How to Reinvent Yourself

In this episode of #360Mentor series, Robert Kabushenga shares his experience on Reinventing Yourself.


RK: Good evening everyone listening to me. It’s nice to have you; it’s a cool Friday evening here in Kampala. Everything you’d wish for is there, especially the coffee, which reminds me I have to take a cup of coffee. As you know, this is the time when I get to do my mentoring sessions and it therefore means it’s Coffee with Robert Kabushenga now and the subject we’re going to be discussing this evening is how to reinvent yourself. Why is that interesting for me, it’s interesting because one of the followers yesterday, she’s on Twitter she calls herself Caroline 2 Cents, challenged me she said, “one of these sessions you should dedicate it to talking about reinventing yourself because” she said she’s observed how I have done this since I left my last job and I’ve done a fantastic job with it, I don’t know. But it seems a good subject for me to talk about so, I’ll take you through it this evening because I think reinvention is one of those things that everyone of us should be able to do so you actually owe it to yourself to reinvent every time things change and circumstances are not the same. So, I’m happy to have you, I look forward to a fantastic conversation and engagement with you and if you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them. I know that last week was really intense when I had my friend Daniel Kalinaki here, this week I’m home alone so you’re stuck with me, you have no choice. By the way, by now most of you should be home coz it’s curfew time, in case I had forgotten so it’s curfew time, so we should be at home doing only one thing, having coffee with me.

But first, the first time somebody observed the whole reinvention thing in me, was not with Caroline 2 Cents, it was actually Simon Kasyate who first made this observation when he came to interview me at the farm. And I thought, maybe let’s have Simon have his say first so for those of you who’re on zoom and YouTube, you’re welcome, this is going to play for you live and for the guys on spaces, we’ve worked out how to share audio with you that’s why I was playing music for you earlier, things have improved and gone up so you don’t have to endure the silence. But even you will get to hear what Simon Kasyate had to say about my reinvention.

(Video of Desert Island Discs plays)

SK: Welcome to this edition of Desert Island Discs, your number one personality profile program. And yes tonight on the program, an incredible atmosphere from a distinguished gentleman that has distinguished himself in personifying what we want to term the ‘Amoeba effect.’ Where you are able to morph and fit in an environment where you find yourself either by design or by accident. From a high flying corporate office to now tilling the land and getting the best out of it, the gentleman has just given us a cup of coffee, Robert Kabushenga, welcome to the program.

RK: Thank you, thank you for having me here and I think we need to tell our listeners that this is the 3rd time I’m doing this show thankfully. It is with three completely different people, totally different personalities coz I think I first did it in 1996 I think, with William Pike.

SK: What were you then?

RK: You can’t believe what I was trying to do. I had just acquired together with some friends a license to do Miss Uganda.

(Both Simon and Robert laugh)

SK: A license to do Miss Uganda or?

RK: In order to do Miss Uganda, you needed a license.

SK: I know all that Robert; my sister was Miss Uganda. But I meant to say, How you Robert…

Robert: Organize. Not do, organize.

(Both laugh)

SK: Ah, the interest was in the event or?

RK: The money. I wasn’t auditioning for a wife at that time, I was looking for money. So, I needed media to get, because I drew my inspiration from what Andrew had done, Andrew Rugasira with his Lucky Dube shows and the PR promotions so I thought man, this thing has money. But I won’t go to music because I didn’t have the big money so I just thought that Miss Uganda would be a good way. So, that’s when I went to William Pike, he did the first Desert Island Discs. It was a way of promoting the Miss Uganda, that show. That’s the one that had aaah, Sheba, as the winner.

SK: Sheba Kere.

RK: Yes.

SK: Wow!

RK: Then we probably got too ambitious, we did the one that had Lillian Achom but we lost too much money. It wasn’t viable anymore we were about to lose our shirts. We decided let each one go their separate ways.

SK: So let’s say that the whole business acumen thing about you and trying out new things and going to previously unknown unchartered waters, were you thinking of now? Coz we are wondering how, from wonderful air conditioning to now in ‘actual air conditioning’.

RK: My, eh, my entrepreneurial journey and following into business. If you want to call it trading, it actually goes back a very long time ago in 1976, somewhere between 76 and 77, I was 8 years old.

SK: I’m sure all you were doing was smuggling

RK: I wish I had done smuggling; my grandfather didn’t allow us to do so. My grandfather in Mbale, there was a real opportunity; people were smuggling coffee across the border, from Mbale to Kenya. The only worry was there was a stream, a river that divides Kenya and Uganda.

(Video cut off, return to studio)

RK: Right, so, there you are. It’s not the first time that the question of me reinventing myself has come up. But maybe before we get into the whole subject of reinvention, let me just say this, that you’ve got to know, before we even discuss reinvention you’ve got to know one important principle of life. Change will happen and change will happen to you. So that is a given. The one constant that change will happen and it will happen to you, regardless of who you are, where you are, the circumstances you are in, all that will change, your life will change. And so, in some countries when they announce someone’s death and they put an announcement in the media they even call it transition. So if you really want to know that change is inevitable, the most certain thing is that you will die. So, that’s a fact that should assure you that you must expect that change will happen. One day you are a human being the next day you are a dead body. And then, after you are dead you are buried and you decay, you become a fossil, you become oil, that’s what you become. So change is a one constant whether we are alive or dead it’s one thing we keep going through. And I am bothering to go through this as a primary set up because the whole reinvention question is pretty much a deliberate response to changing circumstances. So, one common difference in human discourse is that change is a fact of life. So if change is a fact of life, then, we must expect it to happen and one of the most ways in which you deal with change or you respond to change is to reinvent yourself. Some people respond to change differently, some don’t accept it, some continue to behave as if life is still the same, but, as far as I’m concerned, the journey to reinvent yourself into something new, into something else, into something you want, starts with the recognition that change is inevitable and that you must always be cautious and aware of the change that is happening around you. You must always be aware because if you’re aware and always cautious on the change that is taking place around you or within you, then you now know how to organize yourself, how to arrange yourself and how to decide what change you want to effect in your life because you’ll not always be the same. Some people make the mistake of thinking that they’ll always be the same, regardless. And so never in their lives realize the surprise of change coz when it happens after that, you now have a responsibility to yourself and that’s why they say that “only those who’re adaptable to change are the ones who will succeed.”

So, one of the things that I’d like to share with you is anecdote. A couple of anecdotes from my life and how at different stages I have faced circumstances and my response has been to reinvent myself. Reinventing yourself is not something you’re going to do over since you’re not going to wake up today and say “I have stopped being a bully, I am now going to be the nicest guy in town. No, that takes a human re-adjustment. The change that happens takes a while. So when I was much younger, I always liked to cut the image of a rebel, somebody who is unconventional. So I always liked to dress in rebellious fashions so I was always in jeans, I thought it was a rebellious statement, whenever everybody was dressing sharply to go to social events I would be the direct opposite. If they’re in nice black shoes I’m in sneakers, I always relished doing that. So, when we finished our degree course at Makerere University, the next place I had to go, I mean at Makerere I had my jeans, I had my cargo pants, at some point I remember I had a T-shirt with Chris Honey on it, and then I had one of I think Gaddafi, I mean those were all just trying to thump at the conservative lecturers but you know, that’s who I thought I was.  So at that time that’s sort of the image that I was cutting, and then I had to go to the Law Development Centre. Now the rules at the LDC are very clear, you have to dress professionally. But me and another friend of mine who I won’t mention because he’s highly respected in the legal profession, turned up for the first lecture, he was in full denims he had a denim shirt and a denim trouser I was in jeans and a T-shirt and sneakers and then everyone else was in a jacket and a tie so we turned up in class. As fate would have it as soon as the lecturer walked in the first thing he did was to throw me and this friend of mine out of class and he told us to go and dress appropriately. And so, I had to go, I walked down behind Makerere University flats and went through, I don’t know if that’s the place called Kivulu but I went through that valley and went to town on foot up to Nakivubo, Owino market and bought two secondhand jackets as a matter of urgency coz I didn’t have any and then I think a tie or two. And then, I knew I had to reinvent myself to start to look like a lawyer or an advocate who I was supposed to become. So, I realized at that point that this is one of the earliest points that I had to reinvent myself away from my past as a rebellious university student and to go and start to look more like the role of a lawyer. But even then, I still didn’t look so much like the rest of the lawyers’ coz everyone else was in a black suit or black jacket or something like that so I bought a tweed jacket. One was a bit oversized and one was just okay so I bought a tweed jacket and a very loud tie, just to make a point. But that’s how I wanted to be perceived so I was reinventing myself while still maintaining what I thought was important for me; to look unique.

Once you got into LDC, change had happened. I had to accept things were different. This is not the university where you get away with many things. So at that point I had to start looking the part I had to play the role of being a student at the LDC so I can get taken seriously. Now of course when I reached the stage of realization that amongst the lecturers who were there were potential employers of mine, now once that reality hit me I had to look very different. You had to make sure, that your hair is combed; you had to make sure that your bead is trimmed so you’re not going around looking like Jonas Savimbi so generally you are presentable because your potential employer is also your teacher.

This whole reinvention journey is about you re-adjusting to new circumstances you find yourself in because if you don’t do that you’ll be very uncomfortable. So if we had refused to accept the dress code at the LDC for instance, we would never have been admitted into class we would never have gotten our diplomas and we would never have gotten to practice the law. So professionally it was absolutely important that we make those adjustments and so that reinvention from looking like a rebellious university student to an aspiring advocate and looking the part was absolutely important and eventually along the way I had to buy black shoes and look serious. Then I think in the second or third term I found a second hand suit I can’t remember whether I managed to get a similar pair of trousers and a jacket now I realized the tweed jacket was not going to work for me so I said let me get some gray slacks and a grey jacket so that I could like a part.

Things had changed, and then I came into the work life and at that point one of the things that was important to me was to look like a “successful socialite” as they call them. There the key thing is to be seen in places that were considered happening places and to be one the people that make the social life of Kampala alive and again there I was reinventing myself into what I thought or believed then to be the indicators of a socialite. You make sure you’re into all the social places, you know what is happening, and you know all the new places so I had to reinvent myself away from a student into what I thought was a corporate life. So then, the vacuum was a bit of a riot and then circumstances changed and when the circumstances changed from being a single young man who has gotten a job, who is beginning to have some public profile as I told Simon in that video before, we had organized a couple of events so people were beginning to know me. Now, the next thing was when I got this new job I had to show I was a serious person who could be trusted with responsibility and at the same time, it became urgent that I get married. So now you start to take deliberate steps, I’m no longer the irresponsible wild partying young man with no stake in society, now, I have to show that I can be responsible so I then start to plan to get married. Now when you get married, a new change comes into your life you’re no longer for yourself, there’s a new person in the picture, and then subsequently children come, and then there you have to reinvent yourself. You reinvent yourself from the single wild partying guy who didn’t have the care in the world now you must show you’re a caring man with a wife and children and you must be seen like that. So now then again, you change your image, now you start wearing long sleeved shirts, with a tie and proper shoes and occasionally you can put on a full suit and so on. Then, the career also grows and as the career grows, you can’t continue to project the image that you somehow are still the other type of guy so you must change your image to suit your new responsibilities that you have but also your behavior, the things you’re interested in and the things that you do so you start to go home early, you take on other responsibilities. My really good friends started playing golf, so that they could be seen as serious executives and people who’re serious in society, the whole thing, the changes that I was finding myself in I was interacting with people who had serious responsibilities. If I wanted them to take me seriously I had to reposition myself, I had to change my image. So as you can tell, this consciousness about the change about reinventing myself is something that was consciously done.

Even you sitting wherever you’re seated, you must know that reinvention or change is not going to happen to you in the manner you want without your participation. You must be the architect of your own change if you don’t do that you might as well accept the perceptions that people say because you’ve not had any deliberate step of doing that so for me, this recognizing that changes are happening in my circumstances and therefore I must respond to those changes is one of the things I’m conscious about and therefore take deliberate steps to adjust to the new circumstances. And sometimes people may say, you’re doing this because you don’t have any options, because you’re desperate, no, far from it. I know my circumstances, I know what my circumstances were before, and what I did then. One of the things is like, when I was at the Media Centre, I was a fire spitting/fire brand, then I became a corporate executive, and then at that point I realized I need to reinvent myself as an executive I can no longer just go on media and do as I wish, and my dress code has to change so I dumped the checked shirts and long sleeves and went back to the corporate suits and even the choice of ties, now you’re conservative it’s either a red, blue or yellow because you want people who see you to start taking you seriously. At that point, I was beginning to grey and when you’re beginning to grey, you don’t want to be running around like a 25year old so you work on your dress code, you work on your image, you work on the places where you go, you work on your behavior, you work on your language, you work on the people you spend time with. All of these things, you choose them deliberately and that’s what we mean by reinvention.

There are some people who were relevant to you at a certain time after that, those people you no longer need them because they’re not aligned with the new you that you’re reinventing. And then also the values or rather the intentions are different because now as you grow older you want to be somebody that can be trusted, somebody that can take responsibility, you cannot continue carrying yourself the way you were before. You must move on from where you were before because you’re on a journey. And giving you those anecdotes and explaining how at each of those stages how I had to change, is basically to help you understand that reinvention;

  1. Is necessary.
  2. You will have to do it or if you don’t do it change will do it to you but for you to understand that it takes time, it takes deliberation, it takes you to do exactly what you want to be at the next stage of your life.

Principles of reinvention

  • Always be aware that change is happening to you and around you – It’s happening at all times. That change is both physiological and physiological and its generally part of the growth process. You are maturing and that is why if you go back and look at my pictures 25years ago, I was much leaner than I am, I had jet-black hair, I was smaller than I am today and so, overtime, the midsection has expanded because of slowed metabolism. So you start to ask all those questions your hormonal composition also changes. Just know the mere fact of the physiological change that you go through, that human experience of growing-the biological process, you can’t be the same. If you can’t be the same, my advice to you is just be cautious of even the physical changes that are going through you could force you to adjust. Maybe way before you were much faster, with movements you had to slow down because you are much bigger. Change does happen. Even as human beings we meet people, we exchange views, and we are never the same. And because we’re never the same, the changes that take place in us require us to adjust and respond to them because if we don’t, then as I said we will end up with very uncomfortable lives. So that’s what I mean by you being cautious of the fact that change is happening and by the time it happens, then you must respond to it and one of the most effective ways to respond to change is to reinvent yourself. What you need to do other than that is for you to understand the process of reinvention and the things you need to do and one of them like I said is to recognize that change is inevitable.
  • Step out of yourself at certain terms – these should be regular and observe who you are becoming and who you are. What are the routes, what are the things you did and how did you get there? If you don’t like what you see, what do you need to fix? You must take a hard look at yourself and your life say, I’ve been looking at my life, these are the things and you’re looking as an external observer. What is it that has changed? Is it good or bad? If it is good, what led me there and how can I build on it? If it is bad, what led me to this bad situation and what is it that I can change about it coz I don’t want to go back to being that. Case in point, people who have addictions and they’re trying to break them, that is a case of reinvention. They look at themselves, they see what they’ve become and they don’t like what they see and because they don’t like what they see, they try to break the addiction, they try to leave whatever it is they are addicted to and that takes some very long time and it’s a big struggle. Then there those who look at what they’ve become physiologically and they don’t like what they see and they start to do something about it. They start working out, they go on diets, and they start training so that they get back in shape. That is also reinvention and you guys are always doing it. So there’s nothing really magical about what I do, it is just that I am able to get back out of myself. Occasionally, these are fairly critical times with what has happened to me, who have I become? Do I like what I’ve become? Is what I am what I wanted to be? And if it is not what I wanted to be, what do I want to be next?
  • Be very clear with what you want to become. What do you want to become? Once you know what you want to become, then and only then, can you start to figure ways in which you can become that. You must work out how you want the world to know that you are becoming what you want to become. You choose your methods deliberately. So when you do something, it is because you are communicating a change about yourself. That is the reinvention and if people notice it, that is a feedback to you that you are successful. If people don’t notice that you’ve changed yourself, then you know that you’re not succeeding and therefore you need to go back to the drawing board. But the most important thing is to know what you want to become, that becomes your lighthouse, it becomes your direction the way, it becomes the place you want to go, it becomes your destination and then you select the things you want to do in order to get there. You also need to check, when you’re becoming. Is it authentic or you are masking something? Are you pretending to cut an image when actually you’re not? And people can actually see through all of that stuff. People are very observant so just make sure what you want to become and the process of becoming whatever it is you want to become leads you to an authentic outcome, if it doesn’t lead you to an authentic outcome, people will see through it and will not accept it, and if they don’t accept it you’ll be wasting your time and they’ll all know that all you’re doing is just pretend.
  • Keep trying out different things –  which change will be more successful so you pursue those and by all means, proceed. You don’t have only one thing you want to become; you can want to become many things, for instance you may want to be trim, you may want to be light skinned, you may want to also speak like a British person, so you go about those changes coz those are very many so you go about them differently. But just know that you’re not tied down to become only that one thing. The most important thing is to be clear what it is that you want to become and that’s important. Keep trying and listen to feedback people will tell you, the worst thing is when you don’t get any feedback and nobody notices that you’re trying to do changes coz if they don’t, just know that you’re wasting time. Now, in that exercise there will be people that you can rely on in this process, you need to identify them, who are those people? Who are the people who are helpful? Are they mentors, are they role models, are they friends, are they family, who are they? Those people need to help you along the journey. It may be for instance that you now want to cut the image of a very happy family man, in this case you’re going to need your wife and children to help you in your reinvention away from the person who was too busy to be seen as a family man. Or you want to be seen as a high-flying executive then you’re going to need your team members because working with them will help you be seen as such. If you want to change your appearance and become more light-skinned than you were before, you’re gonna need your cosmetologist to help you with that.

Every day we reinvent ourselves, some of you wear very strong make up, the rest of us go for a very clean shave, whatever it is, just know the reinvention journey is going to need other people. Who are these people? Even hanging around with other people, identify them. Will they be helpful along the way? Are they helpful people? So that you get to know if, you’ll be able to work with them. And then, what are the support mechanisms you’re going to need in this reinvention journey? Are they the use of technology? Do you understand it? How can it help you? Or, it might be that you need money, coz you need money to look a particular way to cut a particular image, so just ask yourself, what are the other support mechanisms that I can employ to make me reinvent myself? That in my view is an important element of reinvention because the mechanisms and the people is what gets you going in the journey to reinvention as I said for instance, if you’re going to need skin lightening, then you’re going to need someone who knows where the most effective chemicals are and where they can be applied and then they can be applied uniformly so all of this stuff if you’re reinventing yourself, you’ve figured out what it is you want to become, which people will help you achieve that, now you need the means.

So, you’ve made that journey, what next? You need to have an open mind. Why do you need to have an open mind? Because you need to know where to go into the new directions. You may need new friends; you may need to meet new people. When you meet new people, new people then help you to change. The thing about meeting new people is that it requires you to have an open mind and know that they will know better than you. So, do you have an open mind? Are you teachable? Can you unlearn certain things? Can you grow? Because when you learn and unlearn things it means you can grow because if you don’t unlearn, you’ll become rigid, obsolete and conservative, and in most cases, you’ll be left behind. You’ll be unable to compete in the new world under changed circumstances that may operate. There are people who don’t want technology and so they think by destroying technology, it will not be put to use. But you owe it to yourself, if you want to reinvent yourself, learn now. First of all, first unlearn the things you’ve learned before because they may not be things that work effectively but you can also clear your mind. You open up space for new ideas, new thinking and new people to come and help you in the process of growing and reinventing yourself and becoming a whole new person which uniquely takes me to the next point;

  • De-clutter – by de-cluttering I mean many things. The first place you need to de-clutter is your mind; because if your mind is full of useless things and noises going on, you cannot decide which direction you’re going for, you need to de-clutter your mind completely, dump out all that you don’t need. Stop getting involved in communication that is unnecessary. De-clutter your mind of the past; clear it of resentment, clear it of prejudice, then with a clear mind you can now look at the direction where you want to go. Otherwise if your mind is cluttered, you’re going to drift in a direction without thinking which direction you want to go and the related issue which can help you to do that is to do a physical de-cluttering. There are some things which you liked from 20 years ago. Why are you still keeping shoes from 20 years ago? Why do you still have clothes that don’t fit you from 20 years ago? Why are you keeping newspapers from 20 years ago? Why are things hanging around? You don’t use them anymore, dump them. Then as they say, you’ll travel light.  If you think you still need them for sentimental reasons, then find a place you can name as your museum and put all your things there so you’ll be able to tell your daughter how that was your wedding dress. So the de-cluttering is both in your mind and your physical space. One of the things I discussed here some time back, my friends told me their parents built large houses and they realized they only need very limited space to live happily and so these mansions they don’t need have become a burden but unfortunately you can’t de-clutter a mansion, maybe you can sell it off. When circumstances in your life change, go in and look around and say, what are the things I need to keep. For instance, I’ve given myself until the end of this year if by the end of this year certain things don’t happen, one of the items in my life that’s going out of the window are the neckties. Those days I used to wear a necktie every day and it was important to wear a necktie of a different color and so on. Now, I’ll probably wear a necktie like once in 7months. So why should I keep them? Because if I wear a necktie once in 7months, the likelihood is if I wear a red one in the next 7months I wear a blue one you won’t even know so maybe all I need is 3 ties and forget about it. The thing I did with my suits, thankfully by the time I left I had de-cluttered them so I have two. That will not be a problem, you guys may never remember when I wore a grey one or blue one. Therefore, a good place in terms of physical de-cluttering is your wardrobe and then go to your desk; you don’t need all the papers that are there. If there’s sentimental value like I said, you set up a museum and put your items there and you put a label, say like this one I wore it from 1993-1997, I was 21, like that. Travel light, clear up your spaces, both mental and physical. That allows you the freedom and space to think of what you want to become and then to choose what you want to become. So that’s in terms of de-cluttering.
  • Have a discussion with yourself, frequently – Because if you talk to yourself frequently you will question some of the choices you are making, whether the direction you wanted to go still makes sense or you want to revisit and what it will do for you is you will be able to assess your journey. What were your successes, what are your challenges, what are the improvements you want to make, has there been any changes for the things you hold dear and for me this is very important because for the reinvention to take place you will need to have your priorities and your values coz that will inform things that you can’t compromise on even as you’re making the changes? For some people it’s their spiritual life, for some it’s family so it depends. Just know in the process of reinventing you must know what your priorities are at a material time. Your priorities may not be what they were 5-10 years ago or they may be still the same or something has changed. When you talk to yourself, they may come in form of a diary, a journal or any method you use to talk to yourself. For example, I want to change myself like this, this is the challenge I’m facing. I don’t know how many of you used to watch Big Brother and guys used to have a diary session, they would go to a room with a camera and some voice would ask them this and that, “eh my life has been this…” So you can also have your big brother session, sit in your room, talk to yourself and say okay, I’ve been on a journey to quit alcohol or to lose weight or become light skinned but I’ve become light skinned but my fingers have refused and the knees have also resisted on being black. What do I need to do?” Have a conversation, what is this journey looking like, is it the thing that you wanted to do or it has gone a completely different direction?
  • Do interim things – one of the things is sometimes you may not even be sure or what it is that you want to become may take a little longer. In the interim, find something that you do that keeps you going and leads you to the next stage of becoming what you want. So Caroline 2 cents challenged me on this and yes, there’s a direction I’m trying to go and what I’m doing now with the mentoring sessions, is part of the interim process of moving that direction I am not yet clear, there are many options that I’m looking at but this one seems to be working so you may have to do interim things. For instance, I’ve given you my example. But let’s look at people who want to quit smoking. People who want to stop smoking have interim things that they do to deliver them to past their addiction. Some of them, even people with other addictions, some are taken to rehabs and when in rehab, they’re then introduced to new things that help them in changing because this change can in most cases be uncomfortable. So you need to have things that you do to stay on the course as you figure out which direction you’re going. Even if you’re not on the specific path to where you want to go, have at least something that keeps you busy so I am spending quite some time on the whole mentoring exercise, I’m deeply involved in all activities at my farm, in my mind I also had a picture of what I want to become, so the things I’m doing now, my analysis is they will deliver me to where I want to be so my point in this is that don’t be in a void sitting and waiting for what is coming next. Find some kind of purgatory where you can exist but busy, while hoping one way or the other. Otherwise if you don’t have that, not only will the reinvention fail you will be tempted to hang on past glory and to things that made you what you were in the past and that way you never really get to move. Then, it is important as you set out on this reinvention journey, figure out what are your strengths. You also must know when and where to start on the reinvention process, have a starting point. Today I was here, now I need to change myself. I remember one important day in my life, 28th/10/2005, that’s the last time I consumed alcohol and from that time onwards I started a changing process, it took a long time to become what I subsequently became. So you must know when you should start to do something. I know when I started a regular workout; I know when I started to do the road based exercise. These changes and significant changes please know when to begin and set a date for that and keep account. It helps you to know the progress that you’ve made.
  • You MUST take action – you have to do things, you can’t sit there and dream about what you want to become, no! You must take the first step. If you don’t act then you can’t start the reinvention. But then the reinvention is also very important for you to remain consistent in your actions because the reinvention is not going to happen today only, you can’t stop today from your addiction and then hope after stopping today, it will end. You’re going to have to be consistent by acting in the same way over a sustained period, otherwise you cannot achieve the new you that you want to become if you don’t act, the new you will never be, if you don’t act, the old you will always remain. If you remain the old you, the world will leave you behind.

(Question time starts)

Chris (failed to pick the second name): What would you say are the key drivers that necessitate one’s reinvention during the current pandemic downtime?

RK: A lot of people haven’t figured that the current pandemic has altered the world FOREVER! The world has changed completely, because the world has changed, you Chris, need to respond to the changes that have taken place. You need to ask yourself, what changes have taken place as a result of the pandemic? The changes that have taken place as a result of the pandemic are things like schooling, education. What’s going to happen to how schooling is delivered?  The work place has changed; most likely we’ll never go back to sitting in offices in large numbers. Technology has arrived, there are questions whether all of us will remain to work the way we were before, maybe the 9-5 is gone, so all these huge and significant changes that have been brought about by the Corona virus and the reactions and responses to it have brought some really big changes. What you owe yourself Chris is, figure out what these changes are. The Chris before Covid and the Chris after Covid can’t be the same. You need to go back and check, how do you become a different Chris and still be useful to those around you? Before Covid we all thought that we have to work long hours in the office if you are to be considered hardworking, now we’re spending a lot of time with our families now you have to adjust to being a family man, being at home because now the circumstances are we can’t escape from our obligations and come back at 5a.m no, we must be there. To be there requires you to reinvent yourself from the aloof guy whose children couldn’t get along with to being a better dad, so that’s what I think would be a good answer to your question.

Moses Tayebwa: How do you balance between pushing it hard and allowing the evolution process to take its time?

Robert: It’s very simple, go back to what I said, what do you want to become? Do you have control over the whole process or are some of the other factors with some people? So, let’s say for instance I want to become the most famous You Tuber in Uganda, there are things I have control over on YouTube, I can come and be in front of a camera and set up a channel. But whether I’ll get subscribers is not up to me, so you’ve got to figure out; do you push hard? In other words, go and advertise and get people to subscribe or do you let it grow organically based on the value that you deliver? It depends on what you have decided you want and the methods by which you’re going to go after it. If you let the evolution process do it for you, then you are surrendering your power and yourself to the evolution process, that’s what it means. My answer to you therefore is figure out which parts you don’t control and those you leave to the process, then those that you control you can push hard to accelerate to get to your destination quickly.

David Muwanguzi: How best does one multi-task or diversify without compromising results?

RK: My answer to you is very simple; forget multi-tasking, focus. Focus on what is in front of you at this time so you can imagine if I was here sitting and talking about reinventing yourself and then at the same time, I am reading a book and at the same time I am talking on phone, that’s multi-tasking. So how would that be helpful to you? Why that is relevant to our reinvention talk is if you’re multi-tasking and doing too many things in one direction, you’ll not get anywhere.

Eddie: What’s the best way to tell a story and a personal statement coming from someone who has made an organization and is trying to mentor someone all around the world and is doing it right now?

RK: We always have these different points in our lives were we reconnect with our origins. Even you wherever you are, the question of identity is very important for you to be able to reconnect with your people back home and what’s the best way to do it and to reach out. I think first of all you need to obtain more information about where you came from. Then what I would advise is come back home, come visit coz that’s the way you reconnect and maybe when you reflect that experience you may want to look at yourself differently. You now know yourself better; you know your identity so that’s what I’d say to you Eddie.

Owen Bugembe: How do you deal with a mentor whose values you don’t agree with?

RK: You fire him, simple. Just fire that mentor you don’t need a mentor whose values you don’t agree with and if that’s me, I know I’m out of a job.

Person X: Robert, reinvention is life’s transition, it requires a mental picture over a long period of time in clear milestones. What’s your opinion?

RK: In a sense you are correct because part of living life involves reinvention. The only thing is you can never know at what point even if it’s life’s milestone you cannot know in advance when you’ll need to reinvent yourself. The only thing you need to know is that when you need to reinvent yourself, you had better have practiced reinvention before and then you can carry it out properly. So that’s what I would say about life as a journey.

Joy Batuusa: How do you deal with setbacks on the reinvention journey?

Robert: It takes me back to what I said earlier, I said what you need to do is have frequent conversations with yourself. Figure out, what are the milestones that you had wanted to achieve on the reinvention journey? How much of the journey have you covered? What is it that you set out to achieve? Why was it important to you? What are the priorities and values? If the process of reinvention is so important to you, then you will fight to stand up again. The best illustration is you need to talk to yourself, you need to step out of yourself and observe yourself whether you’ve been able to do that. And then your strength. What are your strengths? You look to those to bail you out of the challenges coz it’s those that will bail you out. Like when I talk addiction, you have to think. Why do you need to break the addiction? If you go back, is that the life you want? If it’s not the life you want, then you struggle to try again, otherwise you’re going to lose your life, your family and many things. My answer to you Joy is very simple, just look back, see what the challenges were, what are your strength and see what has worked for you.  Maybe the people you’re working with or the mechanism is not working, then you change.

Busingye Rebecca: You talked about having mentors, how do we maintain a relationship with the mentors without seeming like we’re bugging them as the process to reinvent may take some time?

RK: There’s no need for you to have an actual relationship with your mentor. People can be your mentor without you having to enter a personal relationship in fact I’d advice that you don’t, because then you’re under no pressure.

Aine Peter: Thanks Mr. Kabushenga for this, please throw more light on being authentic in the reinvention process.

RK: The purpose of your reinvention must be clear. It is you finding yourself in a set of circumstances and deciding to do something about it which is genuine. The authenticity of reinvention must be that you genuinely inside your deepest spiritual life, you desperately need to carry out this change and you want people to see that you have genuinely made this change.

Muhumuza Ronald: Please help me understand how to make valuable relationships while reinventing myself.

RK: I feel that if you want to be taken seriously and genuinely by relationships that you value, then you will do the reinvention. Then the people whose relationships you value, become your partners in the reinvention. Always check with them for feedback, is what you have become what they like? Has it helped your relationship with them to improve? If it has, then you’re on the right path. If there’s no change on the other side, even if you have tried to reinvent yourself but you see no positive feedback, then the other person whose relationship you value may not have been genuine and therefore you need to rethink.

Person Y: As you reinvented yourself, did you experience any nostalgic feelings after spending so many years working on your personal brand?

RK: A lot of people tie themselves or their personalities with their positions in society, or physical assets. When those assets are removed, they feel naked or feel abandoned and don’t know where to go or what to do next. So, I know that all of you guys are tempted to think that my personal brand was tied up with my former job and that I deliberately made many years building that actually on the contrary, I spent most of my working years trying to distinguish between myself and my job and my position in society. There are things I know that are not permanent. One of these, is that a job is not permanent so why tie yourself to it? But, at the time of doing the job there are things that you do because in order to do that job you need to do those things. However, it doesn’t mean that therefore you tie yourself on the job. Somebody meets you and asks who you are and you say “I’m a marketer.” No you’re not a marketer; you are who you are without your job.  Don’t be tied in with your social positions, with your assets, don’t be linked in this and that and the other coz those things will go.

RK: I want to apologize to the guys on spaces, the network was really terrible but to those who stayed on, thank you. The guys on zoom thank you for being on and if you can pick anything from my experience, I’m glad. Thank you very much and have a good weekend

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