This year has been a transformational one. I know I am in a new place and have transcended to the next platform of my life. Believe me, I have grown and I know that I will never be the same again.
I went into the woods and came back anew.
Well, I make it look all-glorious and rosy but we all know that growth is riddled with moments of tears, frustration, and chaos.
The biggest influence on my life this year was a twelve days leadership programme that I was part of in July. As part of the programme, on one of the days, we were required to take part in a personal six hoursreflection session.
I am melancholic, so I naturally reflect a lot. One hour of reflection is enough for me to figure out things and have my ducks in a row, or so I thought. I must admit that I was not at all excited about the six hours reflection session.
To make matters worse, there was talk that the woods in which we would be doing our reflection had snakes. My plan was to walk the entire time so that I did not have to sit and encounter any snakes.
So the said day arrived and my fellow participants and I were ushered into the woods by our facilitators. There was a whole ceremony around it. The only things that we were allowed to carry were food, water, a notebook, and a pen.
We were also encouraged not to carry any watches to avoid shifting our focus to time rather than ourselves. My plan to walk for the entire six hours was quickly squashed when I walked the entire length of the woods in under twenty minutes.
The rest of the woods was restricted to us. So while others were perched on trees or rocks, I decided I would sit right next to the winding path where I had a full view of my surrounding environment, where I would see all the reptiles coming my way.
While psychologically preparing myself for this session, I had mentioned to one of my friends that I was not looking forward to being in the woods for six hours and much less to reflect for that long. Having done it himself on numerous occasions, he advised me to use the four seasons ways of life to reflect on my life.
That is precisely what I did while I was in the woods. And before I knew it, I heard the whistle go, signifying the end of the reflection session. While reflecting, I had not for a single moment thought about what time it could be or how many hours were left before I could leave the woods.
I left the woods with clarity about my life, where I was at, what I wanted to start doing, what I wanted to continue doing and what I needed to stop doing. Basically, I took stock of my life, the fourseasons way.
According to Socrates, anunexamined life is not worth living. The FourSeasons Way of Life helps you to do exactly this, examine your life. The four seasons; Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter when mapped to our lives, reveal so much truth.
I love Spring. It is such a beautiful season, despite the rain, with so much color and life. Things begin to bloom and flourish. Hope abounds.
Spring signifies what is new in your life or what is being birthed. It could be a new job, a new business venture, a new relationship or a renewed relationship.
Things that are growing and thriving in your life. These things bring you joy and hope. They challenge, motivate, and scare you at the same time. Essentially, they give you a reason to keep going.
What is blooming in your life?
As an African, I remain mesmerized by the long Summer days. I absolutely love them. There is something about sunshine and the energy that it brings. Lots happen during summer.
People take breaks from work, children are on break from school, people travel to places all over the world. As we would say in my country, “It really happens in summer”. Summer is about having fun, connecting with those who matter most, traveling and seeking inspiration.
Summer is the time between sowing and reaping. You sowed in the Spring of your life. You pluck out weeds and water your plants in the Summer of your life.
Weeds are the things that will stop you or act as an impediment from reaching your goals. You need to identify them and pull them out. There is nothing that will grow without being watered. Whatever you have planted in the Spring of your life, needs to be watered. Be it a job, a relationship or a project.
What needs to be watered in your life?
In Fall, you reap. The things that you started in Spring are coming to an end during. Some of those things could end successfully, while some may come to completion in a manner that was not expected.
In the Fall of your life, you need to think about the things that have ended. Rejoice in those that have ended well andlearn from those that did not end so well.
Grow from the process.
Sometimes we try to bring back to life, through watering and weeding, things that have already died. We keep trying in bad jobs, toxic relationships, and fanning the fire even when the other party has poured water in it. Do yourself a favor, if something has ended, learn from it and move on.
What has come to an end in your life? Have you learned anything? What do you need to let go of and move on?
Winter is cold and dreary. We tend to spend most of our time indoors during Winter. This is the season of your life where you pause and consider how to move forward. Before you begin to birth in Spring, you need to conceive in Winter.
In this season, you bring in the lessons from earlier seasons and you use that to plan how to move forward.
What is being conceived in your life?
Life being what it is, as you read this, different aspects of your life fall in different seasons. You could have just started out a new project as an entrepreneur, after having left an old job.
You could have just finished university and you have decided to do some volunteer work in a different country. Or you could have worked for the past thirty years, and are considering retirement or moving to a new coastal town.
Recognize which season the different aspects of your life fall, and take the necessary actions. It could be birthing, cultivating, harvesting or conceiving.
“The more reflective you are, the more effective you are.” Hall and Simeral
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Eva Toby is an Amazon Bestselling author, media personality and presenter. With a degree in psychology and Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan, and an MBA, Eva is passionate about helping women and young adults bring clarity to their purpose.
She is the creator of The Purpose Blueprint: 7 Easy Steps to Clarity. Eva has been featured in Genevieve Magazine, Afro Elle, Spice TV, LA Talk Radio, WHPR and more!
Eva is 6ft tall and has modeled part-time for the past 10 years as a car model for Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, getting premier access to some of the fastest cars in the world.
In this article, she talks about overcoming challenges and finding her purpose.
On creating “The Purpose Factor” book…
If someone had told me several years ago I would be a best-selling author and purpose pusher, I probably would have laughed. However, it’s always fascinating how God truly knows things way ahead and has greater purposeful plans for us even when it comes out of tragedy.
I was led to create The Purpose Factor book after the sudden death of my dear cousin in 2014. With my emotions being all over the place from a state of shock, sadness, and confusion. I found it really hard to cope after experiencing such a significant loss.
I remember one day picking up my bible to read for encouragement, and it was at that moment these notes had fallen out. The notes were actually from a message, two years prior, that I’d shared with a youth group at church about the significance of living life to the fullest and making your time here on earth count!
Notably, I’d read my bible so many times prior to that and never realized I kept those notes tucked away in my bible binder. It just goes to show the significance of the timing.
At that point, I remember this resurgence of passion and desire of sharing with the world the Power of Purpose. And I wanted to get the message across that each person on this earth is valued and has an assignment. I realized how life is so precious and fragile.
And that ‘Time’ is not money but life! Hence, it is imperative that we maximize our time here in order to be of value and impactful.
The Purpose Factor book was dedicated to my cousin who indeed lived life to fullest and impacted so many lives.
On facing life challenges…
The past few years have indeed been life changing and challenging to say the least. From the loss of my cousin, and then another cousin. And then, I lost my father in 2016. Experiencing such significant losses in a span of a few years has been indescribable.
Couple that with trying to stay focused on building my brand/business, it was not easy. But one thing I learned through this process that keeps me going is that even in pain there is still a purpose. As painful as the process has been, I realized God still has me here for a reason and wants me to keep going.
While you may feel like you are in a hopeless space it is essential to be reminded you are not. You are in a season of transition and need to remember there is a breakthrough on the other side of the breakdown.
Below are 3 ways you can stay empowered when you feel life is taking its toll on you:
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
Almost everyone at some point has had that feeling of hopelessness and despair. The truth of the matter is that it is OK.
We are all human and embracing your vulnerability is the first step to reclaiming your power. Remember acceptance is not a sign of weakness and by no means an indication that you don’t desire change.
But rather than suppress those feelings, acknowledgment gives you the confidence to deal with them and start making a way for something new to emerge in your life.
2. Have An Attitude of Gratitude
There is so much power when we cultivate an attitude of gratitude in our daily lives. Research studies have shown the positive impact on people who focus on gratitude.
Gratitude facilitates increased self-esteem, optimism, happiness, improved mental health, progress towards goal achievement, increased energy and more.
Therefore, it is important to start making gratitude a daily ritual. You can start by creating a gratitude journal for yourself.
Each morning and/or evening tries to think of at least two things you are grateful for in that moment.
3. Look for Opportunities of Growth
When life hits us hard, we are often led to start with “why me?” or “why is this happening?” It’s natural at first but if we dawdle in this space for too long, it can lead us further onto the pathway of self-pity.
Hence the importance of changing the narrative from “why” to “what”. Start thinking about “what” you can learn from this moment and season of your life.
Focusing on the now and learning from it is such an empowering lesson and opportunity for growth when you feel like life has beat you down.
Remain Encouraged and Empowered! No condition is permanent. Keep reaching and thinking of the desires you aspire to. Start with each hour, then each day.
Gender discrimination has been a major issue in Africa, and the world at large. Although, it’s reduced in the past years since we live in the 21st century and in the most real modernity. Unfortunately, it’s still an issue women battle.
This happens in most industries, and especially in male-dominated fields like construction industries, politics, entertainment and so on. Most times, I wonder why or where the male superiority emerged from and I still don’t get it.
Why?. Because I’ve heard of women’s success stories that men can’t even dream of attaining by going through the phases women do.
As we live in an evolving world and in a modern time, gender equality should be essential in every society and economy. Although the past discrimination women faced has been changing, there are still a variety of challenges that women face, low-key and high key.
Women that jump into positions predominantly held by men don’t have it easy. They seek support from colleagues, friends, and families and so on as they face challenges like mistreatment, incompetency, unheard voices, or bad comparison.
African women have so little influence over resources which restricts befitting jobs and limits their earnings, hence the dependency status. That makes the voices of women remain limited and unfortunately, African attitudes, vibes, and customs extends many of these inequalities across many generations present and ones to come.
Let’s take a look at the agricultural sector which requires a strong manpower, so technically, we can tag it a male-dominated field. Research shows us that women contribute 60% plus, of labor into food production for household consumption and for sale.
Yet they get no credit for their hard work. They are not recognized, visible, complimented, or rewarded for all the energy and passion they put into the work they do. In politics also, it was regarded as a man’s job to make decisions or make a difference.
But from the 1990s, women started gaining freedom, the freedom to do whatever. The freedom to have a voice and stand up for what they want.
Now, women have gained over 30% of the seats in the government and are making a difference and history. How sweet!
In dealing with gender discrimination in male-dominated fields, what options do women have? Do they become a man overnight or take advantage of their natural qualities like nurturing and oozing empathy?
I think not because psychologically, women can face a comeback for playing the feminine gender role stereotype, which isn’t cute, one bit.
This may mean relying on appearance to gain acceptance and it works to the advantage of women in male-dominated fields. When one looks smart and nice and works smart and nice, acceptance is just a second away.
Embrace some male characteristics
This may not accord to some personalities and it may also be a copying tactic, but when one embraces the male characteristics and monitor oneself, being self-conscious, opportunities present itself
Having a female mentor, in or outside the industry is a wonderful way to build knowledge and skills. One gets to align personalities and their reputation can help reinforce one’s reputation.
Dwelling in the positive and ignoring the negative
To succeed in spite of adversity says a lot about a person’s character and determination. This is in regard to focus. By dedicating oneself to the job at hand and getting accustomed to the role by focusing on the engaging and challenging nature of the job, one tends to overlook whatever politics is being played and in turn, recognition and success will be birthed.
This would make a huge difference to women’s work satisfaction and effectiveness.
Changing workplace culture
It is very much possible to succeed in industries not typically associated with women such as mining or construction.
Attitude adjustments can make a woman brave enough to fight the status quo. Also, one can influence the hiring policies or implement recruitment platforms that support fellow women in the industry. By this, workplace culture has evolved and shifted.
With this, African women and women, in general, will be able to overpower gender discrimination in male-dominated fields. They can create a place for themselves and generation to come, and make history. Let’s make our voices heard and make a huge difference!
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Coming into my 33rd year is very special, as it marks my 20th year of walking with God, 10 years of marriage, 10 years of parenting, 10 years of being a professional and the birthing of something new – Blooming Amazons.
I will be sharing life lessons I’ve learned through the journey.
Before you begin, grab a notepad and maybe a cool drink, because this is a long but eye-opening read.
Living for the praises/ validation of men is futile
This year, as it’s a pattern with me when something new is about to be birthed in me, all Hell would let loose and most times only a few can see what I m seeing. When Blooming Amazons were about to be birthed, I had people who I taught should be excited about the new work say to me, cancel, it’s not time.
I knew I heard God, so I went ahead, not allowing the opinion of anyone to deter me. At the end of our first conference in June, I had a few of them (who were Humble enough) say to me, you really heard God, after the conference, we are convinced.
So I say to myself, what if I succumbed to all the pressures?
Own your Journey as it is part of your process
EVERYTHING we go through in life( The Good, Bad and Ugly) is all part of our becoming and it’s the enemy’s plan to keep us down with shame. God will never want us to be ashamed irrespective of where we have been.
He’s more interested in where we are now and where we will spend eternity… We should find strength in our journey and own our story without prejudice, someone out there will draw strength from your journey.
Always remember you are only a vessel
When God does His work through us, there’s the temptation that people would start to put us on a pedestal of worship(very dangerous), we have to constantly remind them, it is God who is doing His work and we are only vessels, and He alone should take all the glory.
If we are not deliberate about this, pride will set in (and it’s usually subtle). God resists the proud, the fear of being resisted by God alone should keep us humble.
These days when you say to people lets pray about this, it sounds like a cliché, like the normal thing Christians say, but I tell you the truth, Prayer changes things.
Prayer is us admitting to God that we are limited and need His intervention in a particular situation. It’s a show of surrender and Humility. His answer may not come how we many it or when we want it, but He certainly answers.
With all the feminism out there and being taken overboard, it assumes that submission is out-dated. I see submission as admitting that the power I have comes through me and not from me, I believe God knows the strength of a woman and if left unchecked can create chaos and that’s why He has commanded us to submit.
Submission is more than an admonishing, it’s a command.
So, I”m married to this amazing gentleman who allows me to have my way a lot of times, but when He puts his foot down, I know I have to submit, it might not be easy on the flesh, but every time I submit to my Husband, I notice He honors me more and He is spurred to do more for me.
Irrespective of what I do outside of my Home, once I get to ABCVille,( How we like to call our Home), I’m first Babatunde’s wife before anything else. Being submissive isn’t the same as being subservient.
I’m a believer in if you belong to a place, then give it your loyalty, if I start to doubt the integrity of a place I belong to, I would rather move on than to be two-faced.
I still don’t know how people are able to sleep at night after hailing someone who they just cursed behind their back. (lol.one of the first questions I will ask God when we get to heaven).
God is a loving Father
A lot of us have this fearful, awfull picture of God, perhaps painted to us as children from Sunday school days, but it’s not true about Him, we should fear God in reverence, but not an awful kind of fear. God isn’t like the Nigerian traffic police (lastma) lol, hiding and just waiting for us to fail so He can hit us with His rod of correction of sickness, diseases or crisis…
Rather, He loves us with an everlasting, I like to call it a ‘reckless love’. The Bible makes us know He doesn’t want the sinner to perish, it is never His will for anyone to perish, and it is never God who puts crises on people, all good and perfect gifts come from Him and its impossible for Him to do evil.
As Christians, we can’t be ruled by our feelings, they will mislead us. We are first a spirit, then we have a soul and live in a body, Our soul is responsible for our emotions but as strong as emotions are, they are in no match to what our spirit carries. Our life should be guided by the spirit.
So Here was I, tongue-talking, demon chasing daughter of God, being attracted to some other person, of course I know to Kill that emotion because it is not leading to anywhere good. Anger, Jealousy, Fear, all these are emotions and should be put in constant check with the word of God.
Sometimes we might wake up not feeling too good, perhaps because of life challenges(being an adult can be demanding….I know), we are weighed down.
Here is my reminder to you, it’s only a feeling, it’s not who you are, it will pass.
Marriage has to be built on the right foundation
Right foundation for me will be marrying for the right reasons, being sincere about who you are from the beginning of the relationship and most important part, Having God be the center of it all.
Forever is a very long time to spend with someone, and years down in marriage, both of you will evolve, children will come or may not, careers will grow , finances, Health, in-laws, priorities, purpose, a lot will just happen and its the foundation of your marriage that will really sustain the union, we can’t really change our spouse.
No Human being can change another( God hasn’t given that power to any man), but we can ask Him who is the creator and father of our spouse to do with and in His child all He wants to.
Be sincere and open with your Children
I learned this from my mum, She is a very sacrificial mother and let my brother and me into her capabilities. Even when I was far away in school, there were just somethings I never got involved in, because I knew my mother emptied all her savings to give me the comfort I have.
I just kind of felt being of good behavior and excelling was the least I could do to honor her. Also, you earn your children’s respect when you treat your spouse well.
This a subtle life lesson we pass to our children without talking. So my children notice my Husband and I just disagreed over an issue, and as children may want to ask for favors from me which their Dad won’t approve of.
They know I won’t bend over to let them have their way. They have come to learn this, so these days, they don’t bother…
Competition and Rivalry is baseless
One of the core things the Lord has been impressing upon my heart is collaboration. We are the light of the world, but a candlestick in a world of gross darkness cant dispell much but imagine what happens when we all bring our light together, there is no darkness we can’t dispel.
Afterall, no one ever shines brighter by putting our another person’s light.
It’s Ok to admit we are limited and don’t know something
There’s the temptation of wanting to answer everyone’s questions, want to meet everyone’s need and solve every problem when we begin to have people look up to us.
While this is good, to have a serving heart, it can place too much demand on us, we should do as much as we can, but we should always have at the back of our minds that its only the Holy Spirit who can fix people and solve problems and we are in no match with him. We should always point people back to God and be sincere with our limitations.
If someone asks us a question we don’t know, its ok to say I don’t know or I’m not sure about this, can I get back to you or can I refer you to someone I feel will be in a better position to answer you correctly
Everyone God has brought our way is for a purpose and we are accountable for them
One of the ways my Husband and I have decided to give back to the society is by ensuring anyone who comes to work for us as a domestic staff leaves us better. We are committed to their growth and development.
Seriously, we can’t claim to be mentoring people outside when the ones right under our roof, that spend a lot of time with our children are not well mentored.
Not only do we mentor them but make an investment in them. Is there a possibility they won’t be grateful, Oh yes, but who and what is our motive? God!!! So it’s unto Him
There’s a reward for faithfulness
When we are in the capacity to work for others, we should do it as though it is ours. People say a lot to me now that running BLAM comes so easy for you.
How do you do it, but then, years before now, I was serving somewhere else, not having the slightest idea God would call me to start BLAM, but I did it with all my heart as though it was mine, not only did God reward my faithfulness.
I was also unknowingly developing myself for my own purpose, so now it appears so easy as I have developed my root downwards.
Courage isn’t the absence of Fear, but not being crippled by the fear.
I remember our first conference, I was so afraid like visibly afraid, if you looked at me, you literally could see me trembling, but I didn’t let that stop me, I know fear is only a feeling, I heard God clearly about the conference, so what I felt really didn’t matter.
Fulfilling a purpose isn’t for the faint-hearted
Ask anyone doing great in any sector, they will tell you the same thing. Someone told me she was crying because some people she thought should support her vision arent doing so.
I simply told her, welcome to the club, its ok to cry, but one of the beauties of being a woman is we can cry this moment, and the next go to the washroom and slay it up again.
Usually, I would recommend anyone starting or doing a great work to confess Ephesians 3:16 (NLT)I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.
We need a lot of inner strength for the journey.
People would always have an opinion and they are entitled to it, but what they aren’t entitled to be forcing it on you.
You also owe yourself not being moved by the opinion of people, I have observed that people’s opinions are ever changing, since the days of Jesus, today Hosanna, tomorrow crucify!
Seek Counsel, ask for advice, but ultimately, hear God.
I once heard of an ex-governor who when He wanted to run for governorship sort the counsel of one His mentors, a big name in the Christian faith in our nation, and the person told him not to run as he won’t win, but He was convinced God spoke to Him.
He ran and won the elections and even did a second term. I’ve had this play out in my lifetime and time again. This doesn’t make the man of God a liar, it only means that concerning the issues of our destiny, it is ONLY the holy spirit’s guide that is 100 percent accurate.
Your spouse isn’t your enemy
Many times the enemy tries to make our spouse look like our enemy, but we know better.
His aims are not far-fetched, to steal, kill and ultimately destroy. So when dealing with issues, we should always have this at the back of our minds.
So you sense you are being called to a certain trade or profession, rather than launching out untrained, take time out to go prepare, go watch someone do it.
That way your roots grow downwards, so even though no one is seeing the tree itself yet, you have developed a solid foundation and when you start out and the storms and challenges of life flood in, you are able to stand.
Social Media is a very good tool
Like most of the work we do with BLAM is via social media, that being said, it can also be very misleading. Everyone puts their best foot forward and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Whats important is we don’t measure our own success or be put under pressure by what we see on social media. Not all that glitter is gold
It’s Ok to laugh at yourself
I remember a night I was in Bible school and because of my tight schedules lately, I’ve been going on wigs more to help me cut down on salon times this day, off my wig went in the middle of class.
Honestly, I still can’t explain what made it fall off, but I just picked it up and wore it back nicely, rather than being thoroughly embarrassed. Life isn’t that serious
Its ok to ask for help
When we were having our conference in June, we sent out letters for support which we got a lot of, I can’t imagine if we tried to muscle it all alone. God will always send us people who would help us.
Put structures in place that make your life easier
With all the many roles that I play, while in bible school, I had to invest in getting a very good home tutor for my children, that is something I did myself, but I wasn’t going to be available to do it and I didn’t want their academics to suffer for it, so I had to pay the price.
I also had to get an extra hand to help out with domestic chores. Women like to be perceived as being super, but you can only shine when your sanity is intact.
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Ekemini Dan Abia is a legal practitioner who got inspired by her work in the criminal justice system to create a community which supports and educates victims of domestic abuse through her Instagram page, Abuse Survivor.
Abuse survivor aims to create awareness of the damaging effects of domestic abuse by educating members of the public, using Narcissism as a subject.
She believes that helping individuals understand narcissism can greatly reduce domestic abuse in the home and its result in the larger society.
Through Abuse Survivor, she identifies potential abusers and identifies abuse dynamics. She also provides materials and support for the recovery of survivors and counsels victims of all forms of abuse.
What has been your biggest achievement as a prosecutor?
Watching adults, children, as well as pre-teens who are victims of sex offenses, look their abuser in the eye and testify against him or her in open court.
I am filled with a sense of accomplishment because I know that the person is taking back his or her power and getting out of the abuser’s control.
What prompted you to start the platform Abuse Survivor?
I was deeply shaken by the death of Ronke Shonde in 2016, who was allegedly murdered by her abusive husband. Reports of spousal abuse/homicides seemed to increase in 2017, and I recall asking myself “why couldn’t they heed the red flags before walking down the aisle”?
So I decided to help people identify potential abusers and also highlight the long-term effects of remaining in abusive relationships on adults and children.
I came to realize that a large percentage of those convicted for violent crimes are products of dysfunctional home environments and are people with unresolved childhood trauma.
The pain and anger they carry around makes them gravitate towards crime or other anti-social behaviors. Knowledge of the above facts propelled me to create Abuse Survivor.
Are you an abuse survivor yourself?
Yes. I have been a victim of malignant narcissistic abuse.
How do you vet the authenticity of the stories people send to you since its all done virtually?
Most stories sent to us are accompanied by imageries which are very compelling with the victims pleading for their anonymity. I ask certain question which aims to validate their assertions without leaving them feeling we disbelieve them.
It calls for tact and sensitivity, else we could leave a victim of abuse with invalidated feelings which is against everything we stand for.
Would you consider yourself to be a social entrepreneur and if so, what would you say is the most challenging part of this role?
Yes, I do.
We live in a society where an in-depth discussion of abuse is given a passing interest, thus accessing funds to have more impact has been really challenging. Like most start-ups, this is the biggest challenge I have faced so far.
You use NARCISSISM as a subject to educate your community. How has this impacted them positively?
Lots of people have undergone narcissistic abuse without knowing it. As a result, they lived in utter confusion, depression and other health complications which is characteristic of victims of narcissistic abuse.
Watching some members of our community gain clarity, stop blaming themselves and take control of their lives has been very fulfilling.
Since starting the platform ‘Abuse Survivor’, have you had any support from anyone? And how has this contributed towards your success?
A survivor of narcissistic abuse, who is also a member of our community reached out to me sometime in February 2018. Although living in the UK, she volunteered to build a website for our community.
I am very grateful for this gesture.
She has also become one of our resource persons. She is always on standby with brilliant and innovative suggestions. Having her as a support system right now propels me to keep doing what I do.
What is the one motivation that gets you up every morning?
I wake up every morning with the zeal to put out more information in order to reach more people. The knowledge that far too many people in our society are ignorant about narcissism motivates me.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a woman suffering from domestic abuse?
I would tell her that she is stronger than her abuser is trying to make her feel. All she needs to do is to see herself the way God sees her and learn to love herself.
Only then will she have the strength to walk away for herself and to provide a better environment for her children (if she is a mother).
How do you juggle your full-time job with managing your platform?
To be candid, it is very tasking. However, it is easier because I am passionate about this topic and my full-time job inspires me too.
I make time in the early hours of the day from 4 am to 6 am to plan my content. That way, members of our community never experience content drought.
You currently run Abuse Survivor solely on Instagram. Any plans to move it to another platform? (Website, blog etc).
Right now, we are working on our official website. We plan to make use of other social media platforms while retaining Instagram as our primary means of reaching out to members of our community.
Do you ever meet with the women whose stories you share?
The vast majority of those who share their stories in our community are impossible to meet geographically because they do so from all over the world.
However, I have met a handful of them and they are the most resilient women I have ever met.
What future plans do you have for ‘Abuse Survivor’?
My vision is for Abuse Survivor to become the number one support system and resource outfit for victims of any form of abuse in Africa. We plan to innovate along the way.
What’s your favorite book / Ted Talk of all time?
My favorite book is Chimamanda Adichie’s ‘Purple Hibiscus’. I think that is where my interest in domestic abuse was aroused. I was 19 when I read that novel.
My favorite Ted Talk was given by Warren Buffet. If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.
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I recently got a professional mentor. This was not something that had been penned down in detail in my goals for the year. What had been penned down is that I need to seize opportunities that will enhance my network.
So as a true choleric, I jumped on any networking opportunity that presented itself to me. This rather abstract goal led me to join a mentorship forum for Human Resource Professionals whose goal is to provide mentoring opportunities to HR professionals through peer mentoring.
My first meeting with my mentor happened early this year. Let’s call her Alexa. To say that I was intimidated is an understatement. Alexa has achieved so much. She is a high-flying career woman, she has a C-suite job, and reports to the Board.
She is confident, she is witty and to wrap it all, she has an amazing sense of style.
Ok. Stop giggling.
I, on the other hand, have worked at my current job for eight years. I was not proud of my employer and I had been carrying this label that I work for the wrong organization.
It was for that reason that all my job applications had not been successful. So much negative vibe about my work situation.
So Alexa and I met at a beautiful restaurant and the conversation started with her telling me about herself. I wanted her job. She makes so much impact.
Isn’t that all that us millennials want, to make an impact?
Then the conversation moved to me. I told her about myself, my work situation and why I had signed up for a mentor. At the end of the meeting, Alexa told me that as part of the preparation for our next meeting, I need to identify the one thing I want to take out of our mentorship relationship once it came to an end.
It was a wonderful evening I must say.
When I got home later that night, I reflected back to my conversation with Alexa. It was like I was outside, looking into our conversation and I was deeply saddened by the picture that emerged. I started my career so positive, so energetic and with an attitude of I can handle whatever comes my way.
Eight years later, to sitting across my mentor, I had changed to this negative person who felt like she had no power.
This realization coupled with Alexa’s assignment on my expected outcome from the professional mentorship forced me to take a long hard painful look at myself. That was the only way I could change the narrative.
I must say that it was not easy. I took some time out to reflect on my life and I realized that it was no longer clear to me what my vision was professional.
The Bible says that my people perish because of a lack of vision. How true this is. If you do not know where you are going, anywhere is good enough. But anywhere is not good enough for me.
I want to live a life of purpose and a life of meaning and my career plays a huge part towards that. Pema Chödrön in his book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, says “The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
Self-reflection is hard. Self-reflection is painful. But self-reflection is necessary for you to scale to the next level of your career.
Do I now know what my vision for my professional life is? Yes.
Do I have a plan of how to achieve it? Yes.
It involves stepping out of my comfort zone by seeking opportunities that will make use of skills that I possess. Indeed, writing this article is stepping out for me. And so for my next meeting with Alexa, I know precisely what I want out of the professional mentorship I am being offered.
In the words of Denzel Washington, “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influence in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.”
Fellow female professionals, do you want to scale the career ladder? My advice, get a mentor.
Well, she is no longer just Meghan Markle. She is now Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex.
I love weddings, but boy I love a royal wedding. They happen once in a while but they always linger for long. Nobody could distract me as I watched Prince Harry and Meghan tie the knot in May.
From the carriage to her page boys and little brides, spectacular floral arrangements, and silk minimal dress, everything. Meghan Markle was fascinating!
The more I read about her, the more inspired I am by her story. She reminds me of two powerful women in the Bible, Queen Esther, and Ruth. Like the two women, her life is far from perfect- yet she is now the embodiment of royalty, purpose, and confidence.
Here are lessons every woman can learn from Meghan’s page.
Your Past Doesn’t Define You
If it was up to royal protocol, Meghan wouldn’t be ‘Her Royal Highness’ now. She broke all protocols –she is a divorcee, raised by divorced American parents; one being African American.
Yet that didn’t in anyway stop Prince Harry from marrying her. The past has got nothing on you. It can’t stop God from blessing you, giving you a new title and changing the course of your destiny.
Meghan is the daughter of Doria Ragland, a social worker and yoga instructor and Thomas Markle, a daytime retired lighting director. Maybe she never thought that she would one day end up in the palace; not even as a distant relative.
You can imagine how awful her parent’s divorce must have been for her. She was just six years old and the youngest of her two older paternal half-siblings. But that didn’t stop her. Surely she was remarkably positive and that mindset paved the way for a bright future.
Don’t Laze Around Waiting For Prince Charming To Sweep You Off Your Feet
Meg wasn’t sitting around waiting for a Prince to find her. Before meeting Prince Harry, she was a successful actress, UN ambassador, and blogger.
It takes a lot of guts and hard work to reach certain heights where the world can’t help but identify with you. Meghan Markle was literally a chaser of knowledge in every aspect of her life.
Meghan’s humanitarian work and passion for helping people especially women and children align perfectly with her husband’s charity work. That’s a power couple if you ask me!
Don’t Fall For The Pressure
The media hasn’t been nice to Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother and only family member present on the wedding. Didn’t she have cousins, aunties, and uncles?
In a world where numbers are deemed prestigious, Meghan only had her mum by her side. Sometimes all you need is that one person who has kept it real from day one.
Don’t Give Up On Love
Meghan had been in a relationship with Hollywood actor and producer Trevor Engelson in 2004 which resulted in a marriage in 2011. The marriage lasted only two years after which their divorce was completed in 2013.
Since June 2016, Meghan has been in a relationship with Prince Harry, after they met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend.
Last month, they made it official. I’d bet on my chocolate (Trust me, chocolate is the next best thing after my son) that her ex-husband wishes he hadn’t let her go. If only he knew what life had in store for her!
She didn’t let the divorce stop her from falling in love again. And look what a fairytale ending it is!
Go ahead and have a look at that sunny smile. You would think that after being officially crowned a member of the British Royal family and the Duchess of Sussex, that she would show less of her teeth.
Not Meghan! She is giving us the whole shiny set. If you ask me, that is how you know a confident woman who is truly being herself, not caring if she’s royal or not.
You don’t know how much good a smile can bring your way. Apart from keeping you young and radiantly beautiful, you just might attract a handsome prince!
Keep It Simple
It’s a wedding! A royal wedding but Meghan isn’t moved by the fact that the whole world stood still for her. She appeared in a low bun, with pieces of hair falling out of place and proudly rocking her freckles.
You could hardly spot any make-up and a dress that was simple but gorgeous. Do I have to add that her dress was modest and that there were no boobs or other assets on display?
She wasn’t seeking to impress anybody. Except for her Prince of course. If he thought she looked amazing, it doesn’t matter what the rest of us think.
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The moment you hit rock bottom is not a very unique experience. Although the actions were taken after the realization vastly differs from one person to another.
For me, it was while watching a very romantic movie, the kind of movie where the guy races through traffic to get to the airport so he can finally pour out his true feelings to his dream girl.
He just manages to catch her at the ‘check-in line’, runs up to her, grabs her and begs her not to leave. She looks deep into his eyes, doubting him, doubting everything and then all of a sudden.
He gets down on one knee and proposes to her with his Grandma’s wedding ring. Romantic right? And yet, I couldn’t figure out why it was at this exact moment that I started to cry like someone stole my cat or something…
It was a few light tears at first…then it turned to real sobbing.
At that moment I realized that:
This movie is so corny, no guy would make it through traffic in time to get the girl – not Kampala traffic anyway, plus we have only one airport!
My tears, these tears, had nothing to do with the movie and everything to do with the fact that I was failing at life…with a capital F!
I was exhausted and starting to hate this dream I’d been pursuing what felt like an eternity. I’d been working myself to the bone, but nothing seemed to be going right.
I’d received negative client reviews, was behind on important production deadlines, my landlord was starting to begin all his messages with scary sentences like “If you do not pay by the close of business today…”
It was hard, really hard but if you’re an entrepreneur, failure isn’t a choice, its part of the game, it’s how you learn and if you’re smart about it, it’s how you grow.
Failure is the big “F” word one no one wants to talk about. The time you didn’t meet a client’s expectations so they decided to go with a competitor. That time you couldn’t make the payment. When you took the business loan and didn’t anticipate how the market would react to your product. That time your marriage fell apart leaving you with a broken heart and nasty attitude to boot!
Much has been said on the subject, some believe there’s only one correct way to fail in business. Fast and hard, get all the pain out as soon as possible and then try again.
As an entrepreneur you need to know failure intimately, take it out on a few dates and study it! Why did you fail? How did you fail? Did you pass the buck or were you just distracted?
Should you be in this business? Are you disciplined enough to handle the responsibility? Failure isn’t glamorous, often times, it’s ugly and it’s really messy. Kind of like your ex!
So here are a few tips from someone who’s had a taste of it and still has a huge bowl to get through;
1. The x + y = z of it.
The only way to get really good at something is to fail at it enough times that you finally get the formula. When you fail, you must have the courage to distance yourself from it.
You must understand that you aren’t a failure simply because you failed at this thing. Understand that it’s part of the journey to becoming one of the greatest. You must get up, dust yourself off, cry a little, or maybe a lot, and then try again.
2. You must not wear failure as an identity.
I’ve met a lot of people that have failed at something or the other in their lives and have turned it into an identity they walk around with. They pull it out at appropriate times when the gathering is big enough so everyone can see how well they failed.
They have it at the ready to “warn” others who might actually try to pursue that same treacherous path. They have horror stories with examples all the way from China! Do not pay attention to that fear, use those horror stories as markers and pointers for your own journey.
You’ll learn that like in all the Hollywood horror stories, you never ever go to the basement parking lot alone!!! Bottom line is you’ll learn.
3. Failure is evidence that you actually tried at something.
Many would-be entrepreneurs are stuck in the zone between having a really great idea and having the courage to do something about it. For most, the fear of failure is stronger than the possible joy that could come from winning. You tried and you failed, now all you have to do is try again.
4. The F-word means you’re badass.
The people we celebrate, the greatest entrepreneurs the world has ever known built their empires amidst great odds stacked against them, and most importantly, did not let failure stop them.
So, why should you?
A quote from the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo dedicated to all those entrepreneurs that have faced a few setbacks in the first half of this year and need a little more courage for this next half;
“What you need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the soul of the world tests everything that was learned along the way.
It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream.
That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.”
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So you managed to get through school. You aced that interview! The excitement of finally being part of the workforce and getting that paycheck is giving you a rush.
But as you slide into your work routine you start to realize something awful, you hate your job. As the initial excitement of winning the job search fades you may realize things aren’t what you expected or you are overwhelmed.
How do you survive such a situation?
Becoming an adult is quite a daunting task, with so many things to balance and learn. When you add a job to this mix, it can feel overwhelming.
The first thing you need to do it take a deep breath. Try to wrap your head around what’s happening it your life.
Focus on the positive
It’s easy to have a bad day when you’re only focused on the bad things. I hate to sound like your mother, but you need to begin counting your blessings one by one.
What are the perks of your job? What do you enjoy? When you look at it this way, you will discover that perhaps your job is not all bad.
There’s a long list of reasons why you might hate your job. Some common reasons are the salary, the hours and superiors. But sometimes, you really have to be realistic about your job.
You can start by finding out what salaries are in your field. This will help you understand that you can’t expect to be earning top manager salary on your first day.
Secondly, you may also feel as though your boss is out there to get you. But ask yourself, is he really up to that? Is there something that you perhaps need to do better?
Consider other factors
If you’re staying up late every night to catch up on daytime soaps or not eating properly, you’ll probably be constantly exhausted. Make sure you’re taking care of your body, your mind, and emotions.
Feelings can heavily affect your system. If logistics is a problem try carpooling or taking alternative transport, or leaving home a bit earlier to avoid traffic.
Wait it out
They say time fixes all problems. Sometimes the best solution is to wait it out. Maybe you just need more time to adjust.
On the hand, sometimes it may be time to move on from that job. While waiting it out, you can begin searching for other opportunities or perhaps even start that business you’ve been thinking of.
Whatever you decide, you need to make concrete plans that will guide your next steps. This will ensure that you don’t end up in the same situation again.
If something else is really bothering you, maybe it’s time to speak to whoever is in charge. Try explaining to them what the issues are without whining, be clear and concise. Be cautious about how much information you share though.
Learn from it
If you do decide to move on, make sure you take everything as a learning experience. Understand why things didn’t go so well. Know what you want from your next job. How would you negotiate your hours and pay?
Finally, don’t let your current situation weigh you down. In order to grow, we need to go through rough patches that will help us fully grow.
This article was written by Love Akinkunle. Love is an African writer, content creator and victim of wanderlust. She works in PR, event management, and tour management when there’s writer’s block.
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Lily Singh is best known for her Youtube channel Superwoman which has over 1 billion views and has featured guests ranging from Michelle Obama to Zendaya.
Her book, How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life describes a BAWSE as a`a person who exudes confidence, reaches goals, gets hurt efficiently, and smiles genuinely because they’ve fought through it all and made it out the other side`.
She emphasizes that life is not about surviving but rather taking the decisive steps to have more effective control over your life, choices, and actions.
Here are some of our favorite tips from the book to get you started on your ride to be a BAWSE.
Conquer your thoughts
We are the products of our thoughts, what we think affects how we treat others and allow others to treat us.
Conquering your thoughts put you in charge of yourself. It means being accountable for the things you say and do. So when you find yourself in a situation that challenges you or makes you feel a certain way ask yourself WHY you feel a certain way, WHAT made you perform a certain action, and HOW you could do things differently.
Words lie, actions lie too, but consistency speaks the truth
Now if that line doesn’t speak truth to you, I don`t know what will! Consistency is key: people determine who you are depending on what you do.
If you are always late to meet that deadline or never do that task you said you would do, people will come to know you as the unreliable person. That is not the reputation you want to have.
Consistency and habits breed good behavior, you begin to create patterns that show people that they can trust, rely and count on you. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to show people who you are and then keep showing them.
Seek out situations that make you uncomfortable
Comfort Zones: we love them, they make us feel happy and safe. When we are in a situation that we do not feel is tailored from us we tend to panic and act out. We basically do not cope because it is not the reality we know or are used to.
Use an uncomfortable moment as a learning tool, what does it say about you, what are you doing to address this uncomfortable situation. What can you learn? Being uncomfortable does not mean sit back and refuse to do anything, just because its no longer the norm for you.
You have to be proactive, take matters into your hands, see what difference can come out of this experience.
If you want to stay in the league, keep up to date on the game
Learning is a lifetime process. There is always room to further your education and skills, no matter how high up the career ladder you get. Do not become too self-assured that you do not think you have any more lessons to learn.
Learning more about advances in your field can help you shape your goals, enhance your career and keep you above the rest. Do not presume you know it all or that you have become an expert whose opinion is the only one that matters.
Take time to refine your skills and competencies. This does not just refer only to taking short or online courses to nurture and grow your skills, it also refers to the lessons you can learn from others around you.
A brilliant quote from the book is “Being the dumbest person on your team doesn’t make you a stupid person; it means you are smart enough to select people to work with you can learn from”.
This means surround yourself with people you can learn from. Asking questions when you don`t know is not a shortfall, it is dedicating yourself to learning something new.
Don’t be afraid to ask for things.
The worst that will happen is that you’ll be told no!
Too often than not, we tell ourselves `no` before we even do what we wanted to achieve. We become the roadblocks to our own goals.
But, what if you denied yourself a yes, an upgrade or a promotion? ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE. It is a famous line for a reason. If you do not ask, you will never get what you want. You do not even open yourself up to the option of getting it.
Do not be afraid to put yourself out there, to request for more when you know you deserve it. Sure, we are all scared of rejection but that allows us to adjust and try again with something better that works.
A Motherland Mogul knows her worth and when to ask for it to be respected. Do not talk yourself out of asking for that raise, state your case and demand your prize. You may just surprise yourself by getting exactly what you asked for.
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