Defining success on your terms

“What does success really mean in my life?” The only person truly equipped to answer that question is you. Some people might define success as having luxurious cars and a huge mansion, whereas some others consider a life full of joy and happiness with their family as the true meaning of success. Most people have different views on what being prosperous in life means, and end up defining success from very unique perspectives.

Although it is safe to assume that there can’t really exist a definition of success that is universal for everyone, it is very important that you know exactly how to define success in life. Once you have figured out what is important to you personally, you are then able to focus on your visions and goals more productively. In order to lead the life that you desire, you must set your own goals and idea of success according to what you want and not based on external pressure or expectations.

defining success

Ask yourself: What is success?

When defining success, its never a bad idea to start small. But how do you define it without selling yourself short? Is it getting up in the mornings and getting to the gym? Is it the To-Do list that you set out for yourself the day before? The purpose of defining your own success is to start living a life based on your own expectations and terms. The actions that bring you joy, a sense of accomplishment, service, and progress are where you should be investing your energy.

How do I achieve it?

Chances are, if it makes you happy and requires you to use your skills and effort, then you probably should be doing it everyday. The new phone or car — those are just temporary rewards; they won’t last. The moment you define what the meaning of success is to you, the only way to achieve it is to take the steps forward in accomplishing your goals or objectives. The moment you stop trying to constantly please others and meet their expectations, only then can you find joy in the things you are already doing — or will start doing. Write it out if you have to and define what success is to you. You can create both short-term and long-term goals. Its always advisable to use the SMART technique to goal setting.

Don’t Wait!

Once you are done defining success and what it really means to you, only then can you start achieving it daily and on your own expectations. Don’t wait to start living like this, start one day at a time. The more you strive to be better than yesterday, the more successful you will feel because of cumulative progress matters. You can feel it when working hard towards completing a project. You can see it when you reflect back on when you first started, and the leaps that you took to get to where you are today.

Hear from women in diaspora as they share how they attained success on their own terms.

Preparing for Motherhood; Things to do

When preparing for motherhood it can be so easy to get caught up in all the things baby needs, but it’s important to remember that baby doesn’t just need stuff. Baby also needs a healthy and happy mom, so you need to prepare yourself as much as you need to prepare baby’s room. As much as we would like to believe we come equipped with natural motherhood as soon as the baby ejects itself from our bodies, we cannot possibly be completely aware of how to be a “mom.” Here’s a list of things that you can practice before you birth your baby so that you don’t go insane.

Know yourself  (and plan to not lose her)

Some women lose themselves easily after becoming moms because they haven’t strongly anchored themselves in their pre-baby life. Know what makes you happy in life. You should know what you love to do and what feeds your mind body and soul. Surely, you know what your passions are and how you handle change, difficult times and sleep deprivation.

If you know what you’re made of, what your great qualities are, and what qualities show up when you’re tired, you will be much more likely to be prepared. Do you know where your happy place is? Do you meditate? Like to cook? Do yoga? Love shopping? Know what your absolute non- negotiables for nurturing yourself are. If you know that you need uninterrupted time every day, chat with your hubby or family members about a set time you can have that. These are all things to think about ahead of time when preparing for motherhood.

Exercise

It’s so important to stay as healthy as you can throughout your pregnancy, and the internet is full of awesome ideas on how to do that (after asking your doctor of course). Try doing yoga, walking, anything that keeps you on your feet while you can stay on them. There will be days where it’s just not going to happen, but even a few times a week makes such a big difference, both for your mental and physical health. It also makes delivery and postpartum recovery a little easier, which is definitely something you want!

Start saying exactly what is on your mind.

Your husband or partner is going to say the wrong thing at two am when the baby is screaming and neither of you knows what to do. Tell them your feelings are hurt so you can have a little disagreement now instead of waiting and having a big argument later. Also, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have some arguments. No one is immune to disagreements and it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have procreated with this person.

Make time for you and your partner

When preparing for motherhood, it can be easy to neglect your spouse. Some people go on babymoons. If you don’t know what that is, basically it’s like a mini (or not so mini) honeymoon right before baby comes. It gives you and your partner some time to get away from the craziness of getting ready for baby, and to spend some last-minute time together before baby arrives! Even if you don’t do anything like that, make sure you and partner have some date nights and take some much-needed much-deserved time for yourselves.

Ask for help

So many women think they are supposed to do it all on their own and not ask for help. If you have a pretty good idea of where you might need some time and some help, then go ahead and set up your support system now. When preparing for motherhood, it is not enough to say “I’ll call you if I need you” or for others to say “call me if you need me”, No! Put pen to paper and assign tasks NOW! If you know you don’t do well with sleep deprivation, hire a night nurse, or at least have one on back up. If you want to be able to go back to work or your business because that is YOUR thing? great! Prepare yourself for it. ASK for help. Asking for help IS self-care.

Supporting women-owned businesses

Gender equality is important. Communities where opportunities for women are on par with men have fewer child deaths, fewer conflicts, and better public services and health, data show. There are also strong economic incentives to close the gender gap as research shows that where women-owned businesses thrive, the community wins. The country’s GDP grows and the global economy benefits. In places where women’s entrepreneurship is restricted or limited, the opposite happens — individuals, communities, countries and the global economy miss out on unrealized economic gains. Female entrepreneurs have also had a big impact on the economy, employing almost nine million people and generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue.

Challenges women-owned businesses face

women-owned businesses

Despite these impressively positive numbers, women-owned businesses are still in the minority, and the hurdles faced by women who have embraced entrepreneurship are vast and often very different from those experienced by their male counterparts. They include:

Defying social expectations: Most female business owners who have attended networking events can relate to this scenario: You walk into a crowded seminar and can count the number of women there on one hand. When women entrepreneurs talk business with primarily male executives, it can be unnerving. In this sort of situation, women may feel as though they need to adopt a stereotypically “male” attitude toward business: competitive, aggressive and sometimes harsh. But successful female CEOs believe that remaining true to yourself and finding your own voice are the keys to rising above preconceived expectations.

Building a support network:  A robust support network is essential for entrepreneurial success, so it’s no surprise that 48% of female founders report that a lack of available advisors and mentors limits their professional growth. With the majority of the high-level business world still being dominated by men, it can be hard to blaze your own path and facilitate the introductions and connections into some of the more elite business networks. As most of business today still rings true with the philosophy that ‘it’s not what you know; it’s who you know,’ this can be a huge factor in the ultimate success of women-owned businesses.

Coping with the fear of failure: Failure is a very real possibility in any business venture, but should not be viewed as a negative or an excuse for relinquishing your goals as a female entrepreneur. Women need to work through the moments of self-doubt that every business owner faces and not wait for perfection before starting their business or taking a big promotion. The road to success is paved with losses, mishaps and mistakes, but it can still take you where you want to go as long as you don’t lose sight of your ultimate destination. So when you hear ‘no’ again and again, when your plans don’t turn out, or if you make a costly decision, see that as a teaching moment and rise above.

Practical ways to support women-owned businesses

women-owned businesses

Give a review for your favorite women-owned businesses: Head over to Google, Yelp, Facebook and leave a positive review on women-owned businesses and share all the reasons why others should support the business as well. Leave detailed reasons why you are leaving five stars. It may just be your review that makes the purchasing decision for others contemplating that business

Host a gathering of women entrepreneurs: Whether you host a small coffee chat on a virtual platform or, safely, a more business-centered luncheon or a casual gathering, seek to bring women together with the intention of connecting, collaborating and supporting each other.

Make purchases from women-owned businesses: For each holiday season, vow to purchase gifts from female entrepreneurs and women owned small businesses. Choosing your gifts with the intention of helping and supporting women will inspire others to do the same.

Join a women’s entrepreneur organization: Hundreds of networking organizations support women-owned businesses. Many are funded exclusively by membership dues, and joining them supports their mission.

Infertility: What are the alternatives?

Struggling to become pregnant can feel like the end of your dreams of building a family. So many couples always imagine themselves conceiving naturally and becoming pregnant, adding to their family the “traditional” way. It can feel unfair when you realize this will never become your reality. However, this doesn’t have to be the end of your goals for building a family. Thanks to advances in medical technology and a greater acceptance for “nontraditional” families, an infertility diagnosis is no longer the end of the road for hopeful parents. Today, there is no right or wrong way to have a child. Hence, we’re going to be exploring what the alternatives are for building a family despite infertility.

Fertility Drugs

The first step for many couples exploring their infertility options is often to try taking fertility drugs. A reproductive endocrinologist will typically examine both partners to see what could be causing the infertility before prescribing medication that may increase sperm production and quality, stimulate ovulation, thicken the uterine lining, and more. It’s important to talk openly and honestly with your doctor to learn which medications may be most helpful for you and your partner.

Sperm, Egg or Embryo Donation

Sometimes it happens that an intended parent does not have a viable egg or sperm for the embryo-creation process, in which case the intended parents may pursue a gamete donation as one of their options for infertility. If this is the path taken, one parent will have a genetic connection to the child, even if both of them can’t. Of course, if neither parent has a healthy egg or sperm, you can also pursue an embryo donation.

Surrogacy

If a couple cannot carry a child themselves, surrogacy can be an amazing experience. In this option of the infertility alternatives, an embryo is either donated or created by the intended parents before being implanted into a surrogate’s uterus. The surrogate will carry and deliver the child for the intended parents.

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is biologically related to the child she carried. However, because of the emotional and legal complications involved, this type of surrogacy is rarely practiced today. Instead, the most common kind of surrogacy is gestational, which means the surrogate has no relation to the child she carries. In fact, gestational surrogacy often involves the use of the intended parents’ own gametes, which allows them to be the biological parents of their baby.

Hear from our guest on her real life experience exploring surrogacy as an alternative to infertility

Adoption

Adoption is a more common option of the infertility alternatives. where a parent brings a child they are not genetically related to into their family. In this family-building method, the adoptive parents have nothing to do with the conception of the child, however it is not strictly used as an infertility alternative. There are many different forms of modern-day adoption, including:

Private domestic adoption: The adoption of a child within a country from a woman who has independently chosen to place her baby for adoption. In this form of adoption, a pregnant woman gets to choose her adoption plan as well as her child’s adoptive family, and adoptive parents raise the baby from birth. Adoptive parents and birth parents often have a relationship as the child grows.

International adoption: The adoption of a child (typically an older child or one with special needs) from a foreign country. Foster care adoption: If a child in the foster care system is legally free to be adopted, it means his or her biological parents have had their rights terminated by the court. The biological parents are no longer eligible to regain custody of their child, and so the child is now free to be adopted by a permanent adoptive family. Adoption, of course, is not a cure for infertility. Rather, this is a separate family-building method for families who are more interested in being parents than being pregnant or having a genetic relationship to a child.

 

Uncommon valentines day ideas

Regardless of your relationship status, Valentine’s Day should be fun. Whether you spend it with your partner of two years or your BFFs of 20 years, it’s the perfect time to do whatever makes you feel happy, sexy and, of course, extra. A holiday filled with red hearts, balloons, chocolates and flowers is truly an ideal situation if you allow yourself to lean into the spirit. But you can rid yourself of all the pressure that comes with sticking to more conventional expectations and explore some of our rather uncommon valentines day ideas.

Put together a scrapbook filled with favorite memories.

Showing your partner how much you remember can make Valentine’s Day extra special. Compile favorite photos, tickets from places you’ve traveled, inside jokes you two have, etc., and put it all into a sweetly decorated scrapbook or journal. You two can flip through it over dinner and reminisce about all the good times you’ve shared.

Hang out with your best friends.

Feel free to spread and share the love on Valentine’s Day. Sometimes a double or triple date can be more fun than sticking solo. Head out to your favorite restaurant or bar with your group and celebrate romantic love and friend love at the same time.

Spend the day in bed.

Reserve a day out of Valentine’s week to completely ignore the outside world with your partner. Spending the day in bed is one of the most romantic things we’ve seen in movies and read about in books, so it’s time to try it out in the real world. Turn off your phones and forget about putting real clothes on. Today is not the day.

Set goals for the future.

Think of this like a couple’s vision board. Do you hope to move into a house together in the next five years? Perhaps you’re trying to have a baby soon. Or you could simply wish to go on a romantic tropical vacation in the next year. Whatever goals you two have for your relationship, write them out or collage them together on a poster.

List 14 reasons you love your significant other.

Prepare ahead of time and write out 14 reasons why you adore your partner to celebrate the 14th day of February. Share this list over a candlelit dinner and let the feelings fly. Don’t be afraid to get real and allow your heart to speak fully. Words are sometimes the best gift a person can receive.

Have fun with each other this Valentine’s Day. Do what fits your relationship and show your partner how much you care. We hope you have been inspired by our Uncommon valentines day ideas.

Do Black Lives matter yet?

A survey on public attitudes toward political engagement and activism on social media has revealed that between July 2013 and May 1, 2018, the hashtag “#Black Lives Matter” had been tweeted over 30 million times. An average of 17,002 times per day and as of June 10, 2020, it had been tweeted roughly 47.8 million times. While the movement’s advocacy for non-violent civil disobedience in protest of all racially motivated violence against people of black ethnicity seems to have gained world wide popularity, much is still left to be seen in terms of individual and institutional accountability on the matter globally.

Humanity First

Humanity – a word for the state of being humane, can easily be identified as the qualities that make us human, such as the ability to love, show compassion, and be creative. Although this seems like an obvious and basic school of thought, the personal experiences of martyrs like George Flyod, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery indicates that a humanity-first mindset does not always take the lead when black lives are involved.

The Journey Ahead

As these racial equity challenges slowly but surely make their way to the forefront of today’s discussions, so have questions on how to be an ally in the movement against anti-black racism. Some key mile-markers on the path to racial equity include:

 

What does it mean to be a Black person in the 21st century? Watch this episode on YouTube to find out!

5 powerful habits for professional networking

Professional networking is an important skill that offers many benefits. It enables you to stay in touch with your peers and other professionals, and is a great way to keep up-to-date with the latest tools and techniques in your profession. Those with expansive networks are able to leverage long term personal relationships when they need or want to make a job move. They may well find that they hear of job opportunities first, and get calls from prospective employers ahead of the competition. Whether you are a novice or an expert in your industry, we have compiled 5 powerful habits for professional networking that can always be your invaluable tool to climb up the career ladder.

Be genuine

Networking should be a fun professional activity. Unfortunately, some people use it as an opportunity to immediately sell their services, or to ask for a favour. The best type of networking happens when neither party has any immediate gain. That way, a professional relationship can build over time, and perhaps at some point in the future business might be conducted. It is also better to think about what you can give to your network, rather than what you can get from it. If you act genuinely and invest in your network, you’ll find you won’t even need to ask your network for help – they will offer it when they find out you need it.

Be bold

Those who struggle with shyness are in danger of missing out on the benefits of professional networking. For many people, it is not easy to reach out to others. Thankfully, resources like LinkedIn and Facebook give you the opportunity to make connections without ever having to pick up the phone or go to a networking event. These tools are a must for everyone, but particularly useful for shy, or even not very outgoing individuals. If you are shy, it is also helpful to look for situations in which you feel the most comfortable and use those opportunities to form relationships. For example, participate in an activity you enjoy and you will meet others who also enjoy it. Doing volunteer work will also give you a chance to meet people with whom you have something in common.

Use Social Media

Platforms like LinkedIn, have changed the networking landscape. Many people rely on their LinkedIn network for referrals, introductions, reviews and references, all of which come in handy when you are looking for a job. Anyone you deal with professionally should be added to your LinkedIn network. Even if your contact with these people was short, add them, because you are trying to grow your network. LinkedIn is also a great space to learn about someone’s professional and educational background to find similarities and create great conversation for a first meeting. Whether it’s for a job interview, a sales call or an alumni event, having some information about the person you will be talking to is a great advantage. If you can show that you have taken the time to make an effort, you will immediately make a good impression and will be more likely to be remembered.

Keep in touch.

Networking is not a one-and-done deal, where you meet a contact and speak with them only when you need something. If you really want to connect, you should nurture a sustainable, give-and-take relationship. While conversations must be natural, the effort to re-engage must be conscious, as we are all too busy to do it effortlessly. Although social media sites are a good way to begin relationships, these relationships require in-person meetings to build depth. Trust is hard to develop without the personal interaction involved in face-to-face conversation.

Maintain Professionalism

Chances are, some of your networking contacts ultimately turned out to become great friends. However, remember to maintain the appropriate level of professionalism. Always be polite and use words like “please” and “thank you”. We hope you enjoyed reading 5 powerful habits for professional networking.

Join us as we explore the sources of a lack of professional inclusion for Black Women in the financial system on this episode. Don’t forget to like, comment and share.

Stereotypes career women face in the work place

Ever notice how women with successful careers are called “career women” and men of the same criteria are only regarded to as “men?”, today we will be shedding  some light on 5 stereotypes career women face in the work place. Wikipedia defines a career woman thus: “A career woman describes a woman whose main goal in life are to create a career for herself rather than creating a family.

These women can also be described as more interested in their career than in being married and having children.” This definition in itself is a testament of the stereotypes working women face from both the work place and from society, as it assumes that a woman cant have both a successful career and family. Its why a lot of interviews with top-tier successful women tend t0 have a question along the lines of “How have you been able to balance building your career and managing your family?” a question they never seem to bother to ask men who are successful in their careers.

Women are expected to be their child’s primary caregiver.

Even when some companies try to accommodate new mothers, they operate under the assumption that they will be the primary parent and need to slow down their careers. Ironically, men are not expected to slow down when their kids are young and often don’t get the time or flexibility that would allow them to help their wives.

Women are judged more harshly when voicing their opinions.

Strong, confident women risk coming across as selfish or domineering, when the same qualities are readily admired in a man. In the thread, a user named Becky Lee commented that “men are respected for being assertive and direct and persistent” and that women are often called nasty, derogatory terms for possessing the same traits.

Women are expected to have good soft skills.

Women are traditionally seen as being better at team-building and communication skills, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but can lead to problems in the office. Giving irrelevant tasks to women assuming that they will be better at them than men, deprives women of the chance to improve relevant skills.

Women are judged more on their looks than men.

Women are held to higher beauty standards and judged more harshly for personal appearance mistakes. To meet these standards, they typically have to spend more time on their appearance than men. And even though most women have a long list of fashion and grooming responsibilities, men are fine as long as “they are clean, their clothes are clean and pressed, their hair is neat, and they wear deodorant.”

Women are still seen as secondary to their husbands.

Even though more women are emerging in society that are the financial breadwinners of the family, women still encounter casual situations where people would ask about their husband’s profession and assume that their own jobs were less important. Despite the women actually being the breadwinners.

Check out our all new episode on how women can break through the barriers of gender stereotypes in their career journey

 

How to smash your goals in 2021

Beginning a new year is such a hopeful time. Whether we break out an unblemished calendar or merely scroll over to the month of January on our smart phones, there’s the sense of being given a fresh start every January 1st. We make notes, either mentally or on paper, of New Year’s resolutions we’re determined to accomplish. Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality by smashing your goals in 2021. The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray.

Check out our Instagram page to learn key steps on smashing your goals in 2021

 
 
 
 
 
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How to build your self confidence

Have you ever wanted to achieve a goal so much you couldn’t sleep? Most people want to achieve their goals but they undermine the importance of self-confidence. You need to be certain about your abilities, qualities and judgement. If you are uncertain, it’s difficult to convince anyone to be certain about you. Real confidence is when you believe in yourself but are humble enough to ask for support when need be, self-confidence sprouts from taking conscious action. Everyone has a measure of a lack of self-confidence in them, but we need to get to a place where we are truly confident in ourselves without any coverings. Here’s a few tips on how to build your self-confidence:

Go into Situations Prepared

Confident people are willing to admit that and they mitigate it by building a plan. They research. They ask questions. They practice. They prepare for what’s ahead. We’re most likely to lack confidence when it comes to stepping into new endeavors we have no prior experience with. And of course, you’re not going to be confident if you’re not competent in that area of work. That’s normal. In fact, it’s human nature — you’re simply not going to feel confident when you don’t know what it is you’re doing. But as you prepare and build a plan, your competence begins to grow. As a result, your confidence follows. That’s the natural cycle of confidence. You’re not confident about delivering an upcoming presentation? Practice and prepare. You’re not confident about launching your business? Do your research and determine how you can mitigate your risks. Planning is essential to build self confidence.

Learn How to Manage Your Emotions

Confidence rises and falls like a fog. Confident people accept this as a fact of life and don’t fight it. Rather, they simply learn how to manage their emotions. Confident people comprehend how the quality of their thoughts shapes their reality. As such, they don’t criticize themselves, instead, they practice self-compassion by accepting what is. They’re aware of the body-mind connection and how power poses can boost their confidence at times of struggle. According to Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, better posture can instantly make us feel more confident and powerful. Make it a habit to become more self-aware. Learn how to manage your emotions and you will become a naturally more confident person.

Believe in Your Ability to “Figure it Out”

Self-belief is what fuels your self-confidence but don’t mistake believing with faking. Believing is rooted in self-perception. Fakeness is rooted in the perception of others. When rooted in self-belief, you are brave and humble to admit that you don’t know something. That’s why it’s so easy to spot people who are faking confidence: They’re fickle and arrogant. They lie and everyone can see right through it. Make it a habit to build your self c0nfidence by believing in yourself and your ability to figure things out as you go, You can weather the storm when it hits.

Watch our guests speak on how they built their confidence in their careers on YouTube