’’

This simply means that luck is when preparation meets an opportunity.

Many, my colleague John, want to travel aboard but have no idea about the process of acquiring a Passport let alone owning one. Yet they pray day and night for a travel opportunity.

We are too familiar with stories of political activists who want to be appointed to higher positions in public service but all they have got by way of preparation and competence are their loyalty and party membership cards.

Others have hope that one day they would land a job that would offer them accommodation in Cantonment in Accra and an SUV but they don’t even know how to drive let alone own a drivers’ license. Well, maybe they have to hope to be given drivers too.

I know of people who have been at the same position and level at their places of work for many years and hope that one day that refreshing news of promotion would come but all they have done in preparation is complain, and whine instead of pursuing self-development and skills sharpening endeavours.

And often when promotions slip them by, they say they either don’t have luck or those who get promoted do so through the power of juju and boot licking. My dear, having the hope that your big call will come one day is a good thing because it keeps you going even in hard times but that alone is not enough. You need to prepare for the big call.

The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln once said; "when you are given six hours to chop down a tree, use four hours to sharpen the axe." I am yet to read another quotation that espouses the importance of preparation more than this one.

A football team camps and trains for several days just for a 90 minutes game so please take a stand today and prepare in anticipation of that big call you have been hoping and waiting for.

Do not wait for the opportunity to come knocking before your run around trying to figure out what is required, it would be gone by the time you get back and ready.

By: Steve Adjei-Laryea

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