#MichellesMondayMotivation – How It All Started

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If you follow me on Instagram @MichelleDede you’ll know I’ve had a regular post since the beginning of this year called #MichelleDedesMondayMotivation. This is how it all started.

Last year, (2014 depending on when you read this) was one of the hardest of my life.  Career wise (the highs, the lows, the almosts, and several other lows), health wise, home wise and personally: Nigerian men sha!  (but that’s another story I’ll talk about in another post).

Few people knew what was going on as I had put on my “this is Lagos-so shine your eye” mask. Two friends in particular know the full story of how bad it really was and all I can say is thank God for them!

Two other friends who had been colleagues in the same industry at the time, are also a big reason as to why this motivational shift happened, although I don’t think they are aware of it. We ended up meeting by chance (read fate) and we found that all three of us were going through different challenges but one common one that brought us together. All three of us are TV presenters who had worked hard over the years but hadn’t achieved certain goals that we had set for ourselves.

Isio Wanogho and I had at one point had been pitched against each other for a particular “big deal hosting job in 2013, we found out when we met up for coffee late 2013 and instead talked family, being Urhobo (both from the Niger Delta ) and more. Jumai Shaba and I met mid 2013, planned to meet up and chat for 30 minutes and it turned into a 5 hour long conversation.

Having the title “TV Host” in common, we spent months working with each other and then eventually with Illrymz, trying to pitch an idea month after month yet failed. Disillusioned but unwilling to give up, I kept pushing for ways in which we could re-strategize. As a result, we all kept trying to motivate each other and before you know it, we became friends not just presenters in the same industry.

We talked about our, lives, our goals, our sorrows and God. God seemed to be the consistent topic.  In the months that followed, hour long phone conversations with both of these two hard-working and amazing women, discussing more work, friendships, Nigeria, the entertainment industry and especially God was what kept me hopeful… but human beings have moments of sadness that take hold irrespective of the support system around them.

At one of my lowest points, I decided I needed to rebuild my relationship with God (that’s when we usually want God right? At our lowest points! ). I wondered where God was, “The Big G” as I like to call him. God that talked to me all the time and annoyingly, when I used to walk down the street in London (relax, I wasn’t hearing voices lol!). This is “The Big G” that told me get up and go to Lagos in 2006 and led me into presenting, something I had never considered before. This was “The Big G” that got Endemol producers, Storm Nigeria and M-Net to choose me as the co-host of Big Brother Nigeria, also in 2006. He was the God that told me when I rushed back to London afterwards and didn’t present for two years, that I should ‘believe’, quit my job go back to Lagos in 2009 and try again. I heard him loud and clear, I saw it in dreams, so I came back.  Worked hard despite the NOs, despite the “You’ve left for two years o, there are new people now”.  Despite being told you were lucky then so now you have to pay your dues. Starting from scratch, putting my head down, auditioning, auditioning and auditioning despite the “Aren’t you Michelle that hosted Big Brother Nigeria, why are you at open auditions?”

Yep I kept pushing, kept trying till 2010 when God said move to Nigeria and stop this flying between London-Lagos thing. Show me you want this. Have faith! So I showed him, I moved to Lagos. Shipped all my belongings in 2010.  I worked on badly produced shows ’cause I wanted to present, I worked on shows for next to no money because I wanted to present, I worked for free on many MC jobs. Yes, FREE ’cause I wanted to get better at what I did. Worked 6am to 3am the next day because in entertainment you don’t work “normal” hours.  Don’t get me wrong, I worked on some great projects too, I’m not complaining, just telling you as it was.

Before I knew it, a few years had passed and as I said earlier, there were highs but more lows. I began to question why I ever believed it was really God that led me here and wondered if it was my imagination… I doubted more and my faith dwindled. It was at that point in 2013 that I stopped hearing Big G’s voice. I still prayed, fasted, still hoped, still worked harder but when I asked for direction I never heard him.

So there I was in 2014 during a moment of doubt saying “You brought me to this country what is it you want me to do, as it’s not working”… Nothing, nada, no response from him. Shortly after,  Jumai suggested a gratitude challenge she was asked to do by a friend of hers. As disillusioned as I was, I did it. For seven days I had to list (on social media) different things I was thankful/grateful for, then challenge others to do the same. Before I knew it I realised there were so many things I was grateful for: Not only having a roof over my head, food, family that loved me, a few good friends that genuinely had my back; but I realized I was grateful to have 24-hour light, go through a day filled with sunshine and even gratitude for the blessings of the past, grateful that M-Net took a chance on inexperienced me and hired me to host Big Brother Nigeria, that was a huge blessing!

I was blessed to have lived in so many different countries growing up, grateful I have a father whom as a single parent, worked hard to educate, protect and raise 3 girls and 1 boy all by himself. Grateful that even though my parents had divorced when I was a kid, I had been fortunate enough to get to know my mom over a period of two years before she passed away in 2011.

Heck I was thankful for the fact that I was alive!

I suddenly felt better than I had in years and saw things with eyes filled with gratitude, till the Ebola scare came to Nigeria and once again potential jobs one after another were cancelled, postponed due to funding or I was replaced because an ‘Oga at the top’ felt I was too this and not enough that’ a day before I was to go sign the contract (?!). Aah I don die be dat! I became disillusioned yet again.

The last straw was the loss of another job which wasn’t even TV hosting. Yep I had lost a job as a production assistant on a foreign film that could have led to networking and amazing possibilities. Frustrated, I started crying, then got on my knees silently praying. After my pity party was over, suddenly I was standing, shouting, angry at God! Yes I accused him like a petulant child talking to him like I used to before I came to Nigeria in 2006 (by the way that’s how we communicate, I wouldn’t advise that you do the same because it may not work for you and he may decide to electrocute your butt for disrespect! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) It’s how I’ve communicated with him since I was a child, he made me that way so he is used to my behavior.

Anyway, after the shouting, precisely two days after I had decided “that’s it, I’m going back to London”, I got a call and was offered a part in DHWA (Desperate Housewives Africa). Bam! Things turned around. So, would I suddenly stop seeking Big G just because he had blessed me? Naaah mate! I continued to pray more, be more thankful and made the decision to always express that gratitude.

desperate-housewives-africa

 

I’ve always been a gracious person, now I’m not Mary Poppins with chirping birds whirling around my head happily, in fact I’m someone that naturally has “Resting Bitch Face” but I’ve always been gracious. Thanking those who helped or inspired and taught me, but this time it was different and would continue to be (by fire by force!).

Light bulb moment: Use your voice on social media to express that gratitude!

The posts started on Instagram and Twitter; talking about the importance of being happy, seeing the good in terrible situations and being thankful for the smallest things. Not taking ‘anything’ for granted. Things like no traffic or 24-hour electricity. The posts evolved into regular Monday posts, that I started because living in this beautiful, crazy, stressful, “I betta-pass-my-neighbour” city that is Lagos means you either thrive, or lose your mind.

The driving force  behind the posts was really because I was on a quest to stay motivated and to be happy. Before I knew it;  others sent messages, emails and tweets saying how it made them feel better etc.That spurred me on to keep posting and writing even when I’ve  had a lousy day. As instagram is limited and really just meant for photos, my quotes followed with often long posts (yeah, yeah gimme a break, I talk for a living so of course it’s long!) on motivation have moved here to StyleVitae.

Odd that as someone who’s been a pessimist most of her life, people suddenly want to hear what I have to say in the hopes of feeling better! In the last few months I’ve battled my demons (not literally, so payer warriors, chill) I’ve spent more time alone thanks in part to work that has kept me away from friends and as a result I have had time to think. I’ve worked on being and seeing things more positively. It’s a work in progress trust me, spending time alone and not socialising or having the time to get involved with how I could help or advise people regarding their issues has brought me closer to God.

How?

Well because instead of yakking away on the phone I’ve read my Bible more or books like Godfessions (Go and buy it from Konga or download it from the Apple store or Google Play store), daily devotionals before rushing to work or after work just as I dropped into bed.

God'Fessions Goke Coker book cover

Speaking of work… yes I’ve been blessed with even more work to the point I’m praying for a little break before I collapse from exhaustion…

But back to motivation.

I believe that if we attempt to change the way we think, being more hopeful,  things will get better, they will. I believe that being grateful turns things around. I’m not talking about anything cosmic,  I’m talking about prayer followed with action. God blesses you when he sees you working, taking action!  If you are an atheist then action is followed by a reaction.

I believe that if you try to focus more on good things, good things happen. If you focus on the bad you’ll get more bad. I’ve done both so I know!

I know it’s easier said than done because some people’s problems are worse than others. A few friends say ‘you don’t know what I’m going through or have been through” I may not know what their pain feels like but then again they don’t know all that I have been through or how my pain felt.  Frankly if one friend who could die at any moment due to a terminal illness is more positive, happy and is the person who constantly motivates me and fills me with hope.. what the heck am I or these other friends going through that’s worse than that!  I’m not saying don’t complain to friends. Friends are meant to lend an ear or support each other, but if it’s all doom and gloom during every conversation,  something is wrong when they are alive and kicking yet always complain.  I’m not the positive fairy that sprinkles ‘Be Happy Spread Love Always’ stardust around but darn, if we are alive and in relatively good health surely that’s a big thing to be grateful for, right??

 

Happiness Fairy sprinkle

 

Okay I’ve digressed as I often do. So back (again!) to the motivational posts.

In part due to prayer and because I realised that irrespective of the problems you have, or the challenges you face being grateful for little things suddenly gives you a new perspective. It also begins some strange shift where things almost magically begin to work in your favour. In the midst of different problems and challenges I was constantly thanking God, grateful for sunshine,  grateful I let go of the anger I felt for an ex 11 years later who broke my heart. Because through that experience, I had learnt I could unconditionally love someone other than family or friends. (Thank you Carlo for not loving me back!)

https://instagram.com/p/7DKbcEuW-z/

 

In gratitude you find forgiveness, try it!   I was grateful for having an amazing apartment even as I mopped up floors that were flooded at 3am in the morning, at one point before the great job offers,  I was grateful for an unexpected job that only paid me a pittance (enough to buy groceries and not much else). I was grateful for the generosity of friends… yes I had bad days where I had self-pity parties and complained,  but most times in my quiet alone times I expressed gratitude for what I had or had experienced.

Some may argue that the good fortune I’m currently experiencing in my career is because ‘it’s her time”… well do people have an it’s his/her time moment THREE times??

I believe it is God and nothing else, no one else, not me but Him and the fact that He saw me being thankful/grateful despite the challenges I faced.

Like the domino effect, late last year Jumai got a TV hosting job with a foreign network and was off to New York for training with them, Isio got a deal to be the face of an international fashion brand and I went from cancelled presenting gigs to acting then more TV hosting jobs. That’s God! He saw us DO what we could.

So he said..  “Here’s your third chance”.

It’s the 3rd time I’m being told  “oooh aaaah Michelle Dede this and Michelle Dede that”. That doesn’t change me or what I believe. I don’t get caught up in the glitz/glam of being on TV or being featured in magazines as this is the third time I’m going through what people here would call “Your name is every where o”.

I may post pictures get dolled up to go to an event and air kiss like the best of them but I’m not blinded by the praise or applause, I’m not naive enough to think Yaaay.. #Slaaaayed #Winning, I have made it,  I’m a super star,  I deserve this,  I’m better than x or y so I don’t need to learn anything new. By the way anyone who thinks that way is delusional, stupid or both!

Nah that’s never been me, how I think nor was raised. I believe I’ve worked hard, some may have worked longer or harder but I believe I have worked hard and paid my dues trying to be a fantastic TV host/presenter but there is always more to learn. Eigh years is nothing to some people, to me it’s long enough.

I’m the same girl who came to Lagos on holiday in 2006 in her 20’s and luckily got a job hosting Big Brother Nigeria,  less naive, less oyibo (Oreo cookie)  less trusting, wiser surely but my heart is the same.. The difference is this third time around I’ve learnt you are as good as your last job, it’s not about talent alone here in Nigeria. No not everyone who hails you has your back, many want you to fall or fail, you know the ones who really support you.

I’ve learnt this is show business, “show” being the operative word and “business” the thing you focus on but pretend not to.This third  time around is different. This third time around I do not regret this moment. I do not feel guilty for getting a job in TV, though TV presenting was never originally my dream. This time around I embrace each moment,  thankful if it’s great or if it’s bad see it as a learning experience.  I’m thankful that God sees fit to reward my perseverance,  erasing a few no’s I’ve heard repeatedly on this journey, the tears I’ve shed, the sister/friend I lost,  long hours I’ve worked,  often for little or no pay, the stupid decisions I’ve made by rewarding me with a blessing or two. This time around I know if I hear “No” or don’t get a call back for a job I really want:

A. It was not meant for me.

B. You may get offered the same job in a year or 5!.

C. You will still hear Nos, it’s part of life.

D. You may get a better offer.

E. You may never get that job, get over it!

F. You won’t die cause of a “No” so keep working and another will come.

G. He is God! He can take it away at any moment.

So I’m  thankful. Ccrap that. I’m Thankfully Grateful! And though not everything is perfect, because real life is not meant to be a bed of roses in some Hollywood movie, I know at this moment, I have more times filled with peace and I’m in a better place than I have been in years. I will still persevere as quitting for me is never an option.

This is sounding very Iyanla Vanzant or Oprah like right?

That wasn’t the plan…. but on that note,

Thank You Big G in the sky aka God.

Sincerely,

Your stubborn, blunt (sharp mouthed) dreamer of a child

Michelle “Perseverance” Dede.

Michelle Dede HELLO! Nigeria Spotlight August 2015 4

 

P. S.

From next Monday I will be sharing motivational posts here (shorter ones!) that will hopefully motivate you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get up and follow your dreams,  as well as help increase your faith. Don’t worry I’m not going to be quoting Psalms because honestly there aren’t any I have memorized.

If you are wondering “What the heck is she talking about? I came here to see what KimYe wore to this or that event” sooooorrrrry for wasting your time. If my long story has helped and you are curious then check out the hashtag #MichelleDedesMondayMotivation on Instagram to see some of what’s in store.

Bye for now I’m off to see what Chris Breezy has done to his baby mama! (kidding… really I am kidding!)

 

 

 

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. […] #MichelleDedesMondayMotivation – How It All Started […]

  2. I am touched! Michelle you’re strong and I especially like how you held on to God, though you vented at times, but it’s human nature to (it’s the same with me. i’m so lucky He hasn’t electrocuted my butt, ever.lol) and I know He understood and what’s more is you kept holding onto him with faith that it’ll get better.

    I hope to share my story someday too but I will share yours on my blog, facebook page and IG page for now. This is really inspiring and a good reason to keep moving even if one decides to crawl. so many people will be able to relate to this. I know I do.

    Thank you. xx

    • Thank you, glad to hear God hasn’t electrocuted your butt.. May he never o! Been flogged by him on several occasions so not planning to get that cane again if I can help it. I’m happy you were inspired. May you continue to be, so you can chase your dreams like a high speed train and one day share your story too.

  3. i wish i could really express my emotions using words now. am also into show business “Show Presenting”, Truth be told, i do feel discouraged by my old folks and even friends, saying “why don’t you do a white collar job? why don’t you try something else?”. wish i could be as strong as you are. I bless God for what is written in Romans 8, i read that every day and that as kept me going.

    i believe in every negative situation, there’s a Positive result waiting to spring forth, all we just have to do is to reach out. God has great plans for each and everyone of is children, if only we can press forward. Just as Uncle Paul said in Phil 3 vs 13-14. One common thing about we His children is that, we quickly loss faith in Him when things we expect don’t come our way, forgetting that Time and Chance happeneth to them all Eccl 9:11.

    Michelle Dede can i have a minute with u, so i can trap into your grace “PLEASE”? Nigeria need more of your type, not all those who go about spreading the message of immorality.

    God bless u for me! Happy i read this post

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