Motherhood in the midst of Global Chaos

These last couple of weeks have been hard to explain and I bet many of you are in the same boat. For us, living in Kenya, we now just have been hit with government regulations of schools being shut down, no public gatherings, and many events being cancelled. I have been watching all of this unfold from afar and felt like I was living in an alternate universe as we were still going through our normal day to day. All I was seeing was updates and concerns about COVID-19, but nothing was happening here, and no cases were reported.

We now have cases In Kenya and all over Africa. We have officially joined the curve of this global epidemic. This has been an interesting challenge in not just the business world for Imani Collective and navigating our workshop safety precautions and overall loss of sales due to events cancelling, but also juggling the day to day life as a mother.

I know there are many of you – all over the world, who have been required to work from home, so now you not only work full time, but are navigating kids running around you full time as well. MAN, I FEEL YOU. THIS IS HARD.

This throws off routine, mental sanity and overall focus. I feel that in the past 48 hours I have gotten extremely behind on everything because I have consumed my mind, feeds, and conversations around the COVID-19 epidemic.

So, how do we live in normality when our whole world is consumed with the reality of the highly contagious spread of COVID-19? AND more importantly, how can we still be present mothers (/parents) in the midst of all of this?

WELP. I do not have a clear answer to this, but I what I do know is we need to be extremely adaptable, flexible and in the interim create new routines. Here is my simple advice to you:

1. Take deep breaths and know this time will pass. AND together we will get through this.

2. Prepare as much as you can, but please do not panic. We got this and will get through it, together. Promise.

3. Start a new routine. Completely throw away what you knew as normal and create a new normal for the time being. This will be less frustrating then getting frustrated with what has been taken away from you.

4. Embrace the extra moments with your kids. These next couple of weeks will be challenging and as mothers, more exhausting – but let us embrace the little moments we have with our kids. Be creative with being stuck inside and become a kid again (remember, it is okay to have fun even in the midst of all of this.)

5. Let us use our imaginations, bake some more, color some more, binge on too many tv shows we have always wanted to watch, and snuggle with our littles. Since we are social distancing – get all the hugs and love from our little ones.

Overall, be you and know it is okay to talk about other things beside COVID-19. My friend Amanda started the movement #keepsocialmediasocial, so let us do that together. In the midst of our distancing with one another, let us come together and grow with one another.

Together – we got this.

Sending my love to all my overstimulated and overworked mamas. Know, I feel you.


Being a Global Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur already has its challenges then adding another culture that is not of your own, always adds another dynamic. If you have started a business overseas or are thinking of doing so then here is some quick advice on what I have learned over the years.

  •  Know the Culture

You have to know the culture you will be stepping into. You will learn a lot on the ground that cannot be taught ahead of time but educate yourself on where you are about to transition to. Even if you are not living there full time, you need to know the country you will be working in and the people you will soon get really close to.
You need to know religions, tribes, cultural traditions that will affect your business. You do not want to come in naive, ignorant and as if you know it all – because, you do not. So, get off that high horse and begin to humble our heart. Learn about your people because they will become YOUR PEOPLE. You will need to know how to love, respect them, build trust and wonderful relationships.

Start becoming teachable now because if you have not already, you are about to step into a new global classroom.

  •  Learn the Environment

This is similar to culture, but in more detail. KNOW YOUR ENVIRONMENT. Know the people, how they think, work, pace of life, how they conduct meetings, etc. Know the demographic you will be working with specifically, know their average income, and financial stability, know facts. Start to learn about the politics, economic
situation of the country, the challenges the people face and more.

These challenges are not going to change overnight, so you need to prepare yourself to step into this and ask if this is a country you want to be in?

What is your motive?
What is your why?

Those two questions are very important because on the hard days – you are going to want to be grounded in those answers. Know your WHY.

  •  Find a Mentor

I would not only find a business mentor that has international business experiences, but I would also find someone on the ground that can walk you through legal advice. Legalities of any country are confusing, and you need someone who can help you with this from the beginning. You want to make sure you are doing it correctly from the start or having to pay penalties later or get in unnecessary trouble will be a headache and a waste of time. Find your person, register your business correctly, follow labor laws and ethics, etc.

Just do it right from day one. Save yourself the heartache.

  • Embrace the Locals, become one.

You will get nowhere if you put a clear line between yourself and the locals. You are not better than them nor that much different either. Stop acting like the foreigner and embrace the awkwardness and throw yourself into the mix. Let the locals educate you on their culture and you educate them on yours. Find a mutual understanding and instead of putting a big wall between one another, slowly mesh together and become one. The more you immerse yourself, the easier the journey becomes. You will also start to make amazing friends in the process. Create your community and thrive in it.

  •  Find a Partner on the Ground

Find someone you trust who wants to walk this business journey with you. This is key to the success of what you do in any country. You need to find someone that understands you and has the passion for this business like you do. Someone who will run as fast as you and embrace changes as they come. You need someone on the ground who can help with communication, clarity and diffusion of the cultures. They can help simple logistics run smoothly and be a person to vision with. Find your person. When you know – you know.

My biggest advice is to just enjoy the process. Every day comes with a different challenge or celebration, but in the midst of building something you love – do not forget to look up and enjoy the community and culture. Not many people can say they are a global entrepreneur, so embrace the journey and the unforgettable moment.

Close that computer every now and then and go have some fun.

From your global, third world living, entrepreneur – keep your head high,