My Notes From An Afternoon With Mrs Ibukun Awosika
“In life, people are your greatest assets. You need to be deliberate and choose your friends wisely. Set up a structure around your self to protect you from you.” – Ibukun Awosika
The above quote and many more words of wisdom spilled out of Ibukun Awosika, a woman that has broken through every glass ceiling you can imagine.
From my pastor, Bishop David Oyedepo, I have learnt to pray prayers of enquiry with sincerity and then be open as God will definitely answer.
Just before February 14, 2017, I had some questions and I went to my Counsellor who would always advise me with my best interests at heart, to get answers. I prayed and seemed not to get answers except the reiteration of His love for me, so I was like God if that is all you want to give me now, help me be content with that. Little did I know that God was organising the answers in such a way that I would receive them back to back – for added clarity and emphasis.
First was the TWTW quarterly meet on 4th March 2017 where seasoned Naomis answered pressing questions. I had the privilege of being part of the team who put together the questions, so you bet some of my personal questions found their way into the session.
Then a week later, on 11th March 2017, I had the opportunity of listening live to Mrs Ibukun Awosika. Best known as a business magnate, author and motivational speaker, Mrs. Awosika sits on the board of several companies (local and international) and currently serves as Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria. Long before now, she started off in her mid twenties as a furniture maker, a venture that morphed into the celebrated SOKOA Chair Centre Limited. You can read up more about her here
My first reaction after the session was “I feel like I just won a million dollars”. All thanks to Tolulope Oyinloye (a sister from TWTW) for extending the invitation to me.
Key take away points for me
First things first, event was supposed to start off by 4pm. When they realised they needed more time, they sent re-scheduling SMSs to everyone who pre-registered for the event informing us of the new time and this was done early enough for those who could, to re-organise their schedules for the day. The venue check in was quite easy. Those who had pre-registered had a different queue for their access codes to be confirmed while those who for some reason couldn’t pre-register were able to register right there at the venue. Also, the event started on time. The organisers showed great respect for the time of the attendees. (An uncommon trait that I greatly admire and I am currently praying and working towards cultivating)
Two major points stood out for me in the whole time as every thing she said seemed to find its way back to it:
In Mrs Awosika’a words, “to do anything worthwhile, you must have a sense of you. You must know who you are, define your value system. Identify your God given purpose, know what you want to be and what is needed to get there. This would help you know what is important so you can deliberately pursue such things and ignore what is not.”
“People are your greatest assets. Life is a journey as well as a stage with an uninvited audience. People are always watching and years down the line, someone will remember what you did or did not do. Take every opportunity to do the most good. Sometimes, only the first impression is the opportunity you may have to get in a second, third or umpteenth time.”
On business she said,
Test your concept first.
Grow in stages.
As much as possible, reduce capital exposure on the least value adding part of the business. She had to rent some machine and manpower in the early days of the Chair Centre and as she expanded, bought refurbished machinery/smaller versions of the machines.
Appreciate people – staff and clients.
Whatever you do, do it well. Build a legacy.
Keep your promise, pay salaries when due. If need be, let people go when you can no longer keep your part of the bargain.
Your first capital in business is not money, your first capital is ideas, followed by the value you intend to add with that idea. And your greatest asset is people – those with you and those who will utilise the value you are creating.
On finances, she gave the following advice:
Be disciplined. Life is in seasons and phases. Be careful not to eat your dinner for breakfast.
Your client’s contacts are also your clients. Treat every client with respect. Establish and nurture relationships. Always deliver value, never compromise on quality – build for the long term. Keep your word and show up, no matter how hard. This will make you indispensable.
For her, Business Partnerships are good as it affords start offs and entrepreneurs access to skill sets they may not possess as individuals. However care must be taken when choosing or accepting a business partner. There should be extensive discussions and mutual agreement on everything, big and small, hard and soft issue. Never assume, especially as regards your individual visions and values for the business.
Life would be boring without challenges, they spice life up. See every challenge as an opportunity to express yourself. Dry seasons are real. When they occur, reach deep within you for better ideas. Reach out to God. Reach out to people, even at the risk of rejection.
FAITH AND WALK WITH GOD
Mrs Awosika’s conversion to Christ is reminiscent of the early church. She had gone visiting out of curiosity, was touched by the love and concern of the congregation that prayed for her hospitalised younger sister like she was their own daughter. This prompted her to come out for the alter call and while still making her confession of faith, she was filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. In her own words, “Christ is the best thing that ever happened to me. It is a daily walk and I have learnt to take God and His word literally, maybe because I was born a Muslim and came to Christianity late. If God says it, I do not have to understand it. It is true”.
Christianity is about loving God. Trust God enough to patiently wait for Him and totally obey His word no matter how inconvenient or foolish it may sound. God’s Word is the manual for life and all His instructions in it, is for our own good. The Christian has an “undue advantage” because he/she has the Greatest on the inside and for him/her.
There is no thing like a super man or a super woman. Understand your limitations, this makes it easier for you to accept help. Play to your strengths, outsource your weaknesses and appreciate those who fill in the gap for you (Our 3 Naomis – Aunty Salt, Pastor Mrs Onwurah and Pastor Mrs Alayode Omotunde said the same thing during our TWTW Meet!)
Determine what is most important for each stage of your life (could even be on a daily, weekly, monthly basis) and give it priority. Everything cannot weigh the same at the same time (Mrs Omotunde).
BRIBERY AND COMPROMISE
Compromise short circuits a life by offering immediate temporary benefits and limiting the individual from accessing all other immense opportunities God has in stock for their future.
Do not sell your birth right for a mess of pottage. Set your standards from God’s word and stick to it, regardless of what the society is saying or doing. It is possible to do business in Nigeria without compromise.
Appreciation is good, but remember God judges the heart. What is your intent in the gift you are offering?
FOCUS AND FRIENDSHIP
Map out supporting factors to the journey of your life’s purpose. Once you discover your purpose, act like you are already there by doing the things that will count say 25 years down the line. Cut out frivolities. Be deliberate about your environment because they determine your actions. Choose your friends wisely for they will influence your decisions.
LIFE PARTNERSHIP AND MARRIAGE
Marriage is the biggest decision of your life. It can make you or break you. Therefore, do not choose who to marry based on emotions. First, know who you are, have a sense of you. Have an understanding of your purpose and a functional value system. Then, ask the right questions. Discuss and agree on values, visions and purpose to avoid a mismatch that will lead to heartache in marriage.
Seek the face of God and be at peace with His leading. God will ask you to account for your life as an individual and marriage or lack of it will not be a tenable excuse for failure.
Marry the person that has been designed by God to help you on your life’s journey; the person that would help you become the best version of yourself and who you can do same for.
MENTORSHIP AND MENTORING
Identify people that have specific strengths you admire and learn from them, whether from afar or close up.
Read books, attend trainings and seminars, etc.
Do not hoard knowledge, the people you share knowledge with form part of your “re-inforcement gang”. You run together and keep each other on track.
You can learn from anybody no matter how higher than them you may appear. Nobody knows it all.
The best mentors may be your contemporaries and friends. They know you. That is why you need to choose them wisely.
Life is a journey. No need for competition. There is nothing like failure, you just learn ways not to do it and discover the ways to do it.
It’s okay not to know what you want at some point – it’s a phase in the journey of discovery. But do not settle there.
Take counsel, seek information (to get a more comprehensive view of the issue) but ultimately, the decision is yours. Anybody can have an opinion, the life is yours from God and you owe him account of it.
No one knows you better than God and if you are His child, He dwells in you and tells you what to do per time. So, if you find yourself somewhere you do not like, even if you are not sure of where you should be, don’t stay in the place you don’t like. Move on to the next place and keep your positive energy.
Make sacrifices, take risks, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Live with the Word and not the world.
On a final note
Were you at the #YPBwithAwosika? Are there other lessons you want people to learn from that session? Are there lessons shared here that particularly resonated with you, please tweet at us @twtwnigeria and @ypbawosika with the hash-tag #YPBwithAwosika. Let us be #Deliberate about sharing this knowledge. Let us #PayItForward.
She is passionate about living out the God kind of life and emitting His Divine fragrance wherever she finds herself. Her hobbies include reading, writing, public speaking and travelling. She also enjoys photography (either side of the camera) and in her reality, she is a great singer. *winks.
She blogs (very ocassionally) at The Dark Room: successanoke.blogspot.com
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