The ABSOLUTE highlight of this week has got to be when one of my role models of life…Mrs. Lucy Quist who is The Managing Director & CEO of Airtel Ghana honoured my invitation to come and speak on why we need to dream BIG DREAMS and the role of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) in accelerating our dreams. I was so thankful that finally her award-winning STEM advocacy work crossed borders from Ghana and made it to the UK this week.
Even though it was a scheduled event, in that moment when she was speaking I still couldn’t quite believe it was actually happening. At some point I was like Angie are you dreaming or is this really happening??
You see when Mrs. Quist opens her mouth to speak, EVERY single word that proceeds out of her mouth is laced with such wisdom, intelligence, grace and such elegance & poise that you are left feeling so inspired and optimistic about yourself and your life in general. Such is her influence!!! You need to experience it to understand it. It came as no surprise when The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) last year featured her in their ‘Women of Africa’ documentary series which is a BBC season recognising inspiring women across the continent. In their third series titled 'Power Women', Mrs. Quist was featured as one of only six women chief executive officers or company heads, who are leading transformational change on the continent of Africa and finding success in their country and beyond.
Every time I have the pleasure of meeting her I am so encouraged to do more and to be more so I can continue to be a blessing in my sphere of influence.
I have diligently followed her work for years and a lot of the initiatives I try out in my own career path are most in general inspired by her. Her social media pages are my go to source for personal development. Every Monday, Wednesday & Friday you are guaranteed to read a thought provoking & soul inspiring piece which she personally writes which is guaranteed to open up your world view and to make you think about the issues that confront our world from a solution driven stance rather than just joining the status quo and resigning to the fact that things cannot be changed. Whether its hearing her speak at an event or reading an article she has written, you come away wanting to be a part of the solution to the challenges that confront our world.
Last year she was the key note speaker at TEDx Euston in London. I have always wanted to attend a TED Talk but I always said that I will only go to a TED talk if the person speaking was a global woman business leader who I admired so you can imagine my sheer delight when on the morning of the TED Talk in London, I was granted an exclusive one-to-one interview with her (That 3-part interview is on my YouTube channel. It’s a MUST listen to interview. It will really inspire you. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWhUx_Ryf8Q).
Anyways back to her talk this week…
There were just so many profound & life changing nuggets of wisdom that she shared and I will do my best to share them all with you in this post. My heartfelt prayer is that you will go away after reading this post with a desire to create a vision board for your life with these nuggets of wisdom in mind and figure out how you can also actualise your dreams and make them a reality so you can in turn be a blessing to your sphere of influence.
BIG Dreams & STEM
1) Dreams are possible. What holds us back a lot of the time is that we don’t believe our dreams are possible.
2) First, do some soul searching and come up with a personal vision for the kind of world that you dream of.
3) Now chart a path with your life, one that enables you to create or to contribute to the kind of world that you envisage.
4) Let your dreams be driven by a sense of purpose. Your dream must have a PURPOSE. What difference will achieving that dream make to the world or your sphere of influence? In other words, why do you want to achieve that dream? How is the world going to be changed for the better because of your dream? Life is more than just amassing money & being able to acquire things. It's also about the people that you help & take along with you on the journey by making a difference in their lives.
5) Having a dream that is driven by a sense of purpose is so crucial because it keeps you going when obstacles which are inevitable come your way. The reason many people stop in their tracks and abandon ship with their dreams is because their dreams lack this all important ingredient of PURPOSE. Ensure that your dream has PURPOSE.
6) You must be flexible about how you are going to achieve your dreams. Life does not proceed in a straight path. There are peaks and troughs and bumps along the way. The path you might have to chart to achieve your dreams may not be the path you envisaged so you need to be flexible in dealing with setbacks along the way. Life does not always offer us a straight path. If you are clear about where you want to get to, you will keep at it.
7) That is why you need to write your dreams down. It may not be as elaborate in the initial stages but write them down nevertheless. By writing it down it becomes real to yourself first & then it will eventually manifest in the lives of those around you.
8) In life, you need to focus your mind and chart a path for your dreams regardless of what the environment around you suggests that you should be expecting of yourself. Dream BIG!!!
9) Your dreams should be as big as you can imagine.!!!
10) Big dreams are a driver to our achievements, they give us a sense of meaning.
11) Having a dream is just a start but it involves lots and lots of hard work and making daily sacrifices to achieve them...but it all starts with a dream!
12) You need to trade off leisure time for hard work. A dream focuses your mind & you need to envisage where you want to get to and based on that dream be willing to not only do the work but to make sacrifices to get there. If you dream & do nothing about it, you are not going to get very far.
13) That big dream you have to bring transformational change to your world will start with your personal dream first. When you accomplish your own dreams, it then provides you with a platform to go on to do more amazing things. People only want to listen to those who have ACTUALLY done something with their lives.
14) Your dreams should make a positive difference to the lives of those around you. If you are able to make progress with your life, then it is your responsibility to make a positive difference in the lives of others. You dream starts with you & what you want to achieve but ultimately your ambitions should include wanting to transform the lives of others & contributing to their success also.
15) See challenges & obstacles as additional stripes that you earn for the journey ahead as they contain valuable lessons that will serve you well as you journey towards fulfilling your purpose.
16) Are you going to settle for half a dream or are you going to go for a FULL dream? Make the needed sacrifices now so you can enjoy a life time of success.
17) If you want your dream to reach more people further and faster, you cannot get away from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). STEM enables you to amplify your dreams.
18) Learn about STEM and extract the vital life skills that STEM offers you especially those that are applicable to your dream and use it to accelerate your dreams.
19) STEM is an enabler. It aids in problem solving and equips you with valuable life skills that will serve your dreams.
20) You can't get away from Maths. You need the valuable life skills that Maths offers to manage for example, your personal finance & investments. You will need arithmetic to work out your taxes to ensure that you are not being cheated. In this generation that we find ourselves living in, you can't get away from STEM. Our lives are practically run by some gadget, some computer software programme which works using some type of algorithm. So, the question is, are you going to sit back & let STEM happen to you or are you going to take advantage of the valuable life skills it teaches you and leverage it to amplify your dreams?
21) If you want your dream to impact more lives, you need to use technology to amplify your dreams & reach more people. Let STEM serve you in living your dreams. Choose the bits from STEM that will help you to make the most of your dreams.
22) STEM is a leadership requirement
23) The hardest part of being a leader is how to motivate others, to encourage them and how to get the best outcomes out of them but if you're a leader then you would have also had to motivate yourself so many times. From this you will learn how to empathise with people and see things from their perspective. Their perspective might be different from yours but it's still a valid perspective. My job is to understand the varying points of view of the people that I work with so I can in turn encourage them to make the most out of their potential.
24) Question to Mrs. Quist: What motivates you?
Her answer: I am motivated by the possibility that business can be a force for good and that we can create prosperity for everyone. And this means that when I encounter someone they should walk away feeling that they can make more of themselves. Whenever I can influence situations & get leaders to think about prosperous situations for people & not let people think that they should be grateful for the minimum they can get because as leaders there is so much more that we can do.
25) Set backs are just that...it shouldn’t stop you in your tracks. Setbacks or closed doors simply means more preparation time to sharpen your tools & to get better so that you are ready and poised for the next window of opportunity.
26) To a budding entrepreneur, I will advise that you get a job in an organisation first before launching out with your business venture. This is because working for an organisation will teach you valuable business & management skills that will serve your own entrepreneurship venture well and be an asset to you in the long run. In an organisation, you will learn about structure, processes & things like compliance etc which will be an asset to your entrepreneurial journey. Do get a job before you become an entrepreneur.
27) Aim for mastery in whatever you are doing. Become an expert in your field.
28) Stick to your dreams. Don’t deviate from that path.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog post. I really appreciate that. I hope the nuggets of wisdom shared from Mrs. Quist's talk will inspire you to also dream BIG dreams that will make a difference to our world and cause you to be a blessing to your sphere of influence.
Have a blessed & grace-filled week ahead.
Lots of love,