​Slipping. Falling. Getting Back Up.

“Mixed feelings like a mulatto.” – Jay Z, Bring it on (Reasonable Doubt album, 1996)

I’m not as intelligent as I thought.

 

September 22, 2016, 5:44 PM: I see the email notification pop up at the bottom right corner of my laptop screen and the subject, “Private and Confidential – CIM Results for July 2016.” All the anxiety I have felt in the last 2 months pass through my entire body and ends up in a deep breath. I stay still for a few seconds. “Open it, there’s no use in waiting,” I say to myself.

I click on the Yahoo tab, then click on the email, spot my membership number on the top right of the email and quickly go down to look at the grade and % mark. “Fail.” “42.” I can’t believe it. I think I am experiencing shock. I lean back in my chair and stare out the transparent windows that make up the other end of the office, past the garden and the empty field, and the unpainted fence across. I am in this position for a while.

What could have happened? I thought I did better than when I failed digital marketing. A lot better.

Could lightning have struck twice in the same place? In this case, yes. Because here I was, sitting in the same chair I sat in 7 months ago when I opened the email for my digital marketing assessment and saw the same score: 42.

My confidence was badly shaken. I love marketing. I am constantly reading marketing material and practicing. I’ve developed marketing and communications plans, and executed them. But here I was, failing.

I was downcast for weeks, without the desire to read and study anymore. But slowly, I crawled out of the hole and started analysing what could have gone wrong, what I could have done better, and what it is CIM expects of me as a marketer.

It’s a setback in my quest to achieve my top career goal by 2018, but all I need to do is keep going and I will achieve it. So what if I’ve lost a year? The best response to this is to keep going, and victory is certain.

 

Failing Forward

The ironing service I started in September has been a massive failure. I know why: I didn’t follow the strategic planning process that I should have. Perhaps it was out of eagerness to fill the void left by the departure of my first child (by child, I mean first business). It seems like something I would have done in my 20s – conceive a business idea and execute without proper planning. Ironically, the 2 businesses I started that way enjoyed a lot more success than this has.

I lived in a self-contained apartment and had planned to stay there for another year, but my landlord informed us that he has sold his house and we all had to move. I decided to move to a slightly larger apartment. The decision totally altered my financial plans for the year, especially since I didn’t have my rent money all saved up before the time (a big lesson from 2016: Put money away monthly for your rent instead of waiting to have the entire amount at once). But I’m grateful for the extra space. I’m grateful for a roof over my head. As someone who has been homeless twice, being able to afford to pay for rent/having shelter is something I’ll never stop being thankful for daily.

2016 was a year of learning financial lessons. I made some poor financial decisions. I allowed myself to become too leveraged. In terms of liquidity, my current ratio (assets divided by liabilities) is zero point something. But I’m working towards the goal of never allowing my liabilities to be more than 30% of my assets at any point in time. I have also started doing some financial planning after this woman made me realise I wasn’t planning my finances properly.

I failed to achieve my top 4 goals for 2016, except 1.

 

#ThisWoman
In February, a friend randomly asked me if I would rather be with a woman who wants me for my potential or wants me as I am. My response was it would be someone who wants me as I am. That would be the greatest thing. But as a guy who is still ‘upcoming’ in his 30s, I always felt if someone wanted me for what I can become, it’s not bad. I don’t feel that’s bad value to bring to the table.
She loves me for me.

It was a weird encounter. LOL. But 10 months after, we are still together and we are planning forever. It’s not been all rosy: the distance, and frustration from wanting to be in the same place and not being there yet. But our commitment has not been found wanting.

She is everything.

We like similar things – books, movies, TV shows, cooking – but we are also very different. I am more of a nonfiction guy; she likes fiction, especially a lot of Nigerian literature. She is a bad ass cook, and I’m looking forward to the ogbono ‘dance off’ competition where whoever’s ogbono soup comes second will strip and dance for the other. She loves Grey’s Anatomy. I might decide to start watching it one day.

Life has thrown a lot at her, but she keeps going. I’m proud of her. I’m proud of what we have. Our love won’t die with the passage of time, it will go on and be strong.

My life is a lot better with her in it.

 

The Future Is Bright.

I had planned to travel to Fez, a small town in Morocco with a rich history. I discovered the place in one of my Conde Nast Traveller magazines. But I didn’t have the funds to make that happen. So I did something else: I went on a South-West tour, visiting Olumo Rock, Ado-Awaye Mountain, Idanre Hills, and Ikogosi Warm Springs. It was a great experience.

I have stayed in my current job for 10 months. There was a time I wasn’t sure I would last this long. Sometimes, I feel like a 9 – 5 is standing in the way of my entrepreneurial greatness. Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful to have one. I know having a job has its benefits; steady income monthly, a pension account, a health plan, so I didn’t have to pay for malaria drugs or tests, or pay for an X-Ray when I passed out at Domino’s this month and hurt my knee. However, I don’t want to get addicted to the benefits. And I crave building great companies of my own.

Despite failing in key areas, I earned more money this year than I have ever earned. I have actually hit the target of earning a certain 6 figure amount monthly. 7 years ago, my monthly salary was ₦20,000.

Inspired by Ecclesiastes 11:1 – 2, I began diversifying my investment. It’s not a lot at the moment, but it will get there. I am starting a company and not doing it alone. Wale and I were able to bring in 6 more people to buy into our vision and make it theirs as well. Something we have talked about for almost 2 years has now come to life. It’s something worth celebrating.

Shout out to all the donors of A Thousand 1000. 2016 will be a memorable year for me because of you.

To Mrs. Adenrele Edwards, Sina Yilu, Chiaka Opara and Dilys Harry, I owe you a lot.

Can 2017 come already?