“My Waterloo”


‘If you’ve failed, that means you’re doing something – If you’re doing something, you have a chance’
– Robert Kiyosaki


Yeahhhh. Yeeeeee. Yesssss.

I got the job.
I had joined the big league.
This was a whole new world to me.

This was life, I thought to myself.
After a gruelling 5 months long interview / tests, I finally landed my dream job.

Total take home package was in excess of N100k per annum.
(Don’t laugh cos this was ages ago).

The company exceeded all my expectations, no secretaries cos I was to be my own secretary.
I was also to be my own MD, a totally new experience – Mind boggling experience it all turned out to be.

Unexpectedly, I wasn’t ready for this kinda challenge (at least not yet), I was totally overwhelmed, completely knocked off my feet and hugely intimidated.

Everything went so fast, the trainings, the management sessions cum meetings, client visits / presentations, then the shocking news.

We were to go across border on a 3 days Management Retreat and everyone of us including the 4 newly recruited management trainees were to do individual presentations.

Damn, I thought to myself.
One on one, I’m superb, but do a presentation to this whole lot, these guys surely were snubs mehnnnn.

How was I goin to impress them, how was I going to shine my way through ?

I was even a complete computer illiterate and I had to do my presentation slides myself.
That wasn’t much of a challenge though cos I learnt the use of a desktop computer in less than 10 days all by myself.

I did my slides perfectly well – I was given the task of reading from page to page Steven Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ and then do a presentation on the first 4 habits.

I practised, presented to myself and my friends, reviewed and replayed the scenes of my slides: awake and asleep in my mind.
It all seemed well but I still wasn’t satisfied cos I felt the butterflies in my tummy.

Then the D-Day came, the hour was finally at hand, my turn had come and I strolled to the front of the medium sized hall; majestically.

Carrying with me my glass of water while also remembering the MD’s words the previous day:

‘You’re a showman once on the stage’.

This was goin to be my show.
I did my intro, followed by my opening speech, threw a joke (they didn’t even laff) and then placed my opening slide to start my presentation.

I was not doing badly for the first few minutes.
Then the unexpected happened.

I blanked out, dried lips, stone faced, shivering, stammering and starring at everyone in the hall; about 15 in all.

30 eyeballs thereabout, starred curiously, crookedly and uncomfortably at me.

My 3 other friends urged me on, waving their heads or hand as well as winking at me but it was all too late.
I had thrown it all away, I’d messed it all up.

I f__ked up.

That was it.
The whole world, my entire world which a few weeks earlier was so promising stood still.

I had failed, disappointing not just myself but those who hired me.

I walked away stumbling, head bent, heart shattered, ashamed, aghast, bewildered.

5 months after that incident I finally threw in the towel.
I couldn’t take it anymore, I walked away; scared, scratched and charred.

Looking back, many times I fell but everytime I did, I picked myself up and carried on.
I still remember it all and I just laugh, knowing you never fail till you agree within you that you can’t succeed.

Happened over 20 years ago.

The day my whole world stood still.

Fall down 7 times.
Get up 8 times !



14 thoughts on ““My Waterloo”

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