20 Lessons That 2019 Taught Me
1. WHEN YOU SAY YES AND MEAN IT, THE UNIVERSE SAYS YES TOO.
It doesn’t mean you go to sleep after saying yes, it means every step you take from there on will be towards making that goal happen.
Every time you take a step towards the goal, the universe pushes that goal one step closer from the other direction.
2. BE AGGRESSIVE ABOUT YOUR SELF DEVELOPMENT
2019 taught me that you can never go wrong with learning a new skill, improving your knowledge in your field and even outside it.
It will come in handy. There are rooms you walk into where no one will ask you to bring out your CV or reel out your array of work experience or your impressive first class degree. They’ll only strike up a conversation on a topic and if you don’t know about it, well, poor you.
Schools cannot teach you everything. In the one, two, three years since you graduated, there are chances that things you learnt have been improved on. If you can’t improve yourself, you’ll be equipped to live in a world that’s passed and will be left blaming the schools for not teaching you this or that.
Platforms like Coursera, EdX, Open2Study, Udacity, Udemy, Solo Learn, HubSpot Academy, Google Garage, Shaw Academy, YouTube, et al, will help boost your skills. Some of them will allow you to learn for free. You only need to pay when you need a certificate.
Myself and Olumide Glowville started an educational consultancy called Highfliers Hub last year and one of the services we offer is helping young people apply for scholarship/financial aid to take professional online courses for a small fee. Reach out, you’ll be helping yourself.
3. DON’T HUSTLE IN SILENCE. BE LOUD ABOUT YOUR HUSTLE
Talk about what you do. Speak about it passionately. Whether you are a full time employee of a company or a startup owner, 2019 taught me to be loud about my hustle.
You’ll think people are not seeing it, but they are and if you talk about it enough and you are passionate about it enough, you’ll get enough recommendations, job offers, and calls that’ll make your head spin.
Let people know about your hustle. Even if you have no job, don’t just post: “I need a job. I graduated with this or that” and go to sleep. Talk about your field.
Read and weigh in on conversations in that field. There’s a better chance of people reaching out to you about a job when you are always talking about things in that field than people reaching out because you posted “I am looking for a job.”
4. ACCEPT THE FAILURES AS MUCH AS YOU CELEBRATE THE WINS
2019 taught me to celebrate the No I get just as much as the Yes.
When I announced late 2018 that I was starting Ndiyo Media, I said that I chose Ndiyo because I would learn to appreciate the No I get just as much as the Yes.
Ndiyo means Yes in Swahili and I said 2018 would be the year of the Yes. It was. Does that mean that I didn’t get my share of Nos? Nope. 2019 taught me to accept the No as much as the Yes.
The No you get matters just as much as the Yes you get.
5. KNOW YOUR WORTH!
2019 taught me to give a fuck about my worth.
You’ve upgraded your skills. You know better than you did two months ago. Learn to add all of that to your worth.
Say no when people try to play down your worth or downplay your growth. Know your worth. Charge your worth.
6. GIVE A FUCK WHAT PEOPLE THINK ABOUT YOU
There’s that resistance message about not giving a fuck what people think about you. Perhaps.
But I think it is never in all situations.
2019 taught me to care what people think about me. Not in the ‘be afraid to offend people or living to please people’ way but in the being sure that people have the right idea about you and what you do way.
If you ask 10 people who I am, chances are that at least 5 will mention PR and talk about Ndiyo. That’s enough for me.
I started Ndiyo Media when I was rounding off my post graduate program. People started calling me Ndiyo in class. I was glad.
Even now, people still call me Ndiyo instead of James. Somehow, someone will ask what Ndiyo means and I’ll tell them and then add the business part.
The many writings I have done and continue to do on PR, advertising, social media and related things mean that people easily associate me with such things.
Give a fuck what people think about you.
What do you do? How many people know that you do it?
When people think of you or your name pops up, what do they think about you? Give a fuck!
7. TRUST YOUR GUT
2019 taught me to trust my gut when I want to accept a job offer or work with a client.
If something feels off, I back off. Sometimes, I deliberately name an unreasonable fee if it feels off.
I took a project when my gut said not to, let’s just say it didn’t exactly end well. Trust your gut.
8. LIVE LIFE ON YOUR OWN TERMS
2019 taught me to have personal KPIs and only measure my progress based on those KPIs.
Set personal and professional targets. If you meet those targets, celebrate them.
Don’t feel bad that you didn’t build a house in 2019 when your personal KPI was to achieve a measure of financial independence.
Don’t begrudge the person that raised millions in funding for their business when your KPI was to get 500 customers.
You don’t know the other person’s KPI. They may have or have not met theirs while you that met a target you set are envying them.
Live life on your own terms. Celebrate successes based on targets you set. Yorubas will say “Ma wo ago alago sise.” Means: Don’t look at someone else’s watch to work.
10. YOUTUBE IS UNDERRATED
2019 taught me just how important YouTube is.
YouTube is to those hoping to learn skills what Google is to the world.
Everything you want to know, someone already has an answer. The incentive that Google pays YouTubers that have large views sweetens the pot and makes a lot of people put up free, valuable stuff on YouTube.
In fact, to get content for YouTube, professional YouTubers often go to Google to see what people are searching and popular questions and talk about it. That means that you can get answers to questions and brush up on your skills using YouTube.
11. IT’S OKAY TO DO ‘OSHOFREE’ SOMETIMES
There’s a time to insist on getting paid and there’s a time to agree to do Oshofree. 2019 taught me to know when.
In 2019, I did Oshofree and I also got paid good money to work for people.
There are opportunities that doing it alone is more than enough payment. It flings open doors to earn much more than you could have charged for that job.
2019 taught me to spot those chances and ‘smuggle’ myself into them.
12. WHEN YOU FAIL AT SOMETHING, MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND WHY
2019 taught me to understand failure.
Before, when something failed, I’d simply mope, then move on to something else without trying to understand why I failed.
When you understand why you failed, it’s easy to know if you should try again or move on to something better, armed with a knowledge of why it didn’t work and better equipped to do something better.
13. SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTERS
2019 taught me to take newsletter subscriptions serious.
When you subscribe to newsletters of websites that are informative and improve your knowledge, it’s like getting a newspaper or curation of relevant readings delivered straight to your doorstep.
You’ll not only be aware of new trends in your industry, you’ll be better equipped to do better at your job or for clients and be able to contribute valuable points to conversations in your field.
When you visit a website you like and whose content appeals to you, look for the ‘SIGN UP’, ‘NEWSLETTER’ or ‘SUBSCRIBE’ box or menu and enter your email address.
If they spam you, you can always opt out later.
14. START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE WHERE YOU ARE
When I first started Ndiyo Media, I wanted to start big and break into the industry. My goal was to raise funds.
I sent a ‘Searching for Investors’ call out and thankfully got kind people from Facebook like egbons Ade Damola, Semiu Ayobami Akanmu, Gbenga Ayo-Dada and my ever supportive sugar mummy 😁🧐, Dr. Olutoyosi Omotoso to help post it.
I got a few enquiries in my mail but I never successfully raise one naira.
Eventually, I created a company website and started by talking about what I do.
Nothing happened immediately but eventually, the calls started coming. Job offers, clients for Ndiyo Media, recommendations from people here, and more.
Ndiyo Media is not exactly big yet, but I’m confident we are on the right part.
15. WORK ONLY WHERE THERE’S MUTUAL RESPECT
In 2019, I learnt that yes, you need money. You need clients, yes. But only work where there’s mutual respect.
If you work in a place where you are constantly being abused, leave. Maybe not immediately, search for something better and leave.
In fact, you may accept a pay cut if it’ll help get you out of that situation.
Disrespect and constantly being told you’re not good enough sets you back more than you know.
It destroys your self confidence and conditions you to doubt yourself. Eventually, you’ll start to underperform for real and be fired rightly for not being good enough.
If it’s for a client, “The customer is always right” should not extend to disrespect. If there’s no mutual respect, sever ties.
16. BE GOOD. BE VERY GOOD
2019 reminded me of the need to be very good. Let people ‘complain’ that your fees are too high, but let them never be able to say that you don’t know what you’re doing.
Throw everything you’ve got at being better. Learn something new everyday. Read books in your field. Read newsletters. Read writings of authorities and even fellow professionals in your field.
Be good. Be very good.
17. YOU CAN LEARN FROM THE FOOLISH TOO
2019 taught me to pay attention to the wise person and the foolish person. They’ll both teach you something.
I found that even from those whose person and opinion I have absolutely no regard for, I still learn from them.
What they’re saying may be nonsense, but if you’re attentive enough, you may learn something from it. I wish I can explain this better than this.
18. BEFORE STARTING SOMETHING, MAKE A LIST OF WHY IT WON’T WORK
One of the things I learnt in 2019 was to make a list of why what I want to do will not work and then start to ask why.
Say I want to start a restaurant, I’ll make a list of why it won’t work.
No funds? Why? I don’t have experience in running a restaurant, etc.
You’ll either find out that you should not be doing it or find answers that’ll help you actualize it.
19. LEARN TO HAVE FUN
2019 taught me to try to loosen up a little, go out more and talk to people more.
For an introvert like me, that’s not exactly easy but last year, I put myself out a bit more than I did the previous year and I’m loving it.
Go out more. Let your hair down. Have fun. Laugh. Fuck. Talk to strangers. Fall in love.
Just have fun. Life is too short to not have fun.
20. GREAT FRIENDS ARE INVALUABLE
Great friends are everything. Don’t every take them for granted.
What lessons did 2019 teach you? Share in the comment section.
Have an amazing day!