Sometimes, as human beings, we tend to want to reach out to distance and forget to take advantage of that which is close to us. Even at the national level, the notion is that an investor should be foreign, yet the potential is so great within. If only we could respect that which is domestic enough to entrust the resource. The sure secret to keeping the wealth within is not to look far, nor to despise the prophet within. There are heroes everywhere that can mentor you and help you reach your full potential. If they were able to brave the odds in similar conditions, who better than them to guide you through the ropes?

It is no secret that the people we see on television or famous authors can play a significant role in shaping one’s life, but through the years I have come to appreciate the prophet within Jerusalem. Let me tell you a bit about my own heroes…

1. My Mother: The woman had no formal education. limited vocabulary, in fact, could not do any business, and when I got employed at 19 years of age, my earnings were more than hers. Believe me, everyone talks about their mothers and how they are the world to them and all. Mine was a proper definition of a woman with substance. This woman taught that in life you will need to work hard, work hard, and work hard. At all costs, you will have to learn how to live with other people. This means that you will have to adjust your likes and dislikes in order to accommodate other people in your life. Be human, help where needed, and do not despise anyone because no one knows who will take care of others in the future (inshiku shalingenye nyina no mwana). Do not waste an opportunity; do not settle for less; love; and push until you have it. The list goes on:

2. My Uncle Chibanga Katebe, aka Uncle Jesus His theory is that by being innovative, money can be made anywhere. While in his house, I saw the man do a lot of business. “Live a little, my son,” he would say. His perfume collection—you would not miss him when he passes. The way he just spoils his Rashi,” that is another thing. When it comes to his devotion to family and being present when needed, this man had 23 of us in his house when he was just a few years into marriage.

3. Mikalile: Even if he does not know me, I follow the man and just observe from a distance. He is Zambian, and at least I see that I can also do it, so the Zambian dream is possible.

4. My bosses at work: I have the most hardworking bosses, and man, they push files. The organisation in their lives I’m like, when I grow up, I want to be there (with good mentors).

5. My Uncle Ernest Mwansa: Talk about someone with objectivity who thinks outside the box. The wisdom of the man makes me read like a crazy person. I have never been around someone who would make you feel like going back to do more research. His motto looks like do anything for justice to prevail and always remain in God (I just summarised it for him).

6. My sister Annie Mwaaba: her game with religion is so on point. I am actually a Christian because of her. This girl can push files. How about walking from the labour ward to the exam room and getting a distinction? Now that my mother is no more, she is the last piece of mom.

7. My Wife: The young lady is the definition of hustle, persistence, and determination. Talk about asking for directions in Beijing in bemba or making orders in Dubai, still in bemba. This one can sell you sand in the Sahara. Her motto is that you should never take an elevator to success; use the stairs instead; you will have a better view of the stages you are passing through.

The list goes on. There are a number of other individuals that keep inspiring me to become a better version of myself. So even as a retiree, it is always important to have those people that inspire you to achieve. Everyone has people to look up to around them. No man is an island. You are where you are for a reason. People are in your life for a reason. Open your eyes; the resources are always within reach. Who would have thought that my own children would be teaching me how to run a company we started before they were born? Learning never ends.

The author is a retired officer of the Zambia Airforce and an Advocate. He can be reached via email: [email protected] or Whatsapp: +260 97 9165574