ibukun Awosika


Ibukun is a renowned business person in Nigeria. She is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Centre Group which comprises companies involved in furniture manufacturing, sales and bank-way security systems services across Africa. She sits on the board of several companies including Cadbury Nigeria Plc. and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority. A thought leader herself, she uses various platforms to share her ideas on career, business, religion and family. One of those platforms is the “Life Series with Ibukun Awosika” which I attended in March 2020.

It was a paid event (although just a token) and it was a birthday gift to myself. I’ve blogged about the insights I got from listening to the speakers that day but I had no idea that Mrs Ibukun Awosika was going to gather all the attendees into a Bootcamp and coach us for 7 weeks.

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So, for almost two months over Whatsapp and Zoom, we were engaged by the Life series team: Assignments for the week (due every Wednesday, otherwise you were cut from the Bootcamp) and Sunday sessions with Mrs Ibukun where we literally could ask any questions.

We heard from a woman who had summoned the courage to leave a good job in Lagos for studies abroad despite having a newborn, to another person, who was struggling with the fact that she had just being appointed a leader.

There were so many aha moments for me. These were probably not the best lessons but these were the ones that spoke to me the loudest!

 1. Build a network of sustainable relationships.

That is, make long term connections with the right kind of people. In my opinion, you can build good relationships by:

Being a good person, treating people with respect, greeting people, and taking genuine interests in seeing others succeed

2. Have a brag sheet to remind yourself of things you have done well. 

I don’t have a brag sheet per se. However, whenever I’m discouraged, I remind myself of the things I have achieved in the past. I also have a jar where I stash memorabilia from important events of my life. Like the medals from all the 10 km races I finished, my name tag from the first managers’ forum I attended, my MBA student I.D card. I just keep stuff to remind me how far I have come.

3. Never seek validation from the world. 

I’m struggling with this one because I low-key love external validation. I’ve written a lot about worthiness and I think that self-validation starts there.

4. You are living your life on a stage and everyone is watching.

This is 100! And more importantly, let’s remember that there is always a network of “mouth-power” speaking for us in places we do not have access to.

5. Counsel is not instruction, it is information. 

You must not take every piece of advice thrown your way.

6. Explore your gifts and abilities but that doesn’t mean you will be famous for each talent.

Note to self, since I am Mr. multi-talented: Fashion stylist. Blogger. Pharmacist. It’s important to remember that harnessing those talents is what’s important and not becoming a star!

7.  Start with what you can handle, try your hands on more as you go along but always evaluate your readiness for more responsibility in order to preserve efficiency and effectiveness.

8. Teach your children the true value of money.

Don’t use your own success to deny your kids the ability to be successful

9. Don’t take for granted, your access.

This last point was the “drops mic” moment on the final zoom call. Her point was to never allow “see finish” ruin relationships with great people.  In the last 5 years of my cooperate career, I have had the opportunity to report directly to very accomplished people and I need to always consider my privilege. This is a very important lesson on humility.

P.S: I took screenshots of Madam Ibukun Awosika from those sessions because why not. But seriously the screenshots are a reminder that I followed through with the Bootcamp.

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