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Going beyond survival - How to thrive in challenging Times. 

OCTOBER is a month for overcomers. After what seems like a really tough season for many, I sense it's a season of victory. Victory in your mind. Victory in your spirit. Victory in your attitude. Victory in your business and life. Get ready to overcome whatever stopped you before now.  

Even the young ones aren't left out of the reality of the tough times we are in. During a phone conversation last night, my 15 year old son who had called to check what he read about the pounds sterling now exchanging at over N600 and to generally discuss Nigeria 🇳🇬 shared how negative many people appear to be about the issues and wondered how we were doing. I told him don't worry, just do your best and get good results, your dad and I will do our best too. He said, mum I believe that "Action and faith" (in his words hope and productivity) are the best approaches to dealing with this tough season. I agree ☝️. He's clearly his mama's son. 😀

Here are 7 Quick Practical Tips for overcoming this Recession for really everyone.

O - OVERCOMER'S MINDSET: The starting point this month is that, you must recognise that you are configured and have all it takes to overcome tough times. You must decide deliberately to overcome fear. Overcome being stuck. Overcome confusion, panic and a sense of hopelessness. You must as a matter of priority -Take hold of this once and for all! Recognise that the free falling exchange rate in Nigeria and seeming lack of direction in your life or economy has no power over you in eternity. If it lasts for a very long time, it won't outlast eternity. Even if it does, you are better off approaching it with a fighting can do positive spirit. Put things in proper perspective. You've got this. You will overcome. Take that as a given and then go get equipped and get to work.

C- CLARIFY: Clarity is critical to getting anything mega done. Having a clear direction actually gives you wings and a new zeal. Every time I write or review my goals, I am reenergised. Sometimes being bombarded by the dire economy and even personal circumstances can make us lose sight of our once vigorously held goals and aspirations. But to overcome, you must know exactly what you need to accomplish these last 3 months of the year from October to December. Clarify your top most goals and zoom in on those. I like to set what I refer to as #GoMega goals. These are game changing breakthrough goals that have the most impact on your overall life and business. Set them in your business to stretch and motivate you. Then get a laser focused handle on them and refuse to let go until you achieve them.


T - TERRITORY: It's time to take new territory. If you are not taking new territory, you are stagnating or losing territory. Challenging times are the best times to begin to seek out new opportunities. Stop ✋ assuming this is it! This is not it! There's more territory to take. New markets. New niches. New client categories. New product lines. New ways of funding that idea. New relationships and collaborations that could grow your current idea, project or business. Don't sit in one location and die. I love ❤️ the 4 weak lepers in the biblical story who changed their story line by boldly proclaiming- we aren't going to sit in this tough situation and die. What's the worst that can happen if we explore new territory they said, moving into enemy territory to confront new horizons? Instead of thinking what if you fail, how about thinking what if I succeed? Who knows what would happen if you made a call to a new supplier today? Or resurrected that old contact? Instead of worrying about the lack of or rising foreign currency- how about looking for markets where USD is not being rationed or scarce? Could this situation be a wake up call to expand? To think bigger? To get out of your comfort zone? To diversify? Without risk, nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished.


O - OWNERSHIP: It's a season to take responsibility for your life as a private citizen. Yes Government has a role to play. According to Okey Enelemah (Nigeria's Trade Minister) who shared some profound insight recently at the Society for Corporate Governance 2016 conference, "the role of government is as an enabler and honest broker. Government has to lead by example but requires shared accountability with private sector collaboration. A case of Mutual interests. " I agree largely with him.

In my opinion, old fashioned things like not complaining and not making excuses for your results should become the standard. Accept responsibility for where you are. Everything you are facing whether as an individual or a business is a result of your past decisions and actions. Yes things are tough, but did you save, did you borrow too much, invest too little, take too much risk or too little risk? Did you plan ahead? Send your kids abroad without a plan A or B? Really only losers make other people and circumstances their problem. You can't overcome if you don't own the power to make a change starting with your actions. We all could do with more ownership and less blame game while working towards the right enabling environment and a society where truth, fairness and justice prevails especially for the more vulnerable members of our society. I personally believe we could all do more to contribute to the kind of society we so desperately desire. That's why I'm excited about the distinguished Chevening Scholars Alumni who were hosted at a gathering on Independence Day at the British High Commissioner's residence in Ikoyi. It was an opportunity for us to take responsibility for going beyond rhetoric to real lasting solutions for collective contribution to the national dilemma. We all agreed that having received the much coveted and highly regarded scholarships, (in my case 23 years ago - I still recall the euphoria of being selected and being 100% funded by the Commonwealth office to study at the graduate level at Kings College School of Law, London) which was based on coming back to contribute to our country, we have no choice but to get more involved. To whom much is given, much is clearly expected. 


B - BELIEF: What do you believe about this season? Really be honest. What do you believe about the economy? What do you see? Recession or opportunities? Do you believe that a certain level of chaos and uncertainty are the perfect backdrop for the emergence of new titans, trailblazers and champions? Or do you believe, this is the time to run away for sometime or maybe adopt a wait and see approach? Is this a time for arm chair commentary or a time for bold action? What you believe will shape everything this month. As a man thinks- so is he. As you see, so shall you overcome. I pray you see correctly. I hope you see the opportunities that others are seeing and taking advantage of. There's a way where there's a will. (Read my Oct 1 Independence Facebook post that reached thousands of Nigerians here and see how different people respond to the same set of issues. Incredible insight)


E - EXCESSIVE: Yes I want you to be excessive this month in offering value whether as an entrepreneur or employee. Tough times call for going to the extra mile. Tough times require excellence like never before. Give no excuses and accept none. In a recession, competition is tougher, people are ready to do what it takes, so don't expect any favours or applause for doing just enough. Give value beyond what you are paid for. Deliver an exceptional experience to your constituents/clients/employers who quite frankly are looking for an excuse to cut out your service or product from their expenses. Oh and yes, do cut out the excesses in your lifestyle and expenses if you know you can't afford them. Be excessive in offering value but also trim your excesses if you want to overcome this month.


R - RAT RACE: 🏁 Get out of the rat race. Run your own race. Preferably dance to your own carefully selected music. There's too much noise in the market place especially in this season. There's a tendency to compare your story line to another person's business or to compete without knowing whether you are both dancing to the same music. The fact that everyone else is in the real estate, fashion, food and beverage, power sector or telecoms doesn't mean you have to be. The fact that they are struggling doesn't mean you have to struggle either. Honestly, it's not really true that things are tough for everyone to the same extent. In my real estate sector, I love when people look in a pitiful way and ask how things are going, expecting a sorry tale. I always smile because I know something they don't know. Let me let you in on a secret- There may be a recession in the land but it doesn't have to affect you in the same way as everyone.

Recognise you have a choice to interpret things and your interpretation of the situation determines your action.


If there's no business in Lagos, how about Lokoja or London? Is it possible to export your services or goods? Is it possible to re package your offerings so it's broader? Or narrower and targeted to a more discerning, liquid or more appreciative audience? This is not the time to be in the rat race, i.e. the unfocused race where you chase every thing you hear others are doing. This is the time to revisit your goals from the beginning of the year. Check your business vision? Your targets? What did you decide was important and why? Who did you identify as your best target client? If this remains valid, stick to it and stop comparing yourself with Obi, Segun and Ibrahim. They are probably don't read my newsletter and so don't know what to do. 😀 Stick to your race. Get the right shoes👠 strategies and solutions 🔑 and go knock this baby out of the park.

I hope you found this useful. I'm truly encouraged by those who send me feedback or those amazing folks who stop me at events and tell me this helped in some way. It motivates me to create more time to do this. I love encouraging and equipping people to excel.

Stay awesome. Stay confident. Stay inspired.
You will succeed! 
Udo Okonjo 


***September lived up to its billing. Successful September is what we called it in advance because we are foolish enough to believe and speak before we see. But after speaking we take decisive and consistent action with positive unrelenting expectation. I pray you overtake and overcome all tough challenges in October. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

A distinguished gathering of Chevening Alumni on Independence Day at the Deputy British High Commissioner's Residence
Proud recipients of the International property awards in Dubai recently along with Nestoil one of Fine and Country's Grade A office mandates
Trade Minister Okey Enelemah at the Corporate Governance conference


Udo Okonjo is a Possibilities Igniter, Real Estate Tycoon, Wealth Strategist and Passionate Teacher whose life’s vision is to Democratize success by creating platforms and experiences that get people to transform their lives through changing their minds

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