Visionary thinking for purposeful living




As I emerged from the airport into the overwhelming heat and vibrancy of my new environment I remember feeling a sense of awe and disbelief to know that I was now in the process of fulfilling a part of my life’s purpose. Eleven hours earlier, I was in balmy Birmingham, boarding the National Express coach to Gatwick and wondering what I could expect on my visit to Tanzania and Kenya. 

It was incredible to believe that since wanting to visit Tanzania from the age of 14, I was now on my way! It was even more incredible to know that this 2 week experience had become possible because I had acted upon a thought just a few months earlier. Quite simply, I had an idea that is as crystal clear today as it was then. Some may call it the voice of a higher power or an internal satellite that comes into focus when we are still and recognise the magnetic pull that keeps us on track with our life’s intention. Needless to say, this powerful thought compelled me to make real an idea that I wanted to deliver training in Tanzania and enabled me to realise the wonderful opportunity of making a meaningful contribution to enhancing the life of others. As a result of deciding to ‘go for it’ in February 2009, a chain of events was set into motion, which led to me implement the necessary actions that enabled me to live the dream that I had envisaged for 26 years. 

On 16th July, I arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The sights and sounds of Africa resonated deep within as if stirring a distant memory from centuries gone by. During my two weeks in Tanzania, I recall feeling that the country was strange, yet familiar; the language confounding, yet nostalgic; my hosts strangers, yet like a long lost family. I was truly at home. 

My purpose was to carry out work experience via the organisation Tanzania Youth in Action. During my stay in the country, I presented a series of training programmes to young people associated with the youth group and to local entrepreneurs in other regions. The training I devised and delivered centred on ‘Visionary Leadership’, ‘A Way to Find Your Purpose’ and ‘Business Incubation’ workshops for local entrepreneurs in rural villages. 

During the 10 days voluntary work, I encountered groups of teenagers who aspired to greater things and who wanted to break free of the restrictions of poverty. They had dreams to fulfil and ambitions not only for themselves, but for their families. Most of all, they were naturally talented, determined and totally focused on creating a better life. Some of the young people expressed their hopes of becoming a dancer, a journalist, an advocate for Human Rights and an actress. Their energy and enthusiasm to break free of the natural cycle of poverty, destitution and despair seemed in stark contrast to some in the UK who take the abundance of life opportunities we have here for granted. I felt in awe of the youngsters I encountered in Tanzania and knew that ‘the thought’ of February 2009 was correct without a doubt

The young people I met were in danger of succumbing (quite easily) to Aids and HIV infection, teenage pregnancy, prostitution, drugs and crime – not due to any un-ambition, but due to a lack of support, care and guidance from wider society and from those who should know better. It was a harsh realisation to see how a lack of positive intervention can quite easily set into motion a chain of events that leaves a legacy of poverty that impacts upon generations. 

Needles to say, I learned a valuable lesson from the young people in Tanzania. It is that we should have a vision and do one thing every day to work towards this. I encountered young people who lived their dreams – perhaps not on the scale that we in the UK may determine as significant, yet the smallest achievement towards a goal for some of the youngsters I met were against the odds for many in Tanzania.

Transferring my thoughts, knowledge and awareness of life goal mapping was empowering for the young people. Amongst some of the positive outcomes was that from Mponda; he told me that as a direct result of the workshops, a new goal he implemented was to open a bank account and to save a set amount of money each week. His learning from goal mapping was to stop taking money out with him every day and to become accountable for his daily expenditure. Rachel wants to be a dancer. From the workshops, she learned that creating a Vision Board would help her to keep her goals focused and real. Juliette wants to be a journalist. She agreed to keep a journal and write something every day in order to sharpen her skills in writing. 

How many of us here would be as excited at carrying out the small steps that will contribute to changing our current reality and contribute to realising our vision? The young people in Tanzania gained from the training they experienced that many of us may take for granted. The local business entrepreneurs were given support in modernising their business skills within the limitations of a rural environment. Through the power of thought and transference of knowledge, lives were changed for the better. 

It is amazing to know that an idea, when reinforced by the energy of motion, can ripple far and wide and have a tremendous impact upon others. My question to you is – how many wonderful thoughts have you had that can empower the lives of others? There are many who would welcome constructive intervention by way of skill development, life tools awareness or even the sharing of experiences. Never underestimate the power of your thoughts and intentions for positive gain. What can you do today to encourage someone and support them with transforming their life? 

Take steps to do this today. Remember: “Everyday, you can do one thing which ensures that you make a difference to someone’s life’. Know it, believe it and DO it!” 

Rebecca Gordon

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