Are you ready for Primetime?

Everyone wants to be on Oprah's interview seat. 

Everyone wants their product on the shelves of a big retail store. 

Everyone wants a New York Times bestselling book and all the interviews and accolades that go along with it. 

Everyone wants to be a raving success...now. 

But...are you ready? 

Some people have been on Oprah but because their business wasn't ready to absorb all the demand that came along with that spotlight, they crashed and burned. 

Some successful small businesses have gotten the opportunity to grow large quickly with a big retail contract or a large infusion of cash and instead of growth, the company dies. 

Some people have become thoughtleaders and luminaries and the pressure of the persona was too much for their personal lives and so it devours them physically or spiritually.  Either they become toxic or they lose themselves so thoroughly that they are gone literally or figuratively. 

Some people have found success and lost their souls. 

In Ecclesiastes, it is written, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven"

Often we are impatient during our various seasons because we want the season of ultimate success. We want to be known by many and admired and adored. We want people to tell us how amazing we are. We want money and wealth and influence. And we want it all now. 

But what if we are going through the various seasons for a reason? 

What if the initial stage of seeding and planting is helping you get clear on your message so that no matter whose interview seat you end up in, you won't be pressured to dilute it in order to fit in?

What if that season seems drawn out to teach you empathy and compassion? I find that people who find success early sometimes conflate grace and hard work. They sometimes lack empathy for others because they think their wins are simply because of them, but there is grace in all things as when you ignore it, you can become hard, unyielding and full of yourself. 

What if the tending season is so you can learn how to take care of yourself as you grow? So you can develop a true support system who can tell you the truth, who you can truly be yourself with and be vulnerable if needed. So you can face your stuff and deal before the spotlight shines full blast on you. 

What if the budding season, when you are beginning to get some traction and make some headway is so that you can get a taste of success and understand all the layers to it from the bitter to the sweet? So that you learn that not everyone can handle others winning and you can discover who might be draining you as well. So you can experience the sweet and have an opportunity to analyze it alongside your values. What if it shows you what could be and gives you an opportunity to prepare for that next level? 

Every season is necessary and useful. At the end of the day, be successful, but don't lose your soul in the process. 

How to get what you want...

Sometimes you have to say no, not good enough...I refuse to accept that...in order to get what you want.


I have come to believe that you encounter certain people in life who are simply there to discourage you. It's as if before you can get what you need, your resolve to get it must be tested. 

Can I tell you a story?

Years ago,  I was to travel to India. The trip was somewhat unexpected so I had to do everything in a bit of a rush. I bought my ticket and then proceeded to apply for my visa. Now the visa issue was simply a formality so all I had to do was send my passport and required documents to the consulate. However, there wasn’t one in my city and I needed it in a very short time so I decided to use a visa expediting service and pay the rush fee. I looked up all the required information online and gathered my documents. Just before I completed the transaction online, I called the contact number to confirm what to do. I spoke to a man and told him that I needed the visa for Monday since my flight was Tuesday. His response was that the consulate did not do rush visas and that I had cut it too short. He told me with authority that it would not be possible for me to get my visa in 5 business days, since the embassy normally did 4 – 6 business days. His only solution was for me to go to there myself, which was an impossibility because I live in Atlanta and I could not travel to Washington DC, because of work. 

For a minute I was thrown. I really wanted to make this trip. So I prayed briefly, right there in Kinko’s. God spoke to my heart.

Don’t listen. Call again.

So I dialed again. Fully prepared to insist to the man that he help me. I planned to send my documents, no matter what, "I would take my chances" I was going to tell him. However this time I got a woman, who said simply when I told her my story, “Oh I think you have enough time, go ahead and send it!” Wow! 

What a turnaround, from no to yes in just a few minutes. Now this woman went further to give me the exact address of the agent in Houston who would be better able to expedite the visa through the Houston consulate and she was very thorough in making sure she did everything on her end to see that I could get my visa on time. 

Again wow! My circumstances had not changed. I was still cutting it close, it was her attitude and determination that was different from the first man’s.

Long and short. I submitted my paperwork on Tuesday and I got my passport with visa in it back on Friday, in plenty of time for my flight! Hallelujah!

So the moral of this very simple story is this. Sometimes, you have to refuse to listen.

Some people for reasons best known to them are negative people. People who always come from a place of no. You meet them in all walks of life. And sometimes they are in gatekeeper roles. Sometimes, they are a part of your community. All they know how to do, is tell you how something is impossible. When you have a chat with them, before you know it you are feeling discouraged and down. When you share an idea you are passionate about with them, they tell you all the reasons why it cannot work. Just negative.
Well, you have to start training yourself to refuse to listen to the no's and to start seeking out the yes. 

Because it’s out there. The YES is out there. Doesn't matter how many No's you have received, if you know in your heart that this is for you, like my trip to india was for me, then go for it with gusto. Push through!

Now mind you, I’m not talking about in situations like in dating…especially since this is Valentine's day. You are far too precious to cast your pearls to swine. If he’s just not that into you, then don’t expect his no to turn into a yes. Just move on, there is someone who will appreciate you just as you are. You deserve to be appreciated, not tolerated.

But in life, as far as success and what you want...

Don’t get stuck on the no, because your yes is simply around the corner. Just the next phone call away; If I hadn’t called again and gotten another representative, if I had just given up, I would have cancelled my trip based on one negative person's no. 

How many times have we given up something important to us because someone has talked us out of it?

Don’t listen. Talk to God. Talk to yourself. Call again and look for the yes!

I am thrilled to announce that finally the Refresh Leadership Circle is about to launch. I know you have been looking for a resource to support you in your life or as a leader to  live a powerful but soulful and grace-full life...The RLC is going to be the perfect resource for you. On Friday, please join me for a FREE webinar on being a soulful woman and get a sneak peak and special offer to join the RLC! I will have special offers and guest prizes for those who show up live...so register now and save the date in your calendar...this is a Friday evening you can not miss!


As always
Love you.
Be well.

When we go through, it hurts...

You've heard this before...

Rejection is protection, your mess is your message...I myself wrote a book called Despair to Destiny!

But when we go through periods of adversity, it can be hard to deal. When we lose things that matter to us, it can be heartbreaking, when relationships that were important to us die, it can be soul bruising. 

And it is hard to see the blessing. 

But it is there. 

You see, technically your heart can not break. It is a muscle, so with every rip and tear, it actually can get bigger. The hurt you feel today...if you can allow the pain to flow over you, don't deny it, resist it or block it but don't hold on to it either. Grieve as needed. Forgive as needed. If you can do that, your heart will grow as muscles do when weight is placed on them and they are fed and have rest. The weight is the pain. The food is your faith and your focus on purpose. 

Your heart will grow and your capacity for love will increase, but not only that, so will your capacity for life. The word says that all issues of life flow from your heart and so if your heart is bigger, stronger and better, so will be your potential for a better quality of life. 

Your bruised soul will be transformed. Pain can be a fire that refines. It burns off all the lies and false boundaries that held you back because, bottom line, you are clearly surviving something that probably felt like you couldn't before. It also burns off ego and false ideologies because it will bring you to the brink and force you to see yourself and can be a tool of self awareness. 

It also defines you. There comes a time when you have to pick what path you will follow. The path of bitterness and victimhood or the path of freedom and love and faith? There comes a day when you pick yourself up and declare, this is who I am despite my circumstances or maybe even because of them. When you choose the path of faith, forgiveness and purpose and love, you are transformed. And you become more powerful and more soulful. 

But you have to allow the pain to flow. You have to embrace the process. 

You have to believe in purpose. 

You have to hold on to your faith. 

I can testify to encourage you. What you wanted to hold on to that you lost, is nothing compared to what you can receive and attract if you will allow this process to be finished. If you will let go in your heart and mind and surrender. 

I lost some things in the years past. Even ended some relationships. And at the time, it hurt. But it's a new day and when I say that I am surrounded by loving people, truly loving people who see me as I am and who I see, wow! 

Don't keep holding on to something just because it was familiar. Sometimes God allows a break, so that you can have space for something better and He allows you to go through brokenness, so you can become better. 

Despair can be the path to destiny. Adversity can lead to advantage. 

You've heard this before, because it is true. 

And the truth, will set you free. 

 

I met "my sister"

Today has been a beautiful day. 

I spent most of it on a plane or in an airport. You learn a lot about a place at the airport. 

It's also February 1st. The 1st day of Black history month. It's February 1st 2017. The year is important to note because at a time when there seems to be such a surge of hatefulness and prejudice, I had a beautiful day. 

Can I tell you why it was beautiful? 

I flew to Dallas at first. And a beautiful young Black woman sat next to me. She said "Hello" and immediately I detected an accent. I asked her where she was from and she said, from Ghana by way of Germany. 

I told her I was Nigerian and she exclaimed "Ah, my sister!" And so began a lively conversation that included some friendly arguing about which country had the better Jollof rice. Clearly you know the answer to that question. We agreed to disagree. With a smile. 

Then I continued onto California. And I sat next to an elderly white couple. And the wife asked me where I was coming from and we swapped hometown city information. Turns out they are from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Where my brother went to school. "Our alma mater" they exclaimed, when I told them he went to Univ of Michigan. "He went to law school there", I said. "He's an attorney!" She said pointing to her husband. "Retired!" He clarified. She smiled. "So much in common!" 

They were so pleasant. We chatted a bit. And then it was time for refreshments. Somehow the flight attendant seemed to miss me. The husband pointed it out immediately. "You haven't served the lady at the end" He said. She patted my arm. "We won't let them get away" she said, winking. "These Biscoff are good. We deserve a sweet." 

For some strange reason, I felt like crying. 

And then I watched the inflight movie - Loving. The film based on the court case of Loving vs Virginia, about a biracial couple who were at the center of the fight to change the anti-miscegenation laws during the time of the civil rights struggle. 

I watched the movie and I cried for real. 

And my heart was full. 

The day was a reminder. I felt sick with cold symptoms but I felt well somehow. My mind felt well. It is well with my soul. 

Despite what we hear on the news and when we see the worst of people, there is still good. Still people who can connect the dots between countries and delicious rice and declare, "my sister". Grandmothers who stroke your arm and fight for you to find your sweet spot because she sees a connection with you that speaks louder than whatever differences. 

This is still America. 

This is still the world. 

There is still good here.

There is still love here. 

And so with that faith. I can say, it is well. And that faith will empower me and hopefully you. To do more, be more, love more. To stand up for the world you want. To spread love and compassion. To be a force for good. 

To not let anger and bitterness take root. 

 

Truth be told, there is a lot of unfairness and ugliness. My first plane ride when I came back to this country whose passport I hold was not so pleasant. The white woman assigned to the seat next to me demanded to be moved. I found her curious, I didn't take any ownership of her racism. I left it for her to carry alone. 

There have been days I have cried not from fullness of joy but from pain and so I can't pretend the hurt isn't real but..but...we must not let it take root and we can not lose hope and sink into angry and bitter despair. 

We will not go quietly into that dark night. 

As a matter of fact, we will not go at all. 

How to actually have the life you want...

Thought for the day:

You know how people always say, and rightly so (at times), that you have to spend money to make money...

Well...I can not count the number of women who I hear complaining about not having enough time to do the things they really want to do, like build a business that will allow them to be more flexible with their time.

Are you like that?

Are you chanting "I'm so busy" like a mantra?

Do you often say "I don't have the time?"

Have you gotten so busy making a living, that you don't have time to make a life?

Sometimes you have to invest time to learn about how to improve your productivity levels and prioritize differently.

Sometimes the reason you are so exhausted is because you are majoring in the minors.

20% of the things you do daily, weekly or monthly are actually the things that bring the most impact...However most of us don't know what that 20% really consists of. 

In my WOW mastermind, one of the modules is about creating a success ecosystem. It is actually one of the toughest for the participants to wrap their minds around, because it is such a paradigm shift. The idea is to stop trying to do everything, but to identify how to get the right things done. 

One of the things I teach is how to identify your keystone areas. Areas that impact every other area of your life. When that area is optimized, automatically other areas are optimized and when it is depressed or challenged, that bleeds through to the other areas also. This helps the attendees understand, what to focus on first and often. 

In one of the other modules, attendees learn what their leadership archetypes and superpowers are. This helps them understand how best to craft their work lives. One of this cohort's participants is a dentist (actually we have about 5 dentists! 💃🏾👊🏿😂) and one of her leadership archetype is as an advocate and one of her superpowers is her passion. How does this help her with her practice? Well for her, she is energized and most powerful when she is operating in her archetype through her passions. So if she focuses actually on marketing through thought leadership or establishing herself as an expert, it will not only energize her and give her the boost she needs to power through the other things she needs to do, but it will also raise her powerhouse levels and attract clients and opportunities to her, in a seemingly effortless way. 

This way of thinking is counterintuitive to the way a lot of us were raised. We think if we don't struggle then it is not working. Make no mistake...you have to work and work hard, but if you understand some critical things, working hard, doesn't have to mean grinding and suffering.

Today, I am teaching about creating a personal success culture to the WOW mastermind. I'm also going to be teaching on this at the Alt Summit in Palm Springs, CA next February. I was invited to deliver a workshop to one of the largest conference for creative entrepreneurs because the organizers understood that information is critical, strategy is critical, but culture trumps all of those things because culture dictates the way you do things and what you believe and those two things, really determine your quality of life and level of success. 

It's amazing how a simple understanding can change the way you operate and when you change the way you operate, you change your life!

I want to give you some quick things you can do to maximize your life. 

1. Understand yourself. Figure out what your strengths and your weaknesses are. Then focus on your strengths. Rise to the level of mastery in certain areas. Mastery gives you an opportunity to have more impact and better returns on your activities in that area. 

2. Figure out how to critically use your resources. What are the things you need to focus on that will have the most impact? What are the things you can bring the best to and what do you need to outsource? What do you need to prioritize and what do you need to stop doing altogether?

3. Purge yourself of your limiting beliefs. (This can be challenging because we often don't even know them, this is why investing in a program like the WOW mastermind is a game changer) because whatever you believe, you WILL make true. 

I've been blown away by the testimonies of the women in the current cohort. As I said, we have lawyers, dentists, mothers, pastors, business women, writers, executives and more. Those women who have engaged fully, have found that they are shifting in many ways in their lives, and have called the experience "life transforming" "life changing" "Powerful" "Best investment I have made" "I got so much more than my money's worth!"

We are currently enrolling for the last ever cohort of the WOW mastermind. I will not offer this program again after this cohort and subsequent programs will be at different pricing. I want to invite you to make a decision today. To decide to stop managing your life and settling for just the life you have. I want to invite you to start managing your life! To apply your resources, your money and your time to transform your thinking and your life. To learn some of the critical power moves you can make to

  • Work smarter. Powerfully smarter! Get the right things done and operate in your "zone of power!"

  • Create more time in your life to do the things you love.

  • Become happier, more loving and honestly more irresistible! 

  • To attract your dream clients, opportunities and positions. (After the program, one of the cohort attendees decided to look for a new job. She was so powerful that every interview she went in for, she got offered the job. When the one she wanted, asked her how much she wanted, she told them "a ridiculous amount" and guess what...she got it!

Are you ready to live a WOW life? It's time to invest in yourself. The lady I just mentioned spent hundreds, to receive tens of thousands! 

I want you just to imagine what your life could look like? Just dream. What if you could start that business? What if you could spend more time with your family? What if you could make more money? What if you could come out of your shell? What if....

That if, can become a when...

Register now, www.refreshforlife.com/operationwow

A must watch! Dr Cornel West in Paris.

This just might be the best 11minutes you will spend today. Dr West is not here for games, y'all!
Talking 'bout truth telling! I don't what race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, you align with...there is some truth here for you. 

Highlights for me are as follows in no particular order. 
1. We live in a society that "puts a premium on a joyless quest for pleasure" Mmmhmm!!!
2. Will you be a "superficial spectacle" (keep chasing those likes!) or a "Soul Stirrer!" A Soul Stirrer empowers!!! (Look, I told you he was not playing!)
3. Are you a Peacock or an Eagle. Peacocks strut because they can't fly! Showing off your superficial success that has no real impact. But Eagles, eagles have "spiritual nobility" (This had me standing up!!)
4. Use your success for something bigger than you!
5. "Most importantly - COURAGE!"
6. "Don't allow black success to hide and conceal the misery that still exists" (in our community)
7. There is an awakening. "A shattering of complacency, A shattering of cowardice"
8. "In our short lives, can we try to enact and embody the best that has been passed to us, in a moment when commodification is ubiquitous!" (YAAAASSS! You better stay in school for that one!)
9. Because it has to be said twice. Most importantly, COURAGE.
10. I started on the chocolate side of town...(but this is international) across all lines (Yes! I thought this when he started and I'm glad he was explicit about it. This is for every one who wants to be a truth teller, a soul stirrer...especially for a soul sister like me!

Thank you Dr Cornel West.

This may be stopping you from rising!

You are not meant to be small or less than...you are meant to RISE! 

Actually you were born to rise. We need you to step fully into your power and create, innovate, lead, teach, heal, write...whatever it is you have in your heart to do, the world needs you! 

If you talk to successful people who are operating at full capacity, you will realize that their community is one of their keys to success.  

The people around us matter. They really matter. We need to be strategic with our community. We need people who can support us, challenge us and move us forward. We also need people who love us and with who we can have healthy relationships. Healthy relationships with the right people is key, because proximity allows their actions and words to have greater impact. We need to be more protective of our space, time and resources and not cast our pearls to swine, because this drains us and eventually burns us out. 

Some of us have great ideas, great vision and more, but we find it difficult to execute. Sometimes the people around you are the problem. They sap you of strength & energy. Or distract you or cause you to lose focus on your goals. 
In the last few years, I cleaned house. I didn't ask people to leave my life but I set clear boundaries, that caused people who were operating in a toxic manner to move on. And literally my success, impact and peace of mind have increased exponentially! 

Here are some toxic people to be mindful of. 
1.The users: People who only want to be in relationship with you because of what they can get from you. When you start to shine a little, you may attract users. People who want to get part of that shine with little effort. And they may not present like users initially but you will notice that as soon as they get as much as they think they can get from you, they move on. 

Users are damaging because they use your resources and therefore limit your ability to go as far as you can. One lady said to me "I'm going to ride your coattails" The problem when someone wants to ride your coattails is the weight of them will slow you down and stop you from rising. And often users, like vultures protecting their carcass, will actually damage other relationships around you, either by saying negative things to you or to them, so as to ensure you and your resources are more available for them. 

How do you check if you have a user? Place some demands similar to what they ask of you. Ask for what you need. A relationship should be mutually beneficial. Users like to take, but have a hard time giving. As long as what you are asking doesn't go against their values or is not unreasonable, pay attention.
Start saying no. Start being measured in your giving. If there is not a mutual flow...pull back. 

It is important to note that toxic people are not necessarily bad people. I look at it like an infection. If someone is sick but wants to get better, then in time and with the right regimen & signs of improvement, you can let them out of quarantine, but some people have emotional ebola and are not willing to acknowledge or address it...such people may have to stay in quarantine or be moved out of your life. 

2. The Belittler: This person is the queen or king of making little comments to undermine you. If you ever confront them, they'll tell you, it's all in your head. Whenever you are around them, you find that you are less confident and achieve less. They tell you in so many little but sneaky ways how they think you are less than. And if you are ever hurt or offended, it's never them, it's always you reading it wrong. They know your insecurities and play on them. They may even use positive language or symbols like "I was praying for you! I didn't think you could pull it off." Or forever try to remind you of who you were and not who you are today. 

Maybe you are with one of these sorts of people...you may think it is you because they appear so confident but darling, the need to put others down is sign of deep insecurity. So their statements are less about you and more about them. Even if they seem to be wanting you to win by turning you into a project they can fix. A true friend celebrates your strengths and has respect for you and accepts and gives you the space to grow at your own pace. A true friend doesn't speak ill of you in front of you or behind your back.  
If you continue to allow this sort of toxicity in your space, you will never get started, struggle to launch into your greatness and continue to play small.

How do you break the cycle? Set clear boundaries. I have a zero tolerance policy. If you belittle, undermine or undercut me, then I will call you out. Stop being afraid of conflict. Conflict opens the door to a deeper level of intimacy. If you are willing to discuss it - because sometimes it's your inner mean girl taking over - then we can and we can both grow from the experience, but most belittlers are unwilling to acknowledge their shadow selves and would rather cut you off and quickly move on, once you stop being a great source of narcissistic supply.  
And there is a narcissistic quality to this kind of person...because by putting you down they feel superior which is what the narcissist needs. 

By calling it out and holding them accountable, you are changing the dynamic and if they are not capable of transformation at that time, they may respond drastically. Don't sweat it. Pray for them and let them go. You need the space to grow. 

3. The Fear Monger: This person always sees the worst possible scenario, the sky is always falling. They live in a culture of fear and are firmly ensconced in the victim mentality. Whenever you want to do something, they see all the reasons why it will fail. 

I remember years ago, on one of my earlier trips to Stone Mountain. I was hiking up and a woman was sitting on a stone about halfway. She looked dead tired. I smiled at her and she spoke to me. She said "Don't bother trying to get to the top! It's too hard. Infact it's dangerous. People fall!" Hundreds of trips to the top later, I reflect on her words sometimes. She was a fear monger. 

Often these people are victims of fear themselves. They don't get things done. They struggle to sustain momentum. They give up easily. And so they project that on to you. 
It will slow you down. If you succeed at all with this type of toxicity, you learn to do it inspite of, like running in sand and that creates a layer of unnecessary stress. 

If you have one of these people in your life. You may want to be selective of what you share with them. You can move them to a less prominent place in your life and they certainly should not be on your "advisory" board. 

A fear monger is different from a cautious person. Cautious people are simply careful. They may ask for more information. They may be measured with their opinions. They may have constructive criticism. That is all good. Cautious people should be on your "advisory board" because they will help you see things you might otherwise miss. 

How can you tell a cautious person from a fear monger. A fear monger jumps to the why it won't work first without looking at all the data. Usually it is not even a well thought out opinion. They present their opinions as fact and universalize their experiences. 

Again, toxic people are not bad. They are just toxic for you. You have the right and responsibility to say no to things that aren't good for you. 
I'm not saying love these types of people less, I am saying guard you heart with all diligence. Guard your space. Guard your community. Love people from afar if you need to. Love them in quarantine. If you can't physically distance yourself, emotionally disengage if necessary. If people have hurt you, forgive them. Forgive them! Understand it is about their humanity and let it go, but learn from it. 

We are still registering for Operation WOW, which is where you will be able to form community with some amazing women! You have just 6 days left to sign up. If you want to elevate your life then you need to do the foundational work necessary to build the life of success and Operation WOW helps you do that. Are you ready for the next level? Sign up now! 

Have a wonderful weekend and reflect on your relationships...are they moving you forward or holding you back?

Hugs!
Ekene

Who discovered the first diamond in South Africa...and why should you care?

In the 1800's South Africa was not known as the Gold coast. It was nothing like it is today. But in 1866, there was a game changing event that happened. A 21¼-ct diamond was discovered close to the banks of the Orange river. 

According to history, the diamond now known as the Eureka Diamond was discovered by a young boy, Erasmus Stephanus Jacobs, on his father’s farm. He thought is was a shiny pebble and he and his sisters used it as a plaything. 

One day, a neighbor, Schalk van Niekerk, who had some knowledge of geology, noticed the stone while visiting the Jacobs’ farmhouse. He offered to buy it, but Erasmus' mother refused to accept any payment and simply gave the stone to him. 

A few months later, Van Niekerk gave the stone to his friend John Robert O’Reilly who then identified it as a diamond.

When it was tested the stone was finally declared to be a diamond weighing 21¼ ct. It was then sold for quite a sum in those days. 

Sadly enough, the Jacob family never received a penny for their great discovery.

Today, South Africa is known for its diamonds, but the boy who discovered it, never was able to be impacted by the value of what he didn't know he had. 

Are you like Erasmus? 
Unfortunately many of us are. We don't understand what we have, our talents, our gifts, our passions...we don't think of them as having great value or importance. We give away our diamonds, because we don't recognize what they are. 

And let's be honest...you might even be allowing someone else to come in and mine your diamonds (even though they are in you) and profit of you, while you receive nothing. 

Isn't it time you changed the game for yourself?

When you understand yourself and become more self aware, you will be able to identify your diamonds. 
You will know what makes you valuable and how to ask for what you deserve. 
God has given you great gifts already, but you have to recognize them in order for you to use them. 

This is why you can't afford not to enroll in this cohort of the WOW mastermind. The WOW mastermind, is an 8 week virtual group coaching program that will help you mine your diamonds, identify and value them properly. It will help you figure out how best to use them in service of your purpose. 

We start on October 24th! But you need to enroll today, because I can only take a limited amount of women in each cohort and spots are going quickly. 

Another reason why you should sign up, is that starting next week, I'm going to be doing some bonus pre-session trainings for the women who have signed up, just to ensure that they are ready to hit the ground running! 

We are in the final quarter of the year. If you are like me, you are as my daughter says "middle-aged" 😱😱 Can you really afford to waste more time? Isn't it time you started living your life as the powerhouse you were born to be? 

In order for the diamond to be properly identified, it had to be sent to Dr Atherstone, the only geologist within a 200 mile radius. They had to go to a man who had studied precious stones in order to understand it more. 

I have studied human behavior, professional coaching and leading change. I'm certified in social and emotional intelligence and I have a wealth of experience as a health care professional and as a woman who had lived on both sides of the world. 

I'm from the Ibo tribe in Nigeria and we have a saying. "What an old person sees sitting down, a young person can not see, even if they stand up!"

There is value in working with someone who has experience, education and passion. That is me. I have designed this program   for maximum benefit with a minimum amount of time investment. You don't have to take a year to study Organizational leadership or six months to become certified in social and emotional intelligence. I want to share the benefit of my knowledge with you now. 

Listen to what J'Nae from the last cohort said.

What I love most about the WOW mastermind experience is Ekene goes DEEP! Ekene has this unmistakably divine ability to help you uncover YOUR gems, and each webinar sets you on the path towards becoming that powerful "WOW" woman you were created to be. If you're ready for full-on life transformation - and not just a temporary boost, Ekene delivers just that!

J'Nae Johnson, Founder & Designer at Cheriss & Company www.CherissandCompany.com

Are you ready to uncover your gems and shine bright like a diamond? Sign up today for Operation WOW. And get ready for the power packed pre-session bonus training happening next week. 

Are you a cup or a bucket?

An old video but a powerful word. Oh! And it's a no makeup day! 😱😱

This video prompted so many women to write to me and step into their significance and relevance. Please watch and share, these 12 minutes of authentic truth will bless you! Please share your thoughts in the comments. 

If you are ready to go to the next level and really step into your next level of significance, then I want to invite you to sign up today for the Operation WOW program starting Oct 24th. Only limited room in this cohort and spots are going fast! So don't miss out. Are you going to be on the path to relevance in 2017?

AND AS A BONUS, IF YOU SIGN UP THIS WEEKEND TO OPERATION WOW, YOU GET BOTH THE BIG VISION SELF STUDY CLASS (THAT I SPEAK ABOUT IN THE VIDEO) AND THE EMOTIONAL WELLNESS CLASS AS A SPECIAL GIFT. 

Sign up now...walk into 2017 and operate with full capacity!

Did you miss today's Facebook live? Find out why I wanted to slap someone...

The soulful success secret of today is GOYO. The webinar that I speak about is here.  Sign up! We have two sessions, tomorrow and next Friday!

Get Over YOurself! This is a powerful truth that will awaken you and help you live the life you were born to live. 

Women who need to GOYO, either sit too high or feel too low. 

Signs of each.

Feeling too high                                                       Feeling too low

Entitlement                                                              Never feel good enough

Self conscious                                                          Self conscious

Risk averse (Can bear to be embarrassed)            Risk averse (Don't believe in your greatness)

Lack empathy                                                          Expect sympathy

I'd love to know your thoughts and please feel free to share!

 

 

The things that blocked me from success for so long...

Hi beautiful!

I'm writing you from downtown Chicago, where I was invited to come and speak at a conference on resilience. 

I'm sitting in my room about to go and workout so I can get my energy up for my presentation this morning and make sure that I deliver with fire! But before I do that I was just reflecting on life. I was thinking about how we actually block ourselves from having the lives we desire with simple mistakes and choices, most of the time, because we don't know or are unaware. 

Can I share some of the things that blocked me for so long and the shifts I made that have allowed me to step into a new way of living?

1. I didn't know myself. I didn't really know who I was and what my true gifts were. I didn't understand how I could impact the world. I didn't know what my leadership archetype was or even if I was called to be a leader. Occasionally, I would feel a stirring within to learn more, but I would ignore it and go back to my day to day living as a pharmacist. 

But listen, if you are like me, your soul is calling...significance is calling...the greatness you were born to is calling...

It's time to answer. I had to do the work. A lot of the time spent at Georgetown getting my training involved us becoming self aware and doing our own personal work. I invested a lot of money in that program and for a year, I flew to DC every month but it was money I'll always be grateful I spent because it was so valuable to learn about myself & it changed the way I showed up in the world. It changed my business, changed my thinking...it even changed my marriage for the better! 

This is why in the WOW mastermind, the first module is about you...learning what makes you thrive, your leadership archetype and charting your path to purpose. 

J'Nae Johnson, one of the WOW participants in the last cohort said - "What I love most about the WOW mastermind experience is Ekene goes DEEP! Ekene has this unmistakably divine ability to help you uncover YOUR gems..."

It's time to uncover your gems, so you too can get clear on how you are really meant to shine! If you come to the Rise retreat, you'll meet J'Nae & Kathleen & Linda, ladies who were part of the first cohort of Operation WOW and who have decided to go even further and RISE!

2. I kept trying to do everything in my own power and in my own strength. I tried to create success on my own. I didn't ask for help and even when help was offered, I often shunned it. 

Listen beautiful, you are not meant to go it alone. There are people that have been strategically placed in your life to help you bring your vision to life. 

The other thing I had done was design a lifestyle that wouldn't allow me to be successful no matter what. Some of you can't pursue success because your lives are just too full...but not full of things you love and that are moving you forward, but full of obligations and meeting other people's expectations. Full of to-do lists and minutiae. 
You are trying to juggle all the balls and still failing. What if you could learn how to create a synergistic lifestyle? Where everything worked together beautifully and you weren't spending all of your energy and time trying to do it all? 

This is why in the WOW mastermind, the second module is about working smarter, not working harder and creating a holistic success ecosystem. 

It's a powerful teaching that shifts the way you think! Which is why Linda who is a busy woman, a mother, a business woman, a pharmacist and she runs and has all these amazing passions...Linda, you are an inspiration!!! She was able to say this, "In such a short period Ekene, I’ve learned so much about who I am, become less self conscious and more aware, highly intentional and cultivating the fabulous woman I am created to be, while simultaneously having fun, with great passion & utilizing my non-negotiable refresh rituals."

Isn't it time for you to start having more fun and living with great passion and to start cultivating the fabulous woman you were created to be? 

3. I didn't know how to be a woman of influence and impact, but once I learned, wow, watch out. It made me a dynamic speaker! So much so that one of the Dean's at Georgia Tech who sat in on one of my talks said "Ekene makes you feel like you can do anything!" 
I cherished that testimonial, because for a long time, I was that woman that no-one thought would do anything special. Some people counted me out. They didn't think I had it in me to be a success in this way. 
And I can't even blame them, because I would start things and then stop. I played small, I hid...I procrastinated away opportunities...even when I had a great plan, I wouldn't implement. 

This is why the last two modules of the WOW mastermind are about amplifying your voice and impact and creating a personal culture of success. Let's face it...you are brilliant and amazing, but if you are not operating in your purpose and walking the path to success, some things may be holding you back. You may need to invest in figuring out what it is and ditching it. 

Some people have cultures that are toxic to success. Your culture is how you roll, how you live. Too many of us have rituals, practices and ideas that are actually hindering us from achieving our goals and what's worse is that we don't even realize the connection. 

Once you do, it changes your whole life, you start to become a powerhouse. You are still humble, kind and graceful, but you have harnessed your personal power and are creative, resourceful and a leader.

Are you ready to become a WOW woman? Today, I'm offering a special sale to the participants of this DYOB conference I'm speaking at. But it is only for this weekend. It goes away on Sunday. I had a Labor day weekend sale, that you may have missed & that sale was crazy!

This sale is not quite as crazy but it is fabulous and it won't be this low again...so if you missed it last time and want to take advantage of the fact that I am speaking and decided to offer the same offer to you, Refresh subscribers, act now! Don't procrastinate away your opportunity! Sign up for operation wow using the special DYOB sales page! www.refreshforlife.com/dyob, this offer will go away on Sunday, so don't miss it. 

Listen beautiful, the year is already half gone...but it's not too late. No matter where you are in life, it is not too late. But you do have to stop talking about it and actually start being about it. 

Why should you invest in this program?

  • You'll finally push yourself out of overwhelm and into powerful action
  • You'll create opportunity with a circle of dynamic, inspirational women with soul.
  • You'll get support and coaching from me, I've been called an inspired, insightful and extremely knowledgeable coach
  • You'll start operating at capacity and become the woman of relevance you were born to be.

Isn't it time to Refresh and become the WOW woman you were born to be?

3 important things to note before you marry him and what to do, if you married the wrong one...

A follow up to yesterday's post about finding the right partner. 

(Watch my YouTube video on it: Search 3 questions Ekene) 

Ask the questions, watch his actions. 

A man with VISION makes moves in that direction. A Japanese proverb says vision without action is just a dream. A man with VISION is strategic, he doesn't just go for anything that comes along (that includes women, jobs...) Same proverb continues, Action without vision is a nightmare.

Pay attention. And while you are checking him. Check you. You attract what you are. Do you have a vision? Are you making moves in that direction? Are you strategic? If not, I highly recommend you take the Big Vision class. It will really help you get clear and also create a plan for action. 

A lot of people have aspirational VALUES but what dictates how we live are our actual VALUES. Watch how he spends his resources. If he says family is a value but never spends time with them, sporadic calls etc, it's likely not his actual value. If he says integrity is a value but he frequently is unreliable, again, not an actual value. If he says a relationship with God is important to him but he never prays & his morality is relative...you do the math. 

Again...check yourself too...

Finally VOICE. Does he honor your voice. Does he respect your opinion? Does he put you down in any way? Is he proud of you in public. Does he brag on your accomplishments? Is he supportive of your ideas and dreams? Does he even LISTEN?

No matter how much older, more accomplished, more whatever, he seems to be, if you partner with a man who doesn't honor your voice, before you know, you will swallow it and become a shadow of the woman you once were. And listen, a wife is not meant to be a trophy, she is meant to be a partner. You are meant to be critical in his path to destiny and he is meant to be critical in yours. Choose wisely.

If you are wanting to get ready and work on yourself, so you can be your best you, consider joining the next cohort of Operation WOW. It's a holistic success program for women who are ready to live with passion, confidently step into their purpose and create lives that sparkle.

But maybe you are saying, "What about me? I didn't ask these questions before I got married and now I feel stuck. What do I do?"

Here are some remedies if you didn't do it right the first time. If the relationship can be refreshed, here are some possibilities.

I believe all change starts from you. You have to take your focus off him and put it on you and God. In order to change your life or even your marriage, you have to become the change. 

1. Get clear on your vision. Even he doesn't have one, you can get one. If you aren't really sure about your vision and what that means, I highly recommend you take the Big Vision class. It will really help you get clear and also create a plan for action. Once you have clarity on your vision, start taking action. Stop waiting on him. Stop focusing on him. You have power by yourself. You want to be financially secure? Think about how you can accomplish that. Want a loving family? Create a love culture in your home. Transformation inspires and creates a path for influence. When he sees its not business as usual, he will have two choices. To grow and change or to leave. Either way, you will be better off. 

2. Start living in alignment with your values. Get clear on what's important to you and realign your life accordingly. Stop making excuses. Stop letting inconvenience stop you, if you say something is important to you, then live up to that. Make new decisions. This is your only life! 

3. If you have swallowed your voice, then it's time to take back your power.  

Please note (If you are in an abusive relationship, this is not for you. Because you need to be in a safe space. If speaking up will lead to his causing you harm, then you need to be somewhere safe!)

Take back your power. We often give away our power in the following ways. 

1. Needing too much validation from people. People get confused. They begin to think they are your God and they start believing you are less than. You have to stop seeking and needing their validation. Some of us express and receive love by words of affirmation, that is my love language as well. However, I know that if I live by a person's validation, I will die by their rejection and that is too much power to give to another human being. So I have learnt to enjoy affirmation, and deal with rejection because I know one core truth that guides me. 

Repeat this. "I am loved, by the Most High, and no being made from dust can compete with that." Let that sink into your soul. That way when you speak, even if he doesn't respond favorably, it won't break you. 

2. Staying too long where we are tolerated. You don't have to divorce or even separate, but you can start living your own life. If your life revolves around him, it's time to make it revolve around you for a minute. I know women who have given up hobbies they love because he wasn't interested. Some of you have given up so much, you no longer remember what even makes you come alive...And the sad irony is, the more you give up for him, the less you become in his eyes, because you are less and less interesting and the message you continue to send is, I have less value than you...and he will continue to act accordingly. 

It's time to get your life! Rediscover the wonder that is you. Getting your life, doesn't mean getting involved with another relationship, in fact that is a sure way to lose yourself completely because then you are outside of integrity. You can connect to positive and inspirational communities outside of him. Come to a Refresh retreat for instance, make an investment in yourself. You may have been tolerated so long, you forgot you are a wonderful and fascinating woman, a child of God who deserves to be celebrated. 

Get your life mama...

3. Not taking ownership of our lives. It's easier to play victim than to be a victor. It's easier to blame everyone else rather than face yourself and admit that you created or at least co-created your reality so you have responsibility. 

You have to take responsibility for this life you find yourself in. Nothing will change until you face your truth. Why did you choose a man who didn't really value you? Because you didn't value yourself. Why did you allow him to squelch your voice, because you didn't trust what you had to say anyway. 

It's time for all of us to rise to a higher level of self love. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Forgive yourself for not loving yourself enough. Forgive yourself for whatever you think you did that has diminished your value and hear this truth. 

I know this not just because I'm a coach with extensive training and certifications, but because I once lost myself and my life only changed when I began to invest in myself and do my work. Are you ready to do the same?

Or maybe you need a one on one VIP Refresh lifestyle makeover, I can help

Either way, or even if you don't work with me, I hope you remember this...

Every day comes with new mercies. God is a loving God and you are redeemed! Stop letting the accuser in your mind convince you otherwise. It doesn't matter what you did or who you were, today is a new day. Turn from those old ways and determine who you want to be and act accordingly. God bless you! Muah! 

Who should I marry? Part 1:

Someone asked me if it was important to marry within your culture. You see Nigerians take this a step further. It's not enough that you be the same race, or from the same country but to some from the same ethnic group is best. 

My thoughts after seeing countless marriages are as follows. 
If you meet someone who speaks the same language, eats the same traditional food and understands and honors the same customs because you are from the same tribe or place that is brilliant! It's wonderful to share and celebrate being from the same place, 
BUT ONLY IF...
That person speaks the same language about VISION and VALUES and respects and honors your VOICE. See my youtube video on this.
That person appreciates you and helps you be your best. 
If that person has qualities you would love to see in your children. 

The latter set of requirements is more important than the first, so if you meet someone from a different tribe, country or race who meets those requirements and you feel passionately about that person and he does about you, GO FOR IT! I have seen so many successful cross cultural marriages. 

For most modern people our personal culture is what dictates how we live our lives. So that's what we should pay the most attention too.

Share this with a hater you know...It just might change their life!

Let’s be honest…we have all felt a little green with envy from time to time. No…so are you trying to say it’s just me? Ok…fine, I’ll go it alone.

But honestly, I know we have all felt a pang of something before, and then we suppress it because we know envy is wrong and besides, we are civilized folk.

Here’s the thing, the other side of envy is actually admiration, it’s just that envy brings with it, bitterness, resentment and a whole host of “why not me’s!”. But at the core of envy is a recognition that someone has done well, or has some abilities that you wished you had.

However this one refreshing revelation may help you learn to use those envy pangs to your advantage.

 

Whatever you hate or love in others is a reflection of what you see in yourself. 

You see it, because you recognize it. You recognize that you have the same seed of greatness inside of you. And that recognition, bubbles up and challenges you…it’s like a little voice saying, when are you going to step up into your own greatness?”

That feeling is uncomfortable…so most of us, just deal with the surface emotion, we don’t go deep. 

We don’t ask ourselves why we are feeling this way. 

I believe in leaning into the wind, instead of always fighting it, so when next you see someone actually implementing an idea and making it work, or perhaps she is wearing a fashion trend that you never had the nerve to rock, or maybe she just seems to get it, and you feel the aura of green envy coming on…lean into it.

I don’t mean become bitter, rude and resentful and I certainly don’t mean try to knock the person down by diminishing their achievements..no, lean into it by following these three steps. Read more here

Excerpts from my novel "The Mrs Club"

Amaka

Caught up in the rapture

 

Could things get any sweeter than this?

Jeffrey and I were enjoying a lazy afternoon watching football on TV when he started tracing something on my back.

“What are you doing?” I asked while arching my back in pleasure.

“Making my mark,” he explained “Actually I am writing something”

“What?” “Something I never expected to be writing.” 

“Stop teasing me, and tell me.” “I am writing…” He paused. “I love you.”

I was silent and I could feel the blood rushing to my head. Did he just say he loved me? Why? I never asked or pressured him. I never told him that I loved him even though I have felt that for some time. If he is saying it with no pressure then it must be true. After all, if it was just about sex, well he has already had that.

“Why are you quiet? . Did I upset you?” Jeffrey asked softly.

“Of course not,” I said. “I guess I didn’t expect to feel this way either, I love you too.”

He smiled and then leaned in for a kiss.

I met his lips with passion.

If there was a definition of hot and steamy, it was us. It was truly a whirlwind romance. Just when I started to feel like things couldn’t get any better, the dreams started.

First it was just strange little things, like I’d dream that we would be eating and he would try and feed me a piece of chocolate and then when I looked down it would be an onion. Then the dreams became more overt. I would dream about him leaving the house and a woman holding a baby waving as he left. I always dream when something is not right and in my heart I knew something was not right.

I also started noticing that he would never call Nigeria in my presence and when I spent the night, occasionally Jeffrey would answer the phone in hushed, whispered tones. Initially I thought nothing of it, but combined with the dreams and the fact that I thought I heard him say sweetheart on the phone one day, I had to confront him with my concerns. 

 At first he hedged the questions and played down my concerns but as I continued to press him he eventually admitted that there was something he hadn’t told me.

I held my breath as Jeffrey spoke:

“I’m sorry, I should have told you right from the beginning but I felt you wouldn’t want anything to do with me” My heart began to pound in my chest. What was he going to say? Would this mean the end of the relationship? Was he really too good to be true? 

“I have a child. She is six. I am no longer with the mother but there it is,” Jeffrey blurted out.

I was torn between irritation and relief. A child I can deal with, it was better than the alternative, but I was a little upset that he didn’t tell me before. I had a right to know before I got involved and I told him so. He apologized and looked so dejected. 

“I guess now I’m going to lose you?” He said.

I was quiet. I didn’t quite know what to say.

He came close and put his arms on my shoulders.

“I love you. I wish that I had met you before but I love my daughter and she will always be part of my life.” His eyes said even more than his words.

I remained quiet. The fantasy I had created was not quite gelling. I always wanted for my husband and me to share the first childbirth together. Now my child would always be second in his mind, if we even went that far.

“Baby, please don’t shut me out because of this. I should have told you I know, but it doesn’t change how I feel about you.”

I looked at him. He was so handsome and looked so sincere and I was already so deeply in love with him, how could I walk away? What if he was my soulmate? My one true love? Surely passion like ours doesn’t come around twice?

I decided to throw caution to the wind. This was the kind of love I had been waiting for all my life, I was not going to let it go over a technicality. I would be a great stepmother if it came to that , but her mother was a different story.

“What’s the deal with her mother?” I asked. 

 “Well, honestly I just dated her in passing and I guess she was so determined to be Mrs. Jeffrey Ifedike that she got pregnant.”

“What do you mean, she got pregnant? She didn’t do it alone,” I said with slight annoyance. “I mean you could have used a condom”

“I should have, but she told me she was on the pill” 

“So you two are no longer together?” 

“No, I broke up with her and then she told me she was pregnant. She tried to pressure me into marrying her and honestly, initially, I tried. She moved in with me and my father started proceedings for a traditional marriage but I couldn’t stand it and I pulled out very quickly.” 

I didn’t know how to feel. My Prince Charming was losing some of his sparkle. 

“I am not proud of the whole situation but it is what it is. My parents are still sore on the topic because as good Igbo parents they expect me to do the right thing.” He continued: “I love my child definitely, but sometimes, especially like in a situation like this, I wish the whole thing had never happened.” He looked at me pleadingly.

I looked at him and while I just wanted to fall into his arms and say it was alright, that I loved him anyway, my mind kept screaming caution, caution. 

He continued speaking “I know that I haven’t known you very long but you are the one I have been searching for. I honestly had started to doubt I could feel this way about anyone. You make me feel alive. I can’t even explain it. Since I met you, I think about you constantly and sometimes just recalling something you said or the way you looked at a certain moment makes me smile, and I truly want to be with you always. You are different from any other woman I know. The conversations we have and the way we connect emotionally and physically just blows me away.” He reached for me, put his hands around my waist and pulled me close. He bent his head to my ear. 

“I love you Amaka. Don’t leave me.” 

My mind was racing though so many different scenarios, but in my heart all I wanted to do was sink deep into his chest and feel his heart beat against mine.

I chose to believe him.

When he moved to kiss me, I parted my lips and put my arms around him.

He sighed with pleasure.


Did you enjoy the read? Follow me on Facebook under Ekene Onu and watch out for my Facebook live videos where I'll be discussing Blended families & other relationship concerns...Today at 12noon. 

And on my Facebook live on Friday at 12noon, I'll be discussing the little things we do, that block us from the lives we truly desire... (I'm going to share some things, that blocked me from getting my first promotion and more!)

Oh and the book, "The Mrs Club" is available on Amazon!

 

My father made me cry

My father made me cry

When I think back about what my life used to look like, I marvel about what God has done. 

However, my journey to transformation has been hard won and I'm not done yet. 
Actually two days ago, my daughter and I walked up Stone Mountain. I must have seemed like a terrible mother, (actually I got a few nasty looks) because I was making her go to the top. She was complaining and carrying on and making excuses. She gave me ugly looks even. But I kept challenging her, encouraging her and yes even, Nigerian mama, my friend, keep moving...
Why? Because I knew it was good for her and that when she got to the top, I knew exactly what would happen. And I was right. When she got to the top, she broke out into a huge smile. She felt like a winner. She apologized for her poor attitude and we had a coaching session right there about pushing yourself to attain your goals and not settling for just good enough. 

As parents sometimes we have to be tough on our kids and it is from a place of love. Because we want more for them. 

I'm going to share a transparent story that happened years back when I was still in the before stage of that above photo. My father was visiting from Nigeria. I had just had my daughter and had started back at work. Every day, I came back, wiped out and exhausted and I would grab dinner, carry the baby and zone out in front of the TV. 
On my days off, I was not much different, I was walking around in a boubou most of the time and doing what I needed to, cooking, catching up on laundry etc. I watched TV, I read novels...that sort of thing. 

One day, my dad sat me down and said..."Ekene, I have to be honest with you. I'm concerned. You have become so boring...and drab! What has happened to you!"

Wow! Can you imagine how you would feel if you father said that to you? I cried. It hurt. 

It hurt, but it didn't wound. Because regardless of how I feel about whatever is said to me, I always check it for truth and if I find truth, I use it to improve myself. 

And when I checked it...He was right. I had really lost myself. When I was young, I hosted dinners at my apartment, I travelled, I was fun to be around (for the most part anyway). I had dreams and opinions and I enjoyed my life. 
Life had become a mundane list of task after task after task. 

Now my father said some other truths in that conversation. 
He told me that if I continued on this path...he could see trouble in my relationship because men, particularly dynamic men lose respect for women that let themselves go...and when a man loses respect...(Again, the man was giving it to me, straight...no chaser!)

He told me that he expected more from me. That I needed to uplevel. I needed to start working for my life. Not just living for my work. It was an awakening. 

One of the many awakenings I was having in that period.