The NJ Podcast

Njabulo James Nkosi

The NJ Podcast is a podcast hosted by Njabulo James with the aim of sharing stories, tips and insights about achieving success while having fun. From topics ranging from personal development, to business, entertainment and sports the podcast will have conversations with experts in their fields. The Podcast will also share insights from Njabulo James’ published and upcoming books. Remember, “success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal.”

030 - Art Bell | The Start of Comedy Central
Jul 5 2022
030 - Art Bell | The Start of Comedy Central
In this episode, we sit down with Art Bell, the founder of Comedy Central. He shares is journey and challenges in starting one of the most influential networks of the day. Bio I was born on the Jersey Shore and grew up in a middle class household in the late 1950s and 1960s. My earliest ambitions were to become a famous scientist and to be funny. I worked hard at both through grade school, and the science aspiration got me A’s but the funny aspiration got me kicked out of class for “cutting up.” (If I’d been funnier the teachers wouldn’t have kicked me out.) In high school I found a more productive outlet by starting an underground newspaper called “The Tongue” and writing biting satire about my teachers, fellow students, and high school life. Of course, that too got me in trouble. I was beginning to understand that funny and trouble seemed, at least in my case, interconnected. College (I went to Swarthmore College) was a more sober undertaking, although I did hit the stage in annual comedy sketch shows and played Motel the Tailor in the college production of Fiddler on the Roof. I was sure that would be my last time on stage, but I was wrong. After graduation I spent a few years in Washington DC as an economist working on energy and environmental projects for the federal government. While I enjoyed it, I found myself reading Coal Weekly one afternoon and saying to myself, “I’m not a Coal Weekly kind of guy.” I quit my job and went to business school. Now I’m not saying I didn’t get a good business education at Wharton Grad — I did — but for me the best part was writing and performing in the Wharton Follies, an annual musical revue put on by students. Upon graduating, I got a job at CBS, then HBO, where I started the Comedy Channel that became Comedy Central. After that I was President of Court TV, then worked for a while as a consultant to a bunch of television companies. Most interesting project: commercialising 3D television. Least successful project: commercialising 3D television. Too bad. It was really cool. After I left the TV business, I took some writing courses and found I loved writing. Constant Comedy is my first book, not counting a humour book I wrote with a couple of other guys while at Comedy Central. I hope to write some more books, but hey, who knows? I play piano and drums and I’m married to Carrie Livingston Bell and have two grown children. And that’s pretty much the story. Any questions? (
023 - Sandy Kirkham | Overcoming Predators and Rebuilding Your Life
Feb 24 2022
023 - Sandy Kirkham | Overcoming Predators and Rebuilding Your Life
In this episode, we sit down with Sandy Kirkham to discuss overcoming predators and rebuilding your life. Bio I have committed my life to raising awareness around clergy abuse. What does this mean? Simply put, any abuse of power by the clergy or any spirtutual leader Little did I know this would be my journey. When I was sixteen, I had my trust betrayed in ways I never imagined. A church should be a place where an insecure sixteen-year-old girl should feel welcome, happy, and most importantly, safe. Tragically for some, the church can become a place of great harm. I experience the deceit and lies that come with being the victim of a wolf in sheep's clothing… my church’s youth minister. After decades of keeping my deep secret, I discovered my voice and have made it my life’s work to be an advocate for others. Through my speaking, podcast appearances and writing, I use my voice to help victims of clergy abuse. I have spoken before the Ohio Senate, a Maryland court, and appeared on a local television show in Boston. My story, “Stolen Innocence,” was told in a documentary produced by The Hope of Survivors. I work with survivors conducting victim support conferences. I’ve participated on panels moderated by SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), sharing my perspective from the non-Catholic point of view. I currently serve on the board of Council Against Child Abuse. PODCAST INTERVIEW AVAILABILITY I am available for podcast interviews. Visit my website at for more information.
Everyday Series | Season 1 | Significant Lessons Saturdays | 020 | Kobe Bryant (Season Finale)
Dec 4 2021
Everyday Series | Season 1 | Significant Lessons Saturdays | 020 | Kobe Bryant (Season Finale)
In this episode, we will unpack lessons from Kobe Bryant. 5 National Basketball Association (NBA) championships, 2 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards and 2 scoring championships are among his achievements. He played 19 years for the Los Angeles Lakers. He is 3rd on the all-time scorers' list in the NBA. He was known as the 'Black Mamba' for his mesmerising movements on the NBA court. He is known for his hard work ethic, indomitable will and ability to come back from failure. His name is Kobe Bryant and here are some lessons we can learn from him. Know Your Outcome From The BeginningWhen Kobe Bryant decided to join the NBA, he was drafted to the Charlotte Hornets in 1996. However, he traded a month later because he knew his outcome. Kobe knew from early on what he wanted to achieve in his career. He envisioned gold, previous greats and being a high scorer in a team called the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe was about to make millions but forwent that in order to go to the Lakers. Had he stayed with the Hornets he may have never won a single title. A teammate told the story of Kobe when he joined LA. He said, "I am going to win about four or five championships. I will be one of the greatest scorers and players to have ever played the game." Kobe ended up achieving what he did because he knew his outcome from the very beginning. Knowing your outcome is important as you will be able to know what you will and will not do. If you know who you are, then you know who you are not. Stephen Covey calls this principle beginning with the end in mind. Very few people will invest in a company that does not have a clear outcome to achieve. So why do people invest time in themselves if they do not know their outcome? With no vision, the people perish, but when there is a vision - when the outcome is known from the beginning - there will be direction and achievement. Know your outcome from the very beginning. Only Consistent Action Over A Long Period of Time Will Yield Positive ResultsKobe Bryant was known as the fiercest and hardest working man in the league at one point. He would wake up at 4 am and go to the gym. He would begin with a rigorous cardio workout and then start shooting hoops. He would not stop shooting until he made 500 shots. His other teammates would join him at 7 am and they would practice until the afternoon, have lunch and carry on the practice until they stopped in the evening. Kobe would carry working until the evening when his other teammates had left. This mindset is very impressive but it is even more astounding given how long he carried this work ethic. Kobe played in the NBA for over 19 years where his consistency of action ended up in strong results, awards and honours. A result worth noting is that he is the 3rd highest scoring player in NBA history; a feat you can't achieve without consistency of effort - over a long time. A work colleague of mine told me that there are no good or bad consultants. There are only those who are prepared, and those who are not prepared. There are those who fluctuate in performance and there are those who are the most consistent. Only the most consistent people go on to achieve great feats. In a world where almost everything is instant (coffee, tea, food and social media posts) there can be a temptation to not stick with a course of action long enough to yield results. Study history and those around you; you will find that those who are legitimately at the top, have the consistency of effort on their resume. Only consistent action over a long period of time will yield strong results. Keep Working Until The EndKobe Bryant is not without failures and setbacks. Black Mamba has been in seven finals and lost two of them. He has been the subject of scrutiny in the NBA by being accused of being a harsh critic and not being able to win without a strong ally, Shaquille O'Neal. Kobe has been faced with legal action and faced divorce amidst accusations of adultery. Towards the...
Everyday Series | Season 1 | Significant Lessons Saturdays | 019 | Mteto Nyathi
Nov 27 2021
Everyday Series | Season 1 | Significant Lessons Saturdays | 019 | Mteto Nyathi
In this episode, we unpack lessons from Mteto Nyathi. He is the CEO who heads up the technology powerhouse Altron. He is responsible for transforming Altron into a world-class information and communications technology company that does good business while doing good. He was once the Chief Executive Officer of MTN South Africa, where he succeeded in returning the mobile company to growth by overhauling employee engagement and transforming the customer experience. Over a period of 12 years, Mteto held various leadership positions at IBM in South Africa and Europe. He later joined Microsoft South Africa, where he was MD for six years. In 2019 Mteto won the Business Leader of the Year award at the All African Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) and the IPM CEO Special Award from the Institute of People Management. He was also the joint winner of South Africa’s 2013 IT Personality of the Year. In 2004 he was named one of Yale University’s World Fellows on Global Leadership.  He is Mteto Nyathi and here are some lessons we can learn from him. Your choices make you“To those born in difficult circumstances, dealt a bad hand, or perceived as outsiders, in the end, what makes you are your choices.” Mteto has built his life and career on making good quality decisions. From the choice of the degree to study, to which jobs to take and how to change the course of a business, good quality decisions have been a staple. Decisions should be based on data and key values. Demming said it best “In God we trust, all others bring data.” “People will try to bamboozle you so you...you must be able to pick that up quickly and address it,” Nyathi said in an interview. Deciding on misinformation can be costly. In addition, the values need to be clear to everyone as they will be your guidance system. If you have a key value of excellence, you will make decisions aligned with excellence and not let your past dictate your future despite your background and upbringing. Employ scenario planning“When people transcend their differences and work together to achieve a common goal, greatness is possible.”“Scenario planning is something that I find so valuable today where you look ahead at the likely scenarios and start thinking about ‘what am I going to do if this thing happens?’” There is a reality that the future may be different than today and conditions may not be favourable. One way to combat this is to ensure that there is a way forward in the case of uncertainty. Scenario planning is making assumptions on what the future is going to be and how the business environment will change over time in light of that future. Mteto has employed this to lead his organisations to the pinnacle of growth and success. We are currently going through a pandemic and those who have successfully implemented scenario planning are faring better than those who have not. Scenario planning needs you to find driving forces, identify the uncertainties, come up with multiple sustainable scenarios and collectively discuss the implications. People from multiple backgrounds have so many valuable takes so it will be in the best interest to involve all their inputs. If scenario planning becomes embedded in the culture then you will be prepared for when the worst happens. Embed key values“My leadership style is rooted in values. It is the key to simplifying my life, as I base all my decisions on family, fairness, integrity and excellence. I value excellence and demand it from the people who work for me and believe that leadership is about embedding the behaviours that are linked to these values.” Mteto Nyathi is a man who bases his entire leadership style, interactions, decisions and speech on key values. His mother’s influence taught him to respect people, customers and operate a business. If a decision had to be made, and it went against a key value, he would not take that root. This was easy since his value was defined and became his guidance system. A first step when he...
Everyday Series | Season 1 | Significant Lessons Saturdays | 018 | Theo Baloyi
Nov 20 2021
Everyday Series | Season 1 | Significant Lessons Saturdays | 018 | Theo Baloyi
In this episode, we unpack lessons from Theo Baloyi. He is the ex-accountant who left the comfort of employment to create a business that sustainably employs others. He started the fastest-growing sneaker brand in Africa from his township home in Alex. After being rejected 13 times Bhatu now has over 25 stores (and counting) sustainably employs over 200 people and has many great partnerships. The shoe brand is now recognized as one of the top 10 trusted brands in Africa. His exploits and passion have gotten him accolades such as Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 – South African Business Premier Awards; Forbes Africa 30 under 30 – 2019; BBQ Awards - Hennessy XO Businessman of the Year Award 2020; and Top Empowerment Awards 2020 - Top Empowered Young Achiever of the Year. His name is Theo Baloyi and here are some lessons we can learn from him. Despise not the days of small beginnings“I think, for me, because I started from humble beginnings and I was very intentional, I've sacrificed so much and I've re-invested so much in starting the business, I literally live my brand. Even at times when things aren't going the right way, I just keep on going. I think it's something each and every person needs to have in them.” What stops people from starting is the fear of failure or being overwhelmed by the vision they have and the time it will take to get to where they want to get to. However, every big company was once a start-up - every single one. They all started small in a garage, a room, or the boot of a car. It is the small beginnings that will help you remember where you came from and give you the strength to succeed. Starting small and struggling to grow develops a depth of character that perceived “overnight success” won’t give you. Theo always points to the story of him starting from the boot of his car and refusing to quit - always sacrificing and giving back into the business to build what he has today. Despise not the days of small beginnings as they build the character you will need to stay at the top. No matter what, keep working“In favourable and unfavourable times...YOU WORK” Hard work is a great deal of effort and endurance. In the world of business, you are 80% likely to fail. Therefore you will face hard times. You will be rejected. You will have times when you don’t want to get up in the morning. You will have times when you think you can’t make it anymore. When this happens, you need to remember that you are a gladiator and keep working. Theo has definitely faced resistance, rejection, and ridicule on the path to success. He was first rejected 13 times before he got a meaningful partnership. Even at the zenith of success, he is still facing resistance, rejection, and ridicule. In spite of this, he has what I call his ‘work no matter what philosophy.” They hate...You Work They criticize...You Work They speak ill of you...You Work They copy...You Work They sabotage...You Work They Say No...You Work They Plot evil...You Work In favorable and unfavorable times...You Work Work when things don’t go well, work when you don’t have money, work when you don’t have a favor, work when things go well, work when you don’t see light at the end of the tunnel - work no matter what. There are a lot of things you can’t control but you can control how hard you work. Scale fast“I literally lived my brand” “Think big, start small, then scale or fail fast” - Mats Lederhausen It’s good to start small and to do small things well. It is not good to stay small if you have the opportunity to grow bigger. The bigger you grow, the more people you can serve. This is the thinking that has aided Bhatu’s success in growing fast. They have opened 8 stores in three months and grew over 300% in sales over a pandemic. This was not always the case when the brand started with sales happening from the boot of a car. Your business serves people. More people need your service and can only get it once you decide to grow bigger as