On this week’s episode of the Northern Power Women podcast, we were joined by Cynthia Ajayi, Media and Engagement executive at The Women’s Organisation. Alongside her work for The Women’s Organisation, Cynthia is also a freelance event host, creator and host of the Relationship Are Podcast, and has her own YouTube channel, where she explores fashion, lifestyle and faith. Cynthia has shared some fantastic advice with us this week in her Life Lessons, covering everything from facing your fears, how to deal with workplace bullying, and questions around professional identity. We caught up with Cynthia to hear more about the topics she touched on in the podcast this week.
In one of her Life Lessons answers, Cynthia referred to the tendency to intertwine your identity as a person with what you do for a living. Regardless of your industry, objectives or level of seniority, Cynthia reminded listeners that you are still infinitely valuable. In her words: “what we do isn’t who we are”. However, it’s not always easy to recognise when this is happening, or to realise when you’ve replaced too much of your own identity with your job role. Cynthia’s advice for diagnosing this is to read into your reactions when receiving negative feedback at work: “if you receive negative feedback from your work and you feel as though it’s a personal attack on you and your character, that’s when you are finding your identity in your work. Work is something that you do and sometimes you will make mistakes or not do as well as you wanted, but it doesn’t mean that you are not a hard working, great person. Never let what you do determine who you are and what you are made of!”
For those who feel they have strayed too far into this tendency, and have blurred the lines between life and work, Cynthia recommends taking a step back, and auditing how you’re spending your time. Ask yourself, “are you doing more work than the things that you love or set your soul on fire?” If you find that these scales are predominantly weighted by work, Cynthia suggests the following to address this imbalance. “Do other things, spend time with people that remind you of who you are and how great you are, watch things that make you laugh, eat good food. Remember life is too short to worry about things that on your deathbed, you won’t regret at all”.
In the podcast episode, Cynthia also reflected on a time in her life when a failure turned out to be a positive, and told listeners about the lessons she took from the failure of a business she launched. When facing instances where you have failed or made mistakes, Cynthia stresses the importance of your mindset. She says, “what do you see failure as, the end? Or an opportunity to grow? I believe you only fail when you give up, sometimes you need to pause, assess and keep going, but never stop”. In order to be able to grow and learn from these mistakes, Cynthia also spoke of the maturity needed to analyse what happened and label it as a failure in order to learn and move on. “It’s important to put your hand up and admit when you have made a mistake and recognise your role in that and then the most important thing, is what you do next. Will you make camp in your mistakes and wallow in your failure or will you pick yourself up, focus on the positive and keep moving forward?”