Happy birthday, Olusegun.
I truly celebrate you. I want you to know that I am committed to you. I see what you do in secret, how hard you try, and I want to assure you that I will stand by you till everything blossoms.
This is the first time I am publicly wishing myself a happy birthday. Everyone that knows me closely knows I don’t think birthdays are big deals.
Publicly, my birthday is just like every other day for me. But indoors, it is usually one of the most intense days of my life.
It is usually a day for asking how close I am to my dream life, and a day of recommitment to what will take me there.
This year is not any different indoors but publicly, there’s a huge shift. (Huge in my eyes. Many will still think there’s no significant difference).
Why Go For A Photo Shoot?
During my 21st birthday I got a lot of messages asking that I go for a birthday photo shoot. It seems there was no birthday message I received that didn’t contain that photo part.
So little by little, I started adjusting and was already prepping (mentally) to go for a photo shoot on or before my 22nd birthday. Everything was going on fine…
Until yesterday (3rd April, 2022). The one year long excitement for birthday pics suddenly disappeared. I would have resulted to self-beating about how weird I was but the loss of excitement was stronger than the weird me.
Sidenote: the weird me is actually me with low self-esteem. Low self-esteem aside, I'm not as weird as people think I am. Thankfully, I've defeated the hold low self-esteem has on me.
I started questioning. Why do I actually want to take birthday pictures? Because everyone says it’s cool? On the surface, that was the only reason.
So there and then, I decided I wouldn’t.
Going for a photoshoot is, firstly, quite expensive. To successfully go for a photo shoot, I’d spend a minimum of ₦12,000 and obviously, it wasn’t worth it since I was doing it because everyone says it cool.
Then, it’s also emotionally stressful to me. I don’t enjoy it at all.
I resorted to my usual practice: get yourself a destiny-gift— something that would greatly advance your life and take you closer to the dream life.
I asked myself, what’s the best birthday gift you can receive now?
My answer was, visibility!
Sincerely, I will choose visibility over ₦1 million.
Before all these thought processes, God has been really hyping the month of April to me. He said it’s the month I will bud (germinate).
Like, I’ve been sown as a seed— I’ve faithfully committed myself to quite a number of things but I’ve not seen result. So it’s time I germinate.
Also, He led me to a scripture that has been instructing me to shine.
Just shine! God is not a secret to be kept; shine! You are God’s light bearer and you are not hidden, shine!
Back to the thought process…
If the biggest thing I need now is visibility, then the only logical gift I can give to myself is to show myself.
Hmm…Seems we’re back to a photo shoot again.
Why is Visibility So Important Now?
Like I said, I’ve stayed committed to building myself, developing high value skills, and giving out value for free on the internet but it feels like running on a treadmill.
It takes a lot of sacrifice to consistently give out value for free, but consistently giving out value for free to no audience is even more weakening.
I’m somehow at this weak state. I desperately want to be found. I want to see a lot of faces smile when I teach the exact same things I teach now (that only few people find).
Then, I want to monetise it.
I’m not sure a photo shoot is what will make me found but like I said, it is the only thing on my head.
It is an agreement with God that I am expecting to be found and if I am found, I don’t want to be found not having any professional photo.
So at the long run, I’m not taking the pictures for my birthday. It’s a destiny-gift to myself or a seed into what I’m becoming.
A Lesson on Intentional Living
At this point in my life, all my actions/decisions are beginning to take this same route.
I’m beginning the weigh the why behind everything I’m doing in life, even seemingly small and insignificant decisions.
But this is not something I’m just finding myself doing. I’m intentional about it.
I’m internationally living an intentional life.
MJ DeMarco explained in his book, Millionaire Fastlane how when we are still younger in age, our decisions have more long term consequences than when we are older.
Like taking a golf swing, a one degree shift away from the hole will have more effect when the ball is far away from the hole than when it is near.
If while shooting the ball, you make a very little turn away from the hole, that “little” turn will continue to expand until the ball is so far away from the hole when it gets closer.
That’s the same way it is with our lives. Our younger years are more delicate in determining the long term effect of our lives.
One degree towards the right direction at the age of 19 can become 60 degrees away from the wrong direction 40 years later.
And it applies to every decision of our lives: from choosing to play video games instead of learning a marketable skill, to choosing to go for an expensive photo shoot instead of asking what your life needs the most.
While currently, I might not see any immediate effect of going for a photo shoot as a seed for my visibility, it’d push me to be more intentional about other areas of my life and I will keep making several one degree turns towards the right direction.
On the other hand, who knows? Someone might just get attracted to me because of these pictures and open me up to the world.
Doing the right things increases our chances of being “lucky”.
One year from now, during my 23rd birthday, we will see if my decision today had any significant contribution to my life or not.
Olusegun Iyejare is a career coach and certified counselor. He helps individuals discover and maximize their potential to live satisfying lives regardless of obvious limitations holding them back.