Vera: Your stated motto is creating greatness in others. How do you define greatness and how are you living out this motto?
Rabison: Greatness is living in your area of purpose, doing all you love doing with excellence making sure you leave a lasting mark in your generation. I create greatness in others through inspiration in my daily interactions with people from all walks of life. I inspire through books, motivational speaking and direct coaching and mentoring.
Vera: “The Greatness Manual’’ was your first book. One of the things you emphasize in it is the importance of building sound character. What are some of the essential character traits to develop and how do those make success more attainable?
Rabison: There are several traits but I will focus on just three for now. One of the critical facets of character is integrity. This is being a person whose word can be relied on. A person of integrity can be trusted to do what they promise to do even if it will cost them. A second important trait is honesty. This is someone who will not “sugar coat” the truth. The third trait I consider important is understanding. This is when someone takes time to listen to others with the goal to understand them before they push their own opinion. Success in life is premised on our willingness to relate and network with others. This makes the issue of character very critical for it is the bedrock of relationships we may want to develop now and in the future.
Vera: As a lifecoach how do you get people to believe in their potential for greatness and to do something to release that potential?
Rabison: I have noticed over the years that many people lack self belief. I work on building self awareness first. I make people see and appreciate what they are good at. I then show them how one can achieve success in whatever chosen area of endeavour. I tell them my life story which started off in the rural settings of Zimbabwe, breaking through to become the person I am now. My story gives them confidence to know that they too can turnaround their circumstances if they can begin to think differently and progressively.
Vera: You’ve become quite a prolific writer in just a few years notably completing a couple of years ago Ezinearticles.com’s ‘’100 articles in 100 days’’ challenge in only 45days. What kind of disciplines would you say yield that level of output?
Rabison: High output or high achievement starts with a decision. You have to tell yourself first that you are not a person of mediocrity. You have to master effective time management. This is one of the things that has helped to move me to where I am today. My time is planned, I do not let life determine who I should become but I make a deliberate effort to ensure I am the captain of my ship determining where I need to see myself in the future. I also go back to the issue of discovering the reason why you exist (purpose). Purpose fuels you and makes you push boundaries to achieve your goals in your lifetime. If all you do is live life based on what others expect of you then you will be a miserable person with very little achievement to show for your life.
Vera: What in your experience are the most important ingredients that give everyone a fair chance at achieving their purpose irrespective of their starting point?
Rabison: First of all self awareness is very important. This is being aware of what you are good at and what you don’t like. This is followed by self belief, which is accepting the fact you too are a candidate for success. Self belief can be enhanced by positive words of affirmation (speaking those things that are not there as though they already exist). Self awareness and belief breed self-confidence which then should lead you to start doing that which you believe you can do. A great way to also see your purpose coming to fruition is by ensuring you create a network of mutually beneficial relationships around you where people know what you are about and can become a source of support.
Vera: Besides writing and motivational speaking, young people’s success seems to be your other passion for which you’ve established mentorship programme. What is the biggest shift you want to see with young people’s advancement in Africa?
Rabison: Mentorship is part of my bigger dream to build leaders and impact the lives of youth across Africa giving them a chance to be effective contributors to their own national success. I am trying to deal with a consumer mindset replacing it with a contributor mindset. I want young people to know that they have a role to play in turning around the fortunes and destiny of Africa as they implement their ideas and solutions. We can’t progress if we continue to wish for someone else to come to Africa with a bag of solutions. It is not a sustainable option. While we remain thankful to those who have given us aid over the years, it is high time that Africa rises to feed its own. It is time Africa has its voice amplified on issues of a global significance.
Vera: You warn against people being ‘’dangerously idle’’ and living life passively. What are some of the ways to avoid doing this?
Rabison: In life we must never settle for stagnancy, we need to keep moving forward. Life requires us to have a mindset that says “I will get up every morning and do something with my life”. It calls for hard work and discipline. Life is definitely not an escalator where you press a button for the floor you want to be dropped on. I come from a humble rural background. I only wore shoes around the age of 15. However, I have always been ambitious telling myself that one day I would make it. I have tried a number of things, some worked while others flopped. I simply keep myself moving forward.
Vera: You indicate writing is now a habit. How can one develop the right habits?
Rabison: In order to develop the right habits one has to first of all know which habits to develop. Once you identify the habits the next thing is to be consistent and disciplined enough to repeat the habits daily. Put it in your diary and set reminders initially e.g. a reminder to go to the gym, a reminder to study etc. The other way you can cultivate good habits is selecting good accountability partners and in some cases a coach who can push you when you become lenient on yourself.
Vera: Which of your books has drawn the most feedback from readers and what do you think was the special appeal?
Rabison: My bestseller remains “The Greatness Manual”, my very first book and demand for the book continues to grow. There are nuggets of greatness in the book coupled with short examples as well as affirmations that are practical. People love it because it is not meant to be read in a particular order. In this busy world people prefer books they can read randomly and still benefit immensely. It is written in bite size chunks.
Vera: How do you inspire yourself in order to continue to be an inspiration and mentor to young people in particular and what would your advice be to them on how to keep sowing seeds for greatness?
Rabison: My inspiration to keep inspiring people comes from my purpose statement which is “to create greatness in others through inspiration”. Every time I come across people, I go away asking myself if they have left me better than when they met me. This is what keeps me moving forward. My advice to young people is to always keep a positive mindset regardless of circumstances for there is no problem without a life span. I always encourage them to manage their thoughts for it is through thoughts that success and failure become a reality. I encourage them do everything with excellence daily and become perpetual learners.
Rabison Shumba is an author, international motivational speaker, coach and leadership expert. He has written a number of books such as “The Greatness Manual”, “Fountain of Inspiration 1 and 2” and ‘Showers of Inspiration”. He co-authored “101 Great Ways to Enhance your Career” as well as an anthology in his native Shona language called “Dzinonyandura”. Rabison is founder of Greatness Factory Trust, a non-profit organization focused on youth engagement and empowerment as well as mentorship. He is also a telecommunications expert with about 20 years of commercial experience at various levels. He travels the world speaking at conventions, seminars and conferences. He resides in Harare, Zimbabwe with his family. More on Rabison’s work at www.rabisonshumba.com
For more information on Vera Ng’oma’s work and resources in leadership, personal and career development and excellence building, click here.
There is a lot to learn from this interview. Rabison Shumba speaks value. This interview has pointed to one areas that I feel I still need to do a lot more…”networking”. I am yet to become a good networker.