Quite often my peers tell me, Sarah your different, you don’t fear job interviews, you don’t fear anything, you just tend to do whatever you want and things just happen for you. But the truth is, I was just like any other youth, I feared a lot of things, I doubted myself more times in a day, I got uptight before meeting new people because I certainly didn’t know what to talk about with them. These fears made me fail more interviews probably more times than any of you but I have grown so much from my fears.
In 2009, I met with a well meaning friend of mine, whose life had dramatically changed. She was still at University but had already opened up a business. Out of curiosity I asked her how she had managed to set up a business that fast. That’s when she told me about her mentor madam Esther Kyaziike, who runs Kawempe youth Centre.
She had spent two years under the mentorship of this fine lady who helped her start up small scale businesses which generated money to open up her current photocopying business in Wandegeya. Her story really impressed me and I immediately inquired if she could get me a meeting with her mentor. Days later she called me up to tell me she had secured a meeting for me and I started preparing myself. On the day of the scheduled meeting my nerves hit me badly and I was contemplating not going but my sister offered to go with me.
We reached just in time and were ushered into her office where she was waiting for us with a smile. The moment I saw her, my armpits started perspiring, I knew what was coming next. I sat down but my sister reached out to shake Madam Esther’s hand and said Martha Nansamba here.
Madam Esther smiled and said pleasure to meet you. When it was my turn to do the same, my heart rate shot up and was beating faster than the Indian tamtum drums, I started imagining what she thought of me, would she reject me as a mentee and take on my sister. I suddenly didn’t know what to tell her and while I was still lost in my thoughts, I stood up shook her hand and said Martha Nansamba here.
Everyone started laughing, I wondered what I had done or said that made every one break out in laughter. I hadn’t heard what I’d said; fear had gripped me so much that my ears were burning up in stimulation I didn’t get a thing. Madam Esther looked right in my face and asked me again, what’s your name? I went ahead to say Sarah Nansamba, and this time I heard myself and bit my lower lip while cursing under my breath.
I quickly went ahead to correct my mistake….Sarah Namulondo…its Sarah Namulondo. She looked right through me in puzzlement and sat back in her chair with one of those looks on her face. I got another of the same look on my sister’s face questioning what was wrong with me but was too embarrassed to even consider her contempt. My hands were shaking in fear and embarrassment; my ears still so hot, I just hated myself for messing up.
I had practiced for four hours prior to meeting her but it looked like I was unprepared. Thankfully she was forgiving and allowed to take me and my sister on as mentees. I guess she could see right through my fear and the first 2 months of our relationship were spent on teaching me how to fight the fear of meeting and associating with new people.
#Rule number one
Stop practicing before meeting people you’re interested in making lasting relationships with. You should always let the conversation flow naturally, ask simple questions and be interested in the person and what they do. It’ll help break the ice.
#Rule number two
Always limit your expectations, a meeting will either go well or bad and you have no control over that the only person you can control is yourself, find peace in that.
#Rule number three
Don’t try to impress people, it’ll make you look mechanical, let the original you come out, not the practiced one but the genuine you. People don’t like associating with fake people.
#Rule number four
Maintain eye contact to avoid appearing shady and above all dress the part.
She taught me that and I have been using it for quite some time. I guess, I turned out well and am happy and so blessed I met her when I did.