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In challenging times, it is often said that adversity breeds resilience. This concept, while straightforward in theory, proves complex in application. Amidst prevailing uncertainties today, many grapple with discovering their purpose, achieving ambitions, or simply regaining stability. This juncture demands introspection and the exercise of self-leadership, which I interpret as the deliberate process of managing one’s internal fortitude to uplift oneself, leveraging available resources for support throughout the journey. Within this article, I aim to explore three pivotal aspects: oneself, one’s support system, and potential detractors. As we approach the end of the first quarter of 2024, it is crucial to maximise the remainder of the year by understanding and harnessing these elements to propel oneself forward, irrespective of current circumstances. 

Focusing on the individual first, a personal anecdote resonates with me: my aunt once shared in my local Yoruba language, “wọn le ran eniyan lọwọ lati gba iṣẹ ṣugbọn wọn ko le ran ẹnikan lọwọ lati ṣe iṣẹ naa,” loosely translating to “you can help someone secure a job, but you cannot perform the job for them.” This raises pertinent questions about self-improvement during periods of anticipation. Are you expanding your capabilities and refining your skills? For those trailblazing, are you preparing for future opportunities, or becoming complacent? It is vital to be poised for when fortune and opportunity meet. 

Next, is the concept of a support system, especially in the era of social media where discerning valuable advice becomes challenging. Authentic support systems comprise individuals who provide timely, constructive feedback, inspiring hope, and ambition, distinct from the hollow encouragement of some “Influencers” these days. Drawing from personal experience, I recall a teacher who doubted my proficiency in English language and literature, severely damaging my confidence back then. However, a transformative conversation with my grandmother restored my belief in my abilities, leading to significant academic achievements. This underscores the importance of judiciously choosing confidants, including mentors, coaches, and other well-wishers who genuinely care and invest in your success. 

Finally, addressing detractors is essential, acknowledging that their intentions may not always stem from malice. Often, detractors project their limitations onto others, obscuring potential achievements with their scepticism. I recently watched an Instagram reel on the story of a young Lionel Messi, underestimated due to his stature, illustrates this. An opportunity had risen, and his grand mum rose to pitch him to the coach. But the man retorted something along the line of “he is much smaller than the other boys.” He did not lie though. Leo was much smaller than the other boys and could get hurt. That is all the man could see. But not the grand mum. Her faith in his exceptional talent, despite naysayers, highlights the importance of recognising and valuing supportive voices over detractors. And allow me to state this; some detractors are really concerned, some do not mean well. They would love to see you stagnant or fail as a result of their jealousy. Walk with discernment.

As we navigate through this year, learning to discern between genuine support and detractive influence is paramount. Prioritise self-leadership, identify your valid support system so that they can enable your support system to amplify your strengths, and remember, as the proverbial wisdom suggests, a diligent and skilled individual will naturally attract opportunities from influential quarters. Ready yourself for the path ahead. 

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