Saturday, December 27, 2014

Start shining now !

In 4 days we will start 2015. For a lot of people, it’s time to make resolutions (rarely to take actions) and to think about everything that went wrong this year. Only few people will be thankful for all the good things that have happened to them during this year (but this is not the purpose of this article). Some will make a list of everything they want to achieve during the New Year. I understand that sometimes we need a chronological reference. We need a specific point in time that helps us to measure or better evaluate our progress. However do we really need a special day to start becoming the star we were born to be?

I would like to achieve this and that from January 1st. Who even told you that you will make up to this New Year? The message is about making a change today. It is not just addressed to you but also to myself. Generally when I want to leave a bad habit, I wait for Monday, or the first day of a month. I don’t know where this comes from but I would really like to change it. I am probably not the only one doing this and maybe on the other side of the screen some people also need motivations. What if I start now? What is the worst thing that can happen if I start shining today?

The right day, the best moment is only an excuse like another one that we use to postpone our light. Sometimes we are so afraid of taking the first step that will lead us to success that we create a bunch of reasons why we should wait. Instead of thinking about all the good reasons why we should work toward success, we rather stop ourselves with our bad excuses. Tyrese Gibson said in How To Get Out Your Own Way that life is a menu. Whoever and whatever you order for your life is what’s going to be delivered to the table.

Today I think that we should all ask ourselves what we want at our table. What is our goal? I am not talking about the purpose of this year. Although it is important to establish short and long-term goals, the most important is to know what drives us each time we wake up? What is our purpose in life? 

We are responsible for where we are in our lives. We are responsible of finding and achieving our goal. It is not enough to say I will start doing this next year. When we talk about purpose, think about this seven words:

Passion: what you daydream about
Understanding: use a pen and a paper and describe exactly what you want to do
Relationships: who are you willing to speak to, out of your comfort zone?
Persistence: no matter what happen you should continue working toward your dream
Obstacles: you will always have obstacles
Sacrifice: you have to trade what matter the least for what you value the most
Endurance: you will have to sweat in order to arrive to the end of marathon's success

Stop making excuses, find a way and start taking actions to achieve your purpose. Stop waiting for every New Year and START SHINING NOW.

I definitely invite you to watch this ted by Luke Wright.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bridging the gap between surplus and need

When I was younger like a lot of children, I wanted to be a doctor. Years later, I decided to take another path because I would not be able to stand the sight of too much blood… However, I wanted to find a way to work with healthcare organizations. So now I am interested in some activities related to healthcare (which does not include pools of blood).

I recently had the opportunity to volunteer with a great organization that a lot of people don’t know about and this is the main purpose of this article: spread the word about Medshare.

Did you know that U.S hospitals generate more than two million tons of medical waste each year?  On the other side, some surgeons in developing countries use the same gloves for different patients, washing them until they tear. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 10 children under the age of five die in the developing world due to inadequate medical care. This is the reason why I want to talk about Medshare.

Medshare is a non-profit organization with the mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need of medical supplies around the world. To date, the Southeast Region in partnership with local hospitals have shipped 670 containers of medical supplies and equipment in countries in need. However as you can guess the need is constant, and even increasing especially in Africa with the spread of Ebola.

Whoever you are, you can participate in making a better world. Volunteers are always in need in the different chapters (San Leandro CA, Decatur GA, and Secaucus NJ). Donors are welcomed to support the mission through medical or financial donations. 

If you are interested in volunteering, donating, or learning more about the mission of Medhare, here is the website of the organization. You can also find the requirements to be a recipient. Medshare provides supplies to non-profit organizations only. 

Take a look at some pictures of my first day with this amazing organization. I found out that my country is also a recipient of medical supplies. 

Volunteers at work ...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I just read Purple Hibiscus !

While reading an excellent book, I always wish I didn’t read it just to be able to do it again. I am not crazy, I just wish I could rediscover the same feelings, feel the same first time sensation... This is exactly what recently happened while I was reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Miles away from my continent, I was very pleased to discover similarities between different countries of Africa. With a big smile on my face, I was remembering some scenes at the village, the church, in family… Nigeria was suddenly not so much different from Ivory Coast.

Purple Hibiscus is a story told by Kambili a fifteen-year old teenager oppressed by her fanatically religious father. In Kambili’s home, there is no place for laughs. Although her father is a well-respected and generous man in his community, he is also violent and absurdly severe with his own family. As Chimamanda said about him, “there are lot of people who are kind and generous and thoughtful, but in the name of religion, do all sorts of awful things.”

Purple Hibiscus evokes religion, love, family but also the politics in Africa. My favorite characters are Amaka and her younger brother Obiora. On one side, there is a girl so tied to her African culture that she refused to get confirmed because she was supposed to choose an English name. On the other side, there is a boy who seems more mature than his age and who dreams about United States because of the bad political climate in his country.

I particularly loved the typically African names, the common African expressions and the traditions you can guess it…typically African. I just wanted to go back in my village and learn more about my story from the elders.

I hardly tried not to give you an extended summary of the novel nor did I wanted to show you how much I actually loved it. I believe that when a book received too much appreciation, the reader tries to discover it as he has been told about instead of having his own feelings.

Therefore please guys, discover Purple Hibiscus by yourself, or through Kambili’s eyes.

Picture: The Guardian 

NB: For Beyonce’s fans, Chimamanda is the voice you hear in the song flawless. I hope this will triggers your desire to read her book. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

United States Is Not a Panacea

When I went back in Ivory Coast during winter break, the brother of a friend asked me “Do you think it will be good for anyone to go in U.S in order to get a better life?” He was not talking about someone coming here to study, but actually a person looking for a better job, more money. Ironically, this includes doing some works he or she is not willing to do in his/her home country.

I answered that some poor people in Africa live better than some Americans in United States. Talking about that, I was referring to homeless people. Indeed, it is every day that I see someone living in the street and having a caddy (or just nothing) as all their belongings. We tend to think that these people are junkies, alcoholics…that they deserve what’s happening to them. But the truth is that every story is different and that nobody choose to live in the street. I recently discovered The Homeless GoPro Project. This set of videos aims to create more empathy in the world. The initiators’ goal is to dispel myths and build understanding through firsthand perspective.

For my brothers and sisters in Africa, I also want them to understand something else. United States is the country of dreams, possibilities…I can't deny it but America and Europe do not resolve everything. Living in U.S does not always go along with being rich or happy.  

A lot of people are looking for an Eldorado, not only Africans but everyone thinking that grass is greener on the other side. However, we need to understand that going elsewhere does not guarantee a better life. There is a chance that you succeed in your venture but there is also much more chance that you would have been better off trying to improve your life in your home country.

There are a lot of opportunities (I will soon start to share them) in Ivory Coast for the people eager to do something. Maybe they don’t know how to start or they just haven’t understand yet how great they can be. Today I am in U.S because I had the chance to study abroad. But I can’t tell you how much I want to go back in my country to make a change. I have started to understand that it is not always about the place you live but more about what you want to do and how much you actually want it.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Five advices from a Queen of Marketing

I had the privilege on November 7th 2014 to assist at the inaugural event of a new undergraduate program designed for women in business. Robinson College of Business introduced us to Women Lead, Paving the Way for Women to Lead. We had the pleasure to see three incredible women answering to the questions of the students interesting in being the Leaders of tomorrow. I want to share with you five points from one of the panelist who was also the keynote speaker of the event.

Katie Bayne is Senior Vice President at Global Sparkling Brands, The Coca-Cola Company. After joining the company in 1989 she got an incredible career leading her to be the President of Coca Cola, North America Brands.  She talked about how anyone especially a woman can succeed in business but also in the personal life.

1-      Be honest with yourself

According to Katie Bayne we need to know what we really want and follow that path. She was a psychology major but she knew she wanted to be in marketing and then she engaged in that direction. We should never be afraid of taking a new challenge. She remember what one of her supervisor asked her once “I know you have the ability but do you have the ambition?” This is the kind of question we should all ask ourselves.

2-      Understand social norms…but do not let them limit you

As a part of a society, sharing a specific culture, we need to comply with some rules. However we should never being stop in our dreams, objectives because of what the society qualify as normal. As women, we can also be leader but more important we can bring our own personality in the business world. 

3-      Accept your failures…learn from them

Katie Bayne made a reference to one idea she tried to implement with her marketing team. It was a complete disaster because she did not take into consideration what was really valuable to her consumers. She learned that she needed to keep things simple. In life, we are always going to meet failure but the most important is to learn how to improve ourselves.

4-      If you want balance…create balance for your life

I have to admit that during her speech, I was wondering if she had a family life. She travels a lot for her job and I was asking myself how she manages to have personal time. She answered to that question by saying that we need to truly dedicate ourselves to everything we love. She established priorities in her life. When she is at work, she is there at 100 % but when it is time for personal leisure she is also at 100%. In order to create balance in our life, we need mentorships both in our career and personal life. She had the chance to have supportive friends and a comprehensive husband. She knows she can counts on her team work but also on her relatives. 

5-      Get to know your people

At work, this implies that you should know your team, system, customers and consumers. The same thing applies in every aspect of our lives; if you want to give a valuable product to the consumers, you need to know what they consider as important. In our daily lives we also need to understand our family, friends, the people around us. The way we act with people depends on what we know about them. 

At the end of this journey, we need to keep in mind that we are responsible for where we are in our lives. It is our duty to work hard in order to accomplish our dreams. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

AyeLive...first steps

I think like a lot of people that it might be interesting to have a career in what you love. I have the example of people who seem to have more fun than actually working. Cyriac Gbogou the free jumper in one of my reference. He does an excellent job but he is especially enjoying himself while also being helpful in his community. I also discovered the blog of Israel Yoroba. I already heard his name but I recently fell for his writings. There are lot of people like them who inspire me to pursue my dreams.

Successful people always recommend to work in a domain we are passionate about.  They say “Do what you love”. Some people think they can’t afford to live through their passion. They pursue a career in something they don’t like while the passion remains a hobby. For me the difficulty is not to make profit in what I love, I am actually struggling to identify what I love enough to follow it as my career path.

I started to love reading and writing at a young age. I actually fell in love with writing after the summary of a novel my mum made for us. “Les erreurs de Maman” by Jocellin Kalla, this is the novel that triggered my love for books. This love for reading led to a desire to create my own stories. I wanted to create emotions, to surprise the readers and then I started to write too. However I have never felt like this was the career I wanted to have. Maybe I was just afraid of the criticism people would have on my writings. Maybe I just didn’t trust myself to have enough inspiration, imagination to pursue a career in writing. Whatever, the result is the same. I am still trying to find what I love.

This is the reason why I have decided to open this blog. I know that a lot of young people like me have no clue in what their real passions are. I made a promise to myself. I decided that I will try to do new things permanently. This includes meeting new people, discovering new places and experiencing new activities. I want to share every single detail, experience that can help me to better understand myself. I hope this will be a grateful journey for the readers too. Here is why Ayelive was born.