Navigating Disappointment

 

‘…Challenges produce perseverance, perseverance produces character and character produces hope which does not disappoint…’ – A very clever guy called Paul.

Okay guys today I am about to get very real. As we approach the end of this year 2016, my feelings can be summed up in one simple tweet: I cannot wait to bid my not so dear friend 2016 goodbye. As usual, I was on the tube when I got confirmation in my soul on what I needed to write about today. Shortly after, a good friend of mine posted a status on Facebook (which I will share later) and I had my usual AHA moment. Lets cast our minds back to the beginning of the year, I wrote about how to wield the vulnerability superpower. I wish I called on that power more throughout the year, because now I know that recognising it as a skill was the universes way of offering a helping hand for what would prove to be a year that really required it. Vulnerability was the tool we all needed in our tool kit this year. I asked his permission on if I could share the below and he said yes so Jake, thank you very much for your raw words:

“A little over a week ago, I spoke to some friends over dinner about my concerns about my mental health. Despite the occasional high points of joy, those closest to me will attest to the fact that 2016 has been an emotionally taxing year on many levels and it certainly affected me mentally. (Side note: Please remind me never to laugh at Kylie Jenner again when she makes seemingly facile statements in interviews because she was right about 2016; it was indeed the year of ‘realising stuff’.) Between my inbox being a gallery of rejection letters, my lack of self-actualisation making me feel less than every time I’m asked, “What do you do?” and global politics going in unexpected directions causing me to feel increasingly insecure about the prospect of realising a career in diplomacy, this year has been nothing short of hectic. 
So to everyone out there going through something and navigating this wilderness season of life, this is just to let you know that you are not alone. Behind the expertly-edited Instagram photos, real life is happening on this side too.”

Beautiful words that just released a sense of peace and freedom over me, and made me feel like I was less alone! Evidence that what the world needs right now is not a set of well practised and perfectly articulated speeches, but a raw and honest human connection that by nature empowers and encourages.

This year has been a really tough one. . One big bonding factor I have had with many people is just how much disappointment we have all had to experience, both personally and collectively. So with my usual practical slant, I think we need to unpack ways to deal with such disappointment in a way that enhances as opposed to depletes our mental state. In usual fashion we will do this in 3 key tips! Hope they help you, or that they show you that what you have been doing this year, has been building your endurance.

  • Just allow yourself to be disappointed

This is one I REALLY struggle with! I remember this time last year, when I wrote the post on putting my big girl panties on. I was deeply unhappy at work and was on the verge of leaving. I felt like I was not progressing in my work and nothing I was doing had much meaning. I remember when we had the promotion drinks and I attended and congratulated everyone but on the inside I was deeply and harrowingly disappointed and jealous. Not because it was my turn, but more because I couldn’t believe how little progress I felt that I had made and how bleak it all seemed. Did I let myself say this? No. So what happened was that state of being lasted longer than it should have. All of this is to say, guys, when you are disappointed in something; the first step to handling it is admitting it. The story ended in me owning up to a manager of mine and since then I have done two distinct roles this year and found fun and excitement again.

Another example… I remember when I got my 3rd year results at university. I was in Florence on an amazing holiday and I was desperately hoping for a First. I had worked so hard and really believed I would get it but I didn’t share it with anyone. So when I opened that email and it said congratulations on your 2:1 with my sister and best friend and they were so happy and excited for me, I swallowed my tears and put on a big smile and did not acknowledge that actually I really did feel that I deserved that 1st. I would later find out I missed it by 1%. Nevertheless because they were so happy I swallowed my own true feelings and rejoiced. In hindsight I can see that it was torture. No matter where you are in relation to anyone else, you must own your feelings. So a challenge to us all including myself, admit it when you are disappointment. Disappointment and humility are not mutually exclusive.

  • Seek out the Big-Picture Purpose and cling to it

There is something about zooming out of the small things and looking at the bigger picture – that gives me comfort in the face of disappointment. For me, and I think I have shared this before; my faith really does give me something to hold on to. I was at my regular service on Sunday and experienced this verse, which I had honestly never looked at before. It basically explained that our lives are a letter from God to our time specifically and intentionally.

How I read it was that God considered our current time (with all the technology, social media, political climate etc) and thought we were the best people to send to live now to handle it. This really spoke to me. What an incredibly opportunity? If I cast my mind back to some of the disappointments I have faced this year, none of them have changed this fundamental fact that I was born for such a time as this. I have still been able to use my gifts and talents to make a difference in my environment. Like Nina Simone will say ‘I’ve got life’ and no disappointment can take that away. Even if this is the first time you have encountered such a truth, I promise you if you let it sit with you, you will grow into that revelation that you are totally meant to be HERE. Right now, today.

Keeping this ‘big-picture’ truth in mind makes me feel peaceful and encourages me to keep going. God picked me to do this thing called life right now for a reason and I have time ahead of me to evolve into the fullness of that!

  • Let your challenges complete the character transformation they bring

I’ve spent the past year participating in a friends faith journey. He is honestly one of the most incredibly perseverant people I have ever encountered. I know he will achieve his dreams in the fullness of time, but what I have learnt is the appropriate posture of adopt in the meantime. He has been diligent, kind and still able to support and encourage others around him. The sheer patience he displays is incredible and I think it has afforded him an inner strength that is rare. Disappointment should not disarm you, it should propel you.

There are many factors that may mean you don’t get what you want when you want it but one thing that I have learnt is that by allowing the disappointment weigh in on your perception of yourself, you give it the power to take you out. Your achievements do not render you worthy, You do. A quote I love, if your character cannot sustain you, your dream will destroy you.

So maybe you got that seventh job rejection on your inbox like Jake above ? or that illness is still causing you pain? or that relationship ended and your heart is broken ?

Well my dear friends, I can promise you this: you are not alone. What has not completely ruined you will only ever build you. So my advice? OWN it, put PERSPECTIVE on it, and adopt a posture of resilience, which will ultimately position you for the thing you so badly crave.

24 days left this year. All those days packed with endless moments and opportunities. Make the most of them. I know on December 31st I will be very joyfully closing the chapter that has been 2016 and then again as I always do, with my arms outstretched to continue to wish impossible things for 2017 and beyond.

Share your #overcomingdissapointment stories with me on s@seunawo.com.

Love you so much

Seun

xx

The Anti Series- Can we differ and get along?

“True wisdom listens more, talks less, and can get along with all types of people.”
― Kiana Tom

 

Hey guys!!

Hope you have all been well as we approach a cold autumn and the end of the year.

It has been a very interesting couple of weeks on the world scene; my last post written on the day of the US election result really expressed my emotions towards the whole situation. It is safe to say I was devastated and disappointed. Over the past two weeks though, one thing I can say I have been truly grateful for is the conversations I have had with many people about it. I have been able to speak with people I agree with and people I completely disagree with and still come to a place of understanding and compassion. This got me thinking, is it possible, in the world we live in today, to disagree with someone and still manage to get along?

One thing that the recent political activities have shown us is that there is a geographical divide that deeply separates us across the world: urban vs rural. A great proportion of people whose voices you hear in the media (both classic and social) are people from cities, who have access to information easily and are influenced by a more liberal way of life. The other side looks a lot different and the question is, are those voices represented?

Another interesting dynamic is that of millennials. A recent study showed that although we are the most vocal about our opinions and views online, we are much less likely than previous generations to participate in the political process. In other words, there are a lot of words and not enough action. I think one of the factors that come into play here is that we hardly hear or experience opposing views so it seems like everyone we know is thinking the same way as us therefore everything is fine. No need to vote, because everyone is voting. Well people the ‘everyone’ is clearly non inclusive of people whose voices we do not encounter on our favourite social media platforms.

This week, I wanted to focus once again on the art of conversation. Not just speaking to people, but engaging with people with different views intentionally and with the perspective of being open to learn something. I hosted the very First Maximise your life dinner on Saturday night and it was better than I could have imagined. If you guys remember I opened this up to subscribers to sign up. Off the back of the election, I chose the topic ‘The Role of religion in society.’ I hosted 5 ladies, all very different. Not that this matters but we had different religious backgrounds represented, Christian and Muslim specifically and we spoke about religion and what role we all thought it should play. After a friendly ice-breaker and a crab and avocado starter, we began an intentional discussion which ultimately ended up allowing us all to share our experiences, fears, hopes and dreams for society. What was so beautiful is there was an opportunity for everyone to speak. By creating a safe environment, everyone has their defences down and hearts open to truly hear from one another and I can honestly say my life is richer for it.

What is my point? Our generation is so used to uniting on our similarities and I do not believe this is sustainable to producing any kind of workable society. We need to be able to address our differences in a healthy manner which fosters understanding and not opposition. I was able to think about issues from a different perspective! How refreshing!

If we are to move into a more connected and compassionate world, it will have to be facilitated by good old vulnerable conversations! So thank you very much Phoebe, Efua, Abiola, Toniola and Natasha for attending and for giving me lots to think about.

In rounding up the Anti-Series, let me challenge you to do the most counter intuitive thing ever: bond with someone different from you! Ask them questions, bearing in mind that it is not what you say, but how you say it that counts.

Share your experiences with me! Would love to hear from you 🙂

Have a good week!

All my love,

Seun

And so we have it… The power of the TONGUE Trumps

‘Please never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it’ -Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hello guys,

I had to do an off-cycle post today because I believe a lesson I shared a few months ago has to be reiterated very strongly so that we can really position ourselves for success.

It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I gathered with my girlfriends all of last night only to realise that that glass ceiling was not coming down. Amongst the shock, despair and realisation that perhaps the world is not where i thought it was, i remembered what i had written a couple o months ago and so i will share it again..

‘Theres something about this Trump’

The point is everyone has an opinion on Donald J Trump. The question is how he has managed to be so successful? Political analysts have eluded this to the rise of social media icons in America, to his success as a business man and how people might find that inspiring, or to his brutal honesty.

Whilst I think these things might be true, I think there is a more powerful factor driving DJT’s success. It is something we all have to develop to take the steps we need to better ourselves and strive for success. Donal Trump is probably the most self-confident person I have ever seen on TV.

As I listen to his speeches, and how he regards himself, I would be confused if he were not successful! He is always positive about his chances, even when it seems impossible and he does not change his tone with the results! He believes in himself seriously and is always positively affirming his actions. This got me thinking: I need some of this confidence in my life!! I spend so much time doubting myself, feeling bad, thinking I may not succeed at things. Guys, we need to give ourselves a shot! Speak positively about your goals, and they will also start to be positive! Words have producing power!

Motivationfordreamers.com explains: ‘Your words have power in them. I know there are some that don’t agree with this, but there are spiritual laws at work that affect you whether you recognize them or not. What you believe does not change the truth. The law of gravity works whether you believe in it or not. The law of getting what you speak works – whether you believe in it or not. Even if you don’t believe it, why take chances? Take the safe route. Say the right things. If you can change your thinking and talking to be in line with your dreams, then you are on your way to achieving them.’

YOUR WORDS CREATE YOUR DESTINY.

I really believe this- you will never achieve something you do not believe deep down you can. It also does not stop at believing it, it is also about speaking in line with it. Donald Trump has been calling himself a winner for decades, and his life has always turned out to be in line with that. I’m obviously not saying this is the only reason, what I am saying is his success demonstrates the power of speaking positively as a tool in our success toolbox!

I came across this video of Donald Trump on Oprah in 1988 and I was stunned to see that the way he thought about himself and spoke about himself was the exact same as what he does now. If there’s one thing you can say about the man it is that he is consistent! There is power in that.

One of my favourite philosophers Descartes’ most famous quote is: I think, therefore I am. This is so true, you are what you think and what you think influences what you say. What you say builds who you become. This is just one of those principles in life!

So guys, what are you SAYING about your life? The only person not surprised about Donald Trump’s success is him. He’s been consistently classifying himself as a ‘winner.’ How do you see yourself?

I wrote those words months ago, and I truly have seen that they were extremely correct. I am not deluded enough to affirm that this was the only reason why Donald Trump won the election. There are other factors: political apathy, sexism, a flawed political process etc which contribute to this hugely. But, what I cannot deny is just how one man could prove everyone, including people in his party wrong. There is power in our ability to speak positively over ourselves and also passionately defend our dreams comes in. Let’s harness the skill and use it to produce positive aspects of our dreams that build society.

On another note I think it is incredibly important to focus on the woman who lost this election. Watching Hillary Clintons concession speech, I was filled with emotion. A quote she said really resonated with me and is what I think all of us, male and female millennials, people just starting our careers and lives, and in some cases political journeys: you will have successes and setbacks but you must NEVER stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it.

I think some of that hope, that a vote could actually be worth it, was what let Mrs. Clinton down. Not enough people believed that.

So seunawo readers, I don’t know how this whole election has made you feel, or even perhaps this year! We witnessed Brexit happen, which is now proving a mess, and have also witnessed an unprecedented triumph of a man with a dream. I would encourage you all not to lose hope in our future. Sadly as the young generation that will inherit whatever this ends up looking like we may feel unfairly treated but thats okay. With a positive attitude, diligence and hard work i believe that we can rise to the challenge so that when it is our turn, in any part of the world we will make positive changes that build a more inclusive world that works for everyone.

I’ll be licking my wounds for a while about not seeing the first female president elected today, but I can assure you, that glass ceiling will come down in our lifetime. I am positively affirming it.

Take care everyone and spread love.

It is well.

All my love,

Seun

 

 

The Anti Series: What’s your Personal Motivator?

‘Don’t compare your insides to any ones outsides’ – Carole Bayer Sager

Hey Guys!!

Happy Autumn, it is officially the season for jumpers and hot tea and I absolutely love it. I am writing today from my old university, which is so bizarre! I am here on a recruiting trip for work and it is always a time for me to think of how far I have come! Thank you for the really positive responses to the last post- on conversations and for filling up the places for the first Maximise your life dinner so quickly! To those who secured a spot, we will be sending you all the information you need including the menu and dinner topics this weekend so look out for it. For everyone else, next time! I’ll host one in Lagos as well soon as I know people there are on this journey with us as well. Exciting times!

Today, in continuing with the ANTI Series, I wanted to touch on another thing I think we need to do more of to build our best selves: asking ourselves the right question. Like I said I am at Warwick recruiting and have been here for two days. I spoke to many many keen university students who are looking at me with so much hope that they may stand in my place shortly, Thinking, if I could only get to where she is I would be happy.

I wish I could tell them the truth, that their journey to success will be a life-long thing. Getting that coveted job will not end their journey to success, but actually kick start it. I would tell them this for sure if any of them asked. Rarely do I get a question about my own perception of my success. They ask me how I got here, they ask me what I do, they ask me if I like my job and I tell them the true answers to all of those things. In that discourse though I cannot help myself, I have to tell them that they should be present in their NOW and appreciate what stage they are currently at. I tell them that the journey to personal happiness and fulfilment is just that, it is a journey and it requires you not to compare your insides, to someone else’s outsides. My job is my outside; my personal motivator is my inside. Quite frankly, you don’t want to share the journey I went through to reach a place of personal motivation that I now fulfil with my job and other things. You have to go on your own journey.

They look at me nodding and I know this is only going into one ear and out the other as they are gauging if I have written down their name for a reference. I can tell they don’t think that piece of advice is valuable and I am comforted than in a few short years, they will be where I am speaking to their younger selves passing on the same advice having lived a little.

This experience really got my thinking, when you meet someone who you look up to, someone who’s job you admire, or aspire to, what questions do you ask?

I am also guilty of this, I ask them about how they got to where they are, what they do etc. However, I think there is a more valuable question we need to be asking. You see the thing you are admiring about this person actually has very little to do with what they do. You are looking at who they ARE. So why don’t we skip the surface questions and dig for something deeper?

I was watching my regular Super Soul Sunday fix, and I came across an interview with Oprah and Carole Bayer Sager one of the most influential songwriters in the world. She explained how she was absolutely unable to receive her success when she achieved it. Now after a 50 year long career is she able to really appreciate everything and has reached a place of personal fulfilment and happiness. Oprah asks her ‘How do you get to this place sooner?’

She says: ‘You don’t. You get there when you get there. You set an intention but you don’t get there until you’re there.’

I love this so much. What Carole is trying to say is that this journey called life is a journey to living out your purpose. At an early age some of us are stuck in the system and therefore think it has to do with our jobs and all the boards and committees we attach ourselves to. That may be so, but there is something deeper going on. Carole explained that feeling anxious and unsafe as a child and young adult, drove her to write songs that made people feel less alone and loved. The means by which she did that was her song writing. Someone with the same personal motivator could have decided to become a social worker. The outcome is the different, but the driver is the same. For me, my personal purpose is really to make people feel included and understood; To make them feel like life can be amazing and that you are empowered enough to design a life that meets your needs. I think this desire came from a young age where I didn’t necessarily feel included or didn’t really have any real sense of empowerment or my own agency in creating a life I could love.

Once I started to plug into my own sense of power I became and still am desperate to share this truth with everyone and anyone who comes my way. If your personal motivator is not connected to what you are spending years doing, you’ll find that you will not be doing that thing for very long. This is why the 3D model is so important, you can strategically map out your life to cover all bases!

At the end of the interview, Oprah asked a question which I want to posit to you all today as well. We have talked about personal motivators, and how asking the right question can really lead you to learning the truth about what actually drives peoples success. This question is one that I think we all need to answer for ourselves, so here it is:

When is your life force most fulfilled?

Carole Bayer Sager Answered: When I am being creative.

Oprah answers: When I am increasing peoples consciousness

My answer: When I can uplift someone from a place of feeling like they cannot achieve anything to having hope of doing what they love.

What is your answer? When you figure it out you can really use it as a means to check whether you are actually spending your time and energy on the right things.

Life may be a journey, but it doesn’t have to be a WASTED journey. There is always a way to fulfil that inner life –force-you just need some self-awareness to navigate your way through.

PS! Although I am not a HUGE fan of online tests, I took one on personal motivators and it was so accurate! Try it out here and share your results with me! Tell me about you feel most fulfilled and if the activities you take on in your life align to those… if not what are you going to do to change that?

Looking forward to hearing back from you guys!!

Lots of love,

Seun

xx

 

The ANTI Series: The Art of Conversation

Quote of the day: ‘Conversation is an exercise of the mind; gossip is merely an exercise of the tongue.’- Unknown

Hey guys!

Hope you enjoyed the Tony Robbins inspired session from two weeks ago.

Understanding the things that actually drive your behaviour a crucial to learning about yourself and that talk really blessed me. If you missed it, check it out here.

This week, continuing this ‘ANTI’ series which really about shed light on behaviours and perspectives which are so easily misunderstood or forgotten amongst us. Today, I want to talk about the art of conversation.

In a world where we are so disillusioned with social media based relationships where you are more honest with your fingers than you are with your mouth, I think it is completely counter cultural to pause, sit down and have an honest and open conversation.

Over the past two weeks, my life has been FULL of these and I have gained such perspective- it has been mind blowing.

Now guys, I’m sure some of you are thinking ‘oh but I talk all the time’. Yes that’s true, but there is a difference between talking about others, and actually sharing your thoughts, perspectives and experiences.

There is a kind of conversation where you find that you have listened more than you have spoken. Where you realise that your response isn’t brewing in your mind as the other person is speaking. Where you are learning and understanding the other person more with every word. And perhaps most importantly where you are humble and open to having your perspective enlarged or even changed by genuinely receiving the perspective of the person you are so blessed to be in conversation with.

I do not think we talk enough, and that is why when we actually do begin to speak, we find that we just cannot stop.

If you follow me on snapchat you’ll probably wonder if I am running a small catering business because of just how much I cook and host people round my dinner table. As we discovered last week a key human need is the need for connection and my dinner table is just where I get it. I love to sit and have long and deep conversations with people. With the right combination of food, wine and a great gang of people, you can really learn a lot! One thing I’ve found I do is I pour in a lot of love into the details of my dinners even if they are last minute (they almost always are) because it is all part of setting the atmosphere for connection. So guys this is going to be one of those vulnerable (and perhaps lengthy) posts where I actually share some detail on a couple of dinners I have had which have really raised my perspective.

  1. The ‘I haven’t seen you in a while catch up’

So this weekend, I sat with two of my oldest friends, armed with a slow cooked lemon and herb chicken and an amazing garden salad plus two (cough cough or more) bottles of wine, we sat down at my dinner table and had an amazing conversation. I listened. I learnt and honestly I grew. One of the incredibly interesting things we spoke about was this concept of faith. As some of you may know, I am Christian i.e. I believe in Jesus and everything that alludes to a real relationship with him. I came to this point of choosing this belief on my own 5 years ago and it has been a journey since. I sat at a table with two of my friends who have different beliefs from me and had the most impactful conversation on my faith that I have ever had. It was not always like this though. The last time I had a conversation with one of these same friends it ended in disaster and we hardly revisited it again. I think it actually caused a strain where both of us were feeling deeply judged by the other. Here we were though about 2 years after this incident and I had come to the table (literally) open and curious and humble. Sometihng amazing happened: as we talked, I saw my friend in a completely different way. I realised that actually at the core of it we will get along if we understand one another. She shared some beautiful experiences she had had with me on her own faith journey, I shared mine, my other friend shared his and we ended at this place of deep gratitude. For GOD and how we had all in our own way found faith and hope. For the conversation (of course the good food) and generally for life and the feeling of being awakened by heart stirring discussions. Were there things said I could have been defensive about? Absolutely. But that is not the focus. If the focus is to LISTEN you’ll always leave the conversation fuller. Read More

The ANTI Series – Let’s a take a look inwards…

‘Any time your mind perceives that doing, believing or feeling something meets at least three of your needs, then you will become addicted to that thought, feeling or action’- Tony Robbins

Hey Guys!

I must admit, this bi-weekly rota is a little bit more difficult to manage than I expected, however it seems life this is actually a much better way to engage as I have gotten much more feedback with it! So yay!

This week I want to dive straight into it because this is actually an incredibly important concept and I’m excited to get the conversation going. So a couple a weeks ago, I attended a weekend course on ‘Life Coaching.’ Potentially the most misunderstood profession, I wanted to see what it actually all was about and get some coaching myself. Through the weekend as we did different exercises to help us gain clarity on our goals, I couldn’t help but wonder: who actually thinks about themselves deeply enough to get to the point of transformative understanding?

Read More