19 Sep

What I didn’t tell the Journalist

I want to share a small personal story that happened to me. A little while back I read an article in Success Magazine titled ‘What’s  your Story?’
It was about the ways in which you can tell your life story. I’ll share two versions of Ruth’s tale.

I graduated from one of the country’s top universities and landed a job within a day of graduating with one of the top 5 PR  firms in the world. Exactly one year later I moved to the City to take a job with the number 2 firm in the world and was involved in million dollar projects. Fast forward 3 years and I became the CEO of my own company, and here I am standing before you all. She finishes her story with a smile. That is called the ‘rock-star’ version.

And here’s the sob-version.
I graduated college with a 3rd class, I never really did well at my studies so even obtaining a 3rd was a miracle. On the day I finished school my father’s friend’s uncle had mercy on me and employed me as a cleaner, he worked for one of the top 5 PR firms in the country.  Since it was a temp job, the contract ended 1 year later. It was 3 months of unemployment before I was forced to move to another state to live with my aunty since I couldn’t afford my rent. Eventually I got another job and it was a bit better than the previous one since I no longer cleaned toilets, I was a cleaning supervisor but of course the pay was rubbish and I was very unhappy.
After applying for and being rejected by about 150 job applications, I was forced to start my small side business. Thank God I met a PR person who allowed me to speak at this event, the original speaker is ill so I’m just filling in.

Which story do you prefer? They are both true but one has an upbeat, positive tempo while the other sounds like a loser’s drivel. That also happens to be the more common one too.

It is a fictitious but very familiar story.

I became inspired to rewrite my story in a rock star version, I read it from time to time when I’m down in the dumps as a result of yet another  business mishap and it never fails help me regain the right perspective.

Slowly I began to think things were not so bad after all. In fact it read like a familiar story of any entrepreneur, at least their humble beginnings.  I didn’t lie, I just chose to view and say things positively.

So when I got a call from The Voice Newspaper (Britain’s Largest Black Newspaper) to do an interview I had my rock star version on the tip of my tongue. And it got published last week, yay! As a matter of fact the call was to do a small feature on the business and our products, not actually on me but when the journalist asked about my story, she found it fascinating enough, paused to call the editor with the words ‘I have a story for you’. I hoped she was talking about me and thankfully she was!

Now only a few close friends and family know the sob-version of my story. Like the fact that I cried so much while expecting child #4 that I was certain he would be born with some sort of disorder. I didn’t tell the journalist that there were times I found myself in a hopeless state, wondering when things will change for the better and had to challenge God to see if He was real. I didn’t mention that a lot of the growing of the business, or dealing with celebrity clients wasn’t done from the nice office she interviewed me in, but rather from a dodgy table in a small corner of my tiny home. And that I had my baby propped up with pillows on my lap, breast feeding while building my website. She didn’t need to know those details.

If you haven’t yet done so, I implore you to rewrite your story. Write the Rock Star version and memorise it. Instead of listing out your struggles and challenges and saying how weighed down you feel, use the phrase ‘in spite of my challenges, I did…’ When you think about it, you are alive and you’re still going strong despite the challenges.

A lot of Entrepreneurs use the rock star version which makes us wonder why they had it so easy while years later we are still struggling. I have fallen into that ‘stinking thinking’ lots of times but I know better that its the story they’ve chosen to tell. Now if you get down to the nitty gritty, you’ll find that their struggles are not much different from ours.

I was chatting with a dear friend who wants to get her business idea off the ground. She shared with me how small she felt compared with others in her industry. My advice, rewrite your story and make it as big as you want it to be.

Proverbs 23:7 says as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Numbers 13:33…And we became like grasshoppers in our eyes.

You decide how you want to be seen and do it. I believe we all have a Rock star version.

I hope this blessed you, holler back!

06 Sep

The Toddler Insists on Growing Up. I Refuse to Let Him.

My little Josh started school an hour ago. its not like he hasn’t been to ‘school’ before, after all he was in pre-school. Does that count? No? Ok.

He looked so cute, determined and excited as I dropped him off, wondering if his school will take me in as a substitute teacher for one day only.

The day started with me waking him up and asking if he remembers what he’ll be doing today.

He answered;  ‘sleeping. I want to sleep some more‘ and he promptly nodded off to sleep again.
Finally we get him all dressed with me fussing over him the whole time. I ask if he is excited about school, he replies quizzically,

‘Why?’

You see this child has inherited his some father’s cynicism and I keep forgetting that. It wasn’t like this with my sweet son #3, he cuddled me and shared the same emotions I had- which went from extreme calm to anxiety nervosa.

We try to take some pictures. He keeps jumping off right before the flash goes thereby rendering my resolve rewrite history, useless. I  need to have every memory recorded because now I know I’ll forget like I’ve forgotten a lot that happened with his brothers.

On our way to school I tell him how proud I am of him.  Again he asks why, this time with a real desire to know. I explain that he is such a good, clever and handsome boy. I tell him how proud I am to be his mama. At this he smiles his charming smile. I push back the tears I feel welling up.

When we arrive he runs ahead happily, promptly stops and asks me to pick him up, he is tired of running. I worry that this carrying thing won’t last for long. I stop worrying and choose to enjoy the moment instead.

We arrive and go to meet his teachers, they are warm, friendly and appear to like my Josh already. I notice that I’ve managed to smear his white shirt with my make-up. I don’t care, I hope my love and my smell got smeared on too and will remain with him until I pick him up at 3:20pm.

While we wait in the presence of other mummies, many of them visibly nervous, I ask him if he’ll make new friends.

‘Yes mum, and if anyone punches me I punch them right back’.

‘ Punch them right back’  is accompanied by a forceful swing with his fist, I think it’s called the uppercut in boxing.

I watch my potential rep as a perfect mum disappear quietly down the proverbial drain. You know how there’s always one mum who annoyingly stands out from the rest of us as perfect. She is NEVER late for the school run. When you’re late she just has to ask;

‘Did you over-sleep?’

You reply defensively but with just the right amount of dignity;

‘No I didn’t, but I had to scrape the ice from my windscreen’

She replies in a sing-song, high-pitched voice;

‘You should have allowed time for that!’ Her response is finished off with a small laugh and a cursory wave of her left hand. Not just a laugh, but the laugh that is er…’at you’.

She buys mainly organic veggies from the grocery store and plants her own herbs and tomatoes. Oh and she makes her own ice-cream in the summer. She has on brown cords, knee-high boots and a tweed blazer over her cream coloured, floral top.

Sorry I digress, another post.

I sprint back to the car, partly for exercise (still trying to get past 3 mins of exercise daily. The plan was to start small and build it up. The problem is not the starting.  Another blog post, another time.) I remember the last time I sprinted to the car after dropping of a certain son on his first day. I was sprinting from a myriad of emotions, glee, liberation, thankfulness. I didnt want to waste a second of my new-found freedom. That child shall of course remain nameless.

My advice to mums who have found themselves an emotional wreck on first day at school? Remember that a new experience prepares them for all things life has to offer. They’ll enjoy the exhilaration of new friends, new routines and new toys. It works for me every time. Except today.

Off I go to vent those tears, they’re becoming rather annoying!