Nallah B. Sangaré: Becoming a global makeup artist and beauty brand

Nallah B. Sangaré is a self-taught makeup artist and beauty expert who doesn’t shy away from any bold coloured or textured fabric, accessory or makeup look. Though born and raised in France, she is a deeply rooted Motherland Mogul with her father originally from Ivory Coast and her mother from Mali.

For six years, she was the International Trainer for MAC Cosmetics sub-Saharan Africa initially based in Lagos, Nigeria and then Nairobi, Kenya travelling across the region from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa recruiting and training African makeup artists.

Nallah has also become a stylist, a creative director and has also evolved into an entrepreneur. She explores other industry segments including managing African models through her pan-African company Papillon.

What motivated you to join the beauty industry and how did you get started?

I have had an unusual journey. My background is in science and international business. After my bachelor’s in Business in the UK, I didn’t know what I wanted so I decided to shift to the business of Beauty and Luxury. My goal was to explore the beauty field in its entirety while maintaining my background.

I started in department stores for Givenchy so I could learn about skin fragrances and that experience revealed my makeup skills. Then I worked for several skincare brands, in wellness and trained in hairstyling. I learnt mostly on the job.

Afterwards, I was recruited by MAC cosmetics and went from a makeup artist at the counter to one of the very few black managers at their biggest store in the world on the Champs Elysées. When MAC launched in the African market, I applied to be the International Trainer for the sub-Saharan region.

I always had a love for beauty but never knew I could have a career in it as I wasn’t girly despite my sense of style.

The magical part is that with your hands and your kit this job has no boundaries – Nallah B. Sangare Click To Tweet

You started off as a makeup artist but have grown into a fully-fledged creative in the beauty industry. What motivated you to diversify and why would you say the growth was vital?

I wanted a full understanding of the field. I also realized that I wasn’t limited to one aspect and I could express my full vision in a project which has been important in bringing out exactly what I have in mind.

What is the highlight of your career so far?

As self-taught, it would be my role as International Trainer where I shared my knowledge and inspired African talents and worked on Mercedes Benz Fashion weeks. I also took part in projects to extend foundation and skincare lines for darker skin.

Look by Nallah B. Sangare. Source: Instagram


What has been your most challenging professional experience?

I would say working with Givenchy. I struggled with their idea of oppressing my sense of style and their idea of polishing me to their western standards of slick and straight hair & no accessories.

Do you have mentors in the industry?

Many people, cultures and landscapes inspire me. But if I have to pick one I would say makeup artist and beauty entrepreneur Danessa Myricks.

You can be a makeup artist at the counter of a department store or like I have been, an artist at a photoshoot in the middle of the Serengeti- Nallah B. Sangare Click To Tweet


Tell us about the available work opportunities for makeup artists.

From cinema to entertainment, they are so vast. You can be a makeup artist at the counter of a department store or like I have been, an artist at a photoshoot in the middle of the Serengeti with a Kenyan Victoria’s Secret model or designing the look for a Kenyan musical play that played on Broadway.

The magical part is that with your hands and your kit this job has no boundaries.

Do you have a signature look?

Yes, because I’ve gathered knowledge on skin and styling, I can say my craft has a 360-degree vision. I love beautiful glowy skin with freckles which brings out more realness. I also have a special love for colour and boldness.

Look by Nallah B. Sengare. Source: Instagram

Working on the African continent, I have developed the use of Afropointilism and Afrobohemian concepts. Afropointilism points to the use of tribal makeup from sub-Saharan tribes. The name is coined from pointillism, due to its similarity with the painting technique using dots discovered through Vincent Van Gogh. It is a great mark of our heritage in different African cultures.

In Afrobohemian, I fuse different traditional beauty ornaments from scarifications to body painting to show the paradox of similarity while expressing singularity. I also paint the African map on the eye to express my vision of the Motherland.

As a Beauty Educator, what influence does your work have on today’s African woman?

The makeup classes I give include knowledge about skin, hair and styling that enable professional makeup-artists and women to work on their image individually or in a group.

I incorporate self-love and self-confidence coaching as well as modules for African women to understand the history of our beauty and the specifics of our cultures.

What are your top 3 tips for young African women aspiring to be makeup artists?

  1. Be passionate and dedicated to your craft by practising. Maximise the opportunity to learn from mentors.
  2. Be patient when it comes to developing your personal artistic style.
  3. Love what you do.

Want to map out your own career path? Here’s how!

Think about a career as a personal journey. How person ‘A’ makes it work, is never the same as how person ‘B’ makes it work. In an industry with hundreds of skilled talent coupled with the rapidly evolving times, how can you craft your own path and remain relevant?

Now more than ever, is the time to be intentional about what you bring to the table; what makes you unforgettable? Case in point- the career journey of popular Nigerian Media Personality, Toke Makinwa – she went from making the big move from banking to being the media star we know today.  The key to her progress has been owning her unique career journey.

How do you map out a career path tailored just for you? The three P’s for writing your script are Purpose, Place, and Plan!

 

No purpose means no perspective!

career path- I see you gif

The secret to a knock-out career is a personal vision. What is your ‘why’ and how can the world benefit from this? Quickly identifying this helps you to know right where you fit in. Think about it this way: without ‘you’ there is no career. So, authenticity is required to create or find the right opportunities for you.

This is what will enable you to be successful irrespective of the dynamism of your sector. So, what if machines took over your sector, how would you evolve to stand the test of times? The answer is ‘you’.

I have always envisioned a world with more women who are relevant and living their authentic lives. This is my personal vision and it translates to the kind of career choices I have made. Through my various roles as writer, administrator and civil leader, my purpose has not changed.

Knowing your place means there is a vacuum just for you

Career path -Chess gif

What are you able to bring to the table? Remember it is all about you, and how you can make everything work in your favour.

What has kept Ms. Tyra Banks relevant until now, is mapping out a career path that only she can execute. What is your place in the industry you are in? Where can you work or not work? The path becomes even narrower.

It takes consistency to find a niche or establish a track record, but when you can identify what exactly it is you bring to the table as well as where you can function in terms of delivering your personal vision? That’s when you know you are off to a great start.

In my case, after identifying how I could add value to the female audience, I developed my niche as a columnist on a lifestyle blog for women. I created a column for aspirational women; for daily motivation and personal development. This was how I started out, which in turn enabled me to learn a lot about myself, and evolve. I have built my career on this foundation.

Draw up a plan for you or go home when their plan changes

I mentioned Tyra Banks earlier. Actually, Tyra was forced to make sustainable career plans when her industry rejected her. If she took the list of designers who said they couldn’t book her anymore and admitted that she was done, she wouldn’t be who she is today. Instead, she rewrote her narrative by creating opportunities for herself.

Having found a purpose and a place, then there has to be a great plan to keep you relevant. Like a custom-made strategy just for you.

In formulating a plan, ask yourself the following questions: What is the right network for me? Where is the right environment? How can I gain more confidence and experience? What is crucial to remaining relevant? In answering these questions, you will be able to craft a career strategy for yourself.

To wrap this up…

I have been able to identify opportunities that re-enforce my competencies, which in turn have helped me evolve in my career. This consistency has helped me to learn more about myself, and envision where I would like to be in years to come.

I first started out as a content creator for women, but I have evolved to channel my passion of empowering women, into development work and not just media. As a key-employee in an organization for women, I have first-hand experience in helping women stay relevant. 

If you are hoping for a Toke Makinwa or Tyra Banks type of evolution, then you need to put yourself at the centre of your career. Not the money, or being on fleek, or the people you are rolling with. Think hard to make the right decisions. Long-standing personal brands are birthed from consistency.


How have you mapped your career path?

Let us know more about you and your story here.

Overwhelmed? Here’s How to Succeed in these Times

For a start babe, how are you feeling today?

I know that these past few months have been challenging. Business sales are declining, pay cuts at work, bank accounts are turning red and being indoors is getting the best of us. For some of us, thinking of how to succeed is the last thing on our minds. We’re more about how to survive.

There is SO MUCH going on and I bet we are all looking for ways to stay sane during and after this pandemic. 

But the truth is, bags still need to be secured and money has to be made- pandemic or not! So here are a few tips on how you can succeed in the new norm.

1. Stop feeling sorry for yourself

If you really want to succeed, you will find ways to change where you are right now. Self-pity won’t take you there. If your mood is not right, take a brief meditation break or dance to your favourite song. Shake off that bad energy because better days are here!

2. Create a gratitude journal

Get your notepad and list out a few things you’re grateful for today. Think about your family, friends, things that went well, the growth you’ve experienced and any other positive parts of your life no matter how big or small.

3. Never stop marketing yourself

If you’re a business owner, start treating every piece of communication you send out as another chance to market your product. Show your best pieces and update that Instagram account with your latest products or discounts. Most importantly, remind family and friends about your business.

4. Don’t be stagnant

We’ve been forced to conform to changes that we have little or no control over. If you’re thinking about how to succeed, this is the time for you to re-evaluate your business goals in relation to the current economy. Find ways to thrive girl! The world is evolving and so should you. Don’t just exist. Live. Explore. Challenge yourself.

There are many hidden opportunities right now. You just need to put yourself out there! Click To Tweet

5. Keep the vision alive!

You need to have a vision of who you want to be. Succeeding in the new norm means breaking through the hard shells to come out renewed and rejuvenated. It means doing it your own way and making the best out of everything.  

To build that amazing business or career, you need access to resources that can help you. She Leads Africa has consistently delivered valuable content and experiences for women to live their best lives over the years.

Where did the pandemic hit you the most? A decline in business sales, a pay cut or you’ve exhausted your savings. Whatever it is, you need a strong support system to push you to exceed limits and take on opportunities you never thought you would. These are some benefits of being a part of the SLA community.

 

 


Grab your squad and join the train of successful women in the 21st century. Join the SLA community!

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STEM WOMEN: 5 Reasons To Be Proud according to Black Panther

We need more STEM Women in Africa.

In 2018, Black Panther solidified its place in pop culture as one of the greatest movies of all time. In addition to highlighting #blackexcellence, the movie also normalizes African women’s place in STEM.

This representation in popular culture is especially important considering WEF reports a 47% global gender gap in STEM.

If you are an African STEM woman, here are 5 reasons you should be proud of according to Black Panther.


1. You are Ingenious

Wakanda is nothing without its Vibranium, and no one knows how to leverage this special resource better that Shuri – the Black Panther’s sister.

Throughout the movie, we can see how Shuri’s inventions have helped the Wakanda’s advancement in technology. From Blank Panther’s nanotechnology suit to the sound-absorbing sneakers, Shuri’s inventions solved a lot of problems for both Wakanda and her brother.

Shuri should remind you of why you are a STEM Woman – to create, invent, innovate and deliver life-transforming solutions to the world. The next solution the world needs is in you!

2. You are Important

While the movie is not called “The STEM Women of Wakanda” (Marvel, we wouldn’t mind a spin-off), if you take away Shuri’s inventions, the Black Panther would be a very different film.

As a STEM professional, you may never get billboard-sized recognition you deserve, but that doesn’t make your work any less important. Your solutions behind the great things your organization speaks volumes about how valuable you are.

3. You are Emotionally Strong

For those of us, especially in engineering, we see ourselves in positions to exercise physical strength but how about emotionally? Angela Bassett was the perfect actor for the mother of our superhero. Queen Ramonda was an embodiment of strength!

Sometimes, we see our products or solutions come to life only to die a few months or years later. Many times, we even see our ideas die before they see the light of day. No matter the odds, we are wired to stay strong and not give up.

4. You Know Your Stuff

Shuri, the STEM Gem of Wakanda, knew her stuff. She could explain anything to you and knew the workings behind everything powered by Vibranium. You could never catch her off guard.

Women continuously have to prove themselves in every professional field. It’s a much tougher battle in male-dominated STEM fields. As a But for you, you prove this wrong every day you step into the office and do what you do.

As a STEM woman, you prove your worth every day by dazzling all with the depth of knowledge you have. Take pride in your investments to improve yourself every day!

5. You are Multi-Talented

Not only was Shuri a tech guru, she was also a warrior. She did not opt to stick to her lab but got involved in what made her work valuable.

As an African STEM woman, you have a unique perspective the world needs. You have been blessed to do so much, you should never feel streamlined to stereotyped functions. You can always step into new vacant shoes and know what to do – because you can!


Are you a #STEMWoman? Share this post and tell us what you are most proud of accomplishing.

Contributing Editor: Judith Abani

You better get your Hot Girl Summer on, Motherland Mogul

Summer or no summer, you MUST live your best life.

You are a boss and keeping up with the trends in the digital world is the major key!

You must have come across the term Hot girl summer over the past month. If you’re not sure what everyone is on about, we’re serving you the tea in this article.

What is #HotGirlSummer???

The phrase #Hotgirlsummer was coined by American rapper, Meghan Thee Stallion. She used the term to tell women (and men) to be unapologetically themselves and fiercely go after their dreams and goals.

It simply means that summer or no summer, you MUST live your best life.

The term first appeared on Twitter after one of her fans posted a photo with the caption “I hear it’s a #HotGirlSummer”. Since then, the term has since caught on like bush fire.

Men and Women around the world are now posting fun and happy photos of themselves on social media with the same caption. The phrase represents women living out their best lives at their own terms, to make it the best thing to ever happen to them.

If you are looking to have your own Hot Girl Summer season like the Motherland Mogul that you are, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Review and Define Your Goals

In order to live life unapologetically, there must be a goal or vision that you are looking to achieve.

It is important that you have a vision of where you are going and come up with a plan of how you will get there. This may involve improving your current skill set or going back to school.

Choose your path and glow while pursuing your goals.

2. Put Your Best Foot Forward Where You are

In most cases than not, it will take time to get to your dream job/businesses/bosses and/or clientele.

While you are building towards your goals and dreams, it is essential that you grab every crucial opportunity that comes by. The journey to achieving your dreams is a culmination of all the work and effort that you are putting in now.

Use your current position to build a richer network as this will make your journey much easier.

The phrase, Your Network is Your Net worth should come in handy where you are now and when you finally get to achieve your goals.

3. Put In the Work

Nothing works unless you do.

To achieve anything in life, you must be willing to put in the effort and work required to get where you want to be.

It is also important to ensure that your voice is heard in meetings and in boardrooms. As you put in the work and effort, it is also very important that you are taking credit for your achievements.

You are much more memorable when your voice is heard, therefore, going forward ensure that you are the lady who takes credit for her work, contributes ideas and always have engaging thoughts in any meetings and conferences.

An organization or client will always value someone who adds value. Your work is then to add value. 

4. Have Fun While Doing It

Girl, work hard and play hard while you’re at it.

Going after your goals and choosing to be outstanding is definitely not always fun.

There is a lot of unseen hard work and in some cases, you are your own biggest cheerleader.

But, how about making it fun for yourself by having a weekly gratitude list?

Each week, write down something you are grateful for and also tick off a goal that you have accomplished. It is the consistent cumulative effort that eventually pays off and keeps a smile on your face.

5.Take a Selfie and Don’t Forget to Hashtag #HotGirlSummer

Lastly, while putting in the work and securing the bag don’t forget to take a bomb selfie as you live your best life, on your own terms.

It is always relaxing to get the perfect selfie and keep the movement going for all the women who are making it happen for themselves and their communities.

Have yourself a Hot Girl Summer.


Join our Facebook Live on August 22nd to learn how to drive social change through your business/ Career. Click here to sign up.

That money you want is in someone’s account: Amba Eyang – Ajakaye

Not every “celebrity” is known. There are powerful women who are not just breaking glass ceilings, but also impacting the lives of people they meet.

One of such extraordinary women is Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye, a Brand Storyteller and Business Strategist.

She is the founder of iDare.NotDread Nigeria, a social engineering platform promoting innovation, creativity, and enterprise through storytelling and value sharing.

She is also team lead of the Build My Business initiative born out of iDare.NotDread’s enterprise. Centered on building skills and capacities for young people in the business.

This project launched grand ideas such as the BMB Expo and BMB Training school (online) in 2017.

Amba has gone from transforming ordinary people who would have never thought of writing their own books, to making them authors.

She’s also supporting small businesses to achieve scalability and growth especially, by helping them identify and understand the importance of “target markets” and “market validation”.

In this interview with SLA contributor – Wuraola, Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye bares it all about IDare.NotDread and highlights why small business owners should “do it afraid”.


Do it Afraid. Fight your limitations – Amba Eyang-AjakaiyeI Click To Tweet

Tell us about your company – IDare.NotDread

iDare.NotDread is a social Enterprise promoting innovation, creativity, and enterprise in Nigeria.

Our focus is primarily to build women communities and empower them with creative and innovative skills for business growth.

What’s one business tip you wish most business owners knew and could wield to their advantage?

Network. Meet people.

That money you want is in someone’s account. That unspoken challenge can be solved by someone. Attend workshops, events, and meet people. Most people don’t bite.

How can entrepreneurs begin to understand the power of conducting market validation, and collaboration with other SMEs?

I believe in collaboration. This is why I try to build communities. We started the Abuja food community in May, and its amazing to see how much collaboration has happened in a group full of women.

Yet, we probably thought women prefer to fight. No. The moment businesses understand that collaboration first means ‘here is what I can give you’, before ‘give me what I want’, they will lead better businesses.

With a lot of fake business coaches around, what makes your brand different?

We didn’t just arrive. We’ve been here a while. In 2013 we started with creating a platform for entrepreneurs to share their stories and inspire others.

Over time, we realized stories weren’t enough. Capacities needed to be built.

So we went all in to try to understand the real needs of the entrepreneurs we wished to serve, and since 2016, we started contributing to conversations around digital technology and creating a good impact in the digital space.

Since then, our efforts have birthed super brands.

In the past 3 years we have successfully trained 4,000 entrepreneurs on digital strategies as well as provided opportunities for business visibility.

Many thanks to the opportunity Google granted us through the Digital Skills for Africa programme and a host of other partners who have trusted us to work with them.

Why should SMEs understand their target markets before making an entrance into the market?

Because if we don’t, we would be hitting our heads on rocks. Hard rocks.

You can’t sell to everyone, and this is why research is key to identifying who your market is.

Ever tried selling a #ManchesterUnited jersey to an #Arsenal fan? It's just blind selling. Read more from Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye Click To Tweet

Tell us about your Ebook Challenge

Its amazing! I launched my first ever ebook on March 2019, titled ‘How to write your first eBook‘ and that’s where the ebook challenge began.

We are currently on our 3rd cohort and it’s been amazing!!! Every 2 months we launch a new set of authors who are super proud of their achievements. It feels great to empower people to create wealth with their knowledge.

We are looking to expand the community beyond eBooks to help more women create diverse digital products and generate more income.

How does the “Do It Afraid” catchphrase relate to entrepreneurs who don’t like taking risks?

We all have fear in us. It’s an emotion. I am still learning to tame my fears. And we all should. The best way to go about it is to go ahead and do that very thing you fear.

I have coached a number of businesses and one of the areas I tend to focus on is to help them fight those limitations – the little voices and beliefs that make them feel less of themselves and limited.

It’s important we act despite fear. Accept your fears but act.

What’s the worst that could happen? Failure? Then show me one person who NEVER failed.


3 ways to network in the diaspora

With the current online social media landscape, there is no excuse for not having a social network of people that you interact with and get inspiration from.

It is becoming increasingly important to have a social network of people who you can get feedback from, especially if you are an entrepreneur or are running a business in the African diaspora. Understand that it is important to keep the contacts in your network up to date because people often move from place to place.

There is a myriad of social media networks that can be used to build your network of potential business partners or mentors that you may need to get to the next level of success.

On the other hand, there is always the old school method of going to workshops or conferences to build that network of support as well.

Attend Local Conferences & Networking Events

One of the ways for creating a networking relationship in the diaspora is by attending conferences or workshops where people who are interested in similar things as you are meeting.

For example, there are Black Hair Expos that meet annually for people who are interested in all things concerning black hair.

These expos and conventions make it easier to start networking with people who have similar interests and helps in keep that connection going by attending those conventions annually.

Having a business card that you can exchange with people at these gatherings can be useful and a quick way to exchange contacts. Although it may be more difficult for people who live in the diaspora to attend such workshops and conventions, there are other ways of creating and building your network for potential future partnerships.

Esther Manuela- Shem at the Women’s Day Event

Use the Social Media Toolbox

Social media is now one of the most utilized tools for building a network. It is a crucial tool for keeping your network organized and up to date.

One of the more popular networks, Facebook, offers the convenience of having both a personal profile and a business page. With this feature, you can separate your more casual social media network from your business and professional network.

Other social media networks such as LinkedIn are tailored for business networking.

This makes it easier to navigate your network of people who are connected to you in a more business relationship or partnership. For people like me in the diaspora, social media is vital in helping us to connect with people who far from us in distance.

The opportunity to have a webinar or a “Google Hangout” to share ideas and discuss issues makes social media a handy tool.

Keep Up with your Network

In the diaspora, people in your network are prone to change location frequently. This can often make it hard to keep up with people and plan meetups.

The challenge in keeping up with people in the diaspora is that people are not always online at the same time due to time zone differences and other factors.

This becomes a challenge especially when you need to communicate or discuss a potential future partnership or need confirmation on a business deal in an instant. A good way to combat this challenge is by having a set time or schedule of contacting your network online and being consistent with it.

Most people check their messages after work or early in the mornings. By sending messages or jumping on a call with your network of people at a certain time every week. This makes it easier to keep up with the network.

Overall it is important to have an active social network while living in the diaspora. It can be helpful for building a business and having a network of mentors to communicate with


What do you love the most about your country? Click here to share.

Your why’s and how’s to embracing growth

Living in a world where we wake up each morning to new innovations and improvements on how things were, just a night before shows beyond every reasonable doubt that life is ever changing.

Phases fade out because even life grows. Therefore, it is a huge risk to remain stagnant in a world ruled by pace and ace.

Here are some factors that can aid your growth...

Change

It’s high time we realized that change isn’t just a theoretical phenomenon. Change isn’t a part of life, but change is life.

Change is life itself. It's either we live it or it leaves us behind. Click To Tweet

This means that we should constantly be on the move, in our journey of personal development. This requires the totality of our lives, being conscious of the fact that every move either made or not made reflects in the scale of our progress.

Build your capacity

How ready are we for the opportunities that we seek?

Most times we have great plans on how we want to make a huge positive impact in the lives of others. We have dreams of how we want to make a difference, how we want to change the world for the better.

All fine and beautiful! But how often do we resolve to change ourselves, become better with our skills, our talents and our endowments in general?

It’s important to note that true success and lasting positive impact in the lives of others begin within us as individuals. For we cannot give out more than the content of our worth. Therefore, in order not to be left behind by life, we must by all means, consciously and consistently…

  • Improve our skills
  • Fuel and refuel our knowledge tank
  • Learn something new each day

Tell your story

There is the foundational piece of every success story. It is a never-ending phase of moving from where we are, to where we want to be. By owning your story, you appreciate how far you’ve come.

It may be a period of rejections, so many imperfections. Perhaps, a period of falling and rising, a period of self-discovery or even a period of just taking one step at a time, but in all, it is never a period of stagnancy.

Beyond all the ups and downs, one must keep at a certain pace, even if it means moving inch by inch.

“We have an innate desire to endlessly learn, grow and develop. We want to become more than what we already are. Once we yield to this inclination for continuous and never-ending improvement; we lead a life of endless accomplishments and satisfaction. – Chuck Gallozzi

Be Clear and Specific

In the words of Jack Canfield, an all-time success guru…

” Whatever your goal, decide where you want to improve and what steps you’ll need to take to achieve that improvement. To keep yourself focused on constant and never-ending improvement, ask yourself every day, “

  • How can I improve today?
  • What can I do better than before?
  • Where can I learn a new skill or develop a new competency?

If you do, you’ll embark on a lifelong journey of improvement that will ensure your success.”

Take one step at a time

You do not have to suddenly mature into a particular phase of life. That’s why it is called ‘GROWTH’. It’s a process! It involves stages. You don’t have to rush in and out.

Plant yourself in a healthy and environment void of chokiness.

Water yourself, open yourself to the sunshine, breath and enjoy the process because this will lead you to the YOU of your desires.
Remember! Grow into your next level, do not hop into it and watch ‘you glow before your own eyes’!


  How are you growing and glowing this month? We want to share your story! Click here to share.

The Deep Rations of a Mental War: How It Affects You and Your Career

 Triggers are not always pulled, some are attended to by planting seeds where the soil has no intention to grow or build - @go_itse. Click To Tweet

As a content creator or simply a writer, you would think that the only thing that one has to deal with is pen and paper. The conception of an idea and putting it to paper, and then once you’re done, it defines you.

However, we tend to forget that our career or business is a journey.

If at any point you find yourself thinking of quitting, changing the name/industry of your business or switching careers and starting afresh, remember these points coined from The Art of War.

Discovering

The author of The Art of War, Sun Tzu, would say,

Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security, open ground and narrow passes, the chances of life and death.”

Mental health, depression as most would relate to, takes us to the depths of fighting between small and great distances, vis-à-vis, that we would want to take ourselves to, especially with our business and career goals, with the same breath try to balance it all with the personal ones.

And what I’ve learned and still I’m still learning is that it brings great danger than security. Allowing narrow passes over open grounds, bringing about confusion and a high risk of certain aspects of your career lying dormant.

In Point 21 of Laying Plans, Tzu explains,If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.”

In as much as we take the detriment of mental health as sickness, it is more psychological as it is. The more we allow the elements to grow greater than our will to succeed, the more we are aligned to derail.

 

To evade is an individual mystery, which is aligned as to how we got there in the first place. As we go through this state in a unique way that in some cases, no mantras can maintain let alone anti-depressants.

It is more like trying to evade the police in Need For Speed Most Wanted. Wherein this matter, we are trying to evade the state of being “less wanted” by the essence of life and you’re either marching, running or sinking in the art of war with your mind.

The best thing about knowing and acknowledging the state of our own mental health is through self-mastery - @Go_Itse Click To Tweet

Uncovering

When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause the people’s substance to be drained away.”

Waging War, The Art of War.

Defining what we go through as a mental illness whereas it’s a result of unattended life aspects that stack up, cause friction and then the heat goes to the head.

That’s when we start to wonder why life sucks and then the idea of being stuck sucks life away from that which we love. From managing people, careers to a detrimental state of not being able to manage the major key to all, ourselves.

 

A high price to pay that I learned by the means of losing a job, as you couldn’t talk to anyone.

You see yourself as the go-to person and the happy-go-lucky person with a great beautiful smile. Failing to deliver on time and lack of communication were the failures derived from this state.

We define what we go through as a mental illness whereas it’s a result of unattended life aspects that stack up, cause friction and then the heat goes to the head - @go_itse Click To Tweet

Recovery

”If equally matched, we can offer battle, if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy, if quite an equal in every way, we can flee from him”

Attack by Stratagem, The Art of War.

Triggers are not always pulled, some are attended to by planting seeds where the soil has no intention to grow or build.

The energy it takes for an attack or a relapse to occur, (as some deal with it well enough to know the triggers and some don’t), requires one to have an equal or greater strength as the infirmity.

Be it consistency in therapy (talking, writing etc.), yoga, meditation or exercising. Trying to avoid such a state can be easy at an early stage by doing the most with therapy and other forms of it, from someone who discovered at a very early age.

Mastery

”One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.”

– Tactical Disposition, The Art of War.

We may read all the self-help books to gain knowledge on how to break through an anxiety/depression state. But the will of the author of the book and of another individual may not correspond.

The best thing about knowing and acknowledging the state of our own mental health is through self-mastery. From that point of perspective and execution will we be able to master other things, even when there are triggers.

Then we can become effective motherland moguls and not be faint-hearted.

5 Take Home Points from The Art of War on Mental Health

  1. “Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow. A decision, to the releasing of a trigger.” – Energy
  2.  “Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something that the enemy may snatch at it.” – Energy
  3. “By discovering the enemy’s dispositions and remaining invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated, while the enemy must be divided.” – The Weak Point and Strong
  4.  ”So in war, the way to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.” – The Weak Points and Strong.
  5.  ”In order to carry out an attack, we must have means available. The material for raising fire should always be kept in readiness.” – Attack By Fire

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Vumile Msweli: Thinking global allows us to elevate our standards and fast track our learning

Vumile Msweli is an international speaker, renowned coach and the Chief Executive officer for Hesed Consulting. Hesed is a consulting firm specializing in commerce acceleration, career coaching, women empowerment,  facilitation and training on the African continent.

Vumile has worked in Europe, Asia and across the African continent for reputable multinational institutions including Barclays, Investec, Nedbank, First National Bank and Vodafone.

She is an award-winning businesswoman who has received honors such as the Women’s’ Economic Forum’s Woman of Excellence Award, named 34th Most Influential Young South African by Avance Media, the Mail and Guardian Top 200 most influential Young South Africans.

Vumi has also been awarded the Elle Boss of the Year in the Corporate Category. As we celebrate women’s month in South Africa, Vumi talks about what she’s learned from globetrotting and her driving force to start her business.


Traveling is one of the best educations you can give yourself - @vumilemsweli Click To Tweet

Tell us about your experience studying in various countries and how its helped you

I am a vehement advocate for education and its ability to transform lives. I also believe that traveling is one of the best educations you can give yourself.

The combination of expanding my worldview through both formal and informal learning by studying in different countries has been invaluable to be me. It helped me realize how I am a global citizen with proudly African roots.

Living abroad also shifted my thinking to want to excel at a global level whilst keeping my local values. I also learned that where I was born doesn’t define where I belong.

How did studying in West Africa change your perspective about business and career?

 

Being an African, one tends to think of the entire continent as home but West Africa definitely has an energy like no place on earth. There are a palpable entrepreneurial spirit and an optimistic view of taking control and accountability for your life as a pose to making excuses as to why you aren’t where you could be.

The competition is also very tough, you look at Nigeria and realize that the population of Lagos alone is half the population of my country South Africa.

There are also some infrastructural challenges such as energy but no one sits around waiting for the government to resolve these. Everyone gets on with it and takes it upon themselves to excel despite these challenges.

Being in West Africa imprinted in me the importance of a diverse revenue stream, the importance of being able to sustain oneself in a cash economy as a pose to being enslaved by credit for survival.

West Africans exude an apologetic confidence for their existence, their desires, and the pursuit of their dreams. Being surrounded by a culture like that leaves you no choice but to walk with your head a little taller, work harder and make no excuses as you toil towards your own goals.

What prompted you to start your business – Hesed Consulting?

 

I found myself having coaching conversations with friends and acquaintances on various career-related topics and soon realized that I had acquired some niche knowledge.

Especially around accelerating my career, what seemed to me to be a simple strategic career or finance play was a non-discussion amongst my peers.

I thoroughly enjoy seeing people transform through a shift in perception. Marianne Williamson aptly said: “ a miracle is a shift in perception”.Certainly, I wanted to be a part of that miracle.

Vumi is truly a teacher at heart, I love sharing what I have learned. So the look on someone’s face as they utter “I never thought of it that way before” and then proceed to change the direction of their lives because of that conversation gives me great joy.

Being a part of that sacred space of sharing tools and experiences that help my clients leapfrog their learning and accelerate their careers and businesses truly makes my heart sing. That’s what prompted me to start Hesed and it’s the reason why Hesed is still in existence 6 years later.

At Hesed, we work with individuals and entrepreneurs to accelerate their careers and businesses. We do this through workshops; training; coaching and consulting. We have a pan-African approach; global exposure whilst remaining locally relevant.

I guess what makes our team rather unique is that we have executive experience across sectors so we understand the pressures of both corporate and entrepreneurship. Also, many of our teams have worked and lived in different countries and continents.

That cultural richness allows for diversity in thinking when tailor making solutions for our clients.

How did you go from being a trained accountant working in an international financial institution to a becoming an international speaker and accelerator coach?

 

I had the scholarship to study my Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting Sciences but soon realized after completing that it definitely was not my passion.

Actually, I recalled working at an Investment Bank early in my career and instead of focusing on the financial audit work I was assigned to found myself in the customer care department worrying about clients. I was more concerned about the organization’s strategy and operational ability to service them better.

Needless to say, my career shifted towards being people-centric and that has never changed. It just expanded to their strategies for success and how they can operate better in their careers and personal lives.

Being African allows us to see the world through a certain lens - @vumilemsweli Click To Tweet

How valuable is it to be African and think global?

 

I often say I am a proudly African global citizen. Thinking global allows us to elevate our standards; fast track our learning; bring international best practices to the continent whilst expanding our reach to the whole world.

Thinking global in my opinion should not be in exchange for our what makes us African. Being African allows us to see the world through a certain lens and more often than not have a shared experience such as valuing Ubuntu; a tangible sense of community, a rich heritage, and culture.

This is an advantage for us because selfish capitalism is no longer sustainable as a means of doing business. This is an opportunity for the whole world to bask in Africa’s rising.

Who are your mentors and what life lessons have you’ve learned from them?

 

Lillian Barnard taught me that femininity and executive power are not mutually exclusive that being feminine is a power within itself.

Sindi Mabaso-Koyane has taught me that there is indescribable joy in being of service to others. By asking how you can serve allows you to rise to the occasion of fulfilling your purpose.

Buyile Ngcobo reminds me constantly that being my most authentic self is the fuel to propel me to my destiny.

How do you set goals for yourself? Do you use a one year, 5-year plan, or the traditional vision, board?

 

I am a very visual person so vision boards work well for me using images and words to draw experiences to me is one of my favorite things.

In my bedroom, my vision board is framed and is actually one of the first things I see when I wake up. My vision boards offer inspiration for me as I pursue my goals and lofty dreams.

You are constantly building networks across the continent, how does this translate to business for you?

 

Not as fast as you would think. I am a big believer in genuine relationship building. People can very often sense if you are coming from a transactional place or being authentic. This may be the slow route but people do business with people.

So I take time to really get to know the people I engage and in turn, they get to know my heart, energy, and personality. Thus they have the ability to vouch for not just a brand but a woman they know and trust.

My vision boards offer inspiration for me as I pursue my goals and lofty dreams - @vumilemsweli Click To Tweet

You’ve been to 50/51 countries in the world. Where was your favorite place, and why?

 

This feels like a trick question! I like different places for different reasons. I enjoy Bali, Indonesia for the simplicity and warmness of its people who will share their last cent to make you feel at home.

I enjoy Lagos, Nigeria because it’s insomniac energy inspires the entrepreneur in me to dream bigger and work enthusiastically towards my goals.

Prague, the Czech Republic for its architectural beauty makes me feel like I am in a painting.

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa because it’s my home. From the breathtaking valley of a thousand hills, it’s rich history to its warm beaches all year round to my mother’s cooking.

What drives Vumi?

 

Leaving a legacy drives me. It was sagely said that we die twice. Once when they put you in the ground. Second when they utter your name for the last time. It’s that second death that drives me what can I do in life to make life easier for the next person that the impact of my existence may be felt long after my body is in the ground.

What’s the one advice you’d give to your younger self?

 

Vumile you are enough.

It’s unbelievable how enough you are. You are God’s child, definitely one of his favorites. Your destiny is larger than any of your wildest imaginings.

So go ahead and be the fulfillment of your wildest dreams you can imagine yourself to be.


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