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When The Desired Is Not Available ...

One time, my former boss said a phrase that didn’t sit well with us the employees, even though none had the audacity to voice it.
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“When the desired is not available, the available becomes the desired.”

He was referring to the staff he was saddled with, who weren’t exactly up to par with what he desired. What he desired, he couldn’t afford. Still, though we were available, we remained the ‘not desired’.

Years later, running a service delivering business that depends on certain services from others to meet the needs of my clients, that phrase returns to mind and I see it a whole lot differently.

I have always strived to become ‘desired’ (adding quality value) wherever I find myself. When I became a journalist, I had no experience. Though I was coming from one publishing house to another, what I did at Hints (Thrills & Booms) Magazine, writing romance stories, is a long way from everyday reporting in the newspaper house. My first beat was Arts and Entertainment. As I did before joining Hints, it is not enough that I could write; I understudied the job to know what I needed to do to excel at it. I would eventually cover the Education and real Estate beats before leaving journalism a few years back to become an entrepreneur.

At first, really, it was all about writing my stories, then I started publishing an entrepreneurial downloadable magazine, then editing other people’s manuscripts and providing content. As long as it was related to writing, whether or not I have done it before and it comes my way, I learn how to do it.
In the second quarter of this year, my mentor contracted me to ghostwrite a book for one of his clients. After delivering what I felt was a wonderful story, I waited for his feedback. The day we met, he started by asking:

“Uzezi, how many books have you read this year?”

For someone who claims to love books and reading so much; scratch that! For someone who calls herself ‘a writer’, I stammered an answer. It was embarrassing. He told me it was obvious from the manuscript I delivered, that I hadn’t done a lot of reading in recent times. He was correct.
He gave me time out to read books and rework on the manuscript. He even invested some awesome titles in my life. I had almost forgotten the many benefits of reading. As I began to read again, they began to come back. When I eventually resubmitted the final manuscript, the praise I received sharpened my pen.

What am I saying? Don’t wait to be told to grow, to learn something new that can become a value-added service. When I started publishing other writers’ books, my service ended at printing and delivering the copies. Soon I added other services on the same title and currently planning on introducing more services in the coming year.  

One of the recurring challenges I have had over the years has to do with graphics. I haven’t had the opportunity to work with one who wouldn’t give me an issue. Getting my work back as at when due, never happens. Design; we go over and over the same work, I get tired. And the one that finally broke the camel’s back was an unbelievable phrase after we had gone over adjusting size of a book cover to fit Amazon’s requirement. “Why can’t they just fix the dimension issues of the cover themselves, since they know what they want?”  

At that point, there were no more words to be spoken. I started looking for a new graphic artist.  And then I remembered the phrase from years ago and realised while I stuck with services that weren’t helping my business. When the desired is not available, the available becomes the desired. No more. Whatever it takes to get the desired, as long as it positions every part of my work positively, then it is welcome.