An abusive marriage, divorce and remarriage are topics people rarely want to talk about especially the people at the center of it all and certainly as Nigerians. We just don’t talk much along these lines, but I refused to be bullied into silence. Those topics are real, happening, and disasters waiting to happen as long as we continue to be silent. So a few years ago I shared my own experience HERE… It was very liberating. The learning curve from that story was if you happen to find yourself in an abusive relationship stop wondering what to do and WALK… temporarily or permanently but just walk. Why be part of a bad statistic? Fifteen years ago the most common advice was “stay and pray” but common sense said WALK! Turned out to be my best decision, but the worst was yet to come, the dreaded Divorce. Again in Nigeria SILENCE!
Meanwhile in court, talk about intrigues, scheming and blackmail! Fantastic plot for an amazing soap opera or Nollywood movie but this was no soap, it was my life and I’m there in court wondering how I got here. My next best move was to take responsibility for where I was. No time for the blame game, it was me, me, me. I was where I was because of the decisions I took. Once I took responsibility, the story changed from a nightmare to a drama filled with comedy, wit and romance. Everyone loves a good ending right? Never give up on life and never give up on love. I didn’t! You shouldn’t! So average height, dark, very handsome, solution provider(you’ll get it later) walks in and I didn’t even know. Talk about being slow. I was too preoccupied having a nice life, but this was what I needed. Talk about serendipity! Second time around, smarter, sharper and a lot more cautious I was ready to take the plunge again. This was ten years ago and I definitely got the good old wine. God saved the best… (story for another day). When I shared my story I promised a part 2 and that’s what today is all about. Funny enough this was a lot harder to share than my earlier story, maybe because I felt I had mastered the art of failing and was done with that. There’s nothing as humiliating and humbling as a failure but it usually turns out to be the best learning curve. As I reminisced on my almost 20 year entrepreneurial journey I felt the need to share my private failings and how it propelled me into an amazing new world.
So I’m there minding my business, doing my thing and loving it. I had been doing this for well over ten years now. I kept mastering my game, improving, I never let the critics get to me and you shouldn’t either. Just keep doing you. Keep smiling to the bank while the critics talk. Then bam! Like literally from nowhere I wake up one day and felt I needed a bigger challenge. But what? Just at this point someone brings a business plan my way and to be honest I loved the idea. It was similar to what I had in mind. This is where the story turns into a thriller. I was willing to put in so much money into an area I had no prior knowledge, experience or track record. Not even enough information about the inner workings of the business or the people I was doing business with. How dumb does dumb get? Lost a lot of money, lost more money trying to clean up my mess and all the while hubby said don’t do it. It doesn’t look good. The figures don’t add up. It doesn’t make sense. All counsel fell on deaf ears. My problem wasn’t lack of confidence, it was over confidence and stupidity. Stupid hurts. Hubby isn’t the type that says eeyaa, sorry… he was like I told you but you don’t listen. Solve your problem. It was bad. Now I’m hurting, the business is hurting, I’m in debt. Big trouble! Finally hubby comes to my rescue( solution provider). I was happy at first till I knew the terms and conditions of the BAILOUT. It was hard! No sentiments, no lovey-dovey, the bailout was his way or the highway. I knew when to backdown, I needed that bailout and fast. Turned out to be the best business school experience for me. The school of hard knocks. I don’t usually recommend this school and that’s why I’m writing about my own experience. Hopefully you’ll be better than me and take wise counsel when it comes. I rode out the storm and though some of those bailout terms still hurt, beauty is definitely emerging from the ashes. That beauty is called The Visionary. A platform that teaches entrepreneurship at every level, knowing that the most important place to start is with children. Every stage has brought me to this pivotal moment where my mantra has become “never again should a dream an innovation go unfulfilled because the right message was not instilled at the right time”. The dissemination of quality, entertaining, entrepreneurial education has become my life’s work. Entrepreneurship is the ability to dream, to win, to lose and win again and again. As I go into 2019 and 20 years of “ASHERS” dressing Nigerians well for less, I’m happy I can pay it forward by opening up the world of entrepreneurship to children and students. I am currently working with some private schools in Nigeria and all 62 public secondary schools under the auspices of the FCT secondary education board to teach students all about entrepreneurship. Students in the public school system are the most disadvantaged in the country. It becomes imperative to create a more wholistic and far reaching measure that would break the cycle of poverty in the lives of these young Nigerians. That process is called ENTREPRENEURSHIP…It’s time to break the silence and take ACTION.
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