NNENNA OFOEGBU: 5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING

Nnenna Ofoegbu holds a BA Hons degree in Public Relations and Communications and has recently started her own Events business.

She loves writing self-help themed articles and is a mentor. Nnenna is the founder of Yes You Can! A platform that inspires others to live a more focused, goal-driven life.

She also has a long-term passion for fashion accessories and has started her own fashion jewelry company called Exquisitely Yours London.

Nnenna is a huge advocate for giving up personal time for free in exchange for gaining valuable experience, knowledge and career advancement.

Through volunteering and interning, she gained some connections, opened doors and opportunities she would never have been offered otherwise had she not volunteered her time to work for free.

And that is why she thinks one should consider volunteering if they have never done it before. Whether you’re already employed in your dream job or you’re a fresh graduate looking for your first dream role.

It could be through a professional internship at a global organization or by volunteering in your spare time with an NGO.

There are many advantages to volunteering like being offered a job within the organization. Bringing your expertise in one area or learning a new skill in another area you’re interested in can benefit both parties.

You’ll also get to meet new people and expand your professional network.

However, opting to volunteer may not be a financially viable move for everyone. Although a lot of organizations can allow you to work remotely if you are expected to work from the office than expenses like travel and feeding may be left up to you to cover.

This can be off-putting especially if your finances are restricted, but there are ways around it. You could suggest agreeing to volunteer for a short period like two weeks for example, or on a part-time basis like one day a month. Do what works best for you. This will help you to limit your costs.

Nnenna Ofoegbu decided to #volunteer with a well-known charity to upskill her CV after being out of the UK jobs market for a year and not being able to land an interview. Read more… Click To Tweet

She was fortunate as the charity offered to reimburse her for her travel and feeding expenses, and she worked on a part-time basis of two days a week.

She thought it was going to be a piece of cake – oh how wrong she was! It was hard work and challenging. But she had a great mentor who helped her work on and improve her skill set.

It was all worth it in the end when she got to walk a well-known British celebrity down the red carpet at the charity’s annual awards ceremony and go to St James’ Palace for a private garden party.

There are some perks! So, why should you consider volunteering?

Here are Nnenna’s 5 reasons why you should volounteer.

1. Gain or improve an existing skillset

Taking up a corporate internship or volunteering with a social enterprise will give you the opportunity to level up your skillset.

Whether it’s your I.T proficiency or presentation skills, use volunteering as a valid way to learn something new or improve an existing skill.

Working with other skilled colleagues will also enhance your skills and improve your interpersonal abilities. 

Top Tip: Keep a list of any new skills you have gained both soft and hard as it will increase your market value.

By keeping a journal during your time volunteering you will be able to self-reflect on your personal and professional development.

Make sure you update your CV, as additional skills add value to it.

2. Shows ambition

Generally speaking, ambitious minded people are more likely to get ahead in the workplace. Whereas the passive and unassertive person tends to be overlooked for promotion.

Volunteering helps you to create the right impression within the organization. It shows that not only are you willing to give up your time for free but that you’re career-minded and take your professional development seriously.

It shows senior management that you’re focused, responsible and enthusiastic member of the team. It shows assertiveness.

Now all you must do is bring your A-game and add value to the organization by positively contributing to the team.

Top Tip: Set some goals or list the things that you would like to have mastered or achieved during your time with the organization.

Discuss them with your supervisor and come to an agreement on what support you will need to achieve your goals.

3. Improves your network

Volunteering can be a useful way of expanding your professional network. Get involved and try to participate with any department or team activities, social gatherings, and work meetings.

This is also a good time to look for a career mentor if you don’t have one already. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a senior manager.

It could be your co-worker or a colleague from a different team or department.

Top Tip: Add your co-workers and managers (if appropriate) on LinkedIn and ask them to endorse you.

4. Boosts your confidence

Not only will volunteering boost your skills, but your self-confidence will also benefit. It takes guts and tenacity to get out there and join a new organization as a volunteer.

It’s a positive achievement and something to feel proud of. It will make you feel good about yourself and confident in your capabilities.

Top Tip: Don’t feel undervalued because you’re not being paid a salary, rather see it as a chance to be a fly on the wall.

You’ll get to see behind the scenes which could inspire you to suggest some ideas like for a charity fundraiser or a corporate social responsibility activity for example.

5. Brings you closer to your dream job

Whether it’s your first role you’re chasing or you want to pivot into a new career sector through volunteering, it’s the sum total of all your newly acquired skills and connections that will bring you closer to where you ultimately want to go career or even business-wise (even if they don’t offer you a job at the end of it).

If you are looking for employment, then volunteering with the right organization certainly helps.

Top Tip: Add your voluntary work to your LinkedIn profile with any relevant links to the projects or work you’ve been involved in.

Volunteering shows potential employers you’ve got the initiative to do something constructive about your career path and sets you apart from those who haven’t volunteered. Read more Click To Tweet

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The Hidden power of mentorship: First take a hard look at yourself

I recently got a professional mentor. This was not something that had been penned down in detail in my goals for the year. What had been penned down is that I need to seize opportunities that will enhance my network.

So as a true choleric, I jumped on any networking opportunity that presented itself to me. This rather abstract goal led me to join a mentorship forum for Human Resource Professionals whose goal is to provide mentoring opportunities to HR professionals through peer mentoring.

Out of this, I got a professional mentor and I also got a mentee.

My first meeting with my mentor happened early this year. Let’s call her Alexa. To say that I was intimidated is an understatement. Alexa has achieved so much. She is a high-flying career woman, she has a C-suite job, and reports to the Board.

She is confident, she is witty and to wrap it all, she has an amazing sense of style.

Ok. Stop giggling.

I, on the other hand, have worked at my current job for eight years. I was not proud of my employer and I had been carrying this label that I work for the wrong organization.

It was for that reason that all my job applications had not been successful. So much negative vibe about my work situation.

So Alexa and I met at a beautiful restaurant and the conversation started with her telling me about herself. I wanted her job. She makes so much impact.

Isn’t that all that us millennials want, to make an impact?

Then the conversation moved to me. I told her about myself, my work situation and why I had signed up for a mentor. At the end of the meeting, Alexa told me that as part of the preparation for our next meeting, I need to identify the one thing I want to take out of our mentorship relationship once it came to an end.

It was a wonderful evening I must say.

When I got home later that night, I reflected back to my conversation with Alexa. It was like I was outside, looking into our conversation and I was deeply saddened by the picture that emerged. I started my career so positive, so energetic and with an attitude of I can handle whatever comes my way.

Eight years later, to sitting across my mentor, I had changed to this negative person who felt like she had no power.

This realization coupled with Alexa’s assignment on my expected outcome from the professional mentorship forced me to take a long hard painful look at myself. That was the only way I could change the narrative.

I must say that it was not easy. I took some time out to reflect on my life and I realized that it was no longer clear to me what my vision was professional.

The Bible says that my people perish because of a lack of vision. How true this is. If you do not know where you are going, anywhere is good enough. But anywhere is not good enough for me.

Anywhere is not good enough for anyone.

Self-reflection is hard and painful but necessary for you to scale to the next level of your career - Priscah Motogwa Click To Tweet

I want to live a life of purpose and a life of meaning and my career plays a huge part towards that. Pema Chödrön in his book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, says “The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”

Self-reflection is hard. Self-reflection is painful. But self-reflection is necessary for you to scale to the next level of your career.

Do I now know what my vision for my professional life is? Yes.

Do I have a plan of how to achieve it? Yes.

It involves stepping out of my comfort zone by seeking opportunities that will make use of skills that I possess. Indeed, writing this article is stepping out for me. And so for my next meeting with Alexa, I know precisely what I want out of the professional mentorship I am being offered.

In the words of Denzel Washington, “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influence in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.”

Fellow female professionals, do you want to scale the career ladder? My advice, get a mentor.

This article was written by Priscah Motogwa.


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Sometimes, you are all you need: Motherland Mogul Tips from Moana

If you have a child, or you’re just an anime lover, chances are you know about Moana. In her Disney movie, she goes about defining the odds and surpassing challenges to save her community.

Though she is just a Disney character, Moana’s heroism teaches us a thing or two about setting out and achieving our career and life goals.

Here are some motherland mogul tips you can gain Moana:


 

1. Set Clear Goals 

I am Moana of Motunui, I will board my boat, sail across the sea and restore the heart of Te Fiti

Before setting out to help her community, Moana defined her goal. In order to be successful, you need to set a mission for yourself. This helps you keep your goals in order and hopefully achieve them.

Remember your strategy may change but your goals should be defined.

2. Chase Your Dreams at all Cost

Sometimes you’ll have to leave your safety net and set out for your dreams at all cost! You can sketch it, weave it, dance it and even sing it like Moana.

Whatever you do, don’t deter and never accept the limit to how far you can go. Leave your comfort zone, if that is what it’ll take to follow your dreams.

3. Now is the Perfect Time

The biggest lie we tell ourselves is we are not ready to launch our dreams. Truth is, there’s no perfect time to begin that business, start that blog, or begin your career journey.

Once you set your goal, begin today! Moana set out to find Maui just when her grandmother was dying. Instead of stopping her, Grammy Tala told her “Go – and create your own path”.

4. Believe In Yourself

Sometimes, you are all you need! Believing in yourself and your amazing potential will help you achieve greatness.

This way, you wouldn’t easily give up or be discouraged even if everything and everyone seems to go south. You’re enough of a heroine to fill your story.

5. Being A Girl Is the Advantage

We know boys are great and all, but being a girl is definitely something more. Ask Grammy Tala- her grand-daughter did what her son was afraid of!

Put yourself out there, and take advantage of every opportunity. Never feel like you are incompetent or second best because you are a girl. After all, girls run the world.

Put yourself out there, and take advantage of every opportunity Click To Tweet

6. Build your Community

On your way to success, you will meet and encounter different people. As a Motherland Mogul, you look out for ways to build those around you so that you can rise up together. This can be through mentoring or investing in your community.

The key lesson is you should always leave your community better than you found it. Also remember, whether the people you meet are mortals or semi-gods, remember every Maui needs a Moana to set them back on their confidence track and achieve the greatness in them.

7. Value those you meet on your Journey

The truth is, everyone you meet will be important and crucial to your journey to success. Heihei was not exactly intelligent but was helpful at saving Te Fiti’s heart from the coconut-armored pirates at sea. Therefore, value everyone you meet along the way.

But also, when you do meet great people, invite them to be your partners or mentors. These people inspire, teach and push you to move forward when the going gets tough. They could be your peers or more knowledgeable than you are. Join a community like She Leads Africa that teaches and inspires you to become the best version of yourself.

Sometimes our strength lies behind the surface - Moana Click To Tweet

10. The Good Might Lie in the Difficult Situation

Obstacles should never deter you. In every Te ka lies a Te Fiti, and as such, when confronted by seemingly negative challenges- don’t fret; your greatest achievements might lie in the most daunting situations and task.

8. Create your Legacy

At the end of it all, you should place your distinct stone on the mountain. Leave your own legacy, even if it isn’t conventional– don’t be afraid to try new things and walk on the road not taken.

Remember that being different is great.

13. Have Fun

Even though you’re on a journey to restoring the heart of Te Fiti, or on a mission to save the world, do have fun while at it. Dance, sing, make new friends, see new places and enjoy your journey. Life is a song, find yours.

So while this movie teaches us a lot of things, it creates a reminder that as young motherland moguls, we shouldn’t live conventionally, but set out to achieve extraordinary things. Go out and conquer, because the world chooses you!


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My personal experience and Key lessons learned from job hunting in Ghana

I wear 2 caps – Beauty Blogger and Marketing /PR Professional. In this article, I would like to put on my corporate hat and share a few key lessons I learned about job hunting in Ghana since I recently started at a new position at a Reputation Management Agency.

 


I completed my Master’s degree in the UK (MSc Marketing, Distinction) in September 2016 and graduated in January 2017. I returned to Ghana in September 2016 and did not find a job until April 2017, almost 6 months later.

Afterwards, I took a well-deserved break from September 2016 – November 2016 and took the time to catch up with friends and family I had neglected during my intensive 1-year programme.

In November, I began to send out emails to some of my past professional contacts and networks to let them know I was back in town and looking for a job.

 

Most of the responses I got were “No one is really hiring at this time of the year, it will be better to start in the New Year.” So I slowed down in December / early January / until I returned from my graduation and then I switched gears at the end of January.

I sent my CV and cover letter to any and everyone I knew in the industry and signed up and with some recruitment agencies.The most important point for me was that I did not want to get hired because of nepotism or as a favor. I wanted my CV and experience to speak for itself so that whoever was going to hire me would really see the value I would be bringing to the table.

Figure out what career path you would like to take based on your personality, interests, likes and dislikes Click To Tweet

I went for a few interviews, but none of the positions sparked the interest I knew I needed in order to be happy with the job. Long story short, one of the professional contacts I got in touch with responded and let me know there was availability and the rest is history.

 

Here are 10 key lessons I have learned during the 6 months I was job hunting in Ghana:

1.  You will be ignored and rejected

You will receive various emails saying – “I regret to inform you that your qualifications do not match our requirements at this time”.

Do not let this get to you, continue to prepare for individual jobs/interviews, make sure you know your strong points and are selling them to each company in the appropriate manner.

2. Experience matters

As much as you can, do not leave too many gaps in your CV as this puts many employers off. Try as much as possible to list your experience chronologically and continue to reiterate it in interviews. Sometimes, experience trumps qualifications

3. Figure out your Unique Selling Point

Figure out what your strengths are and when you have been able to apply them during your career. Focus on these points during your interview. Try not to be a jack of all trades, pick a few skills you have and build on them

4. CV matters

Your CV is the first impression your potential employer has of you, make sure to wow them. Keep the CV short and simple, with bullet points and short, sharp quantifiable experience.

5. You might start at the bottom

In Ghana, it is very difficult to start a job at the position you think reflects your qualification and experience. Be patient, give each challenge your all and you will be able to rise through the ranks quickly!

It is especially important that you let your potential employer know that you are looking to be promoted within 6 months during the later stages of your interviews so they are aware that you are willing to work hard. Don’t confuse starting at the bottom with starting with a completely different job in a different department.

The best example I can give for this would be starting as an Account Executive at an agency when you should actually be an Account Manager

6. Have patience and humility

During the time of your hunt, you are going to need to be extremely patient with yourself, with your potential employers and even with your friends and family who may be pressurizing you to look into other industries / other positions.

Stick with your goals and continue to work towards what you think is best for you

7. Keep an open mind

This is related to points 5 & 6 – keep an open mind with regards to different positions you might enjoy, timelines for hiring and even salaries. You might need to be a bit flexible in the first few months to ensure you get a position you enjoy

8. Connections and networks are important

These are not necessarily personal connections but it is advisable to attend industry events in order to generate strong networks you can fall back on when it comes to time to look for a job. Don’t ignore the power of LinkedIn!

9. You will be pressurized

You will definitely start feeling pressurized by your family/friends and even by yourself especially if it is taking a while to get a job. Stand firm in your beliefs and continue to re-evaluate your choices, keeping your goals in mind

10. Qualifications don’t always matter

Sometimes, your qualifications don’t always matter. You will see people in your position or higher who don’t have the same qualifications as you. That is fine as your education opens up your mind and allows you to think of solutions in different ways.

These qualifications may not necessarily matter on paper but they open your mind up beyond what it would have been able to process before you got the degree

My personal advice is to figure out what career path you would like to take based on your personality, your interests, your likes and dislikes and then find a position that is best suited for you.

It may not be a perfect fit but if it ticks 8 out of 10 boxes, then it’s a good fit. Stand firm in your choices; do not get swayed by others who may not necessarily know what your end goal might be.

Resources to check out for job hunting in Ghana

  • Linkedin
  • Jobberman.com.gh
  • African Bagg Recruitment

What key lessons have you learned from job hunting in your country? Share your experience with us here.

Amanda Kulati: Consider Skills Development for your career, it makes good business and personal sense

Amanda is a Social Scientist and a business woman with a passion for leadership development. Amanda believes that leadership is not confined to the highest level in the organogram- but leadership fostered from bottom up is good for sustainability.

When an Enterprise Development Organisation that she was working for, as the National Training Manager, undertook to retrench all staff in 2012, she was affected. Curious about change development and what makes an organization more effective, she ventured into business and registered LOCD. Leverage Organisation and Change Development (Pty) LTD is a 100% Black Female owned Consulting and Skills Development Firm. 

Fostering an attitude of appreciation for lifelong learning is the key to workplace success Click To Tweet


Tell us about LOCD.

Leverage Organisation and Change Development (Pty) LTD is a 100% black female owned Consulting and Skills Development firm.

LOCD offers Organization Effectiveness and Skills Development solutions including: Business Transformation Planning and Execution; Change Management; Enterprise/Supplier Development as well as pure skills training facilitation to both the public and private sector, (across the African continent).

LOCD also offers Leadership, Self Mastery Coaching and Mentoring services, Instructional Design according to SAQA standards, Conference Speaking/Panel discussions and MC service’s.

What inspired you to create this business?

Skills development means developing competencies and skill sets to add value in your organization and for your own career development. Fostering an attitude of entrepreneurship and leadership for lifelong learning is the key to workplace success. As such, I am an accredited facilitator/moderator and assessor.  LOCD collaborates with SETA accredited partners on a need-to basis.

 

Why does skills development make good business and personal sense?

History and research tell us that we have high levels of illiteracy. This not only refers to basic reading and writing but, also competencies to build and sustain governments/ministries and businesses. A skilled workforce is a motivated workforce and a motivated workforce produces quality end products/services.

Good talented people naturally want to advance, and appreciate meaningful support in the process.  Ambitious young employees want training, mentoring and coaching.   They want to gain skills, relevant skills, fast.  They want to become more versatile and valuable to an organization so they can quickly advance their careers

Increased employment opportunities: Without a doubt training provides increased employment opportunities. Today, even entry level roles in many industries require base level qualifications. By completing a training course, your employment opportunities become wider. Another reason for adding to your skill set is to be able to win new types of work, which may be more interesting or lucrative.

Increased career development opportunities: Developing a career in a chosen field is something many of us aspire to. Experience alone, in many cases, does not suffice when employers are seeking to promote their staff. By undertaking further training, the opportunity to develop your career is enhanced.

Personal growth. Training not only provides you with the skills in a particular area. By undertaking further training you build your networking, time management, communication and negotiation skills.

Increased knowledge and understanding of your local industry: Interskills trainers are experts in their fields – they are closely connected within their industry. This provides you with local industry knowledge to supplement your growing skills.

You’re the driver! It’s worth remembering you are your own mentor, HR department and boss.  Nobody else is going to be looking after your career development except you. Therefore, you need to be the instigator of change. Ensure that you are moving forward to ensure you don’t get stuck in a rut.

Play catch-up and stay knowledgeable: Many professions require you to keep on top of new developments, which may be moving rapidly.  For instance if there is a new software release, or a dynamic new design trend, you may need to have that knowledge under your belt, so that you’re better equipped to compete on your next job interview.

Stand out from the crowd by combining skills: Over the next few years the world of contract work is undoubtedly going to get more competitive. You many need something extra to really stand out. Sometimes unusual combinations of skills can result in you having a unique selling point. Merge your talent and your passions to find creative combinations that make you more marketable.

Reap the personal rewards: The most important part of learning a new skill or undergoing training is the sense of achievement you will feel when you move forward.  Moreover, the whole process of learning is rewarding and interesting, and you can gain insights into your own capabilities and character.

Who are any 3 African women or mentors that inspire you and why?

  • Belinda Knight: Director at Duke Corporate Education and my previous manager. I used to hate it when she would say- when I was an office administrator- I must chair meetings where I was the only ‘junior support staff member’. But, I learnt over the years that she was developing a well rounded leader and forced me to step up.Not only that, she kept on involving me in her role. I owe who I am today, to her.

 

  • Daisy Malele: Founder and Director of Dees Training. She is resilient and humble. I admire her from a distance.  Through her training company she gave me tools to launch my career – Facilitator/Assessor and Moderator training, as well as my first registration with the SETA. I owe my knowledge of the SETAs and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to her.

 

  • My mother of course: she instilled a sense of responsibility, humility and putting others first. I used to observe her generosity. Leadership is about having a cause that is beyond you and your immediate family. Through LOCD I believe I am living my purpose.

Some people are looking to start up their own businesses, not necessarily in the skills and development sector, but other industries as well. What advice would you give them?

  • BE HUMBLE… learn from those who walked the path before you- ask for help.
  • Partner- up when required to do so- sharing is caring.
  • The whole is better recognized than its parts.

How has skills development helped you progress in your career and/or business?

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

Being your own boss as a freelancer

You need to fully get your hustle on and sell yourself whenever you get the chance. Click To Tweet

Welcome to the freelance life.

First off, I’ve noticed a Nigerian trend where too many young people are obsessed with the title of CEO on their name cards, and less committed to undertaking the hard work that comes with working for oneself. In an economy that may or may not be in a recession, the conventional employment sector is overburdened as too many people clamor for scarce resources. For some others, the strings of a 9-to-5 or round-the-clock job working for someone else is just not appealing.

Let’s be straight up, here. Freelancing is not an easy path to navigate but there are serious perks to it if you’re actually good at what you do, and if you’re prepared to put yourself out there. There is such a wide range of freelance occupations which includes writers, graphic designers, animators, accountants, MUAs, hair stylists, recruiters, lawyers, models, real estate agents and more.

Statistics tell us that about a third of all working Americans are freelancers. In several parts of Africa, we can expect that more people are also taking up freelance work. There are several perks to working as a freelancer:

  • Your time is flexible
  • You’re your own boss
  • You get to select the projects that interest you

All that sounds super great, so let’s balance it out. There is a downside…there is no guaranteed income stream. This is true especially when you’re just starting out. It means you need to fully get your hustle on and sell, sell, sell yourself whenever you get the chance. Some periods may be a lot better than others. Sometimes, you’re absolutely swamped with work and at other times, you’re almost begging for work.

How to boss it?

Network!

Whenever you meet new people or talk to old friends, tell them about what you do. People are always looking for freelancers but you wouldn’t know if you don’t spark up the conversation.

Be super organized

It’s important to respond to clients in a timely manner and to keep adequate records. It helps to have a to-do list and to set hours when you must get things done.

Brand yourself online and offline

Use social media to showcase your skills and highlight your personal brand. Work on a splendid offline portfolio too, get all your marketing tools in check.

Look for opportunities on social media

Forget looking only at the traditional sources! I personally have been exposed to more opportunities on social media. Twitter is a great tool to find work and engage with other freelancers as yourself.

I personally love the freedom that comes with being able to plan around my own time, to travel while I work, to work at odd hours. Just remember, you need to be practical about your goals and expectations, and you need to put considerable time and effort in to get to your ideal place.

Kindly share your tips and experiences from working as a freelancer with us.

5 things to do to be successful in your career

Career success doesn't come easy, Chikodi Abani shares 5 things to change for a successful career Click To Tweet

We all want to be successful in our chosen fields –be it as a writer, actor, entrepreneur, fitness trainer, media consultant, or radio presenter. We all strive to be among the top 5. It’s not enough to dream success, you can’t aim for success while you dilly-dally.

You can’t say you’ll lose a few pounds while you keep stuffing yourself up every day. Something’s got to change –be it your thinking or environment. You can’t keep doing the same thing and hope to get a different result. It doesn’t work that way. If you want a different result, do something different.

Success is not something you attain by just dreaming. In the words of Shonda Rimes “Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.” In other words, hard work is essential to success.

Attitude/mind-set  

 You are what you think! Ever paid attention to the thoughts running through your mind? Are you filled with so much negativity that you can’t stop to harbor one positive thought? There are no shortcuts to success -it’s tiring and sometimes lonely.

Occasionally you will feel like you’re headed somewhere, other times you’ll feel like you’re on the wrong bus. In the journey of success, attitude matters. Maintaining a positive attitude when your emotions are all jumbled up helps. You won’t always feel upbeat and energetic; you will feel like quitting sometimes.

Ever wondered why lifestyle coaches and motivational speakers stress on positivity. It’s because one small positive affirmation goes a long way.

Get your ass off/leave your comfort zone

A friend told me that he will like to know me. I found it funny because he knows me. He laughed and added, “I know you. And I want to believe it when you set out to do something because you are too relaxed.” That hit me really hard.

Several times I dreamed up an idea out of excitement only to let it go down the drain. Other times, I set out do something only to let procrastination get in my way. How often do we make up our minds to do something only to get stuck in our comfort zone? We say we’ll do this or that but we stop before we even begin. Why?

Because we’re so scared that we’ll rather sit and wait for the ‘right’ time or when the coast is clear before we step out. I love analyzing and thinking through a plan. It’s good. But oftentimes we indulge in so much thinking and analyzing that hesitation begins to creep in. You have got to stop over thinking, over analyzing, second guessing and self-doubting yourself. Just get on the train.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Click To Tweet

Be resilient

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, resilience is the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens. You can’t be successful if you’re not resilient. Things will not always go your way; you’ll fail, fall and feel miserable.

You have to have an insatiable desire to pursue your dreams despite the obstacles surrounding it. No matter how many times you fail, or how often you make a ‘fool’ of yourself, get back on track. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, what matters is how many times you get up and get going.

Keep learning

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Most people tend to settle once they get that job or start up that business. They shut the doors to grooming or improving themselves. University days are over, business is flourishing. There’s no need to sharpen your skills, right? Wrong. If you want to stand out, you must be willing to work on yourself at all times.

How do you think people like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Omotola or Oprah got to where they are? It’s because they worked on their craft. Ask renowned medical doctors or award winning writers and actors, they will tell you how much time they invest in learning.

We are surrounded with so many resources to become better people and thanks to technology; you don’t even have to be in a classroom. With your smartphone, you can have access to unlimited knowledge on a wide range of topics. We live in a dynamic world so there’s the need to stay up-to-date.

Do away with distractions

Lack of direction, not lack of time is the problem. We all have twenty-four hours days” – Zig Ziglar

Successful people manage their time wisely. Time management is linked to success. It is difficult to attain success if you spend your time on the wrong people or things. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines distraction as “something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention”.  To be successful in your career, you should be willing to set aside your distractions – TV, gadgets, people, social media…; whatever is diverting your attention from your desired goal.

Why you need to set career goals each month

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All successful people have career goals. We know a full time job can make it challenging to achieve said goals but this doesn’t make them any less important. As career-focused young women, the goals we set are our career objectives. They are an essential part of progressing up the career ladder.

A great way to make sure you are on top of your career goals in a timely fashion is to break them down monthly. This means you’re only focusing on one goal a month. Your monthly goals can range from learning a new skill or updating your LinkedIn account to asking for a promotion or improving your relationship with co-workers. The choice is entirely yours. Not convinced? Here are four reasons you need to set monthly career goals.

Flexibility

Let’s be real, when you set yearly goals, you do so blindly. There’s no way of knowing how each month in the year will pan out. Monthly goals allow you to properly consider the time period in which you’re setting your goals. That way you’re flexible enough to consider any drama that may come up. It is as the year moves on that the best times to focus on certain activities are revealed to us.

Imagine this, you update your resume January every year. What happens when you change employment within the year? Will you wait until the following year to update your resume again? Now if you take our advice and devote a month to brushing up your resume, you have more than enough time to create a master version saved for when you need it.

Easy tracking

Monthly goals are easy to measure. You know, tracking your progress towards achieving your goals is just as important as setting them. Tracking makes it easier to move on to new goals when you’ve achieved others.

If you set goals yearly, you may end up forgetting some of your triumphs when it’s time to evaluate. Seeing what you’ve achieved on a month-by-month basis is also a huge boost to your sense of accomplishment. You’ll be surprised at how much you get done in a month.

Better focus

Taking things one month at a time allows you to focus, making goals much more achievable than otherwise. You can devote a month to forming better work habits and increasing your productivity. Very specific right? Trust us, by the time you spend thirty days focused on one thing, you would have developed habits that will have a lasting impact.

You can set a month aside to learn something new. This is especially useful for those slow seasons at work where you have more free time.

Time management

Setting monthly goals is a great way to manage your time while also saving yourself from too much stress. If you’re following our advice (and you should), you may set one or two ultimate goals for the year then focus on one aspect of your career each month.

This way, each month, you’re one step closer to achieving your ultimate boss goals. You can even go further and set weekly and daily goals.

As an aspiring #MotherlandMogul do you set goals every month? Let us know what your goals are in the comments section below.

The best comebacks for the 7 worst workplace mistakes

Mistakes happen. But what do you do after a mishap?

Since different mix-ups require different solutions, we have put together a come back list for these 7 common work place mistakes.

They might help cut you some slack.

1. You miss a very important meeting

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When you come in, don’t act as if you did not forget. You might be smooth, but people will notice. Slide in quietly and take your boss to the side. Tell her you honestly forgot and that you’ll adjust right away. Don’t speak if you’re not up on the subject.

Rather, listen and take notes so that you can work back from there after the meeting. Take note of upcoming meetings and write them down immediately so that next time, you’ll be the first one in the room. Prepare yourself cautiously and never repeat this in the future. Before you know, no one remembers that one time you forgot.

2. You made quite the typo

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Your boss asked you to send a crucial e-mail regarding an important deal, and you used the verb? Let it be. Messed up a time-schedule? Correct it.

But then, there are the real pain-in-the-behind typos. Let’s say you got a little enthusiastic and spelled your biggest clients last name ‘Yerk’ as  J-E-R-K. Normally, this does not happen to you, so don’t beat yourself up – what’s done is done. Send out an email with an apology. Keep it light – perhaps you could humorously point out how close these letters are to each other on ALL of our keyboards.

3. You ate someone’s sandwich

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This is super disrespectful. Someone was counting on that.

We can’t help you here.

4. You had the best time at the office party

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…And may have told your handsome co-worker that “you love a man in a uniform”. And now you can’t remember whether you kept talking after that… Oh dear. You’ll still have to walk into that office, so you better come correct and look a hundred when you do.

Be fresh and in a good mood when you enter, and when someone comments on your frills from the night before, you say: “I’m sure you had a great time. Wasn’t I charming?” or “Man, that was some champagne”.

5. You deleted a document that you can’t get back anymore

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You better pray. The century of technology has provided us with so many comforts – but my, oh my, with it comes the stress of saving, saving-as and… well, losing.

If this problem is beyond your technical skills, get someone who can fix it for you. 

6. You’ve gotten into it with your co-worker

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He’d been on your nerves for weeks and now it’s come to an altercation. He said some things and so did you, and now it’s hard to concentrate around each other. If you guys can’t solve this issue together, tell your boss.

Either go together and address the issue in a respectful and mature manner, or book some solo time with your boss to discuss what you think might be a solution to the problem.

7. You lack sleep and therefore empathy

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You’ve been putting in extra hours and it’s made you cranky as can be. Although you try to leave that at home, people notice you’re not in a happy mood. If you can, take a day off, or work from home for a day. Being in a different, lower-pressure environment might help you snap out of the funky mood.

Get some sleep. Eat a decent meal. Do a fifteen-minute work out, and right before bed, read a few pages from your favorite book. Then watch yourself turn up at the job refreshed. After all, rent’s up and you need this money.

These tips should help save the day. And if they do, send us some jollof too. Also, if you have other tips for making an office come back, please share the SLA community.