November 09, 2019

Updates on my book

               I am writing the book I need to finish to get to the one I actually want to write.

I am writing my dissertation.

And it's more than researching academic papers endlessly or making sense of academic writing and research methods which is bad enough.

It's about dealing with the anxiety of not having the time to write or not knowing what to write in the face of looming deadlines. It's negotiating deadlines on the school, home and work front and still finding the mental space to untangle the answers to the many problems that come with the work itself.

Sometimes I am stuck under a cloud for longer than I would be if I didn't let the fear of failure paralyse me. Sometimes it's the cloud itself that will only dissipate when I am good and ready, so I put the work aside and do something else.

And I tell the task master and the time keeper in my head that it takes as long as it takes.

In the beginning, I couldn’t find a topic that was mine.

With each topic I flirted with (and there were at least 4), I would fill folders with research for months before discovering that the topic wasn’t working and starting again.

It seemed fruitless until finally, I found the elusive gap in the literature that my work could fill.

Although I stumbled my way to it, it was unmistakably what I had set out to research without knowing it.

And it couldn’t have happened any earlier.

Of course, I would have preferred to avoid my early failures but I would also have missed out on the pleasure of figuring it out.

And all this is good practice for the other book- the one I am living now to write later.


I've written about writing my book
here, here and here but don't be like the time keeper in my head!

July 02, 2019

#IStandWithBusola: Beyond hashtags.

The “When they see us” Netflix series, tells the story of five black boys aged 14-16, who spent between 5-12 years in jail for a crime they did not commit based on wildly conflicting testimonies alleged to have been doctored by the New York Police Department to incriminate them.

Several years later, the real criminal who had not only raped but assaulted the victim, inflicting injuries that left her with life changing injuries and disability, confessed to his crime. This led to a series of events that saw the release and vindication of the five men and a TV series based on their story.

I not only watched Oprah Winfrey’s interviews with the five who paid for another man’s crimes but read interviews and news stories about the rape survivor.

Although someone went to jail for the rape and the wrongfully jailed were released, exonerated and compensated, the lives of the central six people involved had been irreparably damaged by one life altering event, with ripple effects on hurt families, communities and racial relations.

For the parties, a palpable sense of hurt remained that the hands of justice could not erase- they needed healing.

Healing to overcome the crushing pain of destinies altered and time stolen. The lost sense of security and trust in the goodness of God and people. The lost faith in the safety of the world. The shattered confidence in their ability to protect themselves from evil and the ability to be protected by the people, systems and societies they trust.

I recognised this same sense of loss and struggle to heal in Busola Dakolo’s retelling of events from when she was 16 years of age. Events which for her, stopped time.

Since her public allegations of rape against Biodun Fatoyinbo, the head pastor of COZA, there has been social media outrage and protests at the church, spurred along by understandably angry but also inciting narratives in some quarters.

Demands for a confession and “I stand with Busola” hashtags have been amplified across several social media platforms by an improvised community of supporters trying to even the power distance between the accuser and the accused, protected by a large and loyal following.

But it will be short sighted to think protests to disrupt the peace of innocent congregants on a Sunday is the answer.

It will be naïve to think that getting on the handles of church members to disparage their experiences which may have vastly differed from hers or insult them for their opinions where they have gone against hers, is redress.

It will be insulting to think her message- and the reason she put herself out there- was to feed our angst with the next trending story to form camps to lambast each other with.

It will be an oversight to have watched and yet not seen a woman trying to take another step in her journey of healing by owning her narrative and innocence. To have listened and yet not realised that this acrid environment we have created on social media in her name is likely the very thing she wants to walk away from- entitled behaviour characterised by a lack of self-control, misguided show of force and unchecked disregard for the boundaries of others.

If we are only standing with Busola online and not using the right channels to challenge the absence of justice for victims of rape and consequences for rapists, then we are only after our social media fix because to stand with Busola is to provide, back and fund legal action against sexual predators and protest against laws, policies and systems that institutionalise rape, harassment, domestic violence, and hostile conditions against women so this is not allowed to happen again!

It is to stand with the victims she gave a human face and human voice to by speaking out and create or publicise where they already exist, support for victims so they can find their voice and regain their confidence faster than she did.

It is to support the vulnerable women around us limping about with half-told and untold truths because they have no one to turn to for solace or courage.

Other survivors have and will speak out but let’s not make them the victims of their stories by turning their life’s pain into ammunition for our distracting #MeToo movements, cancelling culture, online bullying and dissention with religious organisations.

It will be simplistic to think that this is what it will take to stop sexual predators from getting away scot-free and change our deeply entrenched culture of enablement let alone help survivors get the justice and the healing they need!

If all we take out of this is reduced to a hashtag and we are not challenged as a society, to move away from the system of victim silencing and victim shaming that makes the victim carry the shame of the perpetrator and the perpetrator, the innocence of the victim, then she has told us her story in vain.

If we are not challenged as friends, spouses, family members and members of religious and secular organisations, to remove the log of misplaced loyalty from our eyes, that makes us enable where we should love tough and hold people to account so that they can experience the natural consequences of their actions and course correct, then we have simply allowed ourselves to be entertained.

May 30, 2019

You and the others in your head.

You're in a meeting. You feel nervous because you will soon be addressing the room.

You are aware that you can speak and nothing outside your skill set is needed, not even a boost to the volume of your voice, since you've just heard the last person speak at their normal range and you picked up what they said just fine. 

Stepping out of your head, you notice you are not the room, just the chair. A chair much like the one you are occupying now. You see that everyone has a chair too, a role they play in the room. Together you all fill up the space in the room, one person saying his piece and then the other picking it up.

You realise you are not required to fill up the silence because there is no silence, just voices- ones you are listening to now.

And maybe that's what you are here to do, to seat in your chair- the one that's holding you while you listen. So you do, and there is something interesting to hear, and see too! That person over there is also thinking about being the room like you were a minute ago- they are nervous but bravely speaking on. 

It's almost your turn to speak, what will you say you think? "It might not go very well" you say to yourself, dismissing the first idea that comes to your head. But you remember you are the chair not the room, and you own the space your chair seats on, that and nothing more. So you say what it is you think of, leaving others to say the rest.

You easily pass on the baton, barely noticing you have already spoken. Your ears welcoming the small giggles rippling to either side of you. 

It did go down very well!

Central to my end of year message of 2018, was not so much the charge to unleash our potential but really a call to get out of our own way so what's within can shine through.

I said: "Consider how much of your inherent potential you can release if you overcome the critic in your head that creates the self doubt, fear of failure and vote of no confidence which interferes with your performance to the point where you don't do what you think yourself capable of or never find out how great you can be it."          
It's about getting out of our heads, so we can do what comes naturally to us- being brilliantly ourselves without the 'self conscious- us and the judgemental others'. 
For instance, we have no real reason to feel inadequate when we don't know something, because not knowing is not only inevitable but perfectly realistic. But we might feel that way because we've considered how other people will think of us negatively because of this and depending on how negative or positive our mental habits are, we could over estimate in either direction. 

Getting 'ourselves and the others' out of our heads in this example will really be stopping the fantasy and handling only the reality of the present- "I don't know about 'x',".  It should only be an observation we make that then informs our decision to either learn or not learn more about that thing. 

My conversation with a friend earlier this week illustrates the point.

She'd spent more time than she liked at home, sorting out the small issue of what she was going to wear for an engagement the next day, when she 'should' have been on her way to work. I listened more amused by how often I too had been boggled by a ward robe change that felt absolutely important in the moment, instead of getting myself out of the house.

I came out of reverie though when she started to anticipate some repercussion for her lateness and effectively turned our chat into a brainstorming session on how she would handle it. 

It had not happened.

It might never.

And yet here we were stuck in an unpleasant future in her head, the present realities of our actual safety from repercussion, fading in our rear view.

I said something along these lines to my friend but writing this today, I now realise what I really meant was: "when you come to the moment and a response is needed, you'll give one. For now own the present- your purest of intentions neither to shirk on work nor to suck at the social responsibility to turn up at a colleague's wedding wearing the agreed outfit . 

Those accepting thoughts could prove really useful if at all you need to give a reason for not being in at your normal time. You'll be able to own the confidence from knowing you do not need to turn up early all the time and it is you not anybody else who is responsible for managing your calendar such that your life in and outside work balances"

By only noticing the event and not running away with the thoughts of repercussion and judgement from 'the others' we disinvite the feelings of nervousness, fear, worry and anger- another waste of our mental energy. 

Again we pick up your internal self talk from the point where you are angry at 'insert name' and you are just saying "'insert name' is a 'name insult'!" and what you mean is that they seem to be frustrating your efforts and standing in your way. 

The only problem is you have just told yourself that that person is a road block and how do you feel when you think of them and the thoughts 'road block' come to mind? You'll likely feel blocked or feel like a person who is able to be blocked- which is a defeating feeling.

The result is you have magnified that person or situation just by your colourful description of them. So a good emotional habit is to cut them back to size and instead say- "that's just 'name' and they are not stupid, I am just upset because I am not having my way which is usually a difficult feeling for me to handle". 

See, you can use your words differently to describe the event you are noticing not the person, focusing your attention on the real issue of your perception of the situation.

Without the obstructive feelings of self doubt, nervousness, inadequacy, worry, anger and un-useful mental and emotional habits, you'll be letting your natural state of confidence and brilliance lead and optimising your results without doing a single thing! 

February 17, 2019

This is not about how I met Basket Mouth

Basket Mouth and I

This is about my husband and boyfriend of seven years- Haruna.

So I’m travelling en route Euston station to London, when I catch the image of Basket mouth and his signature “Fido dido” hair cut in front of me. Without thinking I say, “is that basket mouth?”, to which the owner of the head with said hair cut turns in response.

I only notice a handheld camera when he gestures to a young man to stop filming while he explains to me that he is in the middle of a shoot and isn’t supposed to be recognised by a fan. I’m not listening, only thinking about how I’m going to ask him for a photo, fan indeed that I am.

So we pose for a selfie while I’m gushing some nonsense about how he reminds me of Fido Dido from the 7up commercials back in the day (I know! No filter right?) and how good he actually looks in real life (I have no shame! Chai!). 

Picture taken, I wish him well barely noticing his crew’s camera is back on, taking footage of us.
Understandably, when I’m on the phone to Haruna a few minutes later, I’m still excited by the chance recognition of not only a familiar but popular face at the busy train station.

“I met basket mouth”, I gush into the phone. “I was the typical star struck fan”, I say, reporting myself.

“As you did for him, so will they do for you”, Haruna prays, dismissing my self consciousness with a prophetic reference to my future fans, so touched by my work they cannot mask their admiration, good will or sense of national pride.

I break into a wide grin.

I suddenly feel unable to delay my reunion with my family any further, as I head for my connecting train, forgetting my thoughts of basket mouth and his not so incognito shoot.

(I told you this was not about how I met Basket mouth! *wink wink*)

December 30, 2018


The best thing about pushing self- imposed limits is that you discover there is more to challenge.
 - Omonaikee 

In last year's end of year post, I wrote a post I titled "The year has not ended" to state the obvious- it's not over, there's much to do. The end of the year is an opportunity to start the new year early not wake up in it late. I also wrote "Launch in 30 days" in relation to new year goals, which I came back to read several times in the year to remind myself not to be limited by the assumption that things would take more time, money or effort than I thought I had without first testing that this was actually true. 

Some things you think you’d need a year to do can be done in 8 weeks, others you think you’d need years worth of savings to accomplish can be done in months worth of instalments and things you think you’ll only be able to complete when your skills are at expert level or when you have more experience, education or resources may well be satisfactorily executed at the level you are right now. Click here to tweet this 

This year, I bought things and experiences I couldn't afford because I realised it was only my thinking that limited me. I questioned my phobia for debt, interrogated why it was common sense to save or pay bills not spend and gave in more to the demands of my inner child with the same consideration I would show my daughter every now and again when she wanted chocolate, juice or TV instead of commonsensical options. 

I did not cancel my gym membership even if it made financial sense to do so. I swung my hips at Zumba and regret not being bolder or I would have twerked along with my eccentric instructor and the sexy ladies who were up for the fun of the challenge. I punched hard at fit boxing, played hard at kick boxing, worked my way up to level 12 on the cross trainer and splurged on clothes, hair and makeup *because why not?

I drove for the experience of driving and it didn't matter if I was chaperoned, car hiring or testing for a license. It mattered that I speed, I revved and I learned even when it was at the expense of common sense.

When I played student, I uncharacteristically relied on my study group on my MBA to do the work contributing scantily because my head was in my nest waiting to hatch a baby. 

When I played worker, I caught a train to far away New gate street where I had my three pound meal deal lunches from Tesco and wandered sometimes buying, sometimes window shopping. I travelled hours in the belly of the dragon that is London's underground, snaking through tunnels, conveyed by escalators along with the other characters I studied as we grunted in the smell of soothe and the icy cold air the train left in its wake. 

When I played housewife, I regained my curiosity in the rows of spices, baskets of vegetables and packets of carbs that didn't come labelled as rice. Seeking variety to spice my life, I bought cumin and tumeric, aubergines and nectarines, beetroot and celery, asparagus and cauliflower, mushrooms and shrimps, barley and Bulgar wheat, turkey and pork. I cranked up the oven, bought a food scale, measured my food, sized my portions, counted calories and tailor made my menu. 

When I played mum, I created tradition, taking the best of Christmases past to create a blend of the Christian Christmas with carols, services and the message of the birth of Christ; the Nigerian Christmas of Christmas cloth, Christmas rice, Father Christmas and meal sharing and the Westernised Christmas of jingle bell choruses, decorated fir trees, snow and gingerbread men, and Santa with his reindeer driven sleigh.

I pushed the limits. And in this end of year's post I'm challenging us to push them further in the new year.

Consider how much of your inherent potential you can release if you overcame the critic in your head that creates the self doubt, fear of failure and vote of no confidence which interferes with your performance to the point where you don't do what you think yourself capable of or never find out how great you can be at it. Click here to Tweet this 

This inner critic comes from voices we have internalised that tell us how to live and be and see ourselves and others in this world. In learning this way, we loose sight of our own initiative to learn as opposed to the initiative of the people around us to teach; our own knowledge about how we learn as opposed to the way we learn to learn in the school house and the way we operate and create naturally as opposed to the way we see or are told about how others operate and create. 

We don't teach a child how to cry, suckle. It's in them. 

Littleman figured out how to crawl on his own.  He wanted to move so he did. 

When Angelface was learning how to talk, she repeated the sounds she heard over and over until they began to sound like what we said. She did not bash herself for not saying them 'correctly'. I believe she heard every sound we made but was saying what she could pronounce with her limited diction, expanding them in the process. She laughs with self awareness when I imitate her pronunciations and say "schweeping" instead of "sleeping" which shows she recognises the difference.  

Now that she has the lexicon to express herself in the way 'I understand', I can suddenly hear things she has been 'saying' from day 1- "what's this?", "what's funny?", "where are you going?", "who's that?",  "It's scary.", "I like it.", "I want to come down.", "I want that not this.",  "I want food.". 

We forget this intuition and this way of experimental learning as we enter the 'system'. Even worse, we stop seeing that initiative in our children and treat them like robots needing constant direction, teaching them not to think but to rely on us to do their thinking for them. As we progress, we stop learning or hide our need to learn under the hubris of expertise especially in environments like the workplace where I've seen people pretend to know to survive. Environments where we loose out individuality for the badge of uniformity as we think of what people think, look to them for what to think and how we're supposed to think to fit in there. But when we go back to being observers, thinkers and practising learners, we create ways of being and feats people describe as out of the box- but that potential had been there all along.

What I write is first a process that begins with the narrator in my head narrating to me what I am observing. There is no instinct to learn how to write it down, no concept of trying to write- it is written at the speed of thought. There is also no concept of form like book or page. What is understood, observed just is- seen in an instant. There is no definition of what is speaking like writer, narrator, author or blogger- just the I am that I am. Here and lost in the subconscious before you can even define it.

Imagine then what is possible when we remove external limitations of methods we think we have to follow, standards we're judging our output by and the boxes and titles we're trying to fit into.

So here's this end of year's challenge for the new year- release your potential- raw and untainted! Lets see what this baby can do! 

And if you want to do something, do it. If you want to be somewhere, go. If you want to experience something, make it happen. Cut through the things you put in the way and just do it!

Lets keep the conversation going in the comment section, I'd like to hear your thoughts!

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*because why not- Taken from "Becoming Michelle Obama" by Michelle Obama


August 22, 2018

Life is difficult. For everybody.

In a world where people shouldn't have problems, life shouldn't be difficult and mistakes aren't supposed to happen, our expectations become the obstacles to facing the truth. The biggest scam of all is that we keep looking for the reasons people we see, know, love and hear about have problems, make mistakes and face difficulties because we think that in doing so we can avoid their misfortunes. But isn't it really to keep ourselves from accepting reality- that life is difficult by its nature, that humanity is flawed and problems are a normal and regular part of life? Isn't it so we can remain comfortable but blind to the inevitable and the very things that make us human- mistakes, even death?

"Life is difficult" reads the first line of one of my favourite books, The road less travelled by M. Scott Peck. When I hit huge bumps in the road a few years ago, I knew I needed more than the tools I'd been given to navigate the journey ahead. I started to search for information outside the things I'd grown up hearing because the frames for problem solving I'd learned up to that point didn't work in this new place I was in.

Now when I hear "You should be happy" or "You deserve to be happy", I understand that it comes from a good place but I know that not only will I not always be happy as this is unrealistic, happiness isn’t all I need. All the facets of human emotion and experience- loss, death, disappointment- have something to teach. Happiness alone isn’t enough.

Now when I hear a pastor say ‘As you step into the week, this and that will happen’, I don’t jump in that air to claim it. Not to say there is something wrong with the saying or the claiming but I just know life is not always like that. And I can't go back to being naïve as I was before I realised I needed new ways to cope when things didn’t go my way not a sense of entitlement that only good things should happen and when they didn’t it was my fault because I didn’t pray enough to ward them off or I wasn’t wise or experienced enough to avert them.
A favourite saying between my mum and I is that the person with the problem is considered stupid by everyone else. By that we refer to people's tendency to offer unsolicited criticism and theoretical advice, burdening a person who's already down. It's the "If to say na me" syndrome which means a person believes what happened to you couldn't happen to them because they'd have done things differently. In theory.  

We like to believe simplistic conclusions that say someone died, lost their marriage, job, home, money, or children because they were careless or made a mistake. And this is not to say people's actions sometimes have no role to play in their problems but to disabuse the harsh notion that a person is solely responsible for causing the difficulties life hands them as if, if the person had any idea that their actions would lead to loss, they'd still take them.

The reality is calamity happens to us all and the reason people die is because people die. The reason people suffer loss is because it's just what people do! We need to not only be kinder to ourselves as human beings but accepting of our common reality so we can show kindness not judgement to ourselves and others when befallen by calamity.

This week I got reconnected to a group of girls I haven't seen in over a decade. It's been such a heart warming thing to happen- finding old friends who've been long loved and lost. A conversation I had with one of them, showed me how much I have shifted from an entitled mind set that things should work my way, people should like, respect or agree with me or my life should not only look great to people, but should feel great for me. All. The. Time. 
She'd asked after my children (unbelievable I have those, lol!). I shared photos. She didn't know I'd been living abroad. I shared that I'd been for a few years. "I'm glad you're doing awesome", she said. And I was.

Except something was niggling in my head as I read the screen. Quickly, before pausing to consider if she would misunderstand, if I would look bad, if she'd think I wasn't doing as well as she imagined, I typed in response- "I'm doing life. Sometimes it's awesome and sometimes its not."

Was is it that I didn't want her to fall for the hype that two bright eyed children and living outside Nigeria meant my life was awesome? No, not only would she not fall for it if it were untrue but there was no hype to fall for. Just this golden truth I'd picked up since she'd been gone. This salvation that life isn't always awesome and that's not a bad thing. Certainly not a thing to leave out of the conversations and the pictures. At least not with her.

In fact, problems are good. There is nothing else like the confidence boost you get from solving your own problems and creating space for yourself to be seen, heard and respected because your opinions, your preferences and the space you occupy in a team, family, group and in the world matters regardless of age, background, ability and gender.

You matter! Don't wait for us to validate or agree or respond as if you do. Make us because you believe it for yourself! Or better still ignore us completely and make space for yourself whether we let you, support you, shift for you or not.

And if all else fails, face those difficulties of life knowing you are not one but legion and you're coming against those problems on the shoulders of everyone you've known- the classmate, the co-worker, the fellow chorister, the old friend, the father, the mother, the brother, the sister, the gone but not forgotten, the Creator of life- and take courage!

March 01, 2018

Launch in 30 days!

I started writing this post as soon as the narrative started to dictate itself in my head. Not a day after or several weeks later when I could make it “perfect” and not in the morning when I’d have had my beauty sleep and gotten seated at my desk with my preferred tool of choice- my laptop.

How many things do we think of doing then post date because we think we’ll need more time than the moment to plan and execute “ properly”? And is our delay really in the interest of perfection or in the service of procrastination?

For instance, a few minutes ago I was going to jot down the title for this post in the notes folder on my phone to develop into a blog post “later” so I could get back to reading 72 pages of annual letters written by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to shareholders. I estimated it would take too much time to log into my blog’s back-end, construct my thoughts into words and go through the process of polishing it into a satisfactory version I could publish. I even imagined I could struggle to conceptualise my delivery and the thought of finding, plugging in and powering up my laptop was enough to demotivate me. While making this split second decision, I was largely unaware of this permutation taking place in my mind and had it not been for the counter thought to eat my own dog food and launch sooner rather than later as the title of this post suggests, this much needed blog update might not have happened.

How many times I have engaged in this thoughtless assessment of how long it will take to do something and how difficult it would be, I don't know. And how often I have let a formulaic approach to a task that could be done in different ways and in non- linear steps deter me from starting, I can’t tell but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in miscalculating how much it will cost to have something or how difficult or complicated it will be to attain something based on untested assumptions.

I’ll give a good example of how my own miscalculation frequently led to procrastination and consequently under performance. I used to be intimidated by the volume of reading material I had to digest for my MBA modules until I realised the number of pages do not equate to reading speed or time needed to complete the reading. I discovered I could consume a large portion of material fairly quickly if the content sufficiently captured my interest and was easy to digest and could retain from quickly scheming through material that was more difficult, sufficient information to help me ask informed questions, search easier sources or decide if it was not relevant to my objectives for reading.

Essentially, I didn’t need to know everything to pass or understand everything in detail to function in my academic environment.  But setting the perfectionist goal to do so would not only have  been self limiting but could set me on a vicious cycle of discouragement from doing the very thing I was trying to do- learn. More to the point, I was often wrong about how long this learning would take and almost always found that an hour and half could get me really far.

Like the message of my end of year post last year, some things you think you’d need a year to do can be done in 8 weeks, others you think you’d need years worth of savings to accomplish can be done in months worth of instalments and things you think you’ll only be able to complete when your skills are at expert level or when you have more experience, education or resources may well be satisfactorily executed at the level you are right now.

But you won’t know until you subject your assumptions to questioning and instead of concluding based on them, find out the facts by asking someone who’s done it before, going to that place where they are doing it and making enquiries or actually engaging in the activity to assess your performance, speed or potential in real time. And where there is a real skill gap, you won’t know if it can be covered pretty quickly if you don’t take a step. It’s surprisingly easy to learn new skills in this era of knowledge sharing and with detailed how- to videos, books, courses and articles available for free online. Many self service platforms have unbundled the mysterious world of complex industries like music and book publishing, making what was not available to us before today’s possibilities. The answer may not still be ‘No’. While we might need to let go of our traditional ways of doing things (e.g blogging on a phone rather than a laptop) or push ourselves outside our comfort zones, there is definitely a way out there to do, have and be what we want.

I started this article by writing it as soon as that writer in my head started narrating it to me. Not a day after or several weeks later. Not after the inspiration had waned and long before I would have ruminated over it, regurgitating and chewing till it lost its taste. And no, it didn’t take more than a minute to log into my back end as I skipped powering my laptop, and I didn’t struggle with articulating my thoughts but rather enjoyed polishing sentences and organising paragraphs so hardly noticed the passage of time. While its possible that a later version of this post would have been more perfect, I doubt that my level of satisfaction with it at this moment will differ significantly, more so because it is no longer an idea sitting in my notes folder like several ideas yet to be executed, but it is now a completed piece of work- launched!

So I’m throwing out the challenge. Over the next thirty days, whatever your mind thinks to do, be it as little as sending an email you’ve decided needs sending or executing an idea you have clarity about, it might not take as long, be as hard or cost as much as you think- launch with speed!

January 28, 2018

I don't know how to write a book!

There I've admitted it.

If you're new to this blog or haven't visited in a while, I've been writing trying to write a book for a while now and I've nursed the ambition to write one long before I recognised I wanted to. So to discover after all this years of pent up passion and repeated attempts that I don't know anything about writing books is rather disheartening.

In fact, once I started out trying to learn how a book is written, I realised I preferred wanting to write one to actually writing one. There is sufficient satisfaction to get a high from talking about writing a book, writing about how I am trying to write a book, researching about the writing process (of which my favourite part is finding experiences of newbie authors that mirror my own experience of frustration), getting angry each time another person has written a book and I haven't (you know how you are sure you can do something better than someone except you haven't done a thing despite your "being better" and they have results to show for actually putting in the work and going through the process) and playing with story lines and characters in my head that I don't need the lows of staring at a blank page struggling with the thought that this isn't something I can do.

But again, I always feel that way when faced with writing a paper for one of my many MBA modules. In fact, I am always sure that I not only don't know what I am doing but that I can't do what is being required of me. This has happened so often now that I have started to recollect and recognise more incidents of debilitating self doubt each time I have attempted something new, past and present.

Luckily, I've been around that block enough times to understand that if I can stick out the discomfort of the learning curve and get to the other side, I will start to see the patterns, recognise the formula and find what works.

So writing a book (for me) has been a humbling process- one that is easier said than done. 

I don't get to be good at it right away or on my first try not even because I've written a blog for ten years, maintained several journals of various shapes and colours through the years or contributed great content to a handful of magazines- online and print.

November 23, 2017

The year has not ended.

I've realised it's learned behaviour to make the focus of the end of the year, an assessment of what we have (not) achieved and goals we have not met. It's almost automatic how my mind will dig up all evidence to suggest it was a wasted year with nothing to show for it. But that's a scam. I know it now. My mind knows I know it too. So we have this understanding. But that's a topic for another day.

If we take a hard look at our goals for the year though, we'll see that some of those goals we sprinkled generously on paper at the beginning of the year just to fill the page can be distilled to 1, 2 or 3 major things that are really critical. We'll also see that some that we gave ourselves a whole year to turn in, can get done during a short period of leave, a weekend, a day off, three months of that extra hour working at night or the slow next couple of weeks into the new year. 

Most of the things we think will take a year to get done, can probably take a block of 3 weeks, one month or one quarter if we give it the intensity of focus it needs. Under pressure, I have seen myself cram into 6weeks, 6 months worth of work from my MBA and still come out with good grades. I have also noticed I can't keep  up that laser focused intensity on certain projects for too long and some of my most remarkable output have been that one day I wrote my eBook from working at it from am to pm, that week I fleshed out a novel (seating unpublished among others in my laptop), that 3,000 word paper I wrote in two days- one for research and the other for a first draft. So imagine if I expect to complete a project like that over a year, I would likely run out of steam.

There will be those goals on the list that we don't get done because we don't know what to do. It's amazing how much work you can get done in thirty minutes of clarity than several months of misdirected passion. It's amazing how much you can get done when you are not under the pressure to make it perfect. It's amazing how much permitting yourself to put what you have down even if its a rough draft, a raw idea, a body of work that is imperfect but captures the meat of the matter or meets the basic requirements can do for you. It's amazing how much progress you can make in the face of real odds just by doing the one you can do, then the next one you find to do after that and the next and the next until viola, you are done!

There will also be goals we don't get done because we are intimidated by the sheer effort required. I've had those types of exams where they tell you it's 8 questions answer 3, and I remind myself that the ask isn't to read all 10 lessons but to be an expert on 5 so I can answer 3 questions lol. Assignments where I remind myself that the ask isn't to master all the theories and concepts but to demonstrate my mastery of a few relevant ones for my paper. Work deliverables where I have to strip the mountain in the project into molehills by simply meeting the basic requirements not reinventing the wheel.

As I began to say, the end of the year has a bad rep but we can treat it as a beginning- a way to start ahead of the new year to find those 1 or 2 critical goals, break them into size and execute with clarity.

So forget the time of year. You're right on time to make epic things happen!

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