By Kesiya Stamili Ramazani

As I grew up, I came to acknowledge that personal discovery is the process of understanding my self values, my needs and wants, likes and dislikes. Along the way, I have come to understand how different personal discovery is from personal development. Personal development is mainly looking inwards and focusing on ways to better myself so as to increase self awareness, esteem, skills and fulfill my aspirations. Most of us have naturally learnt some of these things over time, and here I will share with you some of my experiences around these concepts. I will also share my desire for this to be as useful for you as it was for me.

The two processes work hand in hand, though their differences are quite riveting. As for personal discovery, this can happen through a powerful workshop, after undergoing a great personal meditation, or through a one on one life-coaching session. My own journey to personal discovery occurred through a combination of these three options. I can vividly recall how several years ago, I was this close to joining varsity and in spite of passing my A level examination, I was not connected to what I was venturing into. In 2019, I was fortunate to get a ten-month social entrepreneurship scholarship in Uganda. When the opportunity came, I felt the need to explore something new.

So I traveled from Zimbabwe to Uganda to the Social Innovation Academy located in Mpigi, ready for the training. A ten month trip away from home to a completely new environment with only other youngsters looked to be adventurous, though one had to have a sense of responsibility and self discipline to keep up and stay focused. One of the most powerful sessions was Spark training. This session, as the name suggests, sparks one from the inner core. Our trainer took us into a meditation zone. I can still view the area I went to in my memory. It was on an ever green mountain summit. So many clouds could be seen in the sky, the air smelled fresh and moist. And here we wrote down as instructed: what we are good at, what we enjoy doing. What we wished to learn. What changes we would bring to the existing world if given the chance and full authority. What our personal barriers were that hindered us from achieving our goals. How we could overcome or work on these challenges.

The Spark session felt like one of the best moments of my life. It felt so important that I wanted it to go on forever because my pen kept filling my tiny pink notebook. This moment made me see the other side of me I had not taken the time to discover. This was the first time I got to discover that I was capable of creating a solution to some of the pressing issues at hand in my community that have lasted for years. Now I knew I was able to start a Youth led Organization that could create job initiators and not seekers, that could break the bondage of child marriage, drug abuse and theft, and help these youths become problem solvers, innovators, leaders and self-sustainable youths building their future careers and and raising the country’s economy. The session ended with everyone presenting their best realizations during the meditation, and I could hardly believe the ideas I wrote and those of others.

Results of this meditation came to life in 2020, when I merged with a colleague and created the Refugee Youth Led Initiative now known as @Transformation Innovation Hub located in Tongogara Refugee camp. This Initiative now has eight committee members that run the operations, and one hundred and five scholars who have unleashed seven enterprises. Following my own path of personal discovery continues to lead to new and exciting places.

On the other hand, personal development is a process that requires more time, commitment and courage as well as endurance. Interestingly, most of the development in the discoveries I made after that conference occured in 2022, last year. For most of my life, I have had stage fright and I discovered that area needed to be worked on. I can still recall my first time presenting. It was in a bootcamp and I was chosen with my team to present for our project that was still merely an idea. Two teams before they called us, I suddenly had so much pain in my stomach. My hands felt sweaty and before they even called me to present I passed out (fainted). It was such a horrific experience I never wanted to present ever again.

Only recently have I stood up, realizing I have to face my fears till they are not fears anymore. I have also come to realize it’s an important tool and skill to my success and area of expertise. On the 17th of December last year, I was invited to be one of the public speaking contestants at a Tanyaradzwa Initiative Magazine Launching. Aware of my fears, I took this up as a self challenge since it was an area I have been working on: I registered. And this time I had self confidence, studied my lines and rehearsed as often as I could. The day of the presentation, I had calmness in me as I stepped to the stage in response to my name being called as the first participant to present. If I had tried this a year earlier, I would have gotten a heart attack. Starting with a joke to bring more attention to the room that was full of audience, I was ready to offer my message on “Possible solutions to challenges affected by modern feminists in Zimbabwe.” This message was well received as I could see some of the audience nodding their heads while others listened with smiling faces. This day gave me assurance that I can do much more with my public speaking skills.

On a serious note, I can assure you that we all have areas we can easily work on and those whose existence we are unconscious of. Most of us have these zones that we leave untouched. It could be fear of stage fright, that toxic relationship that one has failed to end, or being unsociable…. the list is endless. If not worked on, such zones grow stronger and stronger until they become part of us and you will hear one say “this is really my fate!” Or “ I was born like this.” For instance, in the past century, most young girls have a fear of loneliness and end up in toxic relationships that don’t add value to them but rather cause trauma.

Sadly this could be an illusion caused by a childhood habit or experience, the kind of environment one grew up in, or scenarios that made one see things that way and so molds one to think so and believe so. A typical example is my own experience. I grew up in a society where it is believed that a girl’s expertise only lies in motherhood and parenting. This affected my grades in school and the way I expressed myself in public events because I knew even if I made good grades, I would end up getting married right away after my graduation. And so I did not have career dreams. All I could dream of was coming across a handsome, rich husband who would build me a home and we would love happily ever after. But recently I have come to discover that even if the above belief has been useful to past generations, it’s up to me to create my own belief that will affect my success positively.

Till the present day, my life has taken a new path and ways to strive and work towards self refining to become the best version of myself. The core machine I always consider is moving out of my comfort zone, for there’s much to learn out there that is beyond being with my old, familiar self. With this, my days are spent in learning new things often (new skills and habits such as weekly wake outs, yoga sessions, writing and reading skills, canva and MS PowerPoint creation etc.) and engaging in community based activities that I’m passionate about (such as playing the role of coordinator on the girl child workshop on value discovery that was carried mid 2020, getting involved in community campaigns on COVID-19 awareness and prevention means as a volunteering peer educator, and being the MC at the youths international day that was celebrated on the 16th of August 2022, this is just to mention a few.) I can say it’s been a great journey for me filled with ups and downs that refined me, and I’m still on it 😀 . I believe you’re on it too, just a little more discovery is needed to reconstruct your path.


20 March, 2023