Beating The Odds in a Man’s world

The African woman’s secret to success!

Fight Club. All images courtesy of the artist

Growing up as Africans, we were accustomed to seeing men head large multinationals from scratch right up to international expansions.

Women on the other hand were well placed at the background as house wives. Those privileged enough to work however, were given jobs way below the executive table with little or no prospective for promotion to a leadership position.

Breaking through these walls meticulously built for men is extremely gruelling for the average woman; they experience different gender ills including prejudice, sexual harassment, gender pay gaps, managing work and family etc. Indeed with a workforce mostly made-up of men, young women aspiring to attain regal levels lack adequate female mentors to guide them; thus augmenting the work load required for them to succeed.

It will be completely “parti pris” to ignore the fact that other women make it hard for their fellow woman to thrive in different fields; the reasons for this “hindrance” by other women are best known to them. While seeking to break into a man’s world, all women are encouraged to build and not mar those they meet above, on or below the ladder.

We as African women, are challenged to “Beat the Odds” and live up to the best of our abilities; achieving this requires mountainous levels of mental, and intellectual ability requires; commitment, resilience, self sacrifice and most importantly determination help each other grow.

Starting this journey with the below secrets will most certainly place you on the right path;

1- Educate yourself

Greatness is a fresh fruit from the tree of knowledge and knowledge can be accessed through effective and constant education (and re-education). As an African woman, your biggest weapon against the arrows of failure and stagnation is knowledge on different subjects, most especially in your field of interest.

In today’s society, an educated and knowledgeable woman has access to more “reserved” doors and can easily impact people, organizations, communities, countries and the world at-large. A few African female role models such as Njeri Rionge, Rebecca Enonchong, Folorunsho Alakija, Bridgette Radebe, Kate Fotso and a host of others, have proven that women and girls can achieve great things with proper education.

The great Nelson Mandela once said “ Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”, we should all strive to secure this weapon at all cost.

2- Believe in Your Abilities

Our belief system determines our achievements.

No matter what life throws at you, it is extremely important to keep believing in those crazy ideas, goals and visions; strive to make it work by all cost. There are a host of people on your way to success specialized in killing your enthusiasm and dream.

According to Kendra Cherry, “Self-efficacy, or your belief in your own abilities to deal with various situations, can play a role in not only how you feel about yourself, but whether or not you successfully achieve your goals in life.”

“The biggest difference I’ve noticed between successful people and unsuccessful people isn’t intelligence or opportunity or resources. It’s the belief that they can make their goals happen.”

James Clear

3- Take Initiatives

Initiative basically means the power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do. This principle is extremely important for everyone, entrepreneurs and employees alike; taking initiative is a great asset which showcases your leadership and problem solving abilities.

The more you take initiatives the better you get at improving productivity and understanding complex processes.

Surviving among men requires a gut to always take initiative and prove yourself, this may sometimes come across as being overbearing; but when the results come out positive, everyone will appreciate your efforts.

4- Learn Emotional Intelligence

Having an MBA and a decade of professional experience is applaudable, but when it comes to surviving long term in a man’s world, you will need a bit more than you certificates. Difficult days will occur at different checkpoints of your journey and crying over every issue will neither change nor solve the situation; that’s when your EI comes to play.

EI (Emotional Intelligence) is a bit more valuable today than IQ (Intelligence Quotient). This is because throughout our lives we will deal with people having varied temperaments, mannerisms, religious beliefs etc; these people will put us through situations which need more than just an IQ to be resolved.

It is important for women to develop a strong EI which will help them deal with different people and situations.

5- Network!

There is a common saying that goes “success is not always about what you know but who you know”. This statement is extremely true both in and out of the business milieu. The best opportunities and ideas that can get you to the next level, will come from those you know and those that know you!

“You must develop relationships and connections within your network to have more opportunities to advance your career. Attending meetings and social events hosted by your professional association is a great way to connect with people in your field” (AAMD — why networking is important).

6- Have an attitude of gratitude

Everyone loves a happy and free spirited person. Most happy people are grateful people, not because they have a perfect life or everything figured out, but rather they focus on the good aspects and are thankful.

“on your career path, gratitude makes you a more effective manager,helps you network, increases your decision-making capabilities, increases your productivity, helps you get mentors and proteges etc. As a result, gratitude helps you achieve your career goals” (Happier Human -31 benefits of gratitude).

7- Value failure

Value failure? I’m sure you are thinking….. this is outrageous, who likes to fail talk-less of valuing it?

Well guess what? valuing, learning and growing from past failure is the biggest driving force for growth. Every successful person you see today has failed at certain points in their lives and careers, failure teaches you lessons success has little or no access to.

So remember, when ever you fail you are one step in the right direction!

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.”

Oprah Winfrey

8- Stay healthy

Work is great, most especially when it is what you love.

While enjoying the financial and other benefits that work brings, don’t ignore the work related problems which may cause physical, emotional and mental damages. To be able to realize that huge vision of yours, you need a healthy body and mind, so work on staying healthy; take time off to rest, eat healthy and exercise.

9- Put God First!

This may be the last point, but it is actually the most important.

It is last so it may stick longer!

I could give you a ton of reasons why you should put God first, but I’d rather you read this speech by Denzel Washington to graduates at Dillard University, Louisiana, USA in 2015

“Put God first. Put God first in everything you do. Everything that you think you see in me. Everything that I’ve accomplished, everything that you think I have — and I have a few things. Everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand that. It’s a gift.

I’ve been protected, I’ve been directed, I’ve been corrected, I’ve kept God in my life and it’s kept me humble, I didn’t always stick with him but he always stuck with me”. (Source: Speakola)

I wish you the best as you use the above secrets to Start or Continue your journey of making Africa a great continent through your activities.


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