By Josephine Agbonkhese
She looked unassuming as she walked through the door of the restaurant, a serene and homely outlet along an ever-busy expressway in Lagos— our venue for this interview. Her long, curly black and gold attached hair cascaded down her shoulders, giving the impression of a lady in her mid-twenties. In fact, Omilola Oshikoya looked the perfect embodiment of the ‘richer life,’ a term you will soon understand.
But there was far more to her, and this reporter soon got absolutely enthralled by this lady who has unapologetically dubbed herself ‘Africa’s Premier Wealth Coach’ barely four years after ditching a flourishing investment banking career which she felt was stealing ‘family time’ off her.
In this interview, the UK-certified wealth coach speaks of her upcoming conference ‘Do it Afraid’ and her desire to see Nigeria and Africa at large become a land full of men and women who are fulfilling dreams even in economic recession.
How did you come about that designation Africa’s Premier Wealth Coach?
I have a background in investment banking and finance. Also, I’m a UK-certified life coach. So, for me, it’s a combination of all of that. There is no other wealth coach in Africa, not even in the world to be honest. Everybody else talks about money or gives life coaching but I focus on the ‘richer life’ because for me, wealth is not just money. Health is wealth, family is wealth and influence too is wealth.
Money is only one aspect of wealth but people don’t understand that. Thus, they think the road to happiness is when you have money. But there is the richer life—the complete life—and that should be everyone’s goal.
It’s obvious from your background that you’ve not always pursued this ‘richer life’; what sparked your interest?
I actually come from a family where we were very wealthy but experienced financial difficulties when my grandfather died because my father actually worked in his father’s company. I didn’t want to go through any of such harsh times, so, I resolved in my mind to be a very successful woman. Hence, alongside my 8 to 5 job, I had various side hustles; I would sell corporate gifts and tunics, write proposals for entrepreneurs, and sometimes these side hustles even earned me more money than my monthly income.
But I eventually began to feel empty. I was married with children but didn’t have enough time to see my children. Sometimes I didn’t see them for days. I also wasn’t able to do the school runs. My marriage was being affected as well because I came home tired every day and would become snappy and irritable.
A couple of tragic events that occurred around me began to make me think deeper about the futility of life. So, I said to myself that there was more to life. Two things became the most important for me: the impact I make for Christ and the memories I leave with my loved ones. I began to seek for more but then, I was afraid because I saw my job as my security. My husband later gave his support for me to resign but then I was too afraid to take the move because my greatest fear then became venturing into a world of uncertainty.
God took me to Genesis 12 where He told Abraham to leave his comfort zone for a place that he would show him. It dawned on me that one could actually take a step of faith and move even without knowing where one is going to. So, I finally resigned from work in 2012. I followed my heart even though I was doing it ‘afraid’.
…and how has that paid off?
I won’t say I don’t have challenges but those challenges have given me the muscle to be where I am today; I’ve discovered my gifts. Now I’m a speaker, coach, have won awards, I have spoken in front of dignitaries and shared platforms with some of the most successful persons in Nigeria. I now write a column on personal finance in Sunday Vanguard Newspapers’ Allure, and also co-hosts a talk show on EbonyLife TV.
I have been featured on international platforms including BBC and Huffington Post, plus major national dailies in Nigeria. I also coach Managing Directors of top banks and multinationals. Above all, I’ve hosted my own event, and that’s the ‘Do it Afraid’ conference; I’m hosting the third edition this Saturday, December 4th. I am doing the best I can to inspire the world.
How would you measure your impact so far?
So many businesses have been birthed. From my agribusiness conference held, so many people have started agribusinesses from across its entire value chain. Even the annual ‘Do it Afraid’ conference has yielded huge results. I know of a lady who was working in an oil & gas company. She was afraid of losing her job but when she came for my conference, she got the courage to resign and now, she has started a thriving business. Another lady who studied Yoruba and is today one of the leading special effects and lightening persons in Nigeria, got that business idea from my conference.
In fact, this recession is a blessing in disguise; I now see only opportunities in it. The difference between then and now is simply that people are now paying for value and not spending their money anyhow. So, entrepreneurs who understand this are making waves in the recession.
Tell us about the ‘Do it Afraid’ conference…
What we do is bring a list of successful people to come share their life stories. At the first edition, we had Cobhams Asuquo who did not let visual impairment stop his dreams. This year, the theme is ‘The Flourishing Palm Tree and It’s Process’.
…and what inspired that theme?
We realised that there are some that have started business and are following their dreams, but are going through challenges.
A palm tree is ever green no matter what season. This is in spite of the fact that it is found in adverse terrains. So we are taking participants through the process the palm tree goes through. Our speakers this time include Banky W who has got a beautiful story, Fela Durotoye who has a massive vision for Nigeria and then Dupe Fagbohungbe, a lawyer turned Chef. We have Wunmi Williams who just founded the first of its kind luxury boutique mall in Ikoyi, in the heat of the recession. We have Adebola Williams the founder of Red Media, Iretiola Doyle, Deji Alli, and more.
Somehow you’re creating the impression that living ones dream means leaving paid employment for self-employment. Don’t you think everyone cannot be entrepreneurs?
‘Do it Afraid’ is a universal message. It also applies to people that want to change careers even within the 9 to 5. Remember, a lot of people have been chased from their workplaces; they’ve been sacked. So, now is the time to do that which they have been afraid of. Yes, working in a 9-5 for many years helped me build structure and gave me credibility and experience.
We’re at a time in history where women strive to prove a point by working for longer hours. Don’t you think leaving your job for want of quality ‘family time’ makes you weird and out of touch with reality?
There is a place for a man and a place for a woman. I’m trying to be the best woman I can be. I’m not trying to compete with men; and I think that’s where the problem is. We are created the way we are for a reason and vice versa.
My message is not for everybody but for those that want to live the richer life. Traditionally, what women have done is put their careers first and every other thing after. So, they work their family around their schedule when they should work their schedule around their family.
I cannot be truly successful if my children are not successful because God is a generational God who believes in legacy—and that legacy I cannot leave if I’m leaving nannies to ‘train’ my children. The truth is, many people will be very distraught in the future because a lot of them will use all these monies they are making to send their children to rehabilitation centres.