Are you a Mother trying to achieve your life goals but finding that you are overwhelmed and exhausted from taking care of your family? Do you feel like your life has been put on hold? You may even feel like this, where you currently are, is just it for you. You need to learn a new approach to life that enables you to achieve your goals and still be a rock star Mother. This really changes everything. Believe me from the bottom of my heart when I say you will get your life back.
I see you. I am not there right now with you at this moment, but I can relate to your struggles.
In this book, I will teach you how to pursue your dreams without burning out. We will go on a journey together to discover how you can achieve that. It is possible to bring your dreams to fruition without feeling overwhelmed or experiencing burnout.
Mindset is the key to achieving the life of your dreams. And that life is attainable. It is much easier to achieve your dreams when you have someone like me to walk you through the process. I’ve been through it myself. I’ve experienced the challenges of striving for goals that don’t seem attainable. I’ve faced those [sl1] challenges with young children and now with older children. Doing this in addition to the demands of everyday life can leave you exhausted and make you feel stuck. But I have experienced this journey, and now I’m providing you the tools that I have used to make that journey successful.
I often wish that I had discovered a book like this in the earlier years of Motherhood. There were times that I felt so alone and so discouraged. Then, I believed that no one could understand how I felt. Often I felt that there was no one to talk to. I wrote this book from that position—know you are not alone.
Here is what I would say to you now.
Apply for that job. Go back to school. Start that hobby. Write that book or memoir. Put yourself out there. Do it now when it is the absolute toughest time to do it. You have so many things on your plate already, and you are trying to get through each day. There will never be a good time to work toward your goals. Start small, but start. Allow yourself to strive for that goal that always seems to be on the back burner. The goal is achievable and waiting for you, but you have to begin somewhere.
Fail often, fail fast. Give yourself permission to go for your goals even if you think you might fail. When you fail, pick yourself up and keep going. My sister shared important advice with me—she has learned that it does not have to be an all-or-nothing approach to achieving goals. I agree with her. You can perform a task that moves you forward for as little as ten minutes a day. In that short time, it will create the spark that you need to keep going.
Try new things. I also say that you should be daring and do the things that embarrass you. The more you do these things, the more it will take away the fear of other people’s opinions. Achieving the goals that you dream about takes time. It truly is a journey. Part of the delay in setting out to accomplish your goals could be the fear of judgement, or worrying about what other people may think about what you create. It certainly was an issue for me. It was hard, but I learned to care less about how other people view me. Trust me—everyone is too busy worrying about how other people view them, and they don’t care about you and your journey.
Envision a new reality. Imagine what it would feel like to achieve the goals that you find yourself dreaming about. You will have a renewed sense of purpose and confidence. You will face life knowing that in spite of the challenges, you have accomplished what you set out to do. You will make new goals knowing that you are able to work hard and achieve anything. After all, you already know you can accomplish things. Life becomes an adventure instead of a chore. You are now able to help other people and become an authority in whatever field you excel.[sl4]
Develop new habits. The journey to accomplishing your goals will change you as an individual. It will help you develop discipline and habits—habits that you would not have developed otherwise. In fact, the journey is more important than the destination.
You will emerge from this journey as a transformed person.
I promise you that the biggest gift I can give you is the gift of a renewed sense of purpose. You will come away from this book knowing that you are here on earth for a purpose. You will believe in a way that you never have before that your destiny awaits. You have an assignment that only you can fulfill.
In this book, I will provide specific calls to action. This will help you build a roadmap for your individual journey.
The F.I.E.R.C.E Methodology
I use the acronym F.I.E.R.C.E as a framework for this book. Follow the steps and exercises in each section, and you too will become a F.I.E.R.C.EMother. A F.I.E.R.C.E Mother is one who stands firm in her assigned place on earth.
F for First Things First. This will make you question the reason for it all. It will replace the mindset of drudgery with a sense of purpose and intention. You’ll learn how to change questions into motivating calls to action:
· How long before the children are in bed and I can sit down and watch TV?This becomes What small step towards my goal can I accomplish?
· How long until this day is over and I can go home? This becomes What did I do well today, and why was I successful?
· How long until Friday? This becomes What are some of the action items on my list that I can get done before the weekend?
I for I Am. Knowing who you are will ground you and make you resistant to other people’s opinions of you. It will lead to a greater ability to self-affirm. This will give you a clear picture of who you are and make it clear why this is important.
E for Engine. This discusses the powerhouse that you are. It will teach you the importance of maintaining your engine. You cannot give what you do not have, and it is critical to ensure that you keep your engine in prime condition.
R for Relationships. This emphasizes the importance of other people in our lives. We are not created to exist in isolation, and we cannot succeed alone. Relationships with others will also provide a source of encouragement and accountability to do what you set out to do.
C for Chief Financial Officer. This teaches you how to be a boss in the area of your finances. You are the Chief Financial Officer of your life. Becoming a financial boss will lead you to the success you desire in other areas of your life.
E for Execution. This teaches you that knowledge without action is wasted. This is not a feel-good book. Instead, this book prompts you to take specific actions to achieve the next level of what is in store for you. You will go beyond feeling good and be motivated to make decisions to propel you forward on your journey.
I make a big promise to you by setting you on a journey to success. Adopt an open mind and embrace the simplicity of my message. Do the exercises, and this book will change your life.
Your journey should start now—not tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or when things calm down a little. The quicker you start, the sooner you’ll get into the rhythm of what works for you. Don’t wait because there will never be a good time. It will always be hard, so begin your journey. I know you can do it!
As I sit writing this, I doubt what gives me the qualifications to write this book. I question whether anyone cares what I have to say. I am writing from a place of vulnerability, but I have to get this story out. I am confident that this message is effective and will change lives.
This book will take you through the specific principles that I have applied in my own life to achieve the following:
Run ten full marathons, fourteen half marathons, and four ten-mile races.
Start an interview format podcast celebrating Igbo culture [sl10] and Igbo women.
Complete my MBA and graduate with my class. I did this despite being pregnant with twins and delivering my twins in my first year of business school.
Give of my time, talent, and treasure.
Sponsor ten-year-old twins in Haiti and visit Haiti twice on a mission trip.
Partner with a dear friend who is the founder of a charity organization in Nigeria. This organization helps orphaned children and the less fortunate.
Work full time in a challenging and demanding role.
Have very close and precious relationships with all three of my children
Experience a joyful marriage that works (although, it’s not perfect).
It has not been easy at all, and I do not want you to think that my life is glamorous. I do it “ugly.” This means that a lot of the time I have no idea what I am doing. Often I will try something new and the result is an unfinished product that could be done better or even failure. But I do it regardless. I am so excited to share with you the principles that I have learned and applied along my journey. Despite many years of trial and error, I finally realized that it was possible to achieve the goals that I dreamed about.
My key milestones
Here are the key milestones along my journey.
1970 I was born in London, United Kingdom (U.K.).
1981 At age eleven, I started school at an all-girls boarding school in Owerri, Nigeria. I spent the next five years of my life there. My experience at this school made me who I am. This school taught me independence, strength, grit, and determination. It also taught me the importance of female camaraderie. Fetching water in buckets, scrubbing toilets, and studying with other girls was a part of my daily routine. This built a strong sense of kinship with other women.
1987 At age 17, my brother (who was 19) and I left Nigeria and returned to London to finish high school and attend college. We discovered the true meaning of hardship and the struggle to scrape by. I started my first part-time job at a 7-Eleven, and my brother started a job at an electronics store.
1989 My Mother and younger brother and sister left Nigeria and returned to London. I started college at the University of London. At the time, although I was a U.K. citizen, I did not qualify for “Home student” tuition or grants. This was because I had resided in the U.K. for less than three years. As a result, I had to pay tuition at an international student’s rate.
1990 My family was unable to pay the expensive university tuition, and I had to drop out. I started working in a patisserie as an office receptionist. My small income helped at home with groceries and a couple of bills.
1991 I gained admission to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Manchester. That time, I had been a resident for three years, so I attended tuition-free.
1993 I finally graduated college with an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. I was unable to
[sl11] find a job and spent a year working at a toy shop at Heathrow airport.
1994 With no employment prospects, I decided to return to graduate school. I studied for a Master’s degree in Software Techniques for Computer-Aided Engineering.
1995 I graduated and started my first professional job. It was at a Computer-Aided Design software company in Coventry, U.K. I spent the next three years there. It was during this period that I realized that I most definitely did not want to continue in the field of engineering. I hated my job, and I lived for the weekends.
1998 I quit my first and only real job and returned to London where I worked as an independent contractor for two years.
2000 I landed a job at a consultant company in North Carolina and moved to the United States (U.S.). This was a difficult time for me being all alone in a new city; I didn’t know anyone. I rekindled my relationship with my friend’s older brother who lived in Maryland.
2001 I was laid off when the dot-com bubble burst, and I moved to Maryland to join my boyfriend.
2002 I got married, got pregnant, and started business school all in the same year. I would definitely not recommend this approach, but it worked out.
2003 I gave birth to my twins and then life took a completely new turn. Life was never the same again.
2007 I had my youngest son. That time, it was a little easier because I knew what to expect. Also, I was dealing with one newborn and not two at the same time.
Who this book is for
This book is for those of you who know that there is more to life than the way you are currently living. This book is for you if you are willing to take the step into a new way of thinking and approaching life. This book is for you if you know the status quo no longer works. You should not have to wait until your children are off to college, or until you retire to experience a full life. If you are willing to do the work that it takes to achieve your dreams, then this book is for you.
Who this book is NOT for
This book is not for you if you are looking for a get-rich-quick scheme. This book is not for you if you want overnight results. It is not for you if you are in one camp versus another: the camp that says stay-at-home Mothers make better Mothers, or the camp that says working Mothers are more ambitious. Neither camp is better than the other. We are all Mothers who work very hard every day for our families.
Please do not judge the stay-at-home Mother who is working harder than you know. Please do not judge the working Mother who is trying to juggle a family and career.
Finally, and very importantly, this book is not for you if you are not open to a faith in God. This book is faith-based. A lot of the principles that have applied to my life and to which I owe my success are because of my strong faith.
Throughout the book, I reference Scripture. The Scripture I use is from the New International Version (NIV).
What you will need
You will need a notebook in which to journal as you complete the chapter exercises and write down responses to the questions. Those are included in the sections titled, “Steps to take.” Later, you might also need a computer to build your own budget spreadsheet. But don’t worry because the spreadsheet is simple.
The F.I.E.R.C.E Methodology by Section
I will be covering each letter in the F.I.E.R.C.E acronym within each section:
Section 1: F–First Things First
Section 2: I–I Am
Section 3: E–Engine
Section 4: R–Relationships
Section 5: C–Chief Financial Officer
Section 6: E–Execution