Inspiring Women Series: Honoring Dupe
31 March 2019 6 min read
Spotlight: Dupe Akinsiun.
In honor of Mothers on Mother’s Day, we reached out to five awesome ladies in different fields to talk about the challenges, joys and meaning of being a mom with a successful career. Here is our chat with Dupe, a successful business woman and a mother. In this interview with the TBCA Talent Team, here are Dupe’s thoughts on juggling motherhood, careers and winning it all.
How do you describe yourself? I would say I’m a dynamic, enthusiastic, passionate and intentional woman
Looking back, are there any indications from childhood that foreshadowed your becoming successful on your chosen career path? I didn’t understand what success meant as a child but what I do know was that I had dreams and aspirations. Apart from wanting to be a Pilot and all those fanciful things as a young child, in secondary/high school, I recall reading about Global Warming and I said to myself that I will be a part of the solution. When I was to write entrance exams into University, one of my choices was Gas Engineering because I wanted to solve the issue with the depleting of the ozone layer. I recall telling myself that I would be the first female Gas Engineer in sub-Saharan Africa at the time.
Today I’m not a Gas Engineer, I am a People Engineer because I help people design processes and systems that would take them towards the realization of their goals and aspirations. The power of vision has helped me to define success for me and work towards achieving these and all these drive began as a child even though I didn’t know so much about it.
Tell us about your first entrepreneurial venture (if any). For a long time, I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. Like never ever! (laughs). I branded myself as a career person strictly and pursued same diligently.
I had an encounter with my coach some years back, 2016 precisely and she asked me what I would do if I got sacked from my job. I’d never thought of that because I never saw myself losing my job. From the conversation, I started challenging my limiting beliefs. I recall the day I asked myself who told me I was a career person. I realized I was the one who defined myself and placed the limits. With my self-diagnosis, I realized that two things were responsible: First, I had no personal image of a successful business person within my close circle of influence and second is the fact that I was afraid of selling. I took action to change my circle and also learn the art of selling. I went on to ask myself what my passion was and I realized it was in helping people become better versions of themselves through training and coaching so I began to build my brand through free but valuable sessions of leadership and related topics primarily online. With this understanding of my passion, I ran my first paid class and made about half my salary from 2 weekends. I also got invited to facilitate a team retreat and got paid almost a 7-digit fee. Within 5 months of using my passion to add value to people, I had made 7-digit income. I was convinced I was ready. I still had my 9–5 but I went to register my company. Since then, we’ve had the privilege of serving clients in Nigeria and beyond across industries.
In summary, I can say that I discovered my business through knowing and following my passion. I started free and then charged fees when sustainable value had been perceived by the market. I used social media platforms to promote myself especially LinkedIn and Facebook. I did the first business afraid.
Do you follow a certain morning routine or daily schedule to maximize productivity and well-being? Yes please. One of my principles is never to leave my important tasks for the time of day I’m least productive. One of the things I established was my type of person and preferred work routine. Being a morning person, I love to do my important and personal things in the early hours of the morning. As a result of this, I ensure I get a good night’s sleep. Ideally by 11pm, I’m in bed and it can be earlier sometimes. I ensure I get like an average of 5 hours of sleep daily.
I arrange my pre-(9–5) activities to end by 7am latest and then I switch to my employer work mode. This was before I got an assistant. Once I get back from work say by 7/8pm. I play with my husband and kids and we do a lot of catching up on weekends. Routines help. I used Microsoft Excel to Plot my 24-hours schedule and I prioritize what’s critical for me.
I’m not perfect though. Some days, I fall short but because I stay accountable, I pick up and run. I also get support from a housekeeper I have and of course from family.
As a woman, good stakeholder engagement is key if you must get anything done in your personal and professional space.
Manage people you interact with well and they will take care of you when you need them to. I will be foolish to take all the credit, the routine is one thing but the relationship is everything.
How do you balance your career & personal goals, marriage and motherhood? Like I mentioned earlier, manage your stakeholders well. When you’re present be present and when you’re absent be present. How can you be present when you’re absent? Use technology to engage. Call, sms, and create a lasting impact when you’re physically present so much that when you’re gone, you’re still being felt. I remember a quote I once read. It says “a woman’s impact must last longer than the fragrance of her perfume”.
My kids know my schedule and know why I’m away whenever I have to be away. They know what I do and are involved in my work as I’m involved in theirs. I’m not Omnipresent so when I’m not around, the investment in my spouse, mum, housekeeper and the entire support system I have stands in the gap for me. I know when to slow down too. There are days when I feel overwhelmed and I’m home, I just ask my kids and husband to excuse me and I lock myself up to get good quality sleep. Some days I just drive to a spa for some pampering
Another thing I also avoid is doing important things when my kids are alert. I don’t try to read when I get back from work. Besides my body being tired, it’s not productive as the kids would want my attention. I read in the early hours when everyone is asleep. Procrastination is ineffective because it makes you push your important tasks to the time you’re least productive. Delegating too helps. Above all, understand you cannot be perfect and be happily imperfect.
If you ever drop a ball, pick it up and keep moving. Many before you have dropped and moved on. Thank God it’s only a ball you drop. The balls may drop but You are not permitted to drop dead. Above all, God’s wisdom and love keeps me going. I’m not the perfect mum or wife or daughter or colleague or entrepreneur. I’ve only learnt to trust in the one who is perfect and loves me just the way I am. I rise up when I fall and I keep moving encouraging many to come along.
What’s the best advice you have received in your business/career journey that you wish to pass on to our readers? Keep your eyes on the goal ahead of you.
The only times you’re allowed to look back is to see how far you’ve come and see lessons you can borrow from the past to forge ahead.
Don’t be caught up with other people’s so-called success stories that you forget to make a success of your own life. Remember, your life is a script you write daily. How do you want it to end for you? Steven Covey said in his book: one of the habits of highly effective people is to begin with the end in mind. Do that and begin to live.