Public speaking made easy : Conquer stage fright and become a better public speaker

Public speaking


My first time speaking in public was like taking my first baby steps. You raise the baby up and leave it standing on its own. It will try to walk , it will fall, next time it will use the chair to hoist itself up so it can try to walk. Nobody taught me how to do it, I just had to wing it and hope for the best.

Uni has been a whole different experience when it comes to public speaking. I have learned that to be good at public speaking I had to practice, learn from my mistakes and learn from the best. So I watch Ted talks(am obsessed), read articles and books on public speaking.

I still feel nervous when am in front of people, but I have learned to transform that nervous energy into something productive. All in all am learning and there is still a lot of things I have to work on to get better and am committed to doing so.

At one point of your life you shall be required to speak in front of Alot of people and I hope that the tips I’ll be sharing in this article will get you through it unscathed.

The first thing we need to discuss when it comes to public speaking is stage fright. Stage Fright or performance anxiety is a state of anxiety or fear which occurs when a person is faced With the requirement of performing in front of an audience. Symptoms include but are not limited to sweaty palms, tremors, stuttering and accelerated heart beat. I feel like understanding our fear of public speaking will go a long way in getting rid of it. A lot of us would be excellent public speakers if we just learned how to manage our fear of public speaking.

Stage fright

There are several ways of overcoming performance anxiety .
1.  Practice! Practice! Practice!
Practice in front of your friends and ask them for honest feedback. You can also record your own voice with your phone whilst you practice on your own. You can even practice in front of the mirror so you become aware of your body language.

Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident

Dale Carnegie


2.  Remember to breathe
Before going on the stage take deep breaths. This is a way of reassuring your body that you are okay and that you are not in any danger. Also whilst presenting give yourself time to breathe when you’ve made a point. It’s not a marathon so relax.


3.  Remember that nobody wants to see you fail and even if they was somebody, think of all the people who are rooting for you to succeed.


4. Forget the feeling of self consciousness by becoming absolved with the topic. Know your topic so well that you can present it without  anything to refer to. Keep yourself engaged by the topic that you forget your fear. This is why presenting on a topic that your passionate about is vital.


5. Face an audience as frequently as you can. The bottom line is, “we learn by doing.” Throw yourself in positions that allow you to speak in public as often as possible. This will help you to get used to being in front of a crowd.

Tips to help you to be a better public speaker include:
1. Rehearse: If you want to be better at something you have to practice.internalize your talk before the day you get to present it. Practice  delivering the speech so many times until you are comfortable giving it without looking at any cheat sheet. It’s the preparation that allows you to be spontaneous. I know you’re saying i don’t want to look over prepared and rigid but actually practicing has the opposite effect. It helps you to be able to add on some stuff the time you are presenting. You already know your stuff so you can be flexible and  spontaneous on stage.

They got better with practice!!


2. Less is more
Make your presentation as simple as possible. Do not bombard your Audience with so many facts in so little time. Focus on one idea and let it carry you through the rest of your presentation. Be able to explain your topic simply.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
– Albert Einstein

3.  Know your audience
Before deciding to give a speech learn about who the audience is going to be. For school presentations your audience is your classmates and the teacher. You’re job is to convince the teacher that you Know what you are talking about and that you can present in front of people with confidence. 
One of the greatest speeches I’ve heard recently is Chakwera’s speech during his inauguration as the president of the republic of Malawi. If there’s one thing that Chakwera knows when giving a speech is his audience.

During the inauguration he talks about how we are a broken nation in rubbles. How his administration’s job is to fix this nation. That is exactly what as a nation ridden by corrupt government officials needed to hear. We needed to hear that change was coming

The same goes for you, Know your audience and tailor your message to that audience.

4.  Avoid sounding Monotonous
Think of music made by punching the same key of the piano at the same speed over and over again. How does it sound?
Boring
Yes it sounds boring
The same goes when you are presenting . Using the same tone, pitch for the rest of the presentation is not appealing.
You’re goal as a speaker should be to portray variety in your speech.

Use emphasis
Stress words that are important. Not every word in a sentence is of a special importance.

Change your pitch
My voice is high pitched when am presenting and I find it hard to tone it down. But the volume of your voice is really important to consider when presenting. Pitch can either be high, moderate and low.

Change your pace
At what speed are you presenting? Slow down when making an important point so that the audience will be able to grab your point.

Pause whenever necessary (before or after making an important point).
A pause is important to help you collect yourself. A pause at the right time will help the audience think about what your saying. It will also help you to breathe and be able to control your pace.

5. Internalize your content rather than memorizing it. Know your speech inside out. Make sure that you understand your topic, internalize it to the point that you can say it without referring to anything. This isn’t memorising,it is getting yourself familiar with your content. We don’t want you to sound as a robot spitting out pre coded words, we want you to sound as natural as possible. Thus the need of striking a balance between preparation and flexibility.

Nick Morgan
You want 80% of it to be prepared and 20% of it to be spontaneous
20% percent of your speech will allow you to add to the things you already prepared on.

6. The 10 minute rule
Attention is a scarce resource. The amount of time it takes for a person to stop paying attention to anything is slowly decreasing. We jump from one activity to another in a few minutes. Think about how your thoughts wonder in no time. The same happens to your audience. You’re Job is to offer your speech in 6-10 minutes before people get distracted. Better still to keep them engaged long enough when you Know that it is around the time that they may lose concentration.

Be time conscious 🤗

7. What’s the big take away of the speech?
When you’re done offering your speech what is that one message that you want them to take home. As a rule you should be able to articulate it in less than 15 words. It’s something you get back to over and over again as you deliver your speech. This is the point you were trying to make all along as you were presenting. So think about it what message do you want to put across to your audience? Make it simple, make it clear and make impactful.

8. Body language..
Actually where you put your hands matters, Lou(☺️). When you are nervous you try to cover up you’re chest and stomach area. You fold your hands and close your body out from the audience.Always make sure that your arms are away from your chest, and that you’re opening your arms out to the audience. Also remember to smile (<note to self lol). This portrays you as someone who is welcoming , at ease and it shortens the gap between you and your audience. When you smile your telling your listeners , you can trust me, I don’t bite (lol).

9. Connect with your audience
Engage with your audience, ask them questions and make them feel that they are being included in your talk.

10. Never apologize, correct your mistake and move on
Do not apologize for mispronouncing a word, just correct yourself and move on. Do not dwell on that mistake focus on getting the message across for the remainder of the time that you have.

Extra tip
**Tell a story**
Make it personal that way the audience will feel like you trust them and even if it’s not personal make sure it’s driving you to a point you want to make concerning your topic. Chances are people will remember your speech because of the stories you shared

I know you must be thinking that this is a lot to take in and you’re right because there’s more where that came from. Fear not for in time and with practice all this will come naturally to you. Comment down below about your public speaking journey and the tips you think will help you become a better public speaker. Have a great week!

Book review: Uncover Your Potential (you are more than you realize) by Myles Munroe

Uncover Your Potential is a book by Myles Munroe in which he tries to open our eyes to all the potential that resides within us. I have had this book for the longest of times but never got to read it, until I opened it a week ago and realized the gold mine I was sitting on. Ever since then I have devoured it, absorbed every word and have decided to share the lessons that I have taken to heart.


What is Potential? Some of you may be asking
The most elaborate explanation of potential I have got so far is the one that I got from this book. Stay with me because I need you to get this;

Potential is all you can do but have not done yet

Potential is all you can become but you haven’t become it yet

Whatever you have done is no longer your potential

Potential is always what you haven’t done yet but you can still do

Potential is what you can accomplish but you haven’t achieved yet

Potential is: Dormant ability, reserved power, untapped strength, unused success, hidden talents, all you can be but have not yet become, all you can do but have not yet done.



UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING THAT IS BEYOND WHAT YOU HAVE ALREADY DONE, YOU WILL NEVER GROW OR EXPERIENCE YOUR FULL POTENTIAL

Uncovering your potential requires that you go beyond your comfort zone and do the things that you have never ever done before. Potential is invincible it’s something that hasn’t been manifested yet. That is why Dr Munroe talks about the importance of being able to see beyond what is presented to you. For example when a sculptor sees a stone they see a beautiful work of art whilst someone else will see the same stone and render it useless.

One day I was watching a commercial on TV and it had something to do with the word ‘fearless’. I remember it vividly because at the end a woman sings “I am fearless!” Anybody else would look at that commercial and move on to whatever they were watching. When I heard the word fearless a light bulb went on in my head and all I could see was an article titled ‘be fearless’. The same goes for people; we look at them and just by their appearance render them useless not knowing the deep well of unlimited abilities that lie within them.

One of the statements that struck in this book me goes like this; “just because you are broken doesn’t mean you have to give up on yourself and your potential, there’s still hope for you and you can still be transformed into something beautiful.” There was a time in my life that I felt broken, my grades dropped, I was not happy with who I was at that moment. Deep down I knew that there was still something within that made me special. I knew that I had the potential to be better, to do better. So I embarked on a journey of healing, instead of hating myself I began to accept myself, instead of wallowing in guilt I decided to forgive myself and instead of feeling bad about my grades I devised a plan that got me working harder. Just because you are broken does not mean that you cannot be anything more, WE CAN STILL MAKE A DIAMOND OUT OF YOU YET.

Think of any device that has ever been manufactured. Say a phone or perhaps a laptop. The maker designs a device according to what it is going to be used for (Its purpose). A phone’s design is perfect for its purpose. Your design is perfect for your purpose. Everything that you need to achieve your purpose is within you. Whatever your purpose is in life you are equipped with the ability, talents, gifts, capacities and potential you need to fulfill it.

This brings us to the idea of purpose
What is purpose? Why do we need a purpose in life?
Who are you? What were you put on this earth for?

Purpose is an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions. Without purpose life is meaningless. Without purpose we focus on things with no significance. Purpose gives us a sense of direction. People without purpose, focus on mundane things that give them no sense of fulfillment. Purpose is the master of motivation and the mother of commitment. Your vision or purpose is what will motivate you to keep doing what you are doing. I am committed to writing because I know that I was put on this earth so that my words can encourage someone to see the beauty and strength within them. A lot of people live unfulfilled lives because they have no purpose. Without this vision we feel no passion for living neither do we have a reason to wake up in the morning. When you discover your purpose you live a life full of passion, perseverance and hope.

SUCCESS IS AN ENEMY OF POTENTIAL
One of the greatest mistakes that we make is being content with our success. When we are content with our success we close our eyes to the things we could do that surpasses our present success. You have unlimited potential. Do not be satisfied with where you are now because there is still more that you could be. To realize your full potential you must never be satisfied with your last success. Strive to be better than you were yesterday.

There’s nothing named “cant”

You can do anything that you put your mind to. If you can conceive it you can achieve it. The only thing that is stopping you is the limit that you put on yourself.

Whatever you believe hard enough and are committed to enough can become reality. Remove the word impossible from your vocabulary.
The only way that you can understand the extent of you potential is if you challenge your ability. Don’t wait for someone to challenge you, do it yourself.

‘Give your ability some responsibility’
Myles Munroe.

Start a project and use everything you have to see it through fruition. This way you are challenged and your abilities are being put to use to achieve something worthwhile. Demand things of yourself that go beyond what you have already done.



All in all God created all human kind and he built into each of us unlimited potential and it is up to us to uncover it. It is up to us to push beyond the imaginary limits that we have placed in front of us. Potential must be exercised to be fulfilled.

Now close your eyes and see, see all the things that you could be if only you took that extra step, if only you had the courage to try. Do not be so afraid of failure that you refuse to try. Failure is proof that you tried and for me that is a win.



What are your heart desires?
What are your dreams?
Progress requires a plan of action and if you want to fulfill your potential you need a plan.

There’s more to you than what meets the eye. Uncover your potential. Do not die before you have unleashed your potential (like many others do). There is something great that you can contribute to this world.

Comment down below if you enjoyed this book as much as I did and if there is any book you need me to do a review on you need only ask. Have a wonderful week and remember that your potential is limitless.

How to develop self confidence

A lot of us have dreams but lack the confidence to execute them. Many lack the confidence to live the lives they’ve always wanted to have. Confidence is something that  can be developed. That is why I compiled the hacks in this article that will help you build or boost your self confidence.

Simply put confidence is belief in yourself and  your abilities.However this definition is too simplistic that it doesn’t really tell us all that we need to Know about self confidence and the different ways that confidence manifests itself.

No matter how much you accomplish if you can’t find your confidence within then all those external successes or achievements simply mean nothing.
Confidence is the belief that you have in your spirit that regardless of your circumstance
You will face every obstacle or difficulty to achieve your aim.
Michael Andrews

I love  this description because it describes confidence as something that starts from within. It is belief that we are capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for. You can have everything outwardly but still lack confidence. It all begins in belief that it is all going to work out in the end.

Confident people don’t degrade others to make themselves feel better. Confidence is not arrogance nor is it over confidence. Confident people don’t look for validation outside of themselves. Finally confident people don’t compare themselves with others.

**Delivering my first speech in front of the whole school**
Being a head girl at my secondary School I was tasked to deliver a welcoming speech for the canossian sisters from Tanzania. It was my first time to deliver a speech oddly enough  you didn’t have to say much when they appointed you head girl.

I stressed more about writing the speech than I did about delivering it. I even got a friend to help me come up with the write up. When I got to the stage my heart racing, every voice in my head telling me to run and never look back, I started. The adrenaline rush made me rush through the whole speech and the next thing I knew I was saying “thank you for your attention”. When I finished not paying attention to whether anybody clapped their hands at all or not I got off the stage and back to my seat. Hours later standing in front of sister Lacy, she said I’d done a good job with the the speech but I had to work on my pace, I was too fast.

This brings me to point number one for building self confidence which is practice. Whoever said that practice makes perfect wasn’t kidding around, they were right. You gain the confidence to do something by doing it. The more you do it the more you get comfortable doing it. What I should have done was to practice delivering the speech in front of my friends. I should have read up on cues to pay attention to when delivering a speech because then I would have known that  your pace matters. Practicing doing something will help you get the confidence you need when you are doing the actual thing in front of many people.

Secondly, to build confidence you must practice confidence. In other words Fake it till you make it.

Dale Carnegie said and I quote
By regulating the action  which is under the more direct control of the will we can indirectly regulate the feeling which is not.

Here he means acting as if you already had that confidence will regulate the feeling of having confidence. Think of how one acts like when they have confidence and will yourself into doing and the end result will be that you will feel confident.

To develop lasting self confidence you need to practice acceptance of your strengths, weaknesses and yourself. Accepting yourself as you are without judgement is one of the skills that we all need to develop. We are so used to to judging ourselves everytime we feel that there is something wrong with us that we are actually the ones bringing ourselves down. Accept that you have weaknesses because nobody is perfect.

On the flip side you need to accept your strengths. Realize that there is something about you that makes you good at doing whatever it is that you do. Try new things explore and discover your strengths. Capitalize on those strengths, use them to your advantage. Part of accepting your strengths is accepting compliments. If someone says “ooh you’re good at doing…..” Say thank you accept it because it just might be that they see something in you that you don’t see. Compliments really open your eyes to the array of strengths and capabilities that you process.

All in all accept yourself as a whole. You are one complex human being full of magic and wonder, embrace that. Also embrace the fact that you have flaws, none of us is perfect really. Don’t let your bad parts dim the light of your good parts. Let your strengths shine over your weaknesses and imperfections.

In addition to that use positive affirmations to develop confidence. I say it this all the time the more you say it to yourself the more you believe it and the more it manifests in your life. Your perception of your self is ingrained in your subconscious. The reason why you have low self confidence is because you’ve told yourself that you’re worthless and cannot accomplish anything so many times that you got to believe. Our aim with positive confidence affirmations is to reprogram your subconscious through repetition of positive affirmations that will help you develop self confidence. Say it to yourself everyday that you get to believe and in turn becomes ingrained in your mind. Confidence becomes your new programming. You become wired for confidence.

Say this to yourself with conviction;

I am confident and strong

I breathe in confidence and I breathe out timidity

When I walk, talk and in every act I exude confidence

I do not need validation from others

There is nothing I am not able to overcome

I believe in my abilities

I don’t have to justify anything to anyone

Aside from these you can make cool affirmations on your own about the things you are(you want to be). Incorporate them in your daily routine and choose a time in your day when you get to repeat the affirmations. Mornings are better because they signify new beginnings. Look in the mirror say positive things into life and feel good about yourself!

Another way to develop confidence is by taking care of yourself.
Exercise
For me exercising helps me relieve stress. It’s a way of burning the extra energy , makes me feel light afterwards. Aside from that exercising will help you to stay fit and maintain a great body. Alot of people have lost their confidence because they don’t like their bodies. Exercising is one way to get you that beautiful body you’ve always wanted that will help you carry yourself with confidence wherever you go. Ever noticed that when you’re doing what you are supposed to be doing you feel great? When I miss exercise sessions I feel guilt, makes me feel bad about myself. Immediately after exercising though I feel like a badass.

Eat healthy
Garbage in, garbage out.
What you put in your body will manifest itself in your health and body shape. You’re diet can determine whether you’re gonna get sick for eating harmful foods or if you’re gonna stay healthy. Eat your vegetables, fruits and drink a lot of water. If you want to lose weight eat less carbs (carbohydrates), eat less sugar and avoid eating junk foods.

Smell great
Your scent is a major factor that can determine if you’re confident or not. When you smell good you feel better about yourself. Invest in that deodorant  your confidence depends on it.

Pay attention to what you wear
Make your brain work, what are you wearing when you finally have confidence? When you’ve figured that out go and wear it. Wear clothes that make you look and feel confident.

Visualization is one of the effective ways of transforming your thoughts which play a big role in developing self confidence. When you think positive thoughts positive things tend to follow (it’s the law of attraction) and so is the opposite true. Use visualization by picturing a more confident you going out there accomplishing your goals. This triggers good feelings and positive thought processes.  Visualize what a confident you would look like, what is she wearing? What is she doing? What are you saying? How are you feeling? Get more specific. Create a story of how you want to feel and what you want to achieve in life and visualize it over and over again until your subconscious gets the idea. The reason why this works is that when you imagine yourself doing something  you create psychological patterns in your brain just as if you had physically performed the task . Our brains can not differentiate between a memory, an image you’ve made up with something that is happening now.

In addition to that write down your strengths.This is just to remind you of the things you’re good at and all your good traits that make you good at the things you do. This strengthens belief in oneself and helps you to use those strengths to achieve all your goal. Also whenever you’re down going through that list reminds you of who you are and what you can do .

Try something that is outside your comfort zone (something that scares you)
Doing something that is outside your comfort zone is uncomfortable. Nevertheless succeeding in doing something that is something outside our comfort zone boosts confidence. This is because you conquer your fear and discover that you can do just about anything aslong as you will yourself to do them. Most people wait for confidence before they try something new, they want to feel ready before going out of their comfort. This doesn’t work most times because confidence is a product of doing something that you fear (of going outside your comfort zone).

Celebrate yourself
Celebrate your success, big or small celebrate them. Celebrate your journey , you’ve come this far and you have accomplished alot. This opens your eyes to the  potential that you hold within you. You can achieve anything that you set your mind on.

Don’t compare yourself with others(  check out my post, “Don’t compare yourself with others”)
Confidence is not walking  into a room and thinking that you are better than everyone else. It’s walking into a room and not having to compare yourself  to anyone else in the first place.
Unknown author
Confident people don’t have to compare themselves with others because they know that they are unique. Your journey is going to be different from anybody else’s  accept that .

Let go of the past (for those stuck in the past: let go and move on)
A lot of us fail to live a life filled with confidence because we let our past define who we are now. In my previous post on letting go of your past mistakes I talk about how you can let go of the past. One way is by making yourself conscious of your current thought process. By doing this you get to know when you’re marinating so that you can divert to the present or to more positive thoughts. Another way is by accepting your past without judgement and realising that you can’t change your past but you can make a conscious choice to create a better future through your actions now. Finally forgive yourself for your past mistakes and move on. Live in the present and leave the past where it belongs, in the past.

Practice mindfulness(I talk more about mindfulness in my blog post “for those stuck in the past: let go and move on)
Pay attention to your thought patterns. Consciously pay attention to your thoughts. That way you can stop negative self talk and incorporate positive self talk.

Looking at the tips that I’ve shared you’ll realize that many of them work hand in hand  to get you the confidence that you deserve. Their goal is to put you in a positive mind frame where you are in peace with yourself and you operate with belief in your abilities. Let me know on which tips really spoke to you, which ones you are ready to try out and others that you think should have been added to this list.

Get back your confidence

When I was a kid I was incredibly shy. I was self conscious. I could be thinking to myself; am I dressed right, am I saying the right things, do people like me?

They say that in your younger years you tend to be outgoing,without a care in the world. You play, you laugh and you let it all out. I’d like to think I was that in my earlier years. But from age five going forward I was really low on the self esteem scale. I remember being made fun off for no particular reason. The boys who bullied me chasing me around. I would run and cry whenever I saw them. I remember vividly one day I was waiting outside a classroom at our school on a weekend for my friends who were being tutored. I saw the boy’s from a far and I started running, they chased me laughing calling me names. With tears in my eyes I run past my house and went to my friends place . When I got there I found her father first and he was a big man (tall and huge), in my eyes, a giant.

“why are you crying?” he asked
“those mean boys were chasing me calling me names ” I cried
and you Know what he said to me?
He said that i should have stood up to them and instead of running and crying. He continued to say that I did nothing wrong and there was no reason for them to be making fun of me.

Now mind you , there was nothing wrong with me, I didn’t wear weird clothes nor did I have any physical imperfection that made me a target. The only thing is that I was shy, I preferred to run and hide than face those boys. They knew this, they could smell the fear from a far and that is why I became a target. Looking back I could think of a lot of things that I could have done to put an end to this. But I didn’t and I let them walk all over me. I was only a child.

I have gone so far since then, I am now a Blogger who shares her ideas with a lot of people. I make presentations in class that make people marvel at my confidence, I stand up to myself and more importantly I don’t let people walk all over me.

Self confidence is something that begins with how you feel about yourself. When you look at yourself do you think you deserve love ? Do you feel good about yourself?  What you feel about yourself radiates in the way you move , talk and do things. Self confidence begins with how you feel or think about yourself. If you think that you are confident that radiates to the people around you.

This is how you get confidence, you’ve got to want it for yourself. You’ve got to live with the intent of being confident. Think about how it feels to be confident, the way you present yourself when you are confident. Then act like you are confident. Forget about how anxious you are feeling inside, do it anyways. Feel the fear and do it anyways. Do more and think later.

Confidence is doing the things that you like even when you feel discouraged. Following the dream that everyone thinks is ridiculous. Standing your ground defending your beliefs and the things you think are right.

Think of how things would be better if you were just confident in your abilities. You could do just about anything !
It takes confidence to live your best life.
Change your mindset and get back your confidence . Trust me you have it somewhere in there you just need to unlock it and unleash it to the world.

Another thing I’d like to address is confidence that is based on achievement. You know that excitement that you get for accomplishing something. It feels like you can do just about anything at that moment. Time passes and you face some hurdles on the way and your sense of confidence drops (literally deflates). It’s like a rollercoaster with ups and downs. One day you’re high the next you’re low. This kind of confidence is fleeting it doesn’t last.

Confidence that begins in belief in your potential, feeling good about yourself despite your flaws and generally dwelling on your positives and not negatives is limitless. When you are in a sticky situation you operate with the belief that you can get yourself out of it. You have the power within you and your accomplishments shouldn’t define how you feel about yourself and how you carry yourself. You should choose to define you. Choose to be confident despite the situation you are in despite your accomplishments or lack thereof. Am not saying you shouldn’t celebrate them, by all means please do. Just make sure that that’s not where all your confidence comes from because when you fail , down the drain your confidence goes.

I know y’all love getting comprehensive tips, so my next article will dive right into all the tips I could think of or find out there that helps to build self confidence.  So it’s au revoir for now, until next time, get back your confidence!

Be Fearless!

Fearless
The dictionary defines this word as;
Oblivious of dangers or peril  or calmly resolute in facing them.

Fear is something that drives a lot of people to act as well as keeping them from doing things they would’ve done if there weren’t afraid. As human beings we have a lot of fears. It is our way of survivor, if we think that something might hurt us we fear it. In medieval times it kept the Stone age people safe (remember the Croods?). They feared the beasts that lived in their times and by staying away from them they survived.

The basic instincts of fear still exist in our minds. When I see a snake my first instinct is to run, get as far away from it as I can. As humans developed their ranges of fear evolved from just physical harm to emotional and even social harm.

Human beings are emotional beings, for we have thoughts and feelings. We feel joy and then we feel sadness. Naturally we want to be happy and I Know this to be true for everyone. If it was possible we would stay clear of anything that brings forth the feeling of sadness in our lives. So we distance ourselves  from things that stimulate sadness in our lives.

Human beings are also social beings meaning that they thrive in groups. They seek to be associated with members of their society. They want to be accepted so they comply to societal code of conduct. Anything that may lead servered  connections with society is scary, being alone is scary.

We have fear because we know there are dangers or perils in taking a particular action.   Now danger is relative, you’d have to analyze the situation in your mind to see if it poses a potential threat or not. That’s why sometimes they say “it’s all in your mind.” Practically the dangerous situation hasn’t presented itself yet but it is because we think that if we do something it may cause it to happen to us. A very practical example would be “If I flunk out of uni my parents will disown me. Another would be if I keep nagging him he’ll break up with me. These things haven’t happened yet but still you fear them.

Being fearless means that you know that there is potential danger but you still act because it is who you are, it’s what makes you happy and it is good for you. To be fearless is to have known fear but still do it anyway. To be fearless is to be steadfast in facing your  fears. To be fearless is to look for solutions to your problems instead  of dwelling on how bad it is for you. To be fearless is to stand out and live your life by your own rules despite enormous opposition.To be fearless is to take the leap and jump and hope that you don’t break a leg and if you do, oh well, it was worth it.

Now I Know you’re asking, can I be fearless?  In the face of enormous pain we doubt our ability  to be calm and resolute in facing them.   This is why I came up with a few tips to help you to be fearless.

The first key to being fearless is to embrace your fears. Know that you are going to be afraid. There are some things that will scare the hell out of you but just make sure that that fear does not paralyze you. Do not let fear keep you from doing whatever it is that you love.

The second key to being fearless is to accept that anything can happen. You could break a leg today, lose a loved one tommorow and have your money stolen the next. Bad things happen to good people and none of it is your fault. Living with the realization that anything could happen will keep you strong in the face of a difficult situation. Remember that no situation is permanent, you can still walk your way out of it.

Being willing to deal with problems when they do present themselves is another key to being fearless. Tell yourself that if this happens I’ll deal with It with the same efficiency that I deal with any other problem. “God does not give you more than you can handle.”  You have so much power within you and it shall present itself in the face of trouble to help you survive whichever trauma you are into.

Realize that your greatest enemy is your mind. Your mind can either be your ally but so can it be your enemy. It is so easy for you to wallow in negativity and only think about the worst possible outcome. You can build worst case scenarios in your head that by the way are probably not going to happen. Your mind will amplify your fears if you let it. Whenever the negativity starts to creep into your thoughts tell it to “quiet down” and that “you are in control”.  You can very well cripple yourself without anyone’s help, it all starts in your head.

Finally, speak fearlessness into existence through positive affirmations. Now it’s not going to instantly come true for you, but the more you say it , the more you believe it, the more you attract it and it manifests in your life.

I am fearless

Say this to yourself.
I am fearless

I have the courage to take my own path

Everytime I challenge my fears I feel strengthened and empowered

I act inspite of fear and the fear fades away

I release all fears and doubts

I do the things I fear and take control of my life

I face all of life’s challenges head on

I accept that fear is just a feeling which will subside as I move forward.

I see my fears for what they are – lifeless thoughts that I no longer give power to.(This is really powerful)

I have what it takes to conquer my fears

In the face of danger, uncertainty, risk  and peril , Be fearless!

Breaking the cycle of dependency

The current construction of gender puts a woman at an odd relationship with money. As girls society grooms us to be delicate, dependent and generally at the mercy of a man when it comes to money. No wonder every conversation that we have does not end without there being mention of a man.

The fact that women are now increasingly having careers of their own and even starting their own businesses is definitely a win. Take Lora for example she’s a graduate at a renowned University in her country. She has a good  job, a car and generally lives a confortable life. To everyone on the outside she’s very successful, but behind all that glitter the situation is actually different.

She spends her salary impulsively and has no assets to show off. She’s in debt and can’t seem to keep track of her finances. She doesn’t get a house of her own because that’s the job of her future husband. Her boyfriend pays for all her cravings and her mall excapades that she really don’t have to worry about hustling to get more money. She’s always on the lookout for the latest designer bags, shoes you name it.

Then there’s Lilly, she a college student so her only source of income is her parents. Everytime she gets money from them she spends it on clothes, shoes and ends up with less money to spend on food. When she’s flat broke and knows that she can’t ask money from her parents that soon, she asks for cash from her boyfriend.

Does any of this sound familiar?
Men on the other hand were raised to be goal getters, money makers. They are encouraged to Hussle and Chase that money. They work towards securing a confortable future for their families.

Now back to my gender, our conception of money does not allow for us to think about our future. To me this is a real tricky situation because a man cannot guarantee your future welfare. What if you break up with your boyfriend/wife what then?  This is no real freedom  , being at the mercy of another especially when it comes to money.

In Africa, traditionally, being a woman means that you don’t really have to worry about money issues. You can earn just enough to get by but you don’t have to worry about your future welfare, coz guess what, that will be your husband’s job. As a child your parents provide all that you need especially the father (it’s what’s expected of them) . No wonder any conversation about money for ladies always seems to get tangled up with the presence of a man or lack there off.

As Chimamanda says and I quote
We say to girls
You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful

You can have money but not too much else men will be threatened ,”they will not want to marry you”. All the girl is good for in the end is to get married .

In addition to that women do not receive a sufficient education when it comes to money. Men are the most likely to go out of their way to chase money. They are taught to be entrepreneurial at a young age. Of course girls can do this too but they are more needed at home to do chores.

Girls grow up with a sense of entitlement. Things like he should pay for the bill at the restaurant, he should call the taxi and pay for my cab fare, he should get me chocolate etc. In conclusion he should finance all my splurges.

This creates a mindset where a girl doesn’t really have to work for their money because all they have to do is “sit still and look pretty” and they are sorted. I’ve heard a lot of guys say, “it’s easy for you girls, your man can easily get what you need.”

This to me is no real freedom, you are shackled by the chain of dependency on a man. What if he dies and his brothers snatch all the property? What if his business venture fails and you are left broke? What do you do when he decides to leave you? But because we are superstitious in nature we don’t want to take all these factors in consideration.

Am happy to say that a lot of women have broken the cycle of dependency and are beginning to stand on their own two feet. Many have amassed success that even transcends their male counter parts. These women continuously Break the Glass ceiling that has been placed by society. Tides are changing and so is the number of women who have or are aspiring for great success. 

If the ones that are lagging behind are to go forward, something has to be done. Women should be taught on spending, saving and investing. Am talking about how they can manage their personal finances. It’s time to say, “little girl, you can strive to be successful, you can get financially educated and you can aim for the stars”.You can be financially independent and there is nothing wrong with that.

Eventually you will find a man who knows your worth and who isn’t intimidated by your greatness.

I have recently adopted a new hobby which is stitching. One thing it has taught me is patience and that the little steps lead to the bigger picture. If you  take the little steps towards taking charge of your money and making it grow the result is financial freedom. Let’s us be the generation of women who aren’t afraid of making more money.

Spending on everything designer will give you immediate gratification, will make you feel good for a moment. In the long run you will have many designer shoes, no assets to show for and a life ridden in debt if not careful.

That is why we need to change our habits. Create good habits that will help you to  better manage your finances. Learn to save and to look at you bigger financial picture. Read books of personal finance and financial freedom, there is a lot to learn from there. Implement money making strategies in your life. Be a smart money woman. Track down your expenditure , make a budget and stick to it.

Dear black girl, your hair is beautiful!

As long as I can remember as kid my hair was  always relaxed and then straightened. I remember one of my best days at school being when my hair had just been relaxed during the weekend. To me that was the definition of beautiful hair, relaxed and straightened or relaxed and curled with rollers.

We have been conditioned from childhood to dislike our afro hair. So we get it relaxed and straightened at every chance that we get. Luckily, so many women these days have embraced the natural look that it is even stylish.

For me the ahaa! Moment came when I saw how beautiful natural African hair really looked like when taken care of. I saw pictures of black beautiful women with their afro beautiful, natural hair and I was smitten. I fell in love with natural hair.

So in June 2019 I cut my hair and thus began my natural hair journey. It has been a year and 7 months and am ever so glad that I made that choice. To be real with you it wasn’t easy at the beginning. I was new to this and I had to learn by doing at which stage the internet was really helpful. To add on that I had to watch my friends with their beautiful gigantic Fro’s whilst I was still in my awkward short hair stage. Growing natural hair needs patience, it just isn’t going to grow overnight.

Having said that I’d like to say that how good your hair looks depends on how well you are taking care of it. This is why am gonna share my top 7 tips on taking care of your natural hair.

# 1 wash your hair regularly
I wash my hair after every two weeks because that’s when the oils start to build up and it gets dirty. Now I understand why most people are reluctant to wash their hair regularlyno. Fact: your hair Shrinks miserably when you wash it.  Just because we call it shrinkage doesn’t mean it actually loses length. It just curls up making it look shorter such that if you  straightened it , it would go back to it original  length. Another way to get rid of shrinkage is to braid your hair after washing it and wiping it with your towel, in other words while it’s still wet. Let it dry while it is  braided Another fact: your hair grows an inch in a month. So not washing it will not make it grow faster.

# 2 Detangling
Nappy, afro hair gets tangled like a lot, it all comes with the curls. So before getting it combed try to Detangling it with your fingers to get rid of any knots  that may have formed.  This prevents breakage and therefore helping you maintain length. Also detangle using a large comb. Use a a water bottle to spray some water on your hair to make it softer and easy to comb through.

# 3 Conditioning
There are a lot of hair conditioners that you can get in your local cosmetic shops. To add on that you can also make your own homemade conditioners. I mix castor oil with aloe vera gel and it leaves my hair as soft as a baby’s. It is a leave in conditioner so you don’t have to wash your hair after use. Check online for many other ideas on homemade hair conditioners and which other conditioners would be good for your hair type.

# 4 Protective styles
Get some braids, wear wigs or braid your own hair to protect it from breakage due to excessive combing. You can do some flat twists, twists and cornrows by just using your hair. If you have natural hair you need to learn  to braid your own hair. I usually braid mine when going to bed and then style it as I wish the next day.

# 5 Cover your hair as you sleep
As I said earlier the trick is to maintain length . Cover your hair with a bonnet or a head wrap/scarf so it doesn’t get in friction with your pillow and break.

# 6 Get a great shampoo preferably organic/herbal and essential oils for your hair
Some chemicals found in other shampoo’s are not good for your hair. That’s why it is important to buy the organic/ herbal ones just to be on the safe side. If you are stuck on which shampoo’s are good or not good for your hair  check online and you’ll find so many helpful articles on the subject.

Also as far as essential oils go you could use castor oil, olive oil and coconut oil. This list is not exhaustive and there are many others that are great for your hair.

# 7 Take care of your scalp
This can be done by
a) washing your hair and scalp
b) Making sure your scalp is moisturized
       – By spraying water and hair oil on your
          scalp
c) Give yourself a scalp massage, use your fingers and rub them onto your scalp. Trust me it is relaxing and helps to encourage blood flow on the scalp area.

All in all make conscious efforts to take better care of your natural hair. Your hair will then reward you by looking beautiful.

There are also many other articles online that will help you take better care of your natural hair, you need only look.

So, dear black girl
Your hair is beautiful! Take better care of it!

Start 2021 with a plan

It’s a new year folks and I don’t know about you but I’d love to go through this one with a plan. After living my previous years without one I realized that I haven’t been in control of where i end up in my life. I have been letting things happen to me instead of making things happen.

This year I want things to be different. I want to live with a purpose. This is why even though people think having new year resolutions is a cliche, I think it’s the first step towards developing your plans for the year. Word of caution here; having new year resolutions will not change your life, following through with your plan to achieve those resolutions will.

Resolutions are like dreams, they paint a picture of what you want your year to look like. So as suggested by a friend I came up with 4 dreams that I want to achieve in 2021.
1.  Be happy
2. Treat myself like someone I love
3. Work on my writing
4. Work towards financial freedom

Now this is my list y’all and your dreams might be totally different and that’s alright we want different things out of life.

From there you need to come up with actionable steps towards achieving each goal.
For example
Financial freedom
1. Read books on how to attain financial freedom/research
2. Save/ cut down on spending (include how much you’ll save in a month)
3. Invest

You can use a journal/ an app

Do this for each and every one of your goals.

These will then act like guides on how you should be living your life throughout the year. Make sure that you take incremental actions everyday towards achieving your dreams. Ask yourself everyday, “what will I do today that will take me a step closer to my goal?”. Make your goals a part of your life style.

Am excited about the goals I’ve set for myself this year and I hope that you set some for yourselves too. Remember to live out the rest of 2021 with purpose and direction, take control of your Life, for as always ***you are the master of your fate and the captain of your ship***. You and only you can create the future that you desire and this begins with you having a plan.

Have a great 2021 you guys .

Choose yourself


Most times I have been out here putting other people before me. I have disregarded my feelings just so I could put other people’s feelings into consideration. I know what you’re thinking, and then I go out there wondering why the hell I end up exhausted every time things don’t work out.


I call this the typical ‘others come first syndrome’ you could also call it ‘the lack of self-love syndrome’ or ‘the selfless disease’. So, how do you know that you have it?


  • You make sacrifices for others at the expense of your own wellbeing
  • How others feel comes first before how you feel
  • You give all your time, money and other resources to make sure they are happy
  • You begin to have less and lesser time for yourself to do the things that you love
  • You lose your sense of self
  • Everything is about them
  • In conclusion they can run all over you and you’d still be the one going to them to say sorry.

    If you are my typical person and is experiencing these kinds of symptoms I suggest you calm down, don’t panic, it is not the end of the world because Nellie’s got you (wink).

    Trust me I’ve been there and it aint pretty because you basically lose all power and control over to the other person. The best advice I’ve ever gotten when I was in such a time was ‘choose yourself’. You as a person also need someone who’s going to take care of you and it might as well be you. Learn to choose your own happiness over everyone else’s. The fact is that you are not being selfish ‘it is called self-love’. You need to look out for yourself or no one else will.

    Putting that in mind the path to choosing oneself starts with acceptance. Accept that you made wrong judgments by sacrificing your happiness for others. Accept that you literary neglected yourself, your feelings and needs just to please others. After you have done that I need you to forgive yourself for not knowing better. You don’t know what you don’t know and beating yourself over it will only make you more miserable.

    So next time you find yourself in a sticky situation, choose yourself and do not apologize for doing it. You deserve the best of all this world can give.

    For those stuck in the past: let go and move on

    You messed up badly and you know it because you think about it all the time and beat yourself up over it. It’s been how long? A month,a year , years but still your mind plays out that moment as if it was yesterday. Sounds familiar?

    How many of us are still living in the shadows our past transgressions? How many of us think we are not enough because of the mistakes we’ve made in the past? Most of us have not yet moved on from the things that happened a long time ago. We re-live our past each time we think about something that went wrong or something we did badly. This happens a lot when you are doing routine tasks and You’re not paying attention , you go to autopilot. You’re autopilot is a program that runs when you are not consciously focusing on the things you are doing. So guess what this program Is filled with? guilt, shame, regret, judgement, self criticism and all manner of negativity.

    I have subjected myself to judgement because of things I have done in my past that I am not proud of. I have been soo hard on myself. I know how it feels like to live in the shadows of your past. This is how I know that  It isn’t good for you. Thinking about your past mistakes over and over again robs you of the joys of the present. To add on that you tend to identify yourself with your past mistakes. This reaffirms the habits that you have been trying to get rid of. So instead of going forward you are moving backwards.

    Brooding over something that occurred in the past is called ruminating. The word was derived from when a cow reggugitates it’s food so it can chew it once again. Makes you feel like you’ve been re chewing you’re past right? Lol. We tend to ruminate more over our past mistakes or failures regardless of how they make us feel. No matter what the minds intention for focusing on our past the fact remains that it is not healthy. Our  minds tend to focus on things that cause  deep reactions in our emotions. So let’s say the guilt that comes after being criticized for making a mistake. Your mind wants to remember this incident so that you’ll not make the same mistakes again. That is why Everytime you are not paying attention to the present your mind wanders to the past. The mind has good intentions but the effect this brings is adverse.This is why I wanted to write a piece on this subject so that we can all learn how to move forward and stop living in the shadows of our past mistakes or failures.

    I’ve come up with a list that has helped me over the years and that which I believe will also be of help to you.

    Be kind to yourself

    To begin with, you can only  let go when you decide to treat yourself with compassion. The world judges us when we make mistakes and that is why it is also easy for us to rush to judging ourselves too. This is why we are so hard on ourselves because of mistakes that we committed a long time ago. The best way to deal with all the judgement for me is to treat yourself with compassion. Think of how you’d want people to treat you when you’ve made a mistake. You wouldn’t want them to remind you of what you’ve done every single day of your life would you? You’d also want them to forgive you so that you can all move on with your lives. Do the same with yourself. Do not let your mind to dwell on the mistakes you’ve made in the past. Forgive yourself and accept that part of your life wholly and move on with your life. Be more forgiving of your flaws and more accepting of your faults.

    Secondly, accept the things you cannot change. In this case you cannot time travel to the past to fix your mistakes. Worry, shame, guilt will not change the fact that it happened. Embrace the fact that it happened , you didn’t know what you didn’t know and that’s that. Learn to not dwell on things you can’t change but rather focus on what you can change, “the person you are going to become.” Luckily for you , you have lessons from your past mistakes to guide you through your journey of becoming.

    Journaling

    Furthermore, I find that Journaling helps me process my thoughts and find clarity on anything that’s been bothering me. So whenever the chatterbox in my head tries to fill me with guilt and shame because of the mistakes I’ve made I take out my journal and write. I find that as I write I process my feelings better. Through my Writing I can remind myself that I am “enough”. Journaling has gotten me through my toughest times yet  and I hope that it can do the same to you . It’s like talking to your best friend someone who knows you better and only wants the best for you, it has never failed me.

    In addition to that realize that everything happens for you and not to you. Everything that happens to you , good or bad is all meant for your growth. From mistakes bud lessons that you carry on for the rest of your life. You didn’t know better then, but now you do and that makes you stronger than you were before. Move beyond your past and grow because on the other side of pain is where growth is acquired. You are not a victim to life’s brows but rather a being with the forces of the universe in your favor, for your greater good , for your growth. Perception is everything. Think, “all things are working for my good” and all which you shall pass through will not appear as bad as it seemed in the beginning.

    In life we tend to focus on our past at the cost of enjoying the present moment. This is why being fully present in the present is helpful with letting go. It is important to acknowledge that human beings these days have short attention spans. You cannot do something for so long without your mind Wondering off to some place. Therefore making a conscious Choice to be present in the moment is important because it keeps your mind from Wondering to those negative thoughts. You can’t beat yourself up over your past when you’re having fun with friends and family in the present. Whatever small task that you perform try to focus on that and just enjoy it.

    Forgive yourself

    In addition to that I believe that forgiveness is key to letting go of the past. In this case I would say, forgive yourself.  Forgiveness brings healing. Realize that whatever happened, happened and there is nothing that you can do to Change that. Maybe the reason you are still holding on to this past is because you haven’t forgiven yourself yet. Whatever it is that you did in the state that you were in was the best that you could do at the moment. That’s the best thing you could do given the mental resources that you had whether limited or abundant. Do not blame yourself, look at your past without judging yourself and make a conscious Choice to be a better you than you were then. Work on yourself and the issues that you think you have and yeah, life goes on. You are a work in progress.

    Practicing mindfulness is another way to let go of your past. Mindfulness is when one becomes conscious of their train of thoughts. Listen to your thoughts, pay attention to the patterns within them. Whenever you find yourself gravitating towards your past acknowledge it and come back to the present moment. Notice those thoughts that are bringing negativity to your life. Do not let yourself wallow in guilt and shame. Think positive thoughts.

    Futhermore doing an activity that will help you focus on the present is also helpful. So plan a day out with your girls or the boys and forget everything and live in the now. Take a walk in the park, or just meditate. Whatever it is that you decide to do make sure that it motivates you to be fully present in the present. Personally I find that exercising helps me to live in the present and to enjoy the pleasure of being strong in mind and body.

    Gratitude

    Last but not least, practice gratitude. I have recently been introduced to this habit and I find it really refreshing. So when I go to bed In the evening I think about all the things that am grateful for in my life especially the things that I might have otherwise taken for granted. So I might be grateful for the air I breathe, the ground I walk on, the food I eat and the clothes I wear.Gratitude helps us because we don’t take the things that we have for granted. I appreciate the sun for it gives my world life. Gratitude helps you focus on the things that you have and thereby making you feel happier and more content with what you have in the present. When you are grateful you cannot beat yourself up over the past. Be grateful for all your experiences In life because they are what has made the person who you are now and frankly am proud of the person I am today and I owe that to my past.

    Finally, ask yourself, is what am doing helping or harming me? Does thinking about your past and judging yourself help you or harm you? I know you know the answer to this and everything becomes clear after this. If it doesn’t help you then let it go!! Do not hold it in anymore or it’ll eat you up. Love yourself and don’t let your past control your life.

    I’ll leave you with a quote from a book  I’ve just read called the Raven Boys and it reads “Blue, I Know you’re not an idiot. It’s just, sometimes smart people do dumb things.” Yes, sometimes we do dumb things , we make mistakes but that doesn’t mean  that we have to let those mistakes we made in the past to define who we are now. You are not who you were last year , last month or yesterday. You aren’t even  who you were this morning when you woke up, but guess what? you are who you decide to become from this moment on. You are who you commit to becoming from this moment onwards. So I say let go of the past and give way to your bright future.

    Your Bright future awaits you