On September 18, 2017, I left my previous life and took on a huge challenge to try something I was clueless about.
Just the day before, I was still a fresh graduate as its called, exploring her creative side as a makeup artist and by Monday, I was interning as a designer at Flutterwave. (Things switched up real quick!)
My life problems literally changed from waiting on NEPA to give light to shoot my makeup videos, to looking for traffic-free commute routes, lol.
Prior to Flutterwave, I had no idea what user experience or interface design was. The only design knowledge I had was logo creation and church event fliers.
Then I joined Flutterwave and was welcomed into a different dimension of design.
Having no technical background seemed like a challenge in the initial stage but I knew I couldn’t spend time focusing on the obstacles or challenges. Someone had taken a leap of faith and given me an opportunity. I knew that I couldn’t let him down, so I had to level up. Fast.
Learnings that helped me
Asides learning design, these are some of the other things I’ve had the opportunity of learning. Realizing these things helped me level up as fast as I should.
Stay away from the blame game, you own your learning
Doing what can be called a discipline switch has taught me that I’m the only one responsible for what I need to learn to help me succeed.
Taking responsibility for your learning means, acknowledging that you are responsible for your life as a student, an intern or generally, anyone trying to learn something new.
It means doing away with excuses for not performing and accepting that you must take action or make a change.
You have to establish learning goals and these goals need to be based on an understanding of your current and future learning needs. Also, identify your strengths and weaknesses as a learner and seek out opportunities that help build self-concept as a learner.
When I understood that my personal circumstances and other people were not responsible for the choices I made, it made me accountable to myself, my teammates and Flutterwave as a whole.
Simply put, I had to do all the research I needed, ask all the questions, learn and get the job done. Lesson learned: being responsible for our learning prepares us for the unexpected, and for our future.
Accountability partners are important for growth
Having someone to keep you accountable to your goals is important. Your partner doesn’t have to be famous or an industry favorite. Your partner just has to be committed to helping you succeed as you are to them.
It is preferable if they have a different personality from yours, that way it’s easier for them to see things from a different perspective from yours. This is really helpful, especially when you feel locked up in that idea box and you have no concrete clue on how to move on from there to achieving your goal. This person will help you see things differently, from their own vantage point.
At the end of the day, we are much more likely to take action if someone is taking note and tracking our goals, and also coaching us and cheering us on along the way.
My career is a journey, not a destination
Being a fresh graduate of marine biology and also running my makeup business, I thought that, best case, by 2018, I’ll either be working in an oil servicing company or traveling the world as a beauty artist.
But September came, I joined Flutterwave as a design intern and my life has practically changed since then. I’ve learned that change is a constant, so instead of fighting it, I had to use it for the better.
Lesson learned: we don’t stop growing, learning or changing. I’m on a journey, so I’ve made it my call of duty to learn something every day.
Curiosity killed the cat, I’m not a cat.
Sometimes, the world or society pressures us into having the “I must know it all” mentality. Most of the time, when you find yourself working with very smart people, you may think that owning up to not having knowledge of something might reveal to everyone how much of an imposter you are, so you quiet your inquisition.
Yes, they say information is everywhere. If you don’t know something, just Google it!
However, as much as this is great, it’s probably subduing the right amount of curiosity and hunger for knowledge that we require as humans on our path to success.
The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge — Napoleon Hill
I’ve learned that hunger for knowledge is the fuel that stokes excellence, and being excellent sets you on a path to being your best version. Dr. Maslow calls this “self-actualization”.
I’ve had to constantly tell myself that it’s okay to ask questions because the hunger for knowledge fuels excellence and the success and money I desire are by-products of excellence. Lesson learned: I don’t know everything and I’m definitely not a cat.
I am so grateful to GB for taking a leap of faith by giving me an opportunity to join the team at Flutterwave and Ted, who has patiently guided me since day 1. It’s been a blessing to collaborate with very brilliant minds and contribute to connecting Africa to the global economy.
I have gained a crazy amount of technical and life skills that have contributed to my growth as a designer and as a person. With every challenge that came with each day, I’ve grown to appreciate those hair-pulling moments of frustration as learning experiences.
Working as a designer at Flutterwave is an incredible experience. One that gives me an opportunity to have an impact on the real-world system at scale. It is an opportunity that I am truly grateful for. #ProudWaver