Be Empowered by Embracing the Game Changing Culture
December 4, 2019at5:00 AM
by Debbie Odunlami
Be Empowered by Embracing the Game Changing Culture
What place does digital technology occupy in this changing culture and how can you empower yourself by not only acquainting yourself with new and latest technology trends but also be DARN good at the ones that align with your objectives.
I’ll start by talking about my personal relationship with computer and information technology and how my journey to becoming a coach who inspires people to go for their dreams and not be afraid of the unknowns started.
I initiated WCH (Women Connect Hub) - a global community organization that focuses on coaching, mentoring and providing relevant information for career, business and personal development purposes. I'll say this organization is an accidental idea because my original intention was to work with the younger generation especially girls and inspire, empower, encourage, coach and mentor them to pursue their dreams, be the best versions of themselves and consider a career in science and technology fields - for clearly there's a huge gender gap in these career fields (I am by no means advocating for an unhealthy competition, my hope is that we get to a place where we can comfortably say we have struck a balance). I also wanted to push them to start thinking big at an early age as I believe it expands their minds, creativity and imaginations - an entrepreneur mindset. While working on a plan and structure on how I want to roll out the program, I realized that I needed to start from every child’s backbone – the parents especially moms. I know if they can get a good handle on theirs then it will transcend to the kids (both boys and girls). This then shifted my primary focus to "Women".
A small backdrop story - when I started college many years ago, my initial career aspiration was in healthcare (Physician or Physical Therapist). I started with the prerequisites in college and I was doing quite well but for some reason I kept feeling that I needed to do something else. Not because of lack of aptitude but somehow I was always drawn to mathematics inclined classes because I love numbers and I always say numbers don’t lie.
I transferred from Chicago State University to Michigan State University and applied into the Engineering College to study Computer Science, thankfully, I got an admission. At this point, I had no prior knowledge of what computer programming languages were, my exposure was limited to Microsoft word and Excel. The first shock of my life came when I started taking computer science classes – “these classes were super hard” and I began to ask myself “what in the world did I get myself into?” - C++, UNIX, Java, Algorithm Analysis etc. I had no idea what I was doing. I would study hard and pass but didn’t get the content down. It got to a point that I felt I had made a big mistake, I thought about changing back to a healthcare related major but realized doing that will add another year or two to my time in college which means it will take me almost six consecutive years to get an undergraduate degree. My math and physics classes were good and I was under the impression that people with good mathematical and analytical abilities are usually good with computer science. My problem wasn't the logical reasoning and problem solving part, it was the programming languages; they looked and sounded so FOREIGN.
Fast forward, I decided to talk to an advisor and she recommended Computational Mathematics since I was relatively okay with Math (a degree in Mathematics could be applied in any industry, I could go to medical school if I wanted or get a graduate degree in Computer Science) . She told me all my computer science classes would still count toward my graduation requirements so I took the advice and ended up with a degree in that major – A decision, I’m glad I made.
Back to the original message, my career diverted initially but I finally ended up in the Information Technology field and I have done that for 15+ years now. My first observation after working as BI software engineer was noticing that I always worked with men - nothing wrong with that, as a matter of fact I loved it but it opened my eyes to the huge gender gap in this profession.
Pic below is myself and colleagues in Brunick, Italy.
So what is the connective tissue here? First, I will like to mention that the tractions women have made should be commended. They have come a long way in establishing their rights and place as they've struggled to break the barriers society has pushed on them and to break out of the old ways in which they have been personified. In fact, women play a major role in all facets of corporate organizations leadership positions, businesses, politics and religious organizations in our society today -- and they have done so on the backs of perseverance and never giving up. It’s the tenacity of a few that changed the game for the masses, so if you know a trailblazer, please thank them.
How do we connect the importance of game changing culture to ensure that we are progressing, impacting our world positively and living a balance life?
Among a lot of things I read from my research and my experience, these 3 stood out to me:
1. Overcoming failure and fears.
2. Overcoming procrastination mindset
3. Overcoming stumbling blocks and lack of action
Overcoming Failure and Fears
Failure doesn’t care about your age, gender, color or your personality and fear can show up anytime. The smallest thing can drive up your fear because its goal is to distract you from your progress. Don’t let it alter you, let it encourage you. The ability to develop a mindset that is open to continuous learning will catapult you into overcoming failure and fears because you will see every failure as an opportunity to grow. Every debacle that you are faced with comes with the experience you need to succeed for your next plan because in order to overcome failure, you need to gain perspective from the circumstance. Does it mean that you can’t learn from other people’s experiences and use that to give yourself a leg up advantage? NO! Other people’s experience give us a leverage to start smarter.
Digital transformation is simply the use of new, fast and frequently changing digital technology such as mobile devices, apps, computer programs to solve problems………….and it affects every area of our lives. It could also be intimidating but the world is changing at a very rapid rate and if you completely ignore the changes you will be obsolete. I’m not advocating that we forget the human elements but the truth is - Change really is the only constant thing so I encourage you to embrace it. You don’t have to know it all – ask questions, identify the ones that apply to you for your career upward mobility, business progression – maximizing your potentials and personal development. It will help you exhume confidence and a feeling that you are in the know. Read and listen, allow your mind to work for you because it has the capacity to do that even at any age. Failure is imminent but it’s always the people who are willing to learn about themselves that make the most of overcoming the situation.
Overcoming Procrastination Mindset
If you’re thinking or currently on a path to starting a new career, changing your career or being an entrepreneur, it’s safe to say that you are in a process of creating a perfect dream job for yourself. The world today is full of opportunities and potentials but because of all the inundating and overwhelming information that are very complex and hard to filter through, digital technology brings along another intimating dimension to the equation. It’s then easier to procrastinate because most of the things you need to do are challenging enough. They require hard work, determination and grit. To now add a new technique to how you do them can throw you off completely and easily derail you into the easy way out – Procrastination.
This is where prioritization comes in handy. Identifying and knowing what you really need from technology perspective will help you to quickly filter through all the other ones out there. It will provide clarity and you will be have a better handle of your life, career and/or business.
Remember one of the major hurdles we have is “self-doubt” thoughts which comes and goes. To empower yourself, overcome a procrastination mindset and create opportunities to scale over this obstacle, you always need to have a positive mindset within yourself.
Overcoming Stumbling Blocks and Lack of Action
When it comes to building a successful life there is an innate responsibility to want to be accepted in everything you do. Everyone wants to succeed and success can be elusive because there are so many obstacles to success. These obstacles (stumbling blocks) are typically inevitable so if proper action steps are not considered and taken they result in frustrations and a lot of people quit. To overcome stumbling blocks you have to determine to outwork other people, you can’t be a mediocre or do the bear minimum.
To overcome lack of action, you have to know what your objectives are, this will give you clarity on the exact actions needed to overcome the stumbling blocks. This is where the digital transformation topic comes into play – if you have identified, mastered and embraced what aligns to you and your goals, it becomes easier to navigate through. Think about how corporations have used digital transformation technology to improve their profit lines and gain market shares through analytics and real time reporting for quick decisions, how colleges have made it possible for people to work, take care of a family and go to school through online programs and how religious organizations have used different apps and even social media platforms to reach out to their members’ needs.
Don’t limit yourself or the capacity of your mind. To empower yourself, you need to take actions. Go for it.