Kemi Oyesola is the Founder/CEO of How2Think Global Consulting Empire , a platform she founded in 2006 in sad circumstances after she separated from her husband of sixteen and half years. A situation that made her depressed and suicidal, but the mother to 2 adult children and grandmother found hope in her hopeless situation and she uses her story to teach people how to think outside the box and control their thoughts when faced with life threatening situation such as hers. Coach Kemi as she is fondly called is a certified Gold coach and also an NLP Practitioner. In her words: “I had to think my way into the kind of life I desired. I had to accept first that I was responsible for where I found myself. Kemi shares her story exclusively with Esther Ijewere in this interview.
I think every one’s childhood prepares them for what they do later in life even if at that time they do not know it. We all at one time or another look back at our childhood and realise that we were like that so that we can do what we do now. My childhood was very happy. What I remember very clearly is that I was a talkative and got reported to my parents by my teachers throughout my primary school years. I also remember that I always wanted to take care of people, whether it was in my home or outside my home. I did not really understand why but I enjoyed caring for people. I was always helping or serving. I did wonder why I loved doing so much work – because, yes it was work. With hindsight which is 20/20, I realise now that I was born to take care of others which is what I am doing now. I talk for a living, whether as a speaker or when I coach or consult.
Inspiration behind How2Think
The inspiration was the breakup of my marriage. I wondered, especially as I worked at it how come my marriage broke up. I knew that I have only this time to live on earth as is; there is no Part B of this life lived just this way. I had to do the best of it as I have it now. I had to be separated from my now ex-husband to live the life I felt I was called to; to do the things that kept burning in my heart to do. I could not run away from it and although it hurt to break up my marriage, I am glad I did. I would not change it for anything. And so, it was at the point of break up I asked God why when the answer I heard was, “It’s because of the way you think. ’And that was how I started the search for what exactly it is to ‘THINK.’ I realised with my findings that I would have to teach others the ‘how’ of thinking because it was this that determined how we live and the results that we get. It is a deep thing, thinking and so many of us do not pay it attention. We need to think about what we think about. And that is how I was inspired to start How2Think Global Consulting Empire.
I was suicidal after my marriage broke up and almost lost it… It was unexpected. It was unwanted. There was much pain and there was a long journey to the demise of my marriage and the consequences of such. I realised after the break up that it was my thinking that had got me where I was. Being a Christian and married to my Pastor, I knew that we had been serving faithfully and so asked God why my marriage broke. He answered, “Because of the way you think.” So, I picked up the Bible to find the word, ‘think.’ After all, I had never heard that word in church. But you know, that isn’t true. What I had not done was notice the word. After studying the Bible for a couple of days, I found the sentence, ‘… for as he thinks in his heart, so is he’ – and have been studying this ever since; and teaching it too. Many are not aware of how they think. It is the crux of everything, absolutely everything in life. Before you do anything, you think. The resultant effect of your thoughts is your character. Like any seed, thought is a seed and will grow. Therefore, you determine the harvest. But the learning was not in the study as it was in the living. After my ex-husband left, I went into depression and was exceedingly stressed but what was different was that I didn’t know.
I lost my hair and for over 10 years it did not grow until my son was almost 20 years old. I became exceedingly poor, so poor there were times I did not have heating in my house; I could not give my children pocket money to go to school; I was so poor I had to be evicted from my house. I was suicidal and wanted to jump from a very high place in order to kill myself. I brandished a knife on my ex husband – I wanted to kill him. I knew then that I was going kuku in the head and it wasn’t good. There are other things that happened to me that brought me to a low place.. That is another story. The highlight of this is that I had to come out of the depression and quit being stressed but I didn’t know how. I sought help from others, but they only told me what I already knew. I was sinking and sought to stay my head above water but I couldn’t find where or how.
A few times, I thought I needed medical help but I knew they would only tell me what everyone else had been telling me. I needed something to help me get out of the morass I was in. It wasn’t until after I knew I was the only one who could help me that it began to sink. I had the problem I was on a mission to teach. I had to overcome this problem otherwise I would be a hypocrite. I had to think my way into the kind of life I desired. I had to accept first that I was responsible for where I found myself. I had to accept that God had done all He was going to do and the buck rested with me. Nothing has been harder than that acceptance. And nothing has been freer than that acceptance. It took me a few years but I did it – and continue to do it. It is a life’s work. I know that I am on a mission, it is not just a vision – to help individuals learn how to think. I believe that your mind is set with your thoughts thus, I focus on Thought Set and not mind set. In fact, I do not teach mindset. I had no choice but to bounce back. At the age these things happened to me, I was in my early 40’s, I had read about so many tragic situations where the individuals ended up dead or their lives meant nothing because they had lost their mind. I just could not end up like that. It was tempting but it was also scary. It also felt like I would be a total failure if I did not overcome the heartache and the sense of failure that my marriage didn’t work. I knew there was a better way and it lay in how I was THINKING. I knew that no one person and no divine entity could make this happen for me. I did call on God for help, but the buck stopped with me. I remember at the point that I wanted to jump, hearing the voice of God telling me how strong the person was – who was the reason I wanted to jump to kill myself. That annoyed me. And it was enough for me to hear it, think about it and change my mind. But after that moment, I knew it had to be a daily decision to live and not give up. You see, giving up is the first step to becoming suicidal. Once one gives up, there is no reason to carry on in life; for what do you want to carry on doing? I decided to win in life; I could not be among those who lost. What reason would I give? It just didn’t make sense.
Instilling Values in my Kids
One value I have instilled in my kids and how I balance work and home life That one value I have instilled in my children is that they must win; they can do anything and they are not allowed to be stupid or poor. Winning is non-negotiable.
Balancing Home and Work
I balance home and work life by working from home and working for myself thus I have better control. Also, my children are adults now so it makes things so much easier although when they were younger, I was a housewife and worked from home when I started my business. If I had to go out as part of my business, I took my children with me. Even now, if my grandchildren must be with me and I need to speak at an event, I take them with me. It is important to me that they see what I do and learn too.
What and who inspires me
What inspires me is the work ahead that I still need to do. The fact that I can, except I decide not to. The fact that the work ahead is given to me because I can do it not because I cannot do it and so must work hard at it. Who inspires me are many – individuals who have faced hardship and overcome. Individuals like Les Brown, Nick Vujicic, Eric Thomas and others like them. They have made it through tough times and did not give up. They could give reasons today for their failures or inadequacies but they forged ahead. Now, for me, that is inspiring.
The greatest reward is when I see the change in those I have helped. That change, the transformation is what I aim for. I must see it otherwise I have not done my job and there is no reward.
Not being able to reach those I would like to work with because they do not see the necessity for knowing how to think. But more than that, when I can speak to clients, I have the awesome job of helping them understand the priority of knowing how to think. This is a huge challenge, but we get there in the end.
My perception of women in my industry
Women are amazing within the coaching industry and need to know this. The ability of a woman to want to help others and to start a business despite all the moving parts, is simply wonderful.
On giving up
Oh yes, of course I have had times when I want to give up. And I did give up on my business a few times but would come back. I have stopped that now because I find that success does not come to those who give up. Success comes to those who persevere and keep doing what they must do.
I am a Woman of Rubies
First, I love the ruby. I love red, it suits me and makes me glow. Red is a personification of who I am and what I stand for and one of my brand colours. A Woman of Rubies is a strong woman, I am strong; an able woman, I am able; a woman who believes she is unstoppable, am unstoppable; an indomitable woman, I am indomitable and a Woman of Rubies is a winner, I am a winner, period.
Final word for women who are thinking of going into the coaching and motivational speaking industry
Yes, one word of caution. Mind your own business with all you have got. No comparisons. Your business is yours and it is your responsibility to make it the very best that you can make it. Excellence is a non-negotiable. But before you get into business, be it coaching or any other kind of business, count the cost and hire yourself a mentor or coach. You will need their guidance on your journey. Do not go the journey on your own. It is harder and longer that way.