Fechi walked into her “brewing cave” as Temi liked to call her study. “It’s a beautiful Saturday morning”, she thought to herself as she smiled gleefully and waded through the huge room that held her collection of books, a work table and chair, several researched and written archives and oh, her “wall of fame” (she smiled even brighter as she ran her eyes over the wall; several plaques of varied qualities and sizes held her name on them either as a person or as Temi’s Mrs. Funny enough, over 80% of these plaques were received in the last five years, she was finally doing “the right thing”. She hadn’t been here in a while, at least, not like this; Fechi woke up exactly 3 months ago and decided she needed “a break” so here she was, after some careful planning and delegating, on break; she could not help but chuckle at the idea.
She shifted her gaze from the wall and stopped, the door to the upper compartment of the wardrobe was open, her smile disappeared, “can’t Temi leave this place like he met it?” she said grudgingly as she stretched tight to reach the tip of the wardrobe door to push it closed but something was obviously ruining her effort. “This disorder” was bent on spoiling her day but she would not allow it, she turned sharply, reached for a side stool, set it in front of the wardrobe door, climbed onto it bare feeted, steadied herself and then looked up… her heart melted, the anger fizzled out, her eyes widened and her lips broke into a smile. Oops, a tear even escaped her left eye as she reached for it; the huge book with thick brown leather cover carefully tucked away in a custom fit brown box, all made from scratch by Fechi herself was what one would call her life log. She hasn’t touched it in five whole years, she must have been really busy.
Fechi opened the box and pulled out her special book, it still had her 10th birthday picture on the cover page, she smiled as she ran her hand over it; she had come through just fine, who would have thought? At the next tiny flip, she saw her very first write up, “I am Fechi Chukwuneku, I am ten years old, second of three children and I am very sad”.
Memories rushed through her mind’s eye. More tears streamed down her face, she sniffed in, and wiped her face with the back of her left hand as she went down memory lane. She lost her dad just before her 10th birthday and it had been a long twisted journey to where she now sits – on the board of ten organizations (four of which are still hers even if she was an integral part of starting up at least seven of them), two years as the wife of her best friend and one year as the mother of the prettiest baby girl on earth, she chuckled at the thought of her current status.
After her dad passed on, she became detached from life, she managed to take her studies seriously, made good grades because like her four siblings, she had to ‘settle’ herself. Her mom could afford their fees and a little allowance so going through school wasn’t much of a problem, she just had to do additional stuffs here and there to keep body and soul together but time came for her to take the wheel like JK Rowling, writer of the Harry Potter series described: “There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”
She landed a job that could pay her bills shortly after NYSC but she knew she could do much more. After two years of working comfortably, her boss sold off the company and she was left with her ‘shabby’ fashion business to take care of herself. There was no way she was going to go back home to her aging mother or begin to ask her uncle for money for her daily needs. Of course, she would apply for jobs but she was in no position to determine how soon one would come. She was very confused.
That was when she met Temi, “he is young, smart, and easy-going, what on earth is he doing with my old-school boring uncle? this is totally weird” she thought. She got to meet him because she no longer worked; she was supervising the maid and instructing her on ethics and dedication that would make her work distinct when Temi walked in with her uncle. She greeted them and returned to talking with Mary, the maid. Her uncle had stepped into his room when Temi cut into their discussion; “I’m sorry o interrupt, but do you know you could make a huge business out of this? – training domestic staff and contracting them to willing customers” and that was the beginning of both their lifelong friendship and her lifelong ‘career’ of spawning businesses from the everyday things she’s good at. “You have to Start doing something from where you are – don’t stay idle and act helpless because you’re not,” Temi would tell her, citing Nick Vujicic who is without limbs and not just surviving but thriving. “It begins with believing in yourself and believing in your product enough to start. Organizations are called a startups not because opportunities abound for your ideas but because you actually START!” oh! he told her so much.
This strong willed, award winning serial entrepreneur called Fechi you see today was virtually spoken into existence by Temi. He revived her will to live meaningfully, to grow, to dream and to build those dreams. Like Patton Abbe of cabinetparts.com said, “Understand your own limitations. Surround yourself with people who have the skills you don’t, and let them help you be successful.” Temi told her it was his reason for hanging out with her uncle. Now she’s grateful that her boss sold off the company, grateful that she was speaking to Mary that fateful day, not lying on her bed, wallowing in self pity, grateful that Temi came home with her uncle, grateful that he spoke up and constantly pushed her till she could fly.
The challenge with growing businesses is that in our mind’s eye, we have options – a relative to help, a salary to depend on, a friend to loan you some cash, but for a business to succeed, Ryan Novak puts it this way, “Give it all you’ve got like it is your only option” because in Eyal Levi’s words, “Entrepreneurship is a marathon that you run at a sprint pace. There are a lot of difficulties, but you just have to persist and keep moving forward. #WakeUpAndMove
By OBBIE Luya
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