Over the last five years of writing this blog, I have written multiple posts about networking. A lot has changed since I wrote my previous posts on networking. The pandemic affected a lot of our networks drastically. The truth is that we still need our social and professional networks to thrive. As we gear up for the
In this blog post, we will examine our current networks with the help of three questions as we look to rebuild them.
#1: How have your networks looked in the past?
A great start to refreshing your networks is to think back to the past. Typically, your networks have played an essential role in your personal well-being and professional success. Thinking about the people in your networks, how you connected with them, and how helpful they were will help you derive insights. There are valuable lessons that can show you what you want to continue and the things you want to change.
Strategies to consider
#2: Who are the people in your professional and social network currently supporting you?
After we have looked at our networks in the past, it is an excellent time to take stock of your current reality. Thinking about your existing network will help you celebrate your work and identify where you might want to build something new.
Strategies to consider
#3: How do you plan to build your dream network?
Building your network is something you can influence fully. We all need great networks that inspire us, provide new perspectives, help us focus on our goals, develop our strengths, motivate us, and give us opportunities to give back to others. This is a great time to revive or make new connections.
Strategies to consider
Final Thoughts: MC's Story
After speaking at a conference, I realized how much my networks have changed in the last three years. In addition to the global pandemic, I had a baby in 2020, and my Reflecting on my networks helped me see that I am really missing some core elements that my network has provided me in the past.
For more tips and resources, check out my other blog posts on networking:
After 22 years of living abroad, my life has changed significantly. I still remember the day in August 2001 when I boarded a plane from Lagos, Nigeria, and headed to Frankfurt, Germany, to start my new life. Lately, there has been a lot of buzz on social media about people relocating to new countries. It has reminded me of all the experiences that started in Nigeria, then Germany, and where I am today in the US.
In this blog post, I will share the five things that have helped me succeed on my journey so far. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
#1: Staying hopeful
In the last 22 years, I have experienced many ups and downs. Living in New counties and cities has tested me in different ways. I have had to choose to keep a positive outlook on life. It has not always been easy, but I keep reminding myself how great my life is and how far I have come. My positivity attracts the right people and opportunities in my life. Maintaining my smile is something that I have fought very hard for.
#2: Having my people and support community
The people I have encountered on this journey have played a significant role. I wish I could go back and tell every single person how much they contributed to my life. Something that has surprised me is how I met new people and built strong bonds with them. I have been fortunate to have people in my life who have been supporters, cheerleaders, companions, teachers, and friends. A friend once talked about how, as immigrants, we meet friends who are our chosen family.
#3: Learning and adjusting to my new countries
Moving to Germany, knowing a few words of German and not knowing much about the culture, I knew it was pivotal for me to learn about my new home. Years later, when I moved to the US, thankfully, there was no language barrier. However, I had to learn about the professional environment here, which differed from Germany. It was clear that what had made me successful in Germany differed from what I needed to have a successful career in the US. There is still a lot to learn, and I look forward to all the new experiences.
#4: Evolving in my cultural identity
My cultural identity has been a topic I have thought about a lot, given how I grew up. I was born in Germany, grew up in Nigeria, moved back to Germany, and then moved to the US. There has always been a question about my cultural identity. I have learned that I get to evolve my identity by picking and choosing elements that I enjoy in the places I live. Nigeria and Germany have influenced my professional and personal identities in significant ways.
#5: Enjoying my journey
The first seven years of living in Germany were challenging. I never thought that 22 years later, I would be enjoying my life this much. There were very intentional choices that I needed to make to be happy. I know there will always be trying times, but time has shown that I am resilient and have what it takes to go through those times. In addition, I believe that the happy times will outweigh the difficult times.
I am very privileged to have lived in so many beautiful cities, met incredible people, experienced many different things, and gotten to travel to beautiful countries in 22 years. It's an interesting question when people ask what's next for me. I am slowly getting the itch to live in another country soon. Keep following my story to see what I get up to next.
This past Tuesday, I was honored to speak as part of a Women in Tech Power Panel at the Google Cloud Next 2023 Conference. There were so many emotions and thoughts going through my mind in the days leading up to the event, during the discussion and afterward. It felt like a huge accomplishment and celebration of how far I had come on my journey. I had just celebrated my fifth anniversary of working at Google.
In this blog post, I will share my feelings and process as I prepared for the panel discussion.
#1: Dealing with being rejected previously
In 2020, before the pandemic hit, the Cloud Next team sought panelists for the Women in Tech panel at the upcoming conference. I raised my hands to speak on the panel and was turned down. It was not easy for me to raise my hands. The rejection hit me very hard because I felt my identity was being questioned. As someone with a degree in Business Information systems and a tech Program Manager for many years, I could not imagine that someone felt I was not qualified to be on a Women in Tech Panel.
#2: Being offered the opportunity, saying yes and getting ready
Three years later, the conference was back live in San Francisco, which was a big deal, and to top it up, I was asked to be on the Women Leaders in Tech Power Panel. Interestingly, when I received the email, I thought the request was for me to recommend someone. I was very excited when I realized that the invitation was for me. The only person I shared the opportunity with was my manager, who was very supportive. One of my team members found out I was speaking on the panel and shared it with the rest of my team. I felt very encouraged by my team as I prepared for the panel.
#3: Speaking on the Panel
As I was driving to the location of the conference, tears started welling in my eyes. My first thought was to call my biggest cheerleader and supporter my twin sister. She knew the right jokes to tell and ways to distract me while reminding me of how proud she was of me. I got to the venue and got my microphone. Everything felt real, and I was ready to share and connect with people. This was the first time since the pandemic that I was speaking at such a large event, and I had forgotten how energized I felt when I had live interactions with so many people. Being on the panel with three exceptional leaders made the event even more special.
I am beyond grateful to everyone who made it possible for me to be on this amazing panel. It took three years to go from rejection to speaking on the panel. Every moment of the process has made the wait worth it.
I am looking forward to many more opportunities to speak and meet people.
Five years ago, I started working at people's dream company. I say that because it was not a dream company for me because I never thought it was within my reach. In June 2018, a lot was happening, and I needed a significant change. The job that I once really enjoyed was falling apart; I had gotten a job offer at a great company but could not start because I was waiting for my immigration status to change. In addition, I had the opportunity to travel to Nigeria after 12 years and went back to Germany for the first time since I moved in 2015. One afternoon, I got a call that changed my life forever.
In this blog post, I will take you on the wild and exciting journey I have been on in my five years at Google.
"I can't believe I'm here"
My first week started with orientation, where I met great people, learned about the company, and got everything I needed to start work. This was the biggest and well-known company I had worked at so far. On my shuttle ride home, I was in tears. I still remember the Nigerian song I was listening to as the bus ride began. The magnitude of landing such a great job dawned on me very slowly. It felt like all the difficult times I had experienced were worth it as they paved the way for me to be right here, working for a company beyond my dreams.
"I feel like this dream company is becoming a nightmare"
It is very difficult to realize that a dream turned really bad. In my first three months of working at Google, I knew that my role was not the right one for me. It felt like I took a huge step back in my career, not by choice. This was a significant issue because I worked very hard to grow my career, and for the first time, I felt like things were out of my control. And sadly, my health was impacted. Six months after starting my new job, I felt the worst I had ever felt in my body and professional life.
"I have to prove to myself that I can make it"
After a few months of suffering, I decided to make a change. People said it was too early for me to know whether this was the right place for me. Some of them advised me to be patient and wait. Those words only frustrated me even more if you know anything about me. For people who did not know all the battles I fought to be where I am today, it was easy for them to say be patient and wait for a year. A thought that kept coming to my mind was that I have been through a lot and succeeded; this would also be possible here.
"I am hopeful, and there is light at the end of the tunnel"
Especially when you are going through challenging times, the people you surround yourself with matter a lot. I had a work friend, a software engineer, and a black woman. She had been at Google for eight years by the time I joined. Her advice was the most useful. She shared how she navigated her career at Google and how helpful a mentor was. I stayed connected with her and also found a mentor. Through our conversations and learning, I understood the company's complexity and discovered paths I could take. I knew that I needed to start a new role. However, I knew this company was still the place for me to be.
"I am happy and have found my place"
One of the greatest lessons I learned from my first year working at Google was that I wanted to do work more aligned with my personal mission of supporting people on their journey. For the past four years, I have been able to do precisely that. In 2019, roughly one year after joining, I started working as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program manager after many years leading software programs. For the first time since I joined the company, I felt like I had arrived, could finally start showcasing my strengths and learning about this new space. A lot of great things have happened in the last few years. After five years, I have been able to find my place, meet great people, contribute positively to the culture of our organization, and develop my career. These are exactly the things I hoped to do at my dream company.
I have never mentioned that I work at Google on any of my platforms. It is a big deal, and I have many feelings about finally saying it. I need to write a whole post about this another time. Today, I am celebrating the beauty that has come from five years that were sometimes very difficult and great most of the time.
One thing is sure: I was successful with the help of people who have made my journey successful. Thank you to everyone who encouraged me, removed roadblocks, created opportunities, introduced me to new people, and reminded me that I deserved to be here at Google.
Over the past months, I noticed that I was going through a personal mindset shift around doing the things I always dreamed of but had not done because I was waiting for the perfect time or situation. I suddenly felt a sense of urgency around living my life to the fullest. If you are like me and want to start doing great things now, this is for you.
In this blog post, we will ask ourselves three questions to help us make a move and live our best lives.
#1: When is the perfect time to make a bold move?
Something magical happens when we become more aware of our subconscious thoughts. Knowing what your thoughts and beliefs are will allow you to address them. I kept telling myself that the perfect time to make a bold move is when I have a plan in place, have saved up money, and feel mentally ready. My expectation of the perfect time is now an excuse; it does not exist.
#2: What bold moves have you been holding back on?
At the start of this year, I decided that this was the year when I would make a particularly bold move that I had been sitting on for three years. Unfortunately, I kept talking myself out of making the move. Finally, last month, it became clear that I would not make progress if I didn't jump. There are so many things that I have done over the years that I could have done because I was holding myself back. I want to live my life to the fullest.
#3: What will you gain if you make the move?
We often think about what could go wrong when we put ourselves out there. Our negative risk assessment is usually based on historical factors and experiences. Imagine the good that will come out of you taking that bold move. Once I started thinking about the positive outcomes, the excitement started, and I felt confident to make my move.
If you have been holding back from making a bold move, I hope this post encourages you to go for it. The truth is that the perfect time is now!!
During a conversation recently, I was reminded about the role we all have to play in building a world where everyone feels. There is so much going on in the world these days. We need to take more action to counter the negative things happening.
In this blog post, we will remind ourselves of the actions we can take to make our world a better place.
Giving back to our Community
Dedicating our time or other resources to society is a great way to continue investing. If we want to see things improve, we must be part of the change we seek. We have a lot to contribute to our community.
Preparing the Next Generation
As parents or caregivers, we are responsible for teaching our children the lessons they need to know about being good stewards of the earth and their community. Our son is almost three, and we are already trying to teach him some little things.
Continuing to have Hope
It is crucial for us to continue to see and hope for good in our world. The moment we give up hope, even more things start to happen. We are still on this earth and have the opportunity to experience more good things.
Final Thoughts: MC's Story
In 2017, I went through a major life transition shift that led to me making some significant changes in my life. I realized that I wanted to do more to improve my community. There were so many needs that I saw. However, I knew that I needed to start somewhere and then take it one step at a time. I looked at my talents and wondered how to leverage them to help others. My first step was to launch this blog, where I share my experiences and amplify the experiences of extraordinary women. The next step was to align my job with my mission. And in 2019, I was fortunate to find a role where I can help employees from all backgrounds feel like they belong and can thrive. I often ask myself how to continue making the world a great place for my son to grow up in.
Time is going by very quickly, and many of us feel like we are constantly on the go. With the summer holidays ending for many people and the start of some busy months ahead, it is an excellent time for us to check in with ourselves and see how we are doing. Your physical, mental, and emotional health
In this blog post, we will reflect on ten questions that help us dig deeper into our well-being.
Spending time reflecting on your well-being is crucial. The following questions help me get deep and discover my true feelings.
This year has been a good and very different year for me. The progress that I have made this year was in areas I did not expect and was not prepared for. The most valuable lesson I have learned this year is to embrace new experiences even when I'm afraid. Planning for the year has been a practice that has helped me stay on top of my busy life as a working mother, wife, and coach. The main thing that was different this year was that there were a lot of unknowns which made having a well-defined plan difficult. So I did the next best thing, I went on the journey and planned my immediate next steps. There have been some surprises along the way that have taught me to get more comfortable with the unknown.
If you ask me how I am doing, I can say I am mentally and emotionally well. However, there are areas that I want to keep improving upon. The first of them is the ability to sit still and not feel that I need to be doing something. This past weekend, I volunteered at our son's school and had one of the first quiet moments in a very long time. I kept thinking about ways to multi-task while I arranged books in the school library. The pressure to utilize every minute of my day is something I feel very often. Thankfully, on this day, I convinced myself that the moment was a gift to be in my thoughts and listen to music in peace.
As I think about things that will bring me more joy over the next months, I really want to be at peace and enjoy my life. Embracing the new and unexpected is necessary for the journey that I am on this year. I am thankful for all the life experiences that have taught me that I thrive in uncertainty and that there will always be beautiful things I get to celebrate.
We have one life to live, and I really hope that you are doing well. If you are not feeling your best, do the things that help you be your best self. And if you need additional help, please find what you need. Everyone is at different stages of their lives. Please be kind to yourself.
Call to action
Carve out 30 mins of your time in the coming days and write down your responses to the questions.
In 2015, I was brave and decided to move to the US. After living in Germany for 14 years, I was excited about what I would experience in a new country. Fortunately, I visited the US every year for four years before moving here.
In this blog post, I will share the eight things in the US that still surprise me. Check out a post I wrote over five years ago about the 10 things I wish I had known before I moved to the US.
#1: The Diversity of People & Cultures
One of my favorite parts of living in the US is meeting people from many countries who now call the US home. I get very excited when I meet people from a new country. Going to the doctor and seeing the instructions in multiple languages always warms my heart. Also, the ability to access delicious foods from different countries makes me feel very fortunate to live here.
#2: The Size of Things
It happened again this past week. I bought a box of cereal online, and the size shocked me when it came. I kept wondering why we needed a box of cereal that was so big. Every time I travel outside the US and see the size of regular fruit, it all looks small.
#3: Measurements and Temperature
Every time I go to the grocery store, and they ask me how many pounds of meat I need, I ask myself and the merchant how much two pounds is. It is easier to eyeball the amount I want than remember the pounds or ounces. It's the same with figuring out how warm or cold it is. I have figured out that 72 degrees Fahrenheit is the most comfortable.
#4: Building Credit & Spending Money
Buying things on credit is promoted in the US, so you have a good credit score that allows you to buy more things, which is something I'll never fully understand. Knowing that I made a large purchase on my credit card makes me very nervous, even when I know I can afford it. Growing up in Nigeria, owing money was not a good thing.
#5: The size and beauty of this Country
The US is the largest country that I have ever lived in. If you take a flight in Germany for an hour, you could be in a new country. Flying for an hour in the US does not take you too far. You will probably still be in one state. In the eight years I have lived here, I visited six states and enjoyed some of the most beautiful places I have seen. Especially living in California, where you can go to the beach, climb mountains, and play in the snow within a few hour's drive.
#6: The Political Landscape
I moved to the US in 2015, right when the political campaign for the last administration was starting off. There have been many things that have happened politically that I could never have imagined living in Germany. I am still shocked when I listen to the news and hear some political debates. It's a wild world.
#7: Technological innovation and new ideas
Living in the Bay Area and working in Silicon Valley, I am amazed by all the innovative ideas and products people develop. There is something fascinating about hearing all the new advancements. Some of them are scary, like driverless taxis. I still wonder who asked for that. With that being said, I'm thankful to have access to a lot of cool things.
#8: The great possibilities and opportunities
About four years ago, I made a huge pivot in my career. I was inspired by watching other people chase their dreams. Coming from Germany, where people expect you to be an expert before you can do the job, it was a big mindset shift for me. I decided to take a leap of faith, and I am very happy that I did not let the fear of the unknown hold me back.
The last eight years have been an exciting ride for me. There were so many things that I never imagined or thought I would experience. I am very grateful for the opportunity to live here in this life phase.
One of the things that we hope as parents is to continue to see our children grow and develop as time goes by. This past week, I faced a challenge that reminded me that parenting can be hard and very rewarding at the same time. Our son, who is almost three years old started a summer camp at his preschool. Writing those words reminds me of all the feelings I had in the weeks leading up to the milestone and his first week there.
In this blog post, I'll share things that helped me navigate this significant parenting milestone.
Let me set the stage with some additional context about why him starting Preschool is a big deal. Side note for Parents whose kids might be starting college this fall, I can't even imagine how you feel.
Our son was born at the height of the pandemic which meant that my husband and I have not had the support community that you would imagine. I went back to work when our son was 3,5 months old and cared for him while I worked my full-time job for the first 14 months of his life. My husband was working outside the home at that time and we could not get child care for our son. In early 2022 when things started to calm down and we could return to some normal things in our lives, we were able to hire a nanny who came three days a week and on the other days my husband and I took turns caring for him while we both worked. Thankfully things continued to improve with the pandemic and we were able to take him to a bilingual (German-English) Daycare in October 2022.
Leaving him in the care of strangers outside our home was a very difficult thing to do. However that caretakers at the Daycare took such great care of our son and he loved playing with the other kids. It was great to see him learn German and Social skills while he had fun. In early July this years, his time at the Daycare came to an end as it was time for him to start preschool. The weeks leading up to his last day were hard, I was worried about the transition and the effect it will have on our son. Fast-forward to now, we successful completed the first week of his time in Pre-school Summer camp. It feels like a huge accomplishment for our son to settle into a new environment seamlessly and so quickly.
How I navigated this parenting challenge
#1: Acknowledging your worries and fears
For the longest time, I didn't want to think about the change and the transition that we were able to go through as a family. Then as the owner of our sons daycare kept asking when his last day would be, I had to start thinking about it.
My biggest worry was if our son would like the new school and find new friends. I can now tell you that my worries went away quickly when he did so well on the first day and was able to spend the whole time on Day 2.
#2: Have your support person or people
The most helpful conversation on the first day in the new school was one I had wth my twin sister. She knows me very well and was able to calm me down with a mix of jokes and reassuring facts about the resilience of children. As a mother of two children, she was able to empathize and remind me that we will be fine. It was so funny when she said she was more worried about me that our son. I'm very thankful that I have my sister in my life and value her support especially at crucial moments like these.
#3: Create the space you need
While I was navigating this new phase of our son's life, I was still working at my very demanding but fun job. The first thing I did was mark my family time in my calendar. I then told my manager that I'll need to be flexible with my work time depending on what our son needed in his first week and she was beyond supportive. She checked in with me to see how things were going which I truly appreciate. I feel very fortunate to have a job that gives me the space to be there for my son when I need to.
#4: Get prepared
As a planner, I rely on my ability to focus on working on a task when I'm anxious about a big milestone. I learned into all the things I needed to do for the final week in daycare and time in Pre-school. I read all the documents that were shared, bought the supplies he needed and planned for our new routine. Planning helps give me a better feeling about change and distracts me.
#5: Embrace the journey
Every parent I talk to shares about how what I'm going through is fully normal. I have been through my fair share of changes in my life. However the parenting milestones and changes are different. It's about a small human that I am fortunate to be able to care for and not only about how I navigate the changes. I know that there are many milestones that I'll need to navigate. Hopefully I'll continue to give myself grace and enjoy this amazing journey.
Writing this post was very important for me. I'm learning to be more vulnerable and share the process. Hopefully I'll encourage someone who is going through a similar experience. And I also want to hear more from parents what works for them.
We are very fortunate to be raising the next generation.
As we navigate life, some thoughts and beliefs shape our outlook. It is interesting how much power our minds and thoughts hold. The limiting thoughts and beliefs focus on what we cannot accomplish or things that are not available to us.
In this blog post, we will discuss the limiting beliefs that hold us back and how to overcome them.
Starting Point: What are limiting beliefs, and where do they come from?
A limiting belief is a thought or state of mind that you think is the absolute truth and stops you from doing certain things. These beliefs don't always have to be about yourself, either. They could be about how the world works, ideas, and how you interact with people.
Many things influence the limiting beliefs that we have. They can include our background, how we grew up, what people have said to us, negative experiences or disappointments, or what we have told ourselves is possible for people like us.
The good news is that you can do something about limiting beliefs. A great place to start is to become more aware of those limiting beliefs. Then you will have to keep questioning and breaking those beliefs. It takes time, but being intentional and holding yourself accountable is crucial.
MC's Story: My limiting thoughts and Beliefs
Especially when good things happened in my life, I fought an internal battle to believe they were happening to me and that I deserved it. I was more comfortable when things did not go well. I had a positive outlook on life but didn't know I could reach far. I imagined myself living a comfortable life. However, I never imagined the life that I now have when I was growing up. At every step of my journey, I have needed to deal with my limiting beliefs and trust that good things will happen in my life.
After I started believing that I could live a great life, the next thing that I experienced was the feeling that I deserved to enjoy my life. There was guilt that came with my positive experiences. I kept asking why all the good things were happening for me, which is wild thinking about how hard I have worked to be here. I started hiding my accomplishments. Until now, when people talk about my achievements, I want to run and hide. Five years ago, when I started working for a well-known company, I did not tell people outside my close family and friends.
Then, as I became more successful, I started meeting very successful people, and imposter syndrome set in. I felt that everyone around me was much smarter than I was. I had to remind myself of how awesome I was and stopped making myself small. I know that I have something important to contribute to the work around me.
I know that the limiting beliefs will always be there. However, I have the power to continue broadening my perspective and shaping my beliefs.
Time for Reflection
What limiting thoughts or beliefs, do you have in the following areas of your life?
2023 is definitely going by very quickly. It seems like the year has just started, and it is July already. As we progress into the year's second half, it is a great time to dream and plan. So many great and some not-so-great things happened in the first half of the year. Over the past week, I have been reflecting on what I would like to focus on and do over the next six months.
In this blog post, we'll reflect, update our goals and plan for the rest of the year with the help of five questions. Check out some of my "Her Plan" posts to help you have a great year.
How do you plan to take care of yourself?
Prioritizing your personal needs is essential for the journey ahead over the months to come. I have learned that self-care is one of the easiest things to fall off my priority list. Taking care of yourself gives you the energy to do other things. It's your responsibility to care for your mental and physical well-being.
Strategies to consider
Who will you connect or reconnect with?
The people in our lives that energize and motivate us are very crucial. It's very easy to lose touch with people in our lives who matter. We need to be very intentional about maintaining our relationships, especially as life gets busy.
Strategies to consider
What is one big thing you plan to accomplish at work or in your business?
This is a great time to realign on your big goal and work towards it. Congratulations. If you are already working towards your goal and if you still need to embark on the journey, this is a great time to do so.
Strategies to consider
What will you do for fun?
Life is worth enjoying. If you are anything like me, the thought of having fun does not come naturally to you. We have to put a little effort into thinking about and planning fun. The truth is that we always feel better after we have fun.
Strategies to consider
How will you get inspired?
The energy we need to do big things typically comes from the excitement of knowing that great things are possible. Keeping a positive outlook on life will give us the fuel we need for the next six months.
Strategies to consider
Final Thoughts: MC's Story
I have been having a great year so far, although things started off a little rocky at work. One of my highlights will be spending time with family, as we always do around October. As I look at my work and personal commitments for the last half of the year, I will need to pace myself and find ways to recharge. I am excited about the months ahead.
Over the past 22 years, I have been very fortunate to live in and visit many awesome countries of cities. I consider myself a citizen of the world as I call Nigeria, Germany, and the US home. Two weeks ago, I visited the Island of St. Martin/Sint Maarten on a work trip and had the time of my life.
In this blog post, I'll share the five things I do whenever I travel. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
#1: Remember how privileged I am to travel
Every time I board a plane to go somewhere new, I am thankful for the opportunity to see more of the world. While I was growing up in Nigeria, I could never have imagined how many countries she cities I'll get to visit. When I returned from my recent trip, I told my husband I wanted to travel more.
#2: Do my research and get prepared
Traveling is still a major event, and I do not take it for granted. Before visiting any country, I like to learn about them and plan what I'll do there. Often, I prepare the logistics like where we will stay, what we will eat, how we plan to get around, and what I'll be wearing. Travel planning is a lot of fun for me. One of the areas that being an immigrant has made me very conscious of is the requirements for legal entry into a country. I spend time studying the immigration requirements to make sure I comply. My worst nightmare is to experience any trouble entering a country, so I make sure I'm over-prepared. I still carry additional documentation on my trips, just in case someone asks. Thankfully my travels have been very smooth.
#3: Explore the location
When I visit places, I like to know that I have experienced as much as possible. On my recent trip to St. Martin, I was very fortunate to be able to go on a long tour of the island. It was very important for me to see the real life on the island. My favorite part was seeing mango trees, which reminded me of growing up in Kaduna, Nigeria, with many mango trees. I asked the tour guide to stop by a roadside stand that sold mangos so I could taste the local varieties. The excitement that came with eating a mango was very real. You would think I was enjoying a special delicacy. Well, in my book, it was.
#4: Capture and share Memories
My extended family is now spread across multiple countries. We have a tradition of sharing the memories we make when we travel. It allows us to keep up with our adventures and experiences. Interestingly, one of the first things I do when I travel is to send my twin a picture of where I am and tell her about what I am doing and the food I eat. She also does the same. I enjoy seeing other parts of the world through her eyes as well. Looking back at pictures helps me relive the memory.
#5: Celebrate how far I have come
Stepping away from my normal routine helps me reflect on my journey. I still remember the first time I visited Germany in 2000, my first trip to the UK to see family, multiple business trips, and the farthest trip I have been on to India. Whenever I see another part of this beautiful world, I am grateful and excited for my future.
If you asked me 22 years ago why my journey as an Immigrant would take me, I could never have imagined. I am ready for the next trip with my family.
This past week, I had the opportunity to attend a great Leadership retreat on the island of St. Martin/Sint Maarten. In addition to all the networking, learning, and enjoying the stunning destination, I was navigating a milestone on my motherhood journey. It was my first trip alone without my son and husband. This was a huge deal for me.
In this blog post, I will share the five lessons I learned personally and professionally over the week. I am dedicating this post to all the working parents who have wondered if prioritizing their careers at some point is the right move.
Lesson #1: Knowing that I can be a great Mother and thrive professionally
It is a fact that motherhood changes your outlook on life, and your priorities shift. When I became a mom, I knew I wanted to continue building my career. I am very grateful for the support community that has encouraged me on the journey over the last three years. Going on this trip to attend a Leadership retreat was a key milestone for me. It felt like a celebration of my career and especially everything I have accomplished professionally since becoming a mother.
Lesson #2: Trusting that my Husband can independently care for our son
Since our son was born, my Husband has been a loving and present father. He takes care of some of our son's needs on a daily basis. However, I wondered if he could take care of our son while working full-time for a week without me being around. I traveled for five days, and my Husband cared for our son. This lesson was very important for me to learn as I get more opportunities to travel.
Lesson #3: Networking with other Leaders is a crucial part of our careers
For four days, I spent time in a beautiful resort with about 40 leaders. When I was a consultant, I got to attend summits and conferences with Leaders. Changing jobs and the pandemic took away the opportunities to have the same experiences. Being with many great people was the best way to spend time away from my family. We had many great conversations, enjoyed meals together, and learned from each other. I walked away feeling very inspired and refreshed.
Lesson #4: Preparing yourself for major milestones helps overcome fears
When the opportunity came up, I said yes without having time to think about a plan. As a planner, this is something that only happens sometimes. Fortunately, I have about four weeks to prepare for the trip, especially mentally. I promised myself I would not back out because I feared the unknown. A few weeks before the trip, I started preparing myself for the fun aspects of the trip, like what I wanted to wear and how I planned to present myself. This process helped me get excited about the trip, and the fears melted away.
Lesson #5: Believing in myself is critical to my success
There have been some key moments in my life when I was reminded of how far I have come in my career. I often share about the imposter syndrome that I experience when I am in some rooms. The truth is that I am meant to be in those rooms and have access to those opportunities. It was important for me not to let my thoughts get in the way and make me minimize the impact I could have had.
I want to wrap up this post with gratitude for the following people:
Happy Father's Day to all the incredible fathers, caregivers, and father figures!!!! Thank you for all you do.
In my early years, I was raised by my mother and the women in our extended family. Everything I learned about Fatherhood was from observing some awesome men. The most profound lessons in Fatherhood have come from watching my husband raise our son for almost three years.
In this blog post, I will share the five ways my husband has been a great father.
Being a present Dad
Every day, I appreciate that my husband is a very present parent to our son. In the environment that I grew up in, many fathers were not present in their children's lives.
Developing our son's creative skills
Our son really enjoys music, instruments, and dancing. His father found out the type of music he liked, got him musical instruments, and encouraged him to enjoy music.
Prioritizing meeting our son's needs
Recently, I realized that my husband and I take care of different needs. Our son is very well-rounded because his father and I meet his needs.
Teaching our son new skills
Every time my husband teaches our son to say to do something new, he gets very excited. Our son is a sponge and soaks in all the knowledge at this age.
Building and maintaining our community
My husband ensures that we spend time with people around us. Social connections are crucial for our and our family's well-being.
Over the years that I have been fortunate to be a parent with my husband, I have learned that we both have a role to play. Both of our roles are equally important and enrich our son's life.
Happy Father's Day to my husband!!!
And just like that, the first half of 2023 is ending. To raise your chances of accomplishing your big goals, you need to know where you are today and plan for action over the next months
In this blog post, we will review and celebrate the progress we have made in the first half of 2023 with the help of some reflection questions. Check out some of my "Her Plan" posts to help you have a great year.
How are you doing?
A great place to start is to check in on ourselves. Think about how you are doing physically, mentally, and emotionally. To be healthy all around, you must be intentional and willing to take action when you notice that you are not doing well in any area.
This year has been intense on many levels. I am in a great place mentally and emotionally. However, I am physically exhausted and need to take care of my body more.
What have you accomplished in the past six months?
Measuring your progress towards your goals provides you with a line of sight into how far you have come. You get to celebrate what you have accomplished and identify the areas where you still have work to do.
Looking back on my goals, I have made a lot of significant progress toward some of my personal, financial, and professional goals
What lessons did you learn from the setback?
In our lives, there will always be things that don't happen as we planned. It is very easy to get discouraged by the setbacks or missed goals. The truth is that there is a lot that is not in our control, and we need to make the best out of those experiences.
One of the biggest lessons I learned this year was how to adjust to times when unexpected things happen. It took me a while to learn to accept
and learn from them.
What are you planning to do differently?
As you check in on where you are with regard to your goals for the year, it is a great time to think about what you want to change to accomplish your large goals in 2023. You have the opportunity to make changes now that will set you up for success for the rest of the year
The biggest change I want to make for the rest of the year is to build more time to have time.
What are you looking forward to?
It is an exciting time to dream about the next months. You can plan and envision what it would take to accomplish your goals for the year. Prepare for action towards your goals and equip yourself with resources to meet them.
Over the next six months, I am looking forward to slowing down a little more
If thinking about your goals make you feel stressed, you are not alone. Take it one step at a time.
Over the years, I have become more aware of how my journey as an immigrant is a privilege. We often hear about the difficult aspects of being an immigrant. With all the challenges, many great things have made my journey a lot of fun and changed the course of my life.
In this blog post, I will share the things that have made my journey as an immigrant the best. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
#1: Getting to see multiple countries and cities
Through the last 22 years, I have lived in many different cities in Germany and the US. I have enjoyed the beauty of old cities like Cologne and Trier and appreciate the plentiful sunshine in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to enjoying the places I lived in, I have visited some amazing countries.
#2: Speaking multiple languages
It is a gift to be able to speak multiple languages. I am really grateful that I have had the opportunity to learn languages. There is something really special about communicating and building relationships with many people in languages they understand.
#3: Building my community
Moving to Germany at age fifteen without my family meant I had to find my support community quickly. I am grateful for all the friends I have met over the years who are now like family. My journey would have had a very different outcome without these incredible people.
#4: Enriching my cultural identity
My life and cultural identity have been influenced by the countries that I have lived in. There is so much beauty in the richness of culture from different countries. As we raise our son, we share parts of our Nigerian, German, and American culture with him.
#5: Meeting People from all corners of the earth
Over time, I have been fortunate to meet many people and other immigrants in the countries where I lived. I would not have met so people if I did not get to live in multiple countries myself. When I meet people from new countries, it is exciting to hear their stories and experiences.
#6: Thriving professionally
Moving to different countries has had a very positive effect on my career. I have leveraged my skills and applied my unique perspectives to my work. Studying and starting my career in Germany provided me with a great foundation.
#7: Learning to adapt to major life changes
When faced with significant transitions in my life, I remind myself that I have successfully navigated many changes in my life as an immigrant. Some of the changes included moving to different cities, starting a new job, building new relationships, and recreating my life. I learned to embrace change and thrive.
I often wonder how my life would have turned out if I had stayed in Nigeria and did not move to Germany in 2001 or the US years later. This post is a reminder of how awesome everything turned out and a confirmation that I am where I need to be in this phase of my life.
Especially after everything we have all been through over the last three years, planning for the long term is a little scary. We have all had to focus on adapting to the new norm of living in the post-pandemic world. As time goes by, I am at a crucial point where I need to make moves that will set me up for success over the next five years.
In this blog post, I will share the five questions to help guide you as you develop your five-year plan. Check out some of my "Her Plan" posts to help you accomplish your goals.
#1: What has happened in your life over the past five years?
Reflecting on where you have been is an excellent start to your planning process. It helps you celebrate your accomplishments and the lessons you learned along the way. With everything we have all experienced over the last three years, it is very easy to forget how far we have come.
Questions to reflect on
#2: What would make you proud in five years?
Recently in a class I took, they made us write a letter to our future selves listing all the things we are proud of ourselves for doing. It was a very intense and emotional exercise to write this letter and revisit it in the future, confirm things that happened, and see areas where things changed.
Questions to reflect on
#3: What goals do you want to accomplish?
Now that you have had the time to dream and write them down, it is a good time to create your plan. With the knowledge that things will change in our lives, It is crucial to be prepared to adapt your plan over time. In my planning process, I use the following categories: Personal, Family, Work/Career, Finances, Business, Learning/Training, Giving back, and Bold Goals. For a balanced life, you must set goals in all the areas you want to grow in.
Questions to reflect on
#4: What are you afraid of?
Acknowledging the fears we have is an essential step while we plan. Our fears give us very valuable information. Some of your fears help highlight areas where you might lack skills or resources. You can focus on developing the gaps you identify over the next years. For the areas where you don't know what to do with your fears, accept that and commit to taking action towards your goals.
Questions to reflect on
#5: What do you need to be successful over the next five years?
Creating a plan is a great start to having the life you desire. To solidify your plan, think about what you need to be successful. Think about the resources you need, such as finances, time, access to training, or a support network. You have time to gather the resources that you need.
Questions to reflect on
Final Thoughts: MC's Story
About 15 years ago, I started creating my "Orientation Plan," which covered the vision and goal I wanted to accomplish over five years. It has evolved over the years as I have learned to build a more agile plan given everything that happened in my life and environment. I am at a point in my life where I have accomplished many of the big things I had on my plan and need to develop an updated version. Thinking about my future is very exciting.
A few months ago, I wrote a post celebrating the people that have supported my career so far. It was an excellent opportunity to appreciate a few people who have impacted my professional life positively. While I wrote the post, I remembered a few people who unfortunately had a negative impact on me as I navigated my career. As someone who likes to focus on the good that happens in my life, I thought a lot about writing this post. I decided to write it to encourage people who might be currently working with people like that and need some encouragement.
In this blog post, I will share the five groups of people that could have been more helpful and the lessons I learned about my career. Check out the other "Her Career" posts for tips and resources to help you thrive professionally.
#1: People that underestimated my professional abilities and skills
It really stings when you work with people you have to prove yourself to; still, they do not believe in your expertise. At pivotal times in my career, I have had to work with people who thought about my skills, experiences, and strengths. As a result, I questioned my abilities,
doubted myself, and was convinced that I always needed to work three times harder than everyone around me. It took a lot of work on my part to regain my confidence again.
What lessons did I learn?
#2: People who provided feedback that was not clear or helpful
Receiving feedback is crucial for our career development and growth. However, folks who want to give you feedback and share what you could be doing better without having the right intent are not helpful. In my career, I have worked with people who did not have my best interest at heart when they shared their feedback. Sometimes people went far and even weaponized feedback as a way to break my confidence.
What lesson did I learn?
#3: People who did not assign me to projects that had growth opportunities
When I think about my team, I cannot imagine standing in the way of their career growth. I have had people in my career who have decided not to assign work to me that would help me grow. In my work today, we discuss the importance of equitable work allocation. It was very sad to see the same people get access to projects and have to fight for great projects to work on.
What lesson did I learn?
#4: People who created hostile work environments
We spend a lot of time at work and deserve to work in environments we enjoy. Unfortunately, we all have experiences when our work environment has not been conducive. I still remember some parts of my journey where I felt sick thinking about work because of the hostile environment that was there. As someone who likes harmony, I noticed that my experience at work affects my whole being. I now choose to work on teams where I belong.
What lesson did I learn?
#5: Managers and Leaders who did not invest in my growth
After having great managers in the last few years, I've been thinking about the bad managers that I have had. Some never checked in on me, inquired about my professional goals, or supported my aspirations. Managers' responsibility for the progression of the people on their team should be a priority for them. As a manager, I am very intentional about not repeating the bad traits I saw in bad managers.
What lesson did I learn?
Time for Reflections
Who are the people who could have been more helpful on your Career Journey?
What lessons did you learn from the negative experiences?
How are you supporting people in their careers?
Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing women nurturing and caring for children !!!
On this Mother's Day, I am heading on a work trip, and I fortunately get to go on with my family. Being able to spend time with my son and husband is a highlight. My biggest lesson this year is that the lessons I learn from being a mother are precious in other areas of my life.
In this blog post, I will share the ten happy moments I have had as a mother over the past two and a half years. Check out my other "Her Story" posts to learn more about my journey as a Mother.
#1: Finding out I was having a baby
It was March 2020, and the world was shutting down; I had been exhausted and decided to take a pregnancy test. I still remember the shock and excitement I felt. My heart was filled with love for the little human I hoped would be born healthy.
#2: Welcoming our Son
Words can't describe the way I felt when I held my son for the first time. Since then, I have caught myself looking at him and being very grateful that he is in my life. Having a baby during the pandemic was a blessing because I had something that brought joy to me.
#3: Being promoted
One of my biggest worries about becoming a mother was that my career would be impacted negatively. I was very happy when I heard I was promoted on maternity leave. It showed me how much my leadership believed in me. It really helped me when I returned to work a few months later.
#4: Introducing our son to family
I cried happy tears every time that a member of our family held our son. Before having a child, I could never have imagined that our families would take so long to meet our son. The pandemic changed our plans and made us enjoy the special moments even more.
#5: Taking our son to Daycare
Having a place where our son is well taken off during the day has been a highlight. I have learned to trust that he will be fine. Every time I get to pick him up, I love to watch him be a big boy and excited to see me. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to work, and I know he is having the time of his life.
#6: Seeing our son interact with other children
Having a child so far away from family and friends means he has not had as much contact with other children. Our son has learned to play independently and enjoys his own company. However, he really lights up when he sees other kids. My heart smiles when I see him interacting with other kids.
#7: Hearing our Son speak German
We really want our son to grow up multi-lingual. English and German are the first languages that he is learning. We are very fortunate that his Daycare is bi-lingual. I was so happy the first time I heard him say a Germán word. And now, I really enjoy singing German songs. I should speak more German with him at home.
#8: Seeing our son learn new skills
The speed at which little kids learn new skills is awe-inspiring. My mind has been blown as I watch our son navigate life and work with technology. He has learned so much, especially in the last few months. I am always excited to capture his milestones and celebrate his growth.
#9: Being able to share my motherhood journey with my sister
My twin sister became a mother nine years before I did. Now we get to connect and grow together as mothers. My favorite thing to do is chat with her about things we do in common or where we are very different mothers. Being able to share my experience and bond with her is a gift.
#10: Seeing our son's smile
Every moment when our son smiles, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have him in my life. I am more intentional about enjoying the moments with him and building more memories as a family. One thing is sure; I'll do everything in my power to ensure my son has a happy life.
Being a mother has been a great experience. I am grateful for the way that our lives have evolved. Happy Mother's Day to me!
Setting goals has been a regular practice that I have done for many years. Especially in the last five years, I have taken a more disciplined approach to planning for my year and tracking progress on an ongoing basis. As I start envisioning my next five years and planning, I want to document the valuable lessons that have helped me accomplish great things.
In this blog post, I will share my learning about goals in the last five years. Check out some of my "Her Plan" posts to help you accomplish your goals.
#1: Set Bold and Aspirational goals
While reviewing my goals, I realized they were safer as I tried to avoid disappointment. I set goals I believed I could accomplish and celebrated when I did. Then about three years ago, I started setting goals. They helped me push myself to dream bigger than I was before. I started being more comfortable with feeling unsure about how I would accomplish my bold goals.
#2: Create agile and flexible Plans
Having a plan is excellent. How you adjust your plan over time is actually what makes you successful. For many years, I struggled with making changes to my plan. I felt that changes to my plan meant I was doing something wrong. In 2020, I was reminded that a lot is out of my control, and accepting that my goals would need to change was the only way forward.
#3: Celebrate your Accomplishments (even the little ones)
For the longest time, every time someone asked me what I was doing to celebrate a key milestone, I hardly had a response. I was not used to celebrating myself. One of the practices I started over the last three years was to plan for celebrations. When I accomplish a goal, I know that celebrating is a part of my process.
#4: Surround yourself with people who are working towards large goals
As you work towards your goals, it is essential to surround yourself with people who are also working towards big things. Your shared sense of community, encouragement, and knowledge will improve your journey. I talk about my goals with my friends and family regularly. Their support keeps me going, especially when I doubt myself.
#5: Believe in yourself
Over the last five years, I have done many things that I never thought I would be able to. There were moments when opportunities came up, and I seized them with some reservation in my mind. Looking back, I am very proud of myself and grateful that everything turned out the way it did. The bold goals I set that seemed too big a few years ago are now things I accomplished. It gives me hope for the big things that are ahead of me.
Time for Reflection
What lessons have you learned about goals in the last five years?
What do you want to accomplish over the next five years?
What new routines do you want to start as you achieve your goals?