How many of us have had a struggle with public speaking, networking, and dealing with people in general? I know I have. I recall when I was young, giving a speech in standard 5 on the Malawian culture, but shaking to the core whilst fellow classmates looked down in shame. I recall being scared to eat and walking alone in public. Then in senior high school, I met a young lady who was so full of life, bubbly and made me see that the world is not as bad as it seems. She taught me to smile a little, believe in myself and give people a fighting chance.

Marianne Williamson states in her book, ‘A return to love’, “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do so.” When I think of this quote, I automatically go back to the young lady who spoke into my life and made me believe that I did not have to fear people or public spaces. It was then that I realized I was born for a purpose with a purpose.

I came across a few other individuals, who poured into my life and saw a brightness that I could not see. I challenged myself to take up positions of influence. In 2015 I became Malawi’s Country Manager for Africa Agribusiness Academy, creating network opportunities, new markets, and financing, for agri-based SMEs. Then I became a Mandela Washington Fellow and won a pitch competition and came up with a Youth League which has to date mentored and coached over 100 youth led agribusinesses across Malawi, Uganda, and Rwanda. Currently, I am an Atlas Corps Fellow, serving at IFDC as a Business Development Fellow. Through IFDC I am not only growing professionally but adding my expertise to building development programs that will assist smallholder farmers with agribusiness development.

One thing that I know is that when you are poured into, you do the same for others.  I met a young lady who was fresh out of collage in 2017, but had challenges finding a job, and feeling insecure. I started to mentor her, helping her getting job listings, and when she secured interviews, I prepped her. She is currently working with Red Cross as one of the field coordinators. I knew that winning in life, meant helping others to win. After getting into the Mandela Fellowship, which is harder to get in than Harvard, I spend time mentoring other young leaders wishing to undergo the fellowship. One of them, a lawyer, managed to attend in 2019, after having attempted twice on his own.

What if all of us were to be liberated from our own fears, and let our own presence automatically liberate others? Nelson Mandela fought against apartheid which led to a new era for South Africa. Martin Luther King raised awareness about racial inequalities in America. Mother Teresa dedicated her life to saving the poor. If we could all use our own light, to speak, act and serve others, we would live in a better world.