Happiness Uduak, apart from being a seasoned writing expert, is also a really nice friend of mine. I got to know her from the CWIN Writing Creativity Challenge I took part in last year.
And so, without much more intros, here’s Happiness’ article. This is a collab, so we swapped articles. You can read my article on her page, here.
Self-confidence is a key ingredient in the recipe for success, and it is especially important in the journey of intentionality. It allows individuals to set and pursue their goals with conviction and determination while believing in themselves and their abilities.
However, society has unconsciously conditioned this quality to the male gender over the years, leaving the female gender to fill in the gaps. Even in the 21st Century, some people still walk around with the ideology that men are more competent than their female counterparts.
Have you ever had a man interrupt you during a meeting or talk over you in a group setting? This type of behavior sends the message that a woman’s voice and ideas aren’t as valuable as a man’s. And when this happens repeatedly, it can make a woman question her intelligence and abilities.
It’s no secret. Women have been fighting for equality for decades. But what many people don’t realize is that gender bias doesn’t just affect women in the workplace, it can also take a toll on their self-confidence.
Nigerian society expects a woman to have a perfect body, perfect hair, perfect character, and perfect composure. The average woman is expected to go to school, get good grades, bag a rich husband, and pop out kids. And when a woman doesn’t live up to these impossible standards and tries to disrupt the system of ‘the ideal African woman’ they’re often criticized and shamed for wanting more.
This gender stereotype constantly bombards the minds of young girls with messages that suggest they aren’t good enough to explore male-dominated professional environments. Brilliant young ladies aspiring for more, are met with opposition and are accused of breaking the ancient system of ‘what a woman is supposed to do’. But, is this belief morally right?
The scary part is that if the unspoken belief that females should be comfortable in 2nd place continues to thrive, brilliant girls might listen to society and end up forfeiting their dreams and living with a deteriorating level of self-confidence.
The good news, however, is that we can all play a role in changing this narrative. We can ensure that this vicious cycle is trashed for good.
To do this, women should be prepared to counteract the negative effects of societal stereotypes and bias. They should invest in building supportive networks of friends, family, and colleagues to enjoy a sense of belonging and validation, which can counteract the negative effects of societal prejudice.
They should also be aware of various forms of bias that exist and be prepared to challenge them when they encounter them. Women should also build an unshakable sense of self-confidence to resist the negative effects of stereotypes.
Furthermore, they should have role models and mentors who have successfully navigated and overcome societal stereotypes. This can provide inspiration and guidance to them as grown women.
As individuals, we can also contribute to saving the self-confidence of young women by speaking up when we witness gender bias, and by supporting and lifting the women around us.
So, next time you’re in a meeting and a woman’s ideas are being dismissed, speak up and give her the credit she deserves. Be sure to remind every woman out there of all the amazing things she’s capable of. Because when we support and uplift each other, we can break down the barriers of gender bias and help women to reach their full potential.
I’m glad we’ve made it so far in this series, and I’m glad to have been able to write about the lessons I’ve learnt from valuable experiences of mine.
A kudos to me, and a kudos to you. 👍🏾
After having followed up the series, from here, it’s just intentional repetition. Living a more responsible and accountable life doesn’t require much more than what you’ve been told in this Intentionality Series.
The only thing that differentiates them from the ordinary, average person is how willing they are to constantly repeat these steps that produce results. It’s their consistency, and the fact that they continuously develop their personal valuethat make them stand out.
As I said in the first article of this series, I gained a lot from participating in the Creative Writers and Influencers Network (CWIN) 28-day Writing Creativity Challenge for November 2022. It opened my eyes to what it means to take charge of the pace and direction a person wants their life to go, and in line with my vision for this blog, I knew I had to share it on this space.
I advise you read every article in this series. Give yourself that jolt this new year.
You could also read my entries for the CWIN 28-day contest on Facebook here.
I’d always love to answer any questions you might have, or simply to connect. Drop me a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going.
And if you’d like to be closer to the blog, or to interact with me through a direct message, Ọlaedo is on Facebook. Feel free to give its page a follow.
The tittle of this post reminds me of the article I wrote for the Hashnode Dev Retro 2022 campaign. In the article, where I shared my three-year journey in tech, I talked about my lack of ‘connections’ as one of the things that really slowed down my progress and learning.
As a beginner coder, I relied on Sololearn, YouTube tutorial videos, and (at a time) Girls Who Code at Home weekly code projects for my learning.
That was great. Not bad, actually. But what I lacked was community.
We all can agree that in the average classroom, it takes the input from other classmates for there to be actual teaching and learning.
Be honest and admit to yourself that if it wasn’t for the questions, jokes, and random statements from members of your class while learning, you probably wouldn’t have been able to understand most of your lessons.
And that’s exactly what I’m talking about.
Don’t be daunted when I use the word ‘networking’. A better word to use would be ‘community’, and they mean the same thing in this context.
If you want to live your life with purpose and take responsibility for your actions, you need a network, you need to be in a community of people with interests and goals similar to yours.
In a less formal light, it’s simple logic to make friends with people who’ll be beneficial to you. It’s not only about those who’re ‘in your field’, you can as well make friends with people from all walks of life, from different backgrounds, as long as their being part your life will make you a better person.
Now, the question:
How Will I Find that Network?
Honestly, if you asked me how exactly you could find such a community of ‘like-minded people’, I have no proven line of action to give you.
You see, back when I just started out, and had just created a Facebook account, I made endless searches like: Nigerian teen coders, Teen coders, and phrases like that, but all the groups and pages I found were outdated and empty.
In hindsight, I take it that it wasn’t yet the right time for me to stumble across the amazing communities I’m in now, because I wasn’t ready for them.
But with the little experience of mine, I can tell you this:
My best advice on is to begin with making like-minded friends. I use Facebook as an example because it’s my most active social. Make searches on people you already know in your field, and send them friend requests.
And if you don’t have anyone in mind, you can go over to Google and search up things like: Nigerian teen coder 2022, Nigerian programmer 2022, Nigerian teen web developer 2022 (that would be in the case of a techie). You’d be sure to get relevant results.
And once your results are out, you can then hit the socials. It must not be Facebook, as long as you connect with that person: through a follow or a friend request.
And the good thing about social media sites is that from the people you follow or become friends with, you’re given friend, group and page suggestions based on your activity. So it becomes a lot easier to find more people and communities once you reach out.
The perks of making friends with the right kind of people are lot. Here are some benefits, with proof from my personal experiences:
A network keeps you motivated.
I knew this before now, but I’ve just recently been given a reminder. You wouldn’t believe the creative rush I felt when I saw updates from my friends in tech as we entered the new year. And although I was in my village, with my network on EDGE, I found a way to get Internet connection, even if it only came once a day.
My friends, the like-minded peeps I’ve surrounded myself with, motivated me to push limits and start work this year, notwithstanding the serious network problems I faced.
A network keeps growing.
I can’t really remember the first teen techie I followed on Facebook. But since that day, I’ve kept on meeting more and more people. I’ve made REALLY amazing friends in tech, and we’re already making plans to execute projects this year.
In fact, through my Facebook friend, Abigail Johnson, (a fellow girl in tech), I just found out about Princess Mbamalu, who is working with her to build an AI-powered tech innovation.
And I look forward to future interactions with her.
But the other side of this is that YOU have to stay in motion. Don’t fold your arms and deceive yourself by saying you’re satisfied with the friends you have, and the level you’ve gotten to.
Such a mindset is dangerous, because one thing I’ve learned about purposeful people is that they cease to hang around you once you stop being productive.
So, if you really want to grow, you stay productive, keep working at your craft. Once you’re in the right circle of people, it’s only a matter of time before great opportunities come your way.
Every beneficial network influences you positively.
If I hadn’t put the lessons I’d learnt from participating in the CWIN Writing Creativity Challenge into practice, I wouldn’t have developed myself to this point. I wouldn’t have known enough to keep reaching out to like-minded people. I wouldn’t have been enlightened on the importance of making investments for my personal growth.
The major point here is that when you come in contact with the right kind of people, they must SURELY influence you in one way or another.
And it’s not just professionally, in our everyday lives as well.
I take an example from my own life: In my workplace, I’ve met two really amazing women. One of them taught me a lot, actually, about being a young woman of QUALITY and CONFIDENCE; but one of the best things she taught me was that age is just a number, especially where it seems like a factor stopping me from pursuing what I want.
The other amazing woman taught me – although not directly – that your personality is everything. She’s actually a young pastor’s wife, but she’s so cool. Most times, the way she presents God is so refreshing.
I really treasure these women.
The same should be for you.
Points of action.
What kind of an article would this be if there were no in-your-face points of action?
A network, a community of people with goals similar to yours, can only be of benefit to you when you put in your own efforts.
Here they are:
Keep showing up. Keep putting yourself out there.
One of the closest people to me, Franck Mve, is an aspiring footballer – and in recent times, a delver in all things photography. He is known wherever he goes as a football lover, and the best part is that he actually shows his skills whenever and wherever he can.
He’s actually made lots of friends from this, and lots of cool opportunities have come to him.
The moral here is that you should be consistent. Although similar to ‘staying productive’, this is more in-depth in a sense. It’s about getting to work and not stopping. It’s about not just covering yourself up with labels and professional taglines, but rather about working to produce results that will gain you the opportunities you need.
It’s not enough to talk about your ideas, it’s not enough to boast about your skills. The main thing is to NEVER shy away from an avenue to show what you can do.
Don’t live on past glory.
Don’t compare yourself with others.
This, every once in a while, is a big problem, actually. In one of my entries for the CWIN Writing Creativity Challenge, I wrote on this.
Sure, there will ALWAYS be people who’re doing better than you are, no matter their age. Just look at Claire Charles, a 14-year-old Web3 developer. But instead of that to demoralize you, let it motivate you.
In my own case, when I look at my mates like John Oseni, Clinton Imaro, Abigail Johnson, Sumayah Adegbite, and many others making waves in tech, it makes me feel bad that although I’ve been into tech since 2019, I haven’t been consistent enough with it to actually produce much results.
But I soon get over the ‘failure’ feeling, and let their stories inspire and motivate me to keep going – consistently this time.
The same should be for you. The ‘guys on top’ are there to motivate you, so you can push your limits and be better.
Be nice and friendly.
You know, it’s normal for people at a point to no longer listen to others. They become so concerned with their own life’s problems and the work they’re doing that they no longer care so much about what other people are doing.
This problem can rise up in any network, especially one of intentional people.
As a teen blogger, I always love to connect with fellow teen bloggers, especially those who’re Nigerian like me. But many a time, I find myself losing some relationships on this space.
Yes, I sometimes, get so concerned with putting out my own content, growing my blog’s audience, and all other things I have to do professionally that I fail to check out what other bloggers are up to: read their posts, drops some friendly comments, and give a few shares.
What you need to know is that being friendly is important. Underneath the labels and professional taglines, the things that keep MANY influential people going are the shows of care and genuine friendship they receive from friends and family.
I hope I’ve made this three-syllable word, networking, sound a bit more doable, and I hope you get to work on it.🏃🏾♀️
Networking can begin from here, you know! It’d be great to connect with you. Drop me a comment if you have anything to say. And also if you have any pointers for me on getting the most out of Twitter, I just created an account on there in December!🙈
For now, Ọlaedo is on Facebook only. If you’d like to follow the blog there as well, or just check out the page, surf on over here.
For the fact that you’ve taken the decision, for the fact that you’ve spared a few moments to draft a game plan, I think it’s right to say that you have purpose.
Welcome to the 4th post in the Intentionality Series. A blog series where I create the awareness on how important it is for us young people – and, indeed, everyone – to live intentionally. And via this series, I also share my experiences in the journey of living more purposefully.
In previous posts, I’ve been talking about changing your mindset, preparation, and gathering momentum for the big move.
And in this post, I’ll be guiding you to that big move.
This morning, before I began writing this post, I came across a Facebook post shared by a friend of mine. The post, a rather inspiring one, talked about purpose, resilience, determination, as the things us young people need to bring about innovations and solve world problems.
Here’s a screenshot of my favorite part/s:
And from this, I got inspiration on how best to structure this post.
✨That only goes to say that surrounding ourselves with beneficial, inspiring and like-minded people goes a long way in helping us develop ourselves to become better people. ✨
You see, when we decide to take up a task, start a job, establish a business, go into a career, or just make a move from the things we ordinarily do, we often do so out of purpose. And that’s the kind of ‘work’ I’m talking about here.
And so, from this purpose, let’s say we take action. We make a plan, and decide to start doing things RIGHT NOW. Why? Because our purpose motivates us.
But then, a month into your here-and-now craft, and you experience a MAJOR setback. Worst case scenario: your phone crashes, and at that point in time, you’re seriously broke. 💔 In a time like that, it’s your resilience that’ll help you think clearly and reason out a way to get through the setback with as little bruises as possible.
Mind you that this part of the journey isn’t for everyone. MANY give up once things get really hard, because they feel like the hard times are an indication that their dream, or their craft, isn’t right for them.
But say you get through it, head high. That’s a big kudos to you. 👏🏾 And what’s better is that from the challenge you encountered you learned lessons, your brain worked to create different lines of action to take when faced with a problem like the one you did. And so at the end of it, you have a strategy that works, with you as proof.
In my case, when I’m trying to reason a way out to a problem I’m facing, and I’m getting demoralized thinking out the solution, I remind myself that: There’s more than one way to kill a rat.
From there, you place your lessons as landmarks to guide you next time you make a similar move. And one of the best things about this is that it gives you confidence in your actions, and your ability to get through things.
And when you’re confident, you begin to work and think at a greater capacity. You begin to explore, you get creative, and you begin to innovate.
I want to grab this last word: innovate. When I, and I guess most people, hear ‘innovate’, the first thing that comes to mind is ideas and then execution.
Our purpose generally forms our ideas, and the work we do to realize that purpose is the execution.
I don’t know what you were expecting from this post, but if you’re truly serious about getting to work to achieve that goal that made you decide to be intentional, all you need to know is that:
As long as you have that core determination, that thing you want to achieve, that world problem you want to solve, that dream or aspiration, hold on to it very firmly, and don’t waver in your conviction. Expect setbacks, maybe not even from the career aspect of your life, setbacks that’ll make you cry and dare you to give up. Be wise enough to mellow down and think – there is always more than one way to kill a rat – and let your purpose, dreams, aspirations, and the people in your life who make you truly feel like yourself motivate you to keep going.
The setbacks aren’t a one-time experience, sorry to say. But I’m telling you that if you could get through once, the lessons you learned can get you through again… and again and again.
I want to believe that you’ve been following this series, penning down the lessons you learned from each article, because the truth of the matter is in taking responsibility for your life, every step depends on the other: You need to make that unwavering decision, you need to prepare for the new step you’re about to take and have a plan, before you can get to work.
I hope this article motivated you to begin working to achieve your dream RIGHT NOW, no matter your age.
The next article in the series will tell more about surrounding yourself with beneficial people as you continue to your creative efforts.
It’s very okay if you have any thoughts on this you wish to share. I’m open to interactions, and would be glad to answer questions. And even if you just want to connect, or say hi, the comments section is open. Let’s keep the discussion going. 😊
And if you’d rather prefer socials, Ọlaedo is on Facebook. Connect with the blog, and let’s interact.😚
The worst thing that can happen to you is when you rush into something – anything – without a plan.
You want to be intentional? Have a plan.
You want to become valuable on Internet spaces? Have a plan.
You want to finish a course? Have a plan.
Having a plan makes things look more organized, and saves you from feeling overwhelmed at a point. Deciding to live a more purposeful life might be easy, but forming the habits you need to keep up with it is the hard part.
Luckily, as I said I would, I’m here to help.
When I say, ‘Have a Plan’, know that there are two types of plans you need to have: the long-term plan and the short-term plan.
The Long-term Plan.
I would be misleading you if I said that it’s okay to have just one goal that’ll cover all the aspects of your life. The truth of the matter is that for the different parts of our lives: academics, religion, work, career, family, relationships, etc., there should be individual long-term goals.
You’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
So, since we’re talking about INTENTIONALITY as a broad concept, you should know that when you decide to be intentional with your life, you decide to be intentional in every part of it.
In this series, I’ll be sharing tips that can be most helpful in the career, academics, and work aspects of our lives. But they can generally be useful in every part of your life with a few adjustments here and there.
Now that we’ve established that, let’s continue…
The long-term goal is that sum total goal you want to achieve.
Take for example, you’re making a plan for your career.
Long-term goal: To become a graphics designer.
The problem is: I feel like I’m not making any steps RIGHT NOW towards my career, I feel like I’m too relaxed and unserious.
The solution is: I’ll take up a course on digital design to begin with (in the case where my career is in design).
The action plan is: For a week, I’ll take lessons in my course for an hour a day to get accustomed to it. From there, I’ll ease into learning for two hours a day. If I learn for two hours every day, I would have completed the course in two months’ time.
Deadline for completion of the course: Two months from the day I started it.
You see how I’ve made the broad statement of ‘make a plan for your career’ seem so doable in five headings?
That’s what the long-term goal is all about: breaking the broad intention into doable parts.
The Short-term Plan.
The long-term plan breaks up your intention into doable parts, and makes it seem less scary and overwhelming. But the short-term plan further breaks those parts into daily points of action that will lead you to achieving the long-term goal.
The short-term plan is very important, because as I said earlier, if you want to succeed at being a purposeful person, you need to have habits that put you in the right direction. And when you have a short-term plan consisting of daily, routine actions aimed towards the long-term goal, those actions for success you carry out every day become part of you; they become your habits.
A good way to look at your short-term plan is thinking of it as a timetable. Many people cringe at the idea of making a timetable for their activities, feeling that it’ll restrict them, but that’s the more reason why people like that spend their day responding to the day’s prompts and circumstances, instead of letting the day be structured by their own actions.
And it’s people like that who, at the end of the month or year, feel like they haven’t done anything meaningful with their life.
To be honest, I was once in this category of people. I used to HATE the idea of a timetable. Back in my JSS1 in secondary school, when my Igbo teacher first told me about a timetable, I just told her I would try it to make her happy. But it was only in my JSS3, when I was to write my Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) – AKA Junior WAEC – that I tried having my first timetable; and that was a reading timetable.
So, what am I saying in essence?
A daily timetable might sound and even BE boring to create and follow up initially, but believe me, it helps. I can’t say I follow my timetable all the time, but whenever I miss an activity, I feel it and scold myself against repeating it. And I often don’t. 😊
Because a short-term timetable can differ from person-to-person, I’ll just be giving you tips to note when crafting yours:
Have two timetables: One for your working/school periods, and one for your holiday periods.
Yup. You have to have a plan for your holidays, too. 😏
The worst thing you can tell yourself is that the timetable you use when you’re working or when your school is in session, will work for you when you’re on holiday.
During work/school periods, you have limited free time which you have to try to slice to accommodate all the extra things you have to do. But during the holiday, you have a lot more free time.
So, make two timetables.
Be realistic: You know how you are. You know whether you’re the kind of person that MUST sleep for two hours every afternoon before you can actually feel rested. You know the time of day – or night – you’re most productive.
In this heading, I advise you to make your timetable bearing in mind the way your body functions.
Taking myself as an example, I don’t joke with sleep. But since I started working, I haven’t been able to get the sleep I need. And that’s why I dedicate my Sundays for sleeping. 😂
In my previous timetables, I always put in a compulsory hour for sleep during the holidays, because on weekdays, I often find it hard to sleep in the afternoon. 🤦🏾♀
The same should be for you. I didn’t say you should get lazy and put in five hours for sleep, or three hours for ‘rest’ and ‘watching TV’. No. Even as we’re realistic, we should know enough to let go of or reduce the time we spend on activities in our day that don’t produce much results.
Always remember to put in emergency time: Of course. No matter how much you try to plan your day down to every detail, there will always be unexpected things that’ll just pop up out of nowhere. An example is how, yesterday, I planned to finish cooking, have a bath, and immediately finish writing this article. But then, I forgot that that day was the World Cup finals. 🤯
And so, when my dad clicked on the TV, I just had to spare some time to watch. 🙃
But good for me, I always have space for contingencies in my daily timetable.
And you should, too.
And just an addy: It helps, at the beginning of every day, very early in the morning, or before you go to sleep in the night, to list out all the activities you have to carry out the next day.
For me, I make my list when I wake up in the morning, not the night before.
And it’s also a good idea to start such a list for the next day with the things you weren’t able to do or finish for that day.
Start from the most important activity to the least most important. That’s what I do, though. You can order it however you wish. 😉
And so, however way you wish to mix and match these points I shared here, know that if you want to be purposeful, you’ve got to have a plan: a long-term one and a short-term one. Without these, anything you may claim you’re doing or ‘working on’ may not give the same results as it would if you had a clear plan with daily points of action.
Try this out, and see how much more confident you’ll be in your ability to plan and execute things you put your mind to. 👍🏾
Look out for the next post in this series, and keep staying enlightened as you journey towards intentionality. 🐱👤
Have any thoughts to share on this? Anything you wish to add? Or do you just want to connect? I’d be pleased to hear from you in the comments! 👇🏾
You can also connect with the blog on socials! Follow Ọlaedo on Facebook. Let’s boost the interaction. 💕🤗
I remember how, when I first created my Facebook account, it was filled with a lot posts by other people, posts I was tagged in, to be precise. And back then, I didn’t care enough about the account to clean it up. My entire focus was on my blog and its Facebook page. I worked to stuff it up with blog post links and updates.
But what I didn’t know was that if, for example, someone found my Facebook account through my blog’s page and wanted to connect with me on the professional level, the scattered nature of it would scare them away.
That’s the importance of having an organized and nice-looking Internet profile. From Facebook to Instagram to Twitter to TikTok, and even to WhatsApp, our Internet profiles need to be arranged in a way that they give a good impression about who we are and what we do.
This is the second step of the Intentionality Journey.
The first step is taking the decision to not let people, daily occurrences, and life in general push you around. Being intentional is being purposeful enough to not leave anything to fate.
It’s simple logic, really, for polishing your Internet profiles to be the second step. Because if you fail to make your profiles look professional and presentable, when people begin to search you up on socials because they heard about you through your blog or from any other craft of yours, they may not be so impressed with what they find.
I like to say that your Internet profile is your trophy case, it’s your curriculum vitae, and it’s even your personal essay. Why? Because with a profile that tells about who you are and what you do (e.g. I’m a teen lifestyle blogger, etc…), it makes way for like-minded people to find and connect with you.
I mean, if search up Instagram for teen lifestyle bloggers, how would I find you when nothing like that is indicated on your profile? 🤷🏾♀️😏
Let’s make this discourse a bit easier. We’ll take each part of this one at a time:
For every social media or Internet space in general, you’re given the option to create a username, aside from your real name.
And it’s in choosing a username that people get creative. 😁
While it’s okay to answer something cute, girly, and sassy, like (blxck_barbie, as a friend of mine goes by), remember that if you really want beneficial connections through Internet spaces, you’d have to go for something that sounds responsible, even as it sounds cute, girly, and sassy. 😘
Here are some tips for choosing – or recreating – your username:
🌼 Try to embed at least one of your names in it.
This is great for getting your account to show up in search results when someone searches for you by your real name. And it’s also good when your account is being looked at by people at the professional level. It portrays you as someone who knows the importance of personal branding.
Which you are… riiiight? 😏
🌼 Don’t hold back on your unique style.
I’m a big believer in showcasing your personality and living in sync with your style. And in choosing your username, I’m not going back on that. It’s okay to add something extra to your real name when you’re creating your username. You don’t have to be boring just because you’ve decide to live purposefully.
An example of this is Favour Omasirichi’s Instagram handle. Instead of just her name, her username is _princess_oma. And she’s a young Nigerian model that’s well on her way to stardom. 🤩
So, you can take Favour’s steps when creating your username. Whether you want to add ‘the’, or ‘official’, or whatever. Just make sure the username is presentable and responsible. 👍🏾
Your profile picture.
I remember the profile picture I had on my Facebook before the one I have there currently. It was a really pretty picture of me.
But because of the fact that it got me the attention of boys, who sent me lots friend requests, I had to change it to something else. 😂
It didn’t stop the attention, though, but it at least reduced it.
But now, I’m going to have to change it back to another good-looking picture of myself.
Because people won’t connect with a person they can’t see. Because when someone makes a referral to your account, the referee would want to see the picture of the person behind the amazing article they’ve been hearing about.
How many influential people today have anime’s as their profile pictures? Only a very few, if any. And that fact is because people will often not take you seriously if you don’t have a picture of yourself up there. Again, most people wouldn’t want to connect with a person they can’t see.
So, what am I saying in essence? If your guilty of this, go change that profile picture on all your most-used accounts and profiles to a pretty, nice-looking picture. Let it be one you’d be proud to have displayed on a magazine or an interview article. 😉
And still on the subject, for your profile photo cover, as seen on Facebook and Twitter, aside from also putting a nice picture of yourself or some other informative graphic, you can also make a custom banner. On the banner, you can put in another picture of yourself, include another short bio, and even add your usernames on all your most active socials.
It wouldn’t hurt to have your profile cover tell a little more about you, custom banner or not.
All the same, have a look at a sample custom banner of a fellow girl in tech I’m friends with on Facebook:
There isn’t really much to tell about your bio. It’s simply just a description of yourself, including your professional tagline (e.g. 14-year old Web3 developer, in the case of Claire Charles), your job tittle(s) (e.g. web developer, teen lifestyle blogger, etc.), some claims to fame, things you love, and what makes you stand out.
A perfect example of this, and a profile bio I personally love, would have to be the one of Claire Charles on her Twitter:
The content of your profile.
Lastly, fill your profile up with posts. The best way to get connected to like-minded people is not just by your wordy bio, but also by UP-TO-DATE posts that show the projects and work you’re doing RIGHT NOW.
I know why I emphasize ‘right now’. Only a few people would want to connect with someone who’s last post was two months ago. I certainly wouldn’t. 🙋🏾♀️
The consistency in the way you show up and put out content is another thing to be conscious of. It’s all step-by-step, though. And in the course of this series I’ll be sure to take in-depth about consistency.
The way you interact on Internet spaces.
Even as we talk about Internet profiles – that is, the way you present yourself to people – it’s also important to talk about what you actually do on those Net spaces.
Now, I don’t mean the article you posted on your blog and then shared its link on your account. No. I mean the spaces you interact with and the stuff you post directly onto them.
To be more precise, I mean your comments.
As a person who cares about your image both on and off the Net, you should be guided when you comment on posts.
I’m not saying that just because you’re trying to live with more purpose, you shouldn’t comment in rhyme with your regular, every day personality on the spaces you love. All I’m saying is that you should make sure that whatever comment you put out sounds sensible. Make sure that no comment of yours will be one that you’ll be ashamed of at a point. Because as far as the Internet is concerned, everything you post can be used to your favour or to your disadvantage.
Giving your Internet profiles a professional, responsible look and having healthy interactions on the Net spaces is the first and most important step in personal branding. And if you’re going to truly be intentional, personal branding is something you have to take very seriously.
The Intentionality Series will make known to you things you never knew, or things you knew but never took seriously. Look out for my next post in the Series and continue to stay enlightened. 😇
Is there anything you wish to tell me about Internet profiles? Anything you wish to add? How were you able to structure your profiles to be so eye-catching? Do you know any of the personalities I mentioned here? Drop me a comment. Let’s discuss.
Thanks for reading! 💕
Let’s keep the interaction going! Catch up with Ọlaedo on Facebook, for more updates from the blog. ☺
You see, from November 1st, I took part in the Creative Writers and Influencers Network (CWIN) Writing Creativity Challenge. It was a 28-day writing challenge where writers had to consistently put out educational content with the aid of stories.
And although I didn’t make it to the top 5 winners of the contest, I certainly learned a lot about writing, consistency and intentionality. That contest pushed me to make research every day for my articles, it pushed me to think critically for my daily entry ideas and the way I would embed a related, original story into it, and it also taught me (even more) to work under pressure and meet strict deadlines.
Now that I think of it, the deadline aspect of the competition was actually what made it so stressful. For the contest, there were two approval deadlines: for your entry to be approved early in the day, you would have to post before 11am, because by then, early entry approval would end. And for your entry to be approved in the evening, you would have to post before 11pm.
I usually settled for the evening approval, because of the time I get back from work. And so from 3:45 or so, I would begin to write, check word count, and then make my article’s image, rushing to get done before 6pm.
It wasn’t easy, really. 🐱👤
And because I met with so many amazing people who are doing big things with their lives RIGHT NOW, I became motivated to add more efforts into my craft and the things I’m doing now to prepare me for my career.
Because through Ọlaedo, I strive to inform, inspire and motivate, I have come up with the IntentionalitySeries, where I’ll be sharing lessons I’ve learnt from being around intentional people, lessons that have and are still helping me live my life more purposefully.
In the days to come, I’ll be publishing other articles in this Series. But before that, let’s understand the keyword, Intentionality.
What’s Intentionality All About?
Intentionality means the fact of being deliberate and purposive.
In simple terms, it’s all about purpose. Intentionality means living and taking actions with purpose.
Intentionality means not leaving anything to fate. Intentionality is all about planning and taking focused actions to prepare for your future.
A down-to-earth understanding of intentionality is, on discovering your purpose in life, on discovering that thing that’s so easy for you to do and that makes you happy, you begin to build around it. You begin to develop that interest or talent. You learn skills that can make it more refined and on-demand.
The origin of the need for intentionality comes from the simple reality that many people today are so unfocused about where they want their lives to go. They’re so undecided that they constantly make statements like: I really don’t know for now. Maybe one day I’ll know what I want to do with my life. For now, I’ll just wing it.
And the worst part of it is that such statements come from young people. How long would a young person ‘wing it’ before societal pressures would make him see the need of taking up a job just to quiet down the noise and ‘advice’?
And such a job may not necessarily be one he likes.
Long story short, though. It’s because many people – young people, especially – don’t plan the direction they wish their lives to take; that’s why at some point, they see themselves settling for anything they can find, not minding whether it will make them feel fulfilled or not.
People don’t know how beneficial it will be to them if they begin to take decisive actions about how they want their lives to go.
People see things like planning, goal setting, beneficial networking, personal branding, and all others, as boring topics.
Yeah, they are. Believe me, before I began the Creativity Writing Challenge and got into a network of purposeful people, I thought same too.
But now, I’m telling you that although they seem boring, when you begin to practice these standards, the results will really motivate you.
So, reader, which side of the table do you want to be on? Intentional or Unintentional?
Make the decision and look out for my next article in the Intentionality Series.
You can also take a look at my entries for the CWIN Writing Creativity Challenge here.
Do you have any questions on intentionality? Are you already on the path of a purposeful life and wish to share ideas? Have you ever heard of the Creative Writers and Influencers Network? Or is there anything you wish to tell me? Drop it all in the comments. I’d love to interact!
And if you want to connect with Ọlaedo on social media, check it out on Facebook.
I’ve actually wanted to write something like this for some time – since 2020, actually – but it was only an engagement at my workplace that made me sit down and turn my thoughts into writing.
I personally love topics bordering on ‘talents’. I always have, since the time I knew what talents were, because I love showcasing or telling people about my talents.😁 And so, in this post, I’ll be writing on four key things I’ve come to realise about talents.
Will I say etymologically? 🤔 Originally, rather, the content of this post was beefed up from the Bible passage popularly known as The Parable of the Talents – which can be found in Mathew 25: 14-30 🤓. So, references will be made to the Bible story.
I really don’t need to begin defining what talents are, but for formality’s sake, a talent is a natural ability to do something well.
And so, here’s what I have to say on talents:
1.Everyone has a talent. 🌸
Everyone was born with a talent. It’s like, a constant feature in the manufacturing of humans. Some people have just one talent, some have one outstanding talent and a few other recessive talents, and some have a multiple outstanding talents. Whichever way the combination comes, know that YOU ARE TALENTED. So don’t feel like there’s no natural ability you can offer the world.
2.No talent is too small. 🤏🏿
Taking from the Bible story, the servant given one talent must have felt like he had been cheated, being given one talent, while the others were given two and five talents. And so, he decided to bury his talent, saying that he would give his master his talent just as he had given it to him – no improvement attached.
But what he didn’t know was that his one talent was given to him according to his ability. The master shared the talents according to his servants’ abilities. And that is the same with us.
The fact that we were given one talent shouldn’t make us begin to compare it with a person who has multiple talents. A talent is a talent – big or small. The one we get is ours and ours alone.
3. Your talents won’t showcase themselves. 😏
You’ve found out your talents. Check.
You’ve realised that no talent is too small. Double check.
And now, you have to WORK ON YOUR TALENTS.
If you can sing, what are you doing with it? If you can draw, how are you showing what you can do? If you can write, hellllooooooo, where are you on the map? You have talents? Awesome! Now get to work. 😶
There activities you can engage in to bring yourself out, and as well grow your talents. I remember when I first started writing, back in Year 4 (grade/primary 4 for most schools in Nigeria). Fast forward to today, I’m still writing (not for money, though) but my writing is far better than it was back then. Why? Because I keep at it, writing constantly every chance I get. From writing numerous pages of fiction stories to writing ‘foolscap-fulls’ of essays to writing poetry on the sidelines to blogging, writing has carried me throughout the years to this day. I have other talents, but writing is a talent I pride myself on and work on more than all my other talents.
And that should be the same story for you. Whether it’s dancing, baking, crafts, music, or even organizing (yes, people are natural dead-serious organizers and planners! That’s a profitable skill nowadays) you’re naturally good at, you have to find out things to do that will keep you using your abilities so you can keep growing them to your own benefit. 😊
4.You are accountable for your talents. 🧐
This a little part of the preceding point. Our talents were given to us even before birth for our own use and benefit. Someone gave them to us, and He expects us to use them well. The feeling of inferiority in the face of others, or even the feeling of being over-burdened with ‘reality’ and all our ‘more pressing commitments’ can make us think that activities that grow our talents are unimportant. Well they’re not. Talents are important. Talents are tools that can be used to solve your life’s problems if only you change your viewpoint.
Your talents are not unimportant. Yes, there are urgent needs, but there are also essential needs. Make time to grow your talents. It will make you more fulfilled as a person and boost your self-confidence. And don’t forget to be consistent with it.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you discovered your talent/s? What are you doing to grow them? Is blogging one of your talent-nurturing activities? Are You pursuing a career related to your talents? Lemme know in the comments section. Let’s discuss.
Wow! My two-month exams are finally over. Done with my WAEC senior school exams, done with my NECO senior school exams. It wasn’t easy, it was full of lots of experiences, but I’m finally done.😌
And I’m as well done with secondary school! 🎊🏆😁🥳✨🎉
Also, my WAEC exam results are out, I did pretty well – as everyone says. I say so because I didn’t really know what to expect. I just did my very best and knew that, worse come to worst, I would still get a good result. Highly overconfident? Yeah, I know.
All the same, I got one C6, one C5, one C4, two B3’s, three B2’s, and one A1. The subject with the lowest marks was Economics, and the one with the highest marks was Marketing.
All that said and done, over to the post topic. Having been packing for trips by myself since I was about twelve, and having had the experience of packing for my first trip without my parents or family members, I have a thing or two to say about preparing for a trip.
So if you’re the type of person who always seems to leave something behind no matter how hard you try, or you’d just like to get the insights of another when it comes to preparing for a trip, then here’s my 5 things to note when getting ready for a trip:
Well, first of all, the way and the things you pack are dependent on the type and duration of your trip – you might be going on vacation with your family, going to stay with a friend or relative, or even be going to boarding school! But no matter the kind of trip, the important stuff to know is generally the same in all cases.Any additional things are due to personal preferences.
1. Have a game plan.🐱👤
Even if you planned to just relax and unwind during your stay, it’s important to have a game plan –in other words, activities you’d like to carry out while there. Think of this game plan as kind of the ‘goals’ you wish to achieve while there; things that by doing them, make you proud that you utilized your time well.
For example, if you’re going to a country, state or vicinity you’ve never been to, you might plan to visit certain places, eat certain foods, or see the local entertainment. Whatever you pick, know that it’s always a good idea to have a game plan.
2.Start packing early.🧳
Sooo obvious, right? No. Most people wait till the dying minute to pack, for whatever reason they may have. If you’re one of these type of people, I’m sure you forget to pack some stuff all the time. So listen: staring to pack early is important, so you can have all the time to check and recheck your stuff.
And if you might not want to finish packing too early, you can stretch it out: divide the packing into tiny bits every day till the day you’re to leave. Sounds nice, right?
3.Make sure to always be engaged in productive activities.🤸🏿♀️
This stands right next to having a game plan. Take along some books, your laptop, a drawing book or a notebook, write a little, make some sketches, finish that motivational book you never could. No matter how fun the stay may promise to be, it’s still important to have productive things to do on slow or boring days.
4.Let your choice of clothing rhyme with the vicinity.👗
By this, I mean when picking out clothes to take with you, choose clothes you know will be okay with the people you’ll be staying with, or with the people of the area, especially in terms of decency.
And if you’re going to a different state or country, it’s also good to find out how people dress there, for both fashion-related and weather-related reasons. You wouldn’t want to downgrade your style, but you’d surely not want to be over- or under-dressed!
5.Have a checklist.📝
Yes, even after making sure to grab every tiny detail, having a checklist to sum everything up is essential. Your checklist will help you to note the exact things you’re taking with you, and it will also help you be sure you didn’t forget anything when coming home.
When I was preparing to leave for boarding school, the checklist I made was very helpful to me. And even when it was time to come back, my checklist helped me make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything in school.
You first need to sit down and jot down everything you know you’ll be needing during your stay; you can also keep adding to the list if more things pop up later. Be sure to remember your toiletries – you know, cream/s, soap, deodorant, toothbrush and paste, sanitary pads, body sprays and perfume, and all the other stuff – and the exact number of them you’ll need. I sometimes fall victim of forgetting one or two of these. You could also write down the books, or the number of books, you took with you, just to be sure.
Whatever you wish to add to it, having a checklist for your trip is very essential.
As I brainstormed for this post, it dawned on me that summer vacation is already almost halfway gone. All the same, even if the tips here won’t be used for your summer trip, you can also make use of them during mid-term trips, at Christmastime, or for any other trips you may be going on. They’re evergreen, and will always come in handy.
Is there anything you wish to add? Have any questions? The comments section is here for you. Let’s discuss!
I’m done with my WAEC exams and am back from my 1-month+ boarding school experience! I’ve actually been back since 23rd July, but was only able to get this post out now.
I’ll be going back by Saturday (16th) to get ready for my first NECO examination paper coming up on Monday (Physics practical). Wish me luck!
Having just had my first-ever taste of boarding school, I can now relate with the things those of my friends who are boarders tell me about what they face in school.
Even though not all Nigerian boarding school experiences are the same, because there are fancy, top-rate boarding schools in Nigeria where their owners try to simulate school life in foreign countries, I still believe that boarding school life will always be boarding school life – the struggle of boarders is a unified one. 😂
And so, here’s what you should know about the average Nigerian boarding school, and what boarders face.
JUST A NOTE: The headings are general boarding school encounters, but the narrations in normal text are unique to my experience.
Okay, first of all, the bad experiences:
Little food. I can only imagine our faces when we were served our first ever helping of refectory food. It was barely even up to two normal-sized dishing spoons. We did complain, the management acted like they cared, and then ignored us after that. So, we survived mainly on our provisions: biscuits, beverages, bread, cereal, etc. and on our pocket money.
Waking up early. 😬 The hostel door is opened by 5:03am, and by that time, we’re supposed to start getting ready for the day, beginning with our morning devotion/prayer. For the junior day students, that’s their routine, but for us SS3 arrivals, we can wiggle out of it and sleep till 6am at least. Hehehe
Bathing cold water – all the time!🥶 The only exception to this is if you’re sick and the matron is sure of it, and also on some very cold, rainy mornings. After the morning devotions by 5:30am, the junior boarders go on to bathe cold water by 5:30 in the morning!. Well, that;s for them, we bathe our own share of cold water after six am.
Sunday service and night vigils. 🥱 The Sunday service is okay, and the last-Friday-of-the-month vigil nights are lively, but they really made me miss my parish. 🥺
Manual labour. This activity is supposed to be for every boarder, every Monday morning (because Monday has been declared sit-at-home a day in South-Eastern Nigeria), but SS3’s again have the least share of this for seniority reasons and whatnot.
Night prep. The almighty night prep. Everyone hates night prep. It lasted from 7pm till 9:30pm. Although there are some serious-serious quiet-quiet students who probably like it, everyone generally hates night prep. And we SS3’s thought that the prep regulations would be less on us since we were the eldest, but they were in some ways even stricter on us. It was only after our exams that we were allowed to sleep during prep – and that was only for us science and some commercial art students who were done with their exams, the rest SS3’s had to read and summarize at the end of every night prep session!🤣🤣🤣
The supposed presence of spirits. I really don’t know how true this one is, but one night one of my classmates woke up to use the toilet and said she saw a spirit; it was shining with a very bright light and was making a strange sound, according to her. She started crying and woke us all up. We all started crying, thinking that we’d come to a haunted school, and then someone suggested we pray. We prayed and sang so loudly, we woke up the matron and teacher in charge of male boarders. They told us to go back to sleep, that it was nothing. We finally did after hours of sharing stories about spirits and demons that haunt boarding schools.
Before I came to boarding school, I used to hear stories of such things. My boarder friends say they’re true, that they’ve seen some themselves. Even though the stories differ from school-to-school, they remain ultimately true. 👻👻👻
The lack of water.There were so many times we had to manage water to wash our hands after eating garri (granulated cassava) and soup, manage water to wash our plates and clothes, manage water to bath or go to the toilet. There were even some really horrible days where we had to stay hours without taking our morning baths. We could manage without bathing in the evenings, we could just change into our nightwear – for those that didn’t sweat too much during the day.
I remember, on one of those mornings when there was no water, sharing half a bucket of water with my classmate just so we could bathe and get ready for our exams that morning.
But on extremely bad cases, when no one had even a drop of water, we had to go out and fetch water at the house of one of the students of the school. Which was highly embarrassing – walking on the road with buckets and kegs. Luckily for us arrivals, we didn’t know anyone in that vicinity. 🤭
But one day stood out from the rest: the day we left. There was no water in the house of student we normally go to, so one of the SS1 boys had the bright idea that we go to the community stream to fetch water. Well, we were homesick, tired of prep and tired of the little food we were being fed. We’d decided to leave by 12 noon that day, and not even the distance of the stream was going to stop us. The walk was longer than we thought, but many of us got to see a real stream for the first time – or at least the stream’s shortcut; we would’ve gone to the main stream if the road to it wasn’t so steep and slippery. We wondered how it would have been, because the road to the stream’s shortcut was already dangerously hilly, steep and narrow. But all that was nothing compared to how sore our hands were from carrying our buckets and kegs full of water all the way back to school!
And I can’t believe I’m going back for a part 2 of all this for my NECO exams! 😣😩😬
But then, there are some good sides to being in boarding school…
Away from home. Away from the chores, the being yelled at, and the general stress of home.
The feeling of independence. Because in school everyone takes care of their own things, acts individually in most cases, and is seen as a single person, there’s that sense of independence. In the mornings, you have to make your bed, you have to clean – and try to keep clean – your corner, you have to get up early on Saturday morning and do your own washing – although some girls with huge piles of clothes wash together: one washes and the other rinses and spreads – you have to fold your clothes into your suitcase when they’re dry – I love this part best: folding my clothes and tidying up. 😊
For me, it all gives me a kind of foretaste of living on my own or with a roommate when I get into university. And even though I haven’t yet tasted it with the chores of living alone added, I really like this kind of life.
Big-girl spending. 🤑 This is just my personal term for it, it’s not a general name. Driven by the epic hunger we experience, we spend our pocket money on food and snacks. Even though the things we buy are the things we’ve probably eaten at home, that freedom to buy whatever and whenever we want is what’s enjoyable. On school days, when local food vendors come around, we buy food like abacha (African salad) or moi-moi (beans pudding). Day students sometimes help us go outside the school to buy pepper soup or peppered fried fish. 😋
Hostel quarrels.😂 Y’know, it’s really amusing to watch people argue about virtually nothing: who’s being stingy to whom, who scattered someone’s bed, who messed up someone’s corner, and things like that. Of course, I’ve gotten into my share of these, but I still love to add fire to others’ quarrels in a good-natured way that reduces the tension when (and if) they get the joke.
While on the bus, on the day we went back home, we really laughed about those silly fights of ours.
Being a senior. The whole thing is just about the feeling of seniority. The ‘power’ to send juniors on errands and have them scurry away at doing them, and the respect gotten from our immediate juniors (the SS2 students). Unlike the boys who derive optimum joy from this privilege, we girls don’t have the heart to be tyrannical to our juniors, and sometimes see the boys’ behaviour as overly-harsh. 🤷🏿♀️
I know that each Nigerian boarder, average and top-rate alike – and maybe even boarders abroad – can relate with these experiences. If there’s any experience unique to your boarding school that I didn’t capture here, I’d love to hear it. Comment on it below, and let’s talk.
For boarders who live abroad, what do you think? Is it the same in boarding schools over there? Leave a comment on it, and let’s learn from each other.
And even if you’re a day student, Nigerian or not, I’d love to hear what you think of the unified struggle of the average Nigerian boarder!