After win, tighten your helmet, boots


In high school, we read one interesting short story titled, Truly Married Woman authored by Abioseh Nicol.

It is a story that mirrors many aspects of our lives.

Recently, I remembered this story when an employee of a certain company told me that her boss has steered the business to great success but feared it is now drifting away slowly.

The reason is, she felt, she had ‘arrived’ and started neglecting habits and practices that made her business thrive to where it is now.

Back to Truly Married Woman. In this story, a man named Ajayi lived a blissful and fulfilling life with his mistress Ayo for 12 years.

Ayo, without complaining, excellently fulfilled all her duties to Ajayi, including giving birth to his three children.

The society and, of course, the church complained and castigated their illegitimate union but this did not dampen their relationship.

Then one day, Ajayi out of the pressure to formalise the union or out of his own volition initiated the process of marrying her officially.

The wedding was colourful and a show of magnificence to behold. However, immediately after the wedding, things took a completely different turn. That shocked Ajayi to the core.

He woke up early as usual and went straight to fetch his cup of tea. Alas! It was not there.

Panic-stricken, he went to find out whether Ayo got sick in the night and failed to wake up. He found her slithering leisurely in bed and after assurances that she was as fit as fiddle, she said calmly but emphatically:

“Ajayi, my husband, for 12 years I have got up every morning at five to make tea for you and breakfast. Now, I am a truly married woman you must treat me with a little more respect. You are now a husband and not a lover. Get up and make yourself a cup of tea.”

The story ends without the author telling us what happens next but your guess is as good as mine.

In business and in life generally, most of us pursue our dreams devoutly until we feel we have succeeded and relax or change our habits.

We forget that some of the disciplines and habits that helped us reach the top are still necessary to keep us there.

There is a famous Japanese proverb that says, “After winning the battle, tighten your helmet.”

This is a warning: the win and drop your guard in the battlefield where the enemy lurks.

Most entrepreneurs do very well; taking care of their customers, doing everything diligently with zeal and commitment until when the business peaks.

They relax and take many things for granted.

This partially explains why most businesses and careers that have taken years to build sometimes come to an abrupt halt after peaking.

You find a business that started from scratch with hardly any capital and weathered many storms along the way reaches a point where it cannot fend away creditors and auctioneers.

Mr Kiunga is a business trainer and the author of The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market. [email protected]