A case study from The Safety Chic on How to crush your 2019 goals

It’s a new year and you’ve set those amazing goals that will propel you to your next level. How do you go from being a novice to getting international recognition?

How do you go from your current great level to the higher rung on the ladder of success?

I would be sharing with you a few tips that worked for me while building “The Safety Chic” brand from zero to almost a hundred. I am not at my destination yet but I am a good distance from where I started.

Even though I’m still a work in progress, I believe you can pick a thing or two from my experience.

In my opinion, there are 5 major things that you’d need to consider to ensure you go from zero to influence or from the level you’re on currently to the next.

How do you go from your current great level to the higher rung on the ladder of success? Learn from - @TheSafetyChic Click To Tweet


What do you have in your hands right now? Do you have some training or certifications in a certain area? Do you have work experience either paid or unpaid? How about requisite soft skills and good behavior?

What life experience do you have which has charted you on a certain path?

These things are tools available to you that if used correctly will prepare you for your next level.

As someone with a communications background, I later got interested in the Safety profession but had to ensure I was qualified by getting the right certifications and gaining work experience through volunteer work.

While working for free, I put my best foot forward with good behavior and that led to my bosses recommending me for jobs that paid and took me out of state. Based on your set goals, what do you think you can begin to do NOW to prepare you?

It’s never late to start

Grit and Consistency 

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

As motherland moguls, you need to decide upfront that you’d have staying power no matter the disappointment or challenge you face.

What would you do when friends disappoint you or when no client shows up? What will you do when no one is reading your blog, watching your videos or listening to your podcast?

Would you still continue?

There was a time it felt like no one was seeing all the work I was putting in. There were times friends I asked to give me a shout out on social media did not do it.

At a time, I had no customer. I had to keep doing my bit because I knew this was just a phase that would pass - @TheSafetyChic Click To Tweet

When you stay consistent, even though your audience is unresponsive, you’d have what we call a top of mind awareness and when something comes up in your niche, you would be the first person remembered.

There were many times safety situations came up in the country and everyone would be seeking my opinion on social media. This made me appreciate my consistency. More importantly, I honestly assessed what I was doing and decided to seek help in areas where I needed it to ensure I achieved my goals.

Seek knowledge 

He that knows not and knows not that he knows not is a foolish man. If you know you do not know something, seek knowledge centers. There are many ways to acquire knowledge in today’s world.

Besides Google, there are thought leaders in almost all subject matters. Read and listen to what they say, pick up what is relevant to you.

Do courses online and in-person. Find mentors and coaches. There are a lot of mentors you can learn from by watching them, they do not need to be in your DM for you to get it. I learn a lot from reading Strive Masiyiwa’s posts on Facebook but he does not know I exist yet.

When my business needed redefinition in 2016, I took Steve Harris’s Mastering the Business of your Talent Course. That exposed me to the path to tow, increased the number of quality people in my network and he linked me to my current Coach Rotimi Eyitayo who works in the Education space.

Prepare yourself for success by doing courses online and in-person. Find mentors and coaches. - @TheSafetyChic Click To Tweet

This placed me on the right trajectory because I needed to break into the education space. I’m also very selective of the people I listen to on social media and the groups I join.

There is a great Facebook group with so much knowledge being shared regularly that has helped me tremendously. It’s called Headstart Africa. This is a good way to get informed. Look around you, how do you plan to acquire knowledge for your desired goal?

Remember, you can get this formally and informally.

Execute the tasks

Whatever thy hands find to do, do with all diligence. There are so many coaches, mentors and courses can do for you. If you do not execute, you will not move an inch. Put your learnings to work. Create products, organize events, write blog articles, shoot videos, record podcasts, write a book, collaborate with others etc.

Basically, step out in faith and do what you need to do. Do not lose focus because of what people are saying. You must also be your own PR agency.

It is important you have a digital trail so that when a search is done, you and your work will pop up. - @TheSafetyChic Click To Tweet

As you execute, talk about your work and document digitally on your social media for a start. As you go, you’d eventually get mentions in blogs and other media. It is important you have a digital trail so that when a search is done, you and your work will pop up.

This is really important most especially if you want your work noticed on international platforms. It is also important that as you execute, you share your learnings and help others grow. We need one another for the future we desire.

In my case, I created the school safety poster packs, wrote the child safety storybook series, organised the annual School Safety Summit, visited schools to teach children through my Train Them Young Initiative (#2TYI).

I’ve been featured on different platforms like She Leads Africa, Bellanaija, Tony Elumelu Foundation amongst others. I also took up other roles to increase my value and boost my network. Being the YALI Network Lagos Coordinator, helped me use my leadership, organization and communication skills to execute projects.

This increased my visibility and showed that I was a diligent person who produced results. What things do you need to begin to do to move to the next stage? Do not shy away, start doing. This is the only way you’d progress consistently towards your set goals.

Start doing.

Expand your reach/capacity

With great blessings come great responsibility. You will be stretched and if you did not build on the right foundation, you would crash.

New levels will try your emotional, mental, physical and intellectual abilities. When you work hard, you will definitely reap the benefits so you need to be ready for the work ahead.

It will not be good for your blessings to meet you unprepared. You need capacity and that is why you need to do the necessary groundwork. However, you need to know when to automate, delegate and outsource certain functions so you can focus on your core competencies.

It’s also important for you to seek opportunities and platforms that will expand your work. Fellowships, Grant opportunities, scholarships are great ways to build your network and push your work out there.

In 2018, I got the Tony Elumelu Foundation grant and I became a Mandela Washington Fellow. These two opportunities increased my reach across Africa and the US. As a matter of fact, some of my moves for 2019 are as a result of these platforms.

Therefore, seek opportunities that will propel your work. A word of caution though, do not just apply for all opportunities. Instead, seek the ones that align with goals you want to achieve and throw your weight fully behind them.

There’s an app called Youth Opportunities that you can check out. We also have opportunitydesk.com and opportunity for Africans.

Are all these easy? No.
Is it worth it? Yes.

Start, and before you know it, you will just keep growing from one level to the next

Wishing all my fellow motherland moguls an explosive 2019!

 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Ugochi Obidiegwu: The Safety Chic

Ugochi Obidiegwu
I started reading about safety and I loved what I was discovering - Ugochi Obidiegwu Click To Tweet
It’s time for you to meet one of the people that make the SLA website run smoothly. We’re talking about our contributor family who SLAY with their writing. Ugochi Obidiegwu has a somewhat unusual passion; safety. She’s written articles on the importance of health and safety in start-ups, and has shared a bit on her experience with YALI.
The main reason Ugochi does safety is simple; she does not want people to keep getting ill, injured, die or lose property due of their source of livelihood. This is the main reason Ugochi shows people how to be safer in everyday personal and business life. Get ready to be inspired by the Safety Chic!

From the articles you’ve written for SLA, you’re clearly interested in safety. Where did this interest come about?

I worked in a Nigerian airline as a cabin crew staff. One day in 2013, my boss informed me that I was now a safety officer. In addition to my original responsibilities, I was to work with another colleague to bring safety information and solutions to the Cabin Services Unit. My colleague and I decided we would launch monthly safety forums to share knowledge on safety issues affecting crew members, on and off the job. As someone, who believes in doing whatever I do very well, I started reading about it and I loved what I was discovering. But of course for you to be termed a competent person, you need sufficient knowledge, ability, training and experience. I embarked on certifications and volunteer work during my leave and off days on my bill. It wasn’t easy to give up vacation and other stuff but it was a necessary sacrifice.

In the course of doing all these, I observed that it was mainly businesses in aviation, construction and oil and gas industries that took safety systems seriously. I decided to start a health and safety business that would provide tailored and affordable safety solutions for businesses, especially SMEs. A lot of SMEs I got in touch with thought accidents were beyond their purview. Therefore, I started a system of reorientation because I believed that gradually with more information, a safety consciousness would be awakened.

I started writing on safety issues in a simpler format that the everyday person could relate to on my blog and later on SLA. At some point, my mentor Steve Harris suggested I make videos as not everyone might want to read. So, the idea of #60SecondsWithTheSafetyChic on Instagram and The Safety Chic came alive.

#60SecondsWithTheSafetyChic is a weekly 60seconds or less video where content of blog articles is summarised. This way, my audience can have access to safety tips on the go. I have found that our generation, and people generally, are quite interested in an awesome quality of life, so anything that makes them able to live better is welcome.

Do you ever see Nigerians taking safety seriously?

Well, if you check, you’d find that the majority of Nigerians that are safety conscious either worked in organisations that do not joke with safety; or picked it up from friends and family members who worked there. Sometimes in an emergency, we want to help but do not know the right thing to do. It’s not really ingrained in us.

Take for example, the use of seatbelts when driving in Nigeria. Until the Federal Road Service Corps (FRSC) put a fine to it, many people did not use their seatbelts. As a matter of fact, I had to explain to someone recently the importance of seat belt usage. He felt the FRSC just wanted to have a reason to fine people.

There lies the human factor, which is the major cause of so many accidents and incidents. The machine could work well, the work procedure could be perfect but if the human being engaged in the task refuses to do the safe thing, an accident happens. So, I decided to take safety education to schools through the Train Them Young Initiative (#2TYI) because this is a problem that can only be solved from the root.

ugochi-2tyi#2TYI is a free safety training for public schools on road safety, fire safety, first aid and personal safety. I believe that safety education for students goes a long way in grooming a future workforce such that complies with safety standards. This will reduce workplace accidents and incidents as the habits we form in our formative years shape our future behaviour.

The future goal of this initiative is to get safety education into the curriculum of all schools.

@thesafetychic is taking safety education to students in schools with #2TYI Click To Tweet

Tell us about being part of the YALI project.

I was privileged to be selected for the Barack Obama Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Nigeria Cohort 1. It was an amazing experience meeting like minds doing awesome stuff in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and the Gambia.

I knew there were lots of activists, but I had no clue there were so many young people advocating for all sorts of stuff. Let’s just say the world I was coming from was totally different. Some colleagues wondered what a cabin crew was doing in their midst; considering I wasn’t advocating for human rights, gender equality, child marriage etc.

I think it was the Train Them Young Initiative that got me in. This is quite funny because when I started it, it was just my way of giving back to the society. I just wanted people to be a bit more informed and safe. Despite being slightly different from my new colleagues, we found common ground in a desire for excellence. This led to wonderful friendships and collaboration.

We now have this family bond, no matter what you need there is always someone with the expertise and know-how.

Leveraging on one another's strengths means we achieve more - Ugochi Obidiegwu Click To Tweet

Why would you say every one needs YALI?

Every young person needs YALI because it challenges you and pushes you towards utmost performance. It opens your eyes to gaps in your society and spurs you to do more. So you think you are smart, you would meet smarter folks. You think your educational accomplishments are gangster, wait till you meet someone with more. You think you are doing so much already for society, you’ll see someone doing more or more gaps in the society.

Basically, YALI challenges you to be a better version of yourself, remember it’s all about collaboration and not competition. Leveraging on one another’s strengths means we achieve more. Class group activities would teach you different perspectives to issues across individual, cultural and national lines.

And of course friendship beyond borders. I can go to any of the aforementioned countries with the certainty of a good welcome. Have I also mentioned an enriched network? Strive Masiywa said, “You peers today are tomorrow’s big “men”, treat them well”.

Imagine a world with young people like this striving to make the world a better place, it would be an awesome world.

What is your vision for the health and safety industry in Nigeria?

A Nigeria where every business has successfully integrated Health and Safety practices in their day-to-day activities. A Nigeria where safety laws are not just enacted but enforced.

Ugochi Obidiegwu wants a Nigeria where safety laws are not just enacted but enforced Click To Tweet

What will be your goals for 2017?

My goals for 2017 are to increase my client base and take #2TYI outside Lagos State. For my services, more

  1. Safety awareness trainings,
  2. Safety equipment supply and
  3. HSSE consulting

And product-wise, I’d like to introduce personal locator devices. Current trends are; shoes, wristwatches, bags, car trackers and ID cards.

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