Why is Jane’s story unique? Jane lived in one of the lowest slums in Lagos called Ajegunle for 26 years. I had lived in this area myself with a relative during my teenage years. So, I know first-hand what it’s like to live in such an environment for that long, especially when this is the place where your primary beliefs are first being formed. Yet, Jane’s background did not deter her from reaching her potential in her personal life and career. She has gone on from the slums to becoming an accomplished professional. She has worked as a top executive in two fortune 500 companies.
At the start of her journey into one of the Stem Fields, she was advised not to pursue a career in that path. The reason? “It is a difficult career path”, her acquaintances had said. However, Jane explained that it was the idea or belief that engineering was a difficult career path that had stirred her interest in this rarely-walked path.
In a time where the world is buried deep in uncertainty, we will all need to “be fearless” like Jane in order to take our next step. We will need to rise above whatever it is we see as the hurdle standing in the way of achieving our dreams. Rather than back off at the thought or sight of the challenges, let’s get driven by them so we can achieve our dreams and reach our full potential.
Here are a few lessons gleaned from one of the podcast that Jane was interviewed on while promoting her new book.
Take the First Step: Many dreams go unrealized because we want everything to be perfect before we launch out. But Jane advises against this: ‘All the options will never be laid out, you have to take the first step’, she says.
I recall when I read about SiSi Yemmie a successful Nigerian Lifestyle blogger’s journey to finding purpose. She realized that her vision became clearer as she took the first step.
In her book, Jane explained that so many things in life will look scary or impossible even; something we cannot do. What it will take to achieve them is courage. Courage and persistence is what will determine a positive outcome rather than not doing anything at all.
Create Time: As a working mother, the twenty-four hours in each day of the week, may seem too small or considered a limited time to take on something bigger than yourself. We are always preoccupied with wearing the “many hats” that we have to wear. So, to achieve something new or to achieve something greater, we may ask: where is the time? To this, Jane says, create it.
Jane believes that to create time, something has to give in other for you to achieve that audacious dream. In her case, a very busy executive who works in different countries, she had to give up a lot of things in order to have the time to write her book. For instance, she slept less hours, waking up early at 4.am to put in extra hours to write the book. She also had to quit going to the gym to spend more time with her family.
It’s OK to Be Bad at Some Things: Whoa! Did you read that? If these words were to be said in my church community, many women would exclaim “word!” or “rhema!” signifying a teachable moment.
Jane says that we always want to be perfect mothers, perfect career people, perfect sisters etc but you can’t be everything! You don’t have to be perfect in everything. You will kill yourself trying to do that.
When I heard this from Jane, it calmed my nerves further. Here is why. Upon getting married, I had three kids within four years. As such, I was overwhelmed with everything I had to do as a wife, mum, and career woman. I was surrounded by women who coined themselves “perfect mothers”. I had to walk on eggshells around them. Some had older kids and some fewer children than I had. The women with older children, perhaps, had forgotten what it was like for them when they were at the same stage as I was. I couldn’t find anyone who was struggling like myself.
I was constantly reminded by everyone around me that my primary role is a homemaker and as such should get accustomed to being one. But here I was falling under the weight of being one. I couldn’t find a suitable househelp. I almost went insane until I started reading blogs where I found similar stories and coping mechanisms too. So, imagine my joy when I heard it’s OK to be bad at some things from an accomplished professional who is also a wife and mother. It was really a teachable moment.
Jane’s solution to making your life great in spite of the many hats you have to wear is this: Focus on the things that are more important. Prioritize and choose some things to be good at. You could let some things go. You have a purpose in life. Pursue what is going to give you fulfillment.
After reading this piece, and you still lack the courage to take your first step, I will say in the words of Reverend William Sloane Coffin “Courage is a critical virtue. Will you be scared to death or scared to life?”. Be scared to life! Be fearless and chase after your dreams, they are valid!
You can get the book “Be Fearless” on Amazon or here if you are in Nigeria.
If you are seeking career advice, mentoring or coaching, join Jane’s mailing list here.