One American tradition that I really enjoy is the culture of gratitude around Thanksgiving in November. It is a great way to wrap up a year and remember the good things that have happened in your life.
In this blog post, we will reflect on the good that has happened in 2023 so far, and I will list ten things that I am grateful for this year.
Setting the foundation – What are you grateful for?
When I started planning for this post, I kept thinking of how much energy I have given this year. Then I reflected on the fact that I saw some results, created memories, had reasons to smile, and had opportunities to enjoy life this year. Even in intense years, we still have much to be grateful for.
Here are the questions I asked myself to create my gratitude list:
MC's Story: 10 things that I am grateful for this year
Time for Reflection
As we plan for 2024, this is a great time to unveil the things you always dreamed of but need to be bold enough to do. Thinking about your dreams as you set your goals is a great way to get excited about the year ahead.
In this blog post, we will remind ourselves of our dreams and motivate ourselves to work towards them in 2024.
Documenting your Dreams
We all have deep desires and dreams that have been on our lists for a while. Imagine how you would feel if you made progress towards one of them. Whenever someone asks me about my dreams, I wish I had a running list I reviewed regularly. Let's create our list together with the help of the following questions:
Taking steps to make your dreams reality
Over the past years, I have been very diligent about setting goals. As I think about 2024, I want to shake things up a little and do something that I have been afraid to do in the past. To inspire others, I am sharing the steps that I am taking.
MC's Story: What have I been dreaming of?
I have kept some of my dreams tied down in a box for years. In the spirit of vulnerability, I will share some of them with you.
Dreams that become reality one day are the best types. When I hear people talk about living out the dreams they had years ago, it inspires me. I look forward to hearing about your dreams and sharing more about mine.
As the fourth quarter gets underway, most of us are pooling our last energy reserves and gearing up for the final weeks. I have found a source of motivation in knowing and leveraging our strengths. It is very easy to focus on what we lack and our weaknesses.
In this blog post, I will share the three things I am doing to focus on reviving our strengths.
Remind yourself of your strengths
Knowing your strengths takes being intentional and making an effort. We are more likely to be ready to share our weaknesses than our strengths. One of the tools that has really helped me with my strengths has been the "The CliftonStrengths® Assessment (formerly Strengthsfinder 2.0)". I took the assessment as part of working with a Coach in 2016 when I was learning how to navigate living in the US. I learned about my top 5 strengths, and they resonated with me. It has helped me become more aware and have a better relationship with my strengths.
Questions to consider
Check in to see if and how you are leveraging your strengths
Putting your strengths to use is an excellent way to contribute positively to the world around you. I once heard someone say that if you are not leveraging your strengths, you are holding back some of your greatness from your community. This past week, I asked my team at work which strengths they are leveraging today and which ones they hope to leverage. It was eye-opening to confirm their strengths and think about ways to create opportunities to activate those not sufficiently in use. The exercise of asking yourself the question will give you an actual status of where you are leveraging your strengths and where you are not.
Questions to consider
Make a plan to leverage your strengths
The great news is that we can shine by leveraging more of our strengths. I acknowledge that we only sometimes use all of our strengths in all areas of our lives. However, there might be strengths that you, if you leverage more, will give you the motivation boost you need. My top five strengths are learner, relator, focus, responsibility, and achiever. In the past year, I have leveraged my strengths of achiever, focus, and responsibility, which have helped me succeed. On the flip side, I have not had enough time to leverage my relator and learner strengths as much as I have in previous years. Over the next months, I plan to connect more with people and enjoy the energy it brings me.
Questions to consider
We all have strengths that our personal and professional communities can benefit from when we leverage them. I hope you are leveraging and developing your strengths.
As I celebrate my birthday this year, my heart is filled with gratitude for all the experiences that I have had. My birthdays have been more exciting in the past years. Celebrating my son's birthday and mine within a week has been special. As a special bonus, I now have two people with whom to celebrate the special milestone: my twin sister and my son.
In this blog post, I will share the five things that make me proud of how far I have come since my last birthday.
Growing and navigating being a working Mother
The journey of motherhood has been very exciting for me. I feel very fortunate to be raising our son with my husband. We live far away from our family and do this without an extensive support network. If you read my last post celebrating our son's birthday, I shared about getting comfortable with working towards my career goals as a mother. There was a constant pull and me questioning if I was an excellent mother to our son while I worked hard. This past year, I learned that I am doing good by our son, and he is growing up perfectly.
Keeping my commitment to myself
This past year has been one of my busiest years ever. Writing my weekly blog became something I needed to be intentional about continuing to do. It was important for me to keep releasing my blog posts and connecting with my community. There were many late nights of working on my blog post because of the commitment I made to myself. My blog is a passion project and a great creative outlet for me. I am very proud that I published my blog weekly on topics that I care about.
Seeing awesome parts of the world
Since October last year, I have been able to travel to multiple US cities and visit the island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten. I am grateful that I get to travel, especially with my family. It was fascinating to see our son learn about airplanes and the airport. The beautiful sites, food, and culture make me appreciate my global life.
Achieving professional successes
One thing that has been a constant in my career has been that I have great dreams, and this year, it has been the same. The theme for my career in the past year has been "things falling into place." Many of the things I have been working towards over the past five years since joining the company were finally yielding results. I have enjoyed work a lot in the last months, even with the ups and downs.
Being at peace
The other day, I reflected on how happy I am in this phase of my life. I have found my internal level of peace and happiness. Interestingly, there are still things that I am working through, but I do not feel the pressure that I have felt in the past. I am excited about my future and know that I can do what I set my heart to do. Life has also taught me that everything will work out for good.
Happy birthday to my twin sister!!! I am beyond fortunate to have a birthday companion from birth.
Three years ago, my husband and I welcomed our son into our family. I am beyond grateful to have our little human in my life. Every day with him is really a gift. Leading up to his third birthday, I have been thinking about how motherhood has changed me and the lessons I have learned.
In this blog post, I will share the five lessons I have learned on my motherhood Journey so far.
Lesson #1: Enjoy the little things
My son and I have something in common: we both like a good laugh. It could be for the smallest things. We have dance parties, make each other laugh, and bond over the cutest things. Our son is living his best life. He reminds me to laugh as often as possible and not wait for those huge milestones to be happy. I want to seize every opportunity to enjoy our moments together, especially in busy times.
Lesson #2: Embrace the gift of a great Father
This past Father's Day, I celebrated my husband in a post about how I'm learning about Fatherhood through him. I was raised by an incredible single mother. Growing up, I did not know what it was like to have a father in my life. My son is very fortunate to have a father who is loving and very involved in his life. In this third year, I had the opportunity to travel for work, and my husband was there to care for our son fully. I am very thankful for a partner on this journey.
Lesson #3: Keep working towards your goals
At this stage of my life, I have many personal and professional goals that I still want to accomplish. When I became a mother, one of my fears was that my life would change so much, making working towards my goals difficult. Don't get me wrong, things have changed in my life since I had a baby. However, I have also learned that my determination as a mother is on another level. I have focused on working towards the goals that are very important to me.
Lesson #4: Take the time you need for yourself
As caregivers, we have a lot of responsibilities that could make us forget ourselves. I really can't remember the last time I slept through the night for a whole week consecutively. Also, due to the limited time I have available, I had to cut down on some self-care tasks that were important to me. This past year, I have prioritized more of those self-care activities that I could not do for the first two years of my son's life. It has been great to explore the things that are now part of my new routine of prioritizing myself.
Lesson #5: Lean into the new growth opportunities
With every new year of our son's life, we are faced with new experiences and milestones. As a planner, I always try to predict when things will happen to ensure we are prepared. I have learned that while there are some things that you can foresee, there will be things you can't. The funniest has been trying to predict what size of clothes our son will fit in by the following winter. Let's say his growth rate is one of the things that are totally out of my control, and I have made peace with it.
The first three years of my motherhood journey have allowed me to dance, laugh, and do things I have never done before. I am learning many valuable lessons from our son. As much as I get to teach him, he teaches me a lot too. Even with the difficult moments that come with parenthood, the happy moments make it worth it.
I am looking forward to this next year.
This year, I marked 22 years of living abroad. I have had the opportunity to meet thousands of other immigrants on my journey so far. Every chance I get, I seek ways to learn about people's stories and experiences. Immigrants worldwide are doing great things, and I enjoy celebrating them.
In this blog post, I will share more about the five types of immigrants that inspire me. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
Immigrants who have accomplished a lot
I am always amazed by people who have built successful businesses, led companies, or succeeded in their careers as immigrants. Often, it shows that they have put in a lot of work and have deliberately chased their dreams and built the life they desire.
Immigrants who succeeded against all odds
Seeing people who have paved their path or faced many challenges is awesome. I really celebrate seeing people who needed to learn how things worked in their new country. They often did not have access to a lot but have made the best of it.
Immigrants who have embraced multiple cultures
We learn a lot about the culture as we navigate our lives in new countries, cities, or societies. Immigrants can remarkably incorporate various elements of the cultures they know and are learning about. I really enjoy seeing people adapt to the holidays they celebrate, add variety to the food, and learn about new cultures on their journey.
Immigrants who give back and support others
There are so many incredible people who have made it their mission to be helpful to others. It is so great to see people giving back, improving their communities, and being able to help others' dreams come true.
Immigrants who are living their best lives and still dreaming
The life of an immigrant has a lot of ups and downs. So, whenever I see or hear about people enjoying their lives and keeping a positive outlook on life, it encourages me. I am looking forward to many great experiences and stories on my journey.
Final Thoughts: MC's Journey
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak on an Expat Women leadership panel in San Francisco. It was a great moment to meet other women who were immigrants and working in Tech. Sharing my experiences and hearing from the other amazing women on the panel was very special. I enjoyed connecting with others and celebrating my journey so far.
2023 has been very fast, with many events that either went as planned or did not. We are at the end of the third quarter of this year. In a lot of organizations, they have started reflecting on the year and preparing for next year. Now is an excellent time to take stock and celebrate the progress you have made so far.
In this blog post, we will discuss three areas to reflect on as we review our goals. Check out some of my "Her Plan" posts to help you have a great year.
#1: Check in on how your goals have changed or evolved
2023 has definitely been an interesting year for a lot of us. Many of our lives have changed significantly three years after the global pandemic. At the start of the year, I intended to take the year slowly and pause more. I could not have imagined that on January 20, things would change drastically at work. By the end of the first quarter, I was sure that my goals for the year needed to be adjusted in order for me to make progress.
Questions to reflect on
#2: Check in on your relationships with goals
When people talk about goals, they either like setting goals or do not. Often, if they do not like setting goals, it is based on a negative experience that they have had, which is entirely understandable. Over the past five years, I have consistently set goals and worked towards them over the year. However, this year feels very different, and I have had to reassess my relationship with my goals. At one point, I felt disappointed when I looked at my goals, especially when things outside my control were happening. I then decided to adjust my plans to match the reality of my life at this time. This helped me feel better about reviewing my goals.
Questions to reflect on
#3: Check in on the progress you made this year
If I asked you what did not go well this year, you would have a long list of things. This time, we will consider the small and big things that worked out this year. Although my year turned out to be very different than I planned, I have had the opportunity to experience some incredible things. I wanted to create more memories with my family, and thankfully, I have been able to do that. My husband, son, and I have been able to spend time traveling and exploring together.
Questions to reflect on
We set goals as a guide through our year. At the same time, life happens, and our plans change. I hope you are being kind to yourself and acknowledging that you have progressed in different ways.
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: