Dealing with small minds around you

small minds

We all have small minds around us. I mean let’s face it, not everybody can be an out-of-the-box thinker.

Now, picture this. You’re seated, excitedly sharing your dreams with a friend or a family member and the next thing you hear is, “Why?” Confused you ask, “Why what?” And they launch into an almost rehearsed tearing down of your dreams.

Oh boy! You get questions like;

“Why do you need to go to a fashion school, why don’t you just do what every other person is doing ?”

“Everybody is doing it, so why should your own be different or better.”

tumblr_oc4w8xpWZO1uzyv2mo1_250The really mean ones will go all out and tell you,

“It will not work.”

“Better just keep it small and forget about all that big dream.”

Then they will call you names like, “I too know” or “over sabi.”

If you’re someone really nice, you’ll probably spend time trying to explain to people who cannot see beyond the small scale. These people can’t see why your dream is not only feasible but a sure thing.

tumblr_inline_oaotgdIjIc1qc12w9_500The ones that sadden me the most are those who hide their disbelief small minds and even jealousy behind religious excuses. I’ve heard them all,

“Money is evil, your plans are not ‘godly'”

Christians cannot go into fashion, or cosmetics or modelling.”

As entrepreneurs and ladies, we sometimes have to battle negative feedback from those around us. Those who project their fear of taking the risks on us. Don’t get me wrong, not all of them mean harm. For some, it’s just they way they are, the way they have always thought. They can’t see outside the box.

Evidently, that is not you, you see beyond that. You have probably gone through the SLA website and have seen what young African women are doing and you get ‘gingered’. Your dreams are forming, you’re redefining your plans, you expand your horizons, you go back to the board and re-evaluate. Oh, the excitement. You want to share the good news!

But it’s straight back to the earth when somebody hits you with the dead weight of their own reality. You are shaken, you take a critical look at the economy and, uh oh, doubts are creeping in. Listen you don’t need all that. What you need to do is…

Change your sounding boards

Don’t worry, they will come around later.

i'm_so_tired_of_being_niceFor now, at the early, fragile state of your dreams, you need a support team of like-minded peers, people who can see from your point of view and push you along.

Know that that you’re not the only one

Nothing is new under the sun. Everyday, someone gets a new idea, (well not entirely new but you get the gist). And each day, someone gives up on their dreams.

Probably because somebody, anybody around them just couldn’t believe in the dream to be supportive enough. Don’t be that one who gives up at the end of the day.

Don’t explain your self

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Popular Nigerian artiste, Olamide  sang, “who you epp?”.  I think that’s self-explanatory.

Let the dissuasion push you

There are several versions of this statement but grow with the adversity, anyway. Learn to use the attacks or negative words to grow.

Remember the story of the donkey? Yeah.

Be wise and picky

The only consideration I take into account is from the Holy Spirit. Others, even my mum’s, are subject to scrutiny and probable discard.

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As much as I love my family and friends, we’re not all on the same wavelength.

Realize that it will be hard

And don’t let it discourage you or make you believe your small-minded crew.

Initially, it’ll be hard and for some, harder than others. On some days, there may be virtually no results and you may run at a loss. But your first victory is always sweet.

Be convinced

They are your dreams, yeah? Good. Then be convinced about them. It will take all the conviction you have to stay on track and not veer off when those around you are taking apart your well-laid plans with their words.

azealia-banks-loudspeakerYou will second-guess yourself, you will be tempted to concur. You might just as well throw up your hands and give up. Nah, that’s not an option.

Be centered

Focus. Centered. Same thing. Keep your eyes on the goal. Don’t reduce your goal down to your power. Instead, match up your goal with your faith. Think up.

The best athletes know not to look at the other athletes when running. But to keep their eyes on the finish line.

It’s all for the love

Remember, it may all be for the love. Those that care about you, don’t want you making mistakes.

bande_des_fillesStill, you should filter. While I am tempted to say zone out, I’ve come to realise that sometimes listening to the not-so-toxic criticisms can inspire you to tweak your plans. It can also open your eyes to loopholes.

Above all, start on the dream and keep going forward. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

5 lessons I learnt about navigating the entrepreneurial roadmap with Nieros Oyegun

At SheHive London, Nieros Oyegun, principal and head of Corporate and Financial Advisory at W8 ADVISORY gave an insightful talk about navigating the entrepreneurial roadmap. Here are five things I learned that I’m sure will be useful to you too.

1. It starts with an idea

For any entrepreneur out there, the first step they took towards starting their business is coming up with an idea. This may seem like the most basic step but thinking about a product that is marketable is key to overcoming the hurdles that will come in the future when it comes to financing and growth.

So to start off, you need to figure out what you are going to be selling, how you will be selling it and who your target market will constitute of.

2. Understand the environment

It is important to understand the environment you will be doing business in. Ask yourself, whose market share are you taking up with your startup and what are the opportunity costs.

You need to pick out your competitors and understand their habits, they are factors that could contribute to determining your growth rate and customer base.

3. Approach investors

Cold-calling investors is not the way to go. Try and build your contacts and get someone to introduce you to potential investors. When pitching to investors, keep your pitch skeletal and to the point. Try and demonstrate why you think your product is marketable and how it can make your way to profitability. In essence try and think like an investor and understand the risk-investor matrix of your business.

Also, make sure that when you leave investor meetings, you clearly understand expectations from both sides and where you stand. This is because there is always the risk of buyer’s remorse with the investor, they may decide not to go ahead with funding the business. So do not relax until the money is in your account!

4. Find a partner

A one person startup usually hinders investment opportunities. This is because it is difficult for one person to take on all the roles in a company.

Therefore investors are more skeptical of putting resources into such a business. Finding the right partner and their potential long term contribution to your business can aid you in getting investors.

5. Consider self-funding

When it comes to funding your business, look into self-funding through your savings, applying for grants and accelerator programs first. If you bring in a partner, you should be cautious of how much equity in your business they control. It is sometimes the case with start-up businesses that at the early stages, the partner is active in helping set up but once the business is up and running, their role is limited so having a huge percentage of equity is disadvantageous to you. Institutional investors are the later options to look into for funding.

3 reasons you are your only competition

Every day, we are surrounded by images and individuals that remind us that we need more, need to have more and do more. In business, this pressure often comes from our competition.

Sometimes our competition can be intimidating. They can make us feel as though our ideas are too small or that we will never be as good.

However,  it is not really our competition that is the issue here. It is our fear of reaching heights of greatness that we never thought of as possible.

Over-analyzing our competition can distract us from what we should be doing and where we should be going. We become accustomed to the falsehood that because someone else is winning, we must be losing.

Use competition to inspire and enlighten rather than disenchant yourself. Often those who see the most successful competitors in their industries as inspiration strive to do better in their own businesses.

Use your competitors as catalysts for change and sources of motivation. They are not there to limit your success. There are enough opportunities to succeed for all of us. At the end of the day, you need to compete with yourself and here are three reasons why it’s important.

1. It will stop you from comparing yourself to others

Naomi Campbell

I think sometimes the anxiety that comes from seeing your competitors excel makes you  question whether you are doing better than other people or not. What really matters is that you’re doing what’s best for you.

Do you feel like you are succeeding? Have you determined what success means to you?

2. It will keep you focused on your goalsCreed

If you stay focused on what you are doing, and your own journey, you will inevitably keep improving. Focus on your business goals will result in growing success.

The minute you take your eyes off your goal, you lose sight of why you started it all in the first place!

3. It will give your business the attention it deserves

Chrissy Teigen

Your competitors can be a great source of information. You can learn from them, but limit the time spent researching their movements and give your business your full attention.

Treat it as you would a romantic partner. If you give it all your love and attention, you will reap the rewards of a great business life!

Stay focused on what you want to accomplish in life, and strive to do better than the goals you have set for yourself.

Be your own best competition.

6 beliefs you need to abandon to unlock your professional blessings in 2016

We’ve all done the negative self-talk at some point in our lives. Sadly, we’ve held onto self- defeating beliefs without knowing it. The SLA team has put together the 6 most defeating beliefs, that if adopted would keep you at the top of your career and yield business success.

Your old belief: Only one person can win

New belief: We can all win!

6 beliefs you need to abandon to unlock your professional blessings in 2016

Your old belief: everyone’s trajectory for success is the same

New belief: You have the opportunity to create your own path

6 beliefs you need to abandon to unlock your professional blessings in 2016-2

Your old belief: I am a victim of my circumstances

New belief: Your crown has already been paid for

Rain Queens of Africa

Your old belief: I don’t have my own brand of greatness

New belief: Being yourself is great enough

Nikis Groove

Your old belief: I need to do everything

New belief: I only need to focus on one or two things and do them exceptionally well

6 beliefs you need to abandon to unlock your professional blessings in 2016-5

Your old belief: I have to prove myself to everyone

New belief: I only need to prove that I can do it to myself.

6 beliefs you need to abandon to unlock your professional blessings in 2016-6

So which of these self defeating beliefs did you have in 2015? Which ones are you dropping in 2016, and  new ones are you adopting in 2016? Share this article with a friend to help keep you on track this year.

 

According to science, don’t make new year resolutions, do this instead!

With 2016 finally here, we see many Facebook & Whatsapp “New Year, New Me”. A new year is a fresh start, and a chance to set a new goals, which is why so many people make New Year resolutions. Still…

Most people find New Year’s resolutions difficult to keep

Local gyms are most crowded early January when people are most committed to their resolutions. But by February, people start dropping out that by December, they are either back to where they started before the resolution or are worse off.

Psychologist, Peter Herman and his colleagues looked into the success rates of New Year resolutions, and it turns out that most people fail at sticking to their New Year’s resolutions.

She Leads Africa

They found out that people underestimated the difficulty of their goals and selected tasks that were overly ambitious. They named the habit of  making self-improvement goals but failing to fulfill them the “False Hope Syndrome.

Essentially, we try to do tasks that are too hard, too quickly when it comes to New Year Resolutions.

Do the pre-work the goal demands

Successfully sticking to resolutions that are easy to make but hard to maintain, researchers say, requires taking actionable steps to change a behavior, rather than making drastic changes. In a study that looked at the success rates of 200 people trying to stick to their resolutions, another psychologist, John Norcross, found that those who prepared for the lifestyle changes they wanted to make were successful at accomplishing their goals.

For example, if losing weight is your New Year resolution this year, develop a meal plan with a trainer, participate in a bootcamp, or walk more. Do not set drastic goals, like running a marathon, and do not look for shortcuts. Liking Instagram pictures on a fitness page or buying the latest “detox tea” is not going to cut it either.

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Learn from failure

How you react to failure along the way is another key part of being successful with your New Year’s resolutions this year. Alan Marlatt, a former Psychology Professor at University of Washington DC, found that those who do not turn setbacks into full relapses are more likely to succeed with their resolutions. Those who want to quit smoking, for example, might end up smoking a cigarette or two in their cessation journey. If they continue with their progress and do not see this moment of weakness as a complete failure, they have a better chance of quitting smoking.

How to win this year

She Leads Africa

Here’s a recap of steps to prevent the “false hope syndrome”.

  1. Break your big goals into smaller, attainable ones.
  2. Tackle one goal at a time.
  3. Ask for help and talk about your goals with friends.
  4. Celebrate small wins.
  5. Don’t wait another year to make goals. Nothing is stopping you from making those changes now.

 

5 life lessons for women from Iyanla Vanzant

I attended Radio One Detroit’s 2nd Annual Women’s Empowerment Expo held at the Cobo Center in Detroit on August 15, 2015. The event drew a great crowd of women looking to empower themselves and receive words of wisdom from event keynote speaker Iyanla Vanzant.

The expo also featured seminars ranging from “How to Successfully Promote Your Business” to “Keeping the Relate in Your Relationship.” Iyanla Vanzant dropped valuable gems on us and lit up the stage with her presence. SLA shares with you what we’ve learned!

1. Beauty is subjective

Iyanla explained that being a dark-skinned woman with kinky hair was not part of accepted societal beauty standards. As a result she compared herself to everyone else.

She had to make a conscious decision to love and accept who she was and to find beauty in that. Had she not found beauty in herself, she would not be the successful speaker she is today.

2. Every stage of life has a purpose

The purpose in life of a 20-year-old is vastly different from that of a 50-year-old. That is OK. Embracing your life in stages allows you to understand your purpose through your experiences.

Allow your wrinkles to set in, love the rolls around your belly and embrace your stretch marks. Forgive. Understand that your life is like constructing a house. Everything starts with a plan —floor plans, lighting plans, plumbing plans— before the first brick is laid on cement.

If you do not plan for your life or your business you will become bitter from failure, and there’s nothing successful about being bitter.

3. You matter

Women matter. Until you comprehend the power in your value, you will never become conscious of the fact that you matter. When you don’t believe that you matter, you tend to do things that prove what you think is accurate [that you do not matter].

You may not realize it in the present, but when you look back at your life and see your behavior and choices, it will show whether you believed that you matter. This can manifest in relationships, business and even finance.

Your choices will not reflect growth or change for the better unless you believe you matter enough to change them.

4. Understand your personal journey

Comparison is the number one killer of achievement. Comparing yourself to other women only allows you to look down on what they have and not to look up at what you want to be.

If you are solely focused on your own achievements you will not lose sight of your vision and the path to realizing it.

5. Pause

Life happens – for better and sometimes for worse. If you go through your 20s to 80s without a pause, you will end up angry and confused about the happenings of your life.

Every stage in your life requires a pause to find clarity and to learn the lessons. You cannot carry the burdens and mistakes from each stage in your life to the next one and expect to achieve anything.