I read a Bible verse just two days ago which literally made me stop in my tracks. It says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Prov. 16:9).
Since the beginning of March, I was struck with the sudden thought about whether there will be enough food to support our population in the future. And so I started a two month surge in researching, developing and writing business plans just for the heck of it. I am not sure about the eventual viability of my plans but going through the whole thinking process was certainly enlightening.
If you know me, coming out and starting my own business has always been a dream, as much as circumnavigating the whole world by land and sea. It is easy to just start a business but I am pretty anal about making a difference to the community with whatever I set out to do and this requires a lot of thinking and capital.
These are the outcomes from the two months:
1. There is so much you do not know. I went crazy reading about Malaysia economics, Iskandar development, entrepreneurs in Singapore, setting up a business in Singapore and Malaysia, agriculture, gardening, food politics, Singapore’s cultural heritage, writing business plans and running a bed and breakfast.
I am thankful I got most of the resources from our public libraries free of charge. It was a fruitful learning journey and I guess only with a goal in mind, no matter how fuzzy, will someone actually bother to read beyond their own scope of work.
2. The success of setting up a business has a lot to do with government policies. Should have been a no-brainer but until I started researching myself, I didn’t realise it. I thought I was rather innovative to come up with certain ideas but it could have been others have thought about it too and found it too difficult to get started due to the lack of support from the government.
3. I used to be very afraid to approach any government agencies to find out more information. However since being in the public sector myself, I found this to be an unfounded fear. Seriously I think customer service officers are as afraid of complaints as the public is afraid of approaching them.
And like any public agency, getting answers could be quite a long awaited process…. I also realised that despite our efforts at Whole-of-Government initiatives, there’s still a long long way to go before information from various agencies are integrated. I had to navigate through three to four different websites in order to piece all the information together.
4. I found out that the motivation behind my sudden eagerness to go out on my own is due to my suppressing and stifling work environment. Colleagues aside, it is almost impossible to get anything done due to the lack of support from my supervisor of anything ‘risky’ or requires sustained effort.
I was getting impatient and dissatisfied with how stagnant our education efforts are and no one seems willing to go out on a limb. I come from the point of view of wasted opportunities to reach out and educate while those in management look at it from amount of effort required. I mean how do you expect to get anything exceptional done without effort?
Perhaps I can’t fault my supervisor who has been in the organisation for 25 years. He has seen people come and go and he gets left to carry on the brilliant ideas with no credit to him. He probably doesn’t want to be laden with the shit I will leave behind when I resign… And I will if this carries on!! What a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It is extremely demoralising to keep coming up with ideas and not have them rejected but be put on hold because the supervisor needs time to think about it. And then when someone of higher authority suggests the same thing, the idea is suddenly approved for implementation. This is how people with passion become molded into mediocrity.
Anyway back to the keeping in line with God’s plans. I was like a busy bee buzzing around making plans and deciding how I was going to become boss within the year. And then He spoke. Have you forgotten that the Lord is the one who will determine your steps? Indeed I have forgotten that my life is no longer my own.
And I will have to be contented in acknowledging that Paul planted the seeds, Apollos watered it but God made it grow (1 Cor 3:6). So I am His instrument of a future result… a prize that will only be credited to me in heaven. And here is God’s say in my efforts –
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Gal 6:9