Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien: My personal growth story

Ndidi Nnoli Edozien (Founder Growing Business Foundation) & Aisha Abba Kyari

If you weren’t at the Building A Social Enterprise session presented by Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien at She Hive Abuja, you missed what I would call a transformational experience.

The founder of Growing Businesses Foundation opened Sunday’s session with an uncharacteristic anthem: Timi Dakolo’s ‘Great Nation’.

The song resonated deeply and set the tone for a session which was powerful, inspiring and emotional all at the same time. At several points during the program, I felt chills all over as I connected deeply with the message Dr. Edozien put across.

The talk was simply geared at using her personal growth story to help the participants overcome the fear of failure and step out. She started off by describing entrepreneurship as emanating from something you feel, going further to state that you cannot fail at what you love.

“Social enterprises are aimed more at solving problems thus it is impossible to fail because you’re solving a problem. An important way to measure impact is by making profit. You cannot separate enterprise from the ability to make profit.”

Although she loved to give money out, it took Dr. Edozien 17 years to realise she had to develop the love to yield profit.

Dr. Edozien spoke to her audience about the ability to reach inside and find a feel that’s right. She explained that her life has flowed like a river due to never neglecting her gut feeling. This she likened to religion and how we follow our beliefs because it feels right inside.

Follow your instincts despite what others think

– Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien

Drawing parallels from her story

She used several stories as a way to drive her points home some of them too numerous to share. Below are my three favourites:

  1. “At Queen’s College, I used to come 22nd out of 24 students in a class. I was a quiet, timid girl who wouldn’t say a word. It all changed for me when I got glasses, and literally and figuratively got to see the world around me. That school term, I skyrocketed to the 5th position. Eventually, I was selected for a competition alongside nine other QC students to attend sea school with 30 participants altogether. It was a very big deal at that time.” This particular story was an important one to hear because it helps us understand that it doesn’t really matter what state you find yourself in at the beginning. There is always the potential to turn your story around.
  2. “My family and I moved from our house in the prestigious Ikoyi to my husband’s family home in Central Lagos Island. This was very important to my husband because it was an heirloom that had been in his family for generations. On hearing this, a lot of people told me I was mad. However, it afforded me an opportunity to connect with the locals. It made sense to live there because it was the simple people I yearned to connect with and empower.” Dr. Edozien acknowledged that women have a fear of security. She expressed her belief that forums such as the SheHive help women see that they have the same fears but also have what it takes to succeed.
  3. “In 2001, a man who wanted to empower women in his village approached me for support. This man is now one of my absolute favourite persons in the world. With N1 million that he received, he went on to build a loan portfolio of N12 billion impacting 434,000 women with a 98% loan repayment rate. He sought to recognise and thank me even years later despite my refusal until I finally agreed to have someone represent me. The Kaduna stadium was filled and 90% of the crowd was womenfolk.” This particular story brought tears to my eyes. The man in the story had a simple idea which he ran with because of a passion and conviction in his heart to lift local women out of poverty.

Important lessons from Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien

  1. Trust what you have before you. “Perfect is the enemy of good. Think, feel and then move. If you strive for perfection, you will never get started.” – Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien
  2. Find someone who inspires and believes in you. Not necessarily someone you love or vice versa, have an individual who can hear, see and feel you. Look for different mentors you feel a connection with. A mentor can be someone you never met. Once you discover that person, connect with them, read their books, follow their story etc.
  3. Be vulnerable. Cry! You’re probably thinking, what?! Yes, Dr. Edozien stressed the importance to cry because something moves you. Not alluding to self-pity, it’s okay to feel vulnerable. Her first company logo was a butterfly because it reminded her of how vulnerable the winged insect is.

In Dr. Edozien’s closing remarks she boldly stated, “Do not be afraid of failure. Ask failure what is the worst thing that can happen to me? Take it into cognizance and move.”

She also asked that young women remember the significance of building a team. In her own words, “you cannot grow a business without a team. It might be your idea, but it gets very lonely at the top. A team will help you drive your vision and fill gaps that may exist.”

5 TEDx Talks that remind us why failure is okay

Zain Asher

When your finances, relationship with bae, worklife and hair are on fleek, it can feel like you’re on top of the world. Gif

But the real challenge of growth comes when you get knocked down and everything seems to be going wrong. It takes courage to keep going when everything around you is saying stop. But don’t fret. The following TEDx Talks hit the nail on the head on why it’s okay to fail.

Failing All the Way to Success | Jason Njoku

“I was broke, I was living with my mom. But, I was still in the game”

Jason Njoku dubs himself a “certified failure” after his 10 failed entrepreneurship ventures landed himself back on his mother’s couch. His TEDx talk chronicles how he eventually found a winning idea and became the CEO and founder of Iroko Partners, a leading online distribution company focused on the Nigerian entertainment industry.

Trust your struggle | Zain Asher

“But I think that having that competitive spirit and having the need for one upmanship  and comparing yourself to other people again and again can actually bring out fears and insecurities that end up holding you back”

Zain Asher was a receptionist in the US and no matter how hard she worked she wasn’t able to get a promotion. The company she was working at even began to look for external candidates for the position she was aiming for. Through that struggle, Zain realized that the learning process was worth it,  and she is now a national business and personal finance correspondent at CNN International.

Success is scarier than failure | Jemele Hill

“If you ask me today what my fear is, it is success. It’s so much easier imagine failure, we do it all the time.”

Jemele Hill first pursued writing because it was an outlet from her drug addicted parents. The negatives in her life were transformed into positives as she used that skill to become a celebrated sports columnist and television host for ESPN.

Reprogramming your brain to overcome fear | Olympia LePoint

“The truth is if we do not have a way to reprogram our minds to overcome fear. We will never be successful at our own specific missions in life.”

Olympia LePoint failed algebra, geometry, chemistry and calculus in high school. Through her failures, Olympia learned to name and reject her fears. Olympia went from failing subjects in high school to becoming one of the top five graduates out of a 6500 graduating class with a degree in Mathematics. Olympia went on to get her Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics and is now an award winning rocket scientist who has helped launch 28 space shuttle missions to outer space.

Perseverance and the power of not giving up | Christine Krzyzanowski

“So many people have visions and dreams and they are put into uncomfortable situations then they quit and settle”

Christine Krzyzanowsk thought she lost all glimpse of being successful when she quit her high paying job in New York City and moved to Texas. But through the lessons she learned from failed business ventures, she’s now become the co-founder and chief marketing officer for Xtreme Tilt, LLC., where she leads marketing for the gaming company worldwide.

Sometimes we just see the end results of someone’s success but never get a glimpse of their journey. These TEDx Talks showcased the underlying theme of not letting failure hold you back from doing something you know within yourself that you are capable of accomplishing.

Which one of these videos did you relate with the most?


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

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

Your old belief: Only one person can win

New belief: We can all win!

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

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

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

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

Your old belief: I am a victim of my circumstances

New belief: Your crown has already been paid for

Rain Queens of Africa

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

New belief: Being yourself is great enough

Nikis Groove

Your old belief: I need to do everything

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

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

Your old belief: I have to prove myself to everyone

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

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

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