The Good, Bad and Ugly

imagesThe end of the year is always a moment to reflect back on how the past year has been. Here is my 2012 list of Good, Bad and Ugly:

The Good:
I had a stellar year with my business growing more than 100%, my hours in the air up by 25% and I quadrupled the number of countries I visited to work. I published 56 blogs, had 15,000 people viewing them and 1,000+ regular followers. I had two articles externally published, which were both well received, along with publishing three research papers.
Not bad at all!

The Bad:
Despite all the good, the bad of course is about the things I wanted to do but didn’t or couldn’t. I didn’t publish my e-book, didn’t reach my target of 5,000 followers and was unable to do my Vipassana retreat (a meditational retreat in which you are not allowed to speak for 10 days.)

The Ugly:
The “ugly” was the flip-side of the good. This amazing business year had its impact on my ability to spend time with my family. I tried to make it up to them by spending ‘concentrated bursts of quality time with them’ but that doesn’t compensate for the countless hours they had without me.
They are the love of my life.

I would like to thank you for supporting my team and I in 2012.

Wishing you all an amazing, but above all healthy and safe, 2013 – for you and your loved ones.

– Paul Keijzer

What Would You Do Today, If The World Ends Tomorrow?

mayan-joke4With bemusement I am following the news reports about the doomsayers claiming that according to an ancient Mayan calendar the world is coming to an end tomorrow, December 21st 2012. The theory started with claims that Nibiru; a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed towards Earth and destined for a disastrous encounter. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012 and lined to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar.

Some people believe that only a small village at the foothills of the Pyrenees in France is going to be saved. According to ‘New Agers’ extra terrestrial beings are hibernating in the hill and will create a ‘space vortex’ tomorrow through which a few people can escape earth. The media is milking every moment leading up to “the end of the world” and the Internet is going berserk over the story.

So I have decided that I am jumping on the end of the world bandwagon, as the concept casts an important question: What would you do if the world ends tomorrow? It reminds me of what a good friend shared with me when he recently had to undergo a life threatening brain surgery. He said this is ‘nature’s way of nudging me to focus on what’s important’

With all this talk of the end of the world, you have to ask yourself some thought provoking questions. What is the most important thing for you in your life? What would you do if you know that you only had one day to live? Would you still do what is on your calendar today? Would you focus on what is on your 2013 resolution list? Would you finally get that long desired new object?

A majority of people would focus on what is most important to them, and for most of us that is our loved ones. Of course the paradox is, that that is where most of us spend the least amount of time a day. I guess when you only have a day to live you start to wonder what your priorities are. I know if I had a day left to live, I would spend it with my family.

The end of the world also relates to one of my favorite questions when I am facilitating team building sessions: What would you do if you had all the money you need and the freedom to choose whatever you want to do with the rest of your life? I hope your answer is what you are currently doing, if not full time then at least for some of your time. If tomorrow the world ends, do you want to go out doing something you love or hate?

With the 21st of December coming up tomorrow, more and more people and organizations are being pulled into the story. I read somewhere that even NASA had to publish a report. Their website states “The world will not end in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012”.

Let’s see what happens tomorrow… so for all who live another day, ‘Carpe Diem’

– Paul Keijzer

Breach of Trust

unethical1I am soon celebrating my 6th anniversary of running a business in Pakistan. Before I started on this journey, one of the main professional worries I had was whether clients would actually pay for services. Till now, my worry had proven to be completely misguided. In all these years I have not once had a situation in which I had to write off a bad debt.

Companies that I have partnered with have displayed immaculate ethics. Yes, maybe once or twice, they paid later than originally agreed, but at the end the fees for the services and value rendered always came through. As a result I have let go of my worries and have built client relationships on trust, which made me relaxed about my invoicing policy and asking clients to pay upfront.

But of course it had to happen! I probably became a bit too gullible or trusting but I was recently confronted with a client who refused to pay.

6 months ago we partnered with a new NGO entering Pakistan by helping them to identify and recruit a number of senior staff members. The NGO in question is DKT International, whose published and proclaimed purpose is to be an innovative and adventurous social marketing enterprise that improves people’s lives. Their country director, Juan Garcia, truly believes in wanting to do good in Pakistan by providing couples with affordable and safe options for family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention through dynamic social marketing.

What goes way above my head is that someone with the motivation to come from Mexico to Pakistan, wanting to help the Pakistani people, turns around and (6 months after the service has been delivered) tells a supplier that they didn’t do a good enough job and now no longer want to pay you. Mind you, the person that we identified and Mr. Garcia selected is doing an excellent job with DKT International.

How is it possible that you proclaim to live by certain standards and then try to rob your suppliers of their income? Is that how you improve the world? How does an organization, promoting positive changes to a society, live with such a breach of trust?

Anyway… it’s his conscious, not mine! I wish the organization and the team that is working for DKT International well.

– Paul Keijzer