She Leads Africa

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Before I delve into the slash, let me start with a question…When people ask you, “What do you do?” Does a one word answer come to mind? Or, is there a bit of mumbling, as you try to find the best way to describe what it is you do in a way that this person might understand.
This one is for all my fellow Motherland Moguls who explain what they do by referencing one thing and then feel like they have left out a huge part of what they actually do.

I used to just give up and say the title of my job, but since finding out about the slash effect by Marci Alobher (from her bestseller “One Person/Multiple Careers”) has helped me understand that we can create very interesting dynamics in our lives when we combine all our gifts and talents into our ‘what you do’! It is all a matter or being strategic and adding a simple “/”.

According to Gail Sheehy, “a single fixed identity is a liability today”. She was totally right then, and is definitely right now. In this challenging economic climate, we have to be flexible and creative! So, what is the slash effect? In very simple terms, it is multiple identities, managed simultaneously! If someone asks me what I do? I’ll say I work in finance/life-coaching. I am a SLASH and that is totally okay.

The thing is so many people already have the slash effect, but because the role on the other side might not make money, they disregard it and think of it as a side-gig only. That may be so, I mean we all have our side hustles, but embracing your slash just might be the extra step you need to make it profitable. Let’s look at some basic questions: Why? What? and When?

So, why SLASH?

  • Having a slash in your back pocket can be a wonderful luxury if your primary vocation turns out to be anything less than what you hoped for.
  • Taking on a hobby as a full time career puts a lot of pressure on it to succeed. Instead, if you take it on as a slash, the pressure to succeed is off. You already have a career so there is a lot less to lose.
  • Taking on slashes is a personal challenge that shows you just what you are made of!

So, what do you actually SLASH?

Like many things in life the answer here is: whatever. The slash life is not exclusive to certain type of passions or jobs; it is completely inclusive as long as it is an investment in something that is in line with who you are. The ‘what’ in this case depends on two key things: creativity and discipline.

I will use myself as an example here. No one ever gave me permission to call myself a full blown life-coach. I constantly found myself advising people on life issues spanning form careers to relationships. With encouragement from good friends I realised that inspiring people either through speaking or writing was something I wanted to be more intentional about so I created my website.

Another route in developing a slash based on talent and gifts is to see a need and fill it. This is how my friends and I gathered to form a foundation focused specially on educating girls in our home town Nigeria. None of us had any experience, but we have passion, dedication and a willingness to fail and learn along the way. We also have a lot of help, which is crucial as well.

My work slash is my biggest slash, it’s the most for me. The other slashes are a lot about pouring out, whereas work is for my personal development and financial stability. All these aspects form my answer to the question, “What do you do?”

Key points in slashing

You may be wondering, how do I decide what my slash is? Some key points ladies!

  • Choose anything, but be clear on the reason. Is it a raw talent? Meeting a need? A niche service? It needs to come from YOU.
  • Make sure there is a balance between things you spend your energy on and things you can gain energy from. Life is all about balance, even in a busy slash life.
  • Think about the whole picture, and not just the parts. If you work 16 hour days, and are thinking of slashing by running a website that requires 10 hours of reading and writing weekly, think Again sister! Clearly those are not compatible slashes. You will be exhausted. A slash is meant to elevate you, not cripple you with unattainable obligations.
  • Know your limits and create a platter of slashes that makes you full enough to be satisfied. Not overwhelmed because you’ve eaten too much, or snacking because you are hungry. You know that feeling you get when the food was just enough to fully satisfy you? That nice and easy feeling? Yep…that’s the one you need here. A slash should bring balance and fullness to your life, not stress and angst.
  • Slash something you are proud of! If you can’t sing your praises, no one else will! Say it loud and proud! I am a banker/dancer or I am a lawyer/blogger. Own who you are and enjoy the ride!

For the third question, ‘when to slash’, look out for the next post. Before that get in formation ladies! Start thinking about your slash and when next you are asked, “What do you do?” Like a badass include that slash. Girl, Show them!

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