Gabila is a trained Environmental Geoscientist, youth advocate, passionate waterpreneur and founder of NEBACAM. NEBCAM a local initiative providing potable water and improved sanitation to schools, hospitals, and villages through the drilling of low-cost boreholes in rural communities in Cameroon. He is also a Royal Commonwealth Society Associate Fellow, a YALI West Africa Fellow, a World Bank Youth Advocate for youth in development, a World Climate Negotiation Simulation Facilitator, a Technovation Challenge Coach and an Ashoka Changemaker Scholar.
Today, he will share some lessons he got from a golf course which correlates directly with the life of an entrepreneur.
Hey Gabs, over to you.
I am in the US for a working group meeting with the World Bank / IMF to shed more light on how the global community can leverage the full potential of young people for shared growth and development in the years ahead as 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the World Bank’s 2007 World Development Report: Development and the Next Generation
A few days back, I Was invited by Mr. Ashu Nkongho to join him in playing golf. Mr. Ashu is a Health Practioner who has partnered with NEBACAM for our improved sanitation project in rural communities.
I am not a golfer, but I seized the opportunity to meet new people, catch some fun and God blessed me to convert a prospective partner to a partner of NEBACAM. I also learned a couple of lessons which I will share below.
We will look at how I closed the deal later
Immediately I got on the Teeing Ground, I remembered reading one of Robert Kiyosaki’s write-ups saying that if you want to do business with somebody, discuss it over a game of golf. You can discover if he’s a worthy partner just from playing golf.
I know it is obvious that almost every young entrepreneur in Cameroon knows about Golf. However, most have never tried playing golf. The reason why I enjoyed my every second on the Golf course last weekend, which became so glaring to me why this game is unique and also referred to as ‘The Gentleman’s Game”.
Being an entrepreneur and recognizing that entrepreneurs are a unique breed of people, I noticed that when it comes to sports and their connection to the business landscape, golf has no equal. The relationship between the business world and the sport of golf is one that has continually existed in harmony over time. Below are some of the take-home points I learned from the game of Golf relating it to life and business.
It is very easy to cheat on a golf course by shifting the ball position with a few inches yet I realized Golf is the only sports with no referees nor judges on the pitch. Being honest with yourself as a young entrepreneur is one of the greatest lessons that golf can teach us.
Golf requires that you communicate with much respect and treat everyone like you want to be treated – mutual respect. This may be golf’s biggest advantage in the corporate environment because an experienced over 60 years CEO can play around with an under30-year-old rising star with no problem. Not many other sporting activities offer that kind of flexibility.
Golf requires an amazing amount of concentration. A quality peculiar to successful business people – the ability to be quiet and focus with the determination to win. A focused and prepared mind is always ready for challenges. Once you are always ready for challenges, you will be marveled at how well you will play yourself out of a difficulty which is almost a daily routine with young entrepreneurs facing challenges with the different variables involved in their business. Focus is key!
While on my driving range routine practice last weekend, I realized that keeping my head down with my eyes on the ball keeps the entire body aligned to the ball even as the rest of the body is in full motion. Failure to do this resulted in embarrassing shots. As an entrepreneur, maintaining alignment of your business activities to your business strategies is the difference between success and failure. This implies staying true to your strategy even when all of the activities around you will try to distract you.
Never Give Up
Above all, Golf teaches us that no matter the number of bad shots, it is not over. You can always pick yourself up and win – you can always turn things around. The natural instinct for someone who is in trouble in golf is to press harder. For instance, if you have a poor Tee-shot, the instinct is to take a more powerful club and try to power the ball to make up the difference. In business, if you find that you are losing, you need to slow down and step back –observe and assess the situation and then re-engage. When faced with adversity, we evaluate and adjust – we don’t just give up or settle for mediocrity.
Entrepreneurship is a Game
So no matter where you find yourself, no matter how difficult you think your situation is, just assume that you are in a golf game and you have to play the ball where it lies.
Don’t dwell on a bad shot, focus more than ever, enjoy the game, respect others and above all be honest especially with yourself.
To conclude, a round of golf last around four hours, at least three of which could be spent discussing business, wooing a client, or brokering a deal. This has been known to lead to a handshake ‘done-deal” before return to the clubhouse.
By Gabila Franklin Neba
N.B: If you want to know how I closed the deal, ping me or leave a comment.