WTH Are You Waiting For, Chidi?
This question hit me like a ton of bricks while driving in midtown Atlanta
Heads up. I have moved Fashi Mindset’s home from Ghost to Substack. I’ve had many ask how they could interact more e.g comment publicly or even just like a post, and Substack opens all that up. Also, allows me to grow this thing better. So…enjoy.
You know how in the movies or big TV shows, a character is driving, and all of a sudden they get hit by a meteor or this bright light overpowers them as they try to look out the window? That essentially happened to me last Friday. Not like actually, but it felt like it.
I was driving in midtown, rhyming out loud to LL’s Around The Way Girl (I want a girl with extensions in her hair, Bamboo earrings, at least two pair…), and then without warning, this jolt of energy grabbed me by the neck, and I felt like I had just collided with some alien existential force, except the car was still moving and the world was rolling like normal, no drama, no extra sauce.
Just me feeling like a ton of bricks had dropped on my head.
I immediately hit my brakes and pulled over to the side with abrupt alacrity. Of course, I got angry honked and stared at by the always loving and friendly ATL drivers, but I didn’t give a crap. With the car still running, and LL on pause, I stared ahead of me for about a minute or two, and then I busted out my phone and just wrote what I was feeling:
Bia, Chidi…what is wrong with you, boy?? WTF are you scared about? Why do you need other people to validate your freaking scary audacious “not possible” ideas and goals that you want to tackle, for goodness sakes? These guys and women are out here conquering planets, creating new universes and you are busy arguing with over a $12K per year product coaching contract, Chidi? Per freaking year?
Chidi, if you want to build Africa’s center of gravity in the US in Atlanta, then do it. If you want to create Africa’s pre-eminent product management program on the continent then do it. If you want to change the way men do personal care on the continent, do it, damn it!! If the b-school is messing around, then build your own, Chidi! Quit asking yourself or others for permission. You are getting too old to be effing around like this.
What the hell, man?
I read it to myself a couple of times. And I tell you I was quite emotional.
Wetin, Chidi…wetin now?
So, if you live in Atlanta, you will know there is some serious development going on here. Skyscrapers upon towers upon development all over the place. I’ve been having conversations about a big product conference in Nigeria this year, and the #1 ask from young people is for founders of Unicorns to come speak so they can learn. Because unicorns in our warped current sense of what is great means you must be a genius. I was in Ghana two weeks ago hanging with my Rouse sisters, and these ladies are just killing it in law, fashion, philanthropy, arts, TV...name it, they got it. Had a great convo with another Ghanaian wunderkind, Roberta Annan, who raised $150M to fund African creatives…yo, that woman! That’s just .0001 percent of the greatness I could point to.
And yet, I dey here, playing small ball.
I know, I am trivializing my stuff, but let me trivialize abeg. And I am in no way comparing myself to others, as I am fully aware of the elusive inspiration and disingenuous nature of measuring yourself against others. No, it was more of a “you know you can cause much more serious wahala out there, as your people are doing, and you are here drinking garri” confrontation with myself. It’s like I felt like was sleepwalking when I should be on a fast break with my squad at the NBA championship game.
And who best to call me out but me? I have always been my best counsel, I try to fire myself with that hot pepper the way I fire other people with that hot pepper, and sooner or later I had to come at myself with guns blazing.
Guns were ablaze in that car, my people.
Let me paraphrase a gut puncher from someone who was dying of cancer…”Chidi, nna you don’t have that kind of time o…to be talking and planning and roadmapping and right-timing and future-selfing and mood-boarding and finding yourselfing and seeking-counsel and all of that strategizing, my friend.” Just go. Do it. Make it happen. Move.
Get out of the freaking velvet rut—the rut of competence. Boy, stop with all this posing and get to doing. Isn’t that your famous call to action to the world? Posers pose, doers do?
I sat in my car for almost twenty minutes. Engine running. Climate changing as I burned gas idly. I sent the note to The Chief, with a forward about how I just had a push kick to the gut moment. Sent it to my biz partner, who responded immediately. Shared it with my CRA Fellows, and a couple told me that was just what they needed to hear. And then I kicked the car into gear and slowly drove to my destination. Not in a daze, more so in a cloud of clarity (cloud, clarity…I know). And I switched to a different LL jam to match where my head was at, Mama Said Knock You Out:
“Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years…”
the first time your story hit my inbox, and I was like, which Chidi, the one I know? My mind racing back to roughly four decades ago. picture the pinchomic goggled tiny legged, fast walking kid. Debating club scenarios, Dramatic club outings, Literary society and press club activities. The ebo digs, the friendship, the bonding, not knowing what tomorrow held. Yet inside the small skull enmeshed the template to unzip the giant you unfold, just do it!