Allow me to brag about the Inspired Women of Worth’s Global Possibilities Summit and it’s not just because I belong to the iWOW network, it’s because at iWOW amazing things happen; women support women, focused education is given to empower women and men to succeed both in life and in business and we support causes that positively enhance the society in which we live, from wheel chair access in public spaces, to breast cancer awareness and autism awareness. We provide knowledge that empowers, we provide forums for people to connect, provide real life examples of people who have been in situations you are dealing with and have gone on to survive and thrive but more importantly we teach that impossible is nothing! Feel the fear and go on to make it happen.
So, this year, the iWOW Network held its Global Possibilities Summit on the 20th and 21st of March 2015 and it was very exciting. It started with a cocktail on Friday 20th of March where we had Michelle McKinney Hammond (renowned author and speaker), Mrs. Bola Adesola, MD Standard Chartered Bank and Mrs. Udo Okonjo, Visioner of the iWOW Network and CEO Fine & Country West Africa, spend an evening with us, discussing the “Myth of Superwoman”. I really enjoyed this evening, as a woman and mother to young children, who is also a business owner and career person, sometimes, it feels like “can I do it all? Am I wanting too much? When is it okay to step back? How do I maintain harmony and balance? And how do I find space for me and my dreams and desires in all that is going on around me?” So I loved this session, I loved hearing from Bola Adesola on managing ambition with waiting for kids for 9 years into her marriage and the intentional decision not to let that “lack” become the focus of her life. How she decided to love other children as she waited to have hers, to look at that time as a “season” to grow her career and be excellent where she was, instead of wasting the waiting time. She said women were to look at their lives in seasons and stages- so no, you may not be able to have it all at the same time but when you look at life as a whole, yes, you can have it all!
I also really loved Michelle’s perspective on relationships, on kindness. One of my major take-aways so from her that evening was when she said the instruction is to “love your neighbor as yourself” and how inherent in that, is the need to love and nurture yourself as well. Don’t spread yourself too thin, take 100% responsibility, build a support system around yourself and don’t give in to guilt while striving to be the best that you can be.
Day 2 was a full day at the Civic Centre in Lagos and I have to start with Dr. Kachikwu who spoke to my heart at the event. Dr. Kachikwu is the Executive Vice Chairman of Exxon Mobil, and being an oil and gas lawyer myself, that would, in and of itself, impress me greatly. But more than that, at the iWOW GPS, I saw “the man”, I saw the character, the mindset it takes to be that overall person of excellence. So allow me share my top lessons from Dr. Kachikwu:
1. “The biggest title you have is YOU!” Wow! This one hit me slam in the face. When Dr. Kachikwu made this statement he was telling us that when you are stripped of all that you have, the trappings of office (which in his case even includes a private jet), “who are you then?” So he says know yourself, have a well mapped out strategy, set your goals very early and work towards it. It is YOU that you bring to your job, to your opportunities, to your challenges and to life.
2. It is not the size of the man in the fight, but the size of the man in the fight. I drew that from his discussion a confrontation he had with his dad as a 10-year-old. For me, the lesson I got was not to be afraid to own your truth, speak it clearly and early and let them people know what is acceptable or unacceptable within your environment.
3. Dr. Kachikwu told us about a young girl he liked while in secondary school and how she won’t “date” him because he wasn’t doing well enough in school and how that made him determined to do better. From that, I got the lesson to be “a woman with a wise voice”. I am not sure if that’s the lesson Dr. Kachikwu even meant to pass on but I picked this up and it got me thinking “how about if we as women spoke to the men in our lives and to one another in a way that made them want to do better, to be more, to call them up higher into being all that they are meant to be? Not to feel condemned or judged.”
4. There are no real limitations. The only limitations are the ones you put on yourself. I really like that because I always say that whatever you feel is limiting you, someone else has had that limitation and has succeeded in spite of it. Take off the limits please. The world needs your genius.
5. Hard work pays.
6. Set your trends and direction on the basis of those who are doing what you want to do and have succeeded at it. Not on people who you have done better than.
7. Leave a legacy.
8. VISION TAKES BOLDNESS!
9. Build on the strengths you have, not your limitations!
10. CONVERT EVERY IMPOSSIBILITY INTO POSSIBILITY! Even the word “impossible” in itself, says “I’m possible!” And thinking about it, everything was impossible, until it got done. So go ahead and do it!
Wow! Look at all of that knowledge and power! And all I have really shared is my own lessons gleaned from Dr. Kachikwu’s presentation. Tomorrow or the day after, I will share snippets from the Bukky George, Patrick Nwakogo of the Dale Carnegie Institute, Oke Maduwesi of Zaron, Bukky George, Nimi Akinkugbe of Bestman Games (Lagos City Monopoly anyone?) and Uju Irukwu of Chapelhill Denham. It was really an exciting and power packed 2 days. I learnt a lot, gained so much value and as usual, I am making our world better by sharing it with you. Tell me, from this post, what is your biggest take away and how will you apply it to your life and business today?