Victoria Adeola

Celebrate the little things: Inside Victoria Adeola’s valedictory speech

The SHAPE program had its first set of graduates in our inaugural graduation ceremony and it was a feast of testimonials, emotions, profound transformation stories and lessons, not least the heartfelt valedictory speech delivered by our valedictorian, Victoria Adeola from Kenya.

The Speech:

I would like to thank the SHAPE program consultants for this great opportunity to give a speech on behalf of our class. As I start this speech, I will start with this verse, “The end of a matter is better than the beginning”. We are all true testament of this because we can truly say we are not the same people who came into the program; we are satisfied, we are smiling, we are fulfilled and we are better.

Many of us came in with so much in our hearts, others in the hope that this will be the long-lasting solution they had always wanted, and yes we can say we have found our balance, we have found our purpose, we have found our peace.

To all the SHAPE consultants who took the time to stay the course and ensure we enjoyed the fullness of the programs, thank you. Your hard work was not in vain and the sleepless nights paid off. To all SHAPE Shoulders leaders and members who took the time to encourage, thank you. Your stories brought life to most of us who almost gave up during this journey as it was a glimmer of hope. To SHAPE partners: this journey will not have been any better if you didn’t take up the time to stand by us and guide us in those moments. We have cried, we have ranted, but your words of wisdom have pushed us through every step of the way never failing once to shed light on different angles of life.

To the Creator, CEO and Founder, Mr Tekena Ikoko, thank you for heeding the call, thank you for creating, reviewing, always looking for a better way to ensure we have maximized our full potential. Thank you for not giving up on us and we are indeed grateful and honoured to be part of this program.

Finally, to the inaugural class, the mantle has been handed over to us to continue living, pursuing, pushing past difficulties, celebrating the little things because it’s in these little things we have learnt to be ourselves, we have learnt to be grateful, we have learnt that we are more than enough. Celebrate the little things because in the little things we found confidence to push through the days when we were at our worst.

Do not allow situations of life make you feel less of yourself, this world has taught us to wait for grand occasions before we can celebrate but today I employ you to celebrate yourself no matter the event. If you made a ten-mile walk yesterday and today you walked twenty miles, celebrate. If you were able to complete all your tasks and yesterday you completed half, celebrate. It’s only in celebrating that you will become more aware of the beauty and worth that you carry. Do not allow the spark in your eyes grow dim because you deserve every ounce of goodness coming your way.

As you wake up every single day, remember the beginning, remember the hard work, remember the sacrifices and give thanks that you had the strength, you had the stamina. You are worth so much more, the world is waiting for you, so shine so bright. You have been SHAPED, therefore go forth and SHAPE others.

Thank you. It is an honour to be the valedictorian for this set, July 2022.

This is Victoria Adeola speaking.

More grace, go forth!

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6 ways to achieve greater balance in life

Stress and burnout have been a hot topic in the corporate space in the last few years, and the COVID-19 pandemic brought it even more to the fore. As job roles morphed into more remote approaches and people worked more from their homes, it seemed like it was going to be a welcome respite for those who were overly exhausted from everyday commute to work and the stress of the workplace.

The data showed otherwise, and it became apparent that the issue of stress and burnout was not as much because of the work ‘place’ as it was because of a combination of organizational cultures and individual habits. Therefore, working from home did not necessarily translate to less stress. In fact, in some cases, it was more stressful.

But stress and burnout are not only limited to the workplace. They affect most people across the entire spectrum of human existence. People have a lot of things calling for their attention. Some of these are important and others are not, and the weight of information, task, distractions and unfulfilled desires can often lead to a huge physical, emotional and mental stress.

“A balanced inner calmness radiates from a peaceful centre. It neither craves others' approval nor rejects others' presence. It neither pulls towards nor pushes away. It has a reverent attitude towards life and all its inhabitants.” - (Donna Goddard, The Love of Devotion)

So how can one maintain a sense of balance in the midst of all of these to create a healthier, happier and more productive life?

Here are 6 tips to help you lay the foundations:

  1. Understand that balance is not necessarily equilibrium. A life of balance does not mean equal allocation of time for every aspect of your life. Balance is achieved in giving the required priority to the aspects that help you build a more efficient, happy and fulfilled life and achieve your goals and visions per time.
  2. Decide what is important and plan your schedule accordingly. Do not leave spending time with the kids or your partner to chance and claim they are important. Remember to include rest there too. Rest is important. Read that last sentence again.
  3. Declutter. Let go of things that no longer serve you. Whether emotionally, mentally, physically, and in your work and business. Many times, more is not better. Inversely, when you clear your space of things that do not serve you, you make more room for growth in the areas that serve you.
  4. ‘No’ is your friend. It is okay to decline responsibilities and activities that will build up more stress for you. It is okay to not be disposed to help someone if helping them will be detrimental to you. No does not mean you are a bad person; it is an acknowledgement that you are a limited resource and you must manage yourself effectively to get the best out of you.
  5. Make time to refresh. Rest is your opportunity to refresh, recharge and replenish. Make time for fun and things that renew your energy. Listen to music. Play with friends and family. See a movie. Travel. Whatever helps you to recharge, make time for it.
  6. Show yourself some gratitude. Give yourself some credit. Celebrate yourself. Celebrating your little wins reinforces positively in your mind that you are making progress. This in turn builds up your positive emotions which helps your productivity.

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Visualization: Pathway to greater outcomes

If I asked you where you would love to be in 3 years, chances are you would think about a place, position or experience. Whichever the option. your mind will create an image of your answer. Even if you do not realize that.

In the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, history was made by a high jumper who revolutionized the sport and subsequently became known as one of the most influential figures in track and field events.

Richard Douglas Fosbury,  now famously known as Dick Fosbury, was little known until he did what had never been done. Prior to that Olympic event, the high jump was predominantly dominated by a feet-first technique where jumpers tried to jump the highest by crossing the bar feet first. There was no rule that stipulated that as the only acceptable technique. But no one else had SEEN any other way.

Enter Dick Fosbury.

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1968 Mexico Olympics: Fosbury does the flop for the first time

In 1968, in a bid to jump higher than anyone had ever done, Dick observed that the aerodynamics of a back-first approach favored a higher jump than the practice of the day. No one had ever done it. But Fosbury saw it in his mind and was certain this could work. And so was born the now famous ‘Fosbury flop’, still the most popular approach for high jumpers today.

It had never been done, but he already saw it. Fosbury would go on to say about peak performance in the sport, “When you reach that elite level, 90 percent is mental, and 10 percent is physical. You are competing against yourself, not against the other athlete.”

The same applies to life. Everything we do outside is first created in our minds, and because most of the time it happens so fast that we do not recognize it, we think we just do things. The mind is the control room. This is what high achievers acknowledge and harness to their favor: THE POWER OF VISUALIZATION.

20th Century American author, Earl Nightingale, once said, “Visualization is the human being’s vehicle to the future – good, bad, or indifferent. It’s strictly in our control.”

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I once had a conversation with a friend concerning a project he was undertaking. In trying to proffer alternatives because of a hiccup he was experiencing along the way, I asked him why he was so insistent on a particular aspect of the project not being let go. I remember he paused for a moment and said to me with a voice that carried the weight of a hundred-year-old conviction, “When I pictured the completion of this project, the smile and relief I saw in the faces of these guys is something I cannot unsee. It was so real. If we take this away. it robs the life out of that dream.”

I understood him. He had pictured this so much that it took a life of its own, and that life had captured his mind and drove his determination.

We see this every day in action without recognizing it. Whether it be as majestic as Lionel Messi weaving gracefully through a maze of defenders, or as grand as Elon Musk pouring countless hours and billions into making reusable rockets for space, or as seemingly mundane as you cooking a delicious pot of food. The reality is the mind holds a picture of the end product before the journey begins.

Visualization is like the pause that births the melody. As sports columnist. Ezequiel Fernandez Moore rightly puts it, “In the pause. there is no music. But the pause helps to make the music.” Visualization is the process that tunes our minds to our utmost desires and aspirations, creates the outcomes we want, impresses them in our minds and gives us the momentum and drive to go and recreate the magic our hearts have curated.

High achievers harness the power of visualization to get themselves ‘in the zone’ as they engage their goals. This is because the mind will feed and breathe more life into the images you dwell on, seeking avenues to recognize the resources, people, and opportunities that align with that which occupies the mind. This in turn creates a domino of recognize-attract-leverage-repeat.

As Fosbury rightly pointed out, 90 percent of the job is taken care of mentally: in our minds. All that is left. is to recreate the magic through execution.

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Is kindness purely altruistic?

Soldier helping little kids on duty

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