2years ago, I got to know about this event but for some reason, I could never attend. However, I was already on their mailing list. I got mails from Bankole Williams, the convener of the event. To be honest, I didn’t exactly open all his mails but I didn’t unsubscribe either cos my guts told me there was something of great benefit in those mails. Last year, he had an amazing lineup and I couldn’t make it again. Fast forward to 2017, I was determined to attend but was not sure if I was going to make it since the AMAAs was initially scheduled for the same day as the event. Notwithstanding, I did register and began to make preparations on how I was going to attend and then carry out my responsibilities for the AMAAs. Then I got a call from Tuke Morgan asking if the company could be a media partner for the event. The vision of the event tied well with our brand’s mission statement of inspiring, I asked her to send us an official mail and We took it up from there.
All of that first paragraph is just so you can have a background to the determination that I had to attend this event and how developing events propelled me to ensure that I made it a date with Live Your Dreams Africa. As you get to read on, you will see why I should never have missed this event as the stories shared by the panelists came as a reminder on the need to stay true to my dreams. It has encouraged me to keep living the dream and pursuing passion- a statement that affirms all that i have had to hear from people. This was really about life in general touching on Spirituality, morality, career, friendship, business and so much more. Not to waste your time, lets break it down according to the panels.
It started with Bez and Elohor Aisien, moderated by Omalicha. The key lesson here is CONSISTENCY .
If I had a vlog series, I would have really chatted away on the stories of how they both started and where they are today. Bez from the school choir to seeking what he could do and be happy doing even if he wasnt paid. Thats how he found music. He played the guitar which influenced his genre of music. He had free gigs and sought after Cobhams to make hisdreamss bigger but got no audience. Years after, Cobhams sought him out and gave him an opportunity that paid off as he sang at a concert where Asa was performing. So imagine that I would classify Bez and Asa on the same radar yet he was once seeking to know her. He has chosen a path that is not too popular but yet the people have resonated with it. He has found the industry that can understand his song which is the corporate world and has followed up with it. It’s been 10years and he’s still going strong.
2years older than that is Beth model by Elohor. The Elohor we see today is the business woman who used to sell fashion items off the trunk of her car but today has the franchise for Elite model which will be 10years this year. She ran that franchise with her money for 6years until she got Aquafina to sponsor. Even at that, she keeps nurturing the thought of giving up but yet again the success of her male model at Elite world has given her another reason to make it happen again. Something worthy of mention here is not to follow the crowd. So I see a trend where people say that those who do 9-5 are not living their dreams. Elohor debunks that reminding us that the life she has is not for everyone. Her best friend tried it and after 1year, she went back to 9-5. DONT DO IT BECAUSE EVERYONE IS DOING IT. Like Bankole Williams implied, do what you love!
Next panel was Bovi and Ebuka Uchendu and their session was quite interesting. Most prominent lesson here was to START irrespective of the time.
Bovi started out afraid and even when he thought he had it, he goofed on stage. He goofed a few times but got better, changed location and today, Bovi is successful. Ebuka on the other hand studied law. Not sure what he wanted to do but entered for Big Brother Nigeria, spent time reflecting while in the house and decided TV was the way to go. He came out and followed through, understudying some of the best. It doesn’t matter what time you get the light bulb, what matters is that you get it and you start as soon as you get it. Mentorship is equally great but note that mentorship does not require the physical presence of the one you wish to mentor you. Study them and let their lives inspire you. There are tonnes of materials online, Bovi pointed out.
The third panel which Steve Harris moderated had Mai Atafo and Debola Williams and this session is one that I am going to dwell alot on. It was my BEST session. All thatIi took home and I am currently working with stems from this session. If you will like to be empowerd, wait for the next part.
Know Your worth
When Mai started to speak, you could have misunderstood his statement of facts as pride but what I did see was a man that knows his worth. Mai was working with Guiness as a brand manager when he decided to quit and face tailoring full time. His life turned around when a man placed some orders and when he wanted to place the next orders, he did point out a few things that he felt Mai could do better and went on to refer Mai to his tailor. Mai listened and went to meet the tailor he was referred to and after listening to this man, he decided he needed some extra course which was why he not only travelled to get knowledge, he flew in someone who could offer him that additional knowledge. Today, he is the go to guy when you speak of men’s suits in Africa and has also gone on to create Weddings by Mai, a venture which he admits brings in the bulk of his resources.
Discover the Business in Your Passion
Being passionate about something should drive you to excel but, you must attach business to it. Passion will not pick the bills, understanding the business side of your talent will.
As soon as Debola opened his mouth to speak, I was lost in his words. The guy beside me tried getting my attention but I was actually lost in what he was saying and reflecting on ways that I could apply what he has said to my life. The first lesson is determination. Debola had things rough at some point in life and that path was what drove him to seek out knowledge and thirst for greatness which has yielded an abundance of fruits from his participation in the president’s successful election and subsequently, that of the Pesident of Ghana. Before this 2, I found out that he had done GEJ before the people cried out seeking change. Still on the elections and determination, it took him 4 months of reminders before he was able to get the attention of the man who gave him the opportunity to work on that campaign.
You call it network, Debola calls it people bank. He says when money fails, all that you are left with is the people you have created relationships with. They are the ones that can help you when you when you are broke. They are the ones that will connect you to that opportunity that fits well into your business or career. You need to carefully create a list of these people who you will like to have in your network and consciously create that relationship with them. I never thought of it that way. But now, I do.
The last panel was moderated by the convener, Bankole Williams and the panelists were Soni Iabor and Bolanle Austen Peters. They spoke of the years they have put in and the lessons they have learnt on the way up.
Be Prepared for War
Bolanle is a strong woman who cannot be done away with. Little wonder she reminded us that we need to take charge of our dreams and projects. Should anything or anyone stand in the way, be ready to fight hard with all that you have even when it means fighting dirty. I guess dirty can be relative.
Soni Irabor taught us to respect those whom we regard as mentors or wish to mentor us. We cannot be dictating for them rather, we should have an open mind to actually learn from them.
This must have been a very long read for you but one that I believe will affect your lives positively. On the 5th of June, I will be sending out a mail to those on our mailing list. That mail will contain some of the quotes that Debola Williams shared during his talk. Quotes that are life changing!
On that note, I am off to live my dreams and I do hope that you are living your dreams. If you haven’t started to live it, it’s never too late to start. Start now! Do someone a favor and share the link to this post so that they too can begin to live their dreams.
Have you ever attended Live Your Dreams Africa?
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