I almost missed the whole interview with powerhouse, Uber’s Bozoma Saint John on Thursday January 4, 2018, at The African Leadership Initiative West Africa (ALIWA) Dialogue series. Thank heavens; my friend Anim prompted me in time to just catch what was (to me) the most important part of her story. With that said, well done to Citi TV, on keeping us tuned for the event.
For those who don’t know her, Bozoma Saint John is Uber’s Chief Branding Officer and before that, she was a Marketing Executive at Apple Music. She’s Ghanaian and the absolute definition of confidence.
She is definitely doing for all female leaders, creatives, and entrepreneurs. In my mind, we are practically, friends who drink wine. Am I crushing on her? Guilty!
So as I was saying before I started drooling, the two things that hit me deepest were her perspectives on Fear and Choices.
As someone who recognizes the physical limitations of fear, it resonated with me deeply when Bozoma talked about learning to accept that fear is an inevitable part of living and still choosing to take the plunge anyway.
“And sometimes with my eyes closed”, She said. She made it clear that underlying every choice, was fear. However, it was more rewarding to make a move when we ask the questions that matter.
“Will it be good for me and my daughter [family]?
‘Will I love it?”
Will it make me happy?”
As simple as this sound, people very rarely take risks based on happiness and adventure. We are constantly plagued by family dependency, stress, debts, and most importantly change. It’s very easy to be stuck in an unsatisfying place when it becomes our sole source of livelihood. The older I get, I see that this is no way to live. It’s a sure bet, you will live a highly unsatisfied life.
I remember back in 2012, I chose to quit my job to live and work in a country I knew next to nothing about. Leaving behind what’s familiar was daunting. Change can be so disruptive. But I can say now that it was truly one of most enriching experiences of my life.
On choices, Bozoma challenged the audience not to settle or live with regret because of our decisions. Every decision, good or bad, ultimately teaches us something, which, in turn, makes us better for the future. Things don’t always turn out the way we planned, but the great thing about the outcome of every story largely depends on our mindsets. We control how those lessons shape our future, going forward.
Now if you follow the “Boz” on any social media platform, you will know she is constantly living her best life yet has been quite open with the death of her husband and her journey recovering from loss. She recognized that she had to choose happiness for herself and her daughter. She shared how important it was to be action-oriented when it came to be available physically and emotionally for her family during that difficult time.
“It created a sense of urgency and we needed to do everything we wanted before he [Her Husband] was gone”.
It makes you wonder how fortunate we are to have SOME time to be our best and live life to the fullest. Imagine having to act and live against TIME.
Listening to Bozoma, was simply another inspiring reason to not wait, choose to take a plunge on that business idea you are thinking about, that healthy lifestyle you keep dreaming about and that project you’ve been yearning to share. Fears and choices will always be a struggle through life’s phases. Bigger opportunities will bring bigger fears. At the core, the winner is the one who feels the pressure behind her ears and still dives in, “with both eyes closed.”
By: Kwakyewaa Owusu-Nyantakyi
A writer and podcast host of weekly series The Grey Poscast.
You can find more of her work at www.sometimeskywrites.com