The Three Generations Shoot

Each new generation is reared by its predecessor; the latter must therefore improve in order to improve its successor. The movement is circular. -Emile Durkheim

I follow ALL the Kardashians on Instagram and I must say there is a lesson to be learnt from them- how to cultivate family. I love my family- they are the single most important people to me, so when I saw the pictures Kim had taken with her mum and grandma for her new concealer line I  KNEW i wanted to replicate this. Family however is not always easy- everyone is where they are at dealing with their own issues and concerns. I think family was Gods solution to lonliness as well as his divine  plan to create undertstandning between human beings.

This post is not a long winded essay on the ins and outs of my family- we did something fun and I would love to share it it you guys! For mothers day, I decided to organise a three generations shoot with my maternal  grandma, my mum and my sister. As I grow older, i realise that these feminine relationships on my life have truly shaped me into who I am.

So through these pictures I wanted to honour my grandma- who taught me to have faith, my mum who taught me the gift of perseverance, and my sister who taught me and still teaches me about grit and determination. It’s also so much fun to see your family dress up (in all black of-course) and get excited about doing something fun together.

Here’s a few words to them:

To Grandma Moji- Your grey hair is absolutely beautiful! I insisted to on you having it out because it is the personification of your wisdom. Thank you for teaching me to pray. Thank you for teaching me to save, and for always encouraging my faith. I don’t know how you raised a household full of 12 kids, some yours and some not, yet you managed to have a successful career and the most beautiful marriage. I cherish you and I hope to be just like you when I’m older.
To Mummy- I truly do not know a heart purer than yours. You are the epitome of vulnerability- which is why you are able to make connections with people so easily. Thank you for teaching me about generosity, not only with money but with time and hospitality. All those times I sat on the stairs and watched you host the most beautiful dinner parties did not go wasted! I find myself replicating this in my own like a little too often. You are an incredible human being and I love you dearly.

To my sissy- There is a toughness about you that still remains the most glorious mystery. You may not know this- but your sternness and refusal on all levels to not have what you want is an inspiration. You told me words that changed my life when you said: ‘you are a beacon of life to bright for untrained eyes to see.’ Well- I hope you know that so are you! I am so incredibly proud of you for chasing your dreams fearlessly and for being a constant reminder of the power of passion, creativity and talent. Thank you.

Here are some of my favourite pictures from the shoot! Thanks to my uncle Kunle Awolowo for turning our living room to a studio.dance party for this really special day.

Enjoy xoxo Seun

  

 

 

 

 

 


Do Your Creative Best

‘What I do is some sort of a passage really. I’m not an artist, I’m just a man who creates shoes’ – Manolo Blahnik

 

I am completely fascinated by documentaries. I think I may have mentioned this before. Hearing stories about peoples lives, to me is the most powerful learning tool in the world. I actively seek out documentaries of fascinating people alive and dead, the more obscure the better. On my flight back From Lagos a few weeks ago I came across a documentary on Manolo Blahnik. Now, the reason why it peaked my interest in the first place, is because I am developing a love and fascination with shoes these days that I cannot understand. Anyways, I decided to watch this documentary and it is totally fascinating. It brought so much life to a thought I have been harbouring recently about this whole idea of creativity. We tend to think creativity expands by adding on, but I actually think it expands by narrowing down. It is therefore the confusion we have around this concept that causes us great disillusionment as millenials because we are constantly trying to do more to be creative, when in actual fact we should be doing less.

As different fashion icons described the raw talent of Manolo, a man who does not respect or even ascertain the idea that he might be an icon, they all mentioned his love of life and knowledge. The creator of the documentary cleverly inserts images of his shoes existing in nature as if to infer that they are actually product of his own interpretation of his environment as opposed to any proper process or effort on his part. The effortlessness of creativity in this case is what caused me the most fascination and joy. It was quite literally beautiful in itself.

Manolo actually designs every single one of his shoes himself. He has no team and does not collaborate with anyone for anything other than inspiration. He still creates each shoe himself first as a sample before sending it off to his factory which he personally spends time in. Taking into account his level of fame and respect as a shoemaker, this is quite literally a shock. For me, I had always imagined that at the peak of success in whatever field I choose to settle in (if I ever do) I would be further and further away from the detail. I now know, that this is completely incorrect. What we are all bringing as our unique gifts to the world around us is our own little piece of creativity. Manolo chose shoes, and he narrowed in on that and created a passion that is his life’s greatest love. What about you?

What is your own creative expression? How are you living it?

Something that struck me about watching Manolo sketch or even speak about shoes was this confidence and comfort that exuded from him. Evidently, your creative expression is found in a place that is comfortable for you, a place you know and can easily live in.

On this trip to Lagos, my amazing mentor Udo Okonjo invited me to speak on the millennial panel at her ‘inspired women of worth’ conference. She created an amazing atmosphere of vulnerability and so as I mounted the stage to speak, my energy quite literally tripled and I delivered my own perspective on this whole idea of the millennial angst. I am coming to realise that my own creative expression is in my way of communicating my ideas and creating an environment to share them which in turn inspires others to do the same. I also realise that so far in life, everything I have done creatively has been a personal journey to find the perfect way of expressing my internal world. Guys, it truly all comes from within. It was therefore interesting to hear Manolo explain that his mind is quite literally full of his designs and they are all references to what he has seen ,heard ,tasted or smelled in his lifetime. Whatever you do creatively is the same for you. Some of us use words, some use art, some use pastry, some use music- we all USE something!

As I shared on that platform at the IWOW conference, I could have not expected the reaction that I got. I did not prepare anything to say and honestly going forward I never really will. The moment it becomes strife is the moment you kill creativity. Simply let it be. The issue with us as ,millennials is the fear of failure which causes either paralysis or over-analysis. I think it is healthy to live somewhere in between- a free place where you quite frankly just are who you are and bring what you can naturally do. This is definitely not to say there is no room for self-improvement!  (For example, I have blogged about what i shared for 11 minutes at the IWOW conference for nearly 3 years! ) Absolutely there always is, but to build a life that LASTS, we have to ensure that we are enjoying it, and doing our own creative best, just as my favourite book in the world instructs.

So guys, on this beautiful day, packed with opportunities for you to explore yourself- what are you going to do with your own creativity? How are you going to share what is uniquely yours? We are all artists in some way- I think it is time we break the limiting barriers around creativity and start to celebrate the uniqueness of every human being.

 

My personal belief is that freedom will be the product of that internal journey.


Wait for It

“The vision will still happen at the appointed time… If it’s delayed, wait for it. It will certainly happen. It won’t be late.” – Habakkuk

 

It may sound simplistic but how many people actually know how to wait? In our generation even waiting for a lift is undoable without drilling through the Instagram pictures you’ve already seen numerous times to avoid awkward eye contact with another human. We have become allergic to the passing of time without activity and it is only making us more anxious and less productive. When I started off my blog now nearly three years ago I had huge dreams for the kinds of opportunities it would bring. In hindsight, its really been the perfect journey, but it has involved a mixture of excitement and lots of uncertainty.  What do you do when the waiting season seems like it will never end? When you ‘ve literally waited for breakthrough for years and there’s still nothing in sight? These are the thoughts that started my year because honestly I started to grow weary of the wait. Now, having had time to speak to people in the wait, people who have come out it and even people just starting to enter this, I am 100% sure of one thing: there is purpose in the wait. It’s not about the duration it takes, it is more about the person it makes you. So in usual fashion: Three thoughts on the WAIT.

1)     Good Things take time, the wait is worth it

I went through a season where I felt my whole 3D empowerment movement was definitely in a drought. I had stopped waiting for inspiration and started going about chasing it. There is nothing wrong with seeking inspiration, but there is a real problem with striving for it. It stops being authentic. This season I have learnt to wait for the vision, to wait for inspiration to come to me as it always has and to be comfortable in that season of waiting. For example, I stopped hosting my monthly sisterhood meetings under my church last October and since then I have had a bit of hole in my heart about what I can do for younger women. Rather than rush like I always do I just waited to get a vision for it and lo and behold, one day while I was mediating on my way to work it all just came to me in a rush! And when it came, IT CAME! A conversation about Womanhood was birthed and organised in one week! The intensity and specificity of the vision meant it all came together pretty seamlessly. What’s the lesson? A vision waited for, is a clear and specific vision which in the long term will cause you less strife.

2)     The wait is an opportunity to develop your inner-self
When things in life are not popping off, it is the perfect opportunity to look inwards. For me January was a month to search my soul a little and see how I was truly doing. I wanted to make sure all the aspects of who I am, my values, my hopes, my identity were fully secure and I could go to bed honestly proud of who I am. Apparently I’m not the only one who wants inner peace!

So many of us are striving and working so hard to be out best selves. On the road to this journey, we have to accept and acknowledge that we need some time to look inwards. This time is ultimately what will stop you for ‘busy-work’’ for the sake of it. Anything done without a vision or intention is really not worth doing at all. What does ‘looking inwards’ look like for me personally? It simply is keeping a journal and reading my bible daily. I have done so now for 44 days straight and it has transformed me. I am more peaceful, I am surer of whom I am and I’m certainly clearer. I also found that I was more creative. Do you know how you ultimately unwind and look inwards?

 

3)     Reimagine the concepts you don’t fully understand

In a season of waiting the extra mind space you have can be allocated intelligently to understanding things you have misunderstood. For me, I find that these are concepts like creativity, generosity, community etc. etc. These concepts are ultimately the building blocks of our lives as millennials however, we really do misunderstand them. For me I think my biggest aha moment this year has been in looking into the word creativity.

I had always assumed i was just not creative in the conventional sense and so I never really tapped into any kind of creativity in whatever I was doing. This past few weeks I have learnt that creativity is innate in all humans and it is actually our duty to express ourselves. I am creative visionary, I can plan and execute a seemingly intangible idea easily. Knowing this, means that when a vision does come, I allow myself feel it. I give myself permission to be the visionary and I don’t let self-doubt push me to a place of seeking validation and help from people that I don’t ultimately need. Don’t get me wrong no man is an island, however we sometimes let our self-doubt push us to depend on others when we really should maximise what we can do, and get help for the overflow. What concepts have you misunderstood? I’ll be writing on Community and Generosity over the next few weeks.

To end this post, (and partly why it has taken so long for me to write it) I would like to share a shorty story. A good friend of mine lived in this WAITING season for a few years. He applied to jobs and was not getting anywhere. He was determined not to settle. He spent a lot of time doing the things I mentioned above. In his season of waiting he created an online platform that combined his love for fashion, connecting people and the continent of Africa. Ultimately, he took the risk and moved back to Ghana. I got a phone call from him last week and what he told me blew my mind. The president of Ghana  appointed him Global Youth Ambassador for Diaspora relations. All those months of applying and being ridiculed for not just ‘getting a job’ at his age. Well now, he is one of the youngest government appointed officials in his country and his job is right in his lane. All those who advised that he take the conventional path can now only mutter congratulations. People, TRUST the vision in your heart. In you season of waiting get creative with it. Start what you can, but never ever lose hope.

WAIT FOR IT, Ultimately the version of yourself you are when you reach the destination is all the proof you need to show you that it was completely and totally worth it.

 

 


Embracing Your ‘Intangible’ talents

‘It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live a replication of someone’s else’s perfectly.’- Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Guys I’m back. I kind of lost my light for a moment there but this weekend many things happened to unlock it, and now I know for sure that I’m back. I’ve been away from writing and being online truly for a few months and it’s time for an honest post because at the end of the day this was my promise when I started this: to create a vulnerable community of people who want to access the fullness of their lives.

 

One of the things that brings this fullness to reality is the total acceptance of exactly who you are. Maybe it had something to do with Friendsgiving two weeks ago, or Paris this past weekend or a very frank conversation with both my people but I feel like I have sort of returned to myself. I think in the busyness of a new stressful job I had somehow started to sink into someone’s else’s definition of this full life I strive so diligently to live. The danger of throwing yourself fully into work that isn’t directly aligned to your purpose/talents is that You tend to forget the true things that give you life and I had to be smacked back to reality and reminded of the quote for today.

Many small moments contributed to this back to me ‘Me’. En route back from Paris my siblings and I played theAnd, (FYI this is an incredible game!) and one of the questions was ‘what are you jealous of me for?’

My brother and I quickly said of my sister: the fact that you know what you want to do and you’re so passionate.

After telling me off for seemingly forgetting who I am (because as far as she’s concerned so do I), she said: “how you are with people. I’m jealous of how you are with people.” In my usual fashion, I said ‘Hmmmm’ and moved on, but upon reflection this simple statement is actually the full way to describe what I would call my intangible talent.

What is an intangible talent? Well it is a natural skill that you have that may not seem easy to build a life around. You do it effortlessly and people are usually in awe of it but you yourself find it so intuitively normal. To fully access the potential of your intangible talent you’ll have to commit to exploring the ways in which is can contribute to your world. Is yours coming to mind?

I have probably shared this many times before but I just love to gather people and make them feel comfortable and at home thereby opening them up to share their views and experiences. At first, when we would have such profound moments at my dinner table, I thought it was rare, but now I know that it is actually a talent for me to create such an atmosphere for people.

More and more people in our generation are building their careers on these intangible talents and it is amazing to see. However, the decision to do so is definitely not easy. Do I want my talent to make me money yes, I do. BUT the truth is all of the normal and boring talents are already making someone else money. So, it becomes my “hero’s journey” in life to figure out what mine contributes and fully commit to doing all that I was intended to it do with it.

A good friend of mine just released an online card store. What is so beautiful about this is that she has always been a card person and its really not about the cards, it is more about making people feel loved and remembered. She has done this for years and now she has decided to bottle that intangible talent into something that can be sold. AMAZING.

Do you have enough faith in your intangible talent? The reason why my brother and I were jealous of my sister’s passion is because it was so obvious to us that she was using her talent! But the truth is just because mine isn’t tangible now doesn’t mean I cannot eventually use it to build the life of my dreams. It takes work and commitment! Elizabeth Gilbert explains that destiny is something we actually have to opt in to. Have you?

We draw on our talents every day- in small and big ways. When I’m the person most of my colleagues pick to have a rant to, they are validating my talent. The responses I get to this platform validate my talent! Maybe it doesn’t make me money now, but one day it will.

I have always thought that success and fulfilment in life would come from me working hard to achieve something, whatever it is. Recently I have come to understand that working hard and building a successful life is nothing if you are not engaging your talent in doing so. I’ve been studying the story of David and this whole concept of how your talent will bring you on front of kings. It is so true. In a world where everyone is becoming perfect replicas of one another how can we differentiate ourselves if not for our talents?

This weekend I rediscovered what I had always known: fulfilment will never come from my day job as long as it doesn’t allow me explore my talents. What happened is I got so busy that I stopped doing the things that utilise my unique gifts and skills. When you recognise this, you have to re-prioritise and get back on track which is what I’m on a journey to doing now.

 

 

How about you? What talents have you neglected or considered unworthy because they are unconventional or seemingly intangible? I encourage you today to really spend some time nurturing these! A seat at my dinner table or attending an event I run isn’t just like any other. It is my way to love the world and the people around me and I intend to intentionally be a source of light and life to everyone around me till the end of my days. This is now a personal mantra/mandate. Create one around your intangible talent and watch it flourish!

All my love,

Seun


Is it about WHEN or is it really about WHO?

‘Promotion without preparation will result in humiliation.’– Jumoke Adenowo

This topic today is one very close to my heart, and it has been an unfolding over the past month. Is it about WHEN or is it about WHO?

This first came up in a chat with my mum about the topic of marriage. When will you marry Seun? I said to my mum, is it really about When or is it more about WHO? The right person at the right time is a winning formula. The right person at the wrong time is just as disastrous as the wrong person at the right time. There are some decisions you make in life with both your head and your heart.

As this thought floated through my mind, I heard it again in the context of living your best life by purposefully pursuing your dreams. Is it about WHEN dream comes to fruition? Or more about WHO you are becoming in the process? With issues of the heart we adopt a preparation strategy, so why is that in life we adopt a promotion strategy? The key difference between these two is that one is all about being mindful that everything you do is not wasteful. You care about the productive power of your experiences as your character develops, whilst the other is basically living to just get to one specific goal as quickly as you can. We wouldn’t (or should i say shouldn’t) treat matters of the heart like this, so why do we think it is okay to treat our lives like this?

I hosted my first Max Your Life event which exceeded all of my dreams and expectations (video below) but at the same time I kept feeling like ‘wow compared to what I have in mind for this platform I am totally lagging behind… I need to accelerate this process.’ That may be true, but if I was in a position to do events like I do now a year ago, it would not have been as good. There is something about working diligently towards something that develops a quiet perseverance in you.

The quote for today really jumped out at me as I read it in an incredible book that in currently working through. Promotion! We all seek it in every area: socially, academically, and in the context of work. But promotion without preparation is indeed humiliation. You get a bigger stage to make mistakes when you were always meant to learn them in your quiet training ground.

It is not about WHEN you get that big break, it is about WHO you are so you can recognise when it actually arrives.

If you are in a season of serious negativity, how will you ever recognise that opportunity? If you are wildly impatient and inattentive, how will you see that small glimmer of your dreams to come?

If you are incredibly distracted and can’t have a simple moment of mental clarity, how will you hear that still voice telling you what to do next?

I have decided to see the mundane seasons as an opportunity to look inwards! Is working in this job developing the patience and perseverance in me that will help me when I have my own business?

Everything we spend our time doing teaches us something, and sometimes we just need to extract all the lessons we need before we move on to the next thing/phase. It is for our own good. Its almost like practising in the little leagues where the risk is lower before performing in the big leagues where the risk is much higher. Where would you rather train?

I know I have posed a lot of questions in this short post, but these are all questions I have asked myself. So people, is it really about WHEN or is it more about WHO?

Think about this! And appreciate the mundane seasons for what they are: low risk training sessions.