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Reflection: Thirteen years In America – Breaking Habits

Thirteen years ago today, on August 7th, 2007, I arrived in America. I migrated from Ghana with my family for greener pastures and more opportunities. It’s an understatement to say America has been a blessing to me. When I returned to Ghana in 2017 after 10 years in America, I noticed how grace and favor played a role in bringing me to America. I noticed how fortunate I’ve been. And all the opportunities I’ve encountered simply because I got the chance to come to America. I realized America presented me with an opportunity to build a better future for myself. From middle school, through high school and college, I’ve encountered people who poured into me. Mentors, teachers, and professors who have aided me in my academics and research pursuits.

I strongly believe personal accountability is essential for growth and change. As a result, on August 7th every year, I sit and reflect on my progress and shortcomings. I access my growth, my achievements, and my shortcomings. I conclude my reflection with a yearly goal. As I share this year’s reflection with you, I hope you’re inspired to reflect often. My reflection is lengthy, so divided into 3 separate blog post. Please look forward to a continuation of this post next Thursday.

Breaking Cultural Habits – Punctuality & Reliability

Tackling Punctuality

One habit I tackled in year 12 was punctuality. I strived to always arrived early to every appointment or engagement. Africans are notorious for being late. We even have a funny term that goes, “no African time!”. I strived to ensure that my time reputation is impeccable. I wanted to ensure that no one, and I mean no one, would ever say “Emma, is late, she didn’t do this on time”. Punctuality will make people respect you, it also presents you in a light of readiness. It makes you appear prepared.

I can’t claim I was punctual to every engagement, but I’ll say I really strived to. I always used my planner and the timers on my iPhone for all appointments. I also used the monthly calendar view in my planner to prepare for the week ahead. I was always aware of all appointments at the start of every week and every day. I often use my iPhone to set alarms 10-15 minutes before every appointment.

Tackling Reliability

I also worked on reliability. Reliability to me meant keeping my word. It was doing what I said I would do, how I said I would do it, and when I said I would do it. Reliability has a strong impact on your integrity. Integrity is honoring your word. Tackling this was very challenging because it required a prodigious level of honest with myself. I noticed I had to be reliable with my research team and co-workers. I can’t promise to have sometime done and not have it completed on the due date.

One experience that has really shaped my reliability was an incident revolving a website project I worked on. According to the proposal I drafted, I was expected to complete the website by a certain date. I was unable to finish on the date promised and this really disappointed my client. As a result, it affected the client’s deadline. The situation really humbled me, and I made a resolution that day to be reliable.

Since that incident, I strive to be reliable. When I set a deadline and I later foresee that I might not be able to keep my word, I communicate with the person promptly and I ask for an extension. Communication is very important when it comes to being reliable. Consistency is another subset of reliability. Strive to be consistent. A reliable person is often consistent. Strive to be consistent.

My reflection is lengthy, so I’ll share it in 3 separate blog posts. Please look forward to a continuation of my reflection next Thursday. Next Thursday, I’ll tackle these topics.

  1. Breaking the negative mindset about REST as an immigrant
  2. Expanding my knowledge base without losing my culture.
  3. Higher knowledge & faith

I would like to go into great details for all these topics. Watch this space for more content about my reflection. I’m so thrilled that you’re engaged in my growth as an immigrant in the past 13 years. Please leave your comments and questions below and I will respond promptly. Thank you for reading! Please subscribe to my newsletter for updates. Submit your name and email in the header above to subscribe. Love you all!

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