Thursday, 23 June 2016

I'm a magpie, you're a magpie, we're all magpies!




Magpies are funny birds. They seriously love, bright shiny objects. They love them so much, that they aren't averse to a little bit of pilfering when they find something they like! It occurred to me the other day that a lot of us are like magpies. I'll explain what I mean. In life there are always 'bright, shiny things' around us. Job opportunities, business ideas, people we meet and sometimes, even an unexpected windfall. Rather than check to see whether these things are a good fit for us and align with our purpose, we dive straight in, trying to take advantage of whatever it is.  If we took the time to look at things carefully, we might find that although we could take those things and succeed, with a bit of effort, there is actually a better way.  We could connect whatever opportunity it is, with someone for whom it is a great fit already.The question is: why do we do try to do everything that comes our way? Because actually, most of us are a bit selfish. We don't see why we should miss out on great opportunities, by giving them to someone else (or is that just me?) I saw a great piece of art a few weeks ago, by an up and coming young artist.  I could have tried to strategise about how to take advantage of this young man's talent, but luckily I recognised that this was an opportunity to act as a connector and not a magpie. So, I introduced him to an interior designer and they are getting along splendidly.
Behaving like a magpie, when you should be a connector is a bit like grabbing all the best stuff in the sale, even though it doesn't fit- very bad form indeed!

Why does this even matter, I hear some of you ask? Because in my view, life is way simpler when you live it on purpose. Sometimes, it feels like my inbox is trying to kill me.  When that happens, I've learned to let good sense kick in and re-calibrate me.  I remind myself that no matter how interesting something looks, if it doesn't align with my purpose, then at best it's a distraction and at worst a major detour.  
These are interesting times in Nigeria at the moment, requiring some serious resilience and an ability to laugh in the face of tomatoes that are like gold at the moment! In my opinion, the most resilient people are going to be the ones who are able to realign and readjust themselves to the current reality and stay focused on their purpose. Whilst there are doom and gloom stories everywhere, there are also opportunities for the courageous visionary. Understanding when to be a magpie and when to connect someone else to an opportunity, is a valuable skill right now and not for the fainthearted.

So there you have it, my explanation of how we can all be magpies at times. That said, I have a few questions for you: do you know your purpose? Are you living it out? Would you like some help, navigating life right now? If your answer to the last question is yes, then contact us through the website or call on +234 706 335 0864 and let's get started.

Until next time, go well.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Me and Daddy O



My dad and I have a standard greeting. When I call him up, I say "hello daddy O" and he replies "hello daughter O". I have to keep reminding him that now I'm married, I'm technically "daughter J". Nevertheless, when I call him the next time, we do the same thing. I guess it's because for the best part of 40 years, I was in fact "daughter O" (in fact, truth be told, I still think of myself as daughter O- just don't tell my husband!). It's Father's Day on Sunday and what better time to remind us all of some of the things that make a 'daddy'.

Firstly, being a dad, involves being present and active in your child's life. Before I go on, I need to add a caveat. I know that there are some dads aren't able to be present or active in their children's lives. That being said, let me tell you about 'daddy O'. Growing up, my dad could only cook 2 things: rice and porridge. Not the most balanced diet clearly, but he made excellent rice and porridge (not at the same time I hasten to add). However, when I think back to my childhood, that's not what I remember the most. What stands out for me are the times he spent doing the Reader's Digest word game with me; our Saturday night dance parties that have left me with very eclectic taste in music ( Millie Jackson, with a Sam Cooke chaser anyone?) or the nights he would pop in to sing us to sleep after a night out. He wasn't perfect, in fact he still isn't. He also wasn't always as present as he could have been. In spite of all that, I knew he was there for me and was interested in my life.

Secondly, dads are supposed to help you set standards for yourself. As a young girl, my dad had a unique test for potential boyfriends. He would invite them to play Scrabble with him. During the course of the game, he would 'interrogate' them. At the end, he would send us on our way. When I got back, I would always ask him what he thought. He didn't give chapter and verse, but he usually had something insightful to say about the young man in question. The common theme was that he always made me think about how the young man had/would treat me, if we were in a relationship. I must confess that for a while, I thought he was a bit weird and scaring off potential boyfriends ( why couldn't he just threaten them with bodily harm, like other dads?). Looking back now, I realise he was helping me to set standards  for how I should be treated in a relationship. Of course, I didn't always listen and there were some epic fails because of that, but I am grateful for the standards he helped me set.

Lastly, dads stick up for you. I was reminded of this recently, by the father of the Stanford student convicted of sexually assaulting a young woman. His dad wrote a letter to the court, talking about how the incident had affected him. As a woman, I was foaming at the mouth with rage ( he wasn't the victim here), but as a parent I totally got it. When our children do something wrong, it doesn't make them any less our children and our instinct is to protect them. The truth is, whilst we may hate what they have done, it's really hard I imagine to hate your own child.
My dad has supported me in many an adventure, even when other people were sure I had lost my mind! I remember moaning to him about being single and asking if there was something wrong with me. His response to me was a daddy O classic. He said "darling there's nothing wrong with you. There are lots of men out there, but not so many you'd want to marry!"  Considering that I was practically in my dotage by society's standards, that was unusual advice to say the least.

In my limited experience, being a parent is possibly the hardest thing I've ever done. There's no instruction manual, no holidays and no sick leave either. As a mum though, I do get some appreciation for what I do (usually very sticky hugs at the worst time possible). Dads, not so much. As we celebrate Father's Day on Sunday, let's appreciate all those dads out there who want to do more and be more for their children.

Happy Father's Day. Until next time, go well.