I feel 2018 was one of the longest years for me. When I think that Black Panther was released this year, Cardi B broke onto the rap scene, Thanos killed half the universe, Nigeria flogged Iceland in the world cup, and Buhari was outside the country for 365 days, it feels like too much happened. It almost feels like the year should have an appendix where we add on all the stuff we were supposed to do but couldn’t complete.
I don’t like thinking of my years in terms of projects, goals and relationships (even though in reality these are what make up the year). This time I choose to think of it as failures/lessons, successes/carry overs. Which would you like to hear first? The good news or the bad news?
Everyone wants to hear the bad news first. So here goes.
I pulled out of another startup in August. It’s not new that we shut down the TPL and that Ajikespecial didn’t quite work out. I have always felt drawn to finance, education and sports and so this was one of the three legs my year stood on. I have boundless energy for finance, and I have to divert it somewhere else now. I hope by this time next year you get to read of what I have achieved with all the finance potential I have. My name literally means wealth and I need to learn how to manage it, and people’s attitude to it as well. I feel I didn’t learn any lessons from this particular failure (on my part) and that’s where it really annoys me. I could have gotten a crash course on a lot of the things I got introduced to but I’m happy this personal disagreement with a co-founder was the way God chose to teach me this.
For someone often described as easygoing in one word, I also got introduced to my other side this year: the stubborn side. I was given feedback at the office that once I’m firmly convinced one way is the way to go, it can be next to impossible to get me to adopt another approach. I asked a few people and it seemed the feedback was right! My way or the highway (not so dramatic but actually equivalent in effect). Why? I feel I’m not persistent enough. I feel I give up too easily. I feel I would rather keep quiet and be right at the end than come across as knowing it all even if the group gets it right because I intervened. Somehow I am overcompensating for being seen as a pushover or giving up too easily.
The two sides of the coin (persistence and easygoing) were quite hard to balance this year. I really just became aware of the persistence part so I’m hoping in 2019 I learn the right time to go easy, and the right time for gengen pressing. I have to be persistent and I have to learn when to let go. I have to learn to finish strong (finishing well is everything). I also have to learn to speak the language of people around me. This is also funny because I always got A grades for expression and communication. Imagine communicating according to the rules of grammar and still failing to pass the message across. Using people’s backgrounds is even more important than using the correct words. The right words are the ones that pass the message, not the grammar test.
Summary? I need to learn to work with people/be a team player.
My (flawed) communication and project management skills were shown up again in my other big test of the year. My friend and I organized a world cup trip for 30 of my friends in June.
It was a project that overshot the budget because we didn’t anticipate price increases, didn’t communicate challenges early enough, didn’t lock down payments early enough, and eventually found ourselves at the mercy of last minute bookings. Wow. I had 30 of my friends (all of whom signed up simply because they could hold me accountable if anything went wrong) almost stranded in a foreign country. We had to hold family meetings, numerous whatsapp chats, a lot of phone calls peppered with plenty pleas for patience and perseverance.
Thankfully we all came back to Nigeria safely and can laugh about it now. It wasn’t funny then, at all. Thankfully this was one activity I learnt a whole lot from, so I see it as more a plus than a minus. Plus, being in the stadium when Nigeria beat Iceland against all odds was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.
Almost all my positives this year came from my favorite team activity: volleyball. Funny enough I was recovering from a late 2017 surgery for about 5 months this year so I had to play gently and listen to people more rather than do all the hard work myself (lol).
I would say I succeeded more in this than in any other year. I built relationships, made contacts, almost broke into the continental scene (the path was there but the money and the liver to borrow it were not LOL), and actually got commendations nationwide from almost everyone. It seems that sports organization/logistics/PR is where I shine and I want to take it to the next level in 2019.
I hope it won’t involve much more time (I have other targets in 2019 now) but I know it will involve a whole lot more people, people I’m delighted to work with. Also, I might extend this knowledge to one or two other activities that need the money. Let’s scale!
My friends got progress reports this year like no other. My family people got some new jobs and skills, a lot of my friends got married (hi Eloxie lol), and many relocated to the abroad.
School abroad came through too, some with scholarships, but everyone comfortable. Some of my friends were also picked for business grants as well and at one point, it felt like the good news would never stop rolling in. I even became an uncle this year. Finally Uncle Efe for real and I can’t wait to carry him when I meet him. You might have seen more of the good news from other end of year reviews in this series and it feels like, while the economy was going down for many, it was making a turning point for a lot of my friends who had been labouring at one thing or the other. Till this evening I am still getting good news of ventures my friends are succeeding in and I’m very very happy. I think we will continue consolidating this personal success in 2019 while we prepare to spread it to a lot more underprivileged people in 2020. God help us.
I’m excited about the partnerships I’m entering this year. I look forward to pulling off all the dreams that are bigger than me. I hope to learn more lessons but hopefully not the ones that require handbrake on the highway of progress. I will learn new skills and languages, travel a bit more for business than pleasure (who am I kidding?
Travel is always pleasure for me) and I will sign a few million million cheques this year. I hope fear doesn’t keep me from scoring some of the goals in the empty nets in front of me.
I’m extremely thankful for the lessons of 2018, and I’m looking forward to building on these in 2019.
You can ask me any questions privately about anything I’ve shared up here.
Thank you all very much for joining us on this 2018 Stories review. It’s been an extraordinary journey. I feel like we are all meeting ourselves for the first time this year. It feels like we can pull through whatever challenges we face, after listening to the testimonies of some of our friends here. I can’t wait for what 2019 has in store for us.
P.S. We went back in time and arranged some late entries in the calendar. Take your time to scroll through these posts HERE and don’t be shy to comment and share with your friends.
Happy new year! Much love to everyone.