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The importance of your track record

Growing up, one of my favourite musicians was Paul “Dr Love” Matavire. His lyrics, song compositions and idiomatic expressions made me fall in love over and over again with my native Shona tongue and I could never get enough of his music.

By Cynthia C Hakutangwi

My siblings nicknamed me “Mai Matavire” because I could sing all of Matavire’s songs word for word and recite all the humorous poetic lyrics.

A particular composition that made the waves, especially among the men folk during that time, was a line from one of his famous tracks Dhiabhorosi Nyoka, where he lyrically suggested some questions he would have wanted to ask God if he had been Adam given the opportunity to challenge the banishment from the Garden of Eden.

“For how long have I been in this orchard as a bachelor, question mark nga? And what sin did I commit before this woman was created, check my record!” Without doubt, you will understand why this particular line was a favourite of many men folk who bemoaned the evil that was brought upon their lives by the woman. Dr Love’s lyrics were definitely classical. Those were the days that folks used to enjoy music on Supersonic radiogrammes played from the black vinyl records.

Who is responsible?

I was recently reminiscing on my youthful days when Paul Matavire’s song came to my mind and got me thinking deeply about the track records we continually set in our lives through our decisions and actions. In his song Dhiabhorosi Nyoka, the musician was lamenting how this world we live in could have been a land of milk and honey if it had not been that mankind fell for the deception in the Garden of Eden and the man blamed the woman.

While this positioning and assertion by the musician raised many queries and disgruntlement among the women folk, I was quite intrigued by the thought of taking responsibility for your reputation. As an individual, what are you synonymous with? How often do we take time to introspect and take stock of our personal and professional brand reputation? What decisions do we make every day to ensure that our brand equity is increasing? Are we willing to be put under the magnifying glass and made transparent to all stakeholders who are interested in what we have to offer? Do we even care what people say or think about our track record?

Track records in decision-making

One of the world’s top psychologists, Albert Ellis, was famous for first saying; “The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour”, which is another way of saying — check their track record. This is often used when referring to human behaviours.

Think about it, when we’re making a big decision, wherever we can, we first check the track record. Recruiting or applying for a job? Standard practice is to delve into the resume, ask the applicant how they’ve responded to certain situations in the past, and quiz their references. It’s the same when consumers make decisions about which businesses they engage.

The lesson is this — having a track record of success is critically important. When you start out, building your first start-up, you have no credibility. No matter how awesome your idea is, and how many books and articles you’ve read on it, the fact is, no one believes you, and that’s alright. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Until you prove you know your purported area of expertise by actually doing something, it’s totally fair that people judge you otherwise.

The Johari Window

When accidents and failures occur in our lives, we are often tempted to shift the blame onto someone or something else without considering the fact that we may have unchecked blind spots which may contribute largely to these misfortunes.

All this is a function of our self-awareness — the ability to take a good look at yourself as you relate to your environmental, physical, and mental worlds. It is the ability of accept yourself as a unique, changing, imperfect, and growing individual and to recognise your potential as well as your limitations.

The Johari Window is a simple and useful tool for understanding and training self-awareness, personal development, improving communications, interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, team development and intergroup relationships. It is also referred to as a “disclosure/feedback model of self-awareness”, and an “information processing tool”.

The Johari Window represents information (feelings, experience, views, attitudes, skills, intentions, motivation) within or about a person — in relation to their team, from the following four perspectives:

Open area: Represents the “public” or “awareness” area and contains information that both the individual and others know.

Blind area or ‘blind spot‘: What is unknown by the person about him/herself but which others know.

Hidden area: What the person knows about him/herself that others do not know.

Unknown area: What is unknown by the person about him/herself and is also unknown by others.

When we develop an appreciation of the fact that there are certain areas of our lives which we may not be aware of yet others around us may know, it is in our best interest to position ourselves around objective people that can regularly give us feedback on these blind spots.

If you find yourself regularly shifting blame onto other people and circumstances for your misfortunes, find someone who may be seeing what you are not seeing and prepare to receive feedback with an open mind. The bottom line is that track record counts, and it counts for more than pretty much anything else.

l Cynthia Hakutangwi is a communications and personal development consultant, life coach, author, and strategist. Looking at improving balance, energy, organisation, health fitness, relationships, focus, faith and happiness? Wholeness Incorporated Coaching offers you strategies and simple steps you can implement today to become a better, more balanced, happier version of yourself. E-mail: Facebook: Wholeness Incorporated.

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