Growing up, I have always been among the shortest of my peers. My shyness and 'far-younger-than-age' face didnt help too, making me an easy target for countless bullying sessions. I gradually formed a "keep quiet" and "away from people" personality.

I got a job immediately after school as a programmer. After working in several places and on some audacious projects, I later resigned to start my own software development firm.

Business was good for some time as I had 3 sources subcontracting projects to me. Tragedy struck when all 3 got disrupted in quick succession.

I had no client acquisition strategy of my own and my chronically introverted personality did not help matters.

As client ‘drought’ descended, confidence and self-esteem began to disappear.

Rather than continue to wait, I tapped into savings and assembled a team to build what I thought was the ‘world's next big’ software. After nine months of hard-core programming, we built a solution that didn't fit the market. We tried and failed at two more startups after this.

At this point, I had lost almost all forms of belief in myself or my worth. I had exhausted all personal funds and borrowed from nearly all possible names I could remember.

My turning point was when I figured out how all my failures featured a similar pattern of gaps in internal wiring, knowledge and approach.

There was much more to success beyond my comfort zone of coding from the corner of my room.

I hit the road hard, working on these vast gaps in knowledge, skills and personality shifting. I was so engrossed in how to unlearn my personality defects and wrong internal codes that I took up a scholarship opportunity to study another undergraduate degree in Psychology after 3 previous degrees.

I completely reset my thinking and approach to life.

Interestingly, even business started picking up.

I also realized that my active learning, over a decade of corporate experience, and my long string of failures changed me so much, including enabling me to communicate passionately and engage deeply when passing on knowledge.

I soon founded The GEM Group, where over 10,000 people benefited from our programs in the first two years alone.

My philosophy is “kaizen”, a Sino-Japanese word for “continuous improvement”, popularized by Toyota. It strikes a chord in me and inspires me to keep growing, having seen the positive transformation it has brought in my life, by God’s grace.


Ibrahim Kaizen is the founder & CEO of The GEM Group, a Dubai/Nigeria-based productivity, leadership and marketing training firm. He is the world's fastest-rising authority on self-leadership and peak potential, an accomplished speaker, and a member of the prestigious John Maxwell team. He is an authorized trainer with Project Management Institute and a former ERP Analyst for The Mac Arthur Foundation, amongst other places.

He also runs an IT Consulting firm that has built a wide range of solutions for private and government bodies including a recent project that brought in $100 million inflow in its first 5 months. He also built LagosEPID, an innovative solution that played a key role in Lagos State's successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has 2 undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Psychology, a master's degree in Information Science, an MBA degree, and is a holder of the prestigious PMP certification, amongst other global certifications.

Since 2016, he has coached several hundreds of clients from firms like KPMG, Shell, ADNOC, Vodacom, NNPC, Peri, and lots more. A typical feedback he gets is "God bless you scatter. Your company will not burn!"

He is a half-marathon runner, avid reader, author of 3 books, and numerous short reports. He is happily married to 2 lovely wives with children.

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