At a recent Women in Leadership conference that I attended, the female speakers made time to celebrate the men in their lives. One of the speakers went further and brought her husband on stage to discuss how they balance taking care of their family and individual professional responsibilities. Hearing them share their experiences, got me thinking of the great men that have contributed or still contribute to my life.
Although I did not grow up with a father, I have had some great men in my life. Starting from uncles, family friends, managers, professional connections to my biggest supporter - my partner. These men have played very different roles in my life ranging from being positive examples of great men to providing me with great work opportunities to believing in me and my talents.
This Father's day I want to do something different. If you have great men in your life, then join me in making time to appreciate them. And if you can't think of any great men in your life, use this as some inspiration for what to look out for.
In this blog post, I will share more about the men who have played a significant role in my life. I have created some groups to help me shorten the post.
To the great men who influenced me
Growing up, there were some tremendous male influences. Some of them were family, and others were friends that became family. I grew up mostly around women, so the few great men around us stood out.
To my Teachers and Professors
I have been fortunate to have some great teachers and professors that shared knowledge with me and instilled the passion for continuous learning in me. I think way back to my secondary school teachers and my university professors.
To my Professional connections
On my career journey, there have been some great men who have believed in my skills and abilities. I'm grateful to the men who offered me great opportunities that helped me start and grow my career.
To my Managers
In my career so far, I have had some great managers who were invested in my career growth and success. Especially in my early career, having great professional support was very helpful.
To my Partner
The other day someone said to me, "your partner is an amazing man," and I totally agreed with her. In the over ten years of our relationship, he has always been there for me. He supports me on my mission to leave a strong legacy.
To all the great men out there who are supporting their women as they chase their passions, Happy Father's day.
Thank you for being great men and role models for the next generation.
Call to Action
Who are the great men that have contributed to your life? Find a way to tell them you appreciate them.
After years of living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US, I am celebrating all the lessons I have learned so far. The objective of this post is to appreciate lessons I learned from the good and not so good experiences that I have had.
This post continues my Her relocation series, where I share about my life in Nigeria, Germany and the US. In this post, I will share the top three lessons I learned in each of the Countries I lived in. To see a quick summary of my relocation journey, check out my video.
3 Lessons I learned living in Nigeria
I spent my early childhood until the age of 15 in Kaduna, Nigeria. Some of the lessons I learned include:
#1: Enjoy good food
At any moment, you can ask me the types of snacks or meals I enjoyed in Nigeria, and I will have a quick response. I am delighted that I got to experience delicious Nigerian food. I think very fondly on the times I spent with my family enjoying and exploring native dishes. Even after living in other countries for a long time, I still cook and enjoy great Nigerian food.
#2: Care for people
The importance of the family unit and relationships is one that is emphasized in Nigeria. The values I learned around caring for people is one that has influenced my personal and professional life. Being able to connect with people and be warm has helped me, especially as I build new social networks.
#3: Celebrate your culture
Growing up, I enjoyed the days when we got to wear Nigerian attire to school. Being able to see all my friends represent the different parts of Nigeria made me appreciate our cultural heritage. Now when I see people celebrating their culture, it makes me proud of my cultural identity as well.
3 Lessons I learned living in Germany
Living in Germany during my late teens and early adulthood, I learned many valuable lessons that formed my character and identity. Some of the lessons I learned were:
#1: Be independent
Being comfortable on my own and not depending on others was a very valuable lesson I learned in Germany. I learned how not to need people but to want them in my life. Being the owner of my happiness and driver of my destiny was huge for me. I wouldn't be where I am today in my personal growth if I didn't learn to be independent.
#2: Use your voice
One of the first things that impressed me in Germany was how comfortable people were with sharing their unpopular opinions. It was more about speaking up rather than worrying about what people thought about it. I learned to be very outspoken in Germany. I went on a journey of finding myself, what I care about, and then sharing it. The freedom to speak my mind was one that helped me grow into who I am today.
#3: Be disciplined
Some of the values I learned in Germany include keeping your commitments and being consistent. These principles guide me in everything I do today. If I give you my word or make a plan to complete a task, I make sure I do it. The discipline I learned has helped me achieve my personal goals.
3 Lessons I learned living in the US
In the last 4,5 years living in the Bay Area, I have experienced immense personal and professional growth. Some of the lessons I learned are:
#1: Dream Big and live out your dreams
In my previous blog posts, I shared how I found the courage to start my business after I moved to California. Seeing other people start their businesses and hear their stories inspired me to take the leap. The freedom to try out ideas and search for what works is definitely promoted here.
#2: Take a break and do something fun
I was amazed at how much people would do over the weekend and share on Monday. To be honest, this is a lesson I am still learning. I'm slowly getting better at making time to do things that I enjoy. There are so many fun things to do in the sun here.
#3: Talk about yourself and your achievements
Before I moved to the US, I was convinced that my work would speak for itself. Over the past four years, I have learned the importance of celebrating my achievements and talking about them. The more I talk about my accomplishments the more I appreciate my journey.
Call to Action
What lessons have you learned on your journey so far? Celebrate your learnings.
My self-discovery Journey started a few years ago. I wanted to know myself better and work towards things that were important to me. Realizing that I am fully responsible for my destiny, not my family or my background helped me take action. I use the term journey because it is continuous; I don’t see this journey ending anytime soon. As I discover more about myself, I uncover other parts of me that I want to explore more of and develop.
In this blog post, we will explore the definition of self-discovery, some tools to help you as well as questions you can ask yourself to start on your journey.
What is self-discovery?
What tools can you use on your self-discovery journey?
Tool #1: Self-reflection
Making time to think about your experiences, your potential, and your future is crucial. There is so much you can learn from reflecting on past experiences and where you are now. Towards the end of every year, we get reminded to reflect on the past year and plan for the new year. I have found power in taking the time to reflect more often than once a year. Every Friday morning, I spend about 30 minutes reflecting on my week.
Tool #2: Journaling
Writing things down in a journal can be very therapeutic. While I reflect, I write down the highlights and the lowlights of my week. Especially if you are feeling overwhelmed, creating a list of things you are grateful for helps adjust your perspective. Another benefit of journaling is offloading your heavy thoughts. This frees up your mind for new ideas and enables you to move on.
There are great tools out there that can help you discover the power that lies within you. I have taken some great assessments that have helped me either uncover my strengths or learn how to articulate them. The top two self-assessments that I recommend for everyone to take are Strengthsfinder 2.0 and Personality Types.
Tool #4: Learning
Interestingly as you learn new things, you discover more about your interests, your strengths, and potential. There are many skills that I did not know I had until I started learning something new or taking classes. Learning for me has not only helped me discover more of my skills; it has helped me improve them and do more of what I enjoy doing.
Tool #5: Community
Surrounding yourself with people who are also on a journey to discover themselves is very important. I value the ladies in my community a lot. Although we are all on our journeys, sharing our experiences encourages us. It's great that we don't have to be alone on the incredible quest to get to know ourselves better.
How well do you know yourself?
Some inspiration questions to ask yourself to get to know yourself better:
Call to Action
Have you thought about yourself lately? Make time to discover yourself.
Do you appreciate yourself? Celebrate yourself today.
Have you ever heard people say "to get ahead you have to self-promote"? Initially, this statement made me uncomfortable. However, as I have progressed in my career, I fully agree with the importance of being able to promote myself. I recently attended an "Iamremarkable" training and it made me start thinking about the power of self-promotion. Making time to think about what makes me remarkable and sharing with people around me made me feel empowered and proud.
In this blog post, we will explore the definition of self-promotion, reasons to promote yourself as well as tips to help you learn how to promote yourself.
What does self-promotion mean?
Reasons why you need to promote yourself
Mastering the art of promoting yourself
Explore some questions to help you assess how well you promote yourself and tips to start self-promotion.
Do you know you are remarkable?
Let's start with the most important thing - you are unique and amazing. There is no one like you on this earth. I know we are not trained to love ourselves. There are many negative words used to describe self-love. It's time to break free from that mold and start loving yourself. It's ok that you're not perfect. You are you!
MC's Tip: Accept and celebrate your whole self.
How do you talk about yourself?
When people ask you the question "tell me about yourself," it can be a difficult question to answer, especially if you are not prepared with a response. Thinking of an answer on the spot does not come easy to most of us. The good news is that you can learn how to talk about yourself. Personally, thinking about the one thing I want people to remember about me after they walk away from our conversation helps me. There are many great resources that can help you perfect the first impression.
MC's Tip: Practice introducing and talking about yourself as much as you can. It will get better with time.
Do you know and talk about your strengths?
Many of us find it hard to talk about what we do well. A few years ago, I started my journey to discover my strengths. I found it easier to talk about my weaknesses but struggled to think about my strengths. Read more on how I discovered my superpowers in my post, "Know your strengths." Talking about your strengths is what gets you those great opportunities.
MC's Tip: Discover your strengths and talk about them.
How do you talk about your accomplishments?
It took me a long while to embrace the opportunities to promote myself. I believed that my work will speak for itself and that I didn't need to do anything else. Especially with my move to the US, that theory was proven wrong. Doing great work is essential; however, talking about it may be more important in some cases.
MC's Tip: Start tracking your accomplishments and celebrate them.
How can you learn to promote yourself more?
We all know those people who quickly talk about their skills and services in every conversation. Two things may happen when we hear them. We either dislike their approach or feel impressed by their ability to promote themselves. I want to encourage you to surround yourself with people who self-promote well. It will help you learn how to promote yourself.
MC's Tip: Observe people around you who promote themselves well and get ahead. Start promoting yourself.
Call to Action
What makes you remarkable? Think about three things that make you amazing and share it with three people this week.
What makes the people around you remarkable? Ask people about themselves and give them the opportunity to promote themselves.
Have you been thinking about doing something bold? What has been holding you back?
Earlier this year, the ladies in one of my Mastermind groups read a book titled "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown. Reading the book and sharing learnings with great women challenged me to take bold steps this year. I had started the year with my theme of "being bold," but now I knew that I had to dare to do greater things.
In this blog post, I will share some steps to set your daring greatly goal and my journey to do great things this year.
What is a daring greatly goal?
I define this as a goal you are working towards that seems impossible, but you are willing to take the risk and make it happen. It is typically a goal with high personal reward.
How to achieve your daring greatly goal
Exploring five steps to help you define your goals and take steps to achieve them.
Step 1: Think about the great things you want to do
While we were reading the book, this question stood out to me " What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?". Although I had set my goals for the year, I had to go back and review them to see if they were daring greatly goals. There were some bold goals on my list. However, I felt that I needed to challenge myself to make even more daring moves. Personally, the bravest things I wanted to do this year were, start my YouTube channel, share my content with more people and ask for a promotion at work.
Step 2: Identify what has been holding you back
Now that you know the great things you want to do, it is time to assess the challenges and potential roadblocks. Start by asking yourself why are you not doing the great things yet? Write down what comes to mind when you ask yourself this question. Take as much time as you need and be totally honest. Self-doubt has been one of my biggest roadblocks. I have good ideas, but I'm afraid to share them. Address those fears that are holding you back.
Step 3: Get excited about your daring greatly goal
Your daring greatly goal is usually bigger than your typical yearly goals, and it would take you being very excited to achieve them. Think about why you are eager to work on this goal. For me, one of the significant advantages of reading the book as a group was hearing the ladies share their daring greatly goals. Most of them were passions that they had for many years but never got to do. Thinking of working on my daring greatly goals that I sat on for so long excites me. I'm very excited and looking forward to seeing the results.
Step 4: Set milestones and define success
Especially when you are working on large goals, it is essential to be clear on what the definition of success is. I have been learning to focus on small milestones and achievements not only on the final result. This helps keep me motivated and excited because I can see the progress I am making towards the bigger goal.
Step 5: Take steps towards achieving your goal
Now that you have identified your daring greatly goal, it is time to start taking steps towards it. Especially if this is a goal that you have been sitting on for a while, now is the time to prove to yourself that you can do it. Continue making progress and never give up on your goal.
Call to Action
What are your big goals aka daring greatly goals for this year? Think big and start working towards your goals.
Am I Nigerian, German or even American?
For the longest time when people asked me about my cultural identity, I did not know what to respond. The simple question "where are you from?" left me wondering and uncertain. At this point in my life, I have lived in Germany, Nigeria and now in the US.
When I started sharing my story as part of my Her relocation blog posts, I received a lot of questions and comments that helped me reflect on my journey. One of the questions that stuck with me was "‘at what point does one stop being an immigrant?". This spoke to the most profound feeling of belonging and identity that I had battled with for a long time.
In this post, I will share a little bit of my experience and the five lessons I learned about my cultural identity over the past 18 years living in three countries.
My cultural identity has always been a topic of discussion. Initially, I laughed at the questions and did not think much about it. However, the questions increased with my most recent move. I needed to spend some time thinking about how I define my cultural identity.
The first time I ever used the phrase German-Nigerian to describe myself was when I moved to the US. While I lived in Germany, I identified as Nigerian which is interesting given my mixed heritage. I wonder if I will become German-Nigerian-American when I move to my next country.
On my exploration journey, some of the questions I asked myself were?
I once heard the phrase from an Asian lady who said her background is Asian, but her culture is black, based on where she grew up in LA. This was the best way I had ever heard someone speak about their cultural identity. For me, my food culture is Nigerian, and my professional culture is German. I am smiling as I write this.
Over the years, I have learned that being multi-cultural is an asset, not a weakness. I make it a priority not to let anyone talk about it as a disadvantage. Yes I have an interesting accent, yeah I look different, and I absolutely can't be put in a cultural box. This is what makes me unique.
Lessons I learned about my cultural identity
In my 18-years of living in Germany and the US, I learned the following about whom I identify as.
#1: You define your identity
People around you will try to define your cultural identity based on how you look or sound. However, the real person that determines your identity is you. Choose what feels right to you.
#2: Your identity will change
The experiences you have in the different countries you live in will influence you. Accept the evolution of your identity. This will help you avoid identity crisis and feel comfortable with who you are.
#3: You will feel out of place (sometimes)
We go through phases of feeling like we do not belong in the country we are in. Sometimes it happens because of a negative experience. I want you to know that feeling out of place from time to time is perfectly normal.
#4: You will see different sides of identity
Different parts of your identity will be highlighted in different countries or situations that you face. Adapt to your environment and put your best foot forward. Choosing to show one side more does not make you become less of the other side of you.
#5: You will need to inform others about what you identify as
Often, people decide they know my identity by judging my looks or accent. I make it a point to let people know more about my cultural background and Identity. If you don't inform them, you can't be upset when they misidentify you.
Call to Action
What is your cultural identity? Celebrate your multi-cultural identity.
Check out my previous posts on my relocation story living in Germany and the US.