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!

13 Mar

Steps

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao Tsu

Last week was a rather overwhelming one, physically. It all started when I decided to spend 11 uninterrupted hours last Saturday working on our new website- it looks simply amazing if I can say that myself! We are moving onto a new super- duper platform and iits like going to school allover again. I have been going to bed with html codes and various image editing softwares swiming in my head. Anyway, after my stint I was surprised at not feeling a huge sense of accomplishment, you know the way you’re supposd to after you have done a lot of productive work. That feeling was carried into Monday, the start of the week. At the time I thought perhaps it was because I did just one task. It was unbroken and unvaried, maybe that’s why it didn’t feel like I had done much. Nonetheless I still felt burdened as the week wore on.

On Wednesday the Lord gave me a vision. A simple picture of a person (me) walking on a mapped out path with round stone slabs. It is a winding road and there’s nothing but fresh green grass on either side. The yellow daffodils swaying in the gentle breeze are a sight to behold,  pretty. In the distance the path leads to a beautiful house on the hill, the only possible destination. I keep stopping and looking up to see how much further I need to go. That was when it hit me. Rather than taking one step at a time, I look ahead and see the seemingly insurmountable task ahead. I keep looking at the big picture and feeling discouraged because although I have come a long way- evidenced by the long path behind me- I am impatient and want to get to my destination, like right now!
Yesterday, following my boycott of the suddenly expensive Tesco, my quest led me to Lewisham in south London. Here you can get fresh vegetables and meat at much lower prices. I parked the car a distance from the shops and did quite a bit of shopping. As I walked back to the car with my purchases I longed for one of those trolleys the senior folks use. It was the bags holding yams in my right hand for the week’s planned yam peppersoup, the plantains that will go nicely with rice and stew, the pounded yam meant for monday’s efo riro and the large bag of onions. My left hand held my bags of meat- neck of lamb, goat, chicken and kidney, coconut milk, okro and spices. I looked in the distance and saw the car park so far away. I decided to look down and keep walking knowing I will eventually arrive- that’s just my coping mechanism folks. I don’t like pain or discomfort! I took my mind off the journey and planned out the rest of the day- doing my hair and eyebrows and suddenly I had arrived!
I learned some valuable lessons;

I have learned to stop to appreciate the journey. It is not a race to get ‘there’ the fastest. There is so much beauty on either side of our lives that we need to be thankful for. Yes pollen may bring you hayfever but if that’s all you choose to see, that’s all you’ll be ‘enjoying’.

Take one step at a time. There is no other way to arrive than to take it step by step. Place your vision in front of you but you have to focus on taking the next step.

Stop and relax. Yes I am a busy mum/wife/business woman but that doesn’t mean my life has to mirror a roller-coaster ride- which I think may be part of the problem- I love excitement, but it is necessary to stop to recharge, take a breath, and energize myself. Life is what happens when you are busy making plans. I certainly don’t want my life “happening away”.

So as I look forward to the start of a new week, I do so with the knowledge that I will arrive at my destination. All I need to know is what step I’ll be taking tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that…

Have a blessed week, thank you for reading!