2017 had ended on what I would describe as an incredibly high note. I got contracted by one of my biggest clients, for an end of year event in November that led to two more in the space of 3 weeks. Now this was huge because in my line of work as a recreational activities service provider, event planners usually contact vendors months before and lock them down for their event dates and considering December is one of the busiest months, it’s as easy to close brand new leads in such a short time during the festive season as it is for a Nigerian Politician to tell the truth.
So piggybacking on the euphoria of a climactic end to what I would simply describe as a terrifyingly tough year, I was prepared to take on the new year. Incredibly motivated and propelled by my renewed vigour I wrote down my “10 STEPS TO WORLD DOMINATION” plan for 2018.
Yes, just 10 steps, easy peasy. The first quarter of the year was super rough, every day felt like I was in a war movie scene trying to not get killed.
My 10 step world domination plan was falling apart and I didn’t know what to do about it. With every decision I made, every step I took felt like a step backward in the wrong direction and somehow I found myself abandoning my plan altogether and with everything spiralling out of control I got so confused I began to improvise so much more than I should have. I was going nowhere, fast. I decided to cut down on some commitments I felt I couldn’t give my all anymore and one of such was my role as a Sunday School teacher.
This was a very difficult decision because my involvement with the children’s department in church is responsible for a large part of who I am today nevertheless one I felt strongly about. I wasn’t in the space or place to be as committed as I’d been the previous years and with so much going on I knew the children deserved better. My spiritual life suffered a great deal because of this decision. I really underestimated the repercussions. I told myself (and my supervisor, and everyone else who asked) I was only “taking a break” and I’ll go back to it shortly. Biggest joke of the year really. I never realized how much that place centered me spiritually until I left it.
Still the first quarter ended on a decent note business wise, closed a couple leads I’d been chasing for about a year, finances were up for a minute and I was able to reinvest in the business and get some new equipment. *Phew*
A little respite from the madness my life had become. One item off the World Domination list. See I told you this was easy peasy.
Still I felt like the villain in my own story, making more bad decisions and focusing on the wrong things, then I slowly began to isolate myself from everyone and everything. That incredible motivation I’d began the year with was gone and I was desperate for something new to happen but I had no idea where it would come from or how. When people call and ask I’ll say I’m okay, but I’m really not. I was frustrated nothing was going according to plan, yes yes I know I abandoned it but somewhere in the center of my subconscious I still held on.
Business was doing so badly I was barely staying afloat, waking up with headaches from overthinking, accruing debt to execute jobs I was either not getting paid on time for or getting paid less than the invoice sent, because in corporate Nigeria everyone’s out to get everyone and if you’re a small fish in this big pond you will be eaten! I found joy in the little things. Family, friends and the “insignificant” wins. I learnt to appreciate the little victories a lot more, I learnt to appreciate that goals are dynamic and can be adapted or changed with every step forward you make.
Q2 and Q3 can be summed up to survival for me, because that’s what it was. The motto was, don’t die and I didn’t. I told myself every day Lagos didn’t kill me, “Today was a win, we go again tomorrow”.
THE ONE THAT ALMOST BROKE THE BACK OF THE HORSE
I started to set my eyes on Q4, this one had to be the biggest, best yet, and by the end of September everything began to align. I was fully on course as I planned, by October I’d reached out to all my prospects for end of the year, (given that they always plan months ahead) negotiations were underway and invoices had already been requested and sent by the first week in November. 6 clients confirmed and an event for every week in December.
History was definitely about to repeat itself with another climactic end yaaaaaay!
They all cancelled. Somehow, somewhere, someone flipped the script, and it became a series of unfortunate events. 2weeks to December and I was losing clients, at the biggest time of the year. What was happening?! Just like that, I was in limbo. The first one cancelled, no qualms. 5 others remaining. Another postponed; Okay well not so bad, there’s 4 more left.
Then I got another “sorry we could not include you in our budget”. Okay, surely the remaining 3, right? Wrong. Same email comes through again, Whew Chile! At this point I’m now too terrified to open my mail box. 2 more; Definitely one must click now, I mean, what are the odds, right?
Well they weren’t even in my favour it would appear, cos another one went cold.
The last one seemed promising and kept in touch, but only delayed the apparent inevitable. And just like that…all gone. I tried to retrace my steps, going back through series of mail trails trying to identify where I made the mistake. What was my error? Where did I step out of line?
When the last email came through I had to leave what I was doing at the time because I couldn’t focus anymore. The headache I felt was like someone bashed my skull in with a wrecking ball. I’ve not received this much rejection in such a short period in a long time. One minute I was certain I had everything under control and the next it was all crumbling around me. How do these things fall apart so easily? I’d put so much together in preparation for this December window because I was so certain it would click as I expected. I mean it’s not like I 100% expected all 6 to click but to lose all? At once? And so close? Not even 3? Wow!
“Mr Stark (Reality), I don’t feel so good” Thanos snapped his finger twice.
I wasn’t even depressed or anything like that, I was just sad, defeated. I cried. I’d worked for this, I’d focused so much time, energy and effort towards this. Felt like I planted all my seeds in infertile soil.
My 2018 has been nothing like I hoped or expected when I shouted Happy New Year at 12:00 on January 1st. It wasn’t all bad, but it didn’t have as much good to forget the bad.
Am I looking forward to 2019? Can’t say that I am, not like it matters, it’ll come whether I look forward to it or not. I haven’t fully recovered. Notwithstanding, I have to move on. The world doesn’t stop and neither should we, whatever happens, we move still.
I feel a lot of trepidation going into this new year. I’m confused about how to get to where I want to be; about where to start, about what to start with. But if there’s one thing I learnt this year, it’s to not be afraid to tear down and rebuild.
So for 2019,The plan is “10 STEPS TO STICKING TO YOUR 10 STEPS TO WORLD DOMINATION PLAN”
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!”