There is maybe a million things to say about this Amazon Nigerian woman, Betty Irabor who never stops impacting the lives of women , young and old. As a woman, she wears so many caps and has done so exceedingly well in all of them. One wonders, how does she keep it all together? Her marriage, motherhood duties and business! She seem to easily take it all in stride effortlessly without breaking sweat on print or in real life.
Every month, this wonder woman shares her experience and wisdom in her editorial piece for Genevieve Magazine famously tagged: Betty Irabor’s Morning Dew. This article is not going to focus on her personal life (which we applaud her for managing to keep it personal for so long) or her many achievements and accolades as you will be sure to find on many blogs and newspapers. This piece will share with you two of her most beautiful Morning Dew pieces that tell all about her kindness and gentleness as a mother and her strengths and insights as an entrepreneur.
#1 “I was only 12 when..”
I remember the one time when my period stopped and I went to my elder sister crying that I was pregnant. She simply asked if I had a boyfriend and if I had done “anything” with him. “No” I swore (finger touching my tongue and then pointing upwards to God.) “Then you can’t be pregnant” she assured. “But mum said if I didn’t see my period it meant I was pregnant” I wailed.
In order not to stir up any suspicion about my “pregnancy” I would go to mum and ask for money for a sanitary pad, until one day she asked why I was no longer having cramps with my period. I was so taken aback by the question that I burst into tears and confessed that my period had stopped.
“I said it, I said it, you are pregnant” Mum moaned. She whisked me off to a doctor who gently took my hands and led me off to his consulting room and asked me several queer questions like; “ Did any boy touch you’? “No sir” I cried. I was so confused about the “touching” part of his question. He later assured mum that it was normal for periods to be infrequent in the early stages of menstruation. Luckily, my period returned to normal; I had never loved a period that much…
This is Betty telling a story of how she staggered into puberty with the fear instilled into most Nigerian teenage girls by their mums from the minute they get the first stain! In this piece she narrates the challenge of every girl child at this crucial age and the embarrassment that plagues most mothers when the time to address topics of sexuality approaches. Even as open-minded as the world has become these days, a lot of mothers still make the mistake of abandoning this duty and privilege (as Betty puts it) to the internet and social media enthusiast.
I said to her casually, one day from age 9 you may start bleeding and need to wear this pad. Initially, she couldn’t look but after a while she would look briefly and later ask questions. When I felt she was ready I talked to her more. There was nothing formal about our talk. On another occasion I took her to braid her hair and as we waited for the salon to open, I ticked her and as she laughed, I asked her if she liked any boy in school…”Nooooo”, she giggled and then I hastily gave her a little talk about boys
Realizing her mum’s blunder, she consciously made an effort to do better by her own girls. There is no greater milestone to achieve with your kids than the blessing of getting them to come to you first as confidante before they regard you as an authority over them. She achieved this by tentatively opening the lines of communications on even the “yuckiest” of things with her daughter at the age of 9. This ought to serve as a warning message to African mothers who find it abominable or just difficult to talk to their kids about things like this.
#2 “13 Nuggets That Have Worked For Me As An Entrepreneur”
When Genevieve Magazine clocked 13 years old, Betty Irabor‘s morning due was a apt article sharing some of her best secrets as an entrepreneur that has pulled her through over the years. These 13 golden seeds will blossom in your journey as an entrepreneur if you allow them to take root in your life.
1. OWN THE DREAM…You birthed the dream; so own it with confidence, pride and a sense of purpose. Be positive about it and be your own brand ambassador. There is no way you can make other people believe in you if you doubt yourself and abilities.
2. GET THE DREAM MAKERS…No matter how laudable a dream is, it cannot manifest without a dream team. Don’t be afraid to employ people who will challenge you and question your ideas. You can grow only with a committed team. And at the end of the day don’t take all the credit; acknowledge the effort of your team.
3. COACHING/MENTORSHIP COUNT. You need a certified coach on this journey called Entrepreneurship, someone to help you attain the goals you have set for yourself. It’s also advisable to get a mentor; someone who has been where you’re heading. (Thank you Dr. Doyin Abiola for your Mentorship)
4. VISUALIZE THE VISION. Don’t just have a vision; ensure that the vision is well articulated and understood by your team. Be True to your vision and keep it in focus at all times. Have it written out and pasted in strategic places in the work place.
5. PASSION HAS A TWIN. No business can thrive without passion but Passion must always be matched with action. Passion has a twin called ACTION. They go hand in hand as passion alone is not sufficient to sustain any business. You need to ACT.
6. DO IT AFRAID… The battle against fear of failure is real with most entrepreneurs and I fought my own battles. I saw fear as an end in itself and lived in dread of it. Fear held me back and set limitations for me. I finally learnt to confront my fears and look at failure as only a temporary set back. Use your failure as fuel towards your success. Do it afraid.
7. GO FROM LOCAL TO GLOBAL… Befriend the social medial! Be seen be heard, be known. Take your business from local to global.
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If there ever was a role model for Nigerian wives and mothers who are also trying on the cap of entrepreneur, this 57-year-old Edo State born publisher who loves to listen to Tina Tuner and Westlife and has been married to veteran journalist Sonny Irabor for 31years is IT.
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