Growth and success in life require drawing a deliberate plan and following a process that does not in any way contradict the plan.
Nkem Offonabo, founder of The Work-Life Organisation Global Ltd is with Taofik Sanni to discuss the work-life dynamics for professionals and mapping the future you desire (for young professionals) through telling her story and how she became one of the top 50 Leading Ladies in Corporate Nigeria.
Who is Nkem Offonabo?
Nkem Offonabo is a purpose-driven woman who has moved from being stuck to living purposefully and is now empowered to help busy professionals and entrepreneurs (who are overwhelmed, burned out and unable to prioritise their personal and professional realities) to meaningful and rewardingly prioritise the critical dimensions of their life to achieve optimum performance, productivity and profitability in life and work.
Professionally, Nkem is a graduate in Psychology with a SEMP (Special Executive Management Program) MBA from Metropolitan School of Business and Management, UK.
She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHRi®) and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (ACIPM) with 12 years’ work experience spanning Recruitment, Selection and On-Boarding, Employee Relations, Organisation Development and Change Management, Product and Business Development in the Financial Services Industry.
She is currently working as a Business Development Manager at First City Monument Bank Limited.
Nkem is also a trained Life Coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming Professional. She is the Founder of The Work-Life Organisation Global Ltd, a Professional Coaching and Human Resources Management Consultancy, where she works with individuals and organisations to provide coaching and training on employee wellness, work-life harmony, personal and organisational effectiveness as well as Human Resource Advisory.
She is the convener of Work-Life Conversation, a highly sought-after group coaching community of working professionals and entrepreneurs. She has been featured on The Pink Network – ‘Woman 2 Watch’, She Leads Africa and Plus TV Africa. She was recently recognised as one of the Top 50 Leading Ladies in Corporate Nigeria by Leading Ladies Africa.
Nkem is on a mission to help busy professionals and entrepreneurs achieve Work-Life Harmony.
You have such a heavyweight educational experience spiced up with a very attractive professional profile and personal outlook. What motivated you to add the Neuro Linguistic Programming Practice to your expertise?
In my search for wholesomeness and personal excellence after experiencing a mental breakdown at a point in my life, I got exposed to the transforming power of life coaching. Healing through the process brought me to the realisation that one cannot prosper if the soul is unhealthy.
I have come to realise that the soul is so powerful, it controls our thoughts and emotions which control the decisions we make, decisions on the other hand control our actions and our actions control our results.
It will interest you to know that 95% of the diseases we suffer is as a result of the lack of ease we experience; mentally, physically, emotionally, environmentally, etc. So, if you need things to change towards the wholesomeness that you seek and for you to experience personal excellence, then your thoughts, beliefs, words, language and emotions has to change.
Getting trained as an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) professional has helped me to understand the interaction of my neural system (sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing), it’s interpretations in the form of language and other nonverbal communication and my ability to communicate those interpretations to myself and others in order to achieve my desired results and live the life of my dream.
Looking at your experience working with career professionals as a trained coach, what sure secrets have you discovered that can help or accelerate the career growth of young professionals?
Success secret is universal.
Whether the goal is about changing career, taking your relationship to the next level, achieving financial freedom or improving your health, the first and most important secret is to prioritise gaining CLARITY.
Majority of working professionals ventured into the world of work without clarity about their career path. All they wanted at a point was a good job to pay the bills, but a couple of years down the road, with developed skill sets, better understanding of what a meaningful job is or what career success means to them, the expectations are different.
As captured in my bestselling book, The Harmonised Life, there are five (5) core pillars of career fulfilment that once you define and prioritise them, leads to gaining clarity, owning your career and finding fulfilment in your chosen path. But if these pillars are misaligned, there is a high probability that you won’t be feeling completely fulfilled in your career. They are: Values, Strengths, Interests, Personality and Lifestyle. Think about how much time you will spend at work in your lifetime, about 90,000 hours for the average person. Make sure you make the most of the time by pursuing a career that makes you happy, aligns with your core, utilises your talents and solves global problems.
Secondly, visualise who you want to become in your career and pursue that vision with intentionality. Set SMART and well-formed goals that will lead you to your desired outcome(s).
Thirdly, while you may not already be in that role, be good at what you do and be open to diverse learning opportunities. Acquiring diverse experiences will create a huge learning opportunity that will position your skillset and competences and help you thrive in your chosen career path.
Fourthly, be deliberate about building a professional network. Research has it that up to 85% of open positions are filled through networking and strategic hiring. You must be able to add to your network and not just leech off it – contribute meaningfully or volunteer your own resources, time and expertise.
Finally, find a career coach, mentor or sponsor who will keep you accountable to your goals, give you the required support and help position you to your dream career.
Thank you, Nkem, for that detailed response. So drawing from your experiences in the past 10 years, what would you say about the nature of the Nigerian professional work-life culture?
In my opinion, our society is getting more complex and fast-paced; so is our workplace. With the ever-changing nature of work, the employers’ demands for maximum revenue and profit, and the increasing pressures to perform and exceed expectations, majority of working professionals have neglected other dimensions of their lives like their emotions, health, courage, family, passion, friendships, finance, rest, spirituality and peace of mind.
As a result, they get stressed, ill, burnt out because they’re unable to take control of or prioritise these critical areas of their lives including work.
How then can any employer or organization really achieve the best results when it’s core assets – it’s people are not living fully optimised lives?
I heard something like The Harmonised Life, can you tell us more about it and why should anyone rush to pay for one or more?
You heard right!
The Harmonised Life is a Personal Leadership and Transformational book written for the busy professionals and entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed, burned out and unable to prioritise but are seeking to find new meaning and reason to enhance their performance, productivity and profitability. Owning, reading and implementing the strategies in this book will help you design your own blueprint for living a meaningful and productive life across the critical areas of life, so that you can achieve all-round success, peace and harmony, irrespective of the challenges life throws at you in order to continually stay winning, personally and professionally.
With extensive research on employees across several industries and with intend to discover what makes for an intrinsically and extrinsically enabling workplace, this book is also written with the employer in mind. Implementing the strategies as captured in chapter 6, The Role of Organisations will help (M)SMEs, Corporates, Institutions, etc create a more human workplace where people and business thrive.
You shouldn’t miss buying a copy or hundreds of copies for yourself, your team and your employees. Get yours at https://nkemoffonabo.com/
Can you share with us the greatest fear you ever nursed in your heart about your career and how did you overcome the fear?
When I started my banking career in 2008, I had envisioned that I would give the paid employment at least 15 years to grow to the peak of my career dream as a Global Human Resource Executive but life happened. After 11+ years in my career, I realised that I had almost reached the 15-year mark and was not anywhere close to that dream career, having moved from an HR role to a Sales role in 2013. This brought in a rude awakening, a feeling of regret, confusion and a quest for clarity and direction.
For the many years I spent in a sales role, I felt a huge gap leaving my Human Resources role. While I felt that selling wasn’t exactly what I enjoyed doing, I decided to look at the bright side of things and began to see meaning in my role as a sales manager. I realised that the skill set and competencies I acquired in the role had challenged my introverted personality and provided a paradigm shift in the right direction. It exposed me to the fundamental issues around life and business. I became aware of the principle of need identification, the power of value creation, the need for personal and professional branding, building meaningful relationships and profitable partnerships, and employing the discipline of execution.
While developing the skills needed to thrive in the sales role, I made deliberate decisions towards building my desired career path. I vigorously pursued my career aspirations by deepening my knowledge of Human Resources. I got certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHRi) and became an Associate Member, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (ACIPMN). I embraced personal development and leveraged my multiple skills to create value for people. I carved out a niche for myself and deliberately built an irresistible brand in the area of Work-Life Harmony and founded a thriving Professional Coaching and Human Resources Management Consultancy that offers Coaching, Learning and Development interventions and Human Resources Advisory to Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) and Corporate Organisations. I have co-hosted and organised successful training and workshops for over 1,000 working professionals and entrepreneurs. I have also been a public speaker at several local and international conferences. While leveraging on my social capital, I was able to project my skills and expertise in delivering value. As a result, I have been featured and interviewed on different media platforms and have been recognised as one of the top 50 Leading Ladies in Corporate Nigeria by Leading Ladies Africa for my contribution in the corporate space.
Through it all, I have learnt how to harness my strengths and play down on my weaknesses. I am only able to do these from a place of self awareness, a convincing purpose, a compelling vision, deliberate self-development, a high dose of positivity backed by empowering personal values, building confidence in my abilities, leveraging relationships, committed actions towards achieving my desired results and living the life of my dream.
Nkem, you have truly expressed courage and resilience with your eyes on your goals. Your story says a lot about encouraging others to go for their dreams.
Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts with us today. I am sure many out there would be glad to learn from your expertise.