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Gandhi and his values-driven greatness (excerpt)

Throughout history, individuals and organizations that truly succeeded were able to:

  • Discover,
  • Define,
  • Communicate and impart shared values to their people, and
  • Align everything alongside the shared values to experience a values-driven greatness.

Let’s pick one of the great ones from those I’ve already shared with you in part one, and add two more great ones who led a purpose-oriented, vision-centered, and values-driven lifestyle.

  1. Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi attained the highest form of greatness: purpose-oriented, vision-centered, and values-driven greatness. As we already covered in Part I, his purpose was liberating India from England’s colonization. He went all-in and gave his life toward the fulfillment of his unique purpose. He saw a free India and helped his fellow Indians to see the picture clearly. Because of his visioning ability, he could rally millions of Indians to stand with his cause until India was liberated.

Gandhi also discovered certain values that defined him and his movement. He communicated these values and demonstrated unwavering commitment to live up to the expectations of these values on a consistent basis. His top three values were:

  • Truth,
  • Love, and
  • Loyalty.

In his autobiography entitled ‘The story of my experiments with truth’, Gandhi shared his experiments in search of the truth. In the book, he talked about attending many meetings organized by various faiths outside of the mainstream Hindu religion in pursuit of the truth.

His undying commitment to know the truth shaped his personality and the method he used to free India. It made him a man of love, dependable, forgiving, and a servant. He wrote, “To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself.”[i]

He also wrote about one of his values, loyalty. “Hardly ever have I known anybody to cherish such loyalty as I did to the British Constitution. I can see now that my love of truth was at the root of this loyalty.”[ii] His loyalty to the Empire had been before he began the liberation movement. Until then, he “Believed that the British Empire existed for the welfare of the world. A genuine sense of loyalty prevented me from even wishing ill to the Empire.”[iii]

Gandhi led a values-driven lifestyle. This lifestyle earned him the respect of both his countrymen and the British. Because he showed undying commitment to his values, not only did he lead his country’s freedom, he inspired liberation movements around the world.

He fulfilled his purpose, realized his vision of a free India, and attained a purpose-oriented, vision-centered, and values-driven greatness. As a result, he impacted those well beyond his own country and generation. He left an indelible legacy and remains a household name around the world.

[i] Gandhi (1927). p. 463.

[ii] Gandhi (1927). p. 158.

[iii] Gandhi (1927). p. 287 – 288.




This excerpt is taken from ‘The Highest Level of Greatness’ book pages 133 – 134.

If you haven’t yet, check out the following excerpts:

3. My conversation with Ken about purpose-oriented lifestyle
5. Is your organization purpose-oriented
6. Moses attained purpose-oriented greatness
7. Thomas Edison attained purpose-oriented greatness
8. The need to see the completion of your purpose
9. Vision has no boundary
10. Four truths about values.

Contact the author if you’re interested him to speak at one of your future events, contact us. Tel: 703-895-4551 or email us @

In order to get updates, future excerpts, and related events, follow us on social media by going to the top right corner of this page. You may also subscribe to our YouTube channel to get alerts when we upload video clips. You may also subscribe to our newsletter for free:

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Vision has no boundary (excerpt)

Below are the four grand truths about vision, which I hope encourages you to begin seeing your purpose in a picture and pursue vision-centered greatness:

  1. Unlike other creations, humanity has two sets of eyes- sight and insight
  2. As much as our physical eyes are vital to succeed in the physical world, our inner eye is critical to attaining true greatness
  3. Tapping into one’s unlimited potential is impossible if one only depends on the physical eyes
  4. True greatness comes by envisioning and actualizing one’s vision
    1. Humanity has two sets of eyes

Unlike other creations, we humans have both sight and insight. However, it is insight, not sight, that distinguishes the human race. Victor Frankl said, “Among all living things, only we humans can envision our futures and play out mental scenarios of how we will make our visions a reality.” Unfortunately, very few tapped into this innate ability. These few are the ones who achieved greatness.

We live in two distinct worlds at the same time whether we are aware of it or not. We need both sets of eyes to succeed in both. Our physical eyes guide us in the physical world while our vision empowers us to tap into the unseen world and navigate successfully in the invisible world. Iyanla Vanzant, a motivational speaker, and lawyer said it very well, “If you don’t have a vision, you are going to be stuck in what you know. And the only thing you know is what you’ve already seen.” To go beyond what we see and already know, which is very limited, we need to go beyond what we can see with our bare (naked) eyes.

The latter is the key to attain undeniable success. With your sight, you can only stumble on something that exists in the natural. With your vision, however, you create if what you need doesn’t exist. Our sight must be complemented with our insight. Sight is bound by time and space; vision isn’t! Vision has no boundary. With vision, you can transcend time and space to create the world you desire and attain undeniable greatness!




This excerpt is taken from ‘The Highest Level of Greatness’ book pages 83 – 84.

If you haven’t yet, check out the following excerpts:

3. My conversation with Ken about purpose-oriented lifestyle
5. Is your organization purpose-oriented
6. Moses attained purpose-oriented greatness
7. Thomas Edison attained purpose-oriented greatness
8. The need to see the completion of your purpose

Contact the author if you’re interested him to speak at one of your future events, contact us. Tel: 703-895-4551 or email us @

In order to get updates, future excerpts, and related events, follow us on social media by going to the top right corner of this page. You may also subscribe to our YouTube channel to get alerts when we upload video clips. You may also subscribe to our newsletter for free:

Subscribe for free to receive our monthly newsletter…

The need to see the completion of your purpose (excerpt)

Clearly seeing the completion of purpose

You may marvel and ask, why should I care about vision? I already know my purpose and pursuing it to secure a purpose-oriented greatness. Yes, a true greatness that endures is built on a worthwhile purpose as a solid foundation.

However, identifying and pursuing a purpose is the beginning of a long and protracted journey toward attaining an undeniable greatness. We shouldn’t be carried away at discovering a worthwhile purpose. We should sit down and clearly see the completion of the purpose.

‘Vision is the key to fulfilling your life’s purpose’

Myles Munroe was one of the great visionaries. He shared great insights in his book entitled ‘The Principles and Power of Vision’. In that book, he wrote, “Vision is the key to fulfilling your life’s purpose.” He was right. Vision supports the fulfillment of purpose at multiple levels:

  1. Vision to deepen understanding of the purpose

First of all, the process of visioning provides us a deeper understanding of the purpose itself. Knowing our individual purpose (and the mission of our organization) without envisioning is like being aware of the existence of a problem without knowing how to address it. Purpose shows you the:

  • Need,
  • Gap, or
  • Problem.

Visioning allows you to fully understand the need, gap, and/or problem the purpose addresses. It also empowers you to come up with strategies and approaches that enable you to:

  • Meet the need,
  • Bridge the gap, and/or
  • Solve the problem.

Purpose without vision is a handicap. With the discovery of a purpose, you just came to realize the existence of an issue, and you’re the right person (team/organization) to fix it. You need to tap into your innate ability to envision and understand the problem fully so that you could be able to address it.






This excerpt is taken from ‘The Highest Level of Greatness’ book pages 79 – 80.

If you would like to read more about discovering and pursuing purpose, check out the following excerpts:

1. What I found out in my conversations concerning purpose:
2. The four grand truth about purpose:
3. My conversation with Ken about purpose-oriented lifestyle:
4. About my little life and the path I have followed in the discovery and pursuit of my purpose:
5. Is your organization purpose-oriented:

Contact the author if you’re interested him to speak at one of your future events, contact us. Tel: 703-895-4551 or email us @

In order to get updates, future excerpts, and related events, follow us on social media by going to the top right corner of this page. You may also subscribe to our YouTube channel to get alerts when we upload video clips. You may also subscribe to our newsletter for free:

Subscribe for free to receive our monthly newsletter…

Facebook Live interview at UN Migration Agency- IOM DC office

Live from Washington DC: a Conversation with Ethiopian author Assegid Habtewold

Posted by IOM – UN Migration Agency on Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Here is the link to the Youtube version of the live interview:



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Interviewed by a local TV station based on my new book

The Ethiopian TV and Radio (ESAT)’s Reeyot interviewed me based on my new book. The interview wasn’t conducted in English. It’s in Amharic…


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Adopting to Change, Flowing with the Current…

ChangeEverything in life and nature changes except change itself. It remains the only constant that doesn’t bow down to the course of nature. Change has been with us since the beginning of history. The only thing that changed is the pace of change that has been quickened especially in these days.

In the 21st C, either you change and flow with the current or die. You cannot stand on the way of change and survive to tell your side of the story. Even if you don’t like it or feel uncomfortable about it or angry with what is changing; you cannot stop it. It didn’t just change. It had been there for years. Now, it just surfaced and exploded in your face 🙂

When the CEO of Nokia cried in front of an audience saying that they did their best but still lost it, what he didn’t realize was that they didn’t just lose when Microsoft acquired them. They had failed to sense the change that was coming ahead of the curve. And, that negligence had a steeping price.

Ask yourself, did your organization or business or even you as a person anticipate the change that is now overwhelming you? The answer is simple. If you are just mad, angry, and helpless as you struggle to cope with the change, you didn’t anticipate what was coming well before the change exploded and became obvious. That is okay, it happens. The real question is, what do you do about it, now change is here?

You don’t need to lose twice by resisting the change that you haven’t anticipated coming. This time, brace to flow with it and find ways to maximize the opportunities that may exist within the changing pattern. Don’t allow yourself and organization lose twice and maybe forever… The ball is in your court…

History proved us again and again that even in the midst of recessions, new millionaires and thriving businesses emerged.

In the midst of rapid changes that are going on in the US, and around the world, as much as there are challenges, risks, and dangers ahead, there are overt and hidden opportunities you should tap into by turning your anger and frustration into meaningful and fruitful actions.

Yes, some are going to lose big time while others may win in a given change equation. But, there are some people and organizations who may find themselves in the first group who won’t surrender to lose it all. If you are in the other side of the fence and one of the losers, don’t give up yet, be like those who have braced to face the change boldly and those who attempt to change the course of the change in their favor. Regroup, and strategize to adopt to change, and change the course of history for good.

Brace to face the change that is inevitable. Don’t spend too much time and energy in complaining and resisting the change you cannot stop or slow. Understand that it’s wise to flow with the current and achieve your goals what so ever up hill the battle may be to succeed in the changing circumstance that may not favor you right now.

This afternoon, together with some awesome community leaders, I’m going to talk about the nature of change, what happens when we don’t change, and stories of organizations and nations that couldn’t be able to discern a change ahead and paid dire prices, and some models to reference as we navigate through the change that is happening, and tools and approaches to overcome fear, uncertainty, confusion, and so on as we pass through a rapidly changing landscape around us.

If you’re in the DC Metro area, and available this afternoon (@4pm), why don’t you come and let’s have conversations about change management. Here is the address: Lincolnia Senior Center 4710 N. Chambliss ST, Alexandria.Hope to see you soon…


Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is the owner and lead trainer at Success Pathways, LLC. He facilitates Change Management workshops. Here is the link to learn the learning objectives of our Change Management workshop:

From Chewing Khat (a little sister of Amphetamine drugs) to Grinding Knowledge…

KhatThis week, I promised to share my humbling story- from where I came from. That is important at many levels. First, when people learn some of my accomplishments such as becoming the president of the largest university students’ union in my home country (AAU), having multiple degrees including a doctoral degree, writing two books on the theme leadership, establishing a couple of organizations, working with world-class training organizations, and more, they may assume that I came from a well to do family. Second, when some people notice my confidence, upbeat, and positive personality as they read my articles and watch me present and/or facilitate workshops,they may think that I’ve been this way throughout my life. Third, a few may assume that I might have neglected to look inward and be realistic; otherwise, they may wonder, how on earth someone like me (an underdog full of visible disadvantages) remains optimistic all the time. I’m aware. Like everybody, I do have limitations, struggle here and there, face setbacks once in awhile, and failed a number of times but these never make me bow down my head and remain pessimistic.

There could be many other reasons for this undying commitment to remain positive and having the attitude of always moving forward regardless of facing things that I didn’t expect that surprised and sometimes frustrated me. One of the reasons is from where I came from- my humble beginning. Think about this. I’m from Ethiopia- considered as one of the poorest countries in the world. Of course, I’m proud of my root like millions of my fellow countrymen and women. I’ve many things that cause me to remain thankful for being an Ethiopian. As if this isn’t enough though,I came from a poor family (I’ll share more on this in the future). I’d like to point out one thing, however. Though my parents hadn’t a chance to get education for themselves, they committed themselves and tried their best for their kids to go to school. I’m grateful. That being said, let me give you a little background about the place where I grew up so that you may have a clear picture where this all began 🙂

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It’s in the Eastern part of Ethiopia, Harar. My village is a notorious place called Kelad Amba. I’m sure many from Harar would find it difficult to believe that I’m actually from that place 🙂 Don’t ask me, the story is long. But, they know why 🙂 Like many of my peers, I was from a military family. In that part of the world, we had our own subculture. As we grew up, we were like brothers and sisters. We loved each other and it was a wonderful place to grow up as kids. The trouble started when we become teenagers. Rather than focusing on education, and use our time effectively and protecting our future, and ourselves, we got distracted partly because of our roaring testosterone that made us prone to do crazy things.

Looking back retrospectively, I wonder how come some of us survived? As teen-agers, we chewed Khat (Qat)- a green leaf illegal in the US and many Western countries. The substance from this leaf is mild compared to Amphetamine drugs. When you chew Khat, you experience euphoria for a couple of hours. Unless you tried it- or other similar drugs, it’s very hard to explain what happens when you chew Khat here on this page. I hear you say, try me 🙂 Well, when you get elated, you begin fantasizing, talking nonstop and loudly without any care to listen what your companions have to say. You feel happy, forgiving, idealist, and romantic even if these aren’t your natural attributes.You promise yourself to study hard starting tomorrow, go and ask forgiveness from the persons you offended. You envision becoming the president of the country, break world record in long distance run, marry the most beautiful girl in your village, and many more. You may wonder what is wrong with these seemingly great things? Well, what you may not know is that, the next day, these all beautiful thoughts on the cloud are gone. You won’t make yourself accountable. What is interesting? When I look back retrospectively, since back then I didn’t have the luxury to think about this kind of things :-), is that the following day you start from scratch and continue to fantasize more and endlessly 🙂 lol By the way, as I write this part, I went back and reminisced the old good days 🙂 Recounting this part caused me to stop writing and laugh so many times…

Chewing Khat is unhealthy if it is done on a daily basis. The trouble, however, was what we used to do afterwards. To break the mild depression that follows the euphoria state that stays for a couple of hours, we go out to drink. We used to say, let’s go out for ‘Chebsi’. Most nights, we party and dance while some nights we do other crazy things. Many of my friends have already deceased because of HIV Aids. I don’t know now. Back then, more than two decades ago, the awareness wasn’t there. Many of us slept with multiple partners, and did sex without protection.

Some of my peers who escaped the wrath of this disease could be able to survive and even thrived while the majority of them couldn’t survive life and the challenges it presents since many of them didn’t get a chance to continue in their education. In our subculture, we lived one day at a time disregarding to spend a fraction of the time to think about our future. Partly, we didn’t have enough role model individuals that succeeded in business or education. There weren’t institutions and government supports to equip us become fruitful citizens. It looked like we were going to stay in that the same place and environment in the rest of our lives without vision and hope. Some of us became lucky not because we were better or special while some of our dear friends were not so lucky. It’s very painful when I think about those great individuals who were victims of the environment… Sad!!!

So you know, I don’t consider myself better than any of my peers. For that matter, I was well aware that many of them were more intelligent and smarter than I was. I say this not to appear humble. I know myself. The only thing that, looking back, helped me to advance in my education, and succeed in my other endeavors were very small things like passion– the determination not to quit regardless of setbacks. Most of my successes took time. I overcame those setbacks that confronted me since I stayed on them long enough. Passion empowered me to outlast them one at a time. That is why I don’t take my little achievements seriously and motivate others to succeed in life. Having passion doesn’t require education, intelligence, and smartness. If you just have passion, nothing else, my friends, you’re bound to become one of the great world changers. The sky is the limit. If the guy who used to chew Khat and fantasized ‘for a living’ has come this far, you don’t have any excuse. Remember, I didn’t have any clue I’d reach this far. I didn’t have any idea that those little things that I believed in and practiced would lead me to where I’m currently, and where I’m going…

Remain tuned. Part II coming soon… In the meantime, let me know if you relate to my story. Share with me your beginning? Have you thought you would come this far? What enabled you to survive, and even thrive? What do you advise others who may be where you were?

Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is a motivational speaker at Success Pathways, LLC. His passion is to inspire people to make positive changes in their attitude, mindset, values, and in turn to take bold actions to transform their lives, relationships, and organizations. To learn more about the themes of AZ’s motivational speeches, check out this page: The list isn’t complete. If the topics you’re looking for couldn’t make it to the list; let’s know, we can come up with the right topic and customize it for your audience.

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Don’t give up on your business ideas too quickly

university-of-bern Rejeection LetterHave you got a ‘rejection letter’ against your ‘radical’ ideas (visions, books, projects, and so on)? Einstein too got this thing. He got a nicely written letter (see the letter on the left side) calling him ‘Out of Touch’.

However, rejection had never stopped him.

He became a genius the world has been celebrating for decades.

What about your business ideas? Have you given up on your unique and artistic business ideas because people are calling them too radical and impractical?

Reconsider your decision.

Use this letter as a reminder that your today’s artistic and radical ideas will be celebrated by millions tomorrow if you don’t get discouraged because people have rejected them. If you don’t give up on your great ideas too soon, you will see them bear fruits in due time.

THE Show- Season I- Topic II: Visionary Lifestyle- Episode 2

Season I– Personal Development

Topic II– Visionary Lifestyle

Episode 2

To watch previous Episodes:

Visionary Lifestyle

Vision-LedThe term vision is a household name and almost everyone claims having one. However, it has been confused with other terms that cannot fully express its true meaning. People confuse vision with fantasy, and trance. Some people have also difficulty to differentiate between vision, mission, motto, and goal. Unlike vision, fantasy is daydreaming and you don’t make yourself accountable for its realization. You don’t have control or say when you pass through trance because you’re influenced externally. In case of vision, you are the author of your vision, and have the control and the one who initiates it.


Mission is the reason of your existence while vision is seeing the accomplishment of it. Motto is a concise expression of who you are, for what you stand for, and what you deliver. Goal is specific and measurable. If you say, I would like to generate fifty thousand dollars next year; it is a short-term goal. It is specific and once you generate the money, it is over. On the other hand, vision is the abstract of your future and you don’t change it frequently.


Many dictionaries briefly define vision as a picture we see in our mind. Let me give you a more elaborate definition: The abstract of the whole journey that will be used as a roadmap from where we are now, to navigate through, and finally reach our destiny. It is about the mental image of who we would become at the end of the day, and the legacy we leave behind.


We may have mini visions for the various aspects of our lives: family, school, career, business, and so on. However, here we are talking about our lifetime vision and the vision of our organization. You should also note that your mini-visions should align with the umbrella vision, the big picture.


There are lots of advantages you may enjoy when you lead a visionary lifestyle. To enjoy these benefits, you should overcome the challenges that may prevent you from living a visionary lifestyle. You should also assess your progress on a consistent basis, and use some tools that may help you lead this kind of lifestyle.


If you’re interested, I have produced four Episodes on Visionary Lifestyle via ESAT TV and Radio- THE Show (The Hour of Empowerment Show). The first Episode was released last Friday. Here is the link to watch Episode 1:


The coming three Episodes provide Reality Checks, Self-Measurements, Tools, and Interview that are very helpful as you work on your personal and corporate vision. They will be released in the coming three weeks. You may visit this link to watch the three Episodes on Visionary Lifestyle when they are released:

The above notes are taken from my book entitled “The 9 cardinal building blocks for continued success in leadership”, which will soon be published. We will notify you as soon as the book is out. Chapter two of the book covers the second cardinal building block- Imagination, more specifically visioning. It provides insights, the benefits you may enjoy, the challenges that may deny you from benefiting from a visionary lifestyle, reality checks, assessments, tools, process, steps, assignments, group discussions, and more.  Stay tuned…