Staying focused with Toyin
At a very young age, my father taught me that what mattered most in life were my skills, talent and the results I could deliver. It was more of a question of how useful I could be. The questions that I’d ask myself were, ‘Have I acquired the skills my industry needs? Have I invested in myself enough before asking someone else to invest in me? Am I creating true value for my company?’
For me as an immigrant away from the country I grew up in, I have found that I need to work extra hard to make sure people know me, my values, my experiences and my potential. I believe in going after life with passion and zeal. I have found that when you let people know who you are and what you want they will help you get there. As women, I think we need to articulate what we desire in life and tell the right people what we want or the positive changes we are trying to impact.
When I was learning how to drive—driving in the mainland cities in Africa is crazy. When you’re a woman behind the wheel, people will drive you off the lane. I remember this situation where I was driving and somebody wanted to cut me off and my dad turned and shouted at me and said, ‘Don’t shift. You have the right of way; just stay at it. If you shift, you may run yourself off the road.’ I have seen that in my life to be true. Stay focused. I stay in my lane. I make sure that I am not rattled, that I don’t do damage to myself by being reactive. That’s been one of the biggest lessons.
Life requires dedication and it will make way for whoever knows where they are going and how to get there. There are more opportunities for women today than in my mother’s time. I ask myself if I am taking advantage of opportunities that exist and am I creating opportunities for others. The way I see it is that opportunities in life are like planting a tree—every time you cut one down you should plant one. Because of this, I try to invest time in others and encourage them to actively pursue their passion and take advantage of opportunities that those who went before us labored for.