Starting and sustaining an NGO in Nigeria: 3 important things to consider

You can actually set up the next big NGO, and maybe win a Nobel prize for your wonderful contribution to the society. Isn’t that amazing? But wait! Before rehearsing your Nobel prize acceptance speech, have you given enough thought to the sine qua non of setting up and sustaining an NGO? No? It’s not too late. Let’s start with the basics.

A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), according to www.ngo.org, “is any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level.” In Nigeria, they play important roles, often filling gaps which the government is unable to while complementing existing government activities. These organizations, small or large, work in the health, civil society and other sectors of society. Individuals and groups often set up NGOs with altruistic motives, with the intention of impacting positive societal change.

Having worked for an NGO for several years, I know that most people assume that starting and sustaining one is a laid-back affair. On the contrary, it is in fact as critical as starting up a for-profit business. It really does not matter if it is on a small-scale basis, or whether you have vast amounts of cash, there are key guides to consider. Here’s what you need to know.

Legal requirements

A lot of times, enthusiastic newbies fail to consider the legal requirements of embarking on such a venture. Someone wakes up, scribbles an interesting name for a proposed NGO, then proceeds to print branded T-shirts. That’s not bad for effort, but you need a more structured process. For proper legal status, your NGO must be registered with the relevant body; the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Take ownership of the process, and as much as possible, avoid using a proxy. That way, you will be in possession of all necessary documents and minimize the chances of a disaster.

Now, you’ll need to establish the following:

  • The legal obligations it will be subject to.
  • Your goals and objectives.
  • The problems you intend to solve.

Equally important, you’ll need a lawyer during this process. Having a lawyer at your side will keep you updated on the rights and obligations of the registered NGO you’ll soon be running.

Acquiring and sustaining funds

When setting up an NGO, you must be very clear on the source and availability of funds. You can’t begin with the, ‘Well, I just started’ or ‘Let’s see how it goes’ attitude.

Having said that, let’s see if you can answer these questions:

  • Do I have funds for the activities I’d like my NGO to embark on?
  • Are there government or other organizations’ grants I can apply for?
  • Can the NGO sustain itself on a long-term basis?
  • Do I have an efficient structure?
  • What are my planned activities, and who will be responsible for each activity?

Run your NGO like you would run a business.

Look, I get it. The society seriously needs solutions and you’re revved up for the challenge. Your idea is the best, most unique and different one and you’re in line to becoming the next Mother Theresa. Listen though, other NGOs are profit-oriented and well, only focus on making profit. If you want your NGO to be around for a long time, you’ll need to integrate these profit-making elements to your operations:

  • Have a defined strategy for hiring, operations and other organizational processes.
  • Have a strong financial system.
  • Have a target audience? A robust marketing strategy will cater to them.
  • Have a marketing budget.
  • Decide on what strategy to apply. Person-to-person? Social media? Flyers and posters? Or a mix of different strategies?
  • How about record-keeping? Do you have a plan?
  • How often would you produce reports? Bi-monthly, quarterly or annually?

The above requirements are essential, especially if your NGO’s activities are grant-funded (which means you’ll have to submit regular reports to your handlers).  The sad reality is not everyone gets grants at the start, but proper record-keeping would prove very helpful should you decide to apply for funds in the future.

#MotherlandMoguls should know that NGOs are businesses too. Your profit is in the satisfaction of helping people in profound ways.

Why you need to set career goals each month

wocintech career goals

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.

Begin with the end in mind

#WOCinTech Chat

I am sure we have all heard the saying ‘begin with the end in mind’ more times than we care to remember. Most times this is said in the context of our own lives and how we should be approaching the goal realization process. Perhaps the best-known individual on this is Steven Covey in his ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’, where habit 2 speaks to this directly.

I was reminded of this very saying a week ago when I had a one-on-one meeting with my mentor. In conversation my mentor asked me what my end goal is. I asked him what he meant and at that very moment I realized that in so much as I understand where I see the business going, I have not actively put together my business end goal.

A business end goal is all about where you see yourself as a businessperson in seven to ten years. Unlike a typical business mission and vision statement, this is about you the person in as much as it is about the business.

Take for example a person who wants their business to be the leader in providing information communication technology (ICT) on the African continent; the key question is how will this person know when the milestone has been reached? What are they using as a yardstick for success?

More than that, what is the ultimate role you would like to play in business? You may want your company to be a regional leader in its area of work, but your personal ambition may be to have multiple business interests without you being necessarily involved in each business on a day-today basis.

It may be that your passion is unrelated to the daily grind of deal making and operations management, but rather in advocating for a particular cause that gives meaning to your life.

In this particular case, what drives you is the ability to derive income while not being bogged down by the minutia of managing a business or multiple business interests. Your end goal is thus to create businesses that allow you to spend your energies on things that bring you meaning. Thus, by year x, you want to be in a position to have built businesses that run independently of your daily input so that that you can focus your time on what your care most about.

When you begin with the end in mind, you are letting your imagination guide you. As Steven Covey puts it, the exercise of imagination is based on the principle that all things are created twice: first mentally and then the actual physical creation, with the physical following the mental in the same way a building follows a blueprint.

The world of business is challenging and often times we are stretched beyond our limits. It is during those times that our bigger goal/end needs to carry us through. Taking the ICT company example, say now an opportunity comes to take the business to other markets, your end goal enables you to make an informed decision on what you need to do.

For instance, will the time requirements of moving beyond conquered markets square up with your personal end goal? Perhaps you may end up concluding that the potential revenue does not justify sacrificing these goals, or that your team requirements must support this ambition to the largest extent possible.

You can only square up your personal vs. business interests once you have made an honest determination of what is important to you and where you see yourself at your predetermined timeframe. Lack of such a determination may leave you drifting and following others’ priorities/ambitions without the gratification that your journey should bring you.

While waiting to reach your pinnacle point, you can still do something towards achieving your personal ambitions by doing small tasks towards that very end.

How do you start you may be wondering? Below are three actions you can start with you to ensure you are continuously working towards the end in mind:

Develop a business and personal goal statement

This statement should answer the questions of what and who you want to be. Aligned to that is what you would like your business end to look like at point x; in other words, what is your ultimate business objective?

beyonce cfda beyonce fashion

Be sure to be as clear as daylight when you work through this- the clearer and specific you are, the better will be your ability to continuously measure your progress. This statement should be an articulation of that mental picture which will form the beginning to the physical realization.

Take it one day at a time

When you begin with the end in mind, your days will never be the same again. Each task, or project will be a clear fit into the bigger end. Only then are you able to make things happen for your personal and business ambitions.

Your decision-making improves, as you know instinctively what makes sense and in what way this makes sense. Conflicts between personal and business goals are clearly identifiable and can be resolved in a more systematic way.

It’s not cast in stone

In as much as your business plan is a fluid document, so is your personal plan. Just because you have a desire to advocate for children’s’ rights in your 20s does not mean that’s what you ultimately want to do.

Be open minded to the changes you need to make as you go along, review your timeframes, and reassess your priorities from time to time. When you are true to yourself, irrespective of what your goal statement looks like today- the values you hold and your passions stay with you.

When you begin with the end in mind, you put yourself in a better position to succeed. You do not make haphazard decisions around your business and personal life. It is only then that you can have a better grip of you in your entirety.

7 inspirational websites you need to follow

Arese Ugwu

The most beautiful thing about being a young professional or career woman today is that your knowledge isn’t limited to what you can find in your neighbourhood or community.

The digital world allows you to connect with experts and information from across the globe. Whatever issue you think you might have, there are probably 100 or so websites that can help you solve your problem.

While there are over a too websites we love, here are 7 of our favourites that help us stay informed, motivated and ready for whatever life throws at us.

1. Smart Money Africa

The Smart Money Movement is championed by financial guru Arese Ugwu. Her website provides a platform for young people to learn to manage their finances better by knowing their net worth and prioritizing the accumulation of assets over frivolous spending.

In other words, being smart about your money. Keep an eye out for the blog, the Smart Money Workshops and the Smart Money Journal. They will literally change your life.

You’re welcome.

2. Minding Her Business

Young? Ambitious? Fabulous? Ready to move to the next level of all-round wellness? Then you need to be minding her business. Starting out as a series of motivational quotes on social media, MHB evolved into a practical guide for the modern woman in the form of an e-book covering financial success, self-confidence, love and relationships.

Navigate the site to get inspired by Ivy’s story, keep afloat with the blog and to get acquainted with the book.

3. Ms Afropolitan

If you’re searching for a space to address your feminist woes and reaffirm your womanhood in the African context, then this is your destination.

Through its blog articles, this website dissects topical issues such as colonialism, race, politics and what it’s like living in Diaspora. It offers strong, powerful, relevant messages for women of colour.

4. Haute Fashion Africa

Haute Fashion Africa is basically the fashion portfolio for the modern African woman. This website is on top of all that’s happening in the African fashion stratosphere.

We’re talking all the fashion trends, the major fashion shows in different African cities, profiles on designers, stylists and models.

5. Food and the Fabulous

This lifestyle website showcases cuisine and culture from all over the continent and the rest of the world.

Award-winning South African journalist, Ishay Govender-Ypma takes you on a journey with the Food and the Fabulous Food tours introducing you to Cape Town’s mouth-watering dishes.

Many of these recipes are available for you to try out. You can also gain travel inspiration and take a dig at current issues.

6. Travel Africa Story

Sure you’ve heard the saying that one’s education is incomplete without the experience of travel. This inspirational site features travel experiences and highlights amazing travel destinations from across Africa.

If you need ideas for your next vacation, check out ‘Travel Tips & Trips’. With several helpful articles and feature stories on travel etiquette and fun things to do on your trip, it’s an amazing travel guide.

The best part? You have the opportunity to tell your own travel story and get featured on the site.

7. She Leads Africa (duh!)

Did you think we were going to leave this out of the list? Think again. SLA is arguably the #1 go-to website for young African females with a focus on getting started or improving their careers and business.

It’s a resource pool packed with power articles and insight from the co-founders and diverse team of editors and contributors. It also features practical tips and advice, webinars, access to career coaches and more.

The SheHive events which bring together the SLA community and industry leaders are hosted in various cities around the world.

Motherland Moguls, let’s get surfing! Share with us what some of your favorite websites are to check out. Besides us of course 😉

#SisterhoodGoals: 2 things to learn from Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira

Lupita and Danai

Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira are history makers individually and now, collectively. Eclipsed, the play Danai wrote and Lupita stars in, is the first Broadway production that has a female playwright, a female director, and an all-female cast. The play which premiered last week has received incredible reviews, and we, of course, expected nothing less from these powerhouses.

Here are 2 things we learned about sisterhood, friendship, and business from these Motherland Moguls.

Keep your promises, even if it takes a couple of years

When Lupita arrived at Yale, the first role she was assigned to was to be an understudy in Eclipsed (written by Danai). From then on Lupita promised herself that she would one day do this play. She even mentioned the play in her first Vogue cover story and after a run at the Public Theater in 2015, Lupita emailed Danai and told her “Let’s do Eclipsed” and the rest is history.

Have you promised to take a look at your friends resume or give feedback on a new purse design? Stop procrastinating and follow through on your commitment. As friends and sisters, we need to lend each other a helping hand.

Your passion can inspire others

In Variety magazine Danai stated It’s very clear to me what my drive is. I tell African women’s stories. It doesn’t mean I don’t do other things, but that’s my thing. It’s rooted in a passion for that, and it’s rooted in a rage because I feel that they are so under- and misrepresented. I’m trying to link these two places, and have Africa be seen by the West in a more multidimensional, complex and celebratory way.”

Lupita and Danai - 2For Lupita, when she was deciding where to go to drama school, she was nervous about only doing work that focused on the Eurocentric point of view. When she arrived in the States from Kenya, she was so grateful that the first play she received was written by an African woman and focused on powerful female characters.

Danai followed her passion and created a play that has given other young African women the opportunity to shine. Lupita was inspired and motivated by the play at the beginning of her professional acting career. How many other young, African women have been inspired by Lupita’s acting and activism all across the globe?

Are you genuinely following your passions or you just managing with what you can do? You never know the impact your business idea, non-profit or role in a company can have on others. By following your passion, you can inspire and motivate others to achieve their goals. 

It can be easy to lose yourself on the journey to success. Sisterhood can challenge us to become better versions of ourselves and help us remember what is truly important. Sisterhood in our communities connects all of us like a spider web. If one part of the web tears we all feel it. Think about what we could collectively accomplish if we all kept our promises and helped motivate others like Lupita and Danai.

Young women and marriage: 3 conversations we keep having

She Hive Accra

Some days ago on a road trip to IITA Ibadan for my company’s annual retreat, there was this huge debate between what I have chosen to call the new school modern family values enthusiasts and the old school traditional family values enthusiasts, over married women and their career choices/decisions.

It was a long and interesting conversation, voices were raised, opinions flew back and forth, words were exchanged (although with no ill intents), feelings and sentiments were bruised, perspectives were vehemently challenged and even faith was questioned. At the end of the trip (and as such the conversation), there was no victor and no vanquished, proving (yet again) that:

Opinions are formed over time, experiences and the accumulation of a body of knowledge and it takes more than one heated conversation to get people to change those opinions.

Image result for rihanna opinion gifs

Back to the reason we are all gathered here today, I think that because of my age, most of the conversations I have with family, friends, acquaintances and even colleagues are pivoted around, you-guessed-right! Marriage. So, while we talk business, entrepreneurship, career and our shared ambition to take over the world, we should also take a moment to address the pink elephant in the room.

So, tag along while I attempt to dissect some of the concerns we  young women have when it comes to the institution of marriage.

The validity of aspiring to marriage

With Chimamanda Adichie’s 2013 TED talk (made even popular by Beyonce’s inclusion in the song, Flawless) finding its way into mainstream culture and conversations, we women are gradually being liberated from that flawed conviction that marriage is the gold standard and a ‘mark of success in life’.

While this can be called progress in some ways, it also has its downsides. Hold on, let me explain. The feminist-driven academic and journalistic culture celebrating today’s “liberated” women, also in some ways, seeks to suppress a natural need for family that most women have.

Image result for rihanna marriage gifs

In recent times, there has been a blizzard of anti-marriage sentiments shared vocally among the female folks especially across social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. And this is largely because most of them do not want to be seen as aspiring to marriage but hand on heart – and this is quite controversial. I do not know of one woman who does not want to have her own husband and possibly children to come home to after a long day at work.

When discussing the issue in an open and public platform, most young women would be quick to put up an air of indifference with respect to marriage but get her alone and the story would be entirely different. There, I’ve said it! (But let’s not forget that this is an entirely unscientific view based only on my circle of friends, acquaintances and interactions with random people).

Therefore, my take on this issue is rather simple: as much as marriage is not the holy grail of womanhood, I think wanting to be married and subsequently aspiring to it, is valid! As such, you are allowed to be intentional about it, as you are with work/business. (For more on this please try reading this from Dr. Meg Jay). 

The dichotomy between marriage and work

In 2011, the COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg made a statement that went viral;

The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry.”

I only came across this statement last year and it was insightful for me because it reaffirmed a conviction that I have always held and still hold; that the man I marry would take me one step closer to my biggest dreams. Before going further, I should clearly state that I have nothing against stay-at-home mums.  On the contrary, any woman who readily gives up the fancy skirt suits and board meetings for house cleaning and grocery shopping has my respect.
Image result for beyonce raising hand basketball

However, I do not think that marriage and even motherhood has to be a stumbling block on a woman’s pathway to progress. Society typically expects the woman to lean back and make only those career moves that are convenient for her status as a married woman but that does not always have to be the case. Family is a collective and shared responsibility placed equally on both the man and the woman even though both have to function in different capacities. With proper planning, communication and understanding between partners, I believe it is possible for both to raise a decent family without anyone’s dreams or goals suffering for it.

This is where Sheryl’s statement becomes important. Because for this to happen and for this system to work, you need a man who acknowledges the validity of your dreams, believes in the weight of your ambitions and is ready and willing to support you towards reaching your goals regardless of what that ‘support’ might involve.

So yes, married or single, you are allowed to aspire to heights unimaginable in your personal and professional life and marriage if done right, would serve as a catalyst and not a distraction.

Knowing when enough is enough!

There are reports that say that every fourth Nigerian woman suffers some form of domestic violence in her life time. The worst forms of these are usually battering, trafficking, rape and homicide. And it seems only sensible that I lend my voice to this recurring social menace that is plaguing our society, the institution of marriage and women in particular. This is however not to say that men do not suffer domestic abuse or to disregard that possibility.

On this issue, there really isn’t so much I have to say that would be entirely new to you but this, LEAVE! If you unfortunately find yourself in an abusive relationship, before you consider any other solution or any form of therapy, get yourself out of that situation and environment. No man is allowed to hit you out of love or in an attempt to discipline you or for any other reason that you may want to let yourself believe.

Run A Way CampaignSo, for the young woman whose boyfriend angrily shoved her aside and slammed the door on his way out after she informed him of her decision to enroll for another master’s program, for the mother of 2 who got slapped because she scolded her son for spilling fruit juice all over his school uniform, my advice to you is simple. LEAVE!

I have to admit that this is definitely not the easiest thing to do especially with cultural and religious beliefs that advocate total submission and endurance of whatever treatment a woman gets from a man or her husband, as the case may be. But understand that submission as admirable as it is, should also not put you in danger or harm’s way. Many lives and dreams have been lost to domestic violence and yours should definitely not be one of those. Because if he hits you once he would hit you again, if he ever does hit you, please LEAVE!

I’d conclude by saying that as women, we cannot avoid all of the conversations around marriage but what we can do is carefully moderate that conversation in a way that encourages an exchange of perspectives that is beneficial to us all.

So what is your narrative?

  • Single and conflicted as to whether or not you should be actively seeking out a life partner?
  • Married and tempted to quit your job because someone thinks you are not capable of making both work?
  • In a relationship where your partner would rather dialogue with his fists than words?

This is my counsel to you

It is OK to want to be married.

Your dreams are valid.

And if he hits you, even one time, please leave!

So, what about you? What are the concerns you have with respect to women and the almighty marriage? Share your perspective and let’s get talking!

 

10 inspirational quotes from women leaders for when the going gets tough

Ellen Sirleaf Johnson

Starting and running a business, nonprofit, or working towards being in a position of leadership can be frustrating and onerous over time. We usually start out excited, ready to take on the next challenge of actualizing a vision, only to lose that spark over time. Besides getting external moral support, an important factor is learning how to constantly motivate yourself. If you’re finding it difficult to stay inspired and keep the vision alive, you are not alone!

Read the following advice from these inspirational women that have made or are making waves in various fields of leadership that also understand your plight.

1. “The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough”- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Sirleaf is the current president of Liberia and the first female head of state in Africa. After being forced into exile during the 1980 military coup, she returned to speak against the regime, then later contested for the presidency in 2005. In 2011, she was part of trio of inspirational women awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her work with women’s safety and rights.

2. “Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you” – Hillary Clinton.

Clinton served as the 67th U.S. secretary of state in from 2009- 2013. She is the leading Democratic Presidential nominee for the upcoming American 2016 election.

3. “When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde.

 Lorde was a Caribbean-American poet, civil rights activist, and feminist. Her writings addressed racial prejudices, homophobia, and male privilege, amongst other things. She empowered her readers to address prejudice they were faced with and also celebrate differences in race and class.

4. “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights and played an active role in American politics as First lady.

5. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain” – Maya Angelou.

Angelou is an award winning poet and author of seven published autobiographies, numerous essay collections and poetry. She is internationally acclaimed for her memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

6. “Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from” – Jodie Foster.

Foster is an American actor, director, and producer who has worked in films and on television. A recipient of several awards, she is often been cited as one of the best actresses of her generation. Her latest work involve directing episodes for Netflix original, Orange Is the New Black & House Of Cards.

7. “Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.” – Alice Walker

Walker  is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and activist, she wrote the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple.

8. “If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” – Margaret Thatcher

Thatcher was Britain’s first female prime minister serving three consecutive terms in office. A dominant figure of conservative ideology during her time in her office, Thatcher created a conducive environment for entrepreneurs to thrive. By cutting taxes and regulation, she empowered people financially, and ultimately helped revitalize the British economy.

9. “You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day” – Marian Wright Edelman.

Edelman is an American activist for children’s rights and is the president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. She has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans her entire professional life advocating for causes like pregnancy prevention, parental responsibility for educational values, and reducing the level of violence presented to children etc.

10. “As a girl, you should not be someone who tries to fit into a glass slipper. You should shatter the glass ceiling”  – Priyanka Chopra.

Chopra is an Indian film actress, singer and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador amongst other things. A former Miss World (2000), she is has advanced tremendously in her acting career and is the first Bollywood actor to play a lead-role in an American TV show (Quantico).

How about those words of inspiration? These Moguls clearly have things on lockdown – maybe not yet, as learning in life is a continual process. Nonetheless, they have been there, (or are still in the process) done that, and understand your plight, just as much. So pick yourself up, dust off the discouragement and take another shot at your goals.

To be most effective, grab a post-it note, or whatever medium is most convenient and visibly write down the most essential quote for your current success roadblock. The key is to have this quote ingrained in your memory through repeated exposure instead of trying to retain all the information at a go. Repeat this as often as is needed and see it make a difference. 

3 reasons you are your only competition

Every day, we are surrounded by images and individuals that remind us that we need more, need to have more and do more. In business, this pressure often comes from our competition.

Sometimes our competition can be intimidating. They can make us feel as though our ideas are too small or that we will never be as good.

However,  it is not really our competition that is the issue here. It is our fear of reaching heights of greatness that we never thought of as possible.

Over-analyzing our competition can distract us from what we should be doing and where we should be going. We become accustomed to the falsehood that because someone else is winning, we must be losing.

Use competition to inspire and enlighten rather than disenchant yourself. Often those who see the most successful competitors in their industries as inspiration strive to do better in their own businesses.

Use your competitors as catalysts for change and sources of motivation. They are not there to limit your success. There are enough opportunities to succeed for all of us. At the end of the day, you need to compete with yourself and here are three reasons why it’s important.

1. It will stop you from comparing yourself to others

Naomi Campbell

I think sometimes the anxiety that comes from seeing your competitors excel makes you  question whether you are doing better than other people or not. What really matters is that you’re doing what’s best for you.

Do you feel like you are succeeding? Have you determined what success means to you?

2. It will keep you focused on your goalsCreed

If you stay focused on what you are doing, and your own journey, you will inevitably keep improving. Focus on your business goals will result in growing success.

The minute you take your eyes off your goal, you lose sight of why you started it all in the first place!

3. It will give your business the attention it deserves

Chrissy Teigen

Your competitors can be a great source of information. You can learn from them, but limit the time spent researching their movements and give your business your full attention.

Treat it as you would a romantic partner. If you give it all your love and attention, you will reap the rewards of a great business life!

Stay focused on what you want to accomplish in life, and strive to do better than the goals you have set for yourself.

Be your own best competition.

According to science, don’t make new year resolutions, do this instead!

With 2016 finally here, we see many Facebook & Whatsapp “New Year, New Me”. A new year is a fresh start, and a chance to set a new goals, which is why so many people make New Year resolutions. Still…

Most people find New Year’s resolutions difficult to keep

Local gyms are most crowded early January when people are most committed to their resolutions. But by February, people start dropping out that by December, they are either back to where they started before the resolution or are worse off.

Psychologist, Peter Herman and his colleagues looked into the success rates of New Year resolutions, and it turns out that most people fail at sticking to their New Year’s resolutions.

She Leads Africa

They found out that people underestimated the difficulty of their goals and selected tasks that were overly ambitious. They named the habit of  making self-improvement goals but failing to fulfill them the “False Hope Syndrome.

Essentially, we try to do tasks that are too hard, too quickly when it comes to New Year Resolutions.

Do the pre-work the goal demands

Successfully sticking to resolutions that are easy to make but hard to maintain, researchers say, requires taking actionable steps to change a behavior, rather than making drastic changes. In a study that looked at the success rates of 200 people trying to stick to their resolutions, another psychologist, John Norcross, found that those who prepared for the lifestyle changes they wanted to make were successful at accomplishing their goals.

For example, if losing weight is your New Year resolution this year, develop a meal plan with a trainer, participate in a bootcamp, or walk more. Do not set drastic goals, like running a marathon, and do not look for shortcuts. Liking Instagram pictures on a fitness page or buying the latest “detox tea” is not going to cut it either.

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Learn from failure

How you react to failure along the way is another key part of being successful with your New Year’s resolutions this year. Alan Marlatt, a former Psychology Professor at University of Washington DC, found that those who do not turn setbacks into full relapses are more likely to succeed with their resolutions. Those who want to quit smoking, for example, might end up smoking a cigarette or two in their cessation journey. If they continue with their progress and do not see this moment of weakness as a complete failure, they have a better chance of quitting smoking.

How to win this year

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Here’s a recap of steps to prevent the “false hope syndrome”.

  1. Break your big goals into smaller, attainable ones.
  2. Tackle one goal at a time.
  3. Ask for help and talk about your goals with friends.
  4. Celebrate small wins.
  5. Don’t wait another year to make goals. Nothing is stopping you from making those changes now.