Posted in Challenges, Need Intervention

7 Ways to Make Out of a Rut Stretch

Driving in unmarked roads will sure get you stuck between paths and by-ways. The terrain is normally uneven and springs surprises unto even the most discerning driver. There will be twigs to contend with, there will be sand pits that feign stability but give way too easily, there will be a bump that will require wedges to maneuver and a winch if not the tug of strong five or more men.

muddy ruts

Growing up in the village we witnessed many a vehicle get stuck especially during rainy seasons on our murram roads. It never made sense when they called them “all weather roads” – but then again it has a twisted meaning. That they will weather you out in all seasons. During the rains they would be muddy and a sore to motorists and pedestrians. While during the sunny season the vehicles would leave behind a train of smoky wafts of dust and grit to the pedestrians.

It is in the observations of seasoned drivers that I horned skills of getting out of ruts and continue to apply this as my journeys take me through scary ruts in the expanse of this country and beyond. Here are seven pointers to help you get out of ruts:

  1. Get out and scout the ruts

If by chance you never saw the ruts and got in abruptly then you have to stop and take stock. Do not under estimate a rut – small ruts can suck all your energy and still be stuck for hours if not days. Get out scout the area of the rut. Look for the smallest areas of advantage. It could be a strip of a stone or a hint of rock. That could be the much needed break to get you out of the ruts. Life has such and good breaks out of difficult times are often from unlikely sources. Look within and without for that advantage.

  1. Read signs, research routes and seasons

When you are forewarned you are forearmed. Knowing crucial information about a route or a venture from the onset is the best way to beat any eventualities. But then again if you find out that what you know is contrary to what you find on the ground then quickly un-learn, relearn and adapt. Flexibility is what makes the most of adventures and how charming are the stories to share from the experiences.

  1. Get tools and customize equipment or things

We have modern tools like a winch and the like then we have those that you build on site just to get out of ruts. We once got stuck in a small rut in the outskirts of Lugari forest with my wife and we built a raft like thing out of twigs and grass. And when we were almost out and noticed our raft like tool was short she threw in one of the car mats and guess what? We got out – though that action got her right in the pathway of mud as I stepped on the gas.

  1. Call in help early enough

Never assume a rut. Any problem that looks simple for you to solve might get you bogged down. This one time in the company of my wife, daughter and her nanny we set off in our Toyota Hilux double cabin pickup for our upcountry home. We arrived in the rain and the last stretch off the tarmac was muddy as usual. I have used this road for many years and never have I been stuck even in a two wheel drive vehicle. My assumption of driving a four wheel drive got us right in a deep rut. Another assumption of the rut got me revving up and before we knew it, an hour had passed. All this time I had ignored the free help that had availed itself as a small crowd had gathered around about the vehicle. Had I tapped into their help early enough then I would have been out in a jiffy. When I finally humbly asked them to help, those Luhya men about thirteen of them lifted the 4X4 from the rut in under 20minutes. Little did I know that a cane moving tractor had made the rut deeper and no matter how hard I stepped on the gas with the shaft firmly put in the rut I was not making progress but digging deeper. To date my wife remembers those men and how they loosely suggested and lifted the car out. “Si tupepeko hii kari tuitoeko kwa shimo mpaka pale” loosely translated as “Why don’t we lift this car from this rut to that place”. We laughed at their deep Luhya accent. And gasped as well at their demonstration of will and strength.

  1. Innovate and improvise quickly to start making progress however little

Ruts are always treacherous. They feign their looks and can deceive many. In business there are many problems that can rock the firm especially cashflow. When clients show difficulty in paying up; quickly discuss a payment plan with them DO NOT WAIT. However little the progress made reflects on the full amount – take it and review regularly. This also goes for supplier payments. When projected income is not netted as envisaged, go ahead and start a drawdown on the amount you owe them. A rut stretch however treacherous can be conquered in time as you make small movements. Always aim for the next jolt and step forward.

  1. Build up your guts and faith as the help feeds on it

Just like a fire needs kindling so does the help in moving out of a rut stretch. Remember to help them see the outcome you want. Then aim for small forward steps. Applaud them, get to know them in between breaths and call out to them respectfully. Show them how to handle your vehicle if you are particular about marks and dents. Cheer them up and offer your friendship as you never know when again you will meet. I have made good friends around the country from such situations and some have turned out to be very solid bankable relations.

  1. Learn: Listen, Look-up, Link up and move out

Being stuck in the rut slows you down. You can choose to whine on the time lost, dents caused and any other bad thing or create a knowledge base out of it. God has a funny sense of humour and he will use a rut stretch to get your attention. Learn the area of the rut, the people culture, take in the scenery, make friends and most importantly take lessons from the “being stuck” position. When you can draw “the what not to do”, “how to” and “why you do” then you have grown from the stuck position and may never get stuck in similar situations again. Many guys you have been stuck before in ruts – go back and kit their vehicles from the knowledge they gather in different terrains. Such that they are always better prepared when they encounter ruts again.

As we pursue our resolutions this year I pray we will all get out of the rut stretch; in relationships, business even spiritual matters and be well into growing for the better.

Posted in Challenges, Technology

Looking for a job? You will be googled

Here are five easy things you can do to manage your online reputation.

1. Google Your Name

Admit it, we’ve all Googled our names. Make sure you are logged out of Google so you see standard versus personalized results. Think of the first page of results for your name search as your home page. Studies show the first page of results get 90% of the click-through volume. Now look for anything negative in the next 5-10 pages. If you have a fairly common name and share it with some dubious characters, start using a middle name and initial on your LinkedIn profile,resume and job application.

2. Own Your Name

When companies build an SEO strategy they look to own the first pages of results for their name, you should do the same. Some quick, easy, and free wins include:

    • Get your Linkedin profile to show up first by making sure you have a custom URL with your name. In the example, Travis Pearl’s custom Linkedin URL is and shows up in the very first result because the URL matches the keyword searched and LinkedIn has high “SEO” authority. Go to LinkedIn and the edit profile section and generate a custom linkedin URL with your name. While you are at it, make sure to include a professional-looking photo on your LinkedIn profile.  The same picture Travis Pearl used in his LinkedIn profile, also shows up in the first set of Google results.

  • Google knows Google, so company properties YouTube, Picasa and Google+ frequently show up in the first set of results for name searches. Make sure to set up and use Google+, it’s free and provides lots of options for providing links, photos, locations and other information you may want to highlight.
  • You can showcase your awards online by using MeritShare. Start by setting up a public profile by simply importing your LinkedIn info. Then give some kudos to a co-worker and you both will be rewarded with some online recognition with your team play. The site is optimized for name searches, and if you set up your profile and actively give recognition, this will likely show up in the first page of results.

3. Block And Tackle

Depending on the website, the instructions for removing or hiding results vary. On a social network like Facebook you can mark specific content as public or with varying levels of privacy. To protect yourself and your friends, the best policy is to keep Facebook content limited to friends only. Premium services Reputation or Reputation Changer provide ongoing monitoring and removal of negative or undesired content associated with your name.

4. Advance the Ball Forward

The best defense is a great offense, so make sure to have some great content in the first set of results. Let’s say you find an article or mention that you want on the first page. Brandyourselfallows you specify the links you want to see advanced. You can also help by cross-linking to the results you want from your various profile page such as LinkedIn or Google+. Both have sections for putting in live links. If you have a Twitter or other social media stream you want to show off, use Vizify to turn your personal data into a stunning infographic.

5. Make Your Own Plays

Showcase your expertise in a blog post, answer a question on Quora or comment on a article. If there is a professional social network for your area of expertise, make sure you have a public profile. As you can see in the example from Travis, he has a Github profile that lists his software engineering accomplishments and contributions to open source, and a MeritShare page that showcases awards he has received and recognition he has given. On the business side, Travis has a Forbes result from setting up a profile and commenting an article. Share posts, contributions and comments on social networks because Google looks at social activity to rank order results.

Do you have any tips or tricks for managing your professional reputation? Let us know in the comments below.

Kevin Nakao is a guest contributor for Mashable and CEO of Meritshare. You can follow him on@knakao or on his blog

Chances are high that a recruiter or hiring manager will Google you online before offering you an interview or job. Search insiders tell me that non-celebrity people searches account for more than 10% of Google’s search volume.

Posted in Thumbs Up

For the Good

How amazing that undoubtedly we are on on earth for the good of others!

We farm not for ourselves but for the communities.

Businesses are set to serve the gaps of other people

We want better governance for the good of the nation’s citizens

We toil so hard for our families; wife and kids

I do appreciate and respect all of you for making this earth a better place for me!

I will put my best foot forward to serve all I come across with enthusiasm and vigour!