P H E N O M E N A L W O M E N
T I W A L O L A
Confident Coach, Speaker, Podcast Host
Tiwalola Ogunlesi - Is a life coach, positive psychology specialist and founder of Confident and Killing It. She started Confident and Killing It in 2018 whilst she was working at Girl Effect. Her mission in life is to wake women up to their worth so they can be confident, unstoppable and dare to live the life they truly desire. Through engaging talks, workshops and coaching sessions she equips women with the tools and knowledge they need to overcome fear and self-doubt, programme their minds for success and speak their truth. She has also delivered engaging experiences for brands such as Beauty Stack, UN Women UK, The Wing, Makers Academy and The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy to help drive deeper engagement with their communities.
What inspired you to start ‘Confident and Killing It’
Months into my first job I felt a bit lost. There was deep unfulfillment that came from being stuck in a job I hated. In the back of my mind, I knew there had to be more to my life than living on autopilot. In a search for a more fulfilling life, I began volunteering as a Youth Leader with a group of twenty 15 year old girls.
One day, I asked them to write down an area in their life they wanted to grow in. I got home, super excited to see what they had said until I opened the first piece of paper…
“ I want to be more confident”
“ I wish I loved myself more”
“I want to be more confident”
“I want to learnt to unleash my inner Beyoncé”
And so it went on and on and on. ALL TWENTY GIRLS in the group had written in one way or the other that they wanted to be more confident and love themselves. I burst into tears not only out of sadness for them but also sadness for myself, as I remembered being a teenager and - not loving myself. 10 years had past and It felt like the world hadn’t changed, another generation of young women growing up struggling to love themselves.
That evening broke my heart. I could no longer be a bystander in life. It was time to start using my voice to stand up for women and girls. It was time to wake them up to their truth. Society has normalised self-hate in women and young girls and it is NOT ok! We all deserve to love and believe in ourselves but it’s like everything is conspiring against us to make sure we remain insecure *coughs capitalism*, *coughs the patriarchy*.
So with a fire burning in my heart and a deep sense of conviction, I decided to use social media in a more meaningful way by sharing positive content that inspired women and girls to wake up to their greatness. That’s how Confident and Killing It was born. It’s a self-love revolution that wakes women up to their worth, so they can be confident, unstoppable and dare to live the life they truly desire.
What would you say is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since launching your business
My biggest challenge has been around my definition of success and how other people see me. In my early days when I started posting content on Instagram I used to freak out about whether people would like it or not. How many comments and shares would I get? Would they laugh or judge me? etc. Society makes success all about numbers and when I based my value on other peoples reactions to my work or the number of followers I had it made me feel stressed and insecure. People's reactions are something I can’t even control!! Focusing my energy on things I couldn’t control was really demoralizing.
As I began to feel more secure in myself I decided to reframe my definition of success based on what Maya Angelou said. “Success is liking who you are, what you do and how you do it.” So now I focus on the positive impact I'm having in the world instead of the numbers. I focus on becoming a better version of myself so I can continue to serve others and be a light to the world and that has made me a lot more happier.
How do you handle and overcome challenges you are faced with?
Naturally, I’m a good problem solver and I loveee challenges so I tend to thrive in adversity. I usually follow these 3 steps
Check your perspective - I make an effort to focus on what I can control instead of what I can’t control. Perspective is everything and being grateful for what you have in the moment is crucial.
Remember your strengths - I regularly reflect on challenging situations I’ve been through in the past or other key accomplishments. This reminds me that if I did it before I could do it again.
Own your story - I remind myself that life isn’t perfect and there is beauty in my strengths and struggles so I’m not afraid to ask for help and be vulnerable with people. This often makes me feel better and more empowered to tackle the challenge.
Why do you think ’self love’ will make you a better business owner and freelancer
The first thing you need to know before you start a business is yourself. Period. Think about what you’re passionate about, what your strengths are, what makes you feel vulnerable and what ways you are likely to sabotage yourself. You must first learn to master your mind, before you can master a business and build a team. Personal growth is a never-ending journey so you will never fully “arrive” but you must first believe in yourself, love who you are and what you have to offer before you venture into entrepreneurship.
Also, when you pause to reflect and celebrate yourself it actually makes you feel more confident and optimistic about the future and helps you deal with fear and challenges better. If you don’t love and celebrate your wins you’ll struggle with imposter syndrome and feel like you’re not good enough to run a business. Self-love also allows you to lead with empathy which is essential for team building and creating a safe work environment.
Why do you believe the relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have?
What you believe about yourself is the foundation to everything that you do. If you believe positive things about yourself, you feel good enough and then take action towards making your dreams a reality. If you have a bad relationship with yourself, most of your thoughts will be negative and that comes with a lot of negative emotions like fear and anxiety which then keeps you stagnant and feeling bad about yourself. So the way you see and talk to yourself is really important because it affects how you feel and everything you do in life.
What advice would you give someone who is currently struggling with confidence and self doubt?
First of all, it’s important to know that your worth is intrinsic. Your worth doesn’t depend on where you’re from, how much money you have, the colour of your skin or what other people think of you. You don’t need to be perfect. You matter simply because you exist. So place value on yourself and don’t wait for your validation to come from strangers on the internet.
Secondly, your mind is a battlefield of conflicting forces. It usually works against you but you can train it to work for you. One of my favourite quotes is “she knew the power of her mind so she programmed it for success”. Don’t let negative thoughts of fear and self-doubt come into your mind and have a party. Challenge them! You need a positive comeback to help you change your perspective and remember the positive things about yourself when negative thoughts arise.
Finally confidence is a practice! You have to be intentional about investing in your personal growth, knowing your strengths and taking baby steps towards your goals. Make it a priority to learn about your strengths. Write down your achievements, moments you’re proud of, skills that come easily to you and work that energises you. Read them everyday and make decisions from your strength not your weakness. Everyone can be confident but you have to put in the work.
How can women empower one another?
I think we need to learn to choose collaboration over competition. Society makes us think there’s only room for one woman at the top but that’s not true. There’s enough room for everyone to thrive!! So rather than comparing ourselves to each other let’s build each other up with encouraging words, support each other’s businesses, have each other’s backs and amplify our voices.