Vulnerability: Your key to smashing goals this year

To be Vulnerable means to be open to all of life’s experiences Click To Tweet

Ours is a generation of people striving to make their lives look perfect all the time. We post pictures, we update our statuses, we buy new things with the idea that maybe if it looks perfect enough, it will start to feel perfect.  

We don’t know how to handle feelings of uncertainty, unworthiness, loss, heartbreak; so we post more pictures and look even more perfect…sounds familiar right?

Our inability to accept the messiness of life, the ‘imperfection in ourselves’ and the fact that sometimes we’re all just little kids trying to make friends on the playground has affected our quality of life and our ability to truly engage with each other.

The average 20-something- year- old knows exactly how much money they want to earn, by what age they should be married, how many kids they intend to have, where those kids will go to school…all this with a flat tummy, gorgeous skin and long natural hair!

It’s a lot on any one’s plate and has made life this series of ‘check-list moments’. It’s no wonder new year’s resolutions have been given a bad rap over the years, it stopped being about ‘the magic of new beginnings, the chance to hit the refresh button and start all over again’, and instead started being about self-reprimand, self-hate, and comparison to others.

In her brilliant book, “Daring Greatly”, Brene’ Brown explores how striving to achieve your goals requires an openness to being vulnerable. The ability to stand up and say, “January hit me hard, I wasn’t prepared for some of the things life threw at me, I missed the mark and now, I must start afresh”, can affect your quality of life and ability to truly engage with other people.

Our generation is afraid of vulnerability, and for good reason, we’ve all been told we are too much of something to achieve something bigger than ourselves; too short, too fat, too loud, too broke, etc,  and as a result, more and more people are afraid to even try, and those that do, are afraid to try at things that really matter- those big hairy audacious goals.  

According to Brene’, “Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness, will we be closer to the infinite power of our light”. To be Vulnerable means to be open to all of life’s experiences from a place of worthiness and self-love, not self-hate.

You are enough! Click To Tweet

Vulnerability is:

  • Starting over after that first business failed.
  • Speaking up about your relationships so that every abuse you experienced is never repeated.
  • Asking for more money, time, attention…if it is what will fulfill your needs.
  • Saying no to anyone who crosses the boundaries set in your relationship.
  • Committing to going to the gym after having fallen off your ideal weight.
  • Asking for help.
  • Presenting your product to the world and getting no response.
  • Having faith.
  • Saying ‘yes’ to love after a major heartbreak.
  • Admitting you do not know what to do, and then looking for the answer.
  • Letting go of some people because your business cannot afford it.

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is about acknowledging discomfort and then using it in a positive way to enhance your life experience.  A few keys to enhancing your ability to manage vulnerability and therefore better able to live a wholehearted life are;


1. Be open

Sometimes the goals you want to achieve won’t be achieved in the exact path you expected, but it will always be worth it. You have to keep your heart and mind open to new ideas, a new career, new employers etc when it’s required.

2. Dare to show up

No matter how uncomfortable, unqualified or unprepared you might think you are, always show up. Your current life isn’t a dress rehearsal for your next life! If it’s important to you, you must show up.

3. Set and respect your boundaries

Set boundaries for your time, space and relationships, and after you’ve set your boundaries, respect them. Your goals this year are yours to achieve.

Vulnerability is being able to let other people know when they have crossed boundaries that you never intended to be crossed.

4. Wholehearted living

According to Brene’ Brown, wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. Too many people don’t think they are worthy of love, attention, support, promotion etc. This lack of self-love manifests itself in a myriad of ways that lead to people sabotaging the great things in their lives.

As you go about the business of achieving your goals this year, you must believe that you are worthy of all you are striving for. You are enough. You are enough. You are enough.

For the times when being vulnerable seems like the hardest thing to do, turn to the immortal words of Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

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Ruth Yimika Awogbade: Be a voice, not an echo

Ruth Yimika Awogbade
Ruth Yimika Awogbade: @HelloMAGNIFY isn’t your typical fashion, lifestyle or faith publication Click To Tweet

Magnify magazine was described by the Huffington Post as ‘the women’s magazine breaking every stereotype out there, and [in the process] turning the idea that religion is stuffy, unfashionable and sexist on its head’. As a consumer of Magnify’s third and very bold issue I must say I totally agree! The magazine contains incredible material about the challenges that face millennial women today all encapsulated with the mantra: Fashion. Faith. Feminism.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect for such a declaration. With the political climate as it is, and women under increased scrutiny, this may be just what we need! A reminder that who we are is enough and that being true to you is totally worth it.

I was delighted to have a conversation with Magnify’s Editor, Ruth Yimika Awogbade. Whilst the word feminism often leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth, Ruth is breaking barriers by using it boldly.

Tell us about your experience starting your own magazine. How did you decide to make it about the three F’s?

I started Magnify as a series of events when I was 19 in 2008, in my first year at Durham. The phrase that in many ways encapsulates the journey so far is, ‘Faith is taking the first step, even when you can’t see the full staircase.’

It started out as one event to give my friends the opportunity to explore faith in an engaging way. It grew to a series of events and digital content, then I realized I wanted women to have something they could take away to digest in their own time. That’s how the magazine was born.

For a while, I was thinking of a tag-line to express our core values of empowering and celebrating women. This would be based on a foundation of faith yet presented with beautiful editorials. The three words —fashion, faith, feminism— literally dropped into my mind when I was on the tube for a meeting. It felt perfect, engaging and simply encapsulated what we were about.

@MissAwogbade started Magnify to inspire readers wherever they are Click To Tweet

What inspired the third issue’s slogan ‘Be a Voice, not an Echo’?

I think often as women, and particularly millennials, our role is often traditionally seen in relation to being the helper behind the scenes. Particularly too with the rise of social media, there’s a trend to be someone who follows the crowd.

My hope is that through the magazine, readers would feel inspired that wherever they are. They have been placed in a sphere of influence with purpose. We all have a unique voice, a unique character and passions that can be used to make an impact and a difference. Often the challenge is to find our voice, but I believe with so many communities of women empowering and supporting each other around the world, this is more possible than ever.


How do you think women will relate to this in light of everything that has transpired politically and socially this year?

It’s interesting; I could have never predicted how relevant the title would be in light of what has happened politically and socially —especially with the result of the recent US election.

As a team, we’re always trying to challenge the stereotype that Christianity is sexist and out of date. In many ways, I found the overwhelming support by evangelical Christians of Donald Trump slightly confusing and disheartening; especially as a black Christian woman. However, I was so encouraged to see prominent Christian women leaders calling out the blatant sexism and double standard.

It was amazing to see how many women got behind Hillary —not just because she’s a woman but because she was the most qualified for the job. I hope that our generation realises that there is no better time to rise up and be bold and confident in using our voice and platforms. This despite the progress that still needs to be made in the faith and political arenas especially.

Ruth Yimika Awogbade: @HelloMAGNIFY is challenging the idea that Christianity is sexist Click To Tweet

The perception is often that print media is dying…why do you think having a magazine is so important?

I think traditional magazines that cater to mass audiences are in decline. However, magazines that target demographics with a certain mindset or niche are on the rise. People feel a level of attachment and loyalty as they are value adding. In Magnify, we feature issues that go right to the heart of who we are and that I hope give readers the opportunity to self reflect.

Having something that women can digest and explore in their own personal time, away from the busyness of life is so important.

Ruth Yimika Awogbade: We all have a unique voice that can be used to make an impact Click To Tweet

What would you want people to take away from reading this issue that makes it different from the rest?

Magnify isn’t your typical fashion, lifestyle or faith publication. We aim to empower women across every area of life. That is why we feature articles on faith, identity, relationships, mental health, the arts and entrepreneurship.

I hope from reading this, women would feel inspired in their own personal journeys and empowered to know that we each have a purpose on this earth which can be fulfilled. And also know that life isn’t perfect —particularly of those we admire who have achieved success. Everyone faces challenges, but even with them, you can still be a voice and make an impact.


What role does feminism play in this issue? And how do you think African women can relate to it?

Feminism plays a big role in this issue, particularly looking at it from a variety of angles. In particular, one of my favourite interviews is ‘Faith and Feminism: A man’s perspective.’ For feminism to be embraced, men need to fully understand it too.

Particularly in societies that have very traditional gender roles, it’s even more important for both sexes to come on board and be part of this discussion about feminism.

In this issue, we’ve also profiled a number of inspiring Africans from Duro Oluwo, to Anthony Joshua and Fisayo Longe which I hope will be a huge inspiration as to the impact Africans are making across many industries in today’s world.

A lot of our SLA readership consists of what we call Motherland Moguls. What advice do you have for anyone who feels like they do not have a voice?

Having a mentor is so important, even if you can’t have one up close and personal. Platforms such as She Leads Africa are so important in helping each of us learn from people who have done it already. They also give practical advice as to how we can pursue our dreams and make a positive impact in our sphere of influence.

Lastly, I believe we all have a voice. That’s something I take as real fact everyday —even the days where I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. Particularly on those days, you need to surround yourself with people who encourage you.

Want to see women you know featured on SLA? Tell us what amazing things women are doing in your communities here.