Grow & Glow: How to find love again after numerous heartbreaks

I still remember one cold January a few years ago, the Harmattan was still yet to fade away after the Christmas and New year celebrations. Everything felt cold and life seemed to be at a stand-still.

I couldn’t believe that my adorable relationship of two years was finally over. We had fallen in love and had promised to live happily together. We both used to exchange poems, love notes and surprises.

We had the best relationship I have ever experienced.

My friends envied us and no other person could understand the same way we felt. Ours was made in heaven and the stars kept shinning at our lovely hearts on a daily basis.

There was nothing wrong with us except that I had just started adding some weight. Who wouldn’t? After spending 6 months in my mum’s supermarket during the ASUU(Academic Staff Union of Universities) strike.

I didn’t think a little addition could reveal the true intent of our relationship. He loved my slim body and wasn’t ready to accept another. So after some days of deep thought on his side and a big push for me to join a gym, he decided that it was time to take a break.

That landed in the wrong place for me. I wasn’t expecting it. Our love was divine, I mean.

BTW, this looks like the only reason I can attach to the break up since there was no specific reason he mentioned.

But anyway, his mind was made up and after fighting so hard to win us back for close to a year, I decided to accept my new fate and move on but it was hard. I cried for several nights. I wanted him to come back and give me a reason for the breakup but none came.

I kept stalking him online to see if he was doing fine without me and yes, he was. I dreamt and imagined a lot but nothing changed.

After a few months of tears and regrets, I decided to finally take some chill and give my brain a reset.

So what are the steps I took to recover and start again? Let me share some with you and I hope it would make you start afresh again.

@NikeFolagbade ‏shares some tips on how to grow and glow from past heartbreaks...Read more Click To Tweet

Admit that it is truly over

This was the hardest phase for me. I was living in self-denial for a long time. I truly loved him and never envisaged that we would break up.

I had no alternatives or backup, I simply gave my all and now he was gone without a reason. So I had to start telling my mind daily that it was time to move on.

I thought about him sometimes but I didn’t let it ruin my day again. I started taking charge of my thoughts by diverting my thoughts into something else.

This took a lot of practice though and I failed many times but I kept rising up.

Divert your time into other activities

I have always loved writing so I decided to start penning down my daily experiences and life lessons. I call it journaling. I tried writing a new book that I ended up losing but at least, that got me productive.

Get some alone time with God

I spent time in prayers and study with God believing for the best for my future. I decided to trust God to pave a new way for me and He surely did.

Go out more

I became more social and open with friends instead of staying hidden and indoors. Try to hook up with new friends or stay connected with old friends and hang out together.

Give back

I started volunteering and giving myself more to service and project done by other people I considered as mentors. I used my skills and passion to serve.

Reflect on the past

I did a sober reflection on all that happened and evaluated how the relationship went so that I could pick my lessons, form new and better perspective and open up myself to new opportunities.

Embrace personal development

I began to work on myself by attending seminars, reading books and making research.

No more regrets

I stopped blaming myself or living in the past. I became positive and less critical of myself. Be willing not to remain stuck in the past. Get out there and allow yourself to experience love again.

Now, these are just some of the things I did and you can pick from them but you should also do things based on your unique self.

You may love drawing, painting, singing, acting or any other hobby that can keep you busy. There was so much I also did which helped me become more intentional when I finally met my husband.

Though I shared most of my experiences in my book which has helped lots of singles too you can start with these tips above for a fresh start.

So what phase are you currently in?

  • Denial phase?
  • Moving on phase?
  • Or the recovery phase?

Always remember that your experiences don’t define you, they only make you stronger and wiser. Don’t give up on yourself. It’s time to invest in yourself and upgrade your attraction level.


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Addie Olutola: Building a Fashion Line for the culture

Addie Olutola is the founder of D’IYANU, a ready-to-wear clothing line that offers African inspired fashion for men and women.

She thought of the business idea while working as a buyer and also attending a Masters program in International Marketing. Her professional and academic background, coupled with a love for fashion and a passion for African-centered art set the stage for D’IYANU.

A regular on my Instagram Explore Tab featuring #datenight outfits and a go-to brand for the culturally-conscious fashionista, D’IYANU encourages self-expression through its bold prints and unique pieces.

The meaning behind the brand name draws from French (D’) and Yoruba (IYANU) influence, translating to “of something wonderful”–a reminder to everyone that they’re uniquely made and to dress like it.

What makes D’IYANU even more special is Addie’s commitment to seeking ways her business can empower her community and help address the social issues it faces.

The company has grown to 12 employees, many of whom are Nigerian women, and has donated a portion of its profits to nonprofits that provide clean water and education to African communities.

In this interview, she gives a sneak peek into her world and shares her wisdom on how to build a purpose-filled business.


Tell us about your journey of starting D’IYANU.

Since university, I held a purpose to help build schools and clinics and provide opportunities to people in underdeveloped communities in Nigeria and other African countries.

I later launched D’IYANU with a mission centered on community engagement. Since our start, we’ve donated over $20,000 to causes that support African communities and the D’IYANU brand continues to grow daily.  

What were some important lessons you took your work experience to your business?

My first job out of school was for an online pet store. I learned a lot of valuable lessons about inventory and website management that helped me when I launched my own business.

My second job as a buyer helped me hone my vendor and customer relation skills which was much needed as well in my business. All my previous jobs really contributed to my success as an entrepreneur.

I would advise aspiring entrepreneurs to regard their current and previous jobs as stepping stones and commit to gleaning as much knowledge and skill as possible from that role

Not every business is the same. Don't make the assumption that what worked for another company will necessarily work for your own - @AddieIyanu Click To Tweet

What did you learn from your biggest failure?

One failure we experienced was trying to implement an ERP system that was too big for us. It was an archaic system used by larger companies and thought it would work for us.

We made many assumptions, and it ended up costing us a lot. The lesson learned was that not every business is the same and not to make the assumption that what worked for another company will necessarily work for your own.

Also, make sure you do your due diligence and get as much of your questions answered as possible.

Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?

I listen to some motivational speakers regular such as Les Brown, Jim Rohn, and Tony Robbins whose words have helped me through tough times with my business.

Words from Les Brown such as “It’s not over until I win” or Tony Robbins “I can, I will, I must” ring in my mind when I’m feeling discouraged.

As your business grows, what are some core values that will remain important?

  1. Always keep customers first and maintain excellent customer service
  2. Hire great people and keeping them happy within the team
  3. Continue to innovate and try new things with operations and fashion
  4. Make sure that D’IYANU continues to give to great causes

The African fashion market is heavily saturated, how do you cut through the noise to differentiate your brand?

 

Since starting D’IYANU, my goal has been to make sure that we’re differentiating ourselves by offering quality, ready to wear clothing at reasonable prices, quick delivery, and quality customer service.

Our men’s fashion line, for example, has allowed us to reach a rarely tapped market and to gain a competitive advantage in the African-wear industry.

With the substantial relationship between e-commerce and social media, what are some creative strategies you’ve experimented with or want to explore?

With social media, we recognize that the possibilities to connect with new customers are endless. We’re currently exploring our options in using more video content and collaborating with influencers.

What is your personal brand mantra?

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”- Maya Angelou

What’s your advice for a budding entrepreneur?

Write down why you want to start your business. Make sure the reasons are compelling enough to get you going on tough days.

If your reasons are compelling enough, you’ll figure out a way to make your dreams a reality and continue to push in spite of failure.

Make sure your reasons for starting your business are compelling enough to get you going on tough days. - @AddieIyanu Click To Tweet

What are you most excited about at the moment, and what are your next steps?

I’m excited about our use of a new type of fabric that’s woven but has a little bit of spandex for stretch. No one else in the African fashion market is using this type of fabric to my knowledge.

We have to get it special made. It looks like cotton, but it’s made with a rayon/nylon/spandex blend. It can stretch to accommodate curves nicely.

We have a few pieces that we will be launching in January 2019 with this material which is exciting!


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5 ways to become intentional about your love life this year

So what really happened in your love life cycle in the past year?

Did you do a proper observation on what has worked or what needs adjustment?

This write up would be useful to you if you are currently:

  • Single (searching or not)
  • In a relationship.
  • Engaged
  • In a situationship (what does that even mean?)

I know that a lot of people like cutting off certain friends they consider toxic in the first quarter of the year, well, that is not the focus here. The focus is on YOU.

If you are going to get any different result this year in your love life, it would start from doing something different this season.

There are two sides of the coin, the positive or the negative or what worked and what didn’t work.

@NikeFolagbade ‏shares 5 tips to help you build more intentional and healthy relationships this year. Click To Tweet

Look into these 5 tips I’ll be sharing below, and seek ways to implement and change your love cycle.

1. Don’t start a relationship until you understand its purpose

In this era where people are moved more by the butterflies in their tummy when they meet a person, it is easy to lose the essence of your season and flow with the tide.

If you are one of those who judges a man first by his physical looks, you may miss the real meat when it comes along.

So why do you want to date? Is it because your friends are all in a relationship or because you want to add value to another person? But how can you add value if you haven’t also recognized your value? A relationship is about two people who have great values to feed themselves, not one-sided but mutual.

Even before you start a business partnership, you would have done a proper investigation into what you’re getting into. Lack of proper caution can lead you to a wrong contractual relationship.

You need to understand the WHY, WHAT, AND WHO.

So sit down, relax and answer the following questions:

  • What kind of relationship/marriage do I really want not just need?
  • What kind of woman do I need to become to create such a relationship? This could mean dealing with some inner battles like fear, insecurity or unrealistic expectations.
  • What kind of man can fit into the values I want in my marriage?
  • How would I know when I meet such a man? What patterns not words or actions (because this can be acted) would I see?

2. Work on yourself and seek to know YOU more

One question I ask a lot of singles is if they know their values since a relationship is also about being with someone who shares deep values with you.

Exposing yourself to personal development is the first way to expose your mind and make you become self-aware. Self-awareness leads to self-mastery hence how much do you know about yourself before growing (not falling) in love?

Sometimes what you need is a friend who you can both grow together to achieve greater things, not just an intimate relationship.

If you are trying to work on yourself, find like minds and smash goals together instead of seeking for a man that cannot mend your broken state.

3. Learn about what a healthy relationship really looks like

If you’ve not been exposed to a healthy lifestyle especially if you grew up witnessing an unhealthy model of marriage, it may be difficult to adequately discern one.

For instance, it is necessary for you to know your deal breakers, deal makers and resolve on how to handle it when you spot one in a potential partner.

Exposing yourself to personal development is the first way to expose your mind and make you become self-aware - @NikeFolagbade ‏ Click To Tweet

If you are not clear on this, you may start defending your partner when the red flags are up.

How do you learn about how to build healthy relationships?

  • Read more books from credible authors and go for training that increases your mental, spiritual and emotional capacity.
  • Learn from people who have built great marriages and find out their ultimate secrets. You need to be able to differentiate between love and lust. Love is selfless, not selfish. Love is patient, not desperate in nature. Love is gentle, not harsh about decisions. Love pays attention to your needs and not force needs and goals on you.

This is the time to also understand and create proper boundaries for yourself. The reason why it’s easier for some people to invade your heart and hurt you is that you haven’t recognized your boundaries and created a line around it.

If you meet a new person and he starts to invade into your emotional boundaries, then you’ll know that something is wrong.

For instance, if you meet a new guy who begins to blackmail you to prove your love or go to certain places when you suspect that something is fishy, you may not know how to say NO without feeling guilty because you think he owns a part of you.

4. Enjoy your life and explore

Sometimes you may think you are missing out in life until you travel to new places or expose yourself to new kinds of people. Some ladies get married and discovered that they never had the time to explore the world or their own personal world.

Learn a new language or skill if you want but make sure you spend your single years acquiring knowledge that your current freedom can permit.

That doesn’t mean that marriage won’t allow you to explore but that will be a time where you need to balance your life well before starting new developments.

5. Be open up to new opportunities to make friends and build committed relationships

Fear can limit you from trying again if you’ve been jilted in the past. Understand that life is a journey to learn and grow, be more open to solid friendships and make yourself socially accepted.

Not all acquaintances should lead to a relationship hence you should allow the number 3 tip to guide you. Trust is necessary to build a wholesome relationship and you should be willing to be vulnerable.

If you are still struggling here, then you may need professional help where we can guide you on creating a new and fresh love.

Cheers to more intentional relationships this new year.

Which of these tips will you start doing right away?


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Scale your Business in 2018 with Midridge

Midridge offers bespoke solutions to small and medium scale businesses who are looking to master their financials, make quantum leaps in their business and need to make pivotal and strategic decisions, driven by financial indices.

They are positioned to help businesses maximize their economic potentials, and deliver enhanced, long-term value to their stakeholders. 

The financial advisory offerings help business owners to find a solution to business finance problems, create the desired business transformation that helps them scale in profitability and operate more effectively.

Finance expert, business strategist, freelance writer and managing consultant of Midridge International – Abiola Adediran, shares some insights and tips on how to scale your business in a new business year.


 

Deep down, you have a bigger vision for your business and yourself, as an entrepreneur and woman of impact. Your smart, bold choices and hard work have paid off with the business of your dreams.

But when you get a moment to reconnect with your big vision, you see the potential for your profits and impact to be so much more. You were meant to lead. But the realities of running a business, and juggling the offline demands of life have kept you at status quo for far too long.

Behind the scenes, there are essential shifts that must happen in order for you to grow., and your calendar and time management systems need a serious reboot.

You might want to leverage a team, but you’re spinning your wheels when it comes to hiring, delegating, and leading others well. Other people manage your money, but your black-and-white financial picture is a blur, and those “tape-and-glue” systems you set up on a whim are now costing you time and money.

If you’re honest with yourself, you haven’t fully stepped into the driver’s seat in critical areas of your business.

As women, we have enough on our plate. Stepping into the “driver’s seat” sounds like more work and even less “me” time.

In my experience working with women entrepreneurs, I have come to realize that what stops women from being true leaders is not a lack of drive or determination to step into that higher role. Instead, it’s letting the same old systems and routines run you and your business–which keeps you satisfactorily underperforming, year after year.

It’s no wonder so many women entrepreneurs shy away from taking on the title of CEO!

But until you say YES to working in your genius as the visionary leader of your business, you will remain stuck in the status quo.

You have to make a very conscious decision: Either let the business run you around in circles and into the ground, or, take ownership, and really adopt the mindset of a leader.

You need to truly step into the driver’s seat of your business, you MUST

  • Let go of the same old systems and routine that are not working for your business.
  • Get aligned with your vision as a leader, entrepreneur, and woman of impact.
  • Get strategic and open yourself up to the big 360° view of your business.

All successful women at the top of their game today know that THIS is their ticket to freedom.

As you map out and implement your strategy for the year, you will need tactical inputs to help you stay grounded and connected to important challenges and considerations, uncover profit gaps in your business and proven tactics and processes to help close those gaps, work smarter and double your productivity, to think strategically and stay focused on the big picture.

As a CEO, it is important that you identify the main business drivers to pay attention to, in order to increase cash flow.

What’s really happening in all areas of your sales cycle—are you maximizing cash flow or are there bottlenecks?

How do you weigh out your current opportunities and determine which ones align well with your long-term strategy, and which ones are better left alone?

Your commitment to scaling your business in 2018 and stepping into a higher level of profitability and business success requires that you do a business diagnosis, evaluate your strategy, understand your financials, maximize your profits and identify means of creating consistent cash flows in your business.


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Thembelihle Terry-Lynne Zulu: Every woman needs a big sister

The idea of women helping other women, benefits both parties and demonstrates just how powerful every woman can be with the right support. Thembelihle Terry-Lynne Zulu, through Girl Grandeur Zimbabwe which she co-founded, is going the extra mile to encourage women to pursue their dreams. Here is what she is doing to support other women. 


How have you used your personal challenges to inspire other  young women?

Women shouldn’t be shamed for sharing their pains, struggles and life experiences. No woman deserves to be slammed or termed ‘attention-seeking’ or ‘too sensitive’ for sharing her story. Our stories need to be told because in them is the hope for survival for every woman.

My life’s journey epitomizes, to a great extent, the challenges faced by the African girl child. I have been through most of the issues plaguing young women, from abuse to pregnancy, and everything else in between. I once wrote on my personal blog, “I went through some mistakes so that you don’t have too.” Walking young women through their ordeals is a mutual healing process as it helps me as much as it does them.

Tell us more about Girl Grandeur Zimbabwe, how did it come to be?

As the first of five girls, I considered it my duty to help my sisters make the right life choices. Gradually, this mentoring circle grew to include their friends. Our goal is to help every woman, especially the young ones access safe and comfortable adult counsel. We need them to be able to do this without the fear of being judged or unduly reprimanded. To address this, Girl Grandeur Zimbabwe has a mentorship program for business newbies, as well as a Big Sister program for the little girls.

In addition, to debunk the myth that women are naturally unable to work together, we created a platform that has some semblance of a sisterhood. Here, women come together in an informal setting to discuss issues relevant to them, share opportunities, advertise their businesses and have meaningful debates about womanhood in Zimbabwe.

How does a social club in Zimbabwe function?

Girl Grandeur Zimbabwe may not be the first social club for Zimbabwean women, but our approach is the first of its kind. We have branched out into various income generating programs and it’s a constant learning process. The club is accessible to every young woman in Zimbabwe, subscription fees are affordable and within reach. Our structure includes a board, a committee, and ordinary members. Our diversity reveals the implicit beauty of our differences and we are determined to do much more.

How do you provide support when needed?

Through our several social media platforms, we invite Girl Grandeur Zimbabwe members to contribute to planned projects or offer free services. For example, one of our members in Harare identified a pregnant homeless woman who needed help. To alleviate her plight, we brainstormed on possible support solutions.

Our growing membership increases the need to incorporate a wide range of issues facing every woman. We work closely with other NGOs while monitoring progress through the appropriate authorities.

IMG_20160610_211957As a co-founder, what advice will you give any woman looking to start a business with someone else?

When starting out, it’s easy to go for people who are within your reach and that’s usually kith or kin. In getting the right hands, be drawn to people who are not only passionate about your vision but who have proved that they can deliver results. You won’t always end up with the ones you started out with and you need to be okay with that. Appreciate small beginnings and don’t mess with the growing process.

Among other things, Girl Grandeur aspires to bridge the generational gap between mothers and daughters. How can young modern women overcome this gap?

A friend once suffered vaginal thrush but couldn’t tell her mother for fear of receiving retribution. There’s no gainsaying the fact that mothers need to create more time for their daughters. These days, more women work as hard and long as most men. And so, inadvertently abandon the formative training of their children to maids, nannies, the media, peers and even Google.

Some parents have been distracted by the cash-stretched times but good parenting isn’t just about money. Making time for your children is paramount – you can’t put a price tag on a thing like that.

Tell us about your relationship with your mother, was there any tension? How was it resolved?

When is there never any tension between mothers and daughters?! As a young girl, I didn’t understand half of the policies she’d put in place. As cliché as this sounds, as I grew older, I began to understand why she did what she did. Now, I understand that she didn’t ‘hate’ me but had to curb some of my rebellious tendencies.

Open and honest communication is key to the mother-daughter relationship. I strongly believe that when a child understands the reason(s) for a reprimand or punishment, he/she is more unlikely to repeat offense.

What do you love best about your mother?

I consider my mother a warrior!  A warrior who never let societal beliefs stop my sisters and I from finding our identities and flourishing in them. In retrospect, she understood that everything I did was in preparation for who I was to become.  Never did she ask me to be who I was not.


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

5 ways to out-hustle the competition like African market women

african market woman

African women are naturally inventive, creative, and entrepreneurial – we aren’t the idle type. We work with our hands, minds, and wits. We find things we’re good at —even if it’s just a hobby.

If you’ve been to Makola market, in Ghana, you’ve seen the endless rows of stalls, tables, kiosks and booths of market women selling everything from baby diapers to tomatoes. There are usually rows of women selling the exact same thing within yards of each other. It struck me how they made a reasonable living selling goods and produce in a market that’s saturated with other merchants selling the same things.

Rather than dwell on the mysteries of Makola, I saw the poetry in their ways and learned a few lessons about business and life from these hardworking women.

1. Auntie Yaa shows up every single day

Auntie Yaa knows she has severe competition, after all, there’s nothing new under the sun. But in a crowded marketplace, victory goes to the person dedicated enough to show up every single day.

For many market women, like Auntie Yaa, that little stall of sundry provisions is all they have. Consistency is key. Their one chance of affording life’s bare necessities are contingent upon waking up earliest, showing up every day, and hustling like their lives depend on it.

2. Sisi Lola makes her presentation count

Sisi Lola knows when it comes to drawing in customers, it’s all about presentation. In a crowded market, your brand presentation is everything! Make sure your brand is visually pleasing and effectively communicates your message, and not just the product or service you’re selling but yourself, too.

Personal branding is very important in today’s global marketplace. The woman with the brightest Bubu, or the catchiest call, wins.

Kejetia market

3. Learn to barter like Aminatta

Aminatta knows the value of trading without money. Exchanging what you have or your services, for needed services from another, is a good way to get your business off the ground and build connections with other business women.

Pay if you must, but barter if you can.

4. Mama Hajara keeps ‘em coming back with stellar customer service

A market is a busy place and everywhere, vendors are harping, buyers are haggling, and traffic is passing. Mama Hajara can bank on daily success because she keeps her customers coming back for superb customer service.

She goes beyond pleasantries and makes each one of her customers feel like a good friend. She knows their names, the names of their children, she may even know where they live. She stays in business by encouraging loyalty through friendliness. There’s no better way to ensure customer loyalty than stellar customer service.

5. Auntie Gloria keeps a Tight grip on her money belt

If there’s one thing you know about successful market women, it’s that they use knots in their cloth to manage their money. Being able to put your money in buckets allows you to see how much money is coming in and budget for continued business success.

Auntie Gloria keeps separate knots for covering costs, profit, savings, and business reinvestment and growth. Being financially savvy about your business is key to being a successful entrepreneur.

So Motherland Moguls, which hustle tactic can you start using to grow your business? Have any additional lessons to share?