So, I went to interview this entrepreneur and change agent recently. I had prepared, learnt about her, learnt about her businesses and what they stood for, so that I could determine what flavour they brought to the landscape of business in Nigeria and then extract that in a way that will be beneficial to people who read the interviews on my blog. (Yes, this is the mental process I go through to bring you an “interview” on this blog). The aim is to give you something you can use, something that empowers you and makes it easier for you to resolve to take that next step towards entrepreneurial growth or even excellence at “employpreneurship”, where you “own” your job even though you are in paid employment.
Anyhow, this interview was particularly interesting because she totally turned the table on me! I sat down, we exchanged the usual pleasantries and with the great appreciation for time that I’ve seen in those who are outstanding, she quickly moved to the subject of the day. I bring out my pen and notebook and I am poised to ask my questions when she says “so Hajara, what is your story?” I am a little puzzled at first, “what’s my story?” I ask befuddled. “In what sense?”, “What makes you tick? Why have you gotten up today after pestering me for almost a year for an interview, and come to do it? Why after talking to me, will you go and share it with the world, what’s driving you?” I smile, I am finally relaxed. I have never been asked “what is your story” before but I know this answer very well, it is my story after all… LOL!
“Hmm, my story, is that I believe with every fibre of my being, that you are not limited by where you started from. MLK sold it and I believe it, that you are not limited by the circumstances of your birth but I feel the limitation comes from what you know. So if you grew up in financial poverty for example, you may not know “how” to get out of it because it was never modelled to you, if your home was dysfunctional, you may not know the “how” of having great relationships, that’s why I blog, why I read, why I talk to people who have grown in areas I want to grow in- it’s to take off the limits. So that the circumstances of my birth and upbringing don’t determine my future, I can create the future I want by learning, re-training and developing myself in the direction I want to go. I also believe the question of not knowing “how” is not limited to just me, and that’s why I blog- in the hope that it helps someone else learn their how, become better and relentlessly follow their dreams… I believe in that saying by Marianne Williamson that “as you let your own light shine, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same”.
“I guess the second and maybe more important part of “my story” is that I truly believe that all of creation is falling over itself to favour me. That’s a nice way of saying I am overly optimistic. If I genuinely want something I immediately start to think “how” can I make this happen? Not “oh but I can’t afford it” “or it’s not for my kind” or “I’ll never find the time”, the question becomes “HOW”, which then empowers me, with a way to get it done, as opposed to the other questions which drain you of power. This mindset of everything working out in my favour, helps me look at failures (though painful), as feedback, as lessons to learn. They make me look at “no’s”, like the hundreds of no’s I got from you (smile), as “not now”, it helps me not take life personally and also helps me more willing to take risks, knowing that at the end of the day, I win, since it all makes me better.”
I look up and smile at her, I see why her business which is customer focused is thriving sooo much, you come into her presence and she immediately makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world. Like she has all the time for you. She says “I like your story Hajara, you should write that” and we go on to my interview with her… Watch out for that! And thanks for stopping by!
Remember to be awesome this week. Now tell me, “what is your story? What drives you? Why do you do what you do? And how can you be more intentional about living out your story?