Sunday, September 17, 2017

22 Lessons I Learned this Year and my Birthday Wishlist

Hey Guys,

Thanks for reading the last post - the one about my Lagos experience so far. It has got to be my most engaging post on this blog yet (not most read though), with over 50 cumulative comments so far - 17 on the blog, 16 comments on LinkedIn, a few on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram and oh a couple of emails too. I especially appreciate Alfred's email - he sent me links to download all the SLC messages (I'm still jumping for joy) and then, I got one email inviting me to talk on security in Lagos. Well, I'm still figuring out that one (:D).
All this is to say; Thanks for reading. I appreciate. To think that subsequent to that post, I hadn't written for this blog since February. Again! Thanks for reading and engaging.

The past week was super too, in ways I can't begin to articulate (or in this case, write) but I'm grateful to God. Like for real.

So It's my birthday is in a few weeks, and as it is my tradition every year for the last couple of years, I write a birthday post. One time it was 65 things about me, the next year, it was a very long birthday wishlist, last year, it was all gratitude and this year, I'm doing a little mix.

In this post, I'd be writing the top 22 things I learned in my 21st year (some of the lessons would be about me), and to wrap it up, I'd drop the top 7 things I want as birthday gifts. I'm not exactly expecting it from anyone actually, it's more of a wishlist for myself (but eh, if body sweet you... Biko buy am for me :D, or send the money to my account and lemme buy it myself :D)

Let's dive in, shall we? Gracias!

What I learned/re-learned about life and me this year.

As you grow older, it's okay not to have everything figured out. As Long as you keep trusting God, You'd be fine.
  1. A Perfect Family is possible (well, not perfect-perfect, but perfect). With God at the center, everything is possible. Even though more and more dysfunctional families are springing up each day. Even though some men are still not worthy fathers, they are a few who are exceptions. and even though, we can't do anything about the families we were born into, we can definitely do something about the families we create. 1b. I have a mild case of daddy issues.
  2. 80/20 principle. Do the most important 20% first for all duties/responsibilities. This is especially for multitaskers. Sometimes, it's hard to effectively juggle multiple jobs and excel or make an impact at all of them, but you can succeed if you learn to stick with the 80/20 principle. There is always the 20% of work that is the most important and valuable, do those ones FIRST for all tasks, then do the other 80% next. Learn to prioritize - IMPORTANT over just Urgent. Delegate when you can, if you can.
  3. New challenges and opportunities excite me but also I get bored very EASILY. Scary! and I get easily distracted too. Also, I'm most productive in the early hours of the day, from 3am to around 1pm. I used to think I was nocturnal, but I guess having a 9-5 changed that a bit.
  4. Impact takes a great deal more than just doing your job. Making a difference requires HEART, not just sweat. This year, I also learned that when my heart isn't somewhere, I can't work. I'm not the kind of person who works out of obligation, I'm not duty bound, but if I love a task or a role, I'd kill it.
  5. Relationships are KEY. It's important not to burn bridges. People are key to where you are going and who you would become. It's important not to become dependent but then, understand that no one is an island and your next opportunity might come as a result of the person you knew as a child. So give your time and sweat to relationships, invest in healthy relationships, be the good guy.
  6. Your Journey is YOURS. Own it, love it!
  7. Social Media is Great but if you are not careful, you could become cluttered, unnecessarily vain, under pressure to impress etc. My advice? do not become your social media instead let social media become you. Sounds like the same thing but they are different.
  8. Grow your community. Your inner circle - harness them, love them, make them blossom but also, your outer circle: your mentors and role models - Follow them deliberately, and learn.
  9. With God, even when your life is spinning. It wouldn't be out of control but in control. In his control. Even when you are in the dip, know that God has his hands on you and he'd lift you out when he is ready. Understand that sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom to rebuild. So enjoy every part of the process because hey! you can't cheat the process. It's never easy, it's never all fun but it is in the process that you become.
  10. Work Culture and work environment matter a lot (to me). It is important that more than anything employers employ people not just because of skill or competence but also because they fit your culture. Creating the right environment for your workers to thrive, be themselves, have fun and be friends would give you results. 
  11. Money is important to me, but so is love and much more, is God. This is probably one of my most profound discoveries this year. Disclaimer: When I say money is important to me, I'm not talking about it in relation to other people. I really don't care how much a person has, but I mean it, in relation to myself. Making Money for myself is very important to me, but so is love and much more is GOD.
  12. I love ART. Oh God, I love ART. 
  13. When my heart is not somewhere, it is just not there and when it is. It is! When my heart is for someone, it just is.
  14. Everybody has a story. Everyone has their own issues. Everyone is dealing with something. No one is perfect. So never judge someone until you know their story, and even when you do know the story, shut up!
  15. Love Conquers All. When God got you, he got you! He'd never let me be, he'd never let me go. His love? His Spirit? Damn!
  16. Life is not always a bed of roses. There'd be almosts, there'd outright rejections but there'd also be victories. Enjoy each phase & each test, learn lessons, get stronger and Keep the faith! Know this! As long as the sun rises, you'd be fine!
  17. Run, Fight and no matter how hard it is or how bleak it looks... Do not grow weary! DO NOT SETTLE. Oh, my! Don't settle. No matter what, do not settle for less than you deserve in any relationship, in your career, in life. Settling is worst than growing weary.
  18. Do not FIT in. Even when it's just you. Even when you want to. Even in the seemingly little things. People would surely respect you more when you stay true to yourself and your principles. See, it doesn't have to make sense to anybody, it doesn't have to be a big deal, once it's not you, do not give in to pressure. Do not fit in.
  19. Celebrate little victories. The ones that happen inside of you, the personal milestones. Celebrate them. Learn to Celebrate yourself and the people around you. Celebrate for and with your friends, partners. Just Celebrate. Learn to appreciate people, especially your loved ones.
  20. Buying stuff for myself makes me incredibly happy. It's therapeutic. So I have decided to not become extravagant but to buy myself a little something every now and again. Just because, I work hard and I deserve it.
  21. Somehow, I have learned to love. Okay! That's wrong, the correct thing is I have learned to say I love you. Telling people I love them and feel it too, used to be an issue for me, but quite recently, I realized that it has become easier. I am still incredibly sensitive and yet, not open about my feelings, but yea ...
  22. "We cannot tap into that power and hang on to excuses at the same time. Your heart, mind, and hands must be free to lay hold of all that is ahead of you. Understanding the psychology of your excuses is pivotal in having permanent victory over them. So, my question to you is: When did you learn to give up on yourself? " - Sarah Jakes Roberts.
I still have more to write, but let's stick to this 22, at least for now.

.. and Now! What do I want for my birthday (which is October 8th, in case you are wondering :D)
This Year, I want just 7 things. Lol! I said just. Here they are, in order of priority.
  • A Laptop because mine is currently acting up and I just can't afford to be learning patience with a PC. There are other things in life to teach me that. And preferably a Macbook. Why? because it is high time :D. This macbook
  • Sneakers because I love Sneaks (crying) and right now, I want this particular three (:D) in this order: 1. Nike Air Huarache 2. Keexs Slip On 3. Sports shoes. (I wear Size 39/40 or UK size 6/6.5)
  • A Backpack just because I want a new black small one. Maybe this?
  • Books: Novels actually - Francine Rivers Novels (aside Redeeming Love, Bridge to Heaven and Lineage of Grace), or Marketing and Business Books :D or Sinners in the hands of a loving God by Brian Zahnd or any book by Max Lucado.
  • A Leather black very fine Journal
  • Cakes. Unfortunately, I don't like Red velvet or Chocolate cakes. Just get me plain ol' Vanilla - Soft, Fluffy, Sweet, Butter icing :D.
  • A lot of Love

If you read to this point (that's over 1600 words), mehn! You are AWESOME and I appreciate you honestly. Honestly.

Leave a comment, would you? Share the lessons you have learned this year with me, or your favorite of my lessons or say an early birthday greeting or preferably, ask for my account number (I'd really send it to you. :D)

PS: Lets hook up on Twitter or Instagram @peaceitimi

Monday, September 11, 2017

7 Months in Lagos, the key experiences I have had and How Paranoid I have Become

I have been in Lagos for about 7 months and in this not-too-long a time, I have had some amazing experiences (and oh! trust me. amazing doesn’t always mean good. You’d see!). In the next 1000+ words, I'd be sharing the most vivid experiences and incidents that I have encountered in Lagos so far.

1. Let’s start at the beginning: Three days after I got to Lagos, on the 1st of March, I went to my NYSC LGA for CDS (Community Development Service). I didn’t know the drill, so I left home early and got there around past 8 am (CDS was to start by 9 am). I didn’t mind waiting, as far as they actually start by 9 am, but then Lo and Behold, the LG Workers started strolling into the office by 9:30 am. As if that wasn’t annoying enough, I and two other girls who were waiting, had to sweep the office for them (they didn’t say please o, the lady just gave us the broom like it was part of the NYSC requirement — to sweep the LGI’s office).

We finished sweeping and then asked her when we would start. She said we were going to do the CDS at Unilag (yes, we would use our own t-fare to go to Unilag ) for what doesn’t concern us, but I still didn’t mind — I didn’t even know the drill, so it wasn’t a problem.

Long story short, we went to unilag, listened to primary school students debate and answer quiz questions on SDGs, served snacks, took pictures and then was dismissed by the LGI. But here’s where the story got worse.
Between leaving the class at Unilag, taking a cab to the school gate and a bus to Sabo, Yaba, I lost my phone — after only 3 days in Lagos! The thief did not even have a conscience, that I was wearing a corper’s uniform. No o! But that was fine. I took it as my welcome to Lagos stunt and got a new phone soon after.

2. A Few weeks later, I volunteered to help Mfon Ekpo handle projector and video interviews at Seminar, and Wow! It was like God spoke to me. Mfon opened my eyes to a lot and for Me, that was a significant part of my settling in Lagos.

3. But then about two weeks, I was to be at Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac for Google Digital Skill Trainers summit.

The morning of arrival, I woke up and found myself praying more than usual. I remember feeling like I was praying to avert something bad, but wasn’t so certain. So I shook it off and went to work, but throughout the day whenever something slightly out of place happened, I’d ask myself if that was the reason my Spirit prompted me to pray that much in the morning.

Well, I closed from work and had to find my way to Festac. I didn’t know how to, so I called like 3 different people asking for directions. Eventually, at one point, two of them gave me descriptions that synced, so I set out. I can’t remember the route, but I sha found my way to Festac gate. It was about 7:30 pm. I was supposed to take a bike, so I hailed one and told him Golden tulip and he said he knew it. So I relaxed, got on the bike and the trip started.

The bike ride was long and at one point I was going to ask the guy how far, but he turned into a street and when he did, I told myself, if he was going to a wrong place he wouldn’t make a turn (I don’t know what I was thinking sha. Mtcheew!). He made the turn and just kept going to the end of the road, suddenly he made an abrupt stop and told me to come down that we were here. I looked, lo and behold, he was dropping me off at another random hotel at the end of one random street. I didn’t even argue because, at that moment, I knew stopping was safe for me. So I let him go and ordered an uber. Then, It became clear, why I prayed that much in the morning.

I vowed though, not to enter bikes rode by Hausa men except I’m very sure of where I’m going to. EVER!

4. And then, six days later, as I was coming from a friend’s place at Ajah, the bus almost blew up. Lol! Scariest Shii ever! All I can remember is at one point, the bus slowed down and everyone started jumping out. I couldn’t see nada because smoke had covered the bus. I remember jumping out and praying that we are not jumping into a ditch because we couldn’t see.

Eventually, I felt my leg touch the ground and then ran (alongside every other person) away from the bus. I was shaking! Like really shaking! But yeah, again! I was grateful.
When I calmed down (more like after getting home, sleeping and then waking up), I began to wonder...

...Between the Festac incident and this, was God trying to get my attention? Smh! I felt so though, until one day when the bus I took from Yaba had a faulty brake on third mainland bridge. At this point, it dawned on me that faulty danfo buses were a normal thing in Lagos. I mean, it's hard to find a bus that is not shaking. So somehow, I am almost always scared when on danfo on third mainland bridge. But oh well.

5. Oh! Yes… Twice pick pockets almost picked my bag at obalende. The first time wasn’t that bad; he had only unzipped a side of my bag before I turned and he ran away. But the second time? The guy's hand was already inside my bag and when I turned, he looked at me dead in the eye with so much indifference that I started shaking. And he didn’t even run, he just turned and kept walking away like I was the one at fault. I was so scared. That eyes could kill without flinching. Scarier thing? Other people were around there watching him unzip and put his hand inside my bag but them no talk anything ni. Smh!

This! this solidified my Lagos Paranoia. Now, I’m crazy scared of Danfo buses especially on the third mainland bridge, I’m always watching my back, holding my bag tight, working fast and frowning in places like obalende, taking Uber at nights rather than any form of public transport but more, even when I’m not holding anything valuable, I’m always turning, watching my back and side. Even when I’m strolling down my street, I’m always wary of whoever is at my back, even if it’s a child. Oh dear Lagos!

6. Apparently, though, I’m not still careful enough as someone stole my phone from my pocket in a Keke at V.I about a month ago. I sha think this was jazz sha. Honestly! And it made me angry, not paranoid, not sad, just pissed. But yeah! The honest truth is I was pissed at myself, not because my phone was stolen but because of the warning signs, I ignored twice! 

7. But also, Lagos has been great too! Aside Mfon events (I have sworn to be a volunteer to her anytime I am available because I honestly get blessed each time), I have René and it’s getting incredibly better each day (Thank You Jesus. You are a great CEO), and my 9–5 is great too. The culture, the atmosphere, the people at Webcoupers are just amazing. Working at Webcoupers has taught me so much about entrepreneurship and life. My bosses are GoSH! I want to be like both of them in different ways. Yea! Google Digital Skills, the training (training people) in Lagos opened me up to Lagos, — gave me a level of visibility and purpose. Also, I started my first online course and loved it.

8. Yes Yes Yes! House on the Rock. I have loved this church and Pst. Paul for ages and been in Lagos has helped me hear him speak in real time. I was able to attend TAPE and SLC (heard Td Jakes peach in real life). #EMERGE. TAPE was particularly beautiful for me in ways that I cannot begin to explain. Dancing and worshipping God at TAPE was I don't know ... a thing! (for lack of a better word). I had a specific request at TAPE that didn't pull through but it got nothing away from that experience.

I haven’t had so many victories this year, gotten more than a few disappointments but they have taught me resilience and faith and strengthen my resolve to keep going. I’m super grateful for ease and favor in the little things like a great place to work, a great great place to live and friends that care. And oh! I feel a change! I feel God. I believe that the last months of this year would be the best. God has got me.

Indeed, Lagos has taught to me more paranoid, to watch my back, but it is also teaching me maturity and self-dependency and responsibility and discipline.

Lagos has been Good to me and I can’t wait to finish NYSC. I hate going for CDS. I’m rogue 😁

Did you enjoy the post tho? If yes! Leave a comment and share the link... Love you.

PS: I'd be turning 22 in a few weeks and in a few days, I'd be posting 22 lessons I learnt in my 21st year. Watch out! Preferably, subscribe to the blog :D

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dear Jesus, HELP!

I really didn't want to post this but ... I think I need to. So Here it is, my personal letter to Jesus.

''Funny thing is, I wrote it a few days before posting it and the next day, Jesus Answered! Maybe, that's why I'm comfortable posting it now because he has already answered. I don't know but I do know that God is amazing
And I pray that as you read, if you need His help in any way, in any form, and for anything, I hope he answers you on time - promptly as He did mine. 
Bear in mind that God spoke to me - calmed my storm, started the work in a very unusual way and in an unusual place. So, if you need Him, do not box Him. Just sincerely ask for help in any way you can - in writing like I did or in speaking or in whatever form - just be sincere and let him answer in His own time and in His own way. But be rest assured that He would answer!''

So Below is a letter I wrote to Jesus a few days ago because I was down - emotionally, spiritually and in every way possible. I just felt empty. I have been feeling this way for a while now though but it was time to plead and since I have been finding it hard to pray, I wrote this.

Eh, I can't say enjoy... Just well, read.


'Dear Jesus,

Let me start with, I Miss You.