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  • Writer's pictureIbiyemi Balogun

I guess i'm afraid?.....Lessons from my solo trip to Kenya

My therapist said something to me that has stayed with me. She said, " Ibiyemi, I think you might be in your “walking on water” season. She said when Jesus called Peter to join him, Peter was scared because he didn’t know what to expect. When he focused on Jesus he was walking on water but the minute he took his eyes off Jesus, he started to drown. I feel like that sometimes in my entrepreneurship journey. Staying obedient and focused on God is what I NEED but the busyness and pressure of making all the business decisions distracts me. One thing she also pointed out was that even though Peter started to drown, Jesus reached out and picked him up. So basically it's a win/win situation. Stay focused on God; He will guide you, but even if you get distracted, He will still pick you up when you fall. Either way, God will never leave you. This was all the encouragement I needed. 

Let me back up to why this conversation even came up in the first place. Last week, I did a solo trip to Ghana and Kenya and I was gone for about a week. The thing about traveling alone is that it is amazing and also sometimes daunting because you're by yourself. The amazing part is that you can do what you like for as long as you want without having to consider others. For instance, I spent about 5 hours on a cultural excursion learning about the 42 different tribes in Kenya. I walked through their traditional homesteads and learned about how they lived. Spent time diving into their cultural practices and what makes them tick. That sort of thing is incredibly enlightening for me because I'm genuinely curious about people but for someone else, after the 13th tribe, they might have gotten bored. By the way, if you are ever in Kenya(Nairobi specifically), I would recommend that excursion. It’s called “The Bomas of Kenya” which translates to the homes of Kenya. The other side of solo travel is that you spend a lot of time alone which gives you a lot of time to be introspective. You all know that I love Jesus, so I wasn’t completely alone, I was spending time with God. God kept revealing so many things to me through the locals, the animals, the hotel staff, and even the market women. On my last day in Kenya, I found myself sobbing on my hotel room floor for about 30 minutes. God revealed to me amongst other things that I’ve been walking around with a lot of fear. Specifically fear of failure, which I don’t typically have. If anything I’ve always had a fear of success. Funny enough, I was writing a blog about the fear of success which has plagued me for years. It’s the reason why I sometimes “play small” or hide because I feel like if the things God has for me come true then my life will change and it will become too big for me and I'll burn out. I've been there before many times. I’ve gotten “the big promotion” only for it to blow up in my face and end in burnout. 

So here I am sobbing on the floor confused because, at the time, I didn't understand why I was crying. So what does any millennial woman do when they are randomly bawling uncontrollably, they check their period app 😂😂. So that’s what I did LOL. Sure enough my period was coming up in a couple of days so it kinda made sense. Before I was about to get off the floor and chuck it up to PMS, I felt the holy spirit say “You’re afraid”. I was like “Yeah, I had a feeling, but I’m not sure what it is this time”. Anyway, I picked myself up, took a shower, and went for breakfast where I journaled and prayed. After all that and processing with my therapist, we landed on fear of failure. 

When I decided to start a business almost 7 years ago, it happened by fluke. I was helping people at work (I was a recruiter) and I realized that I didn’t have enough time at work so I would help them on my own time after work. I did that completely free for 2 years and people were getting jobs and referring me to their friends, cousins, roommates, and anyone that needed help getting a job. It was a friend of mine who said to me in 2017, you’re good at this you should start charging and so I did. I didn’t have a brand name or anything, I was just asking people to pay me $20/hour (all the business coaches in the room just shuddered) for my services. I remember it was a friend at work who said “Oh what if we could brand what we do here at work as helping people get their foot in the door”. He said “We could call it FITD (pronounced fited) and the tagline could be “find your FIT at FITD”. So sorry Aziz, I totally stole that name. That was how I started branding myself as a career consultant who was helping people find their FIT at Foot In The Door Consulting. I did it for a while and realized that my dream of doing an MBA made more sense if I studied entrepreneurship. My thought process was that I didn’t need to go to business school to start a business but if I had the option to, which I did, then why not? So I found a business school that focused on entrepreneurship specifically. That school’s final year project was to launch a business, so I decided it was the best opportunity for me to re-launch my business. Long story short, if you’ve been following this blog you know that I eventually burned out of my 9-5 job and quit and what I had left was the business or applying to new jobs. As someone who was completely burnt out, applying to new jobs in this market seemed like kicking hot stones with open-toe shoes. Being a full-time entrepreneur was NEVER part of the plan; well at least not until I was in my 40’s had a couple of kids and wanted the flexibility of entrepreneurship. 

Needless to say, because I didn’t plan on being an entrepreneur full-time, I didn’t mentally prepare for the emotional side of growing a business. I feel overwhelmed by all the decisions I have to make daily and I keep thinking to myself, “Why do I think I can do this?”. The truth is that God has always been in control of my life. He knows the trajectory of my life and although it wasn’t part of “my plan” it’s part of His plan. I find that when I'm obedient and just following him, I feel at peace with the business but when I'm allowing the daily grind to stress and overwhelm me that’s when I feel anxious. I am afraid of making the wrong decisions that will lead to failure. I’m afraid of overworking myself which will lead to burnout (been there, done that). I’m afraid of being a horrible boss/leader because I'm stressed about what coaching software to purchase. I’m afraid of getting overwhelmed by content and comparing myself to all the “amazing coaches” on LinkedIn and Instagram. I’m afraid of taking on too much and ruining my relationship and reputation with my trusted clients. I’m afraid of working with new micro-managing corporate clients (this one has already happened twice in the last week). I’m afraid of being honest about how I feel about this business. On the one hand, I'm so grateful for growth. A lot of the issues I'm having are related to growth BUT sometimes when I share that with other entrepreneurs who may not be experiencing this level of growth the sentiment is “must be nice, better don’t complain”......AND I get it, in this economy where people are getting laid off, the cost of living is rising and people are struggling financially, seeing growth in your business is good but “growing pains still hurt”. I even feel weird about saying that because it seems insensitive to people who are looking for opportunities. It’s like “Why are you complaining because your business is growing?” soooo ultimately, I don’t think I can talk to anyone about how I feel, or at least anyone who will understand what I’m going through. 

So this is my attempt at being honest; I’m on the struggle bus right now. Things are growing a little faster than I can keep up with and I feel like a “fish out of water” ALOT. I do have help, I have 1 person working for me and I think I'm ready to hire another (even just saying that out loud ahhhhhhhh, I’m just a girl lol). I have a business coach and I'm part of a few entrepreneurship communities. I know that “this too shall pass” but I think it’s important to acknowledge where I’m at. Pray for your girl because I'm going through it. 

That being said, solo trips are great, you get to find yourself, find God, and spend time in beautiful places. I think I'm going to try and do at least one every year. 

That’s it. I’m done! 

Thanks for reading….

Till next time; 

Your friendly neighborhood Ajala (traveler), 


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